*Review* Ignite Me (Shatter Me) – Tahereh Mafi

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Synopsis:

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

My Review: 6 Stars out of 5!! ******

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I can’t deal….

I can’t have the end, the last we will read of Juliette and Warner’s story…

I am pouting, stamping my feet and in denial this is truly the end.

I had put Ignite Me to the back burner while I caught up on other books I had bought and shoved aside. I now am certain I made a good decision to wait, why? Was it that bad, was it an ugly conclusion to a wonderful story?

NO…..it was so bloody brilliant, I was taken on the ride of my life. I was like ‘woah’, then ‘eeeek’ then holding my breath, then on the edge of my seat…..then at the end I was face planted. The residual effect of reading the best damn book this year so far, and it’s story coming to an end. I need to find me the nearest SMA group so I can meet with like minded addicts (Shatter Me Anonymous)

I need to find me a Warner, a Kenji and yes even a Juliette (I developed such a girl crush on her but shoosh, don’t say anything)

The ride Ms Mafi takes us on in this book is truly amazing (I will try to keep the review as spoiler free as I can). The growth of Juliette is a delight to read, no more ‘cry baby cry, please someone protect me’ No, she grows some balls, she gets to grip with her ‘affliction’

She becomes badass bitch on the hunt for Anderson.

Adam, oh Adam! His ride was a little more of a spiral off the ledge. That journey when your world falls apart and the bitter monster inside you takes over your blood and reeks havoc.

Kenji….come to Momma Kenji. He is, and will always remain the best book friend I dream of having in real life.

Then there is Warner, I left him until last because seriously, can I have you please. Just for the day, an hour. Okay, I’ll take a minute if it’s going spare. He is an ocean of contradictions, a sea of hidden depths and secrets. I was rooting for him all along, well maybe since book two.

There is a scene, its his mother’s birthday and, well lets just say I had to put down my kindle and go to the bathroom to sob my eyes out. Then there his love for Juliette…..such devotion, such heart break and so endless. I wanting to drown in it, it was so palpable.

Then there was the ending, I have to say I hated it!! Not in a bad way, Ms Mafi has her reasons for having the story end where it did, but no matter how many times I read it, it felt like it wasn’t the end rather than a beginning of more….

A girl can dream. This was utterly fantastic, I’m a void of nothingness now. But I’m happy. Thank you Ms Mafi for a wonderful ride…..Now can we make the movie please?

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*Review* Just Remember to Breathe (Thompson Sisters) – Charles Sheehan-Miles

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Synopsis:

Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.

The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.

My Review 5 Stars out of 5 *****

Oakies, I think I’m almost through with all the romantic downloads I did last summer! There is a cliched line there somewhere, but I won’t use it!

I think I inadvertedly left the best until last. Just Remember to Breathe was a gem, an eye opener and one hell of a story. I didn’t realize at the time, but this book is written by a man. Forgive my obvious sexist retort, but the title alone is beautiful, and I’m not saying a man can write romance, it just isn’t something I think about when I think about romance books.

That said, I think it gave it an edge, and edge you son’t usually get from the genre. There was a gritty realism to the story and that only enhanced the whole story. I loved Alex, the broken, yet “I will still get up in the morning” heroine.

A few years previous she had been an exchange student to Tel Aviv and had fallen madly, passionately and whole heartedly in love with Dylan. Dylan wasn’t only broken, he was flawed and fragile. He came from a completely different background than Alex and never quite felt he was somehow good enough for her.

Because of that he kept his feelings inside and that had caused a split between them, one full of misunderstandings and regret. Something that would change their lives forever, as well as the people around them.

So, Dylan is out of the army and Afghanistan. Recovering from a bomb attack on his humvee he is nursing wounds that go deeper than the scars on his leg. He is now in New York, back at the same school as Alex, hoping and praying he doesn’t meet her. But their paths are to cross…

What I loved about this book the most was the gritty reality of war, what it does to everyone who has fought, who stays at home to wait and the friends & family you go through this with.

I also loved the slow, deliberate way the story unfolded. It would be in the present, then flash back to the past explaining why Alex and Dylan were the way they were. Dylan’s story brought a lump to my throat on more than several occasions. I was so involved with them I was rooting for them all the way.

The one night, a party was to change everything. A frat boy from Alex’s past was to set Dylan on a course of down would spiral to soul redemption. I had a lump in my throat. The subject matter I think maybe a little too adult for the book to be considered YA, but it was refreshing to have a romance set around the realities of war and sexual assault (I know that sounds weird). That’s what gave it it’s edge.

When Dylan finally came to his senses and realized his only hope of a future was to confront and accept the past I was cheering, his “I thought I’d stop by” line to Alex when he showed up on her doorstep in San Francisco from New York had tears in my eyes.

This story was truly wonderful. Any romance lover should read this book. I loved it…..

*Review* Tamed by You (A Laurel Heights Novel) – Kate Perry

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Synopsis:

First rule of matchmaking: Don’t fall in love with your client.
Second rule of matchmaking: Don’t fall in love with your client!

Valentine Jones has never been good at following rules, especially the one that matters most: following the family tradition of being a matchmaker. She’s tried, but she happens to suck at it. So when her mother swoops in to help, Valentine is determined to prove she doesn’t need a babysitter.

Enter Ethan “The Predator” Hunter, ex-fighter and all-around hunk. Career on hold because of injury, his sole focus is to get back in the ring. He has no interest in the people until Valentine sets her matchmaking sights on him. Suddenly Ethan’s world is filled with nonstop commotion and lessons on attracting women. Only Ethan doesn’t want a random woman. He wants his matchmaker rules be damned

My Review: 3.5 Stars out of 5 ***

So, as I liked the previous Kate Perry Looking for You I saw this one was also offered for free on Amazon, got to dive right and and get that super sweet deal. I was really looking forward to this story because I do enjoy Kate’s style of writing.

After I was finished I wasn’t sure where to place the story with the previous one, or if it were fair to even compare them to each other. Why? I liked the story, it was cute and warm and Ethan has to be the funniest, surliest hero that I’ve read in a long time. He wanted Valentine and he was damn well going to have her…..family business/tradition be damned.

I like Valentine, in the main. She wasn’t your usual heroine and was definitely quirky. What I didn’t like was the repetitive reminders that the first born girl in the family became a match maker, why? I also wasn’t that fond of her mother Venus, who was clearly manipulating her daughter. Strange for a woman who was also a matchmaker.

I would’ve liked to see Valentine stand up to her mother more, heck if I’d a man like Ethan drooling over me, loving me the way he did I’d have stood up like a Spartan in 300 yelling “I am Sparta”

What worked was the interaction between Valentine and Ethan, you could taste the chemistry, the desire and the love long before they knew it themselves.

I also loved Sophie, she was a hoot, and Tony and their little side story. In fact there were times I liked their story a whole lot more. I also loved, loved the friendship Sophie struck up with Julia the florist. Very entertaining. All in all this was a cute romance, it was easy to read and a good way to spend an afternoon sitting in the garden by the pool.

If you like your romance easy, cute and a little sugary this series is one to take a chance on.

*Review* Caught Up In Us (Caught Up in Love #1) – Lauren Blakely

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Synopsis:

A second chance at first love…

Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother’s best friend Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night—but he broke her heart and she had to move on. Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky panky permitted. Kat can handle that because she’s totally over him… right? Except, he still makes her laugh, and he remembers all the things she likes. Not to mention that he’s even more handsome now than he was then. Then there’s the spark between them—the simply undeniable chemistry, and the tender ways he shows he still cares for her. Can they resist each other the second time around or will first love trump all?

My Review: 3.5 Stars out of 5 ***

I downloaded this book when it was offered free on Amazon. I am seemingly going through a romance quest!! I liked the premise and loved the cover so it felt like a no brainer. I have to say I did like a lot of this book, I loved Kat and her quirky way. The way she had a love affair with Hello Kitty and unashamedly didn’t hide it.

I loved Jessica and her thespian ways, she was ballsy and stood for no nonsense. I also loved Bryan, he was sexy and in charge, yet he had a complexity that gave him an edge. Where I felt the book let itself down slightly (and okay, you can shoot me because romance is not what I usually review, I am the YA Dystopian sort of reader) was the story was a little too perfect!

Yes, I did say perfect. Bryan had walked out of Kat’s life 5 years earlier with nothing more than “I have to go” She had her heart ripped right out, yet somehow she managed to put the pieces of her heart back together and was studying for her MBA at NYU.

The last part of her degree called for her to have hands on experience with a mentor. Guess what? the mentor was Bryan!! Don’t get me wrong, if he hadn’t been there would be no story, but if some guy had ripped my insides out the way he had he wouldn’t have gotten the smooth ride Bryan got.

Sure Kat stood up to him, a little but overall she was a little bit of a pushover. That said there is some steamy, hot sex scenes. The phone sex is great and they did have amazing chemistry and the bigger picture of it all, is if you love romance that flows with ease, characters you can fall in love with from the get go and a nice happy ending, then this is the book for you.

For me, Lauren Blakely’s writing style and story telling will go to the beach with me. It’s sunny and fun but I need to get back to more grit and gore.

*Review* Looking for You (A Laurel Heights Novel) – Kate Perry

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Synopsis:

Gwendolyn Pierce has a secret. A big secret.

No one knows that the gourd artist is really the missing Grape Princess—the wine heiress who ran away fourteen years before. And that’s the way Gwen likes it. No paparazzi recording her every mistake, no stern family disapproving of her life. She has her gourd shop in Laurel Heights and lives in peaceful bliss.

Until she meets Rick Clancy.

The last person she should get involved with is a private investigator who finds her as suspicious as he does sexy. Only she can’t help herself, and she can’t help wondering if she can trust him with her secrets—and her heart

My Review: 3.5 Stars out of 5 ***

Oakies, I’m slowly but surely working my way through the Chick Lit books I downloaded last Summer. Most all of them have been happy reads with warm, funny stories. This book doesn’t quite fit into what I call Chick Lit but I got it because I knew it would have romance in it, and who doesn’t want some romance while they are on vacation? (That’s what I got it for)

Though I didn’t read it while on vacation, instead it was read over two of the coldest days in South Texas it did warm my heart.

The story was a little implausible, a missing wine heiress living in disguise in San Francisco, only to hook up and casually date a private eye. Who just happened to want to know her secrets, but agreed not to dig for them while they were in the throws of having hot, passionate sex.

Then there was the journalist, Camille. So desperate to please her mother she for goes her dreams of being a writer and her chances of snagging her crush Dylan, she gets the unenviable task of covering the story of Gwen (the runaway heiress) who is now a gourd artist that has been chosen to show her pieces in the local museum. It is her that uncovers Gwen’s secret and outs her to the world.

What I loved the most about this book was its easy pace and style, there was nothing that didn’t draw you in no matter how much you thought the story wouldn’t play out the way it did. The characters were likable, and the men deadly sexy. Isn’t that what you want in a romance novel?

I do. I, at times wished the story had a little more depth or dimension, but overall when I reached the end I was smiling. This is the perfect beach read, there is nothing better than sun, sea and hot, hot seduction.

*Review* No Easy Choices – Trista Cade

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Synopsis:

Art major, Andie McDaniels was used to not being part of the “in” crowd. But now that she is a member of Theta Zeta Delta, the most sought after sorority on campus, she wants to try to fit in for once in her life.

Fitting in with the clique of Southern Belles isn’t so easy though, especially when she falls hard for the socially unacceptable Javier, a gorgeous South American student from a Colombian drug cartel family.

Faced with snooty sorority sisters holding nightly meetings to vote her out, her fear for Javier’s safety from a rival drug cartel, and her family’s high expectations of her, Andie must make some hard choices

My Review: 2 out of 5 Stars **

Oh Lordy me! This story could’ve been so much more than it was! I only continued reading because it was a short, quick read. I’m not too sure of what to say about this story, it wasn’t that it was bad, it was just not written with any depth.

Andie has gone to Georgia to college, she is living in the sorority house of the Theta Zeta Delta, a group of girls that I would turn on my heel and run as fast as I could from if I saw them coming my way. It centers on their rules and regulations, of what is expected of Andie and whom she can date.

That all gets turned on its head when she meets Javier, a mysterious hunk working in the library. It was all well and good, and the premise sounded like we were heading down a very good path. The sisters hated him for who and what he was, a foreigner! A lesser mortal than they were and not in the approved circle of who Andie could step out with.

Andie stood her ground and all of a sudden the sisters liked him!! That is until Quinn, the sister’s leader found some rather juicy gossip about his family. Then Andie had to dump him, only to get back with him when he explains it away. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted them to get back together but everything was a little too perfect. Especially when she realizes ahe cannot stay in the house and leaves, her parents come to town to hep her look for a new apartment. I don’t know about you, if my teenage daughter was hooking up with a Colombian drug lord’s son I wouldn’t be so quick to move into his apartment.

It was all so twee and situations righted themselves long before they got out of hand. I was wanting bitch fighting, grug cartels and chases galore. What I got fell a little flat on what could’ve have been a great book. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me

*Review* Sealed with a Kiss – Rachael Lucas

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Synopsis:

Kate’s dumped on her best friend’s wedding day by boring boyfriend Ian. She’s mostly cross because he got in first – until she remembers she’s now homeless as well as jobless. Faced with moving back home to her ultra-bossy mother, she takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor. Her first day starts badly when she falls at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she’s got something to prove.
Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy’s keeping something to himself. When his bitchy ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate’s budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning – and can she be stopped before it’s too late?

My Review: 4 Stars out of 5 ****

OMG, OMG!! This book was one of the books I downloaded last summer for free, the books I’m spending some time to get caught up on. Being from the UK (I now live in Texas) was one of the reasons I picked this book, I was hoping it would give me a nostalgic Sophie Kinsella fix. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the cover, but son’t let that put you off. This book is so good.

If you like your Chick Lit fun, fresh and with plenty of gorgeous scenery. Along with deep girl friend friendships, plenty of wine, whisky and cake eating then this is the book for you. On Goodreads it says it’s a bubble bath/glass of wine book and they are not wrong.

I fell in love with Kate from the get go. She’s in a failing relationship with the boring Ian, at her best friends wedding he dumps her. Not that she’s too upset, she’s just mad she didn’t have the guts to do it first. So she moves in with the newly weds!! Not ideal, but the alternate is her mother.

Knowing she has to get her life together she applies for a job as a girl Friday, for a real Scottish Laird on a Scottish island so remote the locals got excited about getting a super market. Of she goes, swearing off men for at least a year!! What she didn’t bank on was just how handsome those Scottish men would be.

First there was Tom, but that was a strictly look and keep to herself (he’s married to Susan, who would soon become her new BFF) then there was Roderick (Roddy) the boss and the Laird. He was apparently off limits, until one night he pulls her in for a kiss…..

Then he leaves…giving the impression it meant nothing to him. Then there was Finn, the set up. She wasn’t doing too badly for a girl abstaining for a year. In all of this was a gently woven story of friendships being built, of a new life being carved and that wonderful sense of community.

Of course, in true Kinsella fashion our Kate finds herself in some predicaments. The timing of Roderick’s return was funny, as was Christmas drinks before she comes home. Then comes along Fiona, Roderick’s ex. The budding friendship between Kate and Roderick suddenly comes to an abrupt end. But Fiona is up to something, something more than just snaring the handsome Laird.

Can Kate find out before he is suckered in again? Can she stick to her year off men and more important can she save the baby seal. This book wasn’t the hardest hitting read, nor was in thought provoking. What is is, is a gentl story of love and friendship. If you want to unashamedly lose yourself in a good old fashioned love story, this is the one for you. If you love the tales of the bonds of having a good girlfriend (or four) this is definitely the one for you.

I loved it, it made me smile. More than that, it made me want to put the kettle on, have a cup of tea and dive into a decent sized piece of cake!!