Archive | April 2017

So. Toxic by Kelley Harvey

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Ok, so I’m seriously conflicted with this book. I wanted to LOVE it, but some storyline issues prevented me from giving it five stars.

This book is based on a small novella from an anthology collection of novellas. I read this novella and thought it would make a great story, just because I wanted to see more of Ty & Jo.  The transition in the beginning from previous work to current work was missing a little more detail. For instance: there was no explanation of how he became super wealthy with his own company when he was crashing with his buddy in a duplex. In the beginning, he was portrayed as a playboy, but almost overnight turned into the settling down kind of man for different reasons.

Now, the second half of the book, I ABSOLUTELY loved. Ty & Jo together were perfection. They were the yin to each other’s yang. It has a super sweet ending, but plenty of heat throughout the book. Would I read more from this author? Absolutely, she has a great writing style as well as characters that are likeable. Unfortunately, because of the transition issues in the beginning, I give it 3.9 stars. I, so, wanted to give it 4.0, but I just couldn’t. Kelley Harvey is an author that you don’t want to miss out on.

Defy by LJ Shen–Another teacher/student romance book (but not just any teacher/student romance)

Defy (Sinners of Saint) by [Shen, L.J.]

5.0 stars—First and foremost, this book may be only a novella, but PLEASE don’t let the length fool you.  It was seriously good with some serious steam!

Defy is another teacher/student taboo romance, however, Jamie acts so mature it’s hard to remember that he is 18.

 ‘“Ballet has always come first. Before men and before me. For a while I’d actually thought it was enough. Until it wasn’t.”

Melody Greene is an English Lit teacher who has had here true dreams destroyed. She is currently working at a very prestigious high school that caters to the wealthy and powerful families of the area.  Her principal hates her for various reasons, she is doing something that she dislikes and has somehow disappointed her parents now that she is no longer in ballet at Julliard.

Jamie Followhill is a senior at All Saints High and is considered one of the four HotHoles who rule the school. He has severely been lusting after Mel since she arrived at school. Through a premeditated accident he gets his hooks in her by insinuating it was his fault.

“I owe you.” he murmured darkly. “And I’ll make sure you get to cash in on the debt. Soon. Very soon”.

Despite the eight-year-old age difference, Jamie and Mel had some serious chemistry and seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces. I seriously want more of them.

LJ Shen has written a great book with such defined and descriptive characters that it was hard not to fall in love with them.  I have not read Vicious yet, but look forward delving into that character.

Disaster at Roosevelt Ranch by Elise Faber

Disaster at Roosevelt Ranch by [Faber, Elise]

Disaster at Roosevelt Ranch is a cute, sweet read. The heroine, Kelly, has landed herself back in her hometown, because her mother had spent her tuition money. So instead of college and dreams, she has a baby and a job at the local diner as a future.

The one thing that has always grounded her was visiting the horses at Roosevelt Ranch.  While there she ended up having a fling with Rex Roosevelt (the owner of the ranch) and gets pregnant.  His twin brother, Justin, is the more responsible twin who usually ‘cleans up’ Rex’s messes. He finds himself doing that again, but does he truly consider Kelly a mess.

As I mentioned before, this was a sweet read that I enjoyed, however, it did drag a little through the middle of the book. There were lots of funny moments, as well as a good secondary set of characters for stability for Kelly.  The author brought out the true ‘sense’ of living in a small town.

Despite the sluggish middle I enjoyed this book and will be looking forward to reading more from this author.

Taboo teacher/student romance: Illicit by Ava Harrison

Illicit: A Novel by [Harrison, Ava]

Teacher-Student romances are another sub-genre which is taboo, but this book was so ‘Illicit’ to read, that you had to enjoy it.  The cover and title just pull you in.

Illicit is about Lynn Adams and Carson Blake.  Lynn is a senior in high school of legal age and Carson is a recent college grad who have both suffered from rejection and abandonment issues throughout their lives.  They meet at an end of summer party. For different reasons, both have escaped the party and have made their way to the beach.  After some conversation, they realize that they have something in common and end up spending the night together. Next morning, Lynn sneaks off on Carson thinking that she would never see him again.  On the first day of school, Lynn heads to her first class and surprise, surprise guess who her teacher is. That is correct it is none other than Mr. Carson Blake.

From here on out they experience a myriad of emotional heartache and trauma while trying to do the right thing. Carson is just a man who is trying to keep his job, while ignoring the feelings that he has started to develop for the woman he can’t have.  Along with coming to the realization that the man she has felt an immense attraction to, Lynn also must deal with family secrets, an unloving mother and an ex-boyfriend who feels that Lynn is ‘his’ no matter what has happened in their relationship.

Overall, I liked the book.  The beginning felt a little choppy, but this could be because this book originally started as a novella.  The rest of the book was thoroughly well written.  The pacing, character development and range of emotions was felt until the very end. I would have enjoyed an extended epilogue further into the future to see how Lynn and Carson’s relationship has developed.  

Review–The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson

The Opposite of You (Opposites Attract, #1)

5.0 stars – This is my first Rachel Higginson book and I absolutely loved it.  I’m hoping my review can bring to life the wonderful imagery and story telling that she brings to this book.

“And Killian wasn’t just any guy. He was everything cool, strong and masculine. So very different than me—weird, weak and feminine. We couldn’t have been bigger opposites”.

Vera is a 26-year-old culinary graduate who has decided to open a food truck in the parking lot of her brothers Cycle shop.  She has had a troubled past since graduating 4 years prior and has decided that this was her new start. She is witty, warm hearted to friends and family and is trying to regain some backbone that she has lost over the years. Fortunately, (or unfortunately), her brothers shop is across the street from a restaurant with a well-known and highly decorated chef, Killian Quinn, whom she suspects is like other male chefs (arrogant, douche like and controlling).

Now this book isn’t just a ‘slow burn’ romance book, tougher topics are brought into play, such as domestic violence.  Despite this issue (which is something never to laugh about), this book had so many zingers & witty banter that I was giggling and outright laughing in spots.

Killian: “Do you hate salt?”

Vera: “No, I don’t hate salt.”

Killian: “Then why do you abuse it like you do? It’s a supporting actor, not the star of the show. It should enhance the flavor, not slap you in the face with it.”

So, what does our wonderful heroine do? She goes out to buy a deer salt lick to have it delivered to Killian. (You go, girl!)

Secondary characters are great as well.  Each one with such depth and personality.  Early on, Vera befriends a worker from Lilou by the name of Wyatt. He had sort of become the ‘Foodie’ honorary mascot, while secretly bringing food for Killian to taste.

Wyatt: “I’m so sorry.”

Vera: “Sorry for what?”

Wyatt: “I didn’t think he’d have notes for you. I swear.”

Vera: “Notes? Who had notes?”

Wyatt: “Killian”

(note from Killian): Try harder

I’m not afraid to admit that Killian brings a whole new level of ‘Lumbersexual’ to a new book boyfriend status. Ms. Higginson also brought forth a new dimension by adding that he was chef. Dang, he was good character. Prime example to not judge a book by its cover, but what a cover! 🙂

Review– Until I Fall by Claudia Burgoa

Until I Fall is a wonderful story between Aspen Zimmerman (ER doctor) and Anderson ‘Hawk’ Hawkins (private security officer/tattoo artist). Aspen has gone through pain and loss in her earlier life that has determined the course of her current life.  She has been struggling to deal with this through working in the ER and at a free clinic (along with some self-medicating). When a close friend gets sick, Aspen proceeds to put her emotional walls up further.

One night she encounters a sexy and mysterious stranger while outside her house, who says he is a tattoo artist. She feels an attraction there that she hasn’t felt in a while.  Later, she finds out that this stranger happens to be the son of her neighbor that she deeply cares for. When asked by Hawk to look after his mother while he goes ‘out of town for work’, she agrees, but feels that there is something wrong with his story.

This is a beautiful, emotional and heartwarming book that shows the true strength of the main characters when they become truly engrossed with each other’s life and their own relationship. They are both fighters, but need each other to bring that strength to a full force. It takes them a while to realize that they are better together than apart.

I haven’t read a book by this author before, however, I will be reading more. This is a book that had me thinking long after I was done and I look forward to reading more!