Tag Archive | angst

Playing with Fire by LJ Shen–Review

Best. Book. Hangover. Ever! I have loved everything LJ writes, because this girl CAN WRITE! With that said, everything I have read before (All Saints High, Sinners and Saints, The Kiss Thief, etc.), feel small and inconsequential compared to Playing with Fire! Sure, they all received five stars, but if that is the case, PWF should receive a million stars.

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I love West, but for the usual reasons. He is grumpy, sour, bitter, an a-hole, underground fighter, who can ‘drop panties wherever he walks’ hot. A popular bad boy, who is reckless, fearless, has a death wish and is broken. Needless to say, he is a fantastic male Hero with baggage to boot.

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The star, though, of this whole book is Grace. I am madly and deeply in love with her. She is your unconventional, flawed modern heroine. She is strong, feisty, insecure, loaded with self-esteem issues (yes, she can be strong and still lack confidence), loyal, lovable, and the source of local fodder. She is a fighter with the true heart of a phoenix. Grace is inspirational and a character to look up to.

fire dragon GIF

Leigh has completely outdone herself. Playing with Fire is raw, emotional, gritty, gripping, and above all, a love story for the ages. A love story that is raw, slowly simmering from friendship to more. If you want angst, this is for you. If you want, drama, this is for you. Above all, if you want an emotionally driven, no holds barred, self-loving book, this is definitely for you. Playing with Fire is consuming, so consuming, that I did not even realize I was crying through most of it.

“The worst day of your life gave me the best version of you.”

I do not think I could ever write how incredible this book is and still do it justice. Simply put, it is magnificent. I was unprepared for the trek that I was taken on, but lord knows, that I will willingly go through it all over again. If you only read ONE book this year, Playing with Fire is that book. Without a shadow of doubt, this book is most definitely in my best of 2020 books.

What’s Next of Me by Kristen Granata–Review

I had never heard of Kristen Granata, but through fellow ACR’ers I was told that ‘you NEED to read this book’. Since there was nothing, but praise given I decided to give this book a chance and I was so extremely happy that I did. What starts out as a ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ episode, soon morphed into an episode of SVU. Since meeting Paul in college nine years ago, Callie has had to work to make her marriage work. Sure, Paul and Callie have had some massive issues thrown their way forcing them to adapt and grow together or fail.

“When someone pushes you away, you need to find the strength to hold on tighter.”

I sat on writing this release for too long, because I was so overwhelmed with situations, the twists and turns that they went through, along with some massive speed bumps or detours to Cole and Callie’s storyline. What’s Left of Me was ridiculously incredible and amazing. It is heart and gut-wrenching, super emotional (have tissue ready), has themes of knowing your self-worth along with discovery, forgiveness, and above all, love. Honestly as I read, I had this feeling that Kristen was going to rip the rug out from underneath me and I only had seconds to get my life in order. She had me completely connected and invested to characters/situations.

Callie. I love Callie. Despite going through issues with her husband, she still had an inner fire that was temporarily dimmed, not wanting to rock the boat/outward appearances of ‘everything’s fine’. Now, in doing this, she started to develop anxiety/panic attacks. The following is a list to remind Callie of everything happy/fortunate to have (giving to her by her therapist).

“Maverick, California King Bed, Walk-in closet, Dream Kitchen,

Yard with a pool, Mercedes”

Cole is a giant teddy bear with layers of self-hate, a heart encrusted within concrete, and a cape of tragedy that gets heavier and heavier as days go by. Despite his gruffness, anguish, and growly nature, I really liked Cole. Personally, you can feel the hate he has to himself, but what he did not expect was the blonde bombshell from across the street, thinking he was the landscaper. From this moment on, life was changing for him and he was unsure if he liked it.

“It’s clear now; I lost control the second she walked into Josie’s backyard.”

Count me in as a fan, Kristen. I loved everything that this book entails. She tackled some heavy topics in a safe way as to not offend anyone. There is one thing that I still feel little unanswered, so it is 4.5 stars. Otherwise, What’s Left of Me would be a solid 5.0+.

“I’m finally the person I want to be. I say what I feel, I do what makes me happy, and I’m surrounded by loving and supportive people. I no longer live in fear. I’m free.”

Starlet by Cora Kenborn–New Release and Review


Title: Starlet
Series: Sinister Fairy Tales Collection
Author: Cora Kenborn
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: June 25, 2020
From USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Kenborn comes a dark and twisted enemies to lovers retelling of Anastasia.
They call me America’s Sweetheart.
Hollywood royalty. The last of an era.
Sole survivor of LA’s most infamous crime.
I’m not any of those things.
He forced me into the spotlight.
The liar with a perfect smile and cold blue eyes.
 
But Alexandra Romanov’s fate won’t be mine.
I’ll speak her lines. I’ll hit the mark. I’ll strike a pose.
And when the past and present collide, I’ll become their worst nightmare.
 
They told me to preserve the legacy.
Be careful what you ask for. . .
You just might get it.
 
**Please be aware this book contains dark themes and sensitive subject matter essential to the storyline that may bother some readers.**
 
Cora Kenborn is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes in multiple genres from dark and gritty romantic suspense to laugh-out-loud romantic comedy. Known for her sharp banter and shocking blindsides, Cora pushes her characters and readers out of their comfort zones and onto an emotional roller coaster before delivering a twisted happily ever after.
 
Cora believes there’s nothing better than a feisty heroine who keeps her alpha on his toes, and she draws inspiration from the sassy country women who raised her. However, since the domestic Southern Belle gene seems to have skipped a generation, she spends any free time convincing her family that microwaving Hot Pockets counts as cooking dinner.
 
Oh, and autocorrect thinks she’s obsessed with ducks.
 

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Starlet by Cora Kenborn–Review

I have always been intrigued with historical ‘cold case’ files. For instance, the Black Dahlia and in this scenario, The Romanov empire and Anastasia. Going along those lines, Cora wrote a book that was accurate and researched yet gave it her own spin.

Overall, I loved the concept of this book and the seamless way that Ms. Kenborn weaved the true Romanov’s, Angel, and the final surprise. She wasn’t afraid to make this one her own. The added twists, turns, and whoa’s, will leave you second guessing everything.

Now, unfortunately, I do have something to mention that may be less popular. The pacing of the book felt off. The pace continued to flow even with the twists and turns. However, some of the early sections felt to drag for me. I read every single word of this book but found myself ‘speed reading’ in these couple of sections. Despite this, I would whole-heartedly read another book of hers. She seems like my kind of author.

4⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Rich Prick by Tijan–Review

5  🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋 Stars

Tijan is one of my ‘unicorn’ authors. I want to inhale every word that she puts in front of me. Her ‘Fallen Crest series’ is one of my ultimate favorites. Now, Rich Prick is about Blaise and Aspen, but there are ties back to Fallen Crest and her ‘Crew’ series. Blaise is Cross’ half-brother and Aspen is the little sister to Nate (remember ‘that’ Nate whose BF’s with Mason, but lives with Logan? Yep, that Nate). It is amazing how she seamlessly melds these different stories together.

For different reasons, Aspen and Blaise both have familial issues and they handle this ‘home’ situation differently. Aspen is the quiet, almost unforgettable character. All she wanted to do was finish her senior year the way she started it, quiet and invisible. She is secretly counting down to graduation, so she can move into the next phase of her life.
Now, the problem with wanting to remain invisible, is that someone, somewhere will see past that wallflower status and see the person. Aspen’s person was Blaise. He was able to look past her invisibility and see the real Aspen. The girl who did not want to say much, but internally had a worlds worth of feelings, thoughts, and emotions just waiting to get out.

For a high school senior, Blaise was a powerful and present character. He also had familial issues, but for completely different reasons. His form of communication and expressing himself is through his fists which have an incredibly short and easy to start wick. He is angry, for many different reasons, but notices early on that the one person who can calm his temper is Aspen. Like a flower growing towards the sunlight, Blaise finds himself gravitating to Aspen and wanting to spend his time with her.

I was completely invested into the three main relationships going on in this story. 1) Aspen’s personal story, 2) Blaise’ personal story, and finally, 3) their story together. Rich Prick makes me feel ALL the feels. From the multiple and sometimes sudden twists and turns, shocking jaw dropping moments, angst and drama, and hidden secrets that are slithering through the main characters like a 20-foot anaconda.

As I mentioned before, the Fallen Crest/Crew series were brilliant, but there is only one book that is semi equivalent to Rich Prick and that is Ryan’s Bed. I was ruined after finishing it with the hardest and heaviest book hangover to date. Well, Rich Prick, is right up that alley. When ‘the end’ was in sight I was panicked and scared. I did not want this beautiful story to end. The story with main characters who were so realistic I had to keep in mind, that they were pen and paper characters, not a true to life story. My heart is sad that it’s ending, but happy/ecstatic with the chance to have gotten to know them.