American Queen (Sierra Simone)

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It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires…and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.

My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This is the story of an American Queen.


I cannot believe that me, of all people, is five-starring this book. I cannot sit here and actually believe myself when I say that I loved this book as much as I did but…I did. I truly, wholly did. The person who loathes the cheating and the triangles and the smut, loved this book. I feel like such a hypocrite. So, I’m going to try and explain why I did love American Queen, to the best of my ability.

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To me, American Queen was so much more than what some readers might take it as. “A smutty romance novel with no plot or connections”. Sure, it is. Maybe to you these people don’t jive for you. Or, there is too much sex. Or, there is not enough of that emotion that you love so much. But guess what? To me it eludes ALL OF THAT.

The story line that Sierra input into this “smutty romance novel” was superb and actually meaningful to me. It was educational to me. It was phenomenal and it had a point. TO ME. The story itself is not just sex. It’s not just Greer or Ash or Embry and it’s not just for the hell of it. It’s them, as one or as a whole. It is a story with an actual point and plots and feelings. I cannot put into words how much intelligence was spun into this novel. How much it spun into me, as a reader, and how it made me want more when typically, I don’t. But this one…

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Sierra did right by this. Make it a series. Three books. One long story. One that keeps me anxiously on my toes and not wanting to put it down. I cannot wait to delve into book 2 and see where this story goes. I cannot wait to dive into these characters and know all of the things that I wanted to know in book 1 and most importantly I cannot wait to see where Greer, Ash, and Embry go. Whether they go together, or separately. Whether it all blows up or whether it all stays in place. I’m coming for it…

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I do want to touch base on Sierra’s writing for second. I read Priest. I didn’t like that book. Nothing about it grabbed my attention so I was very hesitant to read American Queen but going from Priest to American Queen, Sierra’s writing has excelled and improved SO WELL, in my opinion. I am still having trouble that this one person wrote these two books. How can that be? Sierra has evolved so wonderfully and for that I applaud her.

So Mr. President, you have my vote. My seal of approval. My awe. Let’s roll onto the next one, shall we?

 

 

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Anti-Stepbrother (Tijan)

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He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?


I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE WANTED TWO PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER MORE THAN I HAVE WITH CADEN AND SUMMER. THE. STRESS. OMG.

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Okay. Now that I’m calm I’ll begin.

This BOOK. Woah! Anti-Stepbrother was one of those books where my anxiety got SO bad because there was so much happening and left STILL to happen that when I finally seen how much was left in the book I started to panic. Legit panic. How could all of this end? I didn’t want it to end!

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I want to add first that I typically love the stepbrother trope but no one has executed a book like that so perfectly since Penelope Ward. That being said: THIS IS NOT A STEP BROTHER BOOK. This is not based on him. He’s in it, but it’s not what you think. Don’t get too scared off with that!

Drama. Angst. DRAMA. ANGST. I love it all. Especially college drama and angst. (Insert my love of the Laguna Beach days) and Anti-Stepbrother has all of the above. It didn’t lack in any department.

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Character wise, I loved them all. I loved Summer’s wit and I loved Caden’s charisma. I loved Avery’s supportiveness. And I loved the spunk in Marcus and Colton. All of the characters were well developed throughout this entire book. Not a single one was left behind by the author. Very awesome of her!

The best damn part about this whole book was, going into it you had it in your head that it was going to be about one thing but it WASN’T. It was about something completely different and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.

This was my second book of Tijan’s and although the first one I read I didn’t care for, this one stole me. I couldn’t put the book down because the story line itself was so delicious.

5 Stages of Riley Winter (RD Berg)

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He left me shattered and mentally scarred. Our divorce should have healed those emotional wounds. It didn’t.

Nine months have passed, and I am still trying to piece together my life that was torn to shreds. I am a shell of the person I once was.

GRIEF-
Shrouds me in a cloak of darkness, isolates me from family and friends, and barely leaves me treading water. The only thing keeping me afloat is my rambunctious three- year -old son, River.

FATE-
Brings Liam Bowers into my life. he offers me everything my ex did not – love, adoration, romance and peace.

Trouble-
Slithers it’s way back into my life, threatening to kidnap the only glimpse of happiness I have found.

My past and future are colliding, and I am afraid the only fatality will be …ME.


How rude of me to put this book off for so long? What was I even thinking? RD Berg should slap me. Wow.

“You can leave a toxic situation, but the scars that are left behind or almost harder to deal with.”

And RD is absolutely RIGHT with that line right there.

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The main character, Riley was fantastic. As a woman who has been in her position, and with a child, RD Berg depicted it perfectly. The guilt, the grief, the way you shut down and fight for your child. The author just did a fantastic job at making you understand what being that woman can seem like.

I just wanna say though, I’m not a fan of pet names so there were one too many “babes” and “babies” in this book for me. I could have done without that.

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But moving onto more good, HOW ABOUT THAT COVER!? OH MY GOD. It’s beautiful.

While you have deep topics of domestic violence and drug use, the author still have us some swoon worthy romance packed into a character named Liam. And boy was he something. He truly was the perfect fit for this family, which I’m also a softie for.

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RD Berg did a phenomenal job at constructing her first novel. I’m blown away by the thoughts she provoked and the strength she showed within Riley. It was inspirational and moving, a must read for every one!

Dead to You (Lisa McMann)

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Some memories are better left untouched.

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family.

It’s a miracle… at first.

Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together.

But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked.

Something unspeakable…

ARE. YOU. SERIOUS. RIGHT. NOW?

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This book is a stand-alone. Yes. You read that right. And when you read the ending you will RAGE so hard. THATS IT?! I read all of that for you to end it like THAT? I’m so angry right now. How could this happen?

I don’t even care how much I enjoyed the first part of the book. The ending ruined all of that. Usually I roll my eyes at people who say that endings ruin books but I stand corrected. Once you read this book, you get to the end and realize what a WASTE the entire book was. I cannot remember ever being this mad before. Think, the last book in the Divergent series but 10x worse. YEAH.

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Ethan is awful. Good luck to you all on liking him. I tried. I just couldn’t. But I was so engrossed in the story line that I just kept trucking on. Trucking on for what?…

N O T H I N G.

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In my opinion, the real story inside this book was NEVER told and how sad is that? We as readers are left there to just guess on everything. How disappointing. An entire book full of potential greatness just…trashed. Gone.

Travesty (Carrie Thomas)

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Waking up in a house she doesn’t recognize, sixteen-year-old, Sophia Sawyer, tries not to let the blankness of her mind terrorize her from the inside out. How can she not know who she is? How has she ended up chained in a basement? Trying to work through her fear, she sets her sights on escaping. When an opportunity arises, she puts her trust in a boy she doesn’t know, praying he will save her life.

At age four, Abram Scott learned life owes him nothing, while fourteen taught him how to throw a punch—and take one. Seventeen though… seventeen provides him with the best and worst year of his life. Before he is old enough to fight for his country, he will escape his own personal hell, save a life, live a lie, break the law, fall in love, betray that love… then lose it.

Letting Sophia go while not knowing if she will return, turns into the scariest decision Abram will ever make. But that’s the problem with living a lie; at some point, you have to decide which one is your truth.


This book was not awful. It also wasn’t “blow your mind” amazing. But for a YA book it was decent. I was interested enough to read it all the way through but I was also ready for it to be over with, if that makes any sense. It also has a very attractive cover that reeled me in so the author did very well in that aspect. But that might be it…

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The story line was okay and the characters were okay as well. The thing I struggled with most was how strong of a start the book had but the further you got into the slower it got. The more rushed it got. I felt as if maybe the author was trying too hard to pack everything into one small book. Which brings me to my next point:

Travesty should be two books. This story should be a duet and I’ll tell you why, without spoilers of course. We as readers need Abe and Sophia’s future. I feel like so much was left unfinished and that is not okay to me. I’m a nosey person, I am a person that wants to know things and at the end of the book I am left just wondering what ever became of the two. Not. Cool.

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Another thing that I struggled with were the multiple POVs. (never thought you would hear that from me, huh?) But I just couldn’t get on board with them and I didn’t like the male’s POV at all. It was like reading a females POV. Almost immature like, when he was supposed to be 18. I don’t feel like the author spent as much time on Abe’s POV when his should have been the most cared for, in my opinion.

So, solid cover, decent story line and YA genre for anyone who is into that sort of thing. If you like to have closure as a reader, I wouldn’t recommend this. But if you like fast paced, open-holed books this one would be perfect for you.

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Lead Me Not (A Meredith Walters)

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Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.

In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.

As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive…


Let me list the reasons why I loved this book:

1: teenage angst and drug use
2: boy/girl POVs
3: dysfunctional relationships
4: um did I mention teenage angst and dysfunctional relationships?

HELLO 2012.

That’s what this book was like. Catapulting me straight back to the angst filled year of 2012. Where all of the books I read straight ripped my heart to shreds and then happily popped back into my chest. (Jessica Sorensen, I’m looking at you).

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Just riddle me this: How can someone write such flawed and dysfunctional and ugly characters and STILL have you drooling at the mouth for more? I wouldn’t roll with no Maxx in real life but book world Talon is smitten. I’m just, at awe with him and Aubrey.

“Because she was my nirvana. My quiet in the storm. And what I felt for her was a hell of lot more real than anything I could experience at the sharp end of a needle or through the chalky taste of pills in my throat.”

The coolest part about Lead Me Not was the many emotions I felt. The dread, the stress, the disgust, the love. And that was all due to the writing. I’m not a stranger to this author’s work but every time I pick her books up I’m thoroughly impressed with the work and Lead Me Not was no different!

“Love made us stupid. Love made us blind. Love could incapacitate us and leave us powerless. And love could also make everything better.”

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In this book, A Meredith Walters graciously paints you a picture as to what it is like battling with addiction and battling it with the person you love. You can’t get any more real than that. It’s brutal. And I felt like this book portrayed that all so perfectly. I flipped pages so fast that I didn’t want to put the book down at all. What else ya got for me girl?

Who Needs Air (Cassie Graham)

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They fell in love at thirteen.
He wrote a book about it at twenty.
She watched him walk away at twenty-three.
And he made the New York Times Best Sellers list at twenty-four.

Campbell ‘Cam’ Potter stood idly by as August Wyatt took over the world one word at a time. Chapter by chapter, people fell in love with the story he created – the events she lived. And now the book was being made into a movie, it was only a matter of time before August was back in their small hometown in Georgia.

The problem was, when August left five years ago, Cam made a promise to herself. The ending in his book would be the conclusion to their story. There was no sequel, no second chance, no possibility of ever seeing him again. He obliterated her heart and she was determined to never let it happen again.

That is, until Cam gets a late night text from the heartbreaker himself.
New chapters are written, fresh storylines are explored and Cam and August find a familiarity in one another.

Sometimes THE END doesn’t mean it’s over.


I feel like the biggest cheese ball in the world for admitting that I liked this book but I have zero shame. I couldn’t put the damn thing down. Between the cover, the writing, and the dialogue I was officially hooked.

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“He’s water and I’m air. So different, yet neither of us can live without the other. We’re deadly, but we’re also life-giving. I’ll drown in him if I allow myself and he might not survive without me.”

Graham’s writing in Who Needs Air was eloquent and full of personality that flowed straight through me. The southern slang sold me too! It might be cheesy to some but these are expression that I head on the daily living where I do. And I think that had the book not been so predictable, I would have rated it five stars.

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It’s been a long time since I have really felt a yearning for two characters to be together and Cam and August were just what I needed. I wanted so much for them. I wanted everything for them. The angst and build up that the author created was strategically placed and well played out.

“He was my favorite song on repeat. I’d listen to it every day, loving the melody, dancing to the rhythmic beat. The months without him, the speakers screamed silence. I’d turn on the radio and hear that maddening buzzing of white noise. I wished, each night before I closed my eyes, that I could play it, just one more time.

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It’s so refreshing to read a book that makes you giggle and swoon. I’m not opposed to another novel about the secondary characters either. And THAT never happens. Bravo, Cassie Graham! Bravo!

 

All the Pretty Things (Edie Wadsworth)

 

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“The night the trailer burned down, I think Daddy was the one who set it on fire. . . . “

For a long time, Edie thought she had escaped. It started in an Appalachian trailer park, where a young girl dreamed of becoming a doctor. But every day, Edie woke up to her reality: a poverty-stricken world where getting out seemed impossible. Where, at twelve years old, she taught herself to drive a truck so she could get her drunk daddy home from the bar. Where the grownups ate while the children went hungry. Where, when the family trailer burned down, she couldn’t be caught squawlin’ over losing her things–she just had to be grateful anyone had remembered to save her at all.

And at the center of it all, there was her daddy. She never knew when he would show up; she learned the hard way that she couldn’t count on him to protect her. But it didn’t matter: All she wanted was to make him proud. Against all odds, Edie “made doctor,” achieving everything that had once seemed beyond her reach. But her past caught up with her–and it would take her whole life burning down once again for Edie to be finally able to face the truth about herself, her family, and her relationship with God. Readers of The Glass Castle will treasure this refreshing and raw redemption story, a memoir for anyone who has ever hungered for home, forgiveness, and the safe embrace of a father’s love.


“And so began my life with the most wonderful and heartbreaking man I would ever know.”

I get this book. I relate to it and I understand Edie so well that it hurts me. I too, have a father like Edie did. He was my best friend and he was the best guy that I had ever known for thirteen straight years. Until he drank and did drugs. I too, had and still have a mother who saved me and was there for me every step of the way. So my connection with Edie was not where the struggle laid. I understood every single thought she had and every single step she took.

Ultimately, non-fiction is hard for me to read, this I have come to understand but I felt like this one flowed well enough for me to comprehend and follow. I did struggle with the speed of the book. The timeline once Edie hit a certain age (probably the last half of the book) just ZOOMED right on by that I had a hard time keeping up with what was happening and when. With the timeline going so quick and jumping I got rather confused and had to back track a lot which in turn made me more confused and asking more questions. The narrator was also very vague about a lot of the things that occurred to her which in turns leave a lot more unanswered questions for me.

All in all, I enjoyed this read. I enjoyed the symbolism of the title and o enjoyed Edie’s struggle to adapt and care for her father. Most importantly, having a father like that is so hard. It’s draining and it’s exhausting. But he’s your dad, you wouldn’t change it for anything. Edie did a fantastic job at portraying a daughters devotion to her father.

Through Her Eyes (Ava Harrison)

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One phone call changed me.
Three simple words and I was shattered.
Damaged.
Broken.
Alone.
So I started over.
And my journey of rediscovery led me straight into his arms.
Chase Porter.
The stranger who showed me life from a different perspective.
But we both had secrets…
His would destroy my world.

Cool cover. That’s about it if I’m being honest.

Four weeks. It took these people four weeks to fall madly in love with each other. Like, “I’ll die without you love”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not one to judge. But the author didn’t even make it believable. There was nothing that connected me to the characters and made their “love” believable to me.

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My biggest peeve about this book was the dialogue. The characters spoke immaturely and very boringly to each other. Childish, that’s the word that I am looking for.

The characters weren’t my favorite, to say the least. I didn’t like Chase at all. Point blank. He spoke in philosophical quotes that you can find on google or inspirational posters. It was very original and boring. He also really frustrated me when it came to Parker. His lack of compassion and sympathy was a huge turn off from the get go. Aria was dull and complained literally the entire time. Every single page. So, now I’m 0/2 on characters that I don’t like. Uh oh…

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The book was just dull, nothing exciting happens. It was also very predictable. It could not have been over with soon enough.

So Much More (Kim Holden)

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Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.

I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.

Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.

They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.

So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…

who believes in dreams.

And people.

And love.


Um, I’m sorry but can the real Kim Holden please stand up? Because there is no way my sweet, loving, amazing-hug giving Kim wrote a person as awful as Miranda or a book so raw. There is no way. HOW?

“Puzzles don’t work when you only have half of the pieces. Same goes for hearts.”

I was nervous to read this book, I can admit that. I’ve had it for a while. I always am so hesitant when so many people love a book and no one hates it. How do you top All of It and Bright Side and Gus? Does that even happen? I will take back those three sentences and just say that it can be done and it has been done. Kim topped those books.

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Kim’s writing in So Much More was poetic. It was soothing and it was mind blowing. No matter what perspective you were reading from, you were enthralled with the way the words ran across the pages. That’s all I can say about that. I was blown away from the writing alone.

But here is why I liked this book. Romance didn’t over run or dictate this book. This is not a romance book. This is not a smutty, dirty, romance that you would see out there these days. This book is struggle and its hurtful. It’s truthful and blunt. You will hurt. If you don’t, you’re a Miranda. Bottom line.

“Everything wilts. Emotions, organs, thoughts, memories, hope…it all wilts. Like a leaf wilts due to lack of water or sunlight, they all turn in upon themselves until the edges are curled grotesquely and shriveled into something unrecognizable.”

Characters. Boy, did this book have a broad range of them. We will start with Seamus. The good. His character wasn’t much of an effect on me but it was nice to read a man’s perspective. I always enjoy their POV’s and their thoughts and his were no exception. Miranda. She was so interesting to me. She is the kind of character you hate, but you want to know SO MUCH MORE about her. I want to know all of the things. What makes her tick? Why? She was interesting, toxic, and poisoning but it was nice reading that. Especially coming from Kim. What place did she have to go to to write THAT!? Faith. She is Kim. I just know it. Her good vibes just spread and radiate everywhere, just like Kim’s. I hurt for her and I wanted to take her up on her free hugs every time she offered them. That says a lot coming from a person who likes to avoid physical contact LOL.

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I see online where a lot of people are always “scared” to read Bright Side. And that’s okay! My recommendation to you is that if you are afraid to read Bright Side, you should read So Much More. You should get Kim’s words into your system any way that you can. Have a blessed day.