NA Romance, Reviews, Special Review

Book Review: ROYAL MARRIAGE MARKET By Heather Lyons

Royal Marriage Market

GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms.

Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what’s best for her country, she isn’t about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him there’s no way she’s marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can’t fall for her, because royal or not, they’re not meant for each other.

Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love.

LIZ’S REVIEW:

I wanted to like this book, so much. That is an empirical statement. I have read Heather Lyons’ other books- The Fate Series, The Collector’s Society, The Deep End of the Ocean. Each one was just as fascinating as the previous. She kept me enthralled, was able to tear my emotions apart. However, the Royal Marriage Market was less than spectacular. Actually, it fell short… like really short.

First, I got stuck on Elsa’s name. Maybe it wasn’t an intentional use of the name. Maybe that is just the character’s name? I understand this. BUT! Disney has a Queen Elsa, who is Scandinavian. I might be dramatic because my eye twitched. And of course all I saw was this blonde haired ice queen. But given that her full name is Elsa Victoria Evelyn Sofia Marie, could we have it mixed up? Give Elsa a different first name and she still be the same person? Probably. Speaking of names, the countries names! WHAT? I didn’t get them. They sound so fake. Doing research, Aiboland is a real thing… but Vattenguldia, nope it’s not (that I am aware of).

Second, it felt too wordy. Every statement Christian or Elsa made was followed with descriptors, upon descriptors, until I was to the point where I wanted to go read a children’s book for simply structured sentences. There were no back and forth conversations like you would normally see. Everything was prefaced with the POV of that character. And, maybe I missed them, but I didn’t read any descriptions of the characters. Maybe they were wrapped up in the complex sentence structures I had a hard time getting around.

The characters themselves felt one dimensional. Christian and Elsa didn’t want to be part of the RMM. They wanted to make their own choices. Their parents were the same- arranged marriage and you’ll do as I say or face the consequences! There was no real differentiation between each character’s voice, other than being told who is talking at the beginning of each section. And the action, or the juicy details, didn’t even make their presence known until 60% into the book. At that point, I just wanted to be finished.

That being said, I did enjoy the last 40% of the book. I liked the interactions Christian and his brother, Lukas, had. You could feel the sibling love (unlike Elsa and Isabelle). I appreciated Charlotte and Parker (Elsa and Christian’s personal secretaries). The Royal Marriage Market wasn’t a complete misadventure, but it wasn’t Lyons’ best work.

Rating: 2 out of 5

VERO’S REVIEW:

**Spoilery Review**

How do I start this… It’s been several days and my feelings are still mixed. Let’s start of with my favorite character.

Lukas. Every time he appears in the story, he makes it that much better. He is funny, real, and a great brother. His relationship with Christian is one of the best sibling relationships I’ve read in 2015.

I guess it is time to talk about my ‘mixed’ feelings. RMM is enjoyable. Once the story picked up, it was a breeze to read. Before that though… I questioned whether this was the book for me. It wasn’t the royal or romance side, but the writing itself. At times I was a little lost. At times it was hard for me to get through some sentences. I’m being lenient on that though because I was reading an ARC and not the finished product.

I both love and hate Elsa and Christian’s relationship. I like that they started of as friends, but disliked I was able to predict how it would go. I’m not saying everything that happened was predictable because Lyons threw me for a loop twice, but the ending was exactly as I thought it would end.

I did like that the story did not end at the end of the RMM. I loved that the story continued into weeks and months to come. I do wish I’d gotten more of Charlotte, and Elsa’s relationship with her father when she was younger. It would have been nice to see and not told.

Overall, if you are a fan of romance, I do think you will like this.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Disclaimer: Thank you KP Simmon at InkSlinger PR and Heather Lyons for giving Veronica and I the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion.

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NA Paranormal, NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: Iniquity by Amy A. Bartol

Iniquity (The Premonition, #5)

goodreads summary

I gasp as my body curls toward Brennus like a flower to the sun, for the pleasure of it. He holds me close to him. His nose grazes the length of my neck. He breathes me in. I feel the roar and rush of my heartbeat. I’m his toy; his energy streams into me. He winds the invisible key in my back and the euphoria ratchets and coils inside of me: tick…tick…tick…

Another wicked surge of energy flows from him into me. Pain. Pleasure. Bliss. My jaw unclenches as my lips part. I make a small, breathy sound as we dance. Brennus responds with something close to a growl. “Ye’re killing me, mo chroí,” he murmurs. His hand moves down my back infusing me with a golden glow of power. My wings punch violently from me, tearing a hole in my day dress. They spread wide, like a red stain beyond my pale skin. I’m dancing now for the thrill of it. I follow his lead.

As the song comes to an end, Brennus kisses my throat. He whispers in my ear, “When ye get back, come find me, mo chroí. I’ve healed ye…now wake up and banjax whoever banished ye here…”

review

The basics

Evie is a half-angel/half-human being who has mission on earth from heaven. She doesn’t know what that is but she does have help- Russel, her soulmate,  Reed, her aspire (angel soulmate),  Buns, Brownie, and Zypher (her family), and  Brennus, her Gancanagh King. They are constantly moving and fighting with creatures, all the while Evie gets these premonitions in her dreams of things that are going to happen. Lots of love, hot guys, and yes- sex. But also lots of kick ass female characters. Evie isn’t one for cowering when life gets tuff. 

**Spoilery**

So this is the 5th and final book in The Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol. The others are Inescapable, Intuition, Indebted, and Incendiary.

Bartol has defined herself as a pantser (writes by the seat of her pants), but she has plotted this series so well. The twist and turns come when you least expect them to. Iniquity is no different. The story weaves through Evie’s past and present, finally explaining to us why she is on earth and what her heavenly mission is- to destroy her inescapable and choose a love of her own.

Bartol’s writing is as strong as ever. Lots of details. Lots of steamy scenes. Lots of action.

One thing that drives me nuts, and has nothing to do with the writing, are the male characters, specifically Brennus, Tau (Evie’s father), and Xavier (Evie’s guardian angel who was in love with her). They don’t respect what Evie wants.  She’ll make a statement like “I don’t want to be with you” and they will ignore her completely. And this kept happening throughout the book. The only person who knows what is best for Evie, is Evie herself. Ugh, male egos.

Overall, I feel sort of indifferent about the book… and the ending. I was so worried the entire time that Evie, or Reed, or Brennuss, or Buns, or Russle, or Brownie, or Zypher was going to die that it took away from my  focus on the story.  I couldn’t care less about the fate of Tau or Xavier. And the ending was okay. Evie ending up where she belonged… they all ended up where she belonged.

I think in the end the book was lack luster. However, I enjoyed it as much as the previous ones. I could’ve used more kick ass Evie and less everyone else.

rating: 4 out 5

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NA Contemporary, NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: When I Was Yours by Samantha Towle

When I Was Yours

goodreads summary:

“Marry me.”
“What?” I stared back at him, unblinking.
He moved closer, taking my face in his hands. “I love you, Evie. I look into the future, and the only thing I see clearly is you. Marry me.”

What’s an eighteen-year-old girl who was madly in love with her nineteen-year-old boyfriend say?

Of course, I said yes.

Twenty-four hours later, I married Adam Gunner at a Vegas chapel to the sounds of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Not the best omen. I get that now.

Then, exactly one week later, I left him. I walked out, leaving behind my wedding ring, annulment papers, and my heart, and he never knew why.

I haven’t seen him since. Not in ten long years.

Now, he’s here, standing before me. Looking at me with nothing but hurt and hatred in his eyes, he wants answers.

Answers I can’t give.

review:

Before I bought this book I had no idea who Samantha Towle was. I purely bought When I Was Yours on a whim, completely based on the description. I had questions- what caused Evie to leave? What happened when they saw each other ten years later? I was intrigued. And I wasn’t let down.

Throughout the book you follow two timelines for them- The first year of their relationship and then ten years later when they meet again. Their dynamic is explosive. Their love is passionate. They truly are meant for each other.

I have found in many books that involve sex (gasp! yes there is sex as they are teens and that is what teens do) that authors don’t address the issues of consensual sex and protection. I give props to Samantha Towle. She is very forthright in addressing these issues. Adam is always asking Evie if she is okay with what they are doing, and that at any given point she can say no or stop. Also protection is a huge thing with me. We can’t have teens/young adults reading books where characters aren’t accurate and aren’t seen using protection. *Standing ovation*

This is a love story for the ages, intertwined with heartbreak. I couldn’t put down.

Also, because I loved this book so much I had to create a playlist for it and let me say I cried while making it. It’s been a few days since I finished and I still can’t get over it. I’d really like a sequel to find out when happens next.

rating: 5 out of 5

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NA Contemporary, NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: All Line Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack

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Goodreads Summary:

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Review:

This is going to be short and sweet. I will be making a list as to why you need to read this book.

  1. Loyalty is a main theme throughout the novel.
  2. Dallas and her Father. Their relationship evolves as the story progresses and it’s something you’re going to want to read.
  3. Carson is a hottie. Also a gentleman. But also… well you’re going to have to read it to find out. *wiggles eyebrows*
  4. Dallas and her best friend have one of the best friendships ever.
  5. The whole family and loyalty aspect within the football team. EPIC.

I know this is an out of character review, but trust me when I say you need to read this book. I classify this as a guilty read, but honestly, “guilty reads” also have depth in them. We are just too busy enjoying them to notice otherwise.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5

NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

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Goodreads Summary:

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

Review:

It’s been a good two weeks since I read this book and I think I can finally write the review. The entire time I was reading Confess, I was at the edge of my seat. It is INTENSE. It is THRILLING. And it will leave you with an immense BOOK HANGOVER.

Let’s get the not so good stuff out-of-the-way first. Sadly, this isn’t my favorite Colleen Hoover Book. Also, I needed more of Auburn’s first boyfriend. I needed more of his story. Ahhhhh. It is not FAIR. MY FEELS. *cries* LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

Owen is also not my favorite male protagonist. The other book boyfriends have been better, but man did he have a good reason to be messed up like he was. Both Auburn and Owen have such depressing and sad backstories, your feels will be getting punched again and again and again. I did like that he always supported Auburn and was never a burden. He didn’t give her his messed up mess. He supported her, encouraged her, and was there for her. Four for you Owen, You go Owen!

Putting all the kidding aside, this book really makes you look inward and see what your reactions and decisions would be if you were in that situation. In a way, you do some soul-searching while reading this book.

The impression Confess has left me after several weeks have passed is this: Never Settle. Always Fight For What You Want. and lastly, Never Give Up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: All Played Out by Cora Carmack (A Rusk University Novel #3)

AllPlayedOutCover

Normally you don’t see something here, but since this isn’t a type of genre I normally review on here I felt the need to say something. Yes, this is not YA. It is VERY NA. It does have several, let’s see we shall call them,  sexy scenes. If you are like me who’s not a fan of explicit scenes, know that this may not be the book for you. I skipped the sexiest scenes. There aren’t that many, but if you are willing to skip over them, then I can say you will enjoy this book. I would call this a guilty pleasure type of book. It is 100% sugary, carbs and all!

Goodreads Summary:

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Review:

OH MY! This book is pretty… hot. There is so much tension in it that you yourself will feel like you’re gonna explode. I could actually do without all the sexiness though. Some sexual tension is nice in a book, and some PG-13 stuff is fine, but I will say there was a little too much sexiness in this book for my taste. Nevertheless, Cora’s story telling is so addicting, I had to finish it.

I wasn’t super fond of Antonella’s voice in the book, but Mateo on the other hand, I LOVED him. He was hilarious, dropped too many f-bombs (that I didn’t like), and could at times be a little naughty, but overall, his voice felt more real and genuine then Antonella’s. Honestly, while he joked about the sexy stuff, he had more depth and felt more real as a character. I love guy characters that go after what they want with gusto and Mateo is definitely one of them. I can’t find that in real life, so the second best thing is to fantasize and read about it. Girls aren’t chased like they were in the old times. I miss that.

Mateo is like Isaiah’s cousin (from Crash Into You). That is all I have to say.

(KAYLA YOU NEED TO READ THIS!)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

NA Romance, Reviews, ya romance

Book Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Katie-McGarry-Nowhere-But-Here

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Review:

First of all, let me insert this tweet so you can guys can understand how this review is about to go down.

NBH Tweet

I am HEAD OVER HEELS with OZ and with this entire book and concept. When I saw that Nowhere But Here was going to be the first book in a new companion series my first thoughts were… okay I think I can do this. I hope I like it. You all know how much I love the Pushing The Limits Universe, and I couldn’t bear parting ways with it.

Now onto the real deal…

Katie McGarry has done it again. I was texting Kayla (who has vowed she would not read this new book, because she is not into the whole motorcycle club thing) how amazing NBH is and just fangirled a lot that she had no other respond except, Katie McGarry is Queen. Because of my hardcore flailing and fangirling she ended up pre-ordering Nowhere But Here. Success!! (KAYLA YOU WILL NEVER LIVE THIS DOWN!) Kayla has now said that she will never ever doubt Katie McGarry again. GOOD.

You know what reoccurring theme I love that pops up in all of McGarry’s books? The notion of family. She doesn’t just focus on blood family, but on those individuals who aren’t blood related and that they are family too. I highly value loyalty, so the whole concept of friends are family too and should be treated as such is very close to my heart.

I could keep going on and on about how great this book is, but I will not. This may not be everybody’s type of book, but if you’ve liked Ms. McGarry’s past novels, I’m sure you will like this one too.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Disclaimer: Thank you Harlequin Teen & NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not sway my opinion.