The Gravity of Us by Brittainy Cherry

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Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground. 

I can’t even right now. I just can’t even with Brittainy Cherry and I am just really disgusted with how well she writes and just so full of feelings as I sit here and relish in yet another story that makes me feel the things I want to feel while reading a book. I’m serious, it’s gross. Every time she puts something new out I get like this. Itchy with emotions and a hope for life within me that could fill up the state of Texas.

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It’s a craft to her that comes so easily unlike anything else I have seen or read in this world. This book (along with her others) are wonderful books to pick up and sit down and devour in one setting. No pee breaks, no food, no responsibilities, nothing. Gone. Out the door!

I feel like all this review needs to be is me going on and on about how great of a writer Brittainy is but isn’t that what all of my Brittainy Cherry reviews consist of? Let’s try something new this time!

“You love so loudly that even the darkest souls can find some kind of light from your smile.”

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Her characters. Let’s talk about them. Graham works for me because of the way he is structured and because of his growth throughout the entire story. The fact that you can see the change within him and the strength in himself grow more and more is just so incredible and it says a lot about Brittainy and her writing and storytelling. Lucy is a fantastic character. Her integrity is the type that I look for in all female characters. We all need to have a Lucille around us at all times. Another fun thing about Brittainy and her books is she constructs such great secondary characters. Any of them could be picked up for their own book and I would read it frontwards and backwards. Mark Brittainy down for another positive trait. (see, disgusting…right?)

Her writing. It’s incredible. Enough said, let’s move along because I know we’ve covered this multiple times before.

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Her covers. This woman has a knack for this sort of thing. The incorporation they play into the book and the series are just impressive. And I am not even talking about her element series. I am talking about her other books she has out that YOU should have already read. Tisk tisk on you if you haven’t.

I think I am done now. I apologize. I just have all of these things flowing from me that needs to be put into words. The fact that an author can write pages and pages of words that evoke emotions out of you that you don’t feel on a daily basis blows my mind. And Brittainy does it every time and The Gravity of Us is no different. So go forth, grab the book, and get itchy with feelings because I can promise you it will happen.

Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol

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Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

Okay…so, this isn’t my normal type of read but, I loved it. I did. And I have a new crush. Her name is Kricket. And she’s feisty and snarky and sassy and fun.

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The characters in this book (besides Kricket) were outstanding. Not just a few of them but practically all of them. They all played a huge factor in the story and I am excited to see where they play into the rest of the story.

The story might take place in a different world but the banter and wit and humor between all of the characters was so refreshing to me. It almost kept the story strong and flowing and it definitely caught my attention.

The WORLD BUILDING! Wow! Amy created this world that was so fascinating to me. From their language to the animals to just everything. I feel like as a writer she executed the setting and descriptions perfectly.

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Have you seen the cover? Legit.

All in all I enjoyed reading about Kricket and her adventure and her battle. I was captivated and I was curious about all of the things. What will happen next!?

Tortured by Nicole Williams

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When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.

When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.

Years go by.
She builds a new life.
She leaves the old one behind.

Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be saved from.

The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.

Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.

So good. SO SO good. That’s all I can really say about Tortured. I was tortured! I couldn’t put it down. Every time I picked the book up, I read consistently until I happily finished. And you know what? I laughed, I hurt, I sympathized, and I yearned and to me? To me that makes a damn good read.

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When I think of Nicole Williams I think of Jude. But now? Now I think of Brecken and Camryn and Keenan and how my heart just aches for the both of them throughout an ENTIRE book. It’s a whole different level of angst I never thought I could feel. It’s amazing!

The story was predictable. For that, I four star. Don’t hate me, but it was. I guessed a lot of the scenarios and outcomes way before they even happened. But nonetheless, I couldn’t put the book down. I just couldn’t. I was so entwined with these characters that I just couldn’t put them away.

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There’s scars and healing and there’s sacrifice and there is strength and love and suffering and all of the good stuff that makes us just so emotional. I’m so proud for Nicole. This book will be a favorite of many.

Marriage Games (CD Reiss)

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THIRTY DAYS
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.

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That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.

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She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.

She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.

She’s wrong.

I felt like Marriage Games was all over the place. The past tense POV’s jumped around and it wasn’t consistent at all. Not to mention they were short and brief. I just didn’t see where a lot of the past was playing into the future we were reading about. Maybe I should read the second book. But let’s face it, I probably won’t.

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The book started out so well. The author’s writing is very clean and straightforward and easy to power through. I felt like the progress I was making was very significant. I really liked the author’s intentions and story line with Marriage Games but by the time I got halfway through the book it all fell out for me.

The last 40% the characters stayed the same. Stuck. Their mannerisms, thoughts, actions. All the same and all very predictable. Adam became someone completely different and completely out of left field. Probably even further than left field. And then Diana came out of right field and their actions made me dizzy in the head.

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Basically I’m missing a lot of information. There’s a lot of back and forth that I just can’t place in the story. I hope that for the readers sake, the author clears up all of the plot holes and back and forth in the second book.

From Sand and Ash (Amy Harmon)

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Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

All of the feels. I want to bottle them all up and stick them on my bookshelf.

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What a beautiful story. Some chapters were so intense I had to make sure I was still breathing because I was holding my breath so long waiting to see what was going to happen or unfold next. And it was tragic. God was it tragic. I couldn’t even imagine being there during the timeframe we are placed in while reading, I just couldn’t.

Now, I’m not one for details or maybe I should clarify, OVER-detailing in the books I read. I just feel like I don’t have enough time to read through all of that but FSaA didn’t feel like that to me. Sure, there were details but it was just enough detail to keep me there within the story with Eva and Angelo. It was just what I needed to keep me in tune with the books.

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Amy has kickass writing. She just does. I mean look, she wrote a historical fiction book and I wasn’t bored. That says something about an author, right? Plus it is Amy Harmon.

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The story line is able to provide the reader with the kind of slow burn we yearn for. It was almost as good as The Bronze Horseman’s slow burn but I’m still a sucker for my Shura and Tania. From Sand and Ash will be a story I remember for a long time and for that I’m eternally thankful.

Where You Can Find Me (Fiona Cole)

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Luella King has experienced loss all her life. After losing her parents and the most important person in her life, she hesitates to open up to anyone and instead plays it safe. One night, she throws caution to the wind and gives into her desires with a sexy stranger.

Fearing her sudden and unexpected loss of control, Luella runs away from him. A chance second encounter pushes her to open her eyes and give the stranger a chance.

There’s something about Jack MacCabe that makes her feel safe enough to lower her guard. Despite how busy he is with his job as a security specialist, they continue to spend more time together and with each date and late night message she finds herself falling in love.

When a serial killer wreaks havoc on their city, Jack’s dangerously close proximity to the case reignites Luella’s fears of losing someone important to her. Surrendering her fears in order to keep Jack by her side challenges Luella to her limits, while Jack is under pressure to catch the serial killer before it’s too late.

As Jack and Luella draw closer to one another, the killer closes in on their next victim. Soon Jack and Luella find themselves entrenched in a mystery they never saw coming.

New to me author and a new to me read. All in all it was good. Enjoyable. Sexy. VERY sexy.

I feel like there could have been less “romance” though and more suspense, especially with the way the author wanted this story line to go. I was torn about what I was really supposed to be waiting for in the story: the relationship or the “twist”.

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The epilogue was rushed, there were definitely some things that could have been broken down and explained more thorough than it was but hey! The last paragraph was phenomenal. I got goosebumps.

As far as a debut novel goes, Fiona executed it. Her writing was enjoyable and I’m excited to read her second book.

Fiona, girl…give me some secondary character stories. Please. Now. Thank you.

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Behind Her Eyes (Sarah Pinborough)

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Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

I am impressed. That is what I am going to say right now. I am impressed with this book because I didn’t see it coming in any way, shape, or form (LITERALLY) but I’m still just baffled because…what the hell? I mean, really? That’s what your “hashtag hype” was about? No wonder no one guesses the ending, how unpredictable.

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I didn’t four star this book because of the ending though (unlike most people). No, I four starred this book because of two things:

The writing and the revelations and yearnings I discovered along the way.

Like with Adele, for instance. What an incredible and unreliable character. and the breadcrumbs I followed to get to the core of her was FANTASTIC! She is the kind of character that I love to read about. I mean really. She fascinated me to no prevail. Every chapter of hers was laced with mystery that I just wanted to grab for myself. With the help of the authors suspenseful writing I was easily distracted and lost in Adele and the things that occurred with her or while being in her POV at the time.

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The writing was neat because I felt like I was actually Louise. I wanted to dig deeper and deeper into Adele and David’s marriage that I could barely stand it. Granted, in the beginning on the book there were so many plot holes I just thought to myself “there is NO way this author can patch all of these up” but alas, they did.

The ending didn’t necessarily shock me because it just seemed so unrealistic. Hard for me to grasp and hold onto. But the way these characters are portrayed and the way the story is laid out for us gave me a great read, no doubt about it. To me, the book didn’t stay true to its genre but other than that it was a fantastic read all around. I can appreciate a good book when I read one.

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Figure Eight (Calia Read)

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Dear Selah,
Do you remember me?
Of course you don’t. So I’m going to give you a refresher course.
I’ve known you for years and years. We used to have beautiful conversations. There was no one that knew you better than me. We were handmade for each other.
Lately, it’s become achingly obvious you’re miserable. You’ve moved back home to take care of your ailing mother. You’ve been looking for a new job, but that’s not going well. Admit it: it’s all too much.
Everyone around you sees your suffering, but they’re not willing to help you.
Everyone but Jackson.
He comes into your life at the perfect moment and offers you everything you could want: a shoulder to lean on, love, and most importantly, hope.
But there’s no one that can compare to me. You seem to forget that I’m your figure 8. Your infinity. You try to run, but I will always find you.
Yours Truly,
Figure 8

She did it. Calia did it again. She got me. This girl got me all shook up right to my core. She got me moved in and situated into my nice, new cozy corner, rocking away very nervously. She even supplied me the cozy straight jacket and blindfold.

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“The truth is a powerful thing. When it’s suppressed for such a long time and then suddenly set free, it doesn’t come quietly; it attacks you from the inside out, forcing you to feel every last lie and deception you were holding onto. No matter how painful is is.”

Calia’s writing is something all of us as readers can agree on. Whether it’s Unravel or one of her Sloan Brothers book, this girl has got it going on. So, to say I am surprised with the way Figure 8 was written would be a lie because let’s face it: I’m not.

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I expected it. But it isn’t just impeccable writing that is in Figure Eight. No, no, no, that would be way too easy for Calia. It’s chilling, eerie, and suspenseful. There were times where I was so creeped out I put the book down because I had goose bumps on my neck and then there were times where my breathing was deep and fast that I had to get myself together because no one likes a hot mess. Figure Eight was just an intense read but that’s putting it lightly. Very lightly.

Figure Eight included so many twists and turns that I legitimately had no idea what was going to happen next. Basically, I can’t tell you anything about the actual book, story line, etc. I can say that the characters are not what you think. Their lives are not what you think. Nothing is really what you think, don’t even bother. Just…let it happen. Let the book happen and enjoy it. With Calia’s books the best thing that you can do is go in blind. Absorb everything she has written out so neatly and tidy for you. It all adds up, I promise you it does.

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If anyone can give you heart palpitations and wrong guesses and insane theories that drive you crazy at night it’s Calia Read. I even got emotional because what Calia is trying to portray to us within this book is beautiful and broken all at the same time. It’s real and it’s raw. Make sure you have something to drink in your corner, you’ll get thirsty.

“You deserve light. The brightest colors out there. Your mouth needs to smile and laughter needs to spill out. Your hollow brown eyes need to be filled with hope and the promise of tomorrow. No matter how many times I try to tell you that, you’re slowly breaking apart. Everyone around you sees your suffering, but they’re not willing to help you.”

Ten Below Zero (Whitney Barbetti)

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“In here,” he said, pushing on the skin above my heart, “you’re ten below zero. And you’re closer to death than I am.”

My name is Parker. My body is marked with scars from an attack I don’t remember. I don’t want to remember. I choose to live my life by observation, not through experience. While people are laughing and kissing and connecting, I’m in the corner. Watching them live. I’m indifferent to everything, everyone. The only emotion I feel with any kind of depth is annoyance, and I feel it often.

A text message sent to the wrong number proves to be my undoing.

His name is Everett, but I call him rude. He’s pushy, he’s arrogant, he crowds my personal space, and worst of all: he makes me feel.

He chooses to wear all black, all the time, as if he’s waiting to attend a funeral. Probably because he is.

Everett is dying. And he’s spending his final days living, truly living. In doing so, he’s forcing me to feel, to heal. To come face to face with the demons I suppressed in my memory.

He hurts me, he fulfills me, he completes me. And still, he’s dying.


*RE-READ

Whitney Barbetti and Ten Below Zero is all of the good in my world. All of my feels in the world splayed out across 280 pages of emotional goodness.

I’ve never connected more to a character than I have Parker. (Unless we are talking about Senna from Mud Vein.) And that alone makes this one incredible read. Parker’s characteristics makes the book what it is. And even if you disagree with that, Everett is a whole different story. That broody, seatbelt loving, eye roll hating, asshole is incredible. I don’t care what you or you or you say about it.

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I feel like if you can’t connect to Whitney’s writing in TBZ you’ll be done for. Close the book. Put it away. Don’t even tarnish my views on it. But once you sit back and let her writing and story and message consume you and just flow around you you’ll feel like you’re actually in a place that you belong in. Full of not just one sweet moment but so many sweet moments that you can’t wait to bottle up and keep with you forever.

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Maybe there was a tear or two whilst reading this again. Maybe. You’ll never know and I’ll never tell you.

DISCLAIMER: I’m very disappointed in you if you have never read this book. I’ve also contemplated our friendship if you haven’t. Read the book. Feel the things. Squeeze MF squeeze squeeze.

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