The Bronze Horseman (Paulina Simons)


The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

I had put this book in the back of my mind (and kindle and bookshelf) for as long as three years now. I met some girls who did everything but sit down and actually read the book to me. So, I caved. I finally read it. Now that I have finished it, it has taken me 4 days to compile some sort of review for this book. One that the book so deserves and does the book justice. Also, I bought book 2 and 3 PRONTO and you know that’s a big deal for me, the queen of not finishing series.

Saying I adored this book is not really enough. It was such a complete surprise for me and such an emotional and heart-breaking read. It was a complete roller-coaster of all emotions existing to humans.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much this book would change me.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how raw and emotional this book was.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how different this book would be from any other.
But more importantly, I never could have imagined just how many emotions could be trapped inside ONE book.

“I know who I am, she thought, taking his hand and turning to the altar. I am Tatiana. And I believe in, and hope for, and love Alexander for life.”

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Time just froze for me while I read this book. Reality seemed to stop existing for me because all I could think about was “what in the world could these people possibly endure next?

This book completely took the rug out from under my feet. My heart was being squeezed so harshly that I just couldn’t breathe 98% of the time. I have cried in books, yes, but I have never felt so heart-broken and painfully aware of the characters and their actions and surroundings before this book. This read will torture you, but at the same time it will give you such tender and loving moments that you just can’t help but keep reading.

“Lazarevo drips you into my soul, dawn drop by moonlight drop from the river Kama. When you look for me, look for me there, because that’s where I will be all the days of my life.”

I have one bad thing to point out. One and that’s it. It’s a long book, yes. I think that with every long book there are some lulls. There are some slow parts in this book but I worked through them. There were sometimes more details than what was needed but I worked through it.

When I finished this book I felt so accomplished. I took a chance on a book that I didn’t think I would care for and I endure the 700+ places and I adored it. I can’t wait to go back for the 2nd and 3rd one.


Teaser Tuesday Anyone?


¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)

(¸.•´ (¸.•`Coming soon from Willow Aster!!

New teaser alert for Fade to Red by Willow Aster, releasing on September 21st! This is a standalone novel featuring characters from True Love Story. Make sure you add it to your Goodreads TBR today.


Dancing in pop superstar Beckham Woods’ entourage was the last thing Roxie wanted. Her life with little Leo was blissfully ordinary; she didn’t have time for the drama that stirring up old memories would surely cause.

But when Roxie took a spot on an international tour with Woods and rock icon Ian Sterling, the lure of financial security and her passion for dance pulled her into an emotional storm that threatened to spin out of control and hurt the ones she loved most.

Just as she began to adjust to her new life, it became apparent that danger was in the shadows, waiting for a chance to move…

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Before We Were Strangers (Renee Carlino)


To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?


I never thought I would find someone to replace my Isaac for me. (Mud Vein reference for those who don’t know). I’ve met a couple who come close. Everett from Ten Below Zero and Will from Me Before You just to name a couple. But Matthias has come the closest. Sigh..


Angry Frustrated animated GIFMy emotions were all over the place with this book from the get go. One minute I was giggling and laughing, the next I couldn’t breath from trying so hard not to cry, then I just wanted to scream at unfortunate circumstances that Matt and Grace found themselves into. This is when you know it’s a good story. One that tests your feelings. One that leaves you guessing what you’ll feel next.

This book spans 15 years and it’s told from dual point which I always love. It was beautiful, heart wrenching, angsty, fun, and intense.

Matt transfers to New York during his senior year in college due to some family circumstances and found himself being neighbors with a fun-spirited girl, Graceland Marie Starr. These two quickly became attached to one another and happily spend their final school year together. They forge a friendship unlike any other that I’ve ever seen. Both are Art Majors and they enjoy the same kind of music/musician. I like their easy and casual relationship in the beginning and I liked how it wasn’t rushed. It was just an easy and fun friendship. Grace was Matt’s first muse and Matt was Grace’s number one and biggest fan. I think that is why it was so hard on me when timing screwed with them. I felt it. I felt it to my core.

head animated GIF Friendship turns into more. Love complicates their priorities in life. Fate and dreams steps in and offers them a once in a lifetime opportunities to chase their dreams. They’re both very passionate about their art. If you loved someone, would you let your feelings hold them back from becoming the person they were meant to be?

Fifteen years later, when their eyes meet for the first time after more than a decade, I swear I felt that from behind the book.
feels animated GIF I loved Matt. Genuinely and completely. The things he did for Grace, the way he felt about her was just amazing and beautiful. The way he was so passionate about everything. Ugh. And he feels. And he cries. And he becomes vulnerable. And I just love him. He was perfect. I loved older Matt. I loved all his insecurities, his worries, his regret, and his hope.

My only problem? Yes I only have one problem in this book. MISCOMMUNICATION. Some of these things could have been avoided had they not ran. Just talked.

confused animated GIF Renee brings out painful emotions and gives us a tale of love and a life to remember. She did this story justice by making it primarily in Matt’s point of view. I think it helped me in so many ways. Had it been more so in Grace’s I’m afraid I’ll feel different. This really was Matt’s story to tell.

“If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

I don’t five star many books, but I five starred the shit out of this one. It was a beath of fresh air from what I usually read. No whining, no drama, and straight to the point. It was real and it was fast loved by me.
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Lately I suck, but what’s new?

I feel like this is the longest that I have went with out posting SOMETHING or a book review or anything related to books and heres my reason why. I DON’T KNOW WHY. I don’t know what happened but after I read Something Beautiful by Jamie McGuire (3 star read by the way, I thought it was very sloppy), I could not get into a book. I read 2 chapters of Collision Course by S.C. Stephens, I started a re-read of Whitney Barbetti’s He Found Me series. I read the prologue of A Light In The Wound. What. In. The. World. Is. Going. ON!

*please don’t panic, I will get back to those…

Here’s what it is. I needed to buy Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino.

23309634 Want to know how I know I NEEDED it? Because as soon as I purchased it this morning I was so freaking pumped to pick up a book and start reading again. I am so excited to pick this one up hype or not. So tonight, WE READ!!

Therapy (Kathryn Perez)


I’m needy.

I’m broken.

Cutting breaks through my numbness, but only opens more wounds.

Depression, self-harm, bullying….that’s my reality.

Sex and guys….that’s my escape.

The space between the truth and lies is blurred leaving me torn, lost and confused. And while the monsters that live in my head try to beat me– the two men that I love try to save me.

This is my story of friendship, heartache, and the grueling journey that is mental-illness.

Sometimes you have to get lost in order to be found…

This one broke me to pieces. Shattered. There are still pieces of myself that are just stuck inside this book and I don’t know if I’ll ever get them back. I don’t know if I want them back.

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When we meet Jessica she is in high school and suffers not just from depression on her own but as a result of the bullying she goes through from other people at her school. She hurts. She’s alone. And she’s vulnerable.

But the story doesn’t just focus on a high school relationship. In fact it picks up years later. What is beautiful about this story is that as much as it is a romance it’s also about so much more. Hope and love and redemption. This book is about Jessica. It’s about her recovery and her growth as a person during very turmoil filled years.

At this point (the years later), I think is where the book turned out to be amazing. You get to see the story from the lowest points, the middle points, and the high points. The dark and the light and the gray. Even if Jessica didn’t see the gray. I did. I felt it.

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I remembered every detail. In this story, it’s important. I remembered purple, and snowflake pins, and force fields and rain boots.

There are a lot of tough topics and incidents in this book but I thank Kathryn for shedding light on them. We all hurt. We all have a past that hurts when we look back on it. Some people don’t handle that as well as others and there’s no reason for them to be treated any different because of it. We are all only human. We all have different demons.

I liked Jace from the get go. Sure he had issues of his own but I just feel like his intentions were good. I loved his and Jessica’s time together. I felt like I was right there with them. Raw and uncut.

feels animated GIF With saying that, Kingsley stripped me and stole my heart completely. He was the epitome of everything I had hoped Jace could be for Jessica but so much more. I still think he was the better of the two. Because if not for Kingsley, Jessica would have never began healing. And if not for Jessica, Kingsley would still be broken.
But when THAT PART happens, I lost it. Absolutely lost my shit. Bawling. Distraught. I was so hurt and I quite frankly didn’t want to finish the book without well, spoiler. Can’t say.

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Thanks, Maria for the recommendation. It’s definitely worth the read and the tears that were shed.

Fighting to Breathe (Aurora Rose Reynolds)


Lea Lamb and Austin Wolf were young when they fell in love. They never imagined the future could hold anything other than together-forever.

When Lea’s father dies in a tragic fishing accident, she’s crushed under the weight of her grief and catches a glimpse of another type of future, one she knows she’s not strong enough to face.

Austin is angry. For the past fifteen years, he’s believed the woman he loved with every ounce of his soul left him without so much as a backwards glance.

When Lea unexpectedly returns to their hometown, all the years of heartache inside Austin bubbles to the surface and presents itself as blinding rage.

Faced with the truth about the past, a newly discovered secret, these former lovers will learn that if they want to have any chance at the future they’d given up on all those years ago, they will have to rescue one another from drowning in pain so debilitating it will leave them both fighting to breath.

Marked another book off my “sitting on my kindle” list. Eh. Nope. Wasn’t that great for me. In fact, I am almost 99% positive that I only bought this book because of it’s cover. Silly. That cover though, It is superb.

It wasn’t a terrible story. It was just a quick read and since it was so short I felt like everything was rushed. Either that or second chance stories are wearing thin on me.

annoyed animated GIF Fighting To Breathe is a story about the emotional journey of Lea Lamb. Lea returns to her hometown after moving away 15 years ago to be by her sick mothers side. But Lea has left a painful past behind her and the moment she is back, her choices come back to haunt her. Austin Wolf was her childhood sweetheart but when she returns home it is obvious that she no longer has that tie with him. Now that she is back she has to endure Austin’s hate. Also I feel like I should note that there was a handful of unnecessary drama in this story. It literally could have done without.

drama animated GIF I have to say that the plot of the story was good. The theme was sincere and heart-breaking at the same time. I think what went wrong for me was the whole story in general. I found Austin’s brief hate unrealistic. It seemed like one moment he was mad at her and the next he was at her every beck and call. This quick transition of his feelings made absolutely no sense and while the book is full of pain and loss, I found myself disconnected from the characters and the story line itself. There was no explosive chemistry. And some of the sexy scenes made me cringe. I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters. In the end I was wondering why the characters went through all that separation in the first place. They were pretty much beating a dead horse.

Yosub animated GIF The writing was good. Some points were a little unrealistic and a little tedious but it worked I guess. All in all it was just okay for me. MEH.

The Pact (Karina Halle)


It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

Round of applause for my first Karina Halle book, guys!

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This was a friends to lovers romance with a little twist. I found this book to be light and fun and just steamy enough to keep my interests piqued. The emotional turmoil in this book was just enough to to substitute my love of angst. I really enjoyed this book and the characters were all very likable. Well, besides one specific character who was very whiny and just so terribly annoying. But said person wasn’t SO bad that I couldn’t finish the book. eye roll animated GIF Linden and Stephanie are best friends and in their mid-twenties. However, neither one is having much luck in the love game, so Linden suggest a pact. If they aren’t seriously involved with any one by the time they are thirty, they marry each other. Okaaaay… okay!! I can handle this, I like this kind of idea.

descriptionI need to say this: I was pulling for Linden from the first chapter. He was a bit cocky with a dirty mouth and a sweet side, while Stephanie was confident and spunky. I felt like they complimented each other so well. I liked that. BUT, I don’t even want to talk about 81% of the way through right now. Just so damn annoying and frustrating. And depressing. Still!! I am still a wreck because of that part.

descriptionThe story is told in dual POV and you guys should know that I’m a huge fan of that by now. I love getting the guys perspective. And I loved getting Linden’s.
So here’s to baby blues and Cowboys. And many more Karina Halle books for me!



Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back…and he’s not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

I still have goosebumps. My heart is still pounding. What a good freaking book. Underrated and so freaking GOOD. The writing is so wonderful and everything just flows and pieces together fantastically. So I made a list in a notebook. I wrote down all of the books that are unread on my Kindle and I am working on the list before I start one-clicking anymore books. I’M SO HAPPY I STARTED WITH THIS ONE!!!

excited animated GIF Let’s face it. The cover SUCKS but I’m serious when I say don’t judge a book by its cover because this is where the proof comes into play. This was breathtaking storytelling. The story was captivating and the characters were endearing, the writing was beautiful. Wait, I’ve already said that. Yeah, you get it.

The Sweet Gum Tree is a wholesome, sweet and sad love story. I also loved that it took place around Jonesboro. And Arkansas. The southerness and the scenery was all so familiar to me. I absolutely loved the first part of the book. I loved experiencing them growing up and later on while they were in high school.

The story takes place in the POV of 8 year old Alix. I thought the author did a marvelous job of writing her younger years maturely and normal. It made it so much easier to transition into Alix’s adulthood. I want all of these paperbacks, I want every book form possible.

book animated GIF The only thing that kept this from being a top read for me was the misunderstandings. I hated that there was a lack of communication between the characters that resulted in heart ache. Nick and Alix could have saved themselves 15 years of misery had they just talked to each other. Openly and honestly. But I understand that’s why writers write. That’s how they get their story.

“Like Nick, the deep red wood of sweet gum tree stays true to its nature. Strong, steady and pure.”

So here’s my heart, in my hand. Take it. Get a knife. And stick it straight through it. Thanks in advance.

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Collide (Gail McGugh)

A missed first encounter…

Colliding with a second chance…

On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.

While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.

Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.

This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life

Fun fact about me: I’ve been in a relationship with a guy like Dillion. I’ve been told what not to wear. Who to not hang out with. Where I can or can’t go. So this book hits me at home. But I did make a promise to myself that after this series I would lay off the cheating books for a while. I don’t mind them, but my angsty heart can only take so much.

Please note: you WILL need multiple drinks for this book. drunk animated GIF

Gail McHugh’s writing was sexy, entertaining and completely angsty. She killed it in Amber to Ashes so I bought these paper backs stat. My heart rate was out of control this entire book.

Emily is our heroine here and she moves to New York to live with her college best friend and be close to her boyfriend Dillon. Emily is starting over after the loss of her mother and is excited for a new beginning (on the most part). Most people don’t like Emily. On the contrary, I loved her. She grew up without a dad and she is dealing with the loss of her mother. How would you be if you were dealt the cards she was dealt? Think about it.

Emily meets Gavin Blake (total GD swoon alert) and the chemistry is nuts between these two. Emily finds that Gavin is one of her boyfriend’s friends and so that’s just a recipe for disaster right off the bat.

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Emily, I’m with you until the last ten percent. After that you’re on your own, chicka! I don’t know what kind of advice to offer you.

While I am not a big fan of the insta-love (as you guys know) or love triangles, Gail makes it work beautifully while also touching on the serious subject matter of abuse. Whether emotional or physical or mental, abuse is abuse. Bottom line. Her dedication says it all:

“Dedicated to women out there who have yet to find their voice, strength, and courage. Never let them strip you of what you were born with. Take it back.”

She easily portrays the symptoms that often begin with over-possessiveness which can soon lead to more. So thank you, Gail for including this message in your book. I get it. I hope the whole world and women every where get it.

Now I’m going to read Pulse because I want more bottle caps, Yankees, birds, and green mini vans.

Bait (M. Mabie)


He was trouble from the start, but I couldn’t resist.
She was the best kind of trouble. The kind that was so wrong, it felt right.

I’ve tried and failed to stay away from him.
I’ve done everything in my power to make her mine and keep her.

He’s almost impossible to say no to.
She never tells me yes.

We’re always fighting.
When we’re not fighting, we’re… well… making up.

He makes me laugh so hard.
I miss her laugh the most.

I’m a liar.
She knows the truth, but won’t admit it.

Sometimes, I wish I’d never met him.
I wish we could meet all over again. I’d do better.

His girlfriend knows.
The guy she’s with is a fool.

I’ll never love anyone like I love him.
She doesn’t love me enough to choose us.

It was the wrong place.
It was the wrong time.

It should have been him.
It will always be her.

Oh Casey Casey Casey…

If you want a book that will make your heart hurt every damn chapter, then this is the book for you.

If you want a book that will make you fall in love with a bad boy, this is the book for you.

This book is NOT for the faint of heart. If you want a true love story then go away and go read something else.

Once again I’ve started a series that I probably won’t finish. I’m bad with series. You guys will have to forgive me. I have big commitment issues on sticking with a series and finishing them. I just don’t do it. THUS BEING SAID…

I loved the writing and the intensity between the main characters. I didn’t care for the heroine. I couldn’t place myself in her shoes near as much as I could put myself in Casey’s and I feel like with a story like this you should be able to put yourself in both of their shoes to see the whole aspect of the story.

The story is told in both POV’s and that makes the story very strong, in my opinion. When you are able to see inside their heads you feel their feelings and their struggles with their emotions. And boy, are there emotions involved! This story was addictive and so was Casey. This story does involve cheating so BE ADVISED also, it has a dumb female lead character.

 On the negative side, Blake was too wishy washy for me. I understand that she was conflicted but at times she was utterly terrible. I think I wanted to punch her more than I wanted to sympathize for her. I LOVED CASEY. I don’t have one bad thing to say about him other than I wished he would have fought harder for Blake. That sounds weird. I didn’t really care for Blake but I wanted Casey to fight harder for her? Huh…strange.

There was also a bunch of grammatical errors and word usage that was wrong. I feel like it totally skipped the editing phase. Also I want to note: I do not like the prolong cheating especially when the author has already made it so obvious as to who the girl already subconsciously picked but people are still being strung along. It’s frustrating and it wastes a LOT of time.

This book did drag on. And on. And on. But it was like Arsen + Thoughtless balled into one book. That is halfway good for me because I loved Arsen and I HAAATED Thoughtless. The angst was real with this one. Chances are we can chalk this up with another series I won’t finish.