The Grace Year (Kim Liggett)

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No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Maybe the reason no one speaks of the grace year is because of us. How could the men live among us, lie with us, let us care for their children, knowing the horrors we inflict upon one another . . . alone . . . in the wilderness . . . in the dark?

This was a WILD read. It really was. That is the only word that I can think of when you ask me to describe The Grace Year. Once I could actually sit down and get into the story, I couldn’t put it down. So, why the three stars?

I REALLY struggled with the main character. She wasn’t my favorite. And not in a good way. Sometimes you can really like the awful characters in a story. They can create an incredible story just from their characteristics and personality. But she truly made me want to scream. She was inconsistent. Wishy Washy. All over the place with her thoughts and beliefs. Most of the time I don’t mind when main characters are like that. I can focus on something else whether it is the plot, setting, other characters, anything. But with Tierney, I just couldn’t get my head around her.

Unpopular opinion coming in hot: The love story that is forced upon us just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t convincing. I’ll just leave that topic alone and move on…

The Grace Year had a lot going for it. And with all of the above said, it was a pretty solid read. However– there are books that I don’t ever want to end and then there are books like The Grace Year. I couldn’t wait for it to be done, and that was all because of Tierney. But because of the great imagination and incredible setting the author provided for us, it wasn’t so painful to read when it was all said and done.

One Week Stand (M. Mabie)

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Was it too much to ask for one wild week away from college, away from the cold weather, and away from my classmates? That’s all I wanted. A spring break vacation where I could live my best life with my friends and get a little crazy for once. Possibly, drink too many cocktails on the beach, wear the skimpy bikini I bought, and have a no-strings-attached, tropical escapade with a co-ed.

Sounds perfect, right?

Well, it didn’t happen because my dumbass missed the nonrefundable flight.

And if it wasn’t bad enough that I was stranded on an empty, snow-covered campus over my senior year spring break, it was about to get a whole lot worse…because he’s still here too.

The tall, dark smart ass. The cocky classmate I’ve been rolling my eyes at since freshman year. The annoying internet star who everyone thinks is hilarious.
Julien Carson.

So you know what? Screw it.

It’s just a few days, and nobody has to know. Plus, I guess he’s not so bad to look at when he’s saying all the right things and making all the right moves. Maybe I don’t have to fly thousands of miles for a spring fling because I can’t come up with a single reason why Julien shouldn’t be my… One Week Stand.

“Fuck Cancun. This kiss is paradise.”

Who the hell is the author? And where did she take my angsty, emotionally charged M. Mabie? Wherever she went, I’m glad I got this one in One Week Stand. It kept me laughing for houuuurs! Like, LOL laughing. I never do that!

The characters were fun and they each had a dynamic that really worked for me. When you put them together, it was magic to my eyes! I loved seeing them interact and reading their banter. It wasn’t forced and it was just as smooth as butter.

One Week Stand was equal parts fun, sexy, and funny. It’s short enough that you can read it in one sitting and long enough to get your mind off your crazy life for a little while. I have never read a book like this from Mo and I think that’s why I enjoyed it more than I thought that I would. For such a short story, it was loaded with the essentials!

Landon & Shay (Brittainy Cherry)

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Shay Gable hated my guts, and I hated hers, too.

We went out of our way to avoid one another at all times. When she came my direction, I went the other. When we locked eyes, she’d turn and walk away.

All of that changed the day I was presented with a challenge. It started out as a stupid bet: make Shay fall in love with me before I fell in love with her first.

That was an easy bet for me to win.
I didn’t love, I hardly liked.

Yet slowly the game started to shift. Shay made me crave things I never knew I wanted.

The closer we grew, the more she challenged my darkness, and the parts I kept locked away.
The hurts.
The pains.
The truth.

The game between us became too real, our feelings intermixed, and the risks of hurting one another grew higher.

But you know what they say…
All’s fair in the game of love and war—especially the heartbreaks.

This review will be short, sweet, and simple because you know what, after reading all TWELVE of Brittainy Cherry’s books and literally loving ALL TWELVE OF THEM there are just so many five star reviews that ya girl can write. So here we go…

Landon & Shay was beautifully written.
Landon & Shay was emotionally executed so well.
Landon & Shay are both such complex characters with so much depth and growth.
Landon & Shay left me feeling so many things that I never feel while reading books.
Brittainy Cherry never ceases to amaze me.
Brittainy Cherry is amazing.

There. That is my review.

To sum it up: it’s Brittainy Cherry. That says it all right there. The day I read one of her books and NOT love it, there will be something wrong with me so call my doctor and schedule me an appointment.

The Light We See (J Lynn Bailey)

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From Carpinteria, California, we left.
In Arizona, we barely spoke.
In New Mexico, I gave him a promise that I knew I couldn’t keep.
In Texas, we slept under the stars.
In Oklahoma, he told me a story I wouldn’t soon forget.
In Louisiana, he gave my soul a voice.
Between Arkansas and Mississippi, we took full advantage of an opportunity.
In Tennessee, I studied his face.
In Kentucky, he introduced me to his parents.
In Ohio, he found my heart.
In West Virginia, we drank whiskey and told ourselves that truths are better left untold.
In Maryland, we felt the weight of the night.
In Pennsylvania, his wife called.
And in New York, I asked myself one question:

Would he be able to let me go when it was time?

Well you know what, if J. Lynn Bailey is not one of your “go-to-auto-buy” authors you need to STOP sleeping on her right this instant. And if you haven’t read any of her other books before now, this will be the one that I highly suggest that you start with. Now let me begin…

I absolutely LOVED these characters. Every single one of them. I loved the two main characters and their journey sure, but the people they met along the way, that I got to meet along the way, really stole this show for me. Experiencing the different places and people throughout this novel, and their insight and their dynamics with the main characters really sealed the deal for mt.

Also I really loved how the two characters got to know each other through the stories they told and the people they met. At first they don’t know a single thing about each other (or so we think). But as they embark on this journey together they learn so much which meant that so did we! And to me that made the story so much fun and that much more heartfelt. That these two people too the time to break themselves down for the other. Ugh. Loveeeed it.

The Light We See was a story full of hope and love. It was full of change, growth, and grief. Heartbreak and finding love. It had powerful messages and nicely done twists all throughout the book. It was the whole package. If you read this book and don’t find ONE message to take with you long after it’s gone, you should probably just read it all again because you must not have been paying attention the first time 😀 I said what I said.

The Living Canvas (Pepper Winters)

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“Must be brave, stubborn, and impervious to the tempers of loved ones.”
The first line hissed with history.
“Hours are endless, pay is non-existence, quitting absolutely forbidden.”
The second line ached with truth.
“Able to function on no sleep, refrain from running when times get hard, and be more than just a living canvas but a lover.”
The third thrummed with honesty.
“Other attributes required: forgiving, opinionated, and not afraid to tell me when I’m wrong. Must also enjoy being touched and kissed at any time of my choosing.”
The fourth glowed with promise.
“Call or email ‘YOUR HEART, HIS SOUL’ if interested in applying.”
The final made my future unfold.
The advert was so similar to one I should never have applied for.
A twist of fate that brought two destined people back together.
A job I would take in a heartbeat if the employer could offer such terms.
But I wasn’t free.
Neither was Gil.
Therefore, my interview could never happen.

“Love…the most terrible weapon of all.”

Well… in conclusion to this duet: I did not love this last book and I did not hate it. I feel like the author really rushed to get The Living Canvas out and the repetitiveness and the scenarios that we have already seen played out throughout the entire book… was just not needed. Too much rushing, not enough time tending to a more stronger plot line.

Pepper always has such emotional writing and this book really wasn’t any different in that department. Throughout both books we see a lot of struggle in both characters but really other than that– we don’t see much. What we see in the second book is a lot of things that were actually already mentioned and addressed in The Body Painter.

Unfortunately, I found The Living Canvas to be repetitive when it came to the same situations being mentioned and played out over and over. I felt like there was very little progression with the characters and their growth and just not enough answers that seemed to satisfy me. There were some things going on that were different from the first book but I felt as if I was reading about two completely different characters in each chapter that were experiencing the exact same situations from the first book.

Before You (Marni Mann)

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It was supposed to be a typical work trip. New York to San Francisco, window seat, exit row. Maybe a mimosa.

Then, seat 14B sat down. When our eyes met, the flight became anything but routine.

I could pinpoint the moments in my life where everything changed forever.

Meeting Jared on that flight was first.

Falling in love with him was second.

Discovering the secrets he kept was third.

Putting my broken self back together and forgetting what I learned would be difficult. Forgiving Jared would be impossible.

“Some stories had the power to change lives forever. This story changed an entire town.”

Is this how Marni Mann’s going to do her books now? Is this how she’s going to do ME now? Emotionally draining and crippling and making me feel all kinds of things I am never used to feeling? Ugh. This review will be short. There is no way I can give anything away when it comes to this story. So short and sweet it is.

After reading and not loving The Assistant, as much as I was hoping to, I was completely thrilled to love this one so much when I had finished it. I always love the way Marni’s sharp writing digs down deep. In this case she created characters that were absolutely wonderful. I loved them all including the overall plot and message of how one incident can change the lives of so many people. Connected or not.

The alternating POV’s and timeline really set the tone for the entire book. Four people. Two stories. Both tied together in a way that I didn’t even see coming. I couldn’t pick a favorite time-frame to be in, and when I read a book that has me feeling like that it’s a delightful feeling.

Before You was filled with equal amounts of love and heartbreak with a twist that you might see coming, but still enjoy nonetheless. If you don’t see it coming, I think you will appreciate this story so much more.

Half Truths (Claire Contreras)

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You’ve heard of these groups – the secretive ones that only the crème de la crème are invited into, the ones outsiders speculate about for centuries – I’m the second in my family invited to attend, but to them, I’m fresh meat. New blood. New money, too.
They think they’ll elbow past me, that I’m here for their amusement, for them to walk all over, they’ll find out soon enough that I’m not.

I may look like one of them, with my designer bags and clothes straight from the Parisian runways, but I’m not. I’m here for answers, to take revenge for blood spilled on their centuries-old Persian rugs.
I transferred here in search for answers about what happened to my older brother, who hightailed out of here, and my friend who seemingly disappeared into thin air. I certainly wasn’t here for the attention of the star hockey player, regardless of how much he willed my eyes his way. I wasn’t here for his scrutiny or his judgment or to read into his mysterious aura. I was here for the society, because only they held the answers I needed. That was, until I found out that in order to get those answers, I needed to go through him. He’s saying if I want in, I have to play by their rules, follow their lead.
It’s a game I’m willing to play.

I may be the second person I know of to be invited into their society, but I’ll be the first to make it out intact.

“How could you be a footnote when you’re the whole damn textbook?”

First of all, I haven’t read a book by Claire Contreras in years. YEARS. Probably since the Hearts series was being written and released. I guess I have been taking a huge sleep on her. Not intentionally, of course. But when I seen the cover for Half Truths, I knew it was time to awaken myself from the long nap. And boy have I awaken just in time to read one of the most funnest experiences of my life. Like, when a toddler or a baby falls asleep and then wakes up in Target! So much excitement to see!

I love Claire’s writing. With her Hearts series being the last books of hers that I have read, I haven’t been able to see her progress with her writing so reading Half Truths was so much fun for me. Like, reading a brand new (to me) author even though she isn’t.

This book is not what you think it is. The balance between the romance and the suspense was evenly dispensed and not one took away from the other. I thought the story line was intriguing and kept me going and then the romance between the two main characters was just enough tension to keep me interested in them.

My only “kink” with this one (and it wasn’t a good one) was how many times the word HAREM was mentioned inside of these pages. LMAO it was sooo much! I think it was the main heroine’s favorite word all through out.

Don’t sleep on this book. Don’t sleep on Claire. This book was brilliant. The story-line, the plot, and the characters inside of the book. It was all just a brilliant experience that I just wasn’t expecting nor did I see coming. I never struggled to turn a page but I did struggle to put it down.