Month: September 2014

Out in the Open

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4 Coming Out Stars

For Ethan, college is a fresh start, making friends, and being social. He’s openly gay, but hasn’t found that someone special.

Ethan has two men currently occupying time in his life. Preston, his openly gay and effortlessly sexy friend who unfortunately just started dating someone, and the campus ladies man/rich frat boy Greg.

Greg sits next to Ethan in a law class they both attend, and Greg drives Ethan crazy. He’s rude and extremely distracting.
Amazing ass. Awful person attached.

Greg finally pushes Ethan too far and he grabs his crotch in class in hopes to shut him up, but instead of Greg getting mad, he gets an erection.

This appears to give Greg a green light and he starts to demand time with Ethan outside of class doing anything but school work.  The sexual tension between them builds and before you know it, they are getting down and dirty all over campus.

Greg appears to have boundaries. Every single time they fool around it’s in a semi-public place and never in private. He’ll talk to him when his friends are around but he never acts like they are more than just classmates.
They were friends with an arrangement, just not actual friends.

Ethan has to continue to remind himself not to get attached, that Greg is just a guy to fool around with and nothing more.

But Ethan soon discovers that you can tell yourself anything you want but your heart doesn’t have to listen. He wants more, he wants all of Greg and now he has to wonder if Greg will ever be Out In The Open.

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I thought A.J. Truman did a knock out job with his debut novel . I found it fun, sweet and at the same time sexy.

I loved Ethan and was rooting for Greg to come around and discover his real feeling for him.

Out In The Open is a complete story and I can’t wait to see what this author delivers next!

*ARC kindly provided by A.J. Truman in exchange for an honest review*

**Quotes above are taken from the ARC version of the book and may differ upon publication**

Out In The Open expected release date is September 29th, 2014.

Deacon

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4.5 Beautiful War Stars

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Cassidy’s dream becomes real, when she buys an old cabin resort in the mountains of Colorado. Fixing them up and turning a profit will take time and energy, but she’s living her dream.

When Cassidy’s first opens her cabins for business, a man shows up wanting to not only rent a cabin, but cabin number eleven.

“He was breathing. But that was it. He existed. He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.”

Without a word from the mystery man at her door, Cassidy knew that much about him.

Over the years, her mystery man will show up from time to time, always wanting cabin eleven and always paying with cash, and never telling her his real name.

It’s not until many years after his first stay, that Cassidy doesn’t have a cabin available for him when he shows up in the middle of a snow storm right before Christmas. Even though Cassidy doesn’t really know him, she feels safe around him, safe enough she offers him her extra bedroom.

“He wasn’t a threat and yet, some part of me knew he was.”

Cassidy’s mystery man always stays closed off, never giving her an inch but some how, she knows he cares and breaking down his walls will take time.

Everything changes one night when Cassidy discovers more about her mystery man named Deacon, and when his walls comes down she learns why he continues to come back.

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But what Deacon does, where he goes, and when he’ll return continue to say a mystery to Cassidy. She doesn’t even know his last name. Can she really trust a man that keeps so much from her, and now that they are together, is she safe when he’s gone?

“Not easy, fightin’ your pull. Wantin’ to be right here. Knowin’ I was no good for you. Prayin’ you’d get a man so when I’d come back I’d have a reason to stay away.”

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My favorite of this series is still Knight but Deacon is a good second. I thought Cassidy was an enjoyable heroine and while this isn’t my favorite KA book, it’s one of the best I’ve read from KA in a while. And once again, I love how Kristen Ashley ties all of her series together.

**ARC kindly provided by Kristen Ashley in exchanged for an honest review**

What If

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3.5 What If Stars

What if you could do something over again? What would you chose?

What If you were nicer to someone you loved. What If you had a second chance with someone you cared for? Those are the questions that Cal Logan thinks about after meeting Nyelle Preston.

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What If is the story of four childhood friends. Cal, Rae, Richelle, and Nicole. The four shared a special bond and play almost everyday, but as time goes by and they grow up, life changes and their group fell apart.

The story is told by Cal’s POV, but alternates back to their childhood and is told by either Nichole or Richelle’s POV.

Once they started high school Nicole separated from the group, and Richelle moved away, leaving only Cal and Rae. Cal always wondered why Nicole picked the popular kids over their friendship, but life went on.

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After their high school graduation, it’s like Nicole has disappeared. No has seen or heard from her. Not Cal or Rae, not the popular kids, not even her long-term high school boyfriend and her parents aren’t saying a word. This worries Cal because the last time he remembers hearing Nicole, it was a horrible scream coming from her parent’s house.

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Cal decides to attend a college very far from home. Cal’s best friend is still Rae, but otherwise life has moved on and Cal is fairly content. That is until he sees Nicole on campus. But this girl claims her name is Nyelle Preston and while she looks just like Nicole, she acts completely different.

With no one claiming to know where Nicole is, Cal can’t get this mystery girl out of his head. What if she’s Nicole? What If she’s not and this is his second chance at a new friendship?

Nyelle is quite the odd little duck. Her strange behavior has Cal worried and rightful so. She rolls down hills, climbs trees, even went sliding in a wedding dress. Saying she appears unstable is an understatement. But she has a heart of gold. She volunteers at homeless shelters gives up her only coat to a man on the street. It’s clear no matter who she is, unstable or not, she’s a good person and Cal is drawn to her unlike any other girl he’s met.

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I decided to read What If because I loved Rebecca Donovan’s Breathing Series. Once again, she delivers a sweet YA novel. With What If, I thought the first half was lacking any romance, which is the main reason I read. The flash backs start when they are in forth grade and continues until their senior year and unfortunately for the whole book. Personally, alternating back and forth is not my preference and there were a few flash backs that had me wondering if it really added to the story or if it was just additional information.

Readers should go into the second half of the book without any information. There’s a mystery around Nyelle and Nicole and if there is any connection between the two. Not to worry What If is a complete story and won’t leave you hanging.

The Real Thing by Cassie Mae

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4~ Scary Things Can Be Beautiful ~Stars

The Real Thing is cute and sweet friends to lovers story. I think this book is a little too new adult for my liking but I found myself enjoying the banter and chemistry between the two main characters.

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At the age of fifteen, Eric and Mia became best friends. After high school they parted ways only keeping in contact via Internet.

Three years later, Mia is crashing with Eric for the summer and they are discovering they have more than platonic feelings for each other.

Eric really is every girl’s dream guy, but he doesn’t believe this. In high school, he was over weight and over looked by girls until one finally gave him some attention, but unfortunately it left Eric with emotional scars he still carries around.

Mia is all around a sweet girl and has always liked Eric as more than just a friend. She’s never looked at Eric and saw his weight, and now after three years apart she’s ready for the next step.

Eric thinks he’s ready for a relationship with Mia but over the years his insecurities have caused him panic attacks that have lead to a lack of experience with women. Now that they’ve agreed to try something real Eric is going to have to work hard to overcome his past demons.

You scare me, because I want it all with you. Every damn thing, Em. I just don’t know how to do that.

 

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This is my first time reading anything from Cassie Mae, and I know without a doubt I would read more from her. However, I’m not much for NA when the steam level is almost none existent, which was the case with this one. Also, Mia has an addiction to social media sites and the internet in general and that started to bug me, but on the flip side it was nice to read about the hero having weight issues for a change.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Vain Series by Deborah Bladon

Part One: 

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4 Stars

Vain is book one of a three part novella series and the first time I’ve read anything by Deborah Bladon. So far with book one, I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. Novella series can be a hit or miss with me in general because I find it hard to connect with the characters in a hundred pages or less, but for me that wasn’t the case with this one.

Meet Alexa Jackson:

She’s a 22-year-old college student who’s not afraid of sex and just returned from Paris where she had her heart broken into a million pieces.

Meet Noah Foster:

He’s a famous photographer who photographs erotically posed naked women. Recently he became a recluse when an incident left him scarred.

When Alexa ends up doing a favor for her friend’s restaurant by delivering food, she ends up at Noah’s door where suddenly her life is never going to be the same.

**Noah definitely has the rich arrogant asshole role down, but he comes off in a way where I was wanting more. I loved that Alexa wasn’t a blushing virgin and while she wants Noah sexually, she’s not a native little girl about getting her HEA.

Vain part one ends cliffy and had me starting book two seconds after finishing it.

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Part Two:

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4 Stars

Vain part two picks up right where part one ends. Alexa is left confused with just what has happened to her relationship with Noah since their trip to New York.

Noah had to claim himself down after learning about Alexa’s past with Beck. Leaving her in New York might not have been a wise choice but it was the only one he felt was right.

Now back home in Boston, Noah knows there is something about Alexa that he can’t find with one else, and earning her trust again is at the top of his list.

That ending…WTH!!!

Once again Vain ends cliffy and wow was that a cliffhanger!!! Book three better make up for that ending!?!?!?!?!

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Part Three:

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3.5 Stars

Vain, part three gives us the collusion to Noah and Alexa’s story.

The ending in book two, well that broke my heart and had me ready to beat Noah senseless.

Things with Noah are not how it appeared, but that doesn’t change that Noah is scared about what type of future he could offer Alexa. She’s full of life and his fears of the past have him stuck in his apartment. Pushing her away to a better life seems like his only option.

Alexa finally gets the message…Noah is done with her and moving on is what she needs to do, but just when she about to take that last step and put Noah behind her, Noah suddenly has repaired in her life, but can she ever trust him again?

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Book three was not my favorite of this series. Noah acted like a real douchebag and unfortunately with this being a novella series I didn’t get enough closure. However, this is the first novella series that has sucked me in and I couldn’t put in down.

No Weddings

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4 Stars
Real love is messy.

When Cade and Hannah first meet, she’s a complete ice queen to him. No matter how sexy Hannah is, up-tight women do nothing for Cade. So months later, when Cade’s sister suggests Hannah going into a party planning business with them, he’s not the least bit worried about mixing business with pleasure.

For years, Cade has been going through the motions, living his life with indifference. A list of unattached women looking for no strings is Cade’s only type of relationships.

When Cade offers Hannah business advice in exchange for a home cooked meal, a new routine starts and a unique friendship forms.

The first girl who challenged my mind, in addition to physically attracting me, would be the one I couldn’t pursue.

It’s not long before Cade’s feelings for Hannah go beyond friendship, but Hannah appears to be mending her own broken heart.

Letting go of the past and trusting your heart with someone again is scary for both Cade and Hannah, but when Cade decides he’s ready it’s clear he’s going to have to work hard for Hannah’s trust and heart.

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I’ve had this one on my kindle for a while now, and I decided to give it a try and I was shocked at just how much I enjoyed it.

The whole story is told by Cade’s POV, and in the beginning he’s a complete man whore, but it works for his personality and the story line. When Hannah comes into his life, he tries hard not to like her as more than a friend, but when his walls start to crack, his alpha male started to come out and I fell hard for him.

No Weddings is NOT a complete story and I had no idea when I started that I was getting myself into a series. But on the flip side, I think because the book gives us some background into Cade and he takes his relationship with Hannah slow is why I connected with these characters. No Weddings lacks in the steam department but because of the chemistry between them I was able to over look it.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Thin Love

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4.5 I Don’t Want Easy Stars

Keira meets Kona during her freshman year of college when they are assigned to work together on a project, and for these two, it’s hate at first sight.

Keira is a beautiful but broken girl, and her anger seems to be just below the surface at all times.

Kona appears to be the stereotypical football god…eager to party and is never with the same girl twice.

While working together, they slowly start to form a friendship with the possibility of more…

Outside of being young and making dumb choices, these two have a very powerful relationship that is almost electric. Add in the crazy tempers they both have and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Who the hell wants to be normal? Normal is boring. Everyone else is normal, but baby, that’s not us.

Everyone and anyone around them gets caught up in their powerful struggle of love and anger and many people would like to see them apart. And that’s just what happens.

I love you. You’ll remember that my love for you was never thin. You’ll remember this moment because it will be the biggest regret of your life.

Almost sixteen years later, Kona and Keria are both back in their hometown for different reasons and they run into each other at a local market. The electric current that runs is still between them, they can both tell that from just one look. But past mistakes, current fears, and those who didn’t want them together are all right there still trying to keep them apart.

 

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I’m usually not one for books with a lot of angst, but I have to say, I really enjoyed Thin Love. It fit my mood perfectly and while at times, I wanted to kill one or both main characters, in the end I loved the story. This was my first time reading anything from Eden Butler and I can say she did an amazing job!