Genre: New Adult

Review: Kissing Madeline by Lex Martin

Posted November 6, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Kissing Madeline by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #3
Also in this series: Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1), Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 26, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 260
Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

What’s the worst thing about wanting a sexy NFL football player? Everyone else wants him, too.

After catching my boyfriend getting deep-throated by a skanky cage girl, I’ve learned my lesson – never date a professional athlete. Never. Besides, I have more important things to worry about, like not blowing my shot to make it as a broadcast reporter. I won’t let anything get in my way, not even the new “it boy” of the NFL and my hot-as-hell neighbor.

What's the worst thing about getting death glares from his new neighbor? It doesn't make him want her any less.

I’ve worked my ass off to make it to the pros. The last thing I need is the complication of a relationship, especially since my last one was a total train wreck. But I can’t stop thinking about the feisty girl next door with the smart mouth. And I’d love nothing more than to show her what to do with that mouth.

Friends with benefits might be the best idea he’s ever had. Or the worst

Kissing Madeline is a companion novel to DEAREST CLEMENTINE and FINDING DANDELION. Each book is a stand-alone.

Kissing Madeline is the last book in the Dearest series by Lex Martin and it was by far my favorite book in the entire series. It follows Clem’s cheating ex-boyfriend Daren as he gets his life together and falls for Clem’s friend Madeline.

Madeline needs to find a place to stay because she caught her boyfriend cheating on her in their home and she wants out pronto. When she moves in with her friend, she finds out that another cheater, someone who hurt one of her friends lives next door and she’s not exactly thrilled about that. She’s really not thrilled that at work, she’s being forced into doing little sports segments with her next door neighbor and avoiding him is extra hard now. Things take a turn when they start getting closer and Madeline starts hating Daren less. They start spending time together but can’t be public about their relationship because Madeline would lose her job if they’re caught. It doesn’t stop them from seeing each other and it doesn’t stop them from falling for each other but it does make it hard on both of them.

This is my favorite book in the series. I wasn’t prepared to like Daren as much as I did. I knew that he was sorry for everything that went down with Clem and I know that he still felt guilt over his part in all of that so I didn’t exactly hate him but I didn’t know that I would come to love him so much either. Seeing him fall head over heels for the girl that couldn’t be with him was a lot of fun and it was sweet and I enjoyed seeing him and Madeline grown closer together in love. Their bond was evident in the way that they were with each other and I loved that no matter how hesitant Madeline was, he wasn’t. He was all in with her from beginning to end and even when he was being a complete bonehead about things that he should have been upfront about with Madeline, I didn’t hate him. I understood his actions even though I wanted to smack some sense into him.

Like the previous books in this series, there was a lot going on in this one. There was all of the stuff that Daren was dealing with, his family issues, his role on his team while in his rookie season, and everything that came with Madeline. There was everything that Madeline was going through as well. Her job, her last relationship, her trust issues when it came to another professional athlete taking residence in her head and her heart. So Lex Martin had a lot to tackle in this story but I thought she handled the load really well.

The romance between Daren and Madeline felt real and it was a lot of fun to be apart of. I loved seeing them grow together, get struck down and then fight to be together again. I was completely gripped in what was going on and I also carried some anxiety knowing what was to come but pushing through all of that to get through the story. Daren does a lot of growing and so does Madeline. Seeing them fight through the barriers to be together and coming out strong made the ending so much more satisfying for me and I really enjoyed this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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Review: Finding Dandelion by Lex Martin

Posted November 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Finding Dandelion by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #2
Also in this series: Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1), Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 11, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 310
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When soccer all-star Jax Avery collides with Dani Hart on his twenty-first birthday, their connection is instantaneous and explosive. For the first time in years, Jax isn’t interested in his usual hit-it and quit-it approach.

But Dani knows better. Allowing herself a night to be carefree and feel the intensity of their attraction won’t change anything when it comes to dealing with a player. So when Jax doesn’t recognize Dani the next time he sees her, it shouldn’t be a total shock. The fact that he’s her new roommate's brother? That’s a shock.

Dani doesn’t regret that night with Jax, just the need to lie about it. Since her roommate has made it clear what she thinks about her brother’s “type” of girl, the last thing Dani wants is to admit what happened.

Jax knows he’s walking a fine line on the soccer team. One more misstep and he’s off the roster, his plans to go pro be damned. Except he can’t seem to care. About anything… except for the one girl who keeps invading his dreams.

Despite Jax’s fuzzy memory of his hot hookup with his sister’s friend, he can’t stay away from her, even if it means breaking his own rules. But there are bigger forces at work–realities that can end Dani’s college career and lies that can tear them apart.

Jax realizes what he’s losing if Dani walks away, but will he sacrifice his future to be with her? And will she let him if he does?

FINDING DANDELION, the second book in the Dearest series, is a stand-alone novel. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Finding Dandelion is the second book in Lex Martin’s Dearest series and it follows Clem’s brother Jax and Clem’s roommate Dani as they journey toward that happily for now, that is a must in contemporary New Adult romances.

Jax and Dani met at Clem’s party and had a one night stand. Dani didn’t know that Jax was her roommates brother and Jax didn’t know that Dani lives with his sister but when they meet again, Dani is disappointed that Jax doesn’t remember her but figures it’s probably for the best since Clem doesn’t want her brother messing with her roommates and her friends so Dani brushes this off even though it stings. But now that Jax and Dani are acquainted, they’re thrown in each other’s way time after time after time and what started off as a tiny white lie to keep the peace is starting to feel like betrayal but hell if Dani knows how to come out from under it.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I thought that Martin did a great job of pulling the reader deeper and deeper into Jax and Dani’s lives. They’re both a little bent from their pasts and that plays into certain things that happen between the two of them and I thought Martin handled all of that pretty well even though I wanted to punch Jax in his stupid junk repeatedly.

These books are a lot deeper than the pretty pastel covers would have you believe but I really enjoyed the writing style and thought the pacing worked well for this particular story. I couldn’t put the book down, even when I was so rip-roaring pissed off at Jax and Dani. I was invested in what they were both going through and I wanted to see how they worked their issues out. I’m happy to say that Lex Martin had and kept my attention from the minute I started this book and I was satisfied with the outcome of their story. I really enjoyed the way that it all came together.

Overall, this was a great addition to the Dearest series and I can’t wait to start the next book, Kiss Madeline because I think I know who Madeline is and I can’t believe I’m looking forward to reading Darrin’s book considering what I know of him from the first book. He shouldn’t be this interesting to me…but he is.

Anyway, this book gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me. I enjoyed it more than Dearest Clem.

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Posted October 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #1
Also in this series: Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2), Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 14, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out...in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone with two companion novels. Look for book 2, FINDING DANDELION, on July 11, 2014. This contemporary New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Dearest Clementine is the first book in Lex Martin’s Dearest series and it follows Clementine as she lets go of the past and moves on to the future with Gavin. Clementine is an undercover YA author who is struggling to write her next book and needs to get it written and make some money before her next tuition check is due. She’s on her own trying to pay for college and she does that by writing books. Past hurts have turned her into a cold woman who has neither the time or the inclination for relationships. She has too much to do and too much to lose to waste her time on guys that will end up just hurting her anyway. When she meets Gavin Murphy, he changes the way she is and the way that she sees her future and personally, I was glad he came along.

Clem was not an easy person to like in the beginning of this book. I have never been a fan of people lashing out at innocent bystanders when they’re hurting or making the people you meet or are in your life pay for the crimes of other people. There’s a difference between protecting yourself and being a total brat to people who haven’t done anything to you to warrant the brattiness. Clem came off as bitchy and I wasn’t a fan of that. Poor Gavin didn’t know what he was battling day in and day out with this girl but he liked her and he put up with it so that he could get to know her. So that he can understand her.

I really did like how Clem came into her own and really grew into herself. She learned a lot from her past and man, what a past it was that by the time the end came around, I was happy for her. I still thought she was a brat in the beginning, but I understood what motivated her and I even respected the life she made for herself. She was really strong, had to be strong for herself because nobody else was going to be and I respected and even admired her for that.

The romance between her and Gavin was probably the highlight of the book for me. I loved how determined Gavin was to win her over and I loved how comfortable Clem was with him…even though there were some immature shenanigans with Gavin’s ex, I loved how they handled everything together. So while I wasn’t cool with some of Clem’s behavior in the beginning, I thought Lex Martin wrote a great story of two young people falling in love and overcoming the obstacles in their lives. It was a quick but fun read and I was interested enough in the second book that I jumped right in.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

Posted September 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Chase by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Chase (Briar U, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 377
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Goodreads
three-stars

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

The Chase is the latest contemporary new adult release by Elle Kennedy. I’ve been dying for Elle Kennedy to return to this world. I loved the Off-Campus series and I was so excited when I saw she was releasing Summer and Fitzy’s book. Although we met Fitzy in the Off-Campus series, this stands alone just fine.

Summer has been crushing on Collin Fitzgerald for a few months. A New Years Eve party gives her the perfect chance to see if their chemistry is everything she thinks it’ll be. When things go awry, she ends up kissing another hockey player, Hunter, instead. Her living plans fall through a couple weeks before she’s supposed to start at Briar U, and she ends up rooming with Fitzy, Hunter and one other guy, so things get pretty complicated. She and Fitzy are still dancing around each other, but Hunter makes it clear he’s interested..and how. Summer wants to like Hunter, but unfortunately it’s Fitz who has her attention.

Fitzy really wants Summer, but he doesn’t want to want her. He’s a quiet introvert, and someone like Summer who is always in the spotlight just isn’t for him. He keeps saying and doing the wrong thing with her, but somehow he can’t seem to stay away. When push comes to shove, can he stand his ground and be with someone like Summer? Or is it too late for them?

I really wanted to like this story. I went into it with high expectations, but in the end I was left feeling like the book was unfinished. There were too many open threads and unresolved plot-lines. More, I really disliked the love-triangle between Hunter, Summer and Fitz. I feel like Summer spent the majority of the book leading Hunter on, while Fitz lied about how the way was clear because he didn’t want her. The first time I read the book, I was glad Summer and Fitz got together, but I read it a second time and I couldn’t get over how poorly they both treated Hunter. As a friend, teammate and roommate, he deserved more from them.

I also felt like the sleazy professor bit was unfinished. Or maybe the final resolution was just unsatisfactory. I wish we’d seen the fallout of that on page. I also wish we’d seen more than just a lame apology from her adviser.

In terms of the romance, I really enjoyed Summer and Fitz together. The push-pull of their relationship was wonderfully done. I loved how different they were, yet how compatible for all that. I really liked that Fitz was a nerdy introvert. I also really liked Summer. Her ADHD was explained well, and I loved that she and her family were so close. The conversations between her and her parents had me cracking up. My heart also broke for her as she struggled with her self-confidence about her smarts. She was a confident woman in many aspects of her life, but the inferiority she felt because of her ADHD came across so well, my heart really went out to her. There’s so great humor in this book, too. Fitz and Summer kept getting interrupted during sex and I laughed out loud a couple times over it.

While I loved parts Fitz and Summer’s romance, the way they handled things with Hunter, coupled with the unfinished feel of other parts, sullied the story overall. Without that, I’d probably have given it a 4. As it is, I have to go with:

3.0 out of 5

Even so, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Briar U

three-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Posted August 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
The Deal (Off-Campus, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #1
Also in this series: The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal (Off-Campus, #4)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 9, 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy...

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

...and it's going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

This book was fucking amazing. Ah-maze-ing. That’s right. Amazing.

I didn’t have high hopes after reading The Year We Hid Away. I should have had faith in Elle Kennedy though. Why? Because she’s Elle Fucking Kennedy. That woman knows how to write a book. I’m not usually into this “New Adult” crap, but after reading this book, I plan to continue to read every single thing that she has written thus far.

Garrett Graham is a star hockey player. He’s also misunderstood. No, he really is. Everyone sees him as the son of a Stanley Cup winner. They don’t understand how much his abusive childhood has affected him. Hell, even Garrett doesn’t fully understand how it has affected his every day life. That is until Hannah Wells comes into his life.

Garrett only needs Hannah to tutor him. If he doesn’t pull up his grade in Ethics, he will be suspended from the hockey team. Only Hannah tells him no, which shocks Garrett to no end. She isn’t impressed by him, him status or, well, him. At all. So he makes her a deal. He will help her get the guy she’s crushing on if she helps him bring his grade up. Win-win. Until he starts falling for her.

Hannah has her own demons. When she was fifteen, she was drugged and raped at a party. What came after is only the stuff of nightmares. She’s mostly dealt with everything, but she still has a little problem when it comes to sex. She can’t have an orgasm. After a few weeks of studying with Garrett and a seriously hot kiss, Hannah propositions Garrett. Which sounds sleazy, but it was anything but.

These two were just made for each other. Garrett comes to the realization that hockey isn’t everything. Hannah realizes how wrong she was about Garrett. He’s not just some dumb jock. This book is so damn funny. I was sitting on the beach, literally laughing my ass off and people were looking at me like I was insane. I didn’t care. I was enjoying the book too much. Any author that can make me laugh like that is a keeper in my book. So thank you, Elle Kennedy. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Off-Campus

five-stars


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