READING ABBREVIATIONS INDEX

Do you ever read a book and there’s an abbreviation like BBW tagged as the headline and you go ‘what does that stand for??’ It’s Big Beautiful Woman  by the way, but the point is, there are just so many abbreviations we throw around in the book world and it’s easy to forget what they stand for. So, I took the liberty of making a list of abbreviations I use and see around a lot. If I left one out, let me know and I’ll be sure to add to the list!

TBR = To Be Read (usually refers to our reading lists)

TBA = To Be Announced (occasionally used for book release dates/info)

TBD = To Be Determined (occasionally used for book release dates/info)

WTH = What the Heck/Hell (believe me I’ve seen this used in stories)

HEA = Happily Ever After (refers to the book ending)

HFN = Happy For Now (refers to the book ending)

ICYMI = In Case You Missed It (I use this one a lot)

POV = Point of View

DNF = Did Not Finish (DNF-ing a book)

ARC = Advanced Reader Copy (unpublished version of the book provided to the reviewer/blogger by the author or publisher)

IMO = In My Opinion

T = Taboo (occasionally books will be marked to warn readers of taboo content)

BOB = Battery Operated Boyfriend

BB = Book Boyfriend

NSFW = Not Safe For Work (those steamy reads hehehe)

M/M = male/male

M/F/M = menage with straight men (male/female/male)

M/M/F = menage with bi men (male/male/female)

BDSM = BD (bondage & discipline), SM (sadism & masochism)

D/s = Dom/sub

H/h = Hero/heroine

UST = Unresolved Sexual Tension

BBW = Big Beautiful Woman

LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

PNR = Paranormal Romance (I use this one a lot)

YA = Young Adult

NA = New Adult (I use this a lot too)

UF = Urban Fantasy

MC = Main Character OR Motorcycle Club (depending on the context of the user)

Hey guys! I am SO sorry for the multiple posts that went out earlier. That was entirely my mistake and meant to be drafts on my blog, not to be published yet. They’re gone from my blog since I deleted them but those who are subscribed with your email will get the posts that look like spam. Again, my deepest apologies for that!! My blog is almost done with the makeover (making a few more changes here) but the multiple unfinished posts were not meant to be sent out. Sorry guys!!

BOOK REVIEW ~ FIRST DEBT BY PEPPER WINTERS

“You say I’ll never own you. If I win—you willingly give me that right. You sign not only the debt agreement, but another—one that makes me your master until your last breath is taken. You do that, and I’ll give you this.”
Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Stolen, taken, and bound not by monsters but by an agreement written over six hundred years ago, she has no way out.
She belongs to Jethro as much as she denies it.
Jethro Hawk’s patience is running out. His inheritance gift tests, challenges, and surprises him—and not in good ways. He hasn’t leashed her but he thinks he might’ve found a way to bind her forever.
Debts are mounting. Payment waiting.

I was one of the readers who finished book 1 feeling shocked and a little angry with the (anti) hero Jethro Hawk. Though I never doubted that the author could redeem him in our eyes, there was a lot of work needed to be done before I could even forgive him, let alone like him. With this second book, the author has answered old questions, presented new ones, but most importantly, given us a reason to warm up to Jethro and both sympathize and admire Nila for her resiliency. Whether or not you were a fan of the first book, I can guarantee that reading this book will present these characters in a different light…and just maybe see Jethro set on a road towards redemption.

The story begins right where the first ended: Nila is on the run and Jethro is on the hunt. They play a dangerous game of clashing wits, neither one giving an inch. Despite her time in captivity, Nila is fiercely stubborn and proud, and her resolve to get out of this hellhole never wavers while facing pain and degradation. Yes, she’s physically attracted to Jethro – and only him – but her desire for freedom is stronger and throughout the book, I really did see her struggle between revenge and freedom vs. her growing feelings for Jethro. On the other end, the author gives us an inside look into Jethro’s mindset and we’re lead to believe that he’s not so cold-hearted and cruel after all. Stuck in a crazy family that harbors a deep hatred of another household, Jethro is coerced into acting like the prodigal son and buries the real him deep inside. No one but Nila has the power to force him to see that who he is now isn’t who he really is and meant to be, but their thoughts can’t be voiced with the eyes of his family members carefully scrutinizing each and every one of their moves.
Except for in lust. Filthy, wicked, and sinful lust. Unlike book 1 where sex was mainly perceived to be more ritualistic than intimate, sex in here is the only place where these characters’ vulnerability can be seen. Where weakness and compromise is allowed. Both Nila and Jethro are equals in lust.
But that creates a big problem: just how do they deal with their feelings for each other when they’re both smacked with problems: Jethro and his family, Nila and her freedom? This is where I think the author’s brilliant writing comes in, evoking tormenting and agonizing feelings because of the dichotomy presented. I really felt for both of these characters – especially Jethro – and their terrible situation.
Old questions like the reason behind the debt inheritance, Kite’s identity, etc… will all be answered but at the same time these answers lead to even more mystery that had me questioning what I knew already. When you read this book, please keep in mind that this is a series that’s dark first, romance second. It’s because of how twisty and messed up this entire situation is that makes any possible romance THAT much more precious.
First Debt is the 2nd installment in the Indebted serial and not a standalone. You must read Debt Inheritance first. The author has prefaced in all of these books that cliffhangers are to be expected and while it’ll leave you desperate for the next one, it’ll also be a satisfying reading experience as each of these books has a full beginning, middle, and end.
Rating: 4.5 stars!!
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

BOOK BLITZ ~ BREAKING THE RULES BY KATIE MCGARRY

For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so… different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah’s more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he’d be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn… seriously epic.

EXCERPT
From Noah’s Point of View
“Me and you,” I whisper, hoping my words will sink into her subconscious, beyond where she overthinks. “It’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Echo’s hand glides over mine, and she links our fingers together. “You like disturbing my sleep, don’t you?”
I kiss her shoulder, permitting my lips to linger on her soft skin. Guess I did wake her. “Just keeping things straight between us.”
“In my sleep?” Damn, I love that groggy voice.
“You argue less that way.”
AUTHOR BIO KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

BOOK REVIEW ~ NINE MINUTES BY BETH FLYNN

On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.
From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.
And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.
So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.
Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.

REVIEW
If there can only be one book you can get this month, heck, even this year, it HAS to be this one. This is going to sound cheesy, but I felt so alive when I was reading this book. It’s a story that evoked visceral reactions, put me in a book frenzy, and made me feel like I was taking caffeine shots. This book was 200% unputdownable for me. I’m a very paranoid and picky reader and unless a book has positive reviews from my friends (because we know each other’s tastes well) I won’t pick it up. However, this book’s synopsis had my attention and for the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I read a sample which was the engrossing prologue that gave me goosebumps and after that I was a goner. Putting down the book just simply wasn’t an option. Pages were flipped, tears were shed, and 2 hours later I was done.
The rest of my review is going to be a bit unconventional. There is SO much in this book so I decided to do a Q&A review. You see, every time I worked on my review, I would get a question, a message, or a comment asking me this and that and it really made me see that my normal review style is just not going to be good enough to cover everything. So the rest consists of questions others have asked me and my thoughts without spoiling anything.
Is there romance and an HEA?
That is the most asked question and my answer is yes to the romance. 100% yes. But I also have to say that if you are a romance only reader, this book may not be for you. As for the HEA part, I can’t emphasize enough that because this book crosses many other genres, we can’t subject it to the same kind of scrutiny as we do for pure romance books. So that HEA question? Hold onto it. It’s not defined and is something every reader has to decide for themselves. But for me personally? It was the best kind of happy ending that stayed true to both the characters and the story.
What genre is this book?
It’s not one specific genre. It crosses over many sub-genres as well and this is what I think the book falls under:
-MC
-Dark
-YA
-Psychological thriller
-Romance
-Historical (referring to the setting)
-Religious (referring to the heroine’s faith)
After mulling it over, I think it was faulty of me to project this book as mainly a biker book first. The heroine’s life does revolve around a motorcycle club but it’s not what defines her. Her age makes this book YA, her kidnapping, attitude, and psyche makes this a psychological thriller, her twisted love for a dangerous man makes this a romance, and the gritty biker life portrayed that has many triggers makes this dark. And speaking of triggers…
Yes, there are triggers in this book!!
Ginny is 15 when she’s taken. It honestly made me uncomfortable to know that our heroine is underage, probably because I have a younger sister close to her age and it makes me sick to think of an abduction like this ever happening to her. I will also be frank and say there is a questionable rape scene present and it was the first time in the book where I cried. The circumstances revolving around this scene is what made my heart break for all parties involved. And violence…yes, there is a good amount of violence, and a few scenes where it’s in explicit detail. But never did I feel like anything was gratuitous. Everything said and done had a purpose.
How historical is this book besides the setting?
Well the story spans from the time Ginny was kidnapped in 1975 to the year 2000 where a monumental trial takes place. 25 years of history packed in this story. I also want to point out that just because this book has a MC background, don’t expect it to be like other ‘modern’ biker books. You really can’t compare a present day MC to one 20-30 years ago. Times are different and people change.
Cheating, love triangle, and sex
With all honesty, I can’t say there was or wasn’t cheating or a love triangle because my opinion is not a fact. My opinion is no, there was no cheating and no love triangle (those needing details will have to message me), but for others even a tiny detail will make the difference in deciding if lines have been crossed. The sex is fade to black. This is not your typical MC where all guys act like manwhores and all girls are skanks. Sex in here is not meant to get you hot and flustered; it’s meant to drive an emotional impact home.
Is this a mindfuck?
200% yes. From the beginning to the very end, I felt like I was smacked upside down with plot twists. This story was so unpredictable, the characters unstable (some even volatile), and the psychological aspect added an extra layer of complexity to it all. Even now, I am still questioning whether the romance in here was more obsession or love. I think it’s both. An obsession turned into love and on the flip side where love for another turns into an obsession. If anything, the latter is confirmed with the revelation near the end of the book.
For me, this aspect was the most compelling. I think there are just some events, some things words are not enough to explain or account for, and the love/obsession is a prime example. You really have to experience it, feel it, to have a point of reference.
Cliffhanger, standalone, and series info
Once again, these topics are all subjective and opinion vs. fact. It is a fact that this is a series and book 2 will focus on these same characters. It is my opinion that this book doesn’t have a cliffhanger but of course I know some will say otherwise. The book has a full beginning, middle, and end and is very much a complete story, but the ending doesn’t resolve all the loose ends. That closure will be seen in the next book. But at the same time, even if there wasn’t a second book I would be completely satisfied with the way this one ended.
So yeah…this book is quite complex and difficult to explain in just a few words. I am still finding it hard to believe this is a debut novel. I can’t remember the last time a debut book has completely blown me away like this one did. I can undoubtedly say that this is a book that has it all.
Rating: 5 stars!!!!!

BOOK REVIEW ~ AFTER THE RAIN BY RENEE CARLINO

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.
Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.

This is one of those books where I read the blurb and immediately wanted to get my hands on the book. Not only is it described as an emotional second chance romance but a romance between a wrangler and a doctor, two people who are so opposite of each other and under normal circumstances would never have met. While this story started off strong, things started spiraling down after the 25% mark and though I didn’t outright dislike the plot and characters, I didn’t love them either.
At 18, the heroine Avelina gets caught up in a whirlwind courtship and marriage with another young wrangler and they live a quiet, simple life on the ranch. She never expects to lose the love of her life – first when he’s handicapped for the rest of his life, then when he commits suicide. Her experiences through the years have turned her from a vibrant young woman into a cold, harsh shell of who she once was. She blames herself for not being enough to save her husband and she blames her husband for destroying what was left of her heart.
On the opposite end of the country, the hero Nate is a rising star in the surgical field about to take on an operation. One faulty decision blasts his confidence and career into smithereens and makes him question everything he’s ever believed in. In the spur of the moment, Nate goes to his uncle’s ranch to regroup and reflect on his next move. It is in the lush scenery of Montana and amongst the wild horses he meets Avelina, a widow for five years now. It only takes a matter of seconds for Nate to see that this woman is different from others he’s met, in character and physical appearance. And it only takes days for Nate to see how refreshing the ranch is compared to the big city he’s used to – it’s a place where respect is earned and hard work is applauded.
Up to this point in the book, everything was perfect. It was at least a 4.5 star read, the writing was lovely, the character’s struggles were convincingly heartbreaking, and if done well, I could see the potential and beauty in having these two characters – both broken in their own ways – come together. Sadly, this is also the part that fell extremely flat and was the beginning of the end of this book for me. Here is my rationale: whenever there’s a second chance romance that involves two characters that are even slightly damaged, I NEED to be specifically convinced, 100% convinced that these two belong to each other. However, I wasn’t. I felt like Avelina’s connection to Nate was solely based on the fact that he wasn’t from town and was someone new, someone she could know based on a clean slate. And Nate’s connection with Avelina I thought it was because she was the very first woman he spent a little time with after dedicating 5 years to his career. In other words, I thought that these characters could be replaced with others and it wouldn’t make a difference. What makes these two specific characters right for each other? That is the question I ask myself whenever I read a second chance romance like this one and sadly, the author didn’t convince me of their connection.
As the story progressed, Avelina’s stubbornness grated on my nerves and even when the book hit a point where I could feel the characters’ romantic connection, Avelina would push Nate away and cling to the memory of her late husband. I normally would be less frustrated with this part but the author reveals some unsavory details about her late husband’s character that made me believe that he doesn’t deserve all this devotion from Avelina long after his suicide, especially since it was so obvious that she had the ability to move on with her life, whether it was with Nate or by herself.
I wouldn’t completely write this book off, but to read the book I would prepare myself for some insta-love and some character stupidity before starting. It wasn’t an outstanding book in my eyes but it wasn’t bad either. It fell right in the middle, and usually those are the books that readers have trouble in deciding whether or not to read. In my opinion, I would recommend this book but with caution, as a frustrating heroine can really wear you down.
After the Rain is a complete standalone that is unrelated to the author’s other books.
ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW ~ PROTOTYPE BY GRETCHEN DE LA O

Lauren Matthews believes she will be dead in seven days. She’s done witnessing others around her meeting that exact fate. With the device Marshall Grayson installed in her head as the only golden thread linking them, Lauren is left with no choice but to believe it is her destiny to die.
Unable to see her professional world in Washington DC is about to be ruled by her personal life in San Francisco, Lauren’s two realities collide when Grayson Industries’ influential financier, Alejandro Fernandez, infuses himself in her life. Enchanted by Alejandro’s old world charm and modern sensitivity, Lauren becomes tangled in a web of sex, love, deceit, and murder. She struggles to find a balance between self-preservation and ethical responsibility.
With the full scope of the prototype slowly possessing her every thought, she truly understands―her life is not her own. Will Alejandro’s love be enough to reawaken her soul and change her destiny?

2.5 stars!
First, WTF was this book?!?! Yeah, this is one of those books where you finish and you don’t even consider how good or bad it is. Instead, it’s just you chanting WTF over and over again. And even though I’ve had a couple hours to mull things over and decide on a rating, my thoughts are still frazzled and in chunks…so my review will be styled that way as well. It’s going to go in the order of how it went from a potential 5 star read to 2.5 stars.
5 star beginning
This book premise is so unique and the story started off strong. I was definitely clueless about what exactly was going on, but I was looking forward to reading how this mystery would unfold.
3-3.5 stars after the first 40%
There were a lot of things that made me question the believability of the story. First, the female protagonist Lauren is injected with a ‘prototype’ and after accessing secret files learns that she’ll be dead in 7 days. Her mission is to meet up with a financier of this prototype project, Alejandro. As the story progressed, there was no sense of urgency, like ‘oh, I’m going to be dead in 7 days if I don’t find out more about this device’ wasn’t emphasized. Instead, I read about her jealousy issues over Marshall, her inner dialogue complaining she never asked for all of this, and how much she swoons over Alejandro (which brings me to my next point).
“My god, he looked like he had been plucked from the pages of a GQ magazine.”
Insta-love alert!! I was under the belief that Alejandro was supposed to be the enemy as he knowingly financed prototypes and Lauren is one of them but it just didn’t feel like he was. The first chapters with them together were all about Lauren being speechless over his beauty and Alejandro repeatedly complementing Lauren’s looks.
“My name is Alejandro Fernandez. You must be Mrs. Matthews.
It’s Miss. I’m not married.
Oh, my mistake, I just assumed – you are such a beautiful woman.”
Mind you, this is right after Lauren fought with someone and has bruises all over her face. Ugh. And another thought running through my head was how the heck does a CIA agent act as clumsy and idiotic as Lauren does?
“I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t need this. All I wanted was to be a good CIA agent and do some insignificant side jobs for Marshall.”
Yeah…ok. I honestly don’t understand why Lauren thinks doing illegal ‘insignificant’ side jobs involving revolutionary prototypes wouldn’t get her into any kind of trouble. What was this woman thinking?!
2.5 stars for the last 60%
After the halfway mark, things really started picking up plot-wise but it wasn’t enough to answer questions brought up in the first half. Details were skimmed over and the main storyline (why these prototypes were manufactured in the first place, who was the mastermind, etc…) flopped and all the bad was pinned on the one obvious person responsible for everything. I did like Alejandro’s character but Lauren’s stupidity and dramatic antics really annoyed me.
Usually I can tell how much I enjoy a book just by how fast I read it – the best books take me mere hours to read. This book, however, took me almost a day and half to trudge through and every chapter or so that got my eyes rolling I had to force myself to not DNF and continue. In short, this is a book with an interesting concept but completely failed at its execution.
Prototype is the first book in the Possession series and not a standalone. The ending isn’t an exact cliffhanger but leaves the reader with tons of unanswered questions.

BOOK REVIEW ~ BAD ROMEO BY LEISA RAYVEN

While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own…
Cassie Taylor was just another acting student with big dreams at her prestigious performing arts college, then she met Ethan Holt. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy on campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing on stage, Cassie and Ethan’s epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart.
Now they’ve made it to Broadway where they’re reunited as romantic leads once again, and their passionate scenes force them to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair. For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret, and he’s determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again. The trouble is, working with him reminds her that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s the things that aren’t good for us that are the most irresistible.

I really wish I could say I loved this one but sadly, I can’t. I felt like I wasted hours of my time reading a book that was one giant tease from beginning to end. The only reason why I didn’t rate this book 1 star is because of the author’s addictive writing style and a few good moments scattered throughout the story, but other than that, both characters truly angered me, the setup of the story frustrated me, and that ending? Oh my god. One of the worst endings I have ever read, cliffhanger or not.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Whether or not you will enjoy this book depends entirely on the kind of reader you are. You’re either:
A). A reader who likes some sexual tension but with gratification and doesn’t think of character stupidity as angst.
B). A reader who lives off of unresolved sexual tension, crazy high angst and seeing the characters suffer make you suffer but you love it anyways.
Choice A readers, you’re going to struggle with the book. Choice B readers, this is the perfect book for you if you don’t mind an abrupt ending. Now onto the actual review…
The book begins in present day where sensational actress Cassie Taylor is cast in a romantic play alongside Ethan Holt, the one guy who broke her heart 6 years ago. From her past experiences she’s really hardened her heart and the once open, optimistic, and naïve girl has turned into a cynical woman who will never be able to trust easily again. But her bad breakup with Ethan 6 years ago didn’t stop her feelings for him and as much as she knows that a relationship with him wouldn’t be practical for her heart, he also happens to be the one and only guy who stirs her emotions – good and bad – like no other and is truly it for her, but now she’s the one afraid to take the leap because their past relationship failed miserably.
After all these years, bad boy actor Ethan Holt has cleaned himself up and decides to pursue Cassie, finally realizing that he can’t live without her even though he’s the one who ruined all the good they had before.
I struggled a lot with Ethan’s character. The book unevenly alternates between past/present chapters where in the present Ethan’s fighting for Cassie and in the past where Cassie is fighting for Ethan. There’s a big difference between a lovable jerk and a flat out asshole and well, Ethan was the latter. His hot-and-cold behavior towards Cassie was frustrating when at times he’ll say something like this:
But in another moment, he’ll completely ignore Cassie and their explosive chemistry and continue on as if nothing happened between them. Repeat this process multiple times and by the halfway mark I was suffering from a severe case of whiplash.
Cassie was also a big reason why I struggled with the book. I have zero respect for female characters that let the hero walk all over them and because I didn’t believe that Ethan’s backstory (which is a clichéd and overused reason by the way) warranted his horrible treatment of her, Cassie was pretty much a doormat. She is also one of the horniest virgins I’ve ever read about who was either obsessing over her vagina, Ethan’s dick, or both, whether it was through her inner monologue or her girly diary she kept that constantly referenced Ethan’s “award-winning dick” and how it’s enough to make her “vagina start slow-clapping in anticipation.”
As much as I liked the author’s writing style and the occasional humorous moments, the setup of the story really bothered me. I felt like the past/present scenes were unevenly represented and whenever I was starting to get invested in the particular chapter, the author would suddenly do a time jump and I had to try hard to refocus in the new chapter. There was no fluidity, no transition that linked most of these time jumps so they seemed random and out of place to me. Make no mistake, there were a few scenes that did get my heart racing and I felt for the characters, but the choppy time jumps along with major character stupidity overshadowed the good.
Now for that ending. *drags hand down face* I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger. Cliffhanger implies that we have an inkling of what to expect in the next book but in here? It literally ended in between a motion and for a while I thought I must’ve received a bad copy from the publisher. But no. After checking with another reader who read the book, that’s the ending. Just…ugh! Imagine my feelings. I wasn’t really enjoying the book much to begin with but towards the end it got better and I would like to know the reasoning behind their breakup (which is never revealed by the way), only to have the book end in such an abrupt, inconclusive manner. I feel cheated to be honest. Cheated because the book was one huge tease that started and ended with me knowing the same things. Nothing new happened.
I do want to end positive by saying that this is a book I would still contingently recommend to others based on the type of reader you are (see A & B above). And because of the way the story ended here, I am kind of forced by my own curiosity to check out the next book, even if my only reason is to find closure so I can finally move on.
Bad Romeo is the first book in the Starcrossed series and not a standalone. Cassie & Ethan’s story will be told over the course of two books, concluding in Broken Juliet. There will also be a third book which is a standalone romance focusing on Ethan’s sister.

 

BOOK REVIEW ~ REIGNITE BY J.M. DARHOWER

The moment the short-lived apocalypse came to an end, life returned to normal. Mortals continued on with their oblivious existences while the earth healed and flowers again bloomed, the devastation instantly wiped away. It was as if it had never happened.
But it did.
Luce knows. He’s cursed to remember every moment, forced to live with everything he has done. Suddenly finding himself out of confinement, he’s faced with a decision: where to call “home”. Free will turns out not to be the freedom he expects when the only thing he wants doesn’t know he exists.
Serah woke up with no memory of where she came from or who she was before that moment. Struggling to adapt to the world as a mortal, she’s haunted by a set of bright blue eyes that always seem to be watching her. She can’t shake the feeling that he could be her salvation… if only she can remember him before it’s too late.
Lucifer didn’t fall from Grace alone. He’s not the only angel with a grudge, nor is he the only one fascinated by his beautiful mortal.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions…

After the events and ending in book 1, I couldn’t dive into this second book fast enough. Even though Extinguish was written as a standalone and meant to be left open-ended based on reader interpretation, I’m grateful the author decided to write another book. Because when it comes to romance, I need my questions answered and my ending clearly defined, and as I fell hard and fast for these characters in book 1, getting my closure and finding out what exactly happened to them after the showdown in Extinguish was absolutely necessary. With that being said, I did feel like this book was lacking compared to the first. Things were wrapped up in pretty bows too fast and with one of the main characters literally embodying the fallen archangel, it was hard to believe that all loose ends were tied up nicely without much conflict. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it for the most part as it was a fast-paced read with the return of all the beloved characters from the first book as well as new ones.
Just like my review for the first book, I have very few things to say about the plot as the story here builds up from what happened in Extinguish. I liked that there were more Lucifer POV scenes and I got to delve deeper into his thoughts and feelings. I still find the idea of giving the Devil himself a humane side fascinating – it definitely made his character seem a lot dynamic than most male leads I’ve read about. As for the romance, it was a bit weak and honestly, there weren’t that many scenes that focused on the main characters’ relationship development because this book was more plot-orientated, but the parts where the romance was showcased, it was beautiful, and it only strengthened my belief that despite how forbidden or unnatural the romance was, these two belonged with each other.
I think my biggest problem is that because this book is fast-paced and more plot-oriented than ever, it’s hard to have time jumps (I’m talking years and years) and have them convincingly weaved into the story. While reading, it felt like maybe a month or two passed instead of years, which is why I thought the story was a little all over the place and underdeveloped compared to the first. But despite that, I’m thankful that Lucifer and Serah did get a second book and was happy with the final ending the author provided.
As a whole, this 2-book duet ranks a solid 4+ stars and is well worth the read. They’re attention-grabbing, gripping from the get go, and the world building is excellent, not to mention each and every one of the characters were fascinating.
Reignite is the 2nd and final book in this 2-book paranormal forbidden romance series. It’s not a standalone and must be read after Extinguish.
Rating: 3.5 stars!

BOOK REVIEW ~ WITHIN THESE WALLS BY J.L. BERG

Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.
I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance.Isn’t that what we all do? Survive?
Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated. Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom.
I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget.
But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever?
My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.

This was such a sweet story! While I didn’t totally love it, both main characters were adorkable, the message behind the story was uplifting, and the romance was heartwarming. After reading this book and this author’s Ready series, I notice that all of her books make me fall in love with the idea of love. There are clichés and her stories are definitely sugary sweet, but ultimately, it’s just impossible for me to not enjoy her books on a certain level. For me, her books are the perfect ‘feel-good’ romances that are bound to put a smile on my face and leave me with warm, fuzzy feelings. This book was no different.
The heroine Lailah Buchanan was born with a heart defect, and her entire life has been uprooted by her condition. She’s spent most of her time lying within the walls of a hospital. Now at 22, she’s finally looking forward to being discharged and living life like she’s always intended to.
“My life has been nothing but surgeries, procedures, and living from one test result to the next. I’ll gladly trade all that for a little normalcy. Give me a terrible prom and a hot, sticky day at Disneyland. Let me fall in love even if it means I’ll get hurt in the end. At least then, I’d know that I’m living.”
But unfortunately, things don’t go the way she planned and once again, she’s stuck inside her white-walled prison.
The hero Jude Cavanaugh is a nurse aide who harbors immense guilt after his fiancé died. Working as a nurse aide in the same hospital where Lailah resides, he’s a complete loner who gave up his lavish lifestyle in a twisted hope that walking the same halls where his fiancé once was would bring him closer to her. He believes he doesn’t deserve forgiveness and working as a CNA is his atonement.
“Healing required the desire to do so. I didn’t want to heal, and I certainly didn’t want to move on.”
I don’t want to spoil exactly how, but the way Lailah and Jude meet is SO cute and completely melted my heart, like awww-worthy.
Though the romance didn’t develop until later on, there is an underlying mutual attraction and I still felt that it was more insta-love, especially considering the number of years Jude shouldered his guilt and refused to move on from his ex-fiancé he fell for Lailah pretty fast. But because I really did love both of these characters who are just completely charming, I didn’t mind too much that they got together quick.
There’s a part of this book I have to mention. Lailah had this list, a Someday list of things she wanted to accomplish but couldn’t because of her poor health and whenever Jude would help her finish one of those goals, it completely melted my heart. Just the dedication and conviction behind Lailah’s desire to complete each goal and Jude’s determination to help her achieve them all made my heart feel so full. It also served as a step towards their relationship development as well so in light of that, the insta-love at the beginning really didn’t bother me too much.
Though I could have easily given this book 4 stars or more, the fact remains that the last 20% of the book was slightly disappointing and I flat-out disliked the decisions these characters made.
“Two broken hearts – we would destroy each other before we even had a chance to begin.”
Throughout it all, I felt like this conflict was unnecessary because as quickly as it was introduced, it was resolved just as fast and didn’t offer any significant plot development, only served to make this last portion of the book too sugary and rushed. But taking the book as a whole, this story was a solid romance read that is bound to warm any romantic’s heart.
Within These Walls is a NA contemporary romance that is NOT tragic. Though it’s written as a standalone, there is an upcoming book titled Beyond These Walls that continues this couple’s story and there’ll also be a spinoff book for Jude’s brother who is introduced in this book. Personally, I can’t wait for that one! It’s bound to be darker to match his character…
Rating: 3.5 stars!