Tag Archive | Love

Bad Boy Blues by Saffron Kent–Review

What do you have when you complete the following equation?

Prince Charming + Rapunzel + Cinderella (both pre and post the ball) + Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame + The Evil Queen from Snow White + Jordan Catalano in ‘My So-Called Life’ with PLUS a little fairy dusting of Vicious?

You get Bad Boy Blues. Saffron Kent has this ability to take common themes/ideas and mis them up. Half the fun of reading BBB, was to figure out what concept she was taking, spinning it and making it her own.

‘If he’s a false prince, then I’m his street Cinderella. I don’t need glass slippers or a pretty gown to change out stars. I can do it in my quiet leather boots and my gray uniform.’

Zachariah Prince is the only child of his parents. One would think he has it all when you live in a town that’s named after you, Princetown. However, things are not all as they seem in his multi-towered home with anything and everything one could ask for. Answer me this…how can you be completely surrounded by people, but be incredibly alone at the same time?

‘Hate is just love wrapped up in a barbed wire. Or at least, mine was.’

Cleopatra Paige has never had an easy life, but it was a good one. She was never the popular girl, she never had lots of people around her, but she had the only two that mattered, her mom and dad. She had big plans for life after high school and one was to get out of the town she lived in. She loved her parents, but she wanted to experience more, and this was the plan until tragedy hits. She now has to work for the Prince’s in their monstrosity of a house as a maid. Despite desperately needing a job, she feels safe working there for two reason, one, Zach has been gone for three years and two, the house is so large, there is no conceivable way possible that they would cross paths. I’m sure you can guess what happens. Yep, they somehow find each other. This is not an ‘awe’ moment, you see, because Zach and his ‘following’ were her tormenters since she was the age of ten. Bullied, yep, she was bullied. However, Cleo (affectionately called Blue), was just as spunky, loud mouthed with a firecracker personality that she didn’t stand for it. Did this make it stop, nope, but at least she got her last words in, even if that didn’t mean anything. She still stood up for herself.

Bad Boy Blues, as you can tell, takes on bullying head on. Among some other big topics, Saffron Kent explores all sides of bullying and really makes you think about being careful of what you say to someone, because you never know what kind of lasting wounds you may be creating.

Blue and ‘The Dark Prince’ (aka Zach) display a unique coupling. I don’t’ think it’s any surprise for me to say this, but I LOVE alpha men and females who can stand up for themselves, who are not whiny or wishy-washy. True? 🙋🏻‍♀️True. I will say, that I loved Blue. She has had tragedy in her life yet has come out the other side a stronger person. Now, this isn’t saying that she is over what happened, but she is one tough chick.

Now, Master Zach, has me on the fence. While reading, I wasn’t sure if I liked him, but now, that I’m done and have had some time to digest everything, I like him, but I’m not blown away by him. I hurt for him, I longed to be able to hug him and parts of his story took my breath away. The thing with Zach is he was a victim and not a full-blown survivor. Unfortunately for him, he just knew how to survive in his given surroundings. He hasn’t shaken off that dark cloak that surrounds him and step into survivorship. I will freely admit, that I’m not used to my Heroes being in that ‘victim’ category, so it was a different viewpoint for me to get used to. Now, back to Zach. My heart bleeds for him and everything he has, had and is currently going through. Man, how much can one little boy in a grown man’s body go through?

Saffron Kent never fails to disappoint in her writing. She has delicately approached many difficult topics and wrote about them beautifully.

‘The night sky is full of them, love stories. That’s where the term comes from: a love written in the stars.’

Star Crossed by Autumn Ruby–Review

Do you believe in second chances? What if this second chance at love also included having to go through the worst experience of your life to come through the other side which is the best? Autumn Ruby explores this possibility in her newest novel, ‘Star Crossed’.

‘Tell me what you see’… ‘You, Gabe. I see you.’

Star crossed is a beautiful telling of two lost individual souls who are trudging through life, just trying to make it and create something better out of past experiences. Gabe and Evelyn have been through different circumstances, yet still resulting in the same current ending…starting over, facing down their demons and creating some roots for them and their children.

Evelyn is a sweet, younger individual who has more life wisdom than most adults her age. Due to circumstances, she may be chronologically young, but has an older and wiser soul. She has a young son, Marshall, whom she loves with all her heart. Marshall is extra special to her, because he is the spitting image of his father and besides both having the same name, he is all she has left of him (Marshall the father).

Gabe is also experiencing life as a single father to Poppy. He was finally able to put down some roots and they are the newest residents of the local strawberry farm. Gabe’s ex is a popular actress and he had assumed to role of house daddy, which included traveling with Poppy’s mom to create some stability in her young life.

Gabe is about eleven years older than Evie, but this is where her ‘old soul’ comes in handy. Evie was taking her son strawberry picking and through a calamity of issues she first meets Poppy and then Gabe inside their house. Gabe is smitten instantly and knows she’s different, while Evie acknowledges there’s something there, but she is scared.

‘He loves me. I’ve let someone fall in love with me’.

I have read the other two books in the Crossed Series and I have to say, that this one is my hands down absolute favorite. Autumn had me from page one, hook, line and sinker. Star Crossed is a beautiful retelling of second chances and what they can encompass if children are involved. It was emotional and lyrically worded. I am not afraid to say that she had me tearing up or straight up crying at points in the book. You will fall in love with two incredible guys, get tickled with the ‘family’ reunion, feel a sense of completeness at Gabe and Evie’s ending, and become irate with Gabe’s ex.

‘That’s the thing with hearts, if there’s love there to begin with, then it doesn’t matter how many times they are broke, they’ll always find a way to become whole again.’

5 ‘Strawberry’ Stars

Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan–Review

I experienced a ‘slow start’ to this book. In retrospect, my reflection led me to the conclusion, that I should have a slow start. Hook Shot is a slow burn romance and that’s the feeling I was trying to acclimate to. I love Kennedy Ryan and am addicted to her Hoops series and the way she just drags you into her world is amazing. It truly wasn’t long before I was sucked in and sucked in deep. We’re talking, hubby don’t bother me, take care of you and the dogs yourself, because I couldn’t wait to find out more.

‘There is no one else but you, my friend, my equal.’

-Song of Solomon 5:2 

Lotus is a fascinating, mystical and intriguing character. She is Iris’ cousin from Long Shot with August. August is on the same San Diego basketball team as Kenan Ross. Lotus is a NOLA transplant working in the fashion industry with Jean Pierre Louis in New York. She is his right-hand woman. She does as he requests, but also designs clothes in her spare time.

Kenan Ross (sigh) is a gentleman among boys. He’s an introvert, still holds open doors for women, he loves Jazz and hates text message language/abbreviations. He LIVES for his daughter, Moni, and unfortunately, has an ex-wife to deal with.

Both Lotus and Kenan are instantly attracted to each other. Unfortunately, the timing is all wrong. Lotus is trying to find herself and work through some issues and Kenan’s life is just plain chaotic. They both acquiesced to each other and decide to keep things simple as friends. Kenan figures he has the summer to get to know more about the mysterious Lotus. Both parties have secrets, and both are trying to better themselves and their lives for different reasons.

‘I have found the one whom my soul loves’

I loved Kenan and his giant sweetness and protectiveness, what I didn’t expect to love is Lotus. She completely won me over through the course of the book. She may be small, but she is mighty. Despite having a horrible upbringing, she was a true star and her spirit sparkled like her ‘cotton candy clouds’. This is all in thanks to Mimi, her great-grandmother who raised her.

‘My beloved is mine and I am his, Kenan, I’m yours.’

Kennedy Ryan has made me a fan of another one of her books. Everything about it was sheer perfection. The two characters and their undeniable love for each other, Lotus’ concern and love for his daughter, the manners of Kenan, the distinct way they hold each other up and bring out the best in each other. Everything was sheer perfection.

‘It’s in Kenan’s arms, in the harbor of his love. That’s the safest place I’ve ever known.’

5 ‘Button’ Stars to PYT

Wrath by Claire C. Riley–Review

Samuel Gunner, aka Wrath is our next contestant in The Elite Seven rotation. Unfortunately, Samuel has been born into a very unhealthy and dysfunctional atmosphere. He has a twin sister, Sabella, who he absolutely adores and is his reason for living. Beyond that, he’s a very volatile young man. His mother passed away under very unfortunate circumstances and a father that blames him. Remember actions do speak louder than words people and this is what Samuel has learned.

From an early age, he has started to acquire and churn a never-ending ball of madness, intensity and rage, which only grows the older he gets. To say he has control on this hair trigger that’s attached to this ball, is equivalent to saying The Hulk has the ability, while in Hulk form, to participate in a tea party with the Queen while dancing a waltz.  It doesn’t happen. Everyone knows The Hulk is going to blow, and The Elite are now learning that Samuel has to same problem. Do NOT mess with his sister or anyone else he cares about.
Mark Ruffalo Transform GIF - MarkRuffalo Transform Angry GIFs

Patience is unique. She is feisty, not willing to put up with anyone’s crap and determined. She is a wonderful character and I loved her part in their ‘point-counterpoint’ type of relationship. She kept Wrath on his toes for sure.

It was enduring to watch these two tip-toe around each other, yet at the same time, develop their characters and relationship. What I felt was wonderful about this book, is the interaction and weave of the timeline between Wrath with Lust and Pride. With Wrath, there’s a little more story telling and a little less of actual relationship building. As far as storyline goes, thank goodness Envy is up next, because I wanted to scream on the ending!!

Claire Riley wrote a book that was engaging, difficult to write yet made it look easy with a consistent storyline and book pacing. There were a couple scenes that shocked me (Hello, Joey Lawrence moment here. WHOA!) and had me questioning if it was needed. However, I’ve had some time to think about it and realize she is further developing the plot, which I assume, will continue in Envy’s book. I, anxiously, am waiting for the next contestant in The Elite Kings roundup.
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4 ‘Whoa!’ Stars

 

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Corrupt (Devil's Night, #1)Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in a book funk and couldn’t find that special book that would bring me out! I was recommended to take a chance and read Corrupt. I was so stinking happy that I took that chance to open the book and start reading.

Penelope Douglas is a new to me author and I’m ecstatic to have found her. If possible, Corrupt would receive 6 stars! Before I start reviewing, I will say, Michael Crist is mine!!

Let’s take a little trip to the ultra-exclusive town of Thunder Bay. You’ve heard that with power and money, you can rule the world. This is none truer that in Thunder Bay, where kids can get away with anything, thanks to their parents’ wealth and standing.

Erika Fane is in high school, living life as an adult instead of the high schooler she is. Her father passed away, which not only left a big hole in her life but crippled her mother to long term grieving (pills, alcohol, sleeping, etc.). Erika is taken in by her mother’s best friends’ family (Delia Crist). She is given her own room in their house, eats meals with them, and oh, yeah, she was raised to be the bride of their youngest son, Trevor. The problem with this whole scenario is that no one knows the real Erika. She paints the picture of the perfect daughter, student and individual. She is full of polite smiles, ‘yes, sir’ or ‘yes, please’ and does as she’s told. There was only one person who understood her, but she feared him and was secretly in love with, Trevor’s older brother, Michael.

“For the first time in my entire life, someone told me it was okay to want what I wanted. To get into messes and to dive in head-first. To have a little f@#king fun before I died.”

It all starts out with one Devil’s Night and The Four Horsemen (Michael Crist, Damon Torrance, Kai Mori, Will Grayson III). These four boys were graduates from Thunder Bay Prep and October 30th was Devil’s Night where pranks and hijinks rule the night. Erika has always wondered about Michael and his friends and the kind of stuff they get into on this night. So, she decided to tag along without anyone knowing.

“I wanted to get into a little trouble. I wanted to catch some rain, find something that made my heart pump again, and I wanted to know what it was like to not have anyone to grab onto.”

Penelope Douglas wrote her characters and storyline with such exquisite details that they popped off the paper/screen. I am a lover of a-holes and Michael is the leader of the pack. There are many twists and turns, that you won’t see what’s coming next, along with steaminess galore and Corrupt is full of mystery.

Forever fan of Penelope Douglas! Highly recommend this incredible book!

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Pretty Young Things by Ace Gray–Review

Pretty Young Things by Ace Gray is a monster. Ace is a new to me author and I’m so incredibly happy that I got to start my ‘Ace’ experience with this one. There are only a few that I know that could tackle seven different points of view over the span of 20 years. That’s right, 7 POV’s in 20 years. It was exquisitely written that I didn’t realize I was in a time warp while doing spin the bottle to determine the next character. Incredibly flawless.

I had to do a quick high school English refresh when I heard that this was based on The Count of Monte Cristo. For a quick recap of TCoMC, some of the major themes are: revenge, jealousy, manipulation, desire, greed and betrayal. PYT had all these themes in spades. Whether you were the betrayers or the betrayed, everyone is affected by the seven POV’s.

To simplify, I’m going to go through some of the major players. There were four teenage boys who were battling their own demons and for some reason or another felt isolated in this world. This foursome soon became a brotherhood, through the blood pact. They were ‘blood brothers. Now and forever’ and vowed to always have each other’s back. There’s Dante, Diego, Danger and Rousse. Each boy unique in personality and characteristics, but a love of surfing bringing them together. Soon they are adult age and Rousse had the ability to buy the house that they always congregated at. This brotherhood soon became roommates.

Next player is Mercy. She is a twenty-year-old who is incredibly unlucky. She lives in a trailer with a drunk daddy who likes to get a little grabby and a mother that ran away when she was young. There is something that happens in her life changing her unluckiness and allows her to meet Dante. Soon she is living with him and neither have been happier. Life is going right for these perfect partners and Dante had a job promotion. Nothing was ever going to change in this young couples’ life, because now everything seemed to fall into place so easily since they were together. As far as the other POV’s, I’m going to leave that a secret.

All is not what it seems in their young lives. There is a strain in this brotherhood that is starting, because of jealousy, greed and lust. Without knowing it, manipulation and betrayal are at play and if ‘The Brotherhood isn’t careful, vengeance will soon have your name on it.’

Pretty Young Things was nothing like I expected, but everything I wanted and more. Excuse me, Ace Gray, you have gained a lifelong fan. 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️

Normally, I have ‘issues’ with time jump stories (especially flashbacks). However, I was so engrossed with every single detail and every single character, that it didn’t bother me. Yes, the book may sound overwhelming, but you get so drawn into their world, as if you were another character, that the next thing you know is that you’re at the end going ‘what did I just read’. For this sentiment alone, I give 5 ‘Have Mercy’ stars. Take a chance on Pretty Young Things and you won’t be disappointed.

‘Promise me forever, Dante Rogue.’

‘On every constellation in the sky.’

 

Drifter by Kristy Marie–Review

For those of you who haven’t hopped on the Commandeer in Brief series yet, don’t worry, Drifter is a great place to start (and then go back and catch Commander in Briefs and Gorgeous). Once again, we find ourselves back in the wonderful little town of Madison at the McCallister Jameson Foundation that was started by Anniston McCallister for Marines. Now that we have the formal stuff out of the way, let me bring your attention to two words. Connor…Hayes! Drifter is about Connor and Bianca.

Connor is not only the hero of Drifter, but also one of the most enigmatic characters in Kristy Marie’s newest release. Connor oozes charm from every pore, darlin. He is the quintessential playboy who also resembles that ‘boy next door’ with dimples, rocking body and full of humor.

Mason: ‘Hayes, I swear if you pull your dick out in my car, I am going to beat your a@@.’

Hayes: ‘Don’t say beat and dick in the same sentence, that’s just teasing me at this point.’

I was pulled in immediately from the opening scene with not only ‘what is going to happen’, but with a boatload humor. Kristy wrote with such passion and vision that I was right along for the ride. I challenge you to read the prologue without laughing. It can’t be done.

Hayes: ‘Dude, I just came in my pants.’

When reading a book, you immediately start to gravitate to one character or the other. Sometimes, it can be both characters. In my personal experience, I am mostly drawn to the hero. Regarding the heroine, it is easy to get behind the heroine that is downtrodden, suffering emotionally, being bullied or is the underdog. However, there are times that there is such a strong, kick butt heroine that I am all about, ‘you go girl’. Now, is it difficult if said heroine also happens to be a criminal? That is what we are faced when reading about Bianca.

On paper from the beginning, it’s easy to typecast Bianca as a thief, a criminal, a person with no feelings or disregard to what she is doing and how that affects other people. Well, Bianca meet Hayes. Let’s see if you feel the same afterwards girl. Bianca has so many layers to her story, that I was full-on on the Bianca bandwagon along with being a staunch Connor Hayes supporter. Bianca was forced to make decisions for two reasons. 1) She was in an extremely disastrous relationship where she felt cornered with no way out. 2) One simple word, her mother. Bianca’s mom is huge driving force in her life and at times, heartbreaking to read about. Despite this, they have a beautiful relationship, which is only more fulfilling to read about when Hayes becomes involved. She portrays herself as a woman with a tough exterior, a true ‘tough nut to crack’, yet in reality, she’s all layers of ooey gooey-ness. What she didn’t realize is that she just needed the one person that will stand by you, make you stronger and build you up. Someone who is proud.

‘A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.’

-Maya Angelou

Drifter is a book about second chances, redeeming yourself from the past, growing and evolving into who you want to be and deserve to be. In reading Drifter, I experienced all four polar opposite emotions; joy-sadness, anger-fear, trust-distrust and surprise-anticipation (you’ll have to read Drifter to how these all fit in). Kristy Marie did an outstanding job with not only her primary characters, Hayes and Bianca, but all the secondary characters as well. Thank you, Kristy, for expanding this wickedly delightful Marine family and bringing them into my life. One last nugget from Drifter…Theo and Aspen are flipping adorable. I want one…of Theo and Aspen in my life, so I can laugh and swoon at this touching relationship.

Readers, do yourselves a favor and pick up this exquisite book. There is no losing when reading about a houseful of Marines, the women that attempt to tame them and a deliciously adorable baby.

5 stars