Genre: New Adult

Guest Review: Addicted to You by Renita Pizzitola

Posted December 21, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Addicted to You by Renita PizzitolaReviewer: Tracy
Addicted to You by Renita Pizzitola
Series: Port Lucia #1
Published by Flirt
Publication Date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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three-half-stars

In the sleepy fishing town of Port Lucia, everyone knows everyone, but Isla Diaz really knows Colby Callahan, with his blue-gray eyes and the tousled brown hair always tucked sexily into his cap. After all, Isla has been crazy about Colby ever since she can remember—even if he treats her like a kid sister. Now, without her best friend, Felicity, around, Isla spots a golden opportunity to take things to the next level . . . or at least wrangle a kiss out of Colby.

By random chance, a tropical storm is headed toward the coast, leaving them stranded together overnight—and there’s nothing to do but drink. As the evening wears on, Isla gets the feeling that her not-so-secret crush may finally release her from the friend zone. With her dreams finally coming true, Isla isn’t about to pump the brakes, but is this just a one-time thing? What if the next morning, she needs more than Colby’s prepared to give?

Little does she know, Colby would like nothing more than a real relationship with Isla. She’s always been the one. But there’s a very good reason he’s been keeping his distance. Someone else loves her too, someone who also means the world to Colby: his brother.

Isla has been in love with her best friend Colby for 10 years. She would love to be more than friends but it just isn’t happening – that is until one night when they have both been drinking and end up in bed together.  Isla knows that Colby is going to regret it and can’t stand to experience that so she sneaks out of bed and heads home.

After that night the pair of them have some pretty awkward moments.  At times it feels to Isla that Colby is wanting more from their relationship but then he’ll back off and she’s more than confused.  Then he suggests that maybe she should be with his brother – also her friend – and she’s even more confused! But then, maybe she’s been so focused on Colby for so long that she hasn’t really looked at anyone else.  When Landon kisses her, however, she knows that Colby’s the only one for her – if only she can get him on board.

This was a cute story.  I liked both Isla and Colby a lot.  Of course we only saw Colby through Isla’s eyes so of course he looked awesome since she was in love with him. 🙂

While I liked the story I really wish that Colby and Isla could have spent more time together during the book as a couple.  Most of the book is them working through their issues – or avoiding them, whichever was happening at the time.  I guess I just wanted more Colby/Isla time and that was hard when Colby was trying to be unselfish and make other people happy.  IDK – it was good but I was frustrated with it somewhat.

Overall I liked the book and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica Lemmon

Posted December 7, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Lost Boys #2
Also in this series: Waiting for Devlin, Shut Up and Kiss Me
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 176
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four-stars

Cade: I tried. I really tried. I should be out of this small town by now, finishing my law degree and partnering up with my buddies, but I couldn’t resist one last street race. Now I’m sidelined in the hospital, and while my injuries will heal, I’m not so sure my voice will return. What kind of attorney can’t talk? Yeah, exactly. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to come back from this... until Tasha Montgomery reawakens every competitive bone in my body.

Tasha: I nearly watched Cade Wilson die on that lonely stretch of road. He’s damn lucky just to be alive, even if he doesn’t realize it. I know he’s destined for bigger and better things, but I don’t mind helping him get there as he relearns everything he took for granted. Cade’s a good student, a real perfectionist; I can tell how much his stutter bothers him. But when he lets his kisses do the talking, everything else disappears. And one day, maybe he’ll be able to tell me that he wants me—as much as I want him.

Shut Up and Kiss Me is the second book in the Lost Boys series by Jessica Lemmon. This book follows Tasha Montgomery as she makes that journey on the Cade train. Cade Wilson is the half-brother of the hero from the first book, Devlin. At the end of Fighting for Devlin, Cade is in a street racing accident that lands him in the hospital with some pretty big injuries. Doctors don’t know if he’ll ever talk normally again but they’re hopeful. Tasha is Devlin’s girlfriend’s best friend and is going to school to become a physical therapist. She’s months away from graduating with her degree and she’s already got a job lined up. All she has to do is stay out of trouble and graduate and the life she’s worked for will be hers.

Cade had a plan too. He was on his way to law school and opening up a firm with his buddies. They had their office space all picked out and everything. They just needed to finish school. Then his Dad gets into trouble and Cade wakes up. He spent the last couple of years, trying to get over his ex-girlfriend and while he doesn’t feel anything for her anymore, the impression she left on him is a lot harder to get rid of. He never wants to feel that way again so it’s been all one night stands for him. No more getting serious about anyone. He’s got other things on his mind but after the accident, the life he was planning with his buddies goes up in dust because who is going to hire a lawyer that stutters? He’s got a lot of work cut out for him but first order of business? Re-learn how to talk.

After the third therapist quits on Cade, Cade’s father Paul asks Tasha to try to help his son. Tasha and Cade have history, being schoolmates and all (they go to the same college) and they’re both not fans of the other but of course that changes because duh, this is a romance. Watching these two circle each other, while trying to keep each other at arms length was entertaining. And sweet.

I was expecting a lot of angst after the ending of the last book. I was expecting Cade to be a darker character and Tasha to be different than she was but I’ve got to say, the direction Lemmon went with Cade and Tasha’s story really worked. I was on board with pretty much everything going on. This wasn’t some long, drawn out drama but it had just the right amount of everything thrown in to make the story flow well and endear the characters to the reader. I was happy with this read and am really looking forward to digging into Lemmon’s back list further. She’s been a really good find for me this year and that makes me happy.


4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

Posted December 6, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bad Boy by Elliot WakeReviewer: Rowena
Bad Boy by Elliot Wake
Published by Simon & Schuster, Atria Books
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, LGBT
Pages: 256
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two-half-stars

Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.

But Ren has been living a double life.

Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.

But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.

Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.

Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.

I wanted to read this book because I was in the mood for something different and after reading the blurb, this one seemed to fit the bill. I thought it would be interesting to get to know a character that is a vlog star who filmed his transition and shared it on his blog for the world.

It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all pretty roses and rainbows but I was very interested in Ren’s transition story. In Ren as a person. Getting into the story, I thought that I would feel a lot more for Ren as a person than I did but sadly, I didn’t. The story as a whole was interesting and it was what drove me to finish but Ren as a character was someone that I just couldn’t fully connect with. I’m not even sure why, he just, I don’t even know. He’s a pretty dark character, a character who has been through a hell of a lot but while I ended up okay with him, in the end, I still didn’t fully like him.

I wonder if I had read the other books before this one, if I would have felt different about it all because all of the Black Iris stuff had me rolling my eyes down the street. At first, I didn’t get it but the author did a good job in pulling it all together in the end. Once I was caught up with everything going on, I appreciated the story more so if I could recommend anything, it would be for readers to read Unteachable, Black Iris and Cam Girl.

I will say that Elliot Wake wrote a compelling story that was dark and twisted but necessary. The way that he made the dark and the light stuff in life come together was raw and gritty and that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. I’m a fluffy contemporary romance reader at heart and the darkness in this book (and in Ren) was hard for me to get through, so while I’m glad that I gave this book a go, I probably won’t continue with the other books. This has nothing to do with the author or the book and everything to do with my reading preferences.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

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About the Author

elliot-wake

Elliot Wake

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Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder) is a transgender author of four novels: Unteachable, Black Iris, Cam Girl, and Bad Boy. Aside from reading his brains out, Elliot enjoys video games, weightlifting, and perfecting his dapper style. He lives with his partner in Chicago.

two-half-stars

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Review: Downed by Jen Frederick

Posted December 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Downed by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Downed by Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #3
Also in this series: Jock Blocked
Published by Self-Published, Jen Frederick
Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars

He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.

Downed is the third book in Jen Frederick’s Gridiron series and it follows, Ace Anderson’s book. If you read the last book in this series, Jock Blocked then odds are, you weren’t a fan of Ace’s. With good reason, of course. Ace was an asshole. He did his best friend dirty and with friends like him, who needs enemies, am I right? 🙂

It’s a new year and for Ace Anderson, a new school as well. Ace transferred from Western to Southern and his new coach is hoping that he can lead the team to a championship and that’s what Ace plans to do. Ace has been at Southern for a few weeks now and hasn’t made any friends. He’s got two roommates that don’t include him in their plans, he hasn’t developed any relationships with any of his other teammates and he knows it’s because he’s an asshole. At a party, a girl named Bryant approaches him and before he knows what is what, she’s claimed his as her boyfriend and he just kind of falls in with her. It’s funny because she’s the girl that everyone loves and he’s the guy that nobody likes. Perfect pairing, right? 🙂 Things really take off after Bryant claims Ace and I’m happy to say that this book hit me in all the right places because I loved the heck out of this book.

So Ace’s main focus is playing football. He knows that he probably won’t be playing professional football so he’s focusing on making the most of his time playing football now. He’s not connecting with his receivers and any of his other teammates on and off the field and while they’re pulling wins out of their hats, the team chemistry still needs a lot of work.

Bryant is the coach’s daughter and when Ace finds out about that (all after the fact), he’s not interested in starting up a relationship with her. He’s been there, done that and he’s got a whole lot of regrets where that is concerned. He’s done with all of the drama from Western. He wants to start fresh here and while he never planned on going the girlfriend route (he likes sex, of course), the more time that he spends with Bryant, the more he likes her.

I really like Jen Frederick’s writing style. She writes realistic college romances that just hits me with all of the feels. I love her dialogue. It’s not cheesy. It’s not over the top. It’s just right for the characters and their age groups. I’m always drawn to her characters and it wasn’t any different in this one. Ace and Bryant were great characters that really leaped off the pages. Their personalities shined bright and I really fell in with everything going on. From Ace’s Dad’s shenanigans to Bryant’s issues with the her sister and all of that, I was right there with them through it all.

I really enjoyed getting to know Bryant. I thought she was a compelling character. I really connected with the way that loved to help others. She was genuinely caring and I adored the way that she grew to love Ace, in all of his asshole-ish ways. I really loved how loyal she was to Ace as well. Her attitude toward everyone from Western had me grinning because first and foremost, she was Ace’s girl.

Another thing that I really loved about this book was how Ace was redeemed without changing his personality completely. He was still the same asshole, just better. He was Ace 2.0 and by the end of the book, I had forgiven him for everything from before and still thought he was low key a jerk but I loved that he was Bryant’s asshole. They were cute and I’m curious to see who gets their story told next. This was a great addition to the Gridiron series. I loved the characters, the new ones, the old ones and I’m excited for more. Kudos to Jen Frederick for writing another winner for me. 🙂

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

Posted November 9, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Goal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
The Goal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #4
Also in this series: The Deal, The Score, The Score (Off-Campus, #3)
Published by Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: September 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 350
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She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

I feel like we’ve been waiting so long to finally get Tucker’s book. He’s been so absent from the other books and I’ve always wondered where the heck he spends his time away from the house. Well, we finally find out and the answer is…everywhere. He’s in his truck, hooking up with girls, crashing at Fitzy’s house and lately? Chasing one specific girl around.

He’s graduating soon and should be focusing on making some plans for after college, making arrangements to move back home to be closer to his Mom but he can’t seem to stay away from Sabrina James. Even after she rejects him soundly, he can’t stand away. Lucky for him, she can’t seem to stay away either.

Sabrina James is one smart cookie and she’s got plans for her future. She grew up knowing exactly what she wanted (a good paying job to get her out of the squalor that she grew up living in) and what she didn’t want (getting stuck in the squalor that she grew up living in). She’s so close to making those plans come to life so the very last thing she needs is a distraction and that’s exactly what Tucker is.

It took me a long time to read this book but honestly, that had more to do with my mood than the writing of this book because when I went back to it, I finished it up pretty quickly. I enjoyed the story, I adored Tucker and I came around where Sabrina was concerned so all in all, it was an enjoyable book but it’s not my favorite of the series.

John Tucker. This guy had me right from the jump. I love characters who know what they want and don’t waffle back and forth, giving me whiplash and Tuck was one of those characters. He was strong and charismatic and honest. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. There was no game playing where he was concerned. He knew that one of his friends had history with the girl he wanted so he made sure to go and talk to his friend about his intentions and I just about swooned over that whole thing. I loved his attitude toward Dean’s issues with his girl. His whole, “Deal with it” attitude. He made me swoon at every turn and I just absolutely loved the hell out of him.

Sabrina was a lot harder to take. It wasn’t her drive to succeed or her smart brain that turned me off but her attitude toward certain things that got on my nerves. Her hot and cold attitude toward Tuck in the beginning, her inability to take the help that is offered by those that care and love her and also her me against them attitude. Sure, she works hard at everything but the bitterness she shows toward those that had it better or easier than her (Dean, all the athletes, etc…) made it hard for me to like her. I wish she had been above all of that stuff, that she’d take pride in her accomplishments without the short cuts instead of spending so much time pissed off about shit that in the long run, didn’t matter. When she finally lets go of all that animonisity toward Dean, Tucker and everyone else, I liked her better. I thought she grew a lot throughout the book and I was glad for it.

I really enjoyed how much of a team these two were once they made the decision to be together. I loved that Kennedy didn’t let a set back change Sabrina’s course and I really loved how Tucker took to being a father.

Overall, this was a great effort by Elle Kennedy and another solid story for this series. I always love seeing the other characters and seeing them in this one wasn’t any different. I loved seeing Graham and Logan compete to be the baby’s Godfather. I also really liked seeing the girls welcome Sabrina into the fold. Dean coming out and fixing things with Sabrina made me smile and when the book ended, I was one happy camper.

I’m mighty curious to see if Elle Kennedy announces a spin off to this series featuring the next round of boys that moved into the house. I don’t want to leave this world so I’m hoping that happens.


gif creds

4 out of 5

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