How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore

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Blurb: 

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do–through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change–but it’s impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne’s war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won’t go down without a fight–not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what’s left of herself.

Goodreads: 

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Buy Links: 

amazon

kobo

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“There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”

My, my, my….. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. This book was on a next level. Like another plane. Dear Lord I pray I was not this viscous in high school. This book should be the hand out of What Not To Do and How Not To Act and What Does Obsession Mean To You.

I got Devore’d this weekend. I devoured both her books in a mere sitting. She writes these books where you’re really not sure if you like any of her MCs and wonder how the hell, and what the hell and WTF moments. If you read for puppies and rainbows these books probably aren’t for you. There is romance. Its just not conventional? Its not virgins and billionaires. Its snotty ass teenagers that have a mean streak a mile wide. Its girls that use sex as a weapon. Its boys that sleep with your BFF to get your attention. Its your BFF sleeping with your boy cause she can’t take the attention that you get. What the hell happened to the girl code yo?????

There is death and anxiety and LGBT issues and small town mentality. There is football and cheerleaders and its straight up some Mean Girls for your pleasure.

I didn’t have a playlist for this one cause honestly I don’t have any songs that are as mean as the characters in this book.

It was a ride that I 100% enjoyed.

Mare~

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Filed under LGBT, Mare's Review, YA

Winner Take All by Laurie Devore

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Blurb:

For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.

Goodreads:

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Buy Links:

amazon

kobo

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Sometimes I read books and can’t help but make playlists to go with them. Sometimes I read epic books and sometimes they are just… ok.

This book is my 1st 5 star of 2018.

This book was soooo fucked yo!

This book was all this….

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Yellow diamonds in the light I was standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive 

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It’s the way I’m feeling, I just can’t deny
But I’ve gotta let it go

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I could do this review in all Rihanna Gifs but I won’t. If you want to full effect of how the book will make you feel watch the video on YouTube.

This is not your typical YA love story. This was cutting, sharp, toxic and unputdownable. This broached a lot of different issues, from anxiety, to drugs to drinking to self sabotage.     Throughout the whole book I didn’t know whether I liked the MCs, if I liked the secondary characters, if I liked anyone at all.

BUT! Laurie Devore wrote this book so freaking good that I just did not want to stop reading and “We Found Love” was on a constant repeat in my head because that toxic burn of knowing something isn’t good or right for you and wanting it anyway?

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As a mom of a teen I pray to God my daughter does not have this kind of savage drive to best someone. But she is my mini me so I can’t guarantee that won’t happen. But not anywhere close to Nell.

And my worst nightmare is being like Nell’s mom. Or making my daughter feel like how Nell felt. I don’t want perfection, I just want someone who knows right and wrong, left from right, north to south. I don’t want my mini me to ever feel like she has to slip some pills or worry about the boy she’s dating cause I would hate him. I mean I might right? God lets pray that doesn’t happen LOL. But not because he’s a rich privileged white kid. He was born into that.

I won’t try to make her decisions for her though.

As a mom I don’t want a toxic relationship for my kids. But as a mom who was a teen I know all about toxic love and maybe just maybe this is why I couldn’t wait to see how it ended and then I didn’t want it to end because then it would just be the end….

As a blogger it really sucks when you can’t formulate into words how great you thought a book was. All you can do is make your friends read it and then make your friend’s friends read it. And then you know, those friends, they your people.

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Mare~

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Filed under A Must Read, Mare's Review, YA

On the Edge of Scandal (Snow & Ice Games, Book 3), by Tamsen Parker

 

Blurb:

Bronwyn Perry is the star of the US women’s hockey team, and she and her boyfriend Brody Hill have been hockey royalty since they’ve been in high school. Brody unexpectedly fails to make the men’s team but still comes to Denver to support his girl at the Snow and Ice Games. Or so Bronwyn thinks.

Ash Levenson is the coach of the women’s SIG hockey team. His primary responsibility is to keep his team happy, healthy, and primed to win. Though he’s close in age to his players, he’s been doing this for a while and mostly, it’s easy to keep his eyes on the puck. He’s always been able to discard any crush he might have on any of the women he’s coached…until Bronwyn.

When Bronwyn and Brody’s romance comes to a very public and very ugly end, Ash has to get his star player’s head back in the game and ready to dominate on the rink. Which may mean spending a little time off the ice…

Buy Links:

AMAZON

kobo

Published:

February 6, 2018
St. Martin’s Press

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This started out really great. A story that builds on the the development of the characters is almost always going to win me over. The character build up for coach Ash Levenson is really solid. I felt like I had a good handle on who he was, where his feelings were coming from, and I really saw the affection he had for Bronwyn. The same could be said for Bronwyn, but not at the same level. With Bronwyn, I felt like I started to understand her, only to be infuriated by her decisions. 

Bronwyn is a really strong female character, excellent hockey player, with a great personality… when she’s not second guessing herself or hanging around her boyfriend. The times where she’s strong are counterbalanced by the times she’s really not, and when she looses confidence in herself she becomes this other person all together. And honestly, to me, she read as really immature and childish at times. The more I read, the more I started to dislike her. It was like I had this instant affection towards her, only to have it turn around rapidly.

And speaking of her boyfriend… for someone who comes off as strong willed, sure of herself in almost all things, and a fierce competitor, I could not figure out why she put up with so much shit from that dude. Yes, they’d been together for a really long time, since both were really young, but how she was able to be so independent and amazing in every other aspect of her life, and then let him walk all over her, belittle her, and treat her like shit was beyond me. This made it even harder for me to connect with her.

The times when I really disliked Bronwyn were when she’d talk about how Ash was not her type, not the greatest looking guy, yet something made her want to “board that train”. When Bronwyn and Ash do get intimate, it really felt like he was using him. And in reality, she was at first. She had no idea of his true feelings, and that’s not her fault, but the way she comes off in her POV really rubbed the wrong way. The way things start between these two didn’t sit well with me.

BUT! All of that was this back of my mind, simmering dislike for some things. For the rest of it, I found the story good. I liked the way Ash is so passionate about the way he coaches, how the women on the team play, that he is a positive coach for them, and his dedication to them. I wished there was more hockey in the book because those couple of times we get them on the ice were really fun. And while Bronwyn ends one long lasting relationship and dives head first into another the very next day without even realizing it, finding love after only a couple of weeks, I appreciated that Ash had this long budding crush on her. It helps the insta-insta love aspect of their story go down easier.

All in all I suppose this was not my favorite of the series, at least I don’t think, but it’s not my least favorite either.

~kristie

 

 

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The Upside to Being Single by Emma Hart

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Blurb: 

If anyone asks, I knew better than to flash my boobs for Mardi Gras beads.

I still don’t know why I did it.
Maybe it was the dare from my two best friends.
Maybe it was the guys on the balcony saying they’d throw Fireball shots with the beads.
Or maybe it was the quiet guy in the corner of that same balcony with piercing gray eyes, wavy dark hair, and a smile so tempting I wanted to climb up there and lick it off his face.
Maybe it was because I never thought I’d see them again.
Not that it matters. Not today.
Because the hotel I manage was finally bought—and the guy who walks in and introduces himself as my new boss is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent.

There are many upsides to being single.
Your new boss knowing what your boobs look like?
Not one of them.

(THE UPSIDE TO BEING SINGLE is a standalone, romantic comedy from the author who brought you MISS FIX-IT and BEING BROOKE.)

Buy Links: 

amazon

kobo

Publish Date: 

Published January 30th 2018

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This book is probably not the best book to be my 1st review of 2018.

But alas, we can’t win them all they say.

Now don’t get me wrong, The Upside to Being Single definitely had great perks about it otherwise I never would have finished it.  It was funny, there was no angst, there was no woman hating shaming, there was 2 people getting to know each other and like each other. The other plus was that it took up to 95% before the 2 MCs had sex. I know lots of people need sex in their romance novels. I really really don’t! Personally I prefer sexual tension and the feelings that are associated with the struggle and the lust. The I want you so fucking bad I’m gonna go out of my mind. Those are the best kind of stories for me.

So now why was it just ok? I prefer more of a show don’t tell. I need to feel the feelings that are coming off the pages and honestly I just didn’t with this book.

Also this book needed to be edited. I don’t have a problem with spelling mistakes because I am able to get the gist of the story but this one missed words and some sentence structure was messed up. I still was able to finish it so it wasn’t that bad…

In essence I liked the blurb way more than I loved the story.

And I will read book 2 cause even though its a stand alone the 2 best friends look to be getting a story.

~Mare

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Filed under Mare's Review, NA romance, Standalone

Zero Hour (Wired & Dangerous, Book 1), by Megan Erickson

 

Blurb:

The Fast and the Furious meets Mr. Robot in USA Today bestselling author Megan Erickson’s sexy new romantic suspense series.

Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour – each breath – to avenge his brother’s murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They’re all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past … and she’s the wild card he can’t control.

Roarke might still think she’s a kid, but Wren’s been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her – especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.

Buy Links:

AMAZON

kobo

Published:

January 30, 2018
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

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When I got this, I knew I’d like it because it’s Megan Erickson. She’s just a great storyteller, you know? What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d love it. And I’m not surprised so much as really fucking pleased.

Zero Hour has this exciting thriller/mystery/revenge plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was difficult to put down as each chapter lead into the next, leaving me wondering what the heck was going to happen to my heroes, how they were going to get out of the mess they were in, and when we might get Jock’s book. Well, as it happens, I know that Jock’s book is next in this series, and I could not be more excited. As for the rest? Lets just say that yea, they get into it. Really into it. The problem is, it’s never just hacking that needs to happen. Sometimes, to do a a job, you need to actually talk to the bad guys in person, go undercover, plant a virus, and do other various highly illegal or suspicious things. So this team of hackers not only need to know their way around a computer, they need to be willing to go all out.

All out is what this team does best. Sort of… I mean, they’re not perfect. They really are hackers first, so all of those things that also need to happen don’t come easily and problems pop up. So one of the things I absolutely loved about this book is the fact that they make mistakes, they get out of situations by the skin of their teeth, and not everything runs smoothly.

Another thing I loved, loved, loved, is the balance between action/hacking/romance. Because in all honesty, at its heart, Zero Hour is a romance novel too. Erickson does a great job of keeping the romance in balance with everything else, giving readers a chance to take a breath, just not too long of one, before the next batch of action takes place. And these characters, Wren and Roarke, they are really well developed. Past history is clearly and succinctly explained, lending to the way the romance plays out. So when these two are having all the feels, and trying to deny them, it feels right. Having the history so well laid out made for a more believable connection. They’re also seriously hot together. Steaming. Add in the rest of the team, all of whom have interesting backgrounds I’m wanting to explore, and I’m a happy camper. Wren and Roarke also butt heads… a lot. But my dude seriously has a boundaries problem and when he oversteps them, he really oversteps them. Having Wren put him in his place was a thing of beauty.

Speaking of the team… Not only does Jock, new love of my life, get the next book, but also coming will be Erick, Wren’s brother. His story is one I’m also very excited for based on all the information we learn in Zero Hour. To say I have a bunch of theories about how his book will play out is an understatement. I’m also crossing my fingers that other team members Marisol and Dade get their own book(s). They’re both mysterious and compelling, so help me convince all who need to be convinced to make this happen, would you?

To close, I loved this book, in case you couldn’t tell. This was a lot of fun to read and I’m adding this to my reread rotation.

Cheers Megan! You knocked this one out of the park.

~kristie

 

 

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HeartOn (Full Hearts Book 2), by Amy Jo Cousins

 

Blurb:


When an injury sidelines NFL player Deion McCaskill—maybe permanently—he heads to Miami to stay with an old college teammate and his boyfriend. He packs his tailor-made suits, anxiety about the future, and the bisexuality he’s ignored for years because it didn’t fit with his drive to succeed at football’s most elite levels.

Set designer Carlos Kelly has always known he’s bi, but dating women is easier than making waves with his Puerto Rican/Irish Catholic family. His friends and coworkers from the theater community might be almost entirely on the rainbow spectrum, but Carlos keeps things simple. Except for this heat that keeps flaring between him and the hot football player visiting his best friend.

Two weeks. Two guys who’ve never explored their bisexuality before and don’t plan on coming out, ever. One promise to let each other try out every fantasy they’ve ever had. Zero feelings involved.

At least, that was the plan. . .

Buy Links:

AMAZON

kobo

Published:

January 25, 2018
Self Published

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Oh, how I’ve missed the words from Amy Jo Cousins...She just knows how to melt my cold, black heart.

In HeartOn, book two in the Full Hearts series, my heart melted, I swooned a little, and I’m pretty sure I told my husband to go away while reading. I mean, when there is a book in my hand, that means DO NOT DISTURB. And no, I did not want to be disturbed while reading this. Why? Well, because HeartOn is simply delightful.

In this story about coming out, self discovery, love and friendship, I found that I was immediately absorbed. I fell in love with Deion and Carlos right from the start. Having met each of them in book one of this series, HeartShip, I had a little bit of a feel for them, but I didn’t *know* them. Now that I do, I find myself wanting to know more. I feel like there should be a check in some time soon. Only because I just want to know that these guys are happy, not because they don’t get their HEA. They totally get that. But do you know that feeling you get when you fall really hard for a couple, and you don’t want to let them go? That was me with Carlos and Deion.

Things I really loved… realism when discussing the mechanics of anal sex. Yea, that’s a thing to talk about. I appreciated the frankness each character had with each other regarding all topics, but especially sex and their expectations in their not really a relationship. I liked the respect they each had for for one another and their friends, and how their friends just let them be without all the pushing. When it came to each characters individual issues and struggles with coming out as bisexual, I’d hoped for a little bit more… at first. But to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t have to go through all of the repercussions. Those that there were had already been enough. Any more would have resulted in a change to the overall feel of the story. I like that Amy Jo kept it light and happy.

If you have not read HeartShip, it’s not necessary for this book but would really add to the “heart” of it all. Part of that heart comes from Benji and Josh. While they don’t take a large amount of page time, their presence is solid and a important. And lets face it, checking in with them is a total joy.

If you, like me, want to read something sweet and a little bit angsty, but a whole lot of fun, pick up HeartOn.

~kristie

 

 

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The Best of 2017

I’m about 9 days late but alas it was a very busy time.

It was a time of good cheer, family, food, merriment and more food.

If you’re like me its also about books 🙂

2017 was a rough start personally for me and books. It was a fight to find a good book and then I did and then I didn’t and then I did. I love how as a reader we are able to think we will stick to 1 genre and then you start reading something that you normally wouldn’t and you find the upmost joy and wonder what rock you were hiding under and what ever possessed you to think you should only read 1 genre all the time!

I had a wonderful time this year reading YA books. I say it over and over again that YA and I is a mixed bag of love and hate. I love to hate it and I hate to love it. I just sometimes feel… yucky? weird? I don’t know but this stupid notion that a grown woman should not find so much pleasure in teenage romance. HA.  I also fell in love with Thrillers! GAH!!!!!!!!!!! Suspense and gore! Give me more!

2017 was also about re-reading my favorites. There is something so comfortable about spending time with your favorite characters. Its like sitting beside a fire, with a coffee, wearing your reading socks, cozy blanket… you are just wrapped up in warmth!

With that said, here are my fav’s for 2017 and you can check out my review by clicking on the pic.

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Unstrung by Laura Spinella

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Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

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Vicious by L.J Shen

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The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

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Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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4: 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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3:

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Honorable mentions to my fav’s that I can read over and over and over again and never get bored!

 

Mare~

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