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My One Regret by Claudia Burgoa–Review

My Own Regret is a book that will stay with you for a very long time. I am still reeling over it and don’t know if I can do it justice with my review!

Here is a sample of some feelings/thoughts I felt while reading My One Regret: Hate, Love, Shock, Anger, Surprise, Hope, Soul crushing sadness, vengeance, deception and true, deep and soulful angst. Claudia was able to take me on an emotional roller coaster that had me feeling everything and pulled me in as if I was a background actor in the lives of Kaden and Sadie. My One Regret is told from dual POV’s, as well as past and present scenes. Be prepared to have tissues handy, because she holds back no punches. She rocks the foundation of your world from the prologue and doesn’t seem to put you back on sturdy footing until the last word.

‘What can I say? I believe that souls come in pairs.’…’I’d give anything to find mine.’

Kaden Hades is a Rockstar for Killing Hades, who along with his buddy/bandmate is playing at a local coffee shop. Kaden’s friend immediately notices the blonde and calls ‘dibs’, while Kaden is completely enamored with the auburn-haired girl with purple and pink streaks in her hair. He notices through the whole concert that she is singing along, while maintaining strong eye contact with Kaden. After the show, Kaden tries to keep an eye on her, but loses her in the crowd. Have no fear, Sadie, marches right up to him and strikes up a conversation. The rest is history, however, bumpy and time consuming it may be.

‘You’re made of sunshine, rainbows, and happiness.’…’Your bright light is a magnet to my darkness.’

Sadie is a local florist with her own shop, which is about one year old. She has worked hard to have what she does and she loves creating memories for people. Her store is more than flowers, it also includes party favors, jewelry, toys, etc. She is truly trying to cater to everyone that may walk in. Sadie is a very sweet, kind and caring individual. She didn’t have the best childhood, despite her dad having a lot of money. Her mother is on a continual rotation with rehab for alcoholism and pill popping. Somehow, Sadie is the one that usually ends up taking care of her.

I absolutely adored the storytelling of Kaden and Sadie. Unlike some books, where the H and h jump into a relationship right away, these two truly started off as friends. They got to know each other; their hopes, dreams and thoughts for a future.

Unfortunately, something happens in Kaden’s life, that causes him to lose his focus and he forced to make an ‘on the spot’ decision regarding his relationship with Sadie. Kaden has two daughters that he absolutely adores and would do anything for. The negative side to those two daughters is a very manipulative and self-centered ex-wife. Kaden tries to stay amicable with her for the sake of his daughters, but there is absolutely no relationship and if he didn’t have to talk to her about the girls, he wouldn’t talk to her.

The story of Sadie and Kaden is an emotional one. It will rip out your heart and gut you, but you will eventually get put back together and feel contented of these two scarred souls! PS…I, ABSOLUTELY, loved the interaction between Kaden and Sadie when it came to nicknames for each other. Truly the best comedic spot highlight in an emotionally heavy book!

‘Nothing is guaranteed or permanent. Life is ever changing, nothing set in stone or promised to us. The world doesn’t owe you anything, nor you to the world. To receive, you have to give, but yet never expect. You have to find your own path and change it as many times as needed. Adapting, accepting, and learning that you aren’t guaranteed happiness or love. But the more love and happiness you give, the more will come back to you. Trust the journey. Always trust your heart.’

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American Cinderella by Krista Lakes–Review

⭐⭐4 ‘Paradisian’ Stars⭐⭐

Who here is familiar with the Disney story of Cinderella? Let’s refresh. Wicked and evil stepmother…Check. Pampered stepsister…Check. Hard working stepdaughter…Check. Said stepdaughter caught under the wicked talons of the evil stepmother…Check. Fairy godmother…Check. The iconic blue dress…Check. A Prince and a ball…Check. Running from the ball and dropping a memento…Check.

Are you catching a pattern here? The difference between the original story and this one is that, ‘American Cinderella’ is set among the elite in the world of politics in DC. Aria has lived her life in following her father around the haunts of political DC. Before his passing, he was a Senator and is responsible for a prominent law being passed. After witnessing this, Aria has been determined to make her own way to the Senate just like her father. Unfortunately for Aria, Audrey Verna (evil stepmother) throws a wrench in her plans. In order to fall in line, Aria is demoted to a job that she had seven years prior. On her way to her ‘new’ position, she is literally ran into by a good-looking man with an accent by the name of Henry Prescott.

From first meeting, there was a spark. An electrical current that ran through them, that they had a hard time to ignore. Henry is from Paradisa who is doing business with the rest of the family. Henry sweeps Aria of her feet. He is truly courting her and she is falling quickly.

American Cinderella is a cute adaptation of the original story. It is a very sweet (almost saccharinely sweet) love story. There are some sexy times, but nothing to graphic. I had split thoughts on the story though. The anal, practical side that followed the timeline had a hard time believing that all this sweet, swoon worthy and soul encompassing love happened within a few weeks. However, the other side that truly tried to read this book as just a sweet story (timelines be d@mned) did enjoy the blossoming love story of Aria and Henry.

The ending will leave you feeling and saying, ‘Aww’. I loved Aria and Henry individually, but also as a couple. Henry was such a charming, dashing and swoon-worthy character, it was hard not to fall in love with him. Their story, although a little predictable, was still one I was happy to have read. I only wish we got to see more of what happened to the stepmother/stepsister.

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Cheeky King by Nana Malone–Review

Before we go any further, if you HAVEN’T read Cheeky Royal…STOP! Cheeky King picks up right where Cheeky Royal ends, so you will need to read that one before this one.

In Cheeky King, we are now back in the Winston Isles where Sebastian is preparing for his coronation. There is one slight issue. He can’t seem to get past his time with Penny. He is hyper aware of his feelings for her, but also is having trouble acknowledging and addressing the fact that she deceived him.

Penny is also back home in the Isles, but her life is different from Sebastian’s. While he knows what is in store for his future, Penny is lost. She has always felt like she hasn’t fit in with the royal guard, but this has been her family’s calling for generations. She is torn between serving her country, even though she may not be happy or becoming an artist. What she does know is that it is torture having to see Sebastian on a semi-regular basis. Sebastian and Penny know that they could never happen, due to some archaic royal laws. However, Sebastian is king. He could change that, couldn’t he?

While there is suffering going on, there is also a good amount of mystery involved with many twist and turns. It may appear as our two lovebirds have more to worry about than their burgeoning and floundering love life. There is a grander ‘chess game’ scheme going on that makes it impertinent that this mystery gets solved quickly.

I enjoyed this book duet. Penny and Sebastian had insane chemistry that was palpable through the pages. It was well written and fast paced.

King Size by Madison Faye–Review

Lexi Whitlow is taking the ‘heir and a spare’ phrase to a different level. She wrote with such feeling that you could appreciate its uniqueness and genuineness.

King Size follows around Norah and Owen (aka. Collin). Norah is an American from Charleston, South Carolina. She is an artist, adventurer and thrill seeker. Norah has been traipsing through Europe and on this particular night she is in Paris where she has been interning with a fashion photographer. Owen ‘the spare’ has troubles of his own. However, he manages to sneak away for one last night of fun, prior to returning to his real world and responsibilities.  He is immediately drawn into Norah at first sight, but has been using his middle name, Collin. She is not anything like the usual Paris fashionistas and he likes this quality about her. Needless to say, they have an amazing night together only for it to be over when the sun comes up and he gets an emergency phone call from home.

Norah is not immune to the troubles that effect Owen. After being mad, about being left in bed, she receives an awakening from home that may put her plans on hold. She has a childhood friend that she has remained close too that she is hoping can help her out. Eric is willing to help, but has an agenda of his own. Norah agrees to whatever he wants, because she would like to visit her friend from college. Let’s just say from here on out, her future is being carved out and she doesn’t even know what it is or why. Fate has a funny way of working things out.

King Size was cute, royal, romantic read that was fast paced. Writing was well done with multiple twists and turns and ‘no way’ moments. This newly formed couple will have many issues that they need to conquer, individually and together. This was one story that I was sad to have reached the end!

I Dare You by Isla Madden-Mills–Review

Holy sheet, Casper’s Ghost. Have you SEEN the cover? Total and complete cover porn here, Day-um!

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Oh, sorry, I was just wiping up the drool after thinking of Maverick and the cover! 😍😍 In all seriousness, Ilsa has flipping hit it out of the park on this one. Incredibly touching and emotional, scenarios that are real to life and well researched material concerning some of her storyline. My favorite is Maverick, although I absolutely adored Delaney.

Delaney is the slightly off-kilter, nerdy girl, who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie, what people think of her. She loves Star Wars, making her own clothes, baking and cats. The way she was written, it makes you think, ‘hey, it’s ok if I’m not one of the popular kids with the latest fashion, accessories, cars or perfect hair’. Delaney allows you to be you. Well written heroine.

Maverick. Well, what to say about Maverick. Maverick is a conundrum. A total paradox to all those ‘jocks’ out there that fall into an ‘athlete’ stereotype. Maverick is a non-conformist, who is absolutely in love with his sister and is willing to do anything to take care of her and watch over her. He is completely independent and hardworking, but most importantly, he has a heart of gold. If you happen to be blessed to be in his circle, you will be well loved and taken care of. He will drop anything that he is doing if you called and said you needed help. He is THAT guy. The guy that you can always count on. I loved reading about him and watching his layers peel away like an onion. Let’s just say, I was a goner when it came to him.

Ilsa wrote such a fantastic college romance, that you truly felt like you were part of the storyline. He-Man and Buttercup (gotta read to find out what this is about), had me laughing in stitches. Absolutely Phenomenal!! This book and characters will stick with me for a very long time. Due to writing, plot and storyline, easily one of my ‘best of 2018’ reads! From the cover porn to the ‘Unicorn Girls FB Group’, I was all in. It was everything I wanted and then some!!

PS…some excellent recipes included at the end of the book for you bakers/wanna be bakers!

Anonymous by L.P. Dover–Review

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⭐⭐4.5 ‘Anonymous’ Stars⭐⭐

I was immediately pulled in by the simplicity of the cover. The hauntingly beautiful picture with black, red and white promised a suspenseful mystery. Ms. Dover didn’t disappoint with the telling of Anonymous, a romantic suspense.

Jake and Elizabeth Kingston are the featured couple in this book. They have an incredible marriage that is on sound footing and are madly in love. They have been married nine years and met through a mutual friend. Jake is a prominent figure in the world of architecture and a former MMA athlete. Ellie owns a bakery in town and is very successful in her own right. She is famous for her flavors and her artistic abilities when it comes to decorating a cake.

Jake travels a lot for his job leaving Ellie at home. She doesn’t mind, because she is usually busy with her bakery, family or friends. While getting her hair done one day, she receives a text from an unknown number. Considering Ellie has had the same phone number since she was sixteen there could be a multitude of people who the unknown texter could be. After receiving a few more texts (increasing in the creep factor), she decides to block the number and not tell Jake about it. Unfortunately, the blocking only lasts 90 days. Fast forward through time, and the texts begin again with a different number. The creep factor is ratcheted up again another notch. The texts progress to insinuate that they will make Ellie ‘his’ and will stop at nothing to fulfill this, even kill Jake. In addition, Ellie begins to get these feelings that she is being watched/stalked. Jake and Ellie decide to get the police involved at this point. Finally, she decides to get a new number, but this doesn’t deter the creep at all.

The mysterious/suspense/creep factor was good throughout this book. I, honestly don’t know if I would call so much a romantic suspense, but there definitely were sexy times and love that was shown through Jake and Ellie. Overall, it had me guessing throughout the whole book as to who it could be and why. When I finally got to the climatic ending, it was one that I didn’t FULLY see coming. I had my suspicions, but wasn’t fully committed to who and why.

If you love suspense with romance involved that also encompasses the texting world, you will enjoy this.

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Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan–Review

There is absolutely no way I can describe how incredibly powerful and meaningful this book is. Is it a sports romance? Yes. Is it a forbidden love setting? Yes, but those are just categories to place this book. In honesty, it needs to be said that this is one book to NOT miss. If you don’t read any other book, this year at least pick this one. The underlying theme, content and meaning is the true star here. Kennedy Ryan took her time researching what she was about to write about and it showed.

‘If you were mine, Iris, there would be no doubt what position you’d hold in my life. You’d be center. I’d play you at the five.’

Long Shot is just plain and simple perfection. It is soul crushing, heartbreaking, and downright ugly. It has the ability to put you into an emotional upheaval, wondering if things are ever going to be ok again. There were many times where I had to take a step back and re-center myself. To get out of that fantasy world and realize I wasn’t in the book and that things were ok despite the tears that fell. PS…Don’t wear mascara while reading this, unless it’s waterproof.

August meets Iris the night before his Championship game. August is very contemplative at this point, going through standout memories in his head, as well as thinking about his future. He is on his way back to his hotel room when he hears a loud and boisterous female yelling at a Lakers game. Of course, he’s intrigued and goes to sit next to her. August and Iris end up spending all night talking until last call, but reluctantly part ways, knowing that neither will be the same and that night is a pivotal spot in their lives. Through the years, at times of emotional/physical lowness and their darkest nights, each remember this night fondly and think about that proverbial fork in the road. What would have happened had they kissed and not walked away.

‘In my dreams I choose him, my prince, instead of the fraud. In this parallel universe, at this second-chance juncture, I turn right instead of choosing wrong…and there only there, we are together.’

Over the years, August and Iris do run into each other, but Iris has extenuating circumstances that prevent them from getting together, much less being real friends.  The few run-ins don’t seem to stop August. He knows that there is something between them, but Iris is reluctant (for good reason).

‘Even when you think you’re defeated, dig deeper. Go harder. Press, because there is something worth it on the other side.’

To get through life, you need a good support system, whether that be friends or family. Iris is extremely close to her cousin, Lotus or Lo. In times of crises, sometimes all it takes is texting ‘hopscotch’ to call in reinforcements, despite the rift that had developed between the two cousins. When all else fails, they know they can count on each other.

In order to reinvent herself, heal and in need of a safe place, she heads home to the NOLA swamps. Her great-grandmother is here and takes her in. Mimi is a high priestess and has taken in Lo when she needed a place and is there for Iris now. Slowly, she helps Iris heal and restore her soul and self-esteem.

‘Strength. Dignity. Courage. All these things belong to you. Take them back. Your soul is yours. Your heart is yours. Your body is yours. Yours to keep and yours to share.’

‘” Struggle does not make you weak.” She whispers back. “Struggling against those who hold us is what makes us, over time, stronger than they are. Strong enough to fight back. Strong enough to win.”’

Kennedy Ryan has written Long Shot to be a wonderful amalgamation of two stories with strong and powerful underlying themes. Long Shot will easily be on my best of 2018 reads.

‘Please tell me you feel this, too. Tell me I’m not fooling myself that we’ll be good together.’

‘Every time he touches me, he restores my faith and reminds me what pure love feels like.’