ARC Review: S.O.B by J.C. Valentine

S.O.B by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: November 10, 2015

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Note: **This novel is for MATURE ADULT READERS only. It contains explicit sexual content and alcohol use.**

Synopsis:

If there’s one person Vista Marquis never wants to see again, it’s Levi Black. It’s been years since she’s seen Levi, but she still isn’t over the way he broke her heart. Vista thought they had a special connection, but all Levi wanted was to add her name to the list of notches on his bedpost.

It might have been easier to move on if Levi wasn’t a famous soccer player — and her stepbrother. Not only does Vista have to hear all about him from her mother, she gets to see and hear about him and his woman of the moment in every celebrity gossip report.

Now, in order to establish her own physical therapy business, Vista is being forced to return home to Chicago and face the one man who has broken her heart. It’s going to be her job to make sure Levi recovers from his most current soccer injury. She plans on keeping things strictly professional. All she has to do is avoid Levi’s womanizing charms.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I’m going to have to admit that I wasn’t so sure what I was going to think of S.O.B prior to reading it. I love J.C. Valentine’s writing and the creative situations she comes up with, but I was curious to see how she was going to set this one up. I had never read a step-brother/step-sister romance before. I was worried it might be too taboo, too pseudo-incestuous for my tastes.

S.O.B was neither of those two things. Levi and Vista were not blood related. They were not even raised together. They lived in the same house for a short period of time before their parents married. That was shortly before Vista left for college. Basically, they were “brother and sister” through their parents marriage alone. They didn’t even share the same last name.

S.O.B felt more like a second chance erotic romance than a taboo love story. Levi was a cocky, famous athlete who walked away from the one girl he really wanted. Vista was a strong, independent female determined to make her own way. She wasn’t going to fall for the one man who shattered her heart at eighteen.

Levi and Vista’s reconnection was sexy and steamy. The chemistry between these two was off the charts! Levi was just the right amount of cocky and exactly what I would expect a sports star to be. He also had a sweet softer side when it came to Vista that I adored. I loved how strong Vista was. It was really cool that J.C. Valentine didn’t let her back down from standing up to Levi. Her backbone was one of my favorite thing about her.

The book wasn’t just filled with steamy moments, though. S.O.B had a great storyline. It was a lot of fun and cute at times.There were even a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed watching the entire story unfold.

If you’re looking for an erotic romance with a fun storyline, I would recommend S.O.B. It’s a fun, steamy read.

**I received an electronic copy of S.O.B from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittany C. Cherry

Publication Date: September 25, 2015

Publisher: BCherry Books

Synopsis:

Elizabeth knows she should stay away from Tristan Cole. Everyone has told her he’s bad news. But there’s something inside Tristan that Elizabeth can relate with. Elizabeth sees Tristan and knows he’s not what they make him out to be. She knows he is just damaged like she is.

As Elizabeth gets to know Tristan, she finds an understanding and shared loss they can both relate to. It brings them closer together and soon they find themselves using each other in ways they never planned.

But they can’t go on forever living in the past and the future hold surprised neither of them could ever imagine.


My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


The Air He Breathes began as New Adult romances normally do: Messed up guy meets messed up girl. They are the only ones who really see each other. Then, Elizabeth and Tristan’s relationship went in a weird direction I didn’t like. They started using each other in a way that disturbed  me. The story lost me for a bit. Thankfully, Tristan and Elizabeth’s relationship got back on the right track and it went back to being what I have to come to expect from NA romances. But then, BAM! Surprise twist — in more ways than one.

Holy smokes. The Air He Breathes was not what I was expecting at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. I could foresee what was going to cause the biggest problem in Tristan and Elizabeth’s relationship from the beginning of the book. Other parts of it were a complete surprise, though. I didn’t expect the twist toward the end. That blew my mind.

For the most part, I really enjoyed Brittany C. Cherry’s writing and characters. I loved the bits and pieces I got to read of Tristan’s past life. Even though they had been through a similar situation, Tristan was more interesting of a character than Elizabeth was to me. I would credit that to some of the secrecy behind Tristan.

My favorite character in the whole book, though; had to be Elizabeth’s best friend Faye. She was outspoken and hilarious. Some of the things she said — oh, my! She was such fun to read.

Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure how to rate The Air He Breathes. There was so much going on in this story. It almost felt like two or three different books in one. Some of it I loved, other parts I hated. Overall, it was really good. So when it came down to rating it, I kept having to ask myself if I just liked it or did I really like it? It falls somewhere in between, so I went with 3.5 stars.

So, would I suggest reading it? Yes! If you like NA romances, give this one a try. While my rating is on the average side, I did really enjoy The Air He Breathes.

Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Wicked Restless (Harper Boys #2) by Ginger Scott

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Synopsis:

Andrew Harper knows what people in his small town say about his family. His brother, Owen,  may have tried to protect him from the rumors and hurt, but Owen’s gone now. Andrew’s on his own now to prove everyone wrong.

Then, Andrew meets new girl Emma Burke at school. She’s the most beautiful girl Andrew’s ever seen. She’s also smart and sweet. Emma’s heard the rumors, but she doesn’t seem to care. It makes being stuck in the small town of Woodstock bearable.

Emma may not be the talk of the town, but she has problems of her own to deal with. Problems she’s keeping secret from Andrew. She knows she needs to tell him, but she just wants to be a normal teen for a while.

As Andrew and Emma are quickly falling for each other, they will be faced with a choice that will change the directions of their lives forever. Their choices will not only divide them but ruin them.

Five years later, Andrew can’t let go of the pain. He’s hurt and angry.

Andrew always wondered what he would do when he saw Emma again. Now, he knows: get revenge. He has the perfect opportunity to do it and he’s going to take it. But as he puts his plan in motion, the truth of what happened all those years ago starts to present itself — along with feelings he thought were long gone.

If Andrew and Emma can’t make peace with their past, they may lose out on their future.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Wicked Restless is the second book in the Harper Boys series. I couldn’t wait to read it because I absolutely loved the first book, Wild Reckless. (You can read my review here, if you’re interested.) Wild Reckless was about Owen Harper, while Wicked Restless is about his younger brother, Andrew. Each book can be read as a standalone, but there are some things that carry over from Wild Reckless to Wicked Restless.

Dude, socks. If you just wore socks, this wouldn’t have happened.

Wicked Restless started out sweet, cute and funny like many YA contemporary romances. Andrew and Emma’s instant connection during P.E. class is funny and cute. I was so excited for this couple!

“I want this girl to be the girl – my girl. The one I take to things and experience everything with.”

Then, everything gets all complicated and messed up. It turns into the angst filled NA romance I was expecting. It plays with my emotions in ways I didn’t expect.

The decisions Andrew and Emma make tear them apart. It tore me apart! It was heart breaking to read. I hurt for Andrew. He was trying to be such a good person and all it did was prove the rumors true. I couldn’t help but dislike Emma. I felt like she ruined his life. I kind of hated her. I honestly wondered how Ginger Scott could ever redeem her at this point.

Flash forward five years. Andrew has changed. He’s no longer trying to prove he’s not what people think he is. Andrew runs into Emma again. Understandably, he hates her and wants revenge. (I kind of want revenge on her myself!) He doesn’t care about anything but making Emma suffer.

It’s from this moment that every choice Andrew makes is gut wrenching for me to read. I didn’t like what the past five years had done to him. It was so sad to see who Andrew had become. When Andrew takes his anger out on Emma, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. I went quickly from hating her to understanding her. I wanted Andrew to understand her, too. I wanted the sweet and innocent Andrew back.

I’m not going to give anything else away from the story. Just know that I absolutely loved Wicked Restless. It played with my emotions in so many different ways. One minute, I was happy. The next, I was angry. It went on the entire book! Everything felt so intense. At times, the story took turns I wasn’t quite sure I believed. That didn’t matter, though; Ginger Scott’s writing is so good and packed with so much emotion that I could look past those things. Wicked Restless was an amazing follow up to Wild Reckless. Now, I hope Ms. Scott will give us a spin off in the form of Andrew’s roommate, Trent. Love that dude.

If you are a NA reader looking for an emotionally intense series filled with beautiful writing, I would highly suggest Ginger Scott’s Harper Boys series.

Other books in this series:

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Publication Date: October 12, 2013

Synopsis:

High school senior Fern Taylor knows she’ll never be beautiful like her best friend Rita. Fern’s got crazy red hair, glass and braces. If that wasn’t enough, she’s so tiny she could pass as a child. Fern knows she’ll never be beautiful enough to capture the attention of her crush, Ambrose Young.

Ambrose Young has it all. He’s not only tall and handsome, he’s smart and talented, too. The wrestling state championship has everything going for him, yet the pressure to be the winner his small town needs overwhelms him. So when the opportunity to be more presents itself, Ambrose grabs onto it. He enlists in the armed forces and convinces his four close friends to join him.

When tragedy strikes, Fern’s small town is torn apart. Five boys may have left for war, but only one will return alive.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I had to give Making Faces 5 stars. The message in this story is so important — especially to teens and young adults. It’s a story about looking past what you see on the outside to what’s on the inside of a person. Looks can be deceiving and words can be hurtful.

I almost gave it 4 stars because it took me a while to get into the book and understand its flow. I was a little confused by the different points of view. I thought there would be two: Ambrose and Fern. There were three. Bailey, Fern’s cousin / friend, was also a narrator. I wasn’t expecting that. There were also some flashbacks peppered throughout the book that I didn’t get at first. I knew it would all make sense, it was just getting further into the story to understand where it was all going.

The beauty and message of this story completely negated those complaints. Once I got a few chapters into Making Faces, I honestly didn’t want to put the book down. I forgot about my previous confusion. I read it in one day. The story was filled with such love and loss — not just for the main characters but for the entire small town. It was also filled with beautiful writing and a powerful message. It’s a book I wish I would have read in my late teen / early adult years when I put so much pressure on myself based on my looks.

Making Faces was an incredible story. It’s one that will stick with me for a very, very long time. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d encourage you to consider it. To entice you, I’ll share one of my favorite quotes from Making Faces:

“If God made all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?

Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?

Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?

Does he close the ears of a deaf man to make him more reliant?

Is the way I look a coincidence or just a twist of fate?

If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?

For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror, For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.

Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?

If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?”

Beautiful, right? Read it!

Firebird

Firebird by Jennifer Loring

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher:  Limitless Publishing, LLC

Synopsis:

Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist with something to prove. She knows her way into writing higher profile sports stories is to interview hockey superstar Aleksandr Volynsky.

Bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is known to be a tough interview. He hates the media and has no problem giving reporters a hard time. But Stephanie has an in with Aleksandr. He’s the boy she once thought she’s marry. If anyone can get Aleksandr to open up, it’s Stephanie.

Aleksandr Volynsky does not give interviews, but he’s being forced into this one. He doesn’t know whether to be pleased Stephanie Hartwell will be interviewing him or mad. He’s wanted nothing more than to see her again, but eight years of silence has done nothing but heighten the rage he feels toward her. It doesn’t help that she’s engaged to another man. She was always supposed to be Aleksandr’s.

Even with all Aleksandr’s rage being aimed at Stephanie, she can’t help feel the chemistry between the two of them. She’s trying to keep things professional, but she’s having a harder and harder time fighting her feelings for him. Stephanie’s supposed to be happily engaged and writing the story of her life. Instead, she’s questioning every decision she’s ever made.

After Aleksandr and Stephanie decide to take things to the next level, their worlds come crashing down on them. Do they have what it takes to come out on top of it all — together?


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Okay, so I’m going to get the one negative thing I have to say about Firebird out of the way so that I can sing it’s praises like I really want to do. There is cheating and a lot of womanizing in this book. (If those two things bother you, this book is not for you.) It was disturbing to read about the two main characters having sex with other people — especially when they’re thinking about each other. Ewww. BUT I know this stuff happens in real life, so it won’t make or a break a book for me. Now, on to the fun part!

Besides the cheating part, Firebird was an incredibly good romance. It was fast-paced and action packed. I couldn’t put it down. Something new was always happening and the story was constantly building. I was surprised at the twists and turns that took place. Just when I thought the story might be coming to an end, something else would happen to take the story in a new direction.

I absolutely loved Aleksandr. To be honest, most of the time he was a big fat jerk. But I kind of loved that about him. He didn’t hold back and once I knew why, I appreciated it even more. I don’t want to give too much away, but I felt that his story was an important one. I loved the way his character developed over the entire book.

Stephanie, on the other hand, drove me nuts at times. One minute, she was a smart and tough chick. The next, she made horrible decisions. I liked her, but at times she made it hard to.

Together, Stephanie and Aleksandr were scorching HOT. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other! There was a sweetness between the two of them that I loved — especially from Aleksandr. He was so crude, but he had a secret soft spot when it came to Stephanie. It made me smile a lot.

As for the hockey, I liked that Jennifer Loring included some actual hockey plays and not just the players. It added another great dimension to the story. I don’t know much about hockey, but it seemed realistic enough to me.

I would highly recommend Firebird to adult contemporary romance readers that love sports related romances.

**I received an electronic copy of Firebird in exchange for an honest review.