Publisher: Harlequin

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Posted September 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. ArmentroutReviewer: Rowena
If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 480
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four-stars

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She's ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic--one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn't looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends' entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn't even guaranteed?

I need to read more books by Jennifer L. Armentrout because I enjoyed this one. It deals with survivor’s guilt and I thought Armentrout did a fantastic job of showing us not just how Lena was doing, surviving the accident but also showing us how the people in her world were handling the entire incident.

Lena is a senior in high school and like high school kids tend to do, they go to school and they go to parties and they make bad decisions. Lena’s bad choice destroys the senior year that she envisioned for herself. Everything that she used to worry about, don’t matter anymore and Lena struggles to deal with the aftermath of her bad choice.

Lena has been in love with her best friend Sebastian for as long as she can remember and the night everything changed, she was so mad at him. About what? Nothing that matters now. Things are different now and sure, she still loves Sebastian but if he finds out about her bad choice, how can he ever love her back?

Lena’s struggles throughout this book are completely understandable and even though I understood why she felt the way that she did, I was still a bit frustrated with her at times. The push and pull thing she had with Sebastian was a little annoying but I chalked that up to her being young and still allowed to be that frustrating.

I completely adored Sebastian though. Loved the hell out of him and loved the way that he just refused to leave Lena’s side when she wanted him gone. I loved that he knew she shouldn’t be alone and wasn’t overwhelming in his need to be there for his best friend and love his best friend, that there was a balance to him and Lena. He was such a good love interest.

I enjoy Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing style and after I finished this book, I went out and bought The Problem with Forever. This book was heartbreaking and it was hard to get through but it was a really strong story that I connected with. Lena’s struggles were real. I felt her grief and her guilt. I was wrapped up in this story from beginning to end. This is an important read for young readers and I’m really glad that I picked this up.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden

Posted July 19, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Before the Dawn by Cynthia EdenReviewer: Jen
Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden
Series: Killer Instinct #2
Also in this series: After the Dark

Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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four-stars

The Killer Instinct series from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden continues as an FBI profiler tracks a case that resurrects ghosts from his past

Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Mason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Mason's final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."

It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. Samantha wants agents who have personal ties with killers, who have unique insights into the minds of monsters. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

The last person he expects to see is his ex-lover, Dawn. Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother…and since he last saw Dawn. But the dark need still burns just as hot between Tucker and Dawn. As they grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both Tucker and Dawn have the same question—has Mason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?

I have been on a major Cynthia Eden kick this year. Fortunately, she’s publishing books nearly as fast as I can read them, plus her back list is huge, so I have plenty to keep me entertained. Before Dawn is the newest book in her Killer Instincts series, which centers around a special FBI team made up of people with some kind of personal connection to killers. Eden has several series going right now, and they are tied together in various ways. For instance, there are a couple Harlequin Intrigue titles that are not marked as part of the Killer Instincts series but that really are tied in. And then I swear some of her LOST series books also crossover, but I could not for the life of me remember which ones and how they tied in. Moreover, because I’m confused about the order, I don’t read them in order, so I keep reading Eden books and being pleasantly surprised to find I’m reading the story of a character I already learned about in some other Eden book. Basically, I’m saying it’s damn confusing and I have no idea how to untangle the threads. You’re on your own.

What I can do is tell you about Before Dawn, though! I really loved the first book in the series, After the Dark. As I said, the series is about this special team of people with connections to killers, which is pretty unbelievable but makes for a superb book premise. This time, we meet Tucker Frost, whose brother was a serial killer. His final attempted victim was Tucker’s girlfriend, Dawn. Tucker killed his brother to save Dawn, but because his brother messed with Dawn’s head, and because he looked just like Tucker, Dawn was understandably traumatized, and her relationship with Tucker didn’t survive. Tucker has spent his life trying to prove he isn’t his brother and atone for what his brother did. Dawn, on the other hand, hardened after her attack and is still dealing with the psychological trauma. When Tucker returns to town to investigate some recent murders that bear a striking resemblance to his brother’s crimes, he and Dawn have to deal with their past and work together to figure out what’s going on.

I liked Dawn and Tucker as characters. Dawn was prickly and smart, but she’s clearly still suffering greatly from her earlier attack. It was a bit hard to read sometimes, especially the flashbacks to when Tucker’s brother had her captive. He was physically brutal and manipulated her into doubting Tucker. It was totally understandable that Dawn would struggle to be around Tucker later. Tucker was great, too. He tried to be there for Dawn after her attack, but when he realized his presence was too painful, he disappeared from her life. My heart hurt for him, because what an impossible situation to be in! I appreciated that he tried to let Dawn set the tone for their interactions, and all he wanted was for her to be at peace.

I did have some niggling doubts about whether Tucker and Dawn could really move beyond their past, though. Dawn was terrorized by a man with Tucker’s face. Was it really possible for her to see beyond that? Dawn clearly still needed a lot of serious professional help to process her trauma. I’m not sure love would be enough, even ten years on. I also felt like the intense alpha-schtick Eden usually writes was a little out of place here. Dawn wasn’t breakable, but I kind of wanted Tucker to tone it down. You’re trying to convince her you’re nothing like your violent brother, so maybe dial it back a bit, huh dude?

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as After the Dark, but it was still a good read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars


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Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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four-stars

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

The Impossible Vastness of Us is the first contemporary YA that Samantha Young has written and at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. Any of her younger stories gives me pause because of my rage after reading Out of the Shallows. I’m scared to try any other NA books by Young because of my experience with Jake and Charlie.

I’m still not quite sure why I picked this book up, other than it’s a Samantha Young and I enjoy most of her books so I caved and boy am I glad that I did because I enjoyed getting to know India, Finn and even Eloise.

India Maxwell is moving across the country, away from her friends and everything she’s ever known because her mother met someone and got engaged. She moved away from her California suburban home to the upper crust of Boston society. She went from being the popular poor girl to a rich newbie that nobody knew and then thanks to her soon to be step-sister, the rich newbie that nobody wanted to get to know. India hasn’t had an easy life. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff from her past and having to build defenses against a new school and a new life isn’t easy for her. Her mother is happy with her new love and he’s got a daughter that is India’s age but she’s made it very clear that they won’t be besties. So India does what any normal person would do. She keeps her head down and gets on with life.

She has no interest in becoming a part of the family that her Mom is trying to blend. She’s got issues with male figures of authority and her step-sister isn’t an easy person to be around, especially since she’s got a boyfriend that India is way attracted to.

Against India’s better judgement, she becomes entangled in a friendship that can’t go anywhere and she’s put in a situation that she can’t get out of and there’s so much going on in her new life that she starts to flounder a bit and the reader is treated to some real character growth in India. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of showing us just how much India, Finn and Eloise grew from the beginning of the book to the end. They became a unit that I wasn’t prepared for and the secrets they kept were some pretty big secrets.

I came to learn that not everything is as it seems and pain hits everyone, no matter how poor or rich you are. India had her issues that she was working through and so did Finn and Eloise. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of portraying India’s mothers struggles to fix her relationship with India. I loved seeing India really come into her own and accept her new life and deal with her issues with Theo and separating him from her past. India was a great protagonist that wasn’t perfect but was relatable.

Finn and Eloise were great characters in their own right. Sure, they frustrated me from time to time, especially Finn’s hot and cold attitude but once everything is out in the open and they warm up to India (who never deserved their scorn), my attitude toward them changed. Eloise’s situation was a hard one to read about because I just wanted to hug her close and keep her safe from everything but I was really glad with the way that her story wrapped up.

Overall, this was great addition to Samantha Young’s backlist. I really connected with all of the characters, even bitch ass Bryce and I was cheering them all on to get their happy endings. This was an entertaining read from beginning to end and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun contemporary YA with characters that are put through the wringer and come out on top in the end. It’s good, I promise!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Forbidden Night with the Warrior by Michelle Willingham

Posted June 28, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Forbidden Night with the Warrior by Michelle WillinghamReviewer: Tracy
Forbidden Night with the Warrior by Michelle Willingham
Series: Warriors of the Night #1
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: June 20th 2017
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four-stars

One wicked night for an heir!

Rosamund de Courcy has always loved Warrick de Laurent, but was forced to marry another. Now her husband's dying command is that she must provide him with an heir. To do so, she will have to spend one sinful night...with Warrick!

The powerful warrior was wounded by Rosamund's abandonment years ago, and Warrick refuses to let her touch his heart again. But this illicit night is impossible to resist, and soon he is determined--he will not only possess her, but reclaim her for his own!

Three years ago Rosamund met and fell in love with Warrick.  She wanted nothing more than to be with Warrick but her father had other ideas about her future – not one where she wed a third son with no property.  Under threat of death to Warrick, Rosamund marries.  Now it’s three years later and her husband, Alan, is dying.  He summons Warrick to him and tells him that he wants him to lie with his wife to produce an heir.  Alan doesn’t want his evil brother to inherit and he knows he can’t produce an heir.  Rosamund is adamant that this not happen but Alan gets his way.

Being with Warrick again brings back all of the old feelings she once had for him.  She knows she never stopped loving him but she is still married to her husband.  When he dies Rosamund fears for her life fro Alan’s brother, Owen, and fleas her home.  Unfortunately Owen is determined to have Alan’s estates as well as Rosamund.

I never am one to read books that involve infidelity but this was a different take on everything.  I still didn’t care for it but I could deal with it better because of the circumstances.  Alan truly gave Rosamund no choice in the matter and that pissed me off.  He even forced it on her by coming to her in the dark –   he wanted her to believe that it was he that she was having sex with.  Of course she knew immediately it was Warrick.  That whole scene had me cringing because Warrick – who I had really liked  up until that point was involved.  It was a bit weird to say the least.

The story revolves around not only the issues with Alan and his wishes for Rosamund before he dies, but the issues with his brother Owen as well.   Then there was Rosamund and Warrick working out their issues from the past as well as the problems they faced currently.  There was a lot going on but as usual Willingham wrote it in such a way that it flowed easily.  She took all the different parts of the story and brought it into one cohesive and very good book.  I really enjoyed all of the parts of the story and definitely recommend this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin

Posted June 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin
Series: A Highland Feuding #4
Also in this series: The Highlander's Runaway Bride

Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
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three-half-stars

Safe in her Highlander's arms!

After discovering her role in her father's plot to destroy another clan, Sorcha MacMillan risks her life to go into hiding. Her safety relies on her disguise, but she is drawn to a man who could see through her...

Unknown to Sorcha, Alan Cameron has been sent to track her down. He's attracted to the woman in disguise. Even after learning her true identity, he can't overcome his instinct to protect her. No matter the danger, he will keep Sorcha safe...and claim her as his bride!

Sorcha has been told by her father, a clan Chieftan, that she must wed but her soon-to-be fiancé is a horrible man.  The fiancé and her father are planning on ruining another clan by joining theirs and Sorcha wants no part of it.  Her mother has been able to protect Sorcha for years from her father’s machinations but she’s now dying.  The mother knows that Sorcha must escape her fate and tries to help her as best she can by giving her baubles and treasures little by little.  When her mother dies and the time comes for Sorcha and her father to travel to meet the fiancé Sorcha fakes her own death (with help from a friend of her mothers) and runs away.  She plans to run to Skye to become a nun but that plan is interrupted when her mother’s friend dies.  Sorcha is resourceful so she heads to her mother’s people who hide her among the clan.

Alan Cameron is a pawn in his uncle’s games.  His uncle is the man that Sorcha was supposed to marry.  When she disappears his uncle, Gilbert, calls him to find her as he’s the best tracker around.  He can’t find her but it looks like she died.  He’s not positive that was what happened but goes with it anyway.

Alan meets Sorcha, who goes by Saraid, and is instantly attracted to her which is good as she is instantly attracted to him as well.  He’s told that she will join a convent but he’s positive he can change her mind. Sorcha is adamant that she cannot change her mind but love has a funny way of changing people’s minds about the future.

This was a sweet story that had a few twists that I enjoyed.  I really liked Sorcha’s character and was surprised and pleased with her adamancy that she was going to join the convent.  She knew if Gilbert Cameron or her father found that she was alive there would be hell to pay.  I was thrilled she stood her ground for as long as she did but we all know she eventually caved. 🙂  Her actions at the end of the book were quite admirable and I loved the strength she showed.

Alan was a great character as well.  I was surprised that it took him as long as it did to figure out that Saraid was Sorcha.  They said he was a great tracker so why the heck couldn’t he figure it out? Lol  Oh well, it was a better story this way. 😉

Overall it was a good story and one I’d recommend if you’d like a quick historical book to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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