BOOK REVIEW ~ CHASING THE TIDE BY A. MEREDITH WALTERS

The powerful continuation of the story that began in Reclaiming the Sand– a tale of love and forgiveness and learning to move on from a past that has come to define you.
Bully and Victim
Friend and Lover
Past and Future
Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick’s story was as painful as it was devastating. But they were able to find within each other an unlikely yet beautiful love. Despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart.
And together they rose out of the ashes of their tragic history.
Now years after their life changing reunion Ellie is back in Wellston, having just graduated from college and ready to start her future with the man who taught her how to love. However, returning to a town that held so much bitterness and anger was the last place she wanted to start over.
But for Flynn, who is now an art professor at the community college and firmly rooted in the place that gave them their beginning, she’d do just about anything.
Yet it’s difficult building a life when you’ve only just learned how to live.And love, no matter how strong, doesn’t always conquer all.
Ellie and Flynn must learn how far they are willing to go to stay together. Or whether the ghosts of the past will consume them both.
Because finding a happily ever after is harder than it seems. Particularly when you’re fighting against the one thing that could destroy you.
Yourself.

After reading the heartbreakingly emotional Reclaiming the Sand I was ecstatic to hear that there’d be a sequel. While I did think things were wrapped up nicely in the first book, I could never turn down more Ellie and Flynn, two characters I love with all my heart. It does sting a bit that I couldn’t rate this second book higher but I do want to say disappointment didn’t lead to this rating. I think there are two ways to look at ratings: on one end, disappointment leads to a drop in rating and on the other side, enjoyment level is high but just doesn’t quite hit a certain star rating. In this case, Chasing the Tide is the latter. I certainly liked it, and loved being able to reunite with these characters but I just can’t help but compare it to the first book and when I do, well…there’s just no comparison. Nevertheless, I do believe this book is crucial in fully concluding Ellie and Flynn’s story. I like that their story doesn’t end just because a happily-ever-after is stamped and this book explores conflicts that were touched upon in the first book, and seeing them work through their issues and fight for their love was definitely worth the read.
As known from the ending of book 1, Ellie heads off to college and pursues her dreams while Flynn stays behind, grounded to his hometown and the only life he’s familiar with. Now three years later, Ellie’s graduated and Flynn’s a teacher. Though they were able to keep a long-distance relationship, there is an uneasy tension between Ellie and Flynn. Their differing personalities, Ellie’s past mistakes, and Flynn’s disability weigh heavily against their love for each other, leading to conflict and arguments.
This story mainly focused on character psyche rather on plot, and how even though they’re together, Flynn and Ellie still have problems to work through before they can truly function as a couple. Ellie still harbors immense guilt for the way she treated Flynn in the past and even if he has forgiven her, she hasn’t been able to forgive herself. On the flip side, at times Flynn feels inferior and constantly worries he’s not good enough for Ellie, not the kind of boyfriend she wants.
While I believed these conflicts were explored and properly concluded in the first book, after reading this book I can definitely see a lot of issues were only briefly touched upon. I think I went into this book expecting ‘new’ conflicts and was a little surprised that it was somewhat of a rehash of the first story. I can’t say this book was unnecessary because it wasn’t. The characters needed this book in order to be able to fully move on. But as for me, the reader, the story just wasn’t as compelling as the first one was.
I’d still recommend this book but only to those readers who thought the ending in book 1 was rushed and wanted more details. This will be the book to smooth out those gaps and deliver a stunning ending to Flynn and Ellie’s story. I was one of the readers who thought book 1 was perfect as it was, yet no matter what, I would never turn down a book (even if it was a filler) with more Flynn and Ellie. Metaphorically, this story felt more like the icing on the cake rather than a cake itself.
Chasing the Tide is an optional companion novel to Reclaiming the Sand and should only be read after that book. It fully concludes Ellie and Flynn’s story.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
 
Rating: 3.5 stars!

 

BOOK REVIEW ~ SPARROW 59 BY DEVON ASHLEY

The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the New Adult crowd. 
Members of the CIA’s specialized team Sparrow, who investigate specifically into black market deals involving stolen medical research, were all murdered in one quick sweep. Drew and Samantha, team five-nine, have been more than just partners since their academy training days. Safeguarding their secret tryst from everyone in their professional lives, they trust no one but themselves. But when Samantha finds herself suspiciously spared and Drew missing, she doesn’t want to believe what the CIA claims – that Drew is not only alive and has defected from their organization, but is facilitating the deaths of prominent research developers worldwide. Now the only member of Sparrow who hasn’t been killed off, Samantha finds herself under serious investigation by association – and a prisoner within her own home.
Just when she’s on the verge of being labeled a murderer and a traitor herself, Drew activates a beacon only she can see, taunting her from across the world. He knows she’s watching, and she knows he could be gone forever if she doesn’t oblige his silent request. With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, Sam goes rogue to track him down and clear her good name. But when she finally catches up to her partner of four years, he hasn’t a clue who he is or what he’s done, and the men chasing him down suddenly want to acquire her as well.
Frantic yet determined, Samantha is forced to protect a man she no longer trusts in order to learn why he went astray – and why his associates are determined to retrieve him. But is Drew really a victim himself in a much greater scheme, or will his memories prove lethal, leading Sam into harm’s way like a lamb to slaughter, ultimately risking the life of the only member of Sparrow he managed to save?

This book really surprised me…in a bad way. I really enjoyed this author’s Nearly series so I was expecting the same for this romantic suspense read; however, to enjoy this book required a major suspension of disbelief (which I’m not capable of) and an acceptance of a horrific plot twist near the end of the story (which I still can’t accept by the way), so sadly, this book didn’t quite work for me. To be honest, I was so angry when I finished I thought about slapping a 1 star on the book and calling it a day. But after taking a day to mull things over, there were a few things about the story I liked which is why I went with a 2.5 star rating instead.
The story certainly grabbed my attention from the very first page – it was fast-paced, nerve-wracking, and immediately transported me into this futuristic(ish) world where government agencies and other third parties vied for advanced technology and scientific research. The story flashes to a specific CIA team – Sparrow 59 – and their mission to extract data. However, things are botched up when Sam (the heroine) realizes her entire team is wiped out besides her and on top of which, Drew (the hero) is missing. Not willing to believe that her real-life partner defected from the agency and sold them out, she makes it her goal to find out the truth behind her team’s assassination and more importantly, to find Drew.
Up until the 90% mark, I liked the story. It was entertaining and kept my attention but nothing was mindblowing…at least not yet. Just when I thought the ending would deliver a smashing conclusion to the story, I was greatly surprised by the plot twist and it blew my mind all right, just in the worst way possible. I don’t want to directly spoil what happens but I think with this kind of twist, the author was aiming for a heroic approach and it totally failed to work on me. Depending on how the twist is portrayed, it’ll either induce tears or make my blood boil, and since I didn’t particularly love any of these characters to begin with, I ended up steaming mad.
Another thing that bothered me were all the references to advanced technology that made me think this story was more futuristic and leaning towards the sci-fi genre, even though it’s not. The gadgets, memory resoration/wiping, etc…just wasn’t portrayed in enough detail in my opinion, so I had a hard time accepting their roles in this book.
I did like the writing style as it’s laidback and casual, making it super easy for me to ‘get into’ and despite being annoyed with certain events in the story, I was never bored so this was a rather quick read for me. Even though I’m not a big fan of this book, I will definitely be checking out the next one regardless because I need my closure.
Sparrow 59 is a romantic suspense thriller featuring spies and isn’t a standalone. I personally wouldn’t categorize it as NA because aside from the characters’ ages, nothing about this book has any aspects of a typical NA read. Low steam level as well. There is a slight cliffhanger but I wasn’t bothered by it much as it ends on a high note.

A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH YOUR FAVORITE FACEBOOK PAGES…

We’ve all heard about it. We’ve all read and seen about it. Starting January 2015, Facebook will be implementing new changes and policies that will limit the reach of ‘business pages.’ To what extent I have no clue and I know many blogger and author friends have sought out social media alternatives, but I for one am planning on riding this crisis out. And though a big reason is that I don’t want to manage yet another social media profile (more work for me, more work for followers), my main reason is that…

But don’t get me wrong. In the beginning I did, and it was so frustrating because I was so sure I ‘liked’ the page already, so why wasn’t I getting posts? After a lot of commiserating and doing a little digging, I came up with a few step by step tips that may ensure you see posts from your favorite pages.

I’ve liked the page. Now what??
Great! That’s pretty much the first step if you want to even have a 1% chance of seeing the page’s posts on your feed. And usually when you do hit ‘like,’ you’ll also immediately be ‘following’ the page too, as shown here:

They’re definitely not the same thing though. A ‘like’ means you’ve been added to the pool of followers and fans of the page. To ‘follow’ ensures that you at least have a chance to see the page’s posts on your feed. Usually not hitting the follow button is the reason why many don’t see posts. In that case, the page would look like this to you:

Alrighty from here you have a couple of options. This first one is 100% guaranteed you’ll see EVERY post from the page. Under the ‘Liked’ button, hover over it and you should see some options drop down. Click the first one that says ‘Get Notifications.’ It should look like this:

What this option does is that every time the page posts, you are notified. I personally use this option very rarely as I don’t want my notifications to go out of control. But it’s definitely a safe measure and better to see everything than nothing, know what I mean?

I don’t like the ‘Get Notifications’ option. Too much. Is there another option?
As a matter of fact, there is, and it’s actually what I use myself and I’ve never been let down since I started doing it 2 months ago. For those that don’t know, you can add a page to an ‘interest list’ which then on your homepage sidebar, a section titled ‘Interests’ appear and in that section, you will ONLY see posts from pages you added to that list. No ads. No interference. Just posts from those pages. It’s almost like the old Facebook again!
To do this, once again hover over the ‘Liked’ button until an options lists drops down. Click the “Add to Interests Lists” option like I’ve got here:
From there, you can title your list to whatever you want and then it’ll prompt you to add pages to your list. Add your favorite pages you want to see posts from and now you’ve created a section where you can see posts from pages only. If you refresh your homepage and look at your left sidebar, you should see an Interests section like I have:
My ‘Important Favorites’ list is shown underneath and once I click on that, I see every post, every update from the pages I added in there. It’s quick, it’s efficient, and it helps me as a blogger to stay on top of the latest author news, releases, and book sales.
Is there anything else I can do to help see posts more often, even if I use all the options above?
Liking, commenting, and sharing posts does help increase post visibility and it makes it so that you see more from that particular page. Facebook assumes that since you like, click, comment, share, etc… on a post from a page that you want to see more from that page. I’ve liked over 1000 pages and yet I see about 70 of them in my newsfeed. I definitely interact with those pages more than I do with others. And of course, the good ol’-fashioned way is to just visit those pages you want to see posts from. I have a select group of authors and blogs I visit their pages a few times a day so I see everything they’ve posted.
I’m sure most of us have liked a ton of pages. Even if a page posts only 1 thing a day, that’s still a ton of posts Facebook is tasked to show on your feed and it’s easy for the feed to get congested. But with a little work on everyone’s part, post visibility is actually a solvable issue. And even if the changes rolled out next year severely cuts down on the organic reach? If you choose one of the above options and take precautions, you CAN still see posts.

BOOK REVIEW ~ HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE BY JEANIENE FROST

Flirting with the Grave…Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

I recently got caught up in this awesome anime show Naruto so I lost a lot of my reading mojo but thankfully, my friend Rachel recommended this book to me and thinking that all I needed was a break from contemporary I picked it up. Though the first quarter of the story was on the slow side, once the plot moved forward and the action and steamy scenes were showcased, I could not put this book down. The spunky dialogue, the kickass main characters, and the author’s ability to captivate me with her engrossing storyline deserve two thumbs up. And I think it’s amazing that as a reader who really doesn’t care for typical paranormal creatures like vampires, the vampire hero in this book stole my heart – just one more reason why this book is so worth the read.
One of the high points of this book was the two very dynamic main characters. The heroine Cat Crawfield is a half-vampire, half-human badass who’s out to bury vampires in her vicinity as a way to atone for her mother’s suffering and her own salvation. On one of these excursions she runs across Bones, an infamous, full-fledged vampire bounty hunter who’s after some of the same vamps she’s looking for. Though it started off rough, pretty soon the two of them form an unlikely team taking down vamps to gather intel.
All while the action is going on, a slow-burn, tentative romance develops between the two. There was a slight disconnect at the beginning because I still felt like there was some insta-love but whatever, I looked past it…if I had a hottie vampire like Bones declaring his undying love for me I’d snatch him up in an instant LOL! There was also a push/pull part to the romance, as expected since Cat struggles with self-identity most of the book and reconciling her vampire counterpart to her human one.
The only reason why I can’t give it a higher rating is because the first 25% was slow. And even though I connected with the amazingly witty writing style in just the first few pages, I had to push myself a little to get through that first quarter. But the plot after that point was engaging and I had a hard time putting down the book.
If you’re in a book slump and just need something ‘different’ to read, I highly recommend this book as it’s a story that’ll keep you on your toes and a good first book in what seems to be a very promising paranormal/urban fantasy series.
Halfway to the Grave is the first book in the Night Huntress series and not a standalone. Cat and Bones’s story continues on in the next several books alongside a few spinoffs.
Rating: 4 stars!

BOOK REVIEW ~ EXTINGUISH BY J.M. DARHOWER

One… Two… Three… Four…I Declare War
Serah always believed the world around her was perfect. As a Power, one of the warrior angels, she has spent her existence defending the innocent from evil. After tragedy strikes, tearing Serah’s brother from her life, she’s given the task of stopping the approaching apocalypse before it’s too late.
Only one thing, though: she has to venture to Hell to do it.
Lucifer—or Luce, as he prefers to be called—has been biding his time in Hell, longing for revenge against those who oh-so-easily cast him into the pit. When the heavenly beauty shows up at his gate, he’s just as captivated by her presence as she becomes of him. The attraction between them is palpable, and Serah’s willpower slowly slips. How can this charming creature, this scarred Archangel, be the one annihilating the world she so loves?
As the war wages on, the world entwined in chaos, Serah starts questioning everything she ever knew. When the light and dark, hot and cold, finally collide, she has to make a choice—a choice that sets her world on fire, black and white exploding into colorful flames.
Serah has questions. She wants answers.Luce just wants to play a game.

You know that feeling where you’re reading a book and it just sucks you right in from the start, into the world the author created, and though you tell yourself to slow down, you just can’t stop yourself from flipping the pages fast to see what happens…but at the same time you went to slowly savor it all? Yeah…that’s how I felt while reading this gripping forbidden romance that I just could NOT put down. It’s such a wonderful thing to know that with all the books I have read and gotten easily bored with, there are still gems like this book out there that manage to surprise me. I loved the concept of the story and how controversial the paranormal theme was, and was interested to see how the author would portray Satan as a romantic hero in this story. In the end, I was highly entertained, I was emotionally invested in the angel/devil relationship, and I didn’t want the story to end.

The author had my attention from the very first page. Nothing lures me in faster than a forbidden romance and the relationship here is pretty much the cream of the crop – the Devil himself falling for his enemy, an Angel from Heaven. It’s definitely an unnatural twist on what we’re taught to know but I feel like every reader – regardless of religious affiliation – is able to read this book without being offended. Furthermore, I like that the author had this bold idea to question the known and give the Devil a humane side that most certainly will appeal to every romantic. It’s definitely not all hearts and flowers, but a love with an edge that defies common belief and both of the main characters’ own morals and rules.

The only reason it’s not a full 5 star read is that there are hero/heroine POV switches that were a bit unclear and it threw me off a few times. I’d have to read a good portion of a chapter before realizing that the POV switched so I wished there was a clear marker for that. Other than that, this story was perfect for me. The hero Lucifer was a seductive charmer who I fell for the first time he appeared in the book, the heroine Serah, although a bit naïve, was kind, passionate, and sure was a positive influence on Luce, and together they couldn’t make a better couple. I loved reading about their interactions where gradually titles like Angel and Devil faded away and all that mattered in the end was that they were Serah and Luce, two kindred souls who really connected with each other.
I have to say though, I am SO relieved that I have book 2 downloaded and ready to go because the ending was unexpected and had me biting my nails nervously wondering how the heck things were going to be wrapped up. It hurt my heart, I wanted to cry, and believe me, if I didn’t have the second book already, I’d definitely be pestering the author for the next book.
I know I didn’t talk plot much, but only because the plot is like a domino chain and to reveal one piece would have the whole chain falling down…it’s definitely better for you to read and experience everything as you read. And even though I don’t read much paranormal, don’t let the genre branding of this book hinder you from checking it out. It’s much more than its genre and has a lot to offer in terms of a unique storyline and loveable main characters.
Extinguish is the first book in a 2-book paranormal forbidden romance series, not a standalone, and completely unrelated to this author’s other books. Depending on how invested you are in the characters’ relationship will determine if you see this book’s ending as a cliffhanger. For me, I 20000% love Luce and Serah’s romance so yeah, this was a cliffy for me. Diving right into book 2!

BOOK REVIEW ~ HE FOUND ME BY WHITNEY BARBETTI

When I was seventeen, I disappeared. I walked out the door of my apartment with a backpack and never looked back. I left the life of Cora Mitchell behind, seeking freedom from my real-life nightmare. But my freedom came with a cost. I lived a fictitious life for the next six years, never letting anyone close enough to see underneath the facade that was Andra Walker. I was content with my simple little life. Until I met Julian. And the moment I started allowing myself to open up, allowing someone to see through the superficial, was the very same moment the Monster from my past would return to find me.

About a few days ago I saw this book go free and thought it must’ve been a sign from the universe telling me to read it as I was intrigued by the blurb and was just waiting for a price drop. I wasn’t really wowed over by the story or characters but one thing’s clear: I would not be opposed to reading more books from this author. She has a very easy to get into writing style and this book was a great ‘taste test’ for me. My main problems were with the plot content and not author technicalities like writing style so I’m very interested in reading other books from her. With this story, I liked the premise – how one damaged girl escapes from her past, creates a whole new future, but her past catches up to her again – but a lot of events that happened made me scratch my head in confusion…like the logistics were really all over the place with this one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Starting from the beginning…

Before the heroine was Andra Walker, a confident carefree woman who valued being able to have choices and her freedom, seven years ago she was Cora Mitchell, a helpless, abused teenager with nowhere to hide and every reason to run. And she did. With the help of an old family friend, Six, Cora became Andra and ditched her old life. Now living and working as a ranch hand and surrounded by friends she’s come to love, Andra is content with her new life.

But things start to shake up as the hero – who’s a well-known author – Julian Jameson arrives and plans on staying in one of the cabins near Andra’s place to draw inspiration for his writing from the lush scenery and solitude. When they meet, it’s pretty much insta-lust and they go through mushy dates and all with loads of buildup, and just when Andra’s starting to fall for this guy and he with her, the suspense aspect kicks in and all of sudden, Andra’s life gets turned upside down again as her past comes back.
I think this is one of the very rare times where my feelings for the plot, the characters, and overall execution of the story are all unanimously the same: this book was OK. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it. I didn’t particularly like the characters together; there just wasn’t enough time in the book dedicated to their relationship development and it was surprising to me that how a girl like Andra could go on bluntly rejecting other guys in her life for 7 years but has no problem falling head over heels for the hero in less than 2 weeks.
Another thing that was sort of a logical fallacy in my mind was why, after seven years now, she still needed to run and hide. She ran from her guardian in the past but now that she’s older than 18 she has no legal reason to return to her old home even if she were discovered…and there was also a twist in the book where Six and Andra revisited her old house and the motive behind that I 100% cannot fathom at all. In fact, the suspense part just totally fell flat for me and I didn’t see the point of Six repeatedly taking Andra off the ranch because nothing happened.
I did enjoy the writing and because there’s this underlying feeling that something bad will happen somewhere in the story, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. If I hadn’t been traveling, this is a book I would’ve finished in one sitting. I have to say though…this author managed to surprise me with the blurb and book title because the ‘he’ was not who I was expecting at all.
He Found Me is the first book in a 2 book series and not a standalone. The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger but leaves you feeling full of hope and not desolation, so I was okay with it.
Rating: 3 stars!

BOOK REVIEW ~ MY BELOVED BY EDEN BUTLER

Keira Riley was the girl Kona Hale loved first, the woman he wants to love last. They’ve battled addiction, forgiven betrayal and healed from heartache, coming through it all bruised but hopeful that their future will be limitless.
Kona Hale was a blinding flame that Keira Riley gladly burned inside—his touch, his kiss, his overwhelming love, all made her dizzy, desperate and desired, made her believe in a love worth bleeding for, a love that ignites the heart with an unquenchable flame. But when you fall in love with an NFL darling who can’t seem to let go of the spotlight, sometimes even that flame can be gutted by the buffeting winds of opportunity, can be lost behind the brilliant flash of fame.
As Keira and Kona get caught up in plans for an extravagant march down the aisle, the hard won sanctuary they’ve found in each other’s arms begins to erode. Will they be able to see through all the beckoning glitz and glamour to what they have worked so hard to build together, or will their love be lost in the spotlight?
MY BELOVED is a novella set prior to the THIN LOVE epilogue.

Though I was happy with the way things ended in the main standalone novel Thin Love, I was also ecstatic to hear that the author would be gifting us a novella that briefly revisits these beloved characters and their world. To me, that is an extra layer of icing on the cake, and never once did it cross my mind that this novella would be unnecessary. Because it definitely wasn’t, and my heart feels so full right now. I love that a happily ever after doesn’t signify the end of Kona and Keira’s story. And while their journey is laced with heartache, pain, and torment, love overshadows all and I just love how deeply and passionately they love each other, despite all the obstacles thrown their way and the differences that stand between them.

We’re reminded once again the things we loved about these characters and yet, their story is not an easy one. And it never will be. It’ll always be a bumpy rollercoaster ride full of highs and lows. But without seeing the lowest of their lows, we would not be able to see the highest of their highs, and the author delivered all of that in an unflinchingly honest manner that stayed true to both the characters and their story. This story, though short, is a must read for Thin Love fans. We needed this book to soothe our aching hearts.
My Beloved is a novella that must be read after Thin Love. Though it’s technically an optional read, it does help bridge the gap of events right before the epilogue in Thin Love.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW ~ ALARM BY SHAY SAVAGE

Chloe’s life is safe and comfortable. Meeting a tall, dark stranger covered in tattoos is not in her plans. Bad boys just aren’t her type, even if they gorgeous and built like a brick wall. The alarms in her head warn that Aiden Hunter is definitely on the list of men her mother told her to avoid, but she doesn’t listen.
Still, she finds herself drawn to Aiden and the excitement she is missing in her own life. He fills her days with thrills and danger, and her nights with passion she’s never experienced before. Even though she knows he’s hiding something from her, Chloe pushes away her concerns and dives into this new way of living.

Near the beach in Miami, Aiden teaches her to live life to the fullest as Chloe battles the internal warning bells that tell her to be wary. By the time she realizes her fears may be justified, it’s too late.
Aiden’s past is catching up to him, but is he the hunter or the hunted?

I really enjoyed this book! As I was desperately in the mood for something lighthearted and on the sweet side, Alarm did the trick. And what really surprised me (but in a good way) was how well done the female POV was considering this author’s past books were in male POV. It’s not to say the story was perfect because truthfully, the heroine’s inner monologue tired me at times and I wasn’t a fan of a few plot events, but overall, this book is a solid standalone romance with a sweet, endearing hero who I absolutely LOVED…so 4 stars it is.
Chloe Ellison is the epitome of safe, predictable, and boring. She never goes out of her comfort zone and though not fully satisfied, is content with the way her life is and has no plans to deviate. On a night out with her friends from work, Chloe barges right into the hero Aiden Turner, and though drunk, immediately brands him as a ‘bad boy’ based off his tattoos and intimidating demeanor. But she doesn’t deny that he thrills her and tempts her to break out of her comfort zone and with an accumulation of events that stress her out, she spontaneously agrees to travel with Aiden for the weekend, just to get away from reality for once. In those days, Aiden teaches her there’s so much more to living than leading a still life and Chloe really starts to challenge herself, attempting things she never would’ve done in the past.
Since the main romance is developed over days, it’s arguably an insta-love case. But once again, I’m finding that this book surprises me in that I was not turned off by Chloe and Aiden’s whirlwind romance. Perhaps it’s the combination of Chloe’s innocence with Aiden’s sensitivity and despite the reality of the time they spent together, their romance felt tender and unrushed, and there were clear signs of relationship development weaved between their adventures.
But the highlight of this story is definitely the sweet hero Aiden. He is such a well-rounded character, at times large and overbearing but also this endearing man who took care of Chloe in the times where she needed him the most. He’s pretty much the classical example of ‘don’t judge a person by appearances’ because underneath his tattoos and bad boy persona, he’s a man who’s suffered through trauma and loss. And on top of which, he’s such a dirty talker! I loved all of his and Chloe’s steamy sex scenes.
Speaking of Chloe, I wasn’t a really big fan of her in the beginning to be honest. Her ‘voice’ can be draining and I did not like how judgmental she was. But there were positives about her character and the first that really stood out to me was how average she was. Nowadays, I’m a little tired of authors celebritizing their heroines to perfection in terms of personality, looks, financial/social standing, etc…so I liked that Chloe had flaws and that she was portrayed as a seemingly normal person. She holds a regular job and just trudges through life day by day, just like any one of us. Thus, it made it really easy for me to relate to her and whenever I didn’t agree with what she did, I put myself in her shoes and projected. Because if it were me in her shoes, I’d have thought and done some of the same things.
The only part that I can really say that fell flat for me was the teensy suspense aspect of the story. While appreciated, that brief portion felt underdeveloped and in my opinion had it been taken out (or developed in more depth) the impact would’ve been greater. Nevertheless it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the overall story much, and because I was in the mood for a sweet and heartwarming romance, this book hit the mark for me.
Alarm is a contemporary romance standalone that is unrelated to this author’s other books. Though there are no indications of any planned companion novels, this book does set up several secondary characters’ backgrounds so I’d be interested in reading more about them.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW BLITZ ~ MY BELOVED BY EDEN BUTLER

Keira Riley was the girl Kona Hale loved first, the woman he wants to love last. They’ve battled addiction, forgiven betrayal and healed from heartache, coming through it all bruised but hopeful that their future will be limitless.
Kona Hale was a blinding flame that Keira Riley gladly burned inside—his touch, his kiss, his overwhelming love, all made her dizzy, desperate and desired, made her believe in a love worth bleeding for, a love that ignites the heart with an unquenchable flame. But when you fall in love with an NFL darling who can’t seem to let go of the spotlight, sometimes even that flame can be gutted by the buffeting winds of opportunity, can be lost behind the brilliant flash of fame.
As Keira and Kona get caught up in plans for an extravagant march down the aisle, the hard won sanctuary they’ve found in each other’s arms begins to erode. Will they be able to see through all the beckoning glitz and glamour to what they have worked so hard to build together, or will their love be lost in the spotlight?
MY BELOVED is a novella set prior to the THIN LOVE epilogue.

His lips were full, that tongue so hot against her skin and Keira didn’t stop his attentions, even though they’d decided to stay hands off until after the wedding. “Kona, what are you doing?”
“Can’t you figure it out, baby?”
His voice vibrated against Keira’s neck and she closed her eyes, feeling her nipples harden when Kona pulled her earlobe between his teeth. “I thought…thought we were going to wait,” she said, unable to keep her eyes from fluttering. Kona moved his hand up her ribs, rested it just under her breast so his thumb could flick against her nipple. So he could pinch it between his fingers.
“Oh God,” she moaned.
Kona didn’t remove his mouth from her neck as he picked Keira up and walked through the room to lay her on the bed. The look he gave her was primal, needy, his chest moving as he took in long, deep breaths. He looked down at Keira like he wanted to devour her. Just that look had her wet, had her laying back with her nails moving under the hem of her dress, showing Kona just a peek of her black thong. She smiled at his gruff growl. “The anticipation…”
“Fuck the anticipation.” He ripped off his jacket, popped the buttons on his shirt before he fell on top of her, threading his grip in her hair and pushing up her dress with his free hand. “Every time with you, Wildcat, every single time I taste you, feel you, is like the first time.” His fingers felt hot, left fire in their wake as Kona danced them up her thigh, right at the thin seam of her thong, releasing a breathy whine against her collarbone.
“I don’t need anticipation. I’ve got plenty of it already. Every time, baby, I anticipate feeling how soft you are.” Kona’s fingernail slid under the black silk and he rubbed his knuckle against the soft skin between Keira’s legs. She stopped breathing, waiting for where he’d touch her next.
“I always need you. I always anticipate how you’ll feel around me, wanting your tight, warm pussy milking me dry.” One smooth movement and Kona had her thong off and his hand slid down, separating her wet lips. Kona pressed his thumb against her clit, rolling it until Keira’s back arched, then slipped two fingers inside of her, rubbing the walls of her core, kneading his knuckle right over that spot that never failed to leave Keira panting.
Kona groaned, returned his mouth to her neck, moving his teeth, his tongue, over her pulse as he continued to move his fingers inside her. Keira let her head fall back, lost as the sensation Kona’s tongue and mouth and long, strong fingers shot through her body. Instinctively, Keira squeezed against his fingers, her hips moving in small circles as his movements increased.
“Yes, baby, just like that. Squeeze me hard, stroke me with those tight muscles, love me from the inside. That’s what I always anticipate, Wildcat. That’s what you always give me.”
Keira’s sharp gasp surprised her, but not her purring when Kona went deeper.
She grabbed his shoulders, pulling him down fully on top of her, her breath coming out in short pants against his lips. “Kona. Oh bebe, please fuck me.”
His only response was a low, needy growl and the lightening quick speed of his hands on Keira’s body, desperate, eager as he pulled her dress off.
“Don’t…rip…rip it.”
“Fuck that dress. That dress can go straight to hell.” He leaned up, hurried to strip himself bare before he was on top of Keira again, opening her up to him with his hands pressing down on the inside of her thighs. “That dress was in my way.”
Though I was happy with the way things ended in the main standalone novel Thin Love, I was also ecstatic to hear that the author would be gifting us a novella that briefly revisits these beloved characters and their world. To me, that is an extra layer of icing on the cake, and never once did it cross my mind that this novella would be unnecessary. Because it definitely wasn’t, and my heart feels so full right now. I love that a happily ever after doesn’t signify the end of Kona and Keira’s story. And while their journey is laced with heartache, pain, and torment, love overshadows all and I just love how deeply and passionately they love each other, despite all the obstacles thrown their way and the differences that stand between them.
We’re reminded once again the things we loved about these characters and yet, their story is not an easy one. And it never will be. It’ll always be a bumpy rollercoaster ride full of highs and lows. But without seeing the lowest of their lows, we would not be able to see the highest of their highs, and the author delivered all of that in an unflinchingly honest manner that stayed true to both the characters and their story. This story, though short, is a must read for Thin Love fans. We needed this book to soothe our aching hearts.
My Beloved is a novella that must be read after Thin Love. Though it’s technically an optional read, it does help bridge the gap of events right before the epilogue in Thin Love.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently imprisoned under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana. Please send help.