The Man I Love (Suanne Laquer)

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As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives–a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend turns violent and vindictive, the story is forever changed, the circle is broken and a shocking act of betrayal causes Erik to leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.

As he moves into adulthood, Erik slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving?

Spanning 15 years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma—physical and mental—and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik’s experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.


Here we are. A book that so many of my friends absolutely just RAVE about. A book that I picked up last year and DNF at 7% (yes, that happened). At this point, I’m used to being in the minority. I don’t like a lot of books that others like and vice versa. But now I have finished it and review I must write.

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Even though this book was slow to start and quite long winded with the descriptions and writing, it contained some very emotional scenes. Maybe not so emotional to me in a sense, but I can totally see where people latch onto it and just FEEL. I only regret reading the blurb in a sense that I wish I wouldn’t have known what was going to happen. I feel like it would have impacted me a lot more than what it actually did. Being a fast reader I feel like I had to slow my attention and brain down to keep up with the feelings, characters, and actions.

I am very impressed on the subject matters that this author took on. I am sure it was both very challenging and very heartbreaking for her to do so. The themes in this book were not lacking in any department. I feel like she covered all of the ground on them, emotionally and realistically. The down side for me was not connecting with the main characters. It’s very hard for me to obsess with a book when I can’t grasp onto a character and live vicariously through them. Having that said, I connected with the secondary ones. I feel like she wrote great supporting characters who were the building blocks to this story. Who created so much more intensity in this story.

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I felt more compelled in the second half of this book to finish. I skimmed a lot in the first half (GUILTY). Everything started flowing more realistically for me by 52% and I think at this point my smut ridden brain had also caught onto the focus and actual point of this story.

I want to wrap this up by saying this: the book has truly exceptional writing. It does. It’s an intellectual type of writing though. One that you either have to push through or let it suck the life out of you and consume you. One that I wouldn’t usually pick up and read for sheer joy every time I read a book. So please keep in mind that I didn’t hate this book. I didn’t OMG LOVE it either. And I’m allowed to do that. So now I say HA! I did it. I conquered it. I read it. I enjoyed it. I’ll finish the series.

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Loving Mr. Daniels (Brittainy Cherry) 


To Whom it May Concern,

It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates.

When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn’t plan to stumble into Joe’s bar and have Daniel’s music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss.
When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons.

Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.
It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.

It was ours.

And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels.

-Ashlyn Jennings


Beautiful.

Breathtaking.

Brilliant.

Blue eyes.

I don’t cry. I’m sorry, correction: I don’t cry. Ever. But I read the last two chapters of this book with my eyes folded and glosses over with tears and vision so blurry I couldn’t read straight. Then I curled up in the fetal position on the couch and here I am. And hour later. Hugging my kindle.

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My first five star read of the year. Let me start by saying this: I love forbidden books. And I love them more when they are student/teacher. Typically when I go into one, I know what the plot is going to entail. The plot is ALWAYS the same. The angst is ALWAYS the same. The problems are ALWAYS the same. When I started this book I was so sure I was going to get the average story. But what I did get, blew me the hell away.
Don’t expect this one to be your average every day romance book. Please. Because it’s so much more. 
I was cheering for this couple. Full blown cheering. I haven’t cheered for someone so hard since Will and Lake from CoHo’s Slammed series. I wanted them to find loopholes and I wanted them to have those secret encounters. I needed desperately them to have their HEA.

Secondary characters. Let’s talk about them. They’re a HUGE deal for me. Huge. And these were beyond great. Hailey. Ryan. Gabby. All of them. All of the ties and roles they play in this book was so important to me. When you can create such dynamic secondary as these were, I’m sold. Fully. I will commit to you for life.

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One thing that Brittainy Cherry does so well is infuses her books with authentic situations and feelings. Her writing is so smooth and so calming that I could drown myself in it and never come back up for air. And I did. I drowned myself with tears. So…Thanks. I guess

Dare Me (Rebecca Shea) COVER REVEAL

   
 
Five coworkers.
Four drinks.
Three glances.
Two fleeting smiles.
One dare.
 
A dare that will change my life.
 
That’s all it takes to send me plummeting into the arms of the mysterious Holt Hamilton. Behind his crystal blue eyes is a secret, one that screams danger but calls to me anyway.
 
My name is Saige Phillips.
 
I never walk away from a dare
EXCERPT:
“I was watching you, Saige. I enjoy watching you.” Maybe that was bold of me, but I don’t care.
She audibly gasps, her chest rising and falling with each quick breath she takes.
I fix my eyes on hers and continue. “And I saw you watching me.”
Her upper lip twitches as she thinks of a sarcastic comeback. I can see the vein in her neck throbbing, along with the beat of her pulse before she finally whispers, “We shouldn’t do this.” She pulls a green olive off the toothpick floating in her martini, then she pops it into her mouth. The green olive matches her eyes perfectly.
I watch her shift uncomfortably in her chair for a few seconds before I respond. “Why not?”
“Because you’re my boss.” So naïve, sweet little Saige is.
“I’m actually not,” I tell her.
She frowns. “You own the company I work for, same thing.”
I clarify, “I’m part owner of the company you work for.”
She sighs. “Holt, this is just drinks. That’s all.” But her eyes tell me she wants more.
I lean closer to her. “It’s never just drinks, Saige.” 
 
 
About Rebecca Shea:

  
 
Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters

Some Sort of Happy (Melanie Harlow)

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I almost didn’t believe it was him.

In high school, Sebastian Pryce had been an aloof outsider who kept to himself. But now, ten years, later he’s back and unusually attractive. With muscle in all the right places and hands that know exactly what they’re doing, Sebastian is everything I didn’t know I needed. And while he isn’t exactly friendly, he has a magnetism that draws me in.

He pulls away, afraid he’ll break me.

Until the night I demanded more—and he gave it. (Hard and deep. Twice.)

Were we just two lost, lonely people seeking solace?

Or could a disgraced reality TV star and a flawed, frustrating man actually find some sort of happy together?


I don’t read a lot of recommendations. Basically people’s judgment on books sometimes makes me weary (I know…the irony is not lost on me). But this one was specifically requested for me to read and I’m so excited it was! I want to scream from the rooftops READ THIS BOOK OR PARISH!! Plus, duh. I love me some new found indies. *rubs palms together*

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I found it very easy and very welcoming connecting to these characters right from the beginning. Skylar is filled with so much spunk and humor you can’t help but to either laugh at her or with her and cheer for her to be on top. Despite the shitty cards she has been handed, her outlook on life is fair. The secondary characters were so diverse and so great I can’t think of one complaint about them. So let’s just skip to Sebastian. The hero. The man. He suffers from OCD and high anxiety and he has struggled with these things for most of his life. But to me, those “differences” made him so beautiful. He was a perfectly flawed character who was shaped and executed very wonderfully.

“You have no idea what that’s like for me to just feel. It’s heaven.”

Harlow keeps the writing light (most of the time) with this book but at the same time you still feel the emotional highs and lows of Skylar and Sebastian’s relationship. Which to me as a reader is very important. I also like that *BOTH* characters are patient and loving with one another. Not to mention accepting. It was very endearing to witness. They grow so much throughout the book, whether they are together or apart.

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This book was hot, yes. I mean, HOT. But it wasn’t just about the sex. This book was so beautiful my heart cracked. The struggles, the hurt, and the daily obstacles that Sebastian is dealt is more than enough to make room in my cold heart for this fictional character. Along with all of these things, it had a great balance of humor. The characters were playful and there was just enough banter to keep the story pretty light. With this book you get lots of humor, passion, emotions, and love. Bravo!

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The Absence of Olivia (Anie Michaels)

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My name is Evelyn.

I met Devon and instantly fell for him.

Weeks later he fell for my best friend.

Never one to make waves, I watched as they started a life together. I stood by as their family grew, was the maid of honor at their wedding and the godmother to their children. All the while, I was longing for him, watching as he became the perfect husband and father. I was never jealous. I wasn’t even angry that my best friend had the only person I wanted. I had simply resigned myself to living without his love, but still being a part of his life.

Then, one terrible day, my best friend died.

She died and we all struggled to live life without her. Slowly, as the pain eased, our eyes opened and Devon finally saw me.

This is a story about second chances and second choices.

This is the story of how my life changed in the absence of Olivia.


I think that this was a book I preordered previously. And I think it was because this cover is amazing. It’s been on my kindle for so long that I have bypassed it every time I look for a new book to read. I made a list and this was the next one on it. So I read it. But I didn’t necessarily like it.

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Evie and Olivia are best friends. Like, best friends since they were 14 years old best friends. So Evie meets a guys named Devon in college and doesn’t see him around again for weeks. Until Olivia shows up and introduces her new boyfriend (Devon) to Evie. So thus begins not quite a love triangle but just enough of one to make you question what’s going to happen. Who ends up with who? What happens? I wanted more excitement. I wanted more…feelings? More so REALISTIC feelings.

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I had a lot of issues with this book, a lot may or may not be spoilers. If they are, forgive me. First, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. Evie to me was not a very strong female lead. She was actually very wishy-washy. “Oh I want one thing but no I think I want another” type of wishy washy. Devon was just a big eye roll to me. He wasn’t a very dominate male lead in this book when in all actuality he was a main character. Nate was the only redeeming part of this story for me.

Which brings me to my second point: this story is so big on “don’t be anyone’s second choice!” So, um, what is Nate? I don’t get it. You’re saying that it’s unacceptable to be someone’s second choice but then you’re okay with being said persons second choice. I don’t get it.

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Also, I didn’t understand quite how easily every one had moved on. Yeah, there’s kids, yeah life happens but really…think about it. Your spouse dies and your best friend dies, what do you do? Make eyes at said dead best friends husband? Do you say inappropriate things to your dead wife’s best friend? I may be giving away a ton of spoilers but let’s face it, this book was not realistic to me in the least bit.

It was a quick and light read. Lots of back and forth from past to present and then jumping two years to more present time. I feel like if the story line might have been tweaked just a bit the story would have really resonated with me but this time I wasn’t feeling it.

The Vixen and the Vet (Katy Regnery)

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In this modern-retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” Savannah Carmichael, betrayed by an unreliable source, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since.

After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he’s lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress with a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years.

Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.


If you want a classic and heartwarming romance then this book is just for you. There was a lot of aw factors and a lot of romance. But I think my problem with this one was, my expectations were tremendously high because Katy’s Never Let You Go book was so fantastic.

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This book is about a pretty girl and a scarred (emotionally and physically) man who doesn’t let anybody in until they are coincidentally thrown together. Vulnerability gets the best of both of them and rules change and things happen and yeah. I wasn’t a huge fan of the heroine in this book. She was selfish. But the hero made up for the annoyance I got from the heroine. I did very much enjoy the hero, Asher. I felt like he was well written and portrayed very nicely.

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Two words: insta-love. I can’t do it. Unless an author makes it very believable, I can’t do it.

A downfall to this was how predictable it was. I think that it was a simple but entertaining modern spin on the beauty and the beast fairytale. So we all kind of know how that one ends. Katy’s writing takes you to another world and I like how dynamic she is with her writing. None of her books are every consistently the same and I think that in this day and age that’s a huge accomplishment.

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Unhinge (Calia Read)

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Victoria can’t recall much of her life before she came to Fairfax Hospital, but she prefers it that way. She holds her beautiful baby daughter, Evelyn, every day and that’s enough…isn’t it? But when Evelyn is taken from her, Victoria’s world begins to fray at the seams. It becomes apparent to her that the hospital walls aren’t the only obstacles standing between her and the outside world—Victoria has constructed a hall of mirrors deep inside, every false image a distraction from the trauma of her past life. A white picket fence, a family on the way…yet something feels amiss in her memories of a happy marriage. When a handsome stranger begins visiting Victoria, pressing her to remember her past, she struggles to separate real memories from refracted images she has created, knowing at last that only the truth can set her free.


Have you read Unravel? No? You should. Read it first. And then you should immediately pick this book up. I rated this book a solid 3.5 for the writing alone. I feel as if I can write a full blown review on Calia’s writing alone. I had a couple of issues but nothing too extreme. Some of the book had some minor plot holes that I couldn’t piece together or figure out where they played a roll. Some characters were just confusing to me and seemed to just be thrown in. But all in all it was a good read.

Victoria has zero memories of her life before she went to Fairfax. She knows that she loves her daughter, Evelyn, who is in the institution with her “Fairfax is no place for a baby” and she knows that people keep telling her that her husband, Wes is dead. The details of how and why are blurred within the shadows of her own sanity. She sees her “dead” husband every day when he visits her almost every night and a mysterious stranger visits her every day that tugs at her heart. Her mind is frayed, but she’s convinced her husband is alive. What she doesn’t know is why every one keeps telling her that he’s dead.

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This book is told in alternating scenes of past and present, but what I enjoyed the most is the past. I feel like we really got to see how everything unraveled right along with Victoria. Having it told solely in Victoria’s POV throws me for a loop though, because just how reliable can a person in an institution be trusted?

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I don’t want to say too much about the storyline as it will give away most, if not all, of the story. And the best part about Calia’s books are going in blind. I think that this book meant to piece all of the puzzle pieces together for the reader but for me I was just left with more questions and more theories. I didn’t see the twist coming though. And I know that’s what matters most.

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Low (Mary Elizabeth)

Low (Low, #1)It’s hard living on the wrong side of the tracks.

Lowen Seely has a criminal record to prove it. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he fights instinct and tries honesty. But hunger becomes painful, and bills are due. Forced to choose between what is right and wrong, the boy from the hood learns abiding by the rules is nearly impossible when corruption is in your blood.

Falling for an outlaw has changed everything.

Poesy Ashby is the definition of ride or die, even when it means turning her back on freedom. The girl from the suburbs gives conformity the middle finger. Bonnie and Clyde have nothing on her love story.

On the run with consequences in the rearview mirror, Lowen and Poesy accept the truth: they are the bad guys.

But can they get away with their crimes?


It’s a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, ya’ll!

Do you guys remember when the Dusty series was published? Okay, do you remember when you hurt so badly from that series? Okay, the good news is, the hurt in Low is not anything like that hurt. But the bad news is, it stills hurts.

“Even crooks love.”

Low and Poe are what I like to call tragically flawed and beautiful characters. This story will take you on the craziest emotional ride of your life. It takes you through all of the hard times and you sympathize for these characters. Mary writes these characters so well that no matter what bad things they do, you love them. You enjoy reading through their perspective. You want that happiness for these two characters. And despite all of the bad, evil, law breaking, there’s pure love. A love that couldn’t be broken.

You just can’t help but love Low. If you push aside all of his bad ways and the things that he does you find out WHY he does what he does. And WHO he does it for. Same with Poe, what a character. A badass woman. Woo! Through and through, Poe knew what she wanted. She knew that no matter what she would love Low. How great.

“Chaos is our marriage certificate. Mayhem is the bond that keeps us together.”

Mary is so good at writing endings that YOU get to interpret. For yourself. I might have had a smirk on my face by the end of the book. Seriously the amount of adrenaline and tension I feel from her books should be enough to put me in cardiac arrest but I love it. And does anyone else notice how on Goodreads there’s a nice little #1 next to the title *insert side eyes*

Low is out February 1st and I think right now the pre-order price is actually .99. You’re welcome.

Out of Breath (Rebecca Donovan)

 Emma leaves Weslyn and everyone in it behind to attend Stanford University, just as she always intended. A shell of her former self, she is not the same girl. She is broken, and the only way that she’ll be whole again is through forgiveness. Emma must find a way to forgive herself and recognize her own worth before she can receive the love she deserves. This final installment will have readers holding their breath until the very last page. 


I’m done, I did it. I completed my emotional re-read and let me tell you something, it was rough. But it was worth it and I am thankful that I took the time and did this re-read years later.

“I was so tired of fighting. Tired of hurting. Tired of the guilt that that would never release me, and the regrets that could not be changed. I didn’t want this life.”

This series. THIS. All of us that have read these books had our happily ever after ripped from us and suddenly replaced by emotions that we might not even had known existed. We saw an ending that shocked us. And after that, we all tried to grieve. But then that grieve was replaced by anger. After being emotional and dealing with not one but TWO cliff hangers that left us reeling, Rebecca turned right back around and drained us completely.

In this last installment we see Emma struggling to really cope with everything that has happened in her life. This book picks up two years after the second one leaves off, so that means that two years have passed since she has seen or even talked to Evan. She is in college, has friends, goes to parties, but one summer is all it takes for her to confront her past and her demons.

Every choice had a consequence. I’d earned every aching beat that pounded in my chest.”

 The only negative opinion I had with this book was that I felt like I didn’t know who Emma was. I felt like that was the point that Rebecca wanted to portray though. So much damage had been caused during Emma’s life that at this point she was just unrecognizable. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she drove me nuts in this book, but the first 75% of the book…she drove me nuts.

To me, the ending of this book was bittersweet. Knowing I will never read a book like this again or read characters like these again I was actually kind of sad. With that being said, I was very comfortable letting them go. They were both in good places that I was at east with. So, I guess for now, I will say goodbye to these characters once again. Probably until next year when I feel like getting my heart torn apart. AGAIN.