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The Will (The Magdalene Series Book 1)
The Will (The Magdalene Series Book 1)
Price: £2.38

5.0 out of 5 stars 5+ STARS FOR JAKE & JOSIE!, 26 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved everything about this book! It totally consumed me. Bravo KA, you did it again!!

5+ STARS FOR JAKE & JOSIE!

Stunning! This book was stunning.

I’m a mahoosive Kristen Ashley fan. She’s one of my Go-To Authors. If I want a fail-safe book that I know I’m going to fall in love with; if I’ve had a run of average reads; I read KA! So I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The Will ever since I found out it was on the horizon. And I can tell you, I absolutely LIVED this book. Yes, lived! Loved, too. But I lived every second, every word, every feeling, every scene.

~ “She wanted me for you.” ~

Josephine Malone had only one living relative. Her grandmother, Lydia Malone. So when Lydia passes away and leaves Josie totally alone, she feels completely lost. Returning to her grandmother’s home, Lavender House, in Magdelene, Maine, to deal with the funeral, Lydia’s possessions, finances, etc. Josephine is required to attend the reading of the will.
Josie doesn’t know Jake Spear, but it seems her grandmother did. Not only did she know him and his three children, he is the only other person to attend the reading of the will. But it’s not just that that Josie finds strange. It’s what is written in the will that is completely absurd.

Josie is a total snob. She uses ridiculous words like ‘alas’, ‘vexing’ and ‘sally forth’. She’s over the top, up her own ass and hiding behind a well erected front. She’s had a tough life, experienced untold amounts of loss, pain and devastation and has come to the conclusion that being alone is a far safer option. The only person to get beyond those walls was her grandmother.
Some people might have an issue with Josie. She’s pompous and haughty, and closed off. But you have to give her a chance, because once Jake starts bashing down those defences, this is a beautiful story and you will learn to love Josie.

~ It hit him in that moment in a way he knew he’d never forget that he could take that hand and she could lead him anywhere. ~

Jake is perfection personified. A fighter, an amazing father to three kids, a divorcee three times over and a man with a questionable occupation… but he is everything you could ever want in a book boyfriend, trust me. I almost wore myself out, swooning over this man. Seriously, I can not even explain how fantastic Jake is. He will set your panties on fire and melt your heart.

~ “Now I’ve got the taste for steak,” she changed the subject. “What do you have a taste for?”
Straight up, he had the taste for cute, klutzy, classy pussy, eating her and listening to her moan.
He didn’t tell her that. ~

Kristen Ashley has outdone herself with Jake Spear. If you’ve read KA before, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this protective, overbearing, super sweet, alpha male of hers! He is everything a Kristen Ashley book hero should be, and more.

~ “Honey, I’ll tell you this straight, a woman’s got it in her to handle a guy like Jake, like Junior, the reward…shoo-ee. Nothin’ better. They don’t give as good as they get. They get what they get and give better. Knock themselves out doin’ it. Work themsleves in the ground doin’ it. You give it good, he’ll rock your world and do it again and again.” ~

I adored Jake and Josie’s relationship from beginning to end. This is a stand-alone, mature, adult romance. The characters being in their late forties. And that maturity really is refreshing. There are no stupid misunderstandings, for the most part, the characters are honest and real with one another, they don’t over-react or betray one another’s trust. They just want to find happiness, loyalty and something real, to believe in.

~ “I never wanted anything but you, Jake,” I told him and he simply stared at me so I went on. “And I wanted you before I even know you. Someone handsome and strong and protective and fierce. You’re everything I ever wanted, darling.” ~

Jake finds Josie’s over-the-top vocabulary quite amusing and is totally smitten by her classy, expensive style, her clumsy, klutzy ways and her uppity attitude. I loved that he nicknames her ‘Slick’, because he thought she was just that. And I loved how she tried so hard to deny her feelings for him, failed dismally, but was completely oblivious to his steady but heart-warmingly sweet advances.

~ “Yes, I’m yours, Jake, but not that way.”
“You’re not mine in that way?”
“Am I yours in that way?”
“You are.” ~

And ohmygod, I have to words for you, ladies… Fight. Night!!! I want to find myself a boxer. Hot, sweaty, adrenaline fuelled, testosterone full, primal f***ing. Just that. Do I need to go into detail? Well, I’m not going to, but don’t worry, KA does!! Love love love it! Super hot!!

~ “Why’d you come to the locker room?”
“I…”
“Was in there maybe two minutes before you showed.”
“I…”
“Babe, I was p***ed at you but lookin’ back at it, not p***ed and havin’ seen that look now more than once, you walked into that room lookin’ turned way the f*** on.”
“I was.”
“So you came in there to get yourself some.” ~

I can’t write this review without giving Conner, Amber and Ethan Spear a huge mention! They are Jake’s kids and they play a massive part in this story. The family dynamic in 'The Will' just melted me from the inside out. I loved every single interaction. I loved what they each represented and what the walls that were penetrated with each sub-plot!

And I want to live in Lavender House!! I have such strong visuals in this place that I had to remind myself that the image of this place in my head, was just that; an image in my head. And that I hadn’t actually seen Lavender House. I feel like I’ve been there and sat in Lydie’s light room, tended to the plants in the greenhouse, looked out of the kitchen at the water and sat in the family room with Josie, Jake and the kids.

~ “Do you think it’s possible to fall in love with a man knowing him only a few weeks?” I asked. ~

As with all of KA’s books, the storyline, the surrounding characters, the sub-plots, etc. are all intricately woven and that makes for a lengthy novel. However, I couldn’t get enough of it. It wasn’t too long because it was fantastic. It wasn’t drawn out or slow. It was perfectly paced, beautifully written in true, unmistakable KA fashion and I can’t fault it. There was no massive action in 'The Will', though there is plenty of drama to get your teeth stuck into, but I actually quite enjoyed the class and subtlety of the plot. This is perhaps one of the best KA books I’ve read.

~ “It’s never too late to reach for happiness and no matter what life has done to you, it’s never too late to find it.” ~

I’m so excited to find out what else is in store for the 'Magdelene' series. It always fascinates and impresses me, the way Kristen Ashley intertwines the characters in her novels, so I’ll be waiting with baited breath!

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘The Will’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 375 pages
• POV: Alternates between Jake and Josie.
• Narrative: Josie, first person. Jake, third person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes
• Reading Order:
- Book #1 - The Will (Magdalene, #1)
Further details to come
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Adult romance
• WARNING: This book contains…
Sexual content
• Writing: Brilliant


Present Perfect
Present Perfect
Price: £0.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5+ HUGE, PERFECT STARS FOR ‘TWEET’ & NOAH!, 26 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Present Perfect (Kindle Edition)
What an emotionally charged, completely gorgeous, romantic journey!! Why did someone not forcefully suggest I read this before now?!

5+ HUGE, PERFECT STARS FOR ‘TWEET’ & NOAH!

Amanda Kelly has spent her whole life feeling inadequate. She can’t live up to the bar set by her perfect, beautiful, smart, kind older sister and she could never match the perfection of her life-long best friend, Noah.
Amanda has known Noah Stewart her whole life. He has always been her best friend, but as they grow up and the inevitable teenage hormones begin to play a part in their relationship, they begin to realise that the love they have for one another may not just be platonic.
But Amanda could never imagine being good enough for Noah. She would never saddle him with her averageness. She would never allow him to settle for any less than what he deserved.

~ 'We’re lead to believe love is complicated. It’s not the love that’s complicated. It’s all the crap that we attach to it that makes it difficult.' ~

I don’t know what made me read this book. I strongly dislike the cover, so it certainly wasn’t that. I’ve read a few good reviews, but not nearly as many as it deserves. It was kind of a stab in the dark, when I picked this up. And I just love it when you pick up a random book and it makes your world spin! Do not judge this book by it’s gaudy cover.
I’ve been in a book slump for almost a week and have started and abandoned three books in that time. I really needed something to lift me out of my funk. 'Present Perfect' was just what I needed. It’s a stand-alone, told from Amanda’s POV and it will tear your heart straight from your chest.

~ “I can’t be around you right now. It hurts too much, because I am so completely and desperately in love with you, Tweet.” ~

Oh my goodness. Warning: This book will make you ugly cry! And it’s the worst kind of tear jerker. It lulls you into a false sense of security. It was chugging along, it was engaging, I was loving it, but it was safe and sweet and lovely… and then BANG! There is a plot twist in this book, at about 70%, that is a huuuuge game changer! I’m telling you now, you will not see this coming! And it will take the breath right out of your lungs.
From 70% onwards I was a blubbering wreck. I was so deeply invested in Noah and Tweet’s story that the turn of events just completely gutted me. Having said that, all of you who are getting jittery right now and needing your HEA fix… don’t worry, you do get it. All I can say is thank f*** for epliogues! After having such a book slump and then finding this book, when I thought it had left me with a horrible unhappy ending, I was ready to commit some serious ABH on Ms. Bailey. But luckily for her, the epilogue saved her ass!! And oh my goodness, did it make me swoon.

~ 'If you love someone, tell them. It doesn’t matter if they say it back to you. Whoever makes you feel that deeply and that intensely, deserves to know how they’ve impacted you.' ~

So, speaking of swooning… Noah Stewart.
Why is this guy not on more highly-commended book-boyfriends lists??? Noah is amazing. He is patient, he is loving, he is protective, he is strong. He loves Tweet with an intensity and a certainty that made my toes curl. I can not explain to you how much Noah needs Tweet. And she him, too, but it was his adoration of her that really melted me. He just worshipped her and really would go to the ends of the earth for her. Oh how lucky would we all be to have a Noah in our lives?

~ “You’ve always been my girl and always will be. No one will ever take me away from you, Tweet. You’re my heart and soul and that’s never going to change, no matter what you say.” ~

And yes, he calls Amanda ‘Tweet’. Soooo cute.
Amanda is a complex protagonist. I did like her. I was surprised at myself, because if there is one thing that usually really grates on me in a book, it’s a self-depreciating, down-on-herself heroine. And Amanda really is down on herself. But I didn’t dislike her. There were times I wanted to slap her upside the back of the head and tell her to grow a pair, but I didn’t dislike her.

~ “Perfection is an illusion nurtured by insecurities.” ~

There are a whole host of surrounding characters that add so much to this story. Brad, who get’s his own story in Past Imperfect (Perfect, #2), Beth, Brittany, Brooke (Noah sure does like a girl beginning with ‘B’) Emily, Lisa… and then there is Dalton!!

~ “The present’s perfect, young grasshopper, because we’re breathing, moving, laughing, crying, and are surprised when we finally meet someone we connect with. Stop living in the past and wasting your present.” ~

This book isn’t written in chapters. It’s written in journal entries. Well, all I can say, is screw you Entry 34! You are a heartless b*****d and you made me sob!

~ 'Everyone deserves a thank you and goodbye.' ~

I always love those stories that run from a characters childhood, right through their teens and then into adulthood. I especially love stories about childhood sweethearts, best friends falling in love and second/third/fourth/nth chances. Some of my all time favourites fall into these categories. The Sweet Gum Tree, Falling Into You, Making Faces, Fighting Redemption and many more. And Present Perfect was a fabulously heart warming, gripping example of all of those things. This is definitely a new favourite of mine.

~ 'I will never stop loving my knight in plastic armor.' ~

There are so many little things that sucked me in, with this book. Chocolate cake, Tweety Bird, knights in plastic armor, the colour yellow, Lifehouse… it’s little private jokes, things they share and personal memories like these are what allow characters like Noah and Tweet to worm their way into your soul and lay claim to a piece of your heart.

~ “Chocolate cake takes the hurt away and makes everything better.” ~

Books like this make me realise what a simple, easily pleased creature I am. I don’t need car chases, drug deals, mystery etc. complicating things. I mean, of course, every now and then a bit of action/drama/thriller with our romance is a nice little change. But when it comes down to it, I am a romance reader, through and through. Ultimately, I just want a guy who is utterly besotted with his girl, a palpable chemistry between them, some heartache to keep me on my toes and satisfying, happy ending. With Present Perfect I got my heart pulled unexpectedly through the wringer, and those are always the books that stick with me. The ones that completely turn me inside out, emotionally. The ones where I feel like I know the characters so well, as if I’ve spent years in their company, when in fact I’ve devoured their story in a matter of days/hours.

~ “The line has already been crossed, Tweet. I wish you’d step over it with me.” ~

To think that this is Alison G. Bailey’s debut, is mind blowing. I will absolutely, 100% definitely be reading more of her work in the future. I’m writing this review, trying to find fault with this book, because I’ve already dished out quite a few 5+ star reviews, considering how early on in the year we are. But I just can’t think of anything I would change about Noah and Tweet’s story. And I want everybody to read it. So for that, I’ve just gone and changed my rating to 5+! I can’t not!
Now I’m pretty sure I’m facing yet another book hangover and yet another unknown number of days trying to find a book worthy enough of pull me out of it. Wish me luck.

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘Present Perfect’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 420 pages
• POV: Amanda’s POV. Epilogue from Noah’s POV.
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes
• Reading Order:
- Book #1 - Present Perfect (Perfect, #1)
- Book #2 - Past Imperfect (Perfect, #2)
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Best-friends-to-lovers
Childhood sweethearts
• Writing: Fantastic

:: A review by Smitten's Book Blog ::


Reclaiming the Sand
Reclaiming the Sand
Price: £1.83

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breaking, excruciating, inspiring, beautiful and unforgettable!, 18 Mar 2014
Heart-breaking, excruciating, inspiring, beautiful and unforgettable!

5 STARS FOR ELLIE & FLYNN!

Oh goodness, this book was tough. Like, really tough. I really, really struggled to read some of the scenes and I know some of you are going to totally balk at this. There are some real extreme bullying scenes in this book and to be honest, sometimes I just wanted to shut my Kindle off and walk away. I just couldn’t deal with it.

'I hate being alone. I want people to talk to me. I want them to like me. It makes me angry when I try to say something and people ignore me. Or worse they laugh.
They call me names. Lots of names. Mean names.'

But although this book totally broke my heart, it was worth every bit of pain! I absolutely loved it.
Freaky Flynn Hendrick has Asperger’s. I’ll explain a little more about that in a second. He is noticeably different to all of the other kids at school.
Ellie McCallum has had it tough. She’s grown up in foster care, been abused, abandoned and locked up and she’s hardened, cold and cruel. Nobody messes with Ellie and her friends. And if they do, they can expect a face full of fist.
Flynn is an easy target. Ellie and her friends make his life a living hell. They tease him, they push him around, they call him names and they bully him in every way imaginable. And then Ellie finds herself falling into a very unlikely friendship with the local oddball and a battle with her conscience and her long-standing hardass ways begins.
Flynn is one of the most vulnerable, loveable, heart-melting book characters I haveever read. I just wanted to scoop him up and protect him from everything life might ever throw at him. He suffers with Asperger syndrome.

- Asperger’s, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. -

Flynn is socially awkward, he has absolutely no filter between his brain and his mouth. If Flynn thinks someone, he’ll let you know. Now, I know this can make him seem totally rude at times, but I found this totally endearing and very comical at times! I just adored Flynn. There aren’t enough words to explain how much he warmed my heart.
And then there is Ellie. Ellie’s character is a tricky one. I absolutely hated some of the things she not only stood by and watched her friends do to Flynn, but even actually joined in with. That is what I found so hard to read and I know that some of you just won’t be able to tolerate the level of bullying in this book. It hurt. Like, physically hurt my chest, to read some of it.

'You will hate me.
You will detest the choices that I have made.
You won’t understand me at all.'

However, there were times when I really liked Ellie, and really felt for her, too. Ellie has had a terrible up-bringing. She’s had no real guidance, no role model, nobody teaching her right from wrong, and she’s developed a defensive, aggressive persona to survive. She’s not just in with the wrong crowd, Ellie McCallum is the wrong crowd. But after a stint in juvie, and as she begins to recognise what’s really important in life, she makes an effort to change her ways and her future. I enjoyed watching this change in her. And I loved how she felt for Flynn.

'I loved him. I did.
I had never loved anyone before but now I loved with my whole being.
It split me open.
My guts spilled out on the floor at Flynn’s feet.
He owned me. Completely.
There was no coming back from this.
Flynn had reclaimed me.'

The reason I think Ellie is tolerable, despite her actions, is because she is so real. Y’know, she is a total bitch, but A. Meredith Walters explains her character so well that you kind of can’t help but feel a bit sorry for her. I mean, there is no excuse for bullying, but she’s got this real ‘attack to defend’ mentality, this in-built survival instinct that she has developed over so many years of hardship. And underneath it all is a good person. And the truth is that there are so many young people out there like that. People that just don’t know how to deal with real life and the tragedy that is their existence, so they lash out and they create this hateful, hard, ruthless persona to hide their sadness and their short-comings. That’s how I felt Ellie was. She couldn’t really deal with life, so instead she made other people feel small to fit in with the only friends she has and to make herself feel bigger. She uses drugs and alcohol to numb her mind from her pathetic, repetitive existence. And she rebels against any kind of authority or rule implementation. But she knows no different. And once she starts to mature and realises that she does have other options, she begins to change.

'Had I mentioned I wasn’t a people person with some major anger issues?'

And also, I think part of what makes this book so emotional is that no, you can’t really forgive Ellie for everything she did. But life moves on, people change and, though we can’t change the things we’ve done in the past, all we can do is try and change the direction of our future and try to make good choices from here on in. And another thing I took from this book was that it takes a certain strength and pure, unbridled goodness in a person to be able to forgive and love, regardless.

“I’m upset, Ellie! Because you won’t talk to me! Because you always hurt me! You make it so hard to love you!”

A. Meredith Walters has had first hand experience, working with troubled teens with mental health problems and troubled lives, so you can rest assured that you will always get an accurate account of the obstacles and issues that these young people face, with her books. Her books are raw and emotive. They pull you in and consume you. They always draw out such intense emotions from me and I feel like I could very possibly be reading a story based on somebodies real life experiences.
The book flips between Ellie and Flynn’s POVs. Flynn tells us the story of the past, from his perspective, when they were teenagers in high school. And Ellie narrates the here and now. I loved the chapters from Flynn’s POV. His narrative is so simplistic, so black and white. He thinks in basic, obvious sentences. There is no mind games or beating around the bush, with Flynn. He doesn’t know how to lie and he totally doesn’t get sarcasm or figures of speech. He takes everything literally and at face value, and it’s utterly adorable.

'He didn’t hold the door open, instead letting it fly back and knock me in the face.
“Thanks,” I muttered, rubbing my nose.
“You’re welcome,” he said, my sarcasm lost on him as always.'

The romance between Ellie and Flynn will melt you from the inside out. It’s slow building and so pure. As we know, Flynn says how he feels, so we always know exactly what he is thinking. And this includes his thoughts on Ellie’s appearance, on what makes him happy, what makes him mad, on kissing, on touching Ellie’s boobs! It really made me giggle and just added to Flynn’s appeal. Honestly ladies, forget being dominated by all of our sexy, controlling Alphas; you will all just want to spend the rest of your lives loving Flynn Hendrick, protecting him and teaching him the ways of the world.

“I want you to only do this with me. Okay?”
“You don’t want me with anyone else?”
“No! People that love each other don’t do that with anyone else.”

This book breaks all of the romance novel stereotypes. It throws the rule book away and writes one all of it’s own. We have a defenceless, victimised hero and a cruel, bad-ass, hardened heroine. And at no point do their roles reverse. Flynn’s disability means that he is and always will be the vulnerable one, the one that needs help, that has trouble with every day life and Ellie will always be the decision maker, the protector and the stronger, more capable partner.
We’ve already witnessed A. Meredith Walter’s talent for engaging a reader with her seamless writing, with the very popular Find You in the Dark series. And she absolutely achieves the same effect with Reclaiming the Sand. I love the way she writes, the way she brings the characters to life and the way you can visualise every location and every scene. Again, I’d have loved to see more of this in terms of how this would affect them as a couple, moving forward with their life.

'There were never two people more ill suited for a relationship than us. We were all wrong. We didn’t stand a chance.
And that made me want to fight for it even harder.'

This book has a beautiful happy ending. I was a bit nervous, as I neared the end of the book, that we weren’t going to get there. But we did, and it was just gorgeous. If there’s anything I’d have changed, it would have been to have a little more insight into the hurdles Flynn and Ellie would face as a couple when building their future. But that really is my only complaint. Everything else was flawless.
If you are prepared to wade through the darkness and the pain, I highly recommend this book. You will be rewarded with a story that makes you feel from the very depths of your heart and characters that will climb right into your soul!

Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?

‘Reclaiming the Sand’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• POV: Alternates between Ellie & Flynn.
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Asperger’s
Bullying
• Writing: Fantastic

:: A review by Smitten's Book Blog ::


Falling Under
Falling Under
Price: £3.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect end to one of my favourite series!, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Falling Under (Kindle Edition)
*sigh* The perfect end to one of my favourite series! I just love the 'Falling' series soooo much!

5 STARS FOR KYLIE & OZ!

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK #1 & #2!

It’s no secret that I am a huge Jasinda Wilder fan. Even the lady herself knows that I bow at her feet and drop everything I’m doing when she releases a new book, and the Falling series was what really cemented Ms. Wilder on my favourite author short list.
As most of you know, this book was a secret. Jasinda hinted that she’d be releasing a new book at the beginning of the week and didn’t tell readers what it would be until release day! So there was a tonne of excitement and speculation surrounding the mystery book. And when I found out that it was a conclusion to the Falling series, I was so excited! I loved Colt and Nell, and I loved Becca and Jason. Both of these stories wrecked me and then restored me in that magical way only the best writers can manage. Just the thought of these books is enough to bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. So I was instantly intrigued when I knew we’d be getting more of either couple.
But Falling Under is totally different to book #1 & #2! At the end of Falling Into Us we learn that Colt and Nell have had a daughter called Kylie. This is the story of Kylie Calloway and Oz Hyde.
A story of a girl who takes a chance on a boy, and a boy who takes a chance on a girl. Two young people from totally different worlds, with completely different backgrounds, who choose to love one another regardless. A story of saviour, family, love and friendship.

“You and I? It may end badly. I may get hurt. But guess what? I don’t care! I’ve never had my heart broken. Maybe I’m fine with rising it, because it’s better than being afraid and going through life bored.”

This book isn’t nearly as emotional as the other two. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I did with Falling Into You and Falling Into Us. I was a mess. And Falling Under isn’t as tough, emotionally. But it isn’t any less beautiful and I did still shed a few tears. I just wanted to climb into this book and stay there, shut out real life and shirk all of my responsibilities, but it didn’t gut me like the other books did.
I thought that this was going to be a bit of a difficult premise for Jasinda to execute, as this book is set seventeen years after the end of the Falling Into Us, so it’s actually set in the future… I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but once I got reading, I completely forgot all about that and it really didn’t distract from the story or have any effect on my reading experience whatsoever. Just accept that Jasinda exercises a little poetic licence and you won’t have a problem.
Kylie, Colt and Nell’s baby girl, is all grown up. Kylie is great. I mean, she would be, wouldn’t she… she’s the daughter of Nell & Colt! She’s a good girl but with an independent spirit and her own mind. And I love that her parents allow her to be her own person. She’s nearly eighteen, coming up to graduation, grown into a beautiful, talented young woman and she’s just finding out who she wants to be and what she wants from life. And that’s when she meets Oz Hyde.

“That lifestyle? It’s bad, Kylie. I don’t want you anywhere near that. It’s dark, and it’s dangerous, and it can suck you under so fast. So fast.”

So, we know who Kylie is… Who is Oz? Well, you will have to read this book to find out who Oz is, as that’s part of the mystery that this book provides. But I can tell you that Oz is a sexy, cocky, guitar playing, pot smoking, long haired, tattooed, motorbike riding bad-boy from the wrong side of tracks. He has a messy past, he’s done a stint in juvie, he’s got self harm issues, he’s got no prospects and no self-belief and he is the complete and total opposite of everything Nell and Colt have brought Kylie up to be.

“If I amount to anything it’ll be as part of a band. That’s it. I’ll be playing dive bars and s****y clubs, and I’ll get high in the alleys and do lines in the bathrooms, and eventually I’ll OD and that’ll be that.” I glance ad her. “Is that the life you want?”

But we all remember young, troubled, rebel Colton, right? He might be a successful indie musician and producer now, with his big house, his beautiful wife and daughter, his fancy cars and bike and his perfect life… but once upon a time, he was right where Oz is. And he sees so much of himself in Oz. And I have no doubt you will love Oz just like you loved Colt!

'Everybody knows girls like the bad boys, and I’m thoroughly bad.'

Speaking of Colt. Colton Calloway as a Daddy… *melt* Oh my goodness. When I didn’t think this man could get any more perfect, he does! He is a wonderful Daddy. Just perfect; caring, sweet, reasonable, protective, firm… Is there anything sexier than a gorgeous man who is a great Daddy, too? I think not.

“My prerogative as your father is to break the face of anyone who f***s with you. And I will, whether you like it or not. So if our boy Oz prefers to have his face in one piece, he’ll treat you like the precious thing you are.”

The really interesting thing about this book was that, even though it was Kylie and Oz’s story, it was written from Colt and Oz’s POV. I really enjoyed that. It brought Nell and Colt further into the story and it provided a different, mature, slightly removed perspective of these youngsters’ love story. I loved reading about Nell and Colt trying to navigate the murky waters of parenting. It really added an extra dimension to this book.

“We can’t protect her from life, Nell. You know that. She’s going to get hurt someday. All we can do is love her, and be there when it happens.”

As is always true with Jasinda Wilder books, the sex scenes are super hot! Virginal, innocent Kylie and experienced, bad-boy Oz just burn up both the sheets and the pages. You can always rely on Ms. Wilder for an extremely steamy book romp and this couple were so incredibly sensual and really very moving, as they explored one another and became closer and closer.
I can’t write this review without mentioning Ben. Remember Benny? Becca and Jason’s son? He features heavily in this book, too. I won’t tell you too much, just that the one chapter from Ben’s POV, near the end of the book broke my heart and had me in tears.

“I wish – I wish I’d at least kissed you. Just once.”

I often worry, when I’ve really loved a book and find out that there is a sequel or two, that the following books won’t live up to the first book(s). So often we find authors writing trilogies because it’s the fashionable thing to do right now, or adding to a series that really didn’t need adding to, just in the name of book sales. But I never worry about that with Jasinda. Every book she writes is a story that is just begging to be told. Every book is highly emotional, gripping and completely individual, whether it’s part of a series, a stand alone or a companion novel. And Falling Under was no exception. I loved it and was engrossed in the world of these characters from the second I read the first word to the moment I reached the end.

“You light up the blackness that has been my life, and I don’t know how to ever be the kind of man you need and deserve, but I want to try. For you, for me, and for us. For the possibility of us.”

The end… It was everything I could have ever wanted it to be. Completely perfect and totes emosh! Urgh *sigh* just wait… it’s adorable.

“You saved me, you know. Life had me running. Had me by the throat, and I really was falling under, losing hope. And then I met you, and you gave me a reason to keep my head above water. You taught me to swim. You taught me to life. And instead of giving up, I fell in love. I fell under your spell, Kylie, and ever single day since, I’ve fallen further and further under for you.”

I can not recommend this series highly enough. It is stunning, unforgettable, intensely emotional and just absolutely superb. A firm favourite of mine!! And this was the perfect ending!
(P.S. At the end of this book, there is a teaser for Jasinda’s new title, Alpha. I have three words; Roll on April!)

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘Falling Under’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 441 pages
• POV: Alternates between Oz & Colt’s POV. One chapter from Ben’s POV. One chapter from Kylie’s POV.
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes
• Reading Order:
- Book #1 - Falling Into You (Falling, #1)
- Book #2 - Falling Into Us (Falling, #2)
- Book #3 - Falling Under (Falling, #3)
• Can this be read as a standalone? Not recommended
• Themes:
Music
Bad-boy meets girl-girl
Father and daughter
• Writing: Brilliant

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


Invincible (The Trident Code Book 1)
Invincible (The Trident Code Book 1)
Price: £0.77

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Meet My Expectations, 12 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was an okay book... but it was nowhere near as gritty and heart-wrenching as I'd expected it to be. Definitely didn't meet my expectations. *sad face*

3 STARS FOR ANNIE & PATRICK!

Young, beautiful, rich, American girl, Annie, was kidnapped from her Carribean cruise five years ago and forced into an underworld of sex slavery and drug addiction.
Patrick Walsh is a Navy SEAL. On a night off he visits a brothel and when he chooses Annie from a line up of hookers, she recognises it as her final chance to be rescued, so she risks everything and tells him her name, in the hope that he will save her.

"My name is Annie Hamilton. I'm an American citizen. I was kidnapped from a cruise ship five years ago. You're my last hope. Please save me."

Never a man to walk away from somebody in need, or from a challenge, Patrick can't help but return to Annie, despite the trouble it could cause for him, in an attempt to return her safely to her parents in America, who had all but given up hope of ever seeing her again.

'They had once been little girls playing make believe, dreaming of princes and castles. But I was no prince. I'd done enough life saving in my time and I'd learned the hard way that I couldn't save them all.'

Now, I was so excited to read this book. It isn't often that a book can totally grip me from a blurb alone. Usually it's the hype surrounding the book, the recommendations through word of mouth, reviews from trusted sources, etc. But with this book, I read the book and I had to read it as soon as I could get hold of it. And I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed.
This could have been sooooo good. This could have completely blown my mind, broken my heart, made my pulse race, made me cry, filled me with adrenaline and made a huge mark on this indie romance community. But it didn't. It was short, quick, a bit rushed and just not nearly as hard-hitting as I wanted it to be. Everything was wrapped up pretty swiftly, there were no big climaxes, no complications to navigate... Find girl, save girl, bring girl home, get together with girl, the end. It just kind of fell a little flat, really.
Invincible is told from Patrick's POV. Now, one thing that I felt this book could have really benefited from was some scenes from Annie's POV. How great would that have been? To get inside her head, see what she'd been through. I wanted to be shocked and horrified. I wanted to be as desperate for her liberation as she was. But as we didn't really get to know Annie until she free, I really wasn't too fussed either way. She was just a statistic to me, albeit one that gives really good head and has an alien tattoo on her ankle. Not really grounds for heartfelt emotional investment in a character.

"For five years, I've head on to this fantasy that I'd be rescued. I prayed for you, I've dreamt of you. I just knew you were sent for me. You are my only hope."

And then, once she was free, (which actually seemed like a pretty painless rescue mission to me... although I'm no expert on rescue missions, so y'know, I could be wrong) I really felt she got over the whole ordeal rather too quickly. Here is a girl who has been sold as a sex slave, passed from place to place, raped and violated repeatedly, been forced to engage in all kinds of unmentionable, unimaginable things at the hands of the absolute scum of society. She's been forcedly addicted to heroine, using the drugs to numb her pain and as the only form of release, she's lost the only friend she had whilst in captivity, lived in complete squalor, stripped of her identity... I mean, she's been in the epitome of living hell for five years. I'd imagine it is virtually impossible to fully recover from this kind of experience. And Annie kind of just slips back into society quite neatly, with the exception of some cold-turkey induced tantrums whilst she detoxes. I just felt like it would have been really fascinating if the author had explored the huge obstacles Annie had to face when returning back to America after such a traumatic ordeal. But she didn't.

"You aren't invisible - you're invincible."

Again, this was just one way that this book felt far too rushed. And then there was the ending which really took the biscuit... *looks shocked* I just felt like the author got a bit bored with writing and just went 'Ah, that'll do.' For me, it wasn't a satisfactory ending at all. Things with Annie and Pat moved waaaay too quickly, completely unrealistically, again there was no real climax and then... bish, bosh bash, The End. Ta daaaa. *jazz hands*
Erm, no. I wanted to get to know and love these characters. I'm reading this book because I want to know their story. I don't want a bullet point rendition of what happened to them. I want to know it all!
Patrick was okay. He was a bit up his own arse, though. He was very full of the whole 'I'm a Navy SEAL and we are the s***!' thing. He had commitment issues, trust issues, etc. at first, but then just completely forgot they even existed once the author decided she'd had enough of those. But overall, he was a good enough guy and he was pretty adept at saving his damsel in distress, although the guys guarding her didn't exactly seem up to the job. But then, didn't you know, SEALs are awesome badasses who can conquer anything and anyone... so maybe that's why. Who knows?!

'In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation's call.
A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.
Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America's finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.
I am that man.'

So, what there was of this book was okay. Could have been better, but it was alright. But there wasn't near enough character development, detail, action... anything really. The premise is fantastic, I so wanted to love this book. I thought it was going to rock my socks off! But the execution left so much to be desired in my opinion. I feel like I want to go to the author and go, great, now fill in the gaps and tell me the rest! What a shame.

Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?

'Invincible' Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending, but very abrupt.
• Length: 157 pages
• POV: Patrick's POV.
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Navy SEAL
Kidnap
Prostitution
• Writing: Fair

Review by Smitten's Book Blog
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2014 11:17 PM GMT


Unravel
Unravel

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 STARS FOR NAOMI, LACHLAN, MAX & LANA!, 12 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Unravel (Kindle Edition)
What a mind-f***! God, this is totally unlike anything I've ever read before...

4 STARS FOR NAOMI, LACHLAN, MAX & LANA!

This stand-alone novel begins by introducing us to Naomi, who has been admitted to a mental institution, by her family, against her will. Everybody thinks she is crazy, but Naomi knows that the things she sees and remembers aren't just in her head. She knows she isn't making it up. She knows she isn't insane. As Naomi continues her therapy sessions with her doctor, her story unfolds.

"Just remember that even the purest of souls have darkness in them. It might be hard to spot. Perhaps they've perfected the art of covering it from the world. Or maybe it's hidden in a dark corner of their mind. But it's there. No one in this world is scar free."

For a while with this book I was totally confused. And it frustrated me. I couldn't work out what was going on or how I was supposed to feel. It made me want to flick forward and find out what happened so that I didn't feel so completely in the dark. But I didn't. I stuck with it.

“Listen closely. Hang on to every word. But most of all, please believe me.”

However, I did guess the climax pretty early on. Once I'd guessed the plot twist, things became quite obvious and then, once again, I just felt like racing ahead and getting to the point. To see if I was right, to find out how it would all turn out, etc. I just wanted answers and it made me impatient. I do tend to be quite an impatient reader anyway and this book was not good for my impatience. Lol.
I think, one of the problems for me was that my tolerance for things that trigger our suspension of disbelief isn't very high. I can't read paranormal/urban fantasy novels because I just can't buy into them. I even have trouble with things like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Unless it's Disney (because Disney can do what it likes) I want it to be believable. I'm not necessarily a realist, because I have to have a happy ending, but I want to believe in what I'm reading! It's just the way I am. I can't switch that off. I have to be able to believe the things I'm reading, so the possibility that Naomi might have been sane and seeing the things she was claiming to see, hearing the voices she was claiming to hear, was just beyond what I could accept. So for me, there were two options, either Naomi was clinically insane and was hallucinating, or the book was a no-go.

'If anyone ever doubts whether madness exists, they only need to look right here. It drifts throughout every room. It slides down the sterile hallways and attaches itself to every patient, stripping them of their hope and covering them with despair.

The writing, though, is fantastic. I can totally appreciate how Calia Read drip fed the reader with clues, inferences and memories of Naomi's, gradually, unravelling the mystery! And I applaud her for an incredibly original, intriguing, suspenseful, well written, superbly developed novel.
This book is much more mystery/suspense than it is romance. There is a definite romance element and some very steamy sex scenes, but the focus of this book is Naomi's mental health and what has lead her to be sitting in a psychiatric facility. I didn't really feel like we got a chance to fall in love with either Max or Lachlan fully.

"Tell me what you're fighting and I'll fight with you," he whispers into my hair.

Of the two of them, I preferred the memories of Lachlan. I loved the flashbacks to her childhood and teenage years, where she and Lachlan were crossing the line from friendship to romantic interest.

"I'd do anything with you... for you... to you." He leans down; his eyes level with mine. "I'm thinking you have me under a spell."

I didn't feel much of a connection to Max at all. I felt that the flashbacks of him and Naomi were a little rushed, a little vague and slightly confusing. In hindsight, I get why, but at the time, again, it was something that frustrated me.
The ending was absolutely the best bit of this book. It was brilliantly executed and everything that I hoped it would be after Calia Read has lead on such a wild goose chase. It was emotive, gave you the answers you'd been craving but was just ambiguous enough to leave you reeling, even at the very end. And I have to say, despite all the times I felt frustrated with this book, and even though I'd guessed some of the mystery pretty early on, the ending made me want to go back to beginning and read it with fresh eyes all over again, now that I knew for certain what I knew. And even though I'd guessed right, it still made my head spin.

“I'll accept that in order to unravel my story, I need to be destroyed first.”

For those HEA junkies, like me, this book does have a fully resolved happy ending. Honestly, through most of the book you will wonder if that is even possible, but that is part of what makes the ending of this book so great. Calia Read takes a totally f***ed up situation and does the impossible by resolving it in a believable, satisfactory way!

“Life moves forward wether you're okay or not”

So, I'm in two minds with this book. Parts I loved, parts drove me mad, parts were a little slow... I've given it four stars, because it isn't quite a five star read, but it's brilliantly written and totally original. I love when an author throws something at me that I've never even imagined before, let alone already read. And that's exactly what Calia Read has done here. Very nicely done!

Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?

'Unravel' Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 362 pages
• POV: Naomi's POV.
• Narrative: First person. Present tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Mental health
• WARNING. This book includes...
Sexual content. Rape. Child abuse. Death. A very confusing situation...
• Writing: Great

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


Archer's Voice
Archer's Voice
by Mia Sheridan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.36

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 HUGE STARS FOR ARCHER & BREE!, 5 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Archer's Voice (Paperback)
Oh wow. Thank you to everybody who insisted, over and over, that I read this beautiful book!

5 HUGE STARS FOR ARCHER & BREE!

'You brought the silence,
The most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.'

Archer Hale is a mute. He is a recluse, a hermit, an odd-ball. The people of Pelion mostly ignore him, sometimes they whisper and he just keeps his head down and avoids the world outside of his home grounds as much as possible. But his back-story is a tragic one and his scars, internally and externally are raw and painful.
Bree Prescott is running away from her home, her memories, her loss. When she finds herself in the small, peaceful town of Pelion, she can’t help but be intrigued by the strange, unkempt silent man that is shrouded in mystery.

'I had never actually seen an eight-pack, but there it was, right in front of me. I guessed that even slightly strange, silent hermits weren’t exempt from exceptional physiques. Good for him.'

This story is absolutely stunning. I loved every second of it.
For those of you who, like me, haven’t read the rest of the 'Sign of Love' series, don’t let that deter you. This is a stand-alone novel and you absolutely do not need to read the other books first. However, having read this, I do definitely want to read more of Mia Sheridan’s work!
So many people have sent me the name of this book, recommending I read it, and I totally get why. It’s emotive, thought-provoking, beautiful, sweet, humorous, well written… just everything that a contemporary romance should be. I have a million and one quotes from this book that I want to share.
Bree is a brilliant protagonist. We learn very early on that she is running from some kind of trauma, and her home town of Ohio. But she is still brave and independent and trying to build a life for herself.
I loved that she was so great with Archer. She is curious and kind, yet persistent when he is really quite rude, initially. She isn’t deterred or offended, it just makes her curiouser. Bree is the kind of female lead I would want to be friends with. She is gentle and loyal, she isn’t dramatic or high-maintenance. She is just really nice and unassuming.

'I don’t know enough to dream you, Bree, but somehow you came true anyway.'

I loved her interactions with Archer, the way they communicate through sign language, the fact that despite Archer’s lack of voice, they still manage to develop their own little inside jokes, quips and idiosyncrasies.

‘What’s on your happy list?’

Archer. Oh, goodness. Where do I start?? Archer is a complex, deep, intelligent, character. I absolutely adored Archer Hale. Everything about him. There was nothing I would have changed about him. He fascinated me. I wanted to find out his story. And then as things began to unfold, I completely fell in love with him.

'I couldn’t have known that Archer Hale existed somewhere in this crazy world, and that he had been made just for me.
And in that moment, I knew. I was falling in love with the beautiful, silent man staring down at me. If I hadn’t already fallen.'

Things we take for granted were totally new and a huge deal for Archer, and I loved witnessing him discovering the real world.

'You’re here.
I’m here for you.'

Archer has had barely any contact with other people since he was a child, and so, obviously is very ‘inexperienced’. *wink-wink-nudge-nudge* And as things begin to develop between Archer and Bree my heart just melted entirely. He is so cute, and endearing beyond measure. I can’t even explain to you just how delightful some of the scenes in this book are, as Archer begins to learn how to be a man. I was grinning like a fool. Honestly, I just wanted to scoop him up and keep him in my pocket. He is a fantastic mix of masculine virility and intense vulnerability and naivety. Did I mention I loved him??? *hand heart*

'I felt him smile against my skin, but he didn’t raise his head and he didn’t attempt to move, his body laying half on me, and half on the bed so I wasn’t being crushed.
“Hey,” I said softly, “you alive there?”
I felt another slow grin against my neck and then he shook his head, no.
I laughed softly and his head came up, a sweet smile on his face.'

I absolutely adored this scene. ^^^
Bree is patient and sensitive as she teaches and guides him, and Archer is most certainly a fast learner. But the innocence of him is just deliriously charming.

'I’m in love with you to. I am so desperately in love with you. Is it enough, Bree?'

The sexual chemistry between these two will burn you right up! There are a couple of scenes that are just so sensual I thought I was going to have to put my Kindle down for a moment to compose myself. I think it’s because Archer is on such a journey of self-discover, or Bree-discovery, in some cases, lol. But something about the interactions between these two is just beyond sexy.

'He smiled back and put his lips against mine, mouthing, “I love you, too,” against my mouth, as if he was breathing love into my body.'

You can really feel the connection between Bree and Archer. I love books where you can just feel the palpable love between your two pain characters within every single word on the page. I love it when you can believe in that love and invest your heart and your mind in their story. That is definitely what you get with Archer’s Voice.

'I knew I loved her – fiercely and with every part of my heart, even the broken parts, even the parts that felt unworthy and without value. And maybe those parts most of all.'

As the story progresses, the author gradually drip feeds us small snippets of information from both Bree’s past and Archer’s. The book is well paced, the characters are well developed, the surrounding cast all play their parts and everything just comes together perfectly. The plot is unique, engaging and superbly executed. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s a story of reaching out, stepping outside of your comfort zone, running away from one thing and finding something beautiful in the process. Of understanding, of listening, of speaking the language of the heart.

“God, that’s sexy,” Melanie said. “It’s like you two are talking dirty right out in the open.”
Archer smiled over at her and I laughed. I shook my head. “Maybe you two should learn sign so you can join us.” I grinned.'

So, before I wrap this up, I just thought I’d reiterate, incase you didn’t catch it before…I LOVE Archer Hale. I love him to my bones. I love everything about him. I love that he is unsure, yet brave. I love that he is clueless, yet extremely intelligent. I love that he is terrified, yet strong. I love that he doesn’t know how to love, yet he loves Bree more than life itself. He is a walking dichotomy of the most delicious, irresistible kind and I highly recommend that you read this unforgettable book!

“It’s like, the second I saw him, my life started.”

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘Archer’s Voice’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 337 pages
• POV: Mostly Bree’s POV. Some chapters from Archer’s POV.
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes
• Reading Order:
- Book #1 - Leo (A Sign of Love, #1)
- Book #2 - Leo’s Chance
- Book #3 - Stinger (A Sign of Love, #3)
- Book #4 - Archer’s Voice
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Writing: Brilliant

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


THERAPY
THERAPY
Price: £2.40

4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 STARS FOR JESS, JACE & KINGSLEY!, 3 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: THERAPY (Kindle Edition)
Urgh. Right now, at the time of starting this review, I have no idea how to rate this book. It’s one of those where you want to give half of it 5 huge stars and the other half you’re absolutely furious with!
I’m going to go with 3.5. Because I couldn’t put it down, but there were issues that made me so damn mad and prevented me from giving it any higher! I’m gutted, but I was just so angry.

3.5 STARS FOR JESS, JACE & KINGSLEY!

'I’m no one. I barely exist.'

'Therapy' is Jessica Alexander’s story. Jess is a poorly girl. She struggles with every day life, she is bullied at school, she cuts to relieve her stress, she is premiscuous and uses sex to make men want her, she needs men to want her and like her, she craves love and attention, she’s needy and clingy… Her head is a mess.

“Needing someone to love me and want me has always driven me to the brink of madness.”

I don’t want to give too much away with this review, as you don’t get many details in the blurb, so basically, this book begins by following Jess through her final year in high school and her unlikely friendship with gorgeous, popular, star quarter-back, Jace Collins.
When circumstances force Jace and Jess apart, we flick forward to a point in Jess’s life where she is forced to face the reality of her mental health and attend therapy sessions.

“I’m so very tired of being held prisoner by my own mind.”

Enter Kingsley Arrington. And, coincidently, re-enter Jace! As Jess’s life is thrown into full-blown drama status, as if she didn’t already have enough going on, Jess battles with her love for both men. Both men represent different qualities and needs in her life and both men love her back.

Ok, I’m not going to tell you anymore, because I don’t want to ruin this story. It was absolutely nothing like I’d expected and I think the reading experience was all the more intense for that. So I’m not going to give you any more.
However, I will tell you a little more about the characters, the feel of the book, the writing, etc. And there really are so many dimensions to this book.
S***balls. This was a heavy read. In the back of the book, I read that author, Kathryn Perez, has written this book from her own experiences with mental health, self harm and therapy. Wow, if that didn’t make it all the more emotive! This isn’t some fluffy representation of mental illness. This is the real deal. And it’s hard hitting.

'I hate myself most of all because no matter how strong I try to be, I know the truth. I’m weak. I’m f***ing dirty. I’m used up. And no man will ever love me, because I hate me.'

Jessica is such a complex and honest character. Many of our heroines are almost prudish in their hesitancy to have sex or be in a relationship. And even when we come across a heroine who sleeps around some, it’s often all in the name of independence and doing what she wants to do. Jess is different. She completely admits to sleeping with men because it’s what they want, because it’s what you have to do to make boys like you.

'Guys want it, and if you don’t give it to them, they don’t want you. I want him to want me, so sex is necessary. I just want to be loved.'

Jess is bullied at school by Jenson High School’s very own mean girls! At school she is timid, silent and tries her best to be invisible. Yet there is this fire in her, this bravery and this defensiveness that gives her a sharp tongue.
The bullying is excruciating to read. It’s graphic and uncompromising and it does extend to physical violence, so there might be some of you out there who won’t deal well with that.

'Their weapons aren’t illegal, yet they cut me deeper than a blade ever could.'

Jessica’s friendship with Jace is perfect. I loved watching them grow closer and I loved his caring, protective side. I loved that he was confident enough that he didn’t care what the others thought of him.

“You’re worth more than you think. You just have to believe that; then everyone else will too.”

I loved high-school Jace and since I’d read a couple of reviews telling me this was going to have two lead males, by 50% when we’d still not met Kingsley, I was convinced that I was going to be totally Team Jace and that nobody was going to change my mind.

“Jessica, falling in love can’t always be a happily ever after or a once in a lifetime kind of story.”

However, I wasn’t! I have to say, I was Team Kingsley. Again, I really can’t tell you too much, but I loved Kingsley!!! He is pure and strong and sure of his feelings. I just adored everything about him, from his shirtless guitar playing, to his Harley, to his caramel banana waffle cooking skills! Kingsley, to me, represented the perfectionthat Jess had always been searching for in life. The unconditional love, the friendship despite her flaws, her mistakes, her mood swings and her vulnerability.

“You deserve a man who falls in love with your mind, wants to undress your very conscience, and make love to your every single thought. You deserve a man who wants to see you slowly let down every wall you’ve ever built up. You deserve a man that will work hard for you until you let him inside your heart.”

And as for adult Jace… well, when compared to Kingsley I kind of felt that he just continually fell short. I felt like he wasn’t as patient with Jess as he could have been, especially as he had a real understanding for her mental health and her personality disorder. He stressed her out, he made things worse and more confusing, he wasn’t cautious and patient. He wasn’t strong enough to fight for her and stand up for his love for her. He was reckless and passed judgement. He really disappointed me.

“I belong to you, Jess. My heart has belonged to you since I scooped you up off the ground over six years ago. That has never changed.”

But there were times when I couldn’t help but pine for the love that Jess and Jace had shared as teenagers. And, it was clear, to me, that Jace had his own deep seated issues and needed help dealing with those. Jace is a people pleaser and a fixer, he takes it upon himself to keep everyone around him happy and to make sure everything is fixed and okay. So, in that respect I felt for him and a part of me was rooting for the Jess and Jace we knew in the first half of the book.

“Let me go, Jace,” she says quietly.
“I don’t know how.”

And then there was the curve-ball at 86%! Oh. My. Christ! What the hell? So, because of this curve-ball, some of you will not want to read this book. In fact, if I’d known this was coming, I wouldn’t have read it. It’s something I try to steer clear of and one of the reasons I’ve turned down a few books for reviewing. So, if you have issues, like me, about not knowing who your hero is most of the way through the book… and if you like your happy endings 100% happy, with unicorns and rainbows to boot, send me a private message and I will try to explain further. I can’t put much more on this review without including spoilers. But just know that this curve ball is what changed this book from 5 stars to 3.5 stars, for me.

“Accepting the ugly part of life is just part of living. Pain tells us we are still here; it lets us know we’ve survived. When you really think about it, pain can free you, because without pain there is no pleasure in anything.”

However, if it weren’t for the stunning writing, I probably wouldn’t have given this book a rating at all. So all of that said, this book was superbly written and absolutely gripping. I’m totally gutted about the ‘curve-ball’ and really wish I could give this more, because for the most part, I loved it! Kathryn Perez is an extremely gifted author and I will definitely be looking into her other titles. I highlighted so many quotes throughout 'Therapy' because the writing was just so thought-provoking and so moving.

'Everyone is struggling with something.'

However, there a few things I need from my books… the first is a happy ending. And I mean a happy ending that I love, that I’ve been rooting for, that makes the heart-break worthwhile and that makes me melt and grin like an idiot when I close the book for the final time. Therapy does have a happy-ish ending. The ending is happy in the way that it eludes to hope and a positive future for the characters. And it suggests that Jessica will find the love she has always wished for and is dealing with her mental health. But it isn’t the ending I was hoping for.
The second thing I always need is to know who I am supposed to fall in love with. I don’t mind love triangles, but only if it’s obvious who I’m supposed to be championing. I don’t want to be made to fall in love with someone, only to have them not win out in the end. In this book, I fell in love with two men, so it was always going to end in tears, for me.

'We don’t meet people by accident. They’re meant to cross out path for a reason.'

As you can tell, I’m conflicted over this book. Some of you will love this, some of you won’t. Part of me loves it and bows down to Kathryn Perez for a beautifully written, highly emotional, gripping, honest account of somebody living with the traumas of mental health issues. However, I just can’t get passed the things that broke my heart and ultimately, left it broken.

Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?

‘Therapy’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending-ish
• Length: 386 pages
• POV: Alternates between Jessica, Jace & Kingsley.
• Narrative: First person. Present tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Mental health
Self harm
• WARNING. This book includes…
Self harm. Suicide attempts. Abortion. Violent bullying.
Alcohol abuse. Death. Sexual content.
• Writing: Great

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


Only For You
Only For You
Price: £4.11

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 STARS FOR EVERLEIGH & HUNTER!, 28 Feb 2014
This review is from: Only For You (Kindle Edition)
An enjoyable mix of romance, friendship and mystery.

4 STARS FOR EVERLEIGH & HUNTER!

'Only For You' is the story of two young girls, fearing for their lives and their safety as their university is plagued by a series of mystery attacks on female students, which later escalate to murders.
The first week of the new semester, Everleigh Carsen and her best friend, Sam, decide to take self defence classes to equip themselves as best as possible against the unknown attacker. Of course, the instructor, Hunter Charles, happens to be drop-dead-gorgeous, fluent in four languages, a martial arts master, muscle bound and annoyingly, irresistibly perfect.
After an embarrassing first encounter Everleigh plans to steer clear of the sexy, but irritating Hunter, but fate has other plans when he turns up in most of her classes. However, as the semester progresses, Hunter and Everleigh form an unlikely friendship.

“What man can quote a scene from the 1939 film classic? That does not happen in real life, hell, it doesn’t even happen in books. I halted hastily in the middle of the parking lot. Of course—it was obvious as a hooker at a debutant ball — Hunter. Was. Gay.”

Their friendship is funny and delightful to witness. They form a close bond and soon become inseparable and an integral part in each other’s lives, despite Everleigh’s misguided assumptions, which couldn’t be more off base. Which, I have to say, I found very comical.

“There would be benefits to finally having a gay bestie. Think of the pointers and insight he could provide on blowjob techniques alone.”

But as the attacks on the female members of Hensley University student body increase in numbers and brutality, Hunter tries his hardest to protect Everleigh and before long they can no longer deny their connection, as their feelings rapidly develop into more than just friendship.
This is a great debut from Genna Rulon. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters. I have two main bug bears, that prevented me from doling out a full five stars, but didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the book.
The first was the wordy writing style. It was so formal and at times, convoluted, whereas I tend to prefer a more colloquial, easy narrative and dialogue. I felt that it often made the book feel too stilted, the conversations too proper. I felt that I wanted the characters to relax and not sound like they were throwing up a thesaurus every time they engaged in conversation. I don’t know all that many men, in their twenties, with the vocabulary of an Oxford Dictionary.
My second niggle was the lack of romance. Hmm… but that doesn’t seem like quite the right explanation, because there is a huge romantic element to this story. The relationship between Everleigh and Hunter started off well. There was the obligatory, humorous annoyance in their first few encounters. Then there was the bantering, the flirting, the thawing of the hard, icy, outer façade, the evolution of friendship, and so on and so forth. And they do get their happy ever after.

“I already knew, for me there is only you. No matter what happened between us in the future, it would only ever be you. I was made for you – only for you.”

But there was a section of the book where either Everleigh or Hunter were busy and couldn’t see one another, they were grasping at the occasional hour together here and there, at lunch or in class, and I found it really frustrating! I was craving a sexually charged dance scene at the club they frequented, or a tension filled night in front of the television, as they denied the depths of their feeling for one another and flirted with that fine line between friendship and something more. But it never came.

“Some people believe the strongest will cling through the storm with steadfast determination never wavering, but sometimes the strength is in letting go.”

Having said that, the banter between Hunter and Everleigh was great. I really enjoyed their little verbal battle to win the upper hand over the other. I enjoyed seeing their personalities being drawn out by one another and the natural progression from annoyance, to friendship, to more. Watching two intelligent, witty, confident individuals trying to get the better of one another was very amusing.

'You can’t discuss your third leg with a person, then pretend they are a stranger.'

But then, when they did get together, it was kind of quick and ‘fade to black’, which, after having been so frustrated with them before hand, was exasperating.
So, I did feel that the main focus of this story was on the mystery element of the plot and also the theme of friendship. I loved the friendship between Everleigh and Sam. They really are the sisters that each of them never had. Everleigh has no other family, so Sam is everything she has. And while Sam has family, a very wealthy family, they are there physically, but not so much emotionally. So both of the girls find what they are missing, in one another. This book really delves into the value of a close companionship, a sisterhood and the support, emotionally, physically and in every other way possible, that such a friendship can offer.

“You better enjoy new boyfriend sex because it is soon to be replaced by new fiancé sex quickly followed by new husband sex; mark my words. I may be crazy now, but I’m not clueless.”

So let’s talk about the main characters. I really liked Everleigh. I wasn’t sure I was going to at first. Again, I think it might have been the formal narrative. But I definitely warmed to her as our protagonist. She’s sassy, confident and down-to-earth. I liked that she didn’t take any BS and that whilst she wasn’t in denial about her feelings for Hunter, she was realistic and remained independent, too.

“That’s the complication. We are both insanely attracted to each other. We have chemistry that is off the charts. We are best friends, we understand and trust each other, and we are both single.”

Hunter is great too. It’s clear from the beginning that there is more to Hunter Charles than meets the eye, but he is a strong, protective, reliable hero that is easy to fall in love with. And the mystery around him makes him all the more intriguing. I do feel like with the way the culmination of Everleigh and Hunter’s relationship felt a little glossed over, the author missed out on allowing us to get to know Hunter a little more. That air of mystery and secrecy I felt he adopted throughout most of the book, I kind of never really felt that he shed that. I feel like I still don’t really know Hunter Charles as well as I’d have liked.

'I had found what most spent their lives searching for in countless partners and endless relationships. He was the missing piece, complementing and completing me. My love for him was boundless and infinite – eternal. And I wanted him forever.'

I have to say, for me, I thought the outcome of the mystery thread of this book was a little bit predictable, but perhaps it was just a case of once you’ve guessed it, you pick up on all the clues and can’t ignore it. I don’t know. See what you think. I still really enjoyed the build up, the twists and turns, the surprises and the drama. And I think that everything that happened in book #1 is a great foundation for the second book. I really look forward to reading 'Pieces for You' (For You, #2). I’m definitely excited to read more of Griffin and I’m hoping we get some more Hunter, too.

Whilst there are some dark issues dealt with in this book, I have to say that it didn’t rip my heart out or leave me in tears. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I really did. But it just didn’t move me, emotionally. It was a nice, fairly well paced, read, with likeable characters, a nice dose of thriller/drama and a good premise for the second book in the series. I certainly look forward to more.

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘Only For You’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 390 pages
• POV: Everleigh’s POV
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes
• Reading Order:
- Book #1 - Only for You (For You, #1)
- Book #1.5 - Ever for You (For You, #1.5)
- Book #2 - Pieces for You (For You, #2)
- Book #3 - Temper for You (For You #3)
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• WARNING. This book includes…
Rape. Violence. Murder.
• Writing: Good

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


A Different Blue
A Different Blue
by Amy Harmon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.58

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 STARS FOR BLUE & WILSON!, 25 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Different Blue (Paperback)
As much a story of self discovery as it is a romance novel. In fact, maybe even more so.

4 STARS FOR BLUE & WILSON!

‘Once upon a time… there was a little blackbird, pushed from the nest. Unwanted. Discarded.’

'A Different Blue' is the story of Blue Echohawk. Blue was abandoned when she was two years old and left in the care of an old native American man who, for many years, she believed to be her father.
As a nineteen year old Blue is defensive, snarky and bitchy. She hides behind her abrasive attitude in order to hide, or perhaps pretend, who she really is. She is acutely aware of her innate sexuality and she uses it to her advantage, wearing skin tight jeans, too much make up and very little else.
When she meets her new history professor Mr. Darcy Wilson, Blue can’t deny his good looks, but she is as difficult a student for him as she is for all of her other teachers. Yet Wilson seems determined to break through Blue’s façade.

'I’m nobody! Who are you?'

For me, sadly, this book didn’t have anywhere near enough romance. Like I said, this is more a story of Blue’s journey of self discovery. And Wilson is just one part of that. I kept waiting for things to happen between them and I felt we were teetering on that ledge and just never really completely fell over it.
Having said that, the relationship between Blue and Wilson was heart-warming and intriguing. It all begins when a series of events force them to explore and unlikely and slightly taboo friendship. There is no forbidden teacher/student romance in this book. Blue and Wilson do not come together, romantically until after Blue has graduated. I enjoyed the way their interaction began and then progressed. They found something in one another that they each needed, that called to them. The mutual attraction is clear, to the reader, from the beginning. And the anticipation is what makes this relationship so fascinating. I loved all of that, I just wish the author had delved a little deeper into a) the tension between the two of them and b) the actual romance once things did unfurl between them. I wanted more of ‘Blue and Wilson’ after having waited so long for them to happen.

“You’ve been through so much. And I am half mad over you. I don’t think you are ready for the way I feel.”

But romance was definitely over shadowed by Blue’s journey, here. Blue is a great protagonist. I always love when our female lead is bitchy and mean initially, and then we gradually see the softer side as the story progresses and the cracks in her armour appear. And that was exactly what happened with Blue. Circumstances force Blue to evaluate her life, her attitude, her choices and her future and the result is really quite emotive and, at times, incredibly moving.

'I was scarred but I was not broken. Beneath my wounds I was still whole. Beneath my insecurities, beneath my pain, beneath my struggle, beneath it all, I was still whole.'

Blue has had a tough life, never really knowing where she belonged, who she was, where she came from. And when I say she doesn’t know who she is, I mean it in the most literal sense. Blue Echohawk isn’t her real name. These unknowns have made her closed, hard and self-preserving. But as she begins to look further into her past, into her self, she starts to find peace and acceptance. Her confidence grows, she forges a future for herself and she lets go of a lot of her anger.

“You may call me Wilson. Except when you are late or disrespectful, in which case I would appreciate the Mr,” he finished mildly.
“Well in that case, I guess I’d better stick to Mr. Wilson then. Because I’m usually late, and I’m always disrespectful.” I smiled back sweetly.
Mr. Wilson shrugged. “We’ll see.”

Wilson is a dream. The kooky, sexy, geeky, British professor. He’s young, perceptive, well educated, super intelligent and he’s got Blue’s card marked from early on.

“And I love you… most ardently.”
“Pride and Prejudice?”
“How did you know?”
“I have a thing for Mr. Darcy.”

However, I really did feel that he played the role of more of a father figure than a lover, throughout most of the book, which I found kind of uncomfortable. He is dependable, protective, reliable and sweet. He isn’t going to beat up other guys for looking at Blue. He isn’t going to try to control her or follow her around like a stalker. Wilson is classy and unassuming. But I did want him to have more balls about him. I wanted to tell him to man up and take what he wanted… which was Blue. When he eventually went after Blue I was cheering and whooping, ‘Go on Wilson!’ And don’t you just think every man who loves a woman should introduce themselves like this…

“Hullo. I’m Darcy Wilson, but everyone calls me Wilson. I’m in love with Blue.”

As a fellow Brit, I loved the Briticism. Some are a little far fetched; I don’t think I’ve ever referred to as being ‘brassed off‘ before, lol, and there certainly is as much of a language barrier between the Brits and the Americans as Wilson would have you believe. But nevertheless, his little rant about the language in ‘Blighty’ did make me laugh.

“It’s a cello, you ninny.”
“Don’t say ninny. You sound bloody ridiculous.”
“All right then. Don’t say bloody. Americans sound foolish when they say bloody. The accent is all wrong.”

Blue was raised by a Native American named Jimmy Echohawk. I loved this relationship. I loved how much Blue doted on Jimmy. Jimmy was clearly a man of very few words, choosing to grunt and opt for silence whilst a young Blue babbled on regardless. Yet he obviously taught Blue some very valuable lessons and she hung every one of the few words of wisdom he did choose to impart. I once heard a saying that there is no love as pure as the love between a daughter and her father, and that really comes across in the love between Jimmy and Blue, despite the fact that he is not her biological father. He is her Daddy in every sense of the word. In every way that matters.

“Some people are destined to be alone. Jimmy seemed to be one of those people. Maybe I am too, whether I like it or not.”

'A Different Blue' will keep you guessing until the very end. There are no action/drama type scenes of car chases of kidnappings in this book, but there are subtle and thought provoking plot twists that will surprise you and keep you on your toes.

This story isn’t idealised and romanticised, for want of a better word. Things aren’t all wrapped up with a cute little romance-novel bow, like we are often spoilt with. There are things that are left unsaid, some questions with answers left open to interpretation and there are resolutions that are far from perfect. But I really liked that about the book. There were situations which you could feel, as you were reading, had no real perfect answer. But the characters navigated and coped with these circumstances as best they could and gained all the more respect from me, as the reader, for doing so.

“Why don’t you focus on where you’re going and less on where you came from?”

As with 'Making Faces', there is no sex in this book. Blue isn’t the innocent young girl that Fern from 'MF' is, and she is sexually active, but we don’t witness any of her encounters. The most we get is a couple of make out sessions between Wilson and Blue. To be honest, in 'Making Faces' I really felt like it didn’t lose anything at all by not including any sexual content, in fact, I felt that the depth of feeling within that book and the air of innocence surrounding Fern leant itself to the purity of a story with no sex scenes. But with 'A Different Blue', I didn’t feel the same. Blue is a promiscuous, sexual young woman, exploring her sexuality, using sex to fulfil a part of herself that is missing, to reap affection from men, to feel wanted, to forget her troubles, etc. and I felt like the author could have explored this with Blue. I also think that exploring a sexual relationship between Wilson and Blue could have been incredibly emotional and profound, especially after it took them such a long time to arrive at a place where they felt they could pursue one another romantically.

“You’re wrong about one thing, though. Girls like me notice guys like you. We just don’t think we deserve them.”

I absolutely love Amy’s writing. I’ve had this book on my Kindle for ages now and after reading 'Making Faces' I knew I had to read 'A Different Blue' as soon as possible. And whilst I was as enamoured with the plot as I was with 'Making Faces', Amy Harmon’s style of writing was still gorgeous! She definitely has a gift for drawing you in and submerging you totally in the lives of her characters. You can really feel everything about her books.

I can’t wait to read more of her work. My only wish would be that I just hope that she offers a little more romance next time.

Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?

‘A Different Blue' Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥
• Ending: HEA
• Length: 454 pages
• Setting: Boulder City, Nevada
• Narrative: Blue’s POV. First person. Past tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Self discovery
• Writing: Great

Review by Smitten's Book Blog


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