Insidious (Aleatha Romig)

 


When a powerful man is willing to risk everything for his own satisfaction, only one woman can beat him at his own game: his wife. Or so she thinks…

“Let’s start with you calling me Stewart. Formalities seem unnecessary.”

Stewart Harrington is rich, gorgeous, and one of the most powerful men in Miami. He always gets what he wants. Anything is available to him for the right price.

Even me.

Being the wife of a mogul comes with all the perks, but being Mrs. Stewart Harrington comes with a few special requirements. I’ve learned to keep a part of myself locked away as my husband watches me submit to his needs. But the more he demands of me, the more beguiled he becomes and that’s to my advantage. So I keep fulfilling his fantasies and following his rules because he doesn’t know that what he’s playing is really my game. And winning is everything, right?


What just happened? What did I just read? This was actually my second Aleatha Romig book and I wanted to give it a shot because I didn’t care for Consequences too much but THIS BOOK…this book was good. This story was so well written and woven together that I just kept reading with my mouth hung wide open wanting more. I didn’t catch my mind wandering off from the pages. I was glued.

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The plot is basically just about a young woman named Victoria who, to save her family from debt and some other things, signs a contract and marries the wealthy Stewart Harrington. In my opinion, this was not your typical “Alpha”, “Billionaire”, etc. book. I actually found Victoria to be a very strong heroine for the situation she was placed in. I couldn’t complain there one bit. I liked her for the most part and I found her to be very well written. I was iffy with Stewart. I tried to like him, but I just couldn’t force myself to do it. Now, there were some secondary and other characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. They had great depth and they were great compliments to the story.

THAT. ENDING. WHAT. EVEN. IS. LIFE?!?!

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I couldn’t figure out if I was terrified of the heroine or amazed by her actions or what but I was just in total awe of a character like her. Aleatha writes with such detail but not too much that it’s over-bearing. In Insidious, she tells a great story and still allows you to think for yourself. She kept me on the edge of my seat and she held my attention every time I picked up the book that’s for damn sure. This is a darker read, and not really “romantic” in a sense. It’s twisted and it’s mind boggling and it was just very enjoyable to me.

 

Tampa (Alissa Nutting)

 
Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.
In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.


I don’t know how to explain it and I don’t know if this makes me wrong, but I very much enjoyed this book. Too much. Since finishing I have read a lot of judgmental reviews on this book but I feel like it’s actually a very accomplished book. The author herself wants you to get inside the mind of a sexual predator and guess what? SUCCESS. You’re in her head and it’s uncomfortable and your skin is crawling and your face is cringing but that is what made it such a well-executed book for me. If you are not sitting there going “omg, am I enjoying this book?” then you aren’t reading it right.

I felt like Celeste had the intensity of a serial killer when it came to her “preferences”. The desperation she had in doing whatever it took to satify her needs was so disturbing but I would be lying if I didn’t sit here and tell you that Celeste was one of the most warped characters in books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And I enjoyed being in her head, very much so.

I feel like this book could open up a lot of discussions regarding women “always” being victims. It’s a book that forces you to look at the stereotypes based on looks alone or even gender. Please be noted: the graphics in this book are brutal. You will feel uncomfortable and you will cringe. I wouldn’t classify this as “erotica” just because of the subject matter. I would maybe go with explicit, shocking, terms along that line.

The book stays in Celeste’s POV for which I am glad. I couldn’t have been able to handle being in the head of the victims. I like how everything was played out with Celeste’s POV only. Alissa wrote this book in such a way that you don’t even think of the boys being “abused”. But, in reality it is. What is happening to these kids is disheartening and sickening. But since we are getting it from her POV we don’t see it as much. We see it as consensual. Some might even see it as love.

So a round of applause to Alissa Nutting for creating one of the most complex and memorable characters I have read in a long time. I feel like she took a story that most people would be afraid to write and brought great awareness in this world. I think as long as readers are able to keep an open mind, they will find a book with great writing.

In the Fields (Willow Aster)


1971—In the tiny, backward town of Tulma, Tennessee, optimistic, bookish Caroline Carson unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a forbidden romance. Severely neglected by her family and forced to flee Tulma to protect her secrets, Caroline’s young life comes crashing down around her. She finds refuge in a new town, but the past always has a way of stretching around time and stirring up trouble.

When a new love comes into her life, she has to decide if she can give her heart to someone else, or if she will always be tied to someone she can’t have

*RE-READ

I read this in 2013. I loved this in 2013. I wanted a reread because I want all of Willow’s books on my blog. I want to talk about them and give them the praise they deserve. Plus let’s face it, if Willow writes it I’m going to love it. I’ve never met a Willow book I didn’t like. I can say that because every single one of hers books haven’t ever been the same. They are all diverse in their own way and that’s what makes an author great.

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“I fell in love already. I had someone who was everything I wanted. I didn’t get to keep him. And I never got over him.” 

In the Fields follows the life of Caroline during the 1970’s in Tennessee. She is smart, kind and as beautiful inside as she is on the outside. She is also white. Her best friend and later love interest is a very intelligent and handsome young black man named Isaiah. It goes without saying that a racial couple like this in a segregated Tennessee was frowned upon and bound to create a lot of trouble.

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This is a story of prejudice, bravery, perseverance, friendship and love. Also, forbidden love. I eat that junk UP. I love it. I get attached to it. Strong heroine? CHECK. Great hero? CHECK. Dynamic and well developed secondary characters? CHECK

Willow’s writing is smooth and soothing and slammed right into my heart and never leaves. Still to this day. She always manages to pull a ton of emotions out me and before I know it I either have tears rolling down my face or a big, fat smile on my face. Willow is an immensely talented and creative author who sets herself apart yet again with this book. I always recommend this book. I’m always raving about this book. Until the day I die.

The Play (Karina Halle)

 Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.

Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played. 


I’m the minority. I feel like I’m always the minority here lately. As much as I love a tortured hero, it was the plot line that fell so flat for me. The story was dragged out a little too long for my liking. This book two me almost two weeks to complete. Two. TWO. WEEKS.

Kayla and Lachlan are decent characters. I usually love a slow building story. I don’t like when things click right away. You know, instalove. This is a slower building story. The circumstances of these characters forced it to be slower. However, once it happens, it happens. Like BAM. I had a hard time with that. I almost got whiplash from the slow movement right into the heat of the moments.

I enjoyed the spotlight that sheltered and stray dogs got in this book. The fact that a “beastly” hero of a man could be compassionate to care for the animals he did is a big plus in my book.

It pains me (not really) to not enjoy a book that so many people have enjoyed. I’ve never been a huge Karina fan. I have her books, I’ve read some of them and home girl knows how to write some males I’ll give her that. But, let’s move on to something else please?

Every Day (David Levithan)

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.


I had a very complicated relationship with this book. I was really hoping that the premise of this book would make is so great. I don’t branch out to YA a lot so I wanted to go in with an open mind with this one. In this story, A (yes, that is his/her name) body swaps with a new person his/her age everyday. New person, new body, new gender, every day. I loved the idea of this book.

“I am not kissing her because I want to, and I am not kissing her because I need to – I am kissing her for a reason that transcends want and need, that feels elemental to our existence, a molecular component on which our universe will be built.”

I mean, I guess I liked the book well enough. Probably a strong 3.5 stars. The writing was great and smooth. I wanted some back story so bad but I guess things have always been this way for A so he/she has just come to terms with everything. Therefore making it not very important for the reader to understand what is happening. The story and his/her’s days are all the same until he/she ends up in a body of a boy named Justin and he falls in love with Rhiannon. Suddenly, A’s many lives he encounters every day revolves around locating Rhiannon and spending time with her. Hoping they can be together but knowing that they can’t and trying his/her best to explain all of what happens in his/her life.

Beyond this t was a disappointment. Had this story been written by any other author it would be called out for its “instalove” but my guess is since the author writes it so “poetically” and “romantic” A’s relationship with Rhiannon seems deeper than what it truly is. Secondly, there is no explanation at all for the paranormal aspect. No attempt to address it, no consideration given to why A always wakes up in a body 4 hours or less away from Rhiannon and is always the same age.

The strongest part of this book, for me was the many small stories scattered throughout about the different lives A enters. They are fleeting but very interesting and touching. I felt like the story was never ending and unfinished. Some people look at Every Day and see a very different and beautiful book. That’s okay, I am glad. I look at it and see another YA romance, wrote in such a different way but never really breaks outrageous grounds.

Breaking Him (RK Lilley)

 
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It was the kind of relationship where I invested more than I had to spare.
I gave it everything.
And so when it failed, I lost myself.
It changed me. He changed me.
I went down with the ship.
My soul, burnt embers in the aftermath.
The fire of him ravaged it all.
He burned me.
Broke me.
Scarlett had always dreamed big. She was headed straight for Hollywood. Destined for silver screen greatness.
But in her wildest dreams she never imagined she’d be broke and single at twenty-eight, doling drinks at thirty-five thousand feet.
She was a glorified waitress in the skies.
It had been years since she’d seen him.
But one day, there he sat, gazing intently at her, ready to set everything ablaze once more.
Dante wanted her. Again.

Sure, she’d play along…but this time, it was his turn.

She was breaking him.
After all, love is war. 

I could smell the cliffhanger from the first page. I don’t even know why I do this to myself. Now I just wait…


Scarlett and Dante have a rather twisted push and pull relationship, given their explosive tempers, but Dante was a bit more likable to me. Something about Scarlett just drove me batty. Dante was, at times, too childish for me as well. Honestly, grade school Dante was more mature than present Dante. When I was liking Scarlett I wasn’t liking Dante and when I was liking Dante I wasn’t liking Scarlett. See? Push and pull. It was angsty. I love angst.


I usually don’t do series and most people know this. I don’t handle cliffhangers well so please be advised. This was a story I was hooked to yes, but the characters actions were what made it a 3 star read for me. Although I enjoyed their banter and witty comebacks I felt like it went on TOO long. I felt like throughout the whole book I caught myself holding my breath for them to chill out and lay back but their banter overruled everything.

It’s that much bigger part of the story that has me wanting to read the next book. I really don’t care if Scarlett and Dante get a HEA, but I do need to find out why a boy would protect and hurt the same girl and vice versa. What drove them apart? Why are they hurting each other? Why is there a war? WHAT IS GOING ON?

For those of you who love angst, please read RK Lilley. This book was everything I expected from the author. A slow buildup of the story, tons of angst and loads of back story. And trust me, the hate and the rage permeated through the pages. So give me book two because I need answers.

 

Letting Go (Holly Renee)

 When Kat was forced to leave the only home she had ever known due to her brother’s secrets, she wasn’t prepared for what was waiting for her in Tennessee or the choices it would force her to make.

Kat instantly knew she didn’t like Blake Reagan. He was cocky, stubborn, and infuriating. What Kat didn’t understand was why she couldn’t stop thinking about him or the way he made her feel.

The last thing Blake expected was for Kat Archer to storm into his world and turn it upside down. He thought he had her pegged from the beginning, but she destroyed everything he thought he knew. Blake was willing to fight to push his way into Kat’s heart, but she put up a wall at every turn as she clung to her past.

If she stayed, she’d risk the only family she had left. If she left, she’d lose Blake and every piece of her heart that he’d managed to steal. 


This book is your typical New Adult book. Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. Tension evolves. Problems occur. Boy is hero. And so on and so on. However, I received an ARC for it so I read it. Not mention I do love me some New Adult every once in a while, sue me. So we have a heroine (who actually isn’t weak or annoying for once, well for the most part) and we have a chiseled, brooding, and cocky hero with an elusive V cut who was just so lick-able (surprise surprise) the heroine was literally drooling from the mouth. If you give me angst and tension it’s usually all fair game for me. I could live off of that stuff. But all of this stuff that occurred in the book was just typical.

It was a very easy and fast read. I actually read it in maybe 4 hours? Most of the characters I enjoyed for the most part. Most of them were predictable and their actions were predictable but, for a short read it was feasible. Back story of the characters would have been great. Some things are said about certain people and I have no clue who or what happened. I think that in the future I will be anticipating Gabe and Erika’s story a little bit more.

The ending for me felt rushed. All of the events leading up to the ending however were paced just right. I felt like the author was maybe ready to just jump to the end of the story already. Towards the end things got predictable and I might have rolled my eyes  a couple of times. The story is mostly told in Kat’s POV but I enjoyed the little bit that we got from Blake. I am sucker for male POV’s. The TENSION was great. The angst, ehh. It was a pleasant debut book nonetheless.

Quiet Lies (R.L. Griffin)

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I was broken before I met Sebastian Pryor, but he decimated me. I swept the ashes of myself into a pile that I kept safe for thirteen years. Believe me it wasn’t pretty, oh but people thought we were perfect. I hate myself most days. I hate that I feel for him as much as I loathe who I’ve become with him. This story is hard to hear. You know what the worst part is? You’ll see part of you in me. You’ll hate that. You won’t tell anyone.

My story is about cracks. A description or telling of how cracks in a marriage, a life, a personality, a heart and a mind begin and continue for years without anyone knowing. You don’t always see what causes the fissure, but you feel it. Can you remember who you were before all of this started, before your life became a jumble of deceit, longing and regret?

This book isn’t for anyone who needs a happily ever after.

This book isn’t for anyone who needs a fun time out from their life.

This book isn’t for anyone, but me.

This is my story. I won’t apologize for it.


I’m sitting here after just finishing Quiet Lies and I am baffled. And confused. And mad. And impressed. I’m blown away at some great writing, I mean really great writing and I really have no idea what to write for this review so I’m just going to ramble.

This book has so many feels. One of the main feels I felt was how dragging the first half was. You get present time and then you get puzzle pieces of the past. I think what kept me going (besides wanting answers) was the writing. I had so many pages dog eared and so many things highlighted so it was overwhelming. During the middle things sped up and I caught myself wanting to read through it faster. But just because I wanted answers. And all of them, damn it.

Rebecca is superb lead woman because she is real. She is the epitome of a real character. Her depth was out of this world and I enjoyed her unreliability and her twisted story. Sebastian is one of those characters that you can’t stand but he makes the story. This story would not be complete if not for him. So unfortunately I had to tough it out with him.

I didn’t care for how spaced out everything was. If that makes sense. I’m not saying I want the answers all at once but after so much dragging events got spaced out, I would forget things, I missed things, and I hate that. I hate feeling left behind in a book. And at most of the turning points I was left behind.

RL sucks you into an intense and chilling story about lies, evil, and betrayal. You have nothing figured out. Nothing. If you think you do I’m sorry you’re wrong.