BOOK REVIEW: Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac (Zodiac #1)
by Romina Russell (Goodreads, Website, Twitter)
Published by Razorbill on June 6th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eBook (368 pages)
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes | Kobo Books



At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.



Just because Tika's obsession with Zodiac rubbed on me.

I'm no die hard fan of Astrology, nor am I obsessed in looking up someone's sign to figure out compatibilities, or even checking out the daily horoscope, but I know my "fair" share. Although, not to the extent to know about planets (Unless you're talking the basic solar system, duh), stars, celestial beings and galactical thingamajigs. 

Reading this book felt as if I was thrust in a dance routine that I hadn't practiced at all. I WAS NOT READY. There was just too much information -- planet names, moons, and like a whole different solar system going on -- terminologies that I had no idea of, I had to resort to Google. Suffice to say, I am a kind of a clueless idiot. 

However, regardless of my lack of knowledge towards astrological signs, this book has succesfully hooked me into its strangely composed story. That's what Romina Russell has in store for you in this book. A highly different experience to common science fiction novels that have just recently debuted, Zodiac is an explosion of high fantasy and science fiction -- a utopian scenario where people live in a highly futuristic galactical world and are classified based on their astrological sign.  Talk about one heck of an imagination.

Holy Mother, what?


As funny as it seems to me, Rhoma Grace, is basically a relatable character -- save for the fact that she was chosen as Guardian of House Cancer out of the blue after the passing of the previous leader which has got me very confused, because it got me thinking, why would they pick a young person to lead in the first place? And now, everyone in House Cancer and the rest of the Zodiac world is calling her "Holy Mother". Like woah.

Reading about her was aggravating (in a good way), because despite being a Guardian, she wasn't getting the proper type of respect just because of her age. Labelled as naive and childish, especially the moment when she starts to warn the rest of the Houses about the mythical 13th Guardian Ophiuchus seeking for revenge. But despite her weaknesses and her naive nature, and the times she was laughed and frowned upon, she proved to be a very strong willed heroine that earned lots of proud nods from me.

May the best boy win.


But of course, like any young adult novel, there will always be boys. Not one, but stereotypically polar opposites, but do adhere to the same goal: be the prince to the princess. Not that this romance lover is complaining. 

There's always the older boy and the long time crush. Mathias Thais of House Cancer, also the assigned guard and mentor to Rho. His character was just testosterone all over; reserved, stoic, and over protective. I didn't enjoy reading about him at first, because he was too serious to begin with and he was all too perfect who could do no wrong.

I'm not so sure if it's because we're both Libras, but Hysan Dax... Oh, you lovely human being, you. I just adored him. His enigmatic, yet cool nature was intriguing and yes, I was absolutely smitten by how witty his personality is, matched with playful antics. I was just swooned by his character. Suffice to say, I'm TEAM HYSAN.

And in all honesty, love triangles are kind of a deal breaker for me. However, this book contained so much more, that I had no problem letting the cliche boy likes girl likes boy scenario past me. As an avid romance reader, the romance aspect of this book was literally my oxygen tank -- I needed a breather every now and then.ou It was a great additional side story to Rho's first and foremost goal -- to warn all the Houses of Ophiuchus' revenge and defeat the monster.

Shine bright like a *insert constellation here*


Fantasy is not my thing (unless we're talking paranormal romance), particularly with High Fantasy, because I'm pretty much nitpicky and I like getting a taste of reality through novels every now and then... but after reading this book, I am now itching to get my hands on the next release of this series, despite my first hand rejection to it when recommended by Tika. This book will suck you in, every turn of a page will fill you in anticipation for the unpredictable plot twists Romina Russell has in store for you, no matter how at times, it can get quite confusing.

Highly imaginative with the right balance of action and romance, Zodiac is a read that you'll never regret, high fantasy fan or not. 

BOOK TOUR: Drain Me by Lana Sky [Excerpt + Giveaway]


Drain Me (Ellie Gray Chronicles #1)
by Lana Sky
Paranormal Romance
Self Published on November 28th, 2014
550 pages
Cover by Imogenary Designs
When diagnosed with a fatal illness at the age of twenty six, Eleanor Gray is resigned to her fate—at least until the enigmatic Dublin Helos appears and makes her an offer she knows she should refuse: 

Life or Death? 

With a decision as harmless as checking the wrong box on a mysterious questionnaire, Ellie is plunged into a dangerous world where souls are sold to the highest bidder and pleasure is fueled by pain. 

The rules of this new life are simple: submit everything—mind, body and soul. But the further Ellie falls under Dublin’s control, the more she comes to realize that it’s not just her sanity at stake, but her heart and a whole lot of blood too. 



The fact that he knew my name didn’t alarm me. 

My family owned half the city, including a good portion of this very hospital. Considering that my sister’s escapades were constant fodder for the tabloids, I would have been more insulted if he didn’t know who I was. 

But once again …it was that look in his eyes. It chilled me right down to the bone; I know you, Eleanor Gray, it said. Way more than just a face from the Society Pages. 

Before I could choke out a reply, he smiled—for real this time—and my poor brain struggled to find the right words to describe it. Dazzling. Magnificent ... 

The flash of pearly white teeth nearly knocked me senseless. I lost my grip on the handkerchief for a split second, sparking the taste of copper over my tongue.  

“Word travels fast around here,” he said, voice traveling down my spine. 

I felt my nose wrinkle as I frowned. Apparently news of my terminal illness had spread before I’d even left the damn hospital. How long before my picture ended up splattered over the front of some tabloid beneath the headline, Heiress given weeks to live?

I didn’t answer. Instead, I willed my nose to stop bleeding, though I had a feeling that I was quickly becoming in danger of needing transfusion number four. 

I felt so dizzy all of a sudden. As if, at any moment, I could pass out. Faint. 

“What do you see?”

“Huh?”

The question threw me off and had me turning to face him before I could help it. Wordlessly, he inclined his head and my eyes automatically followed.

The hall we were in opened onto a causeway, where patients and visitors alike wandered the pristine floor. 

The sight reminded me of a hotel—albeit minus the IV poles some people sported instead of suitcases. The air was the same: that busy, ‘places to go, people to see, get the hell out of my way’ vibe that made everyone seem closed off, further away. 

Without meaning to, I found my gaze settling over a young girl who had her head wrapped in a polka dot headscarf. Beside her, a man I guessed to be her father pushed an IV pole that rattled over the floor. 

She was almost as pale as I was, with dark, bruise-like circles underneath her eyes—but that wasn’t what stood out to me the most. 

She was smiling. Walking, talking and …smiling. Despite the obvious physical signs, if you went off that expression alone, you would have never guessed she was sick at all. My gaze remained glued to her, even as the mysterious doctor spoke up again.

“Mortality,” he said grimly. “It’s the most precious commodity in the world, don’t you agree?”
I nodded. I may have not been that invested in my own life, but I could read the fervent desire on all the other faces—from the new mother carrying her infant in a car seat, to the elderly man clutching a newspaper to his chest.

The lust to live was always the same.

“There are some who would do anything for another chance at life, for more time.” 

He spoke so matter-of-factly that it wasn’t until my mind processed what he was really saying that his morbid tone struck me like a blow.  

“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I sounded like I was under water.  My nose was still dripping. Even the pressure of my hand wasn’t enough to staunch the blood flow.  

 “You wouldn’t,” Mr. Gray Eyes said with a shrug. “Immortality doesn’t interest you, does it, Eleanor?”

Alarm raced down my spine—no longer was I convinced that this was just a random chat with a stranger. It was all in his tone. 

“I have to go.”  I clutched the now bloody handkerchief and tried to stand. My legs felt as flaccid as limp noodles. Sweat poured down the back of my neck, and the erratic beat of my heart quickened and then faltered. Thump, thump, th-ump. 

“You’re not afraid of death,” the man—though I was now seriously doubting that he was a doctor—continued. “You welcome it; or so you tell yourself. But, I’m here to offer you a choice—”
“I think …I need a real doctor.” 

I was through humoring him. Without bothering to be polite, I attempted to stagger in the direction of the activity, grasping onto anything to steady me. My hands were slippery and my once-burgundy peacoat was now soaked scarlet.  

Hemohemorrahgia kept haunting me in Doctor Wallis’ curt tones. 90% fatality!
“Mortality can be a hindrance of sorts.”

The man was still talking, only I had no idea just what he was getting at. More importantly, why hadn’t he gotten a doctor or flagged down a nurse? I clung to the wall and scanned the crowd of blurring faces, desperate to catch sight of another white lab coat. 

“I think I …need …help.” 

It took all my strength just to get the words out. And he only ignored me. 

“I’m here to offer you a choice, Eleanor: accept your impending death, or …something else.”

What else? I struggled to ask but was only greeted with silence. It stretched on for a good five minutes before I realized that he had finally left. That strange vibe was gone at least, but so was any sensation or feeling in my limbs. Or sound. My vision was an inky shade of gray, nearly black, but …

When I finally gave into the darkness, I swore I could hear him whisper one last time, “It’s your decision, but if you’re smart, you will make the right one.”







LANA SKY

Lana Sky is a reclusive writer in the United States who spends most of her time daydreaming about complex male characters and legless cats. She writes mostly paranormal romance, in between watching reruns of Ab Fab and drinking iced tea. Only iced tea.

BOOK TOUR ORGANIZED BY:



Reader Problems Tag

So, I've been tagged by the oh-so posh, Jennie of A Bookworm Called Jennie, and all there is to do is answer a couple of questions regarding problems of a bookworm, and we know, we're all our own types of insane readers. ;)



You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?


I do, in fact, actually have 1000+ books on my TBR as of the current moment, and with more and more awesome and interesting books coming out this year, I'm terrified that it might increase instead of lessen. But oh boy, 20k books? I'd most likely just pick the one that intrigues me the most so as to get started, and then repeat. 

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?


I used to never want to quit reading a book, because I'd like to give these books the benefit of the doubt, but then it all depends on my level of dislike for the book. I'd more or less quit it because there are also other more books to read that are most probably better. I wouldn't want to waste my time trying to like a novel when it's already reached the deal breaker level for me.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?


Oh wow, the funny thing is, this happened to me last year. I started with 100 books months before I started blogging and reached the goal in two months. Trying to amp it up since the year wasn't even gone halfway, I decided to shift it to 150 books and yet again, I was able to reach it. Then I started blogging, mid August and my idiotic self decided to amp it up to 200 books. I had not realized blogging and writing reviews would slow me down, so by December with 2 weeks left, I was still short of 20 books, and I swear, I couldn't concentrate at all with the blogging and reading, because, how was I supposed to read 20 books in less than 2 weeks? I did the only thing that came into mind, which was to revert it to 190 books. I did however, was able to read at least 12 in the last month.

And I know I should have just shrugged it off and just left it behind, but I couldn't do it. I have no idea why. (DON'T JUDGE ME!!!) But the moment I changed my goal back with 10 books less, I was able to get back on track and concentrate properly.

The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?


Oh, I'm very picky with book covers. I'd prefer one edition to another. But sometimes I'm just going to suck it up if I've got no other choice. *cries*

Everyone and their mothers love a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?


I personally don't know a lot of people who read, but the idea of being able to post an online review of the disliked book on a blog or on Goodreads, you'll actually find at least a few people you don't even know who would share your opinion as well.

You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?


Who cares? I'm just gonna start crying, but in a subtle manner, of course, in order to not attract any attention. But who knows? A cute boy or girl might just come up to you and ask why you're crying. Bonus points for meeting someone new and providing an awesome book reccomendation. ;)

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!? 


I don't have the patience to re-read a book, unless they're really good but I'd probably skim through the book or look up the synopsis on Goodreads instead... and if all else fails, CRY IN FRUSTRATION!!!

You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?


I'm a really nice person and I don't mind sharing, but I pick the people who I would lend my books to. I actually have my paperbacks wrapped in plastic to avoid wearing out the covers. But if someone does insist to borrow my books and I know they're not careful about it, I'd just say that I'm reading it, or it's with someone else. No way I'm letting my babies near a book monster!!!

There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?


Books are really expensive these days, so I'm going to have to just suck it up and resort to buying ebooks instead since they're a lot cheaper. I've decided that if I do enjoy the book, or if I do find the cover to be really beautiful (major plus if the book turns out to be awesome), I would end up buying a physical copy for collection purposes. Goodbye, money. You will be missed!

After you've bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?


Pfft. Please. I'd probably already had been married and had by first born child by the time I get the urge to read the books collecting dust on my shelf.

BOOK TOUR: Under His Touch by Jeffe Kennedy [Spotlight Stop]


Under His Touch (Falling Under #2)
by Jeffe Kennedy

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date Published: January 19th, 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Amber Dolors knows better than to get involved with her boss. Devastatingly handsome in his sharp suits and sexy beyond belief, he possesses an air of command that fuels her darkest fantasies. But she’s worked too hard to get this job, and keeping it will lead to a brilliant future. She won’t cross that line—even if his way of giving orders and demanding her best performance gives her delicious warm shivers.

Alexander Knight prides himself on his integrity and self-discipline. After all, he hasn’t risen to the position he enjoys by indulging his whims over ambition. He also isn’t blind. He’s certainly noticed his sharp, young assistant is hot as hell. His self-imposed sexual hermitage doesn’t stop him from watching her. And endlessly fantasizing.

The day Alec’s cool reserve cracks and Amber catches a glimpse of something simmering beneath his apparent indifference is the day everything between them changes. Alec gives her what she’s been looking for sexually—as masterful in the bedroom as he is in the boardroom. He finds himself in the grip of an affair that tests even his boundaries, while Amber’s new role as willing student pushes them both past any consideration other than mutual longing.




“Kennedy seamlessly mixes domination play and genuine equality without ignoring the potential problems that kink and romance could bring to the couple’s power dynamic at work and vice versa.”


JEFFE KENNEDY
Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

BOOK TOUR HOSTED BY:

BOOK CO-REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater [The Bookish Groupies]


Hey Mischievous Readers! Along with a couple of book blogger friends (Tika of Fangirl Confessions, Mallory of Mallory Books and Jennie of A Bookworm Called Jennie), we've created a small group called The Bookish Groupies where in we'd host fun themed monthly read alongs, co-reviews, interviews, discussion posts and the like, and ANYONE is welcome to join!

Previously, we've done a couple of read alongs as a group but we haven't made it official, and as an official group with an awesome name (pitched by yours truly, lol) this will be our first project.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Date Published: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | The Book Depository
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.



"Bam. Initial thoughts on the book. GO!"

I didn't expect to like the book since I hadn't read a YA paranormal fiction in years. I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon, but I thought I'd give this book a try. I thought I wouldn't be able to enjoy YA reads anymore after having to DNF a couple prior to reading this book, but I was in for a shock.
- BLESSIE

To be honest, The Raven Boys hadn't popped up on my "must read radar" until late last year. I remember reading such great reviews for it on the blogs of girls that I'm really cool with. Then after Christmas, while being a creep on IG and Twitter, on every post I scrolled past, was some sort of amazing praise about The Raven Cycle series. Some of my favorite veteran bloggers had nothing but good things to say about the books, so I ran over to Amazon, and one-clicked that baby to my Kindle.

So I guess I didn't have many initial thoughts prior to reading the story besides, 

"I need this book . . . like NOW."
- TIKA

After hearing so many good things about the book, I was unsure if the hype would leave me hanging. I was worried that I would expect too much out of it. But from the very beginning it had me hooked.
- MALLORY

When I first started reading this book I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it or not. I liked the idea and the prologue was really unique and intrigued me but I felt it was a little slow. However as soon as the narrators changed between characters I really started enjoying it and everything fell into place!
- JENNIE

****
"Let's talk about the concept. What do you guys think?"

It was definitely a hit! In my opinion, the concept of The Raven Boys, really put the book in a lane of it's own. There were fun, whimsical, and very dark elements to the story, which made it such a unique read. The story consisted of psychics, mediums, boys with major issues, a weirdly sane girl as our main character, talking trees that speak Latin, oh and let's not forget the tree that will give you so much anxiety (not literally) while showing you visions of the future. Yeahhh . . . I'm pretty sure I never read anything like this.

As far as the writing goes, Maggie has such a magical way of telling a story. I felt the writing displayed some simplicity compared to other gimmicky novels I've read this past year, but was strong enough to completely pull you in, and keep you on edge until the very end. If you weren't holding your breath through most of the chapters, then you definitely missed the originality train. Maybe you'll get on at the next stop!
- TIKA

The raven situation going on the cover was intriguing, and Tika had said "Maybe the boys turn into ravens". Well, well, that's different. The whole story, along with Maggie's writing, exhuded an eerie and enigmatic feeling, yet mixed with an exciting rush with all the supernatural situations going on. I think black magic is one of the most underrated supernatural concept since everyone seems to be going through the hype of vampires and werewolves and angels, but black magic is defnitely making a comeback.  
- BLESSIE

I love the way Maggie's writing is so dark and mysterious. In certain parts, the book actually made me look around my room. I was actually scared! I loved all the secrets and how they all kind of threaded together by the end.
- MALLORY

The writing in this novel was really great and it did a fantastic job of keeping me curious and wanting to keep reading. I really liked the fantasy concept and the idea behind the novel was really creative.
- JENNIE

**** 

"Characters, anyone?"

Blue had me super intrigued with her deathly kiss and all. I really loved her story and how she struggled to be like the rest of her family. I also want her and Gansey together right now! Gansey is wonderful. At first I thought he was going to be a snobby Raven Boy, but boy was I wrong. He was so quirky and determined. Did anyone else picture him with a British accent? Adam was so sweet! I was so disgusted by his father and "that part" actually made me tear up. I never really paid much attention to Noah, he was just there. But man did he come into play by the ending!

Ronan really creeped me out, I did feel sorry for him too with his dad and all. Maura, Persephone, and Cala made an awesome team! Maura reminded me of Tika! Cala was so snazzy. Get it girl! Persephone reminded me of a cute little fairy, or should I say Purse-uh-phone. I liked Neeve at first, but I didn't really trust her. Whelk was my least favorite character by far!
- MALLORY

The characters were one of my favorite things about the story. I really liked our MC Blue and how despite all that was going on around her, she had such a great head on her shoulders. 

Urban Dictionary Translation: she wasn't bat-shit crazy.

Okay pause. Was anybody else pronouncing her name: Per-Sah-Phone? I literally had no clue I was wrong until the girls informed me that it's pronounced Per-Sef-Ah-Nee. Like whatttt lol? Anywho, Persephone and Cala, were such a pleasure to read! They're banter, especially Cala's feistiness, allowed the story to have some pretty hilarious scenes. 

Oh and how could I forget the boys! I loved them all, including Ronan and especially Gansey. They weren't your typical: "Hey, I go to a prep school and I'm rich! " characters. Gansey was completely opposite of what I thought he'd be. I loved him so much, that I nick-named him Great Gansey, after my favorite classic lol. Noah was . . . Noah. Ronan was a troubled kid, but I know deep down there's more to that asshole than what he's letting on. Adam, with his adorable self, was so frustrating to the point I wanted to strangle him . . . more than once. All of the boys were flawed individuals, with dark pasts and even darker futures, and you can't help but applaud Maggie for making such a great cast.
- TIKA

I loved the characters in this book! I loved how some of the psychics were really mysterious, especially Neeve, because that made me curious. I think my favourite 'raven boy' was Adam because he was strong and brave and put other people first. He's my ideal type of guy!
- JENNIE

Blue was intriguing: I mean, who wouldn't be intrigued by her deathly kiss? Four boys... which one dies? And Gansey? He was literally a young version of Prince Harry. Posh and fun at the same time. This may sound really weird but I feel so attracted to Ronan and Noah's character. For sure, everyone's going to love Gansey because he's Mr. Perfect but Ronan was all dysfunction and crazy and creepy and let me not get started on the damn tattoos. Noah, on the other hand, was just like an adorable puppy. Although, he did get me creeped out in the first few chapters.
- BLESSIE

****

"The most basic question of all: 
Likes and dislikes?" 

I liked the story line because it kept me wanting to read on and there was always an unanswered question that I desperately need answering! There was a huge twist toward the end and I did not see it coming so that was really good.

I thought the beginning was a little slow but that didn't last long so it's not a huge dislike. I thought the ending came too soon, like one minute the scene was really tense and the next they were back to normal life.
- JENNIE

The whole black magic thing was AWESOME. As for dislikes, the book kind of got confusing mid section, because of certain references that I wasn't able to pick up on immediately, but it got better eventually. And as for the mention of a love triangle in some reviews, I didn't even notice one. Mind you, a love triangle is a deal breaker for me so I know one when I see one, but instead, this book flowed more on the friendships formed by the group.
- BLESSIE

My favorite thing about this book was learning. I learned so much about ley lines and psychology. But that also happened to be a tad bit confusing when we got too much information at once. But after I got used to it, I was amazed by it all. I also disliked reading from Barrington Whelk's point of view because I could not stand his character. But when I got to the end I was happy we had seen his side of it all.
- MALLORY

I have so many likes, and if I elaborate on any of them, I'd be spilling tea everywhere, and spoiling a wholeeee lot of people. So I'm going to be pretty vague and say, my likes were basically the plot, the twists, and the characters. The story kept my heart beating rapidly with anticipation, and I just loved how the characters meshed well together, even though they were completely night and day. My dislikes are easy, Whelk with his creepiness, and Neeve with her sneaky ass! I felt so uncomfortable while reading Whelk's POV, but that's a good thing! It made the story really creepy actually. As for Neeve, I felt like something was off with her from the moment she stepped foot into the story. I have to pick up book 2 to see if my intuition was right.
- TIKA

**** 

"Last but not the least. OVERALL THOUGHTS & RATING!"

I GOT GOOSEBUMPS AND CHILLS. And I'm so stoked to grab the next book of the series. As for my rating? I'll give it a 4.5 for now.
- BLESSIE

Overall, The Raven Boys was beyond amazing. I adored everything about this book, and I'm super pumped to continue the rest of the series with these amazing girls. If you haven't already guessed, my rating is . . . 5 stars!
- TIKA

Overall I really enjoyed this book! The things I didn't like were minor details so I can look over them and focus on the good things such as the characters and the mystery. I look forward to reading the next books in the series and continuing the read-a-long with my girls! 4 Stars!
- JENNIE

This book was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was dark and perfectly matched my weather. I was so satisfied with the ending and I just want to jump into the sequel ASAP! I gave it a full five stars.
- MALLORY

****

Whew, that was a long post! You're gonna hear more from The Bookish Groupies soon! Watch our for our next themed event for the month of February! Toodles!

Post-Christmas Bookstore Haul + Best Christmas Gift Ever! [Stacking The Shelves #3]

Christmas has come and gone, and as a "grown up" with my own fair share of aunts and uncles, and godparents, it's either you get presents... or you get cash. I prefer the latter. And thanks to these awesome family members that have provided me with book money, the bookstore is where I am off!

I don't buy a lot of books since I'm pretty much broke for that, and this was the only time I got to splurge, and my god, I have made quite a pile.


Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Legend by Marie Lu
Entangle by Veronica Larsen***
Lullabies by Lang Leav
Adultery by Paulo Coelho
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

As you can see, the books I've bought are of various genres, because like I've mentioned in my 2015 Resolutions post, I plan to make the blog pretty much diverse and not only stick to romance books. 

Also, there's a special mention among these books in the pile, by the way. It's Entangle by Veronica Larsen. Mind you, this book wasn't purchased -- to clarify. 

I had the privilege of an ARC to Entangle, and if you were able to read my review, you'll understand how I loved this book and enjoyed every bit of it. 

Afterwards, I had been contacted by the author, Veronica Larsen, about how she loved my review and that she would love to send me a signed paperback of her book, all the way from the US! For some bloggers/reviewers, it might not be a big deal, but as a newbie blogger from the other side of the world, being contacted by an indie author, let alone offered to be sent a book is like one of the best things that could happen yet. 

I'm not going to lie, I doubted a bit because I figured once she finds the service to be quite expensive, she might change her mind. But a few days later, she lets me know via email that my package is already on the way, and in two weeks time, it arrives in a white box from the US Postal service, I almost cried tears of joy, because this is the best Christmas gift yet!

 

"Blessie, 
Thank you for writing such an in depth review of my novel. 
Your blog has a new fan in me.
I look forward to sharing my future works with you.

All the best, 
Veronica"

*An arrow to the side pointing to the smudged area, saying "whoops, sorry"

Such a cutieeeeeee. <3

A big special thanks to Ms. Veronica for sending me this book! I can't wait to reread it and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of her works! 

You can get ENTANGLE by Veronica Larsen on AMAZON (Kindle and Paperback)

BOOK TOUR: Behind The Stars [1-6] by Leigh T. Moore [Teaser + Giveaway]


Behind The Stars [Vol. 1-6]
by Leigh T. Moore

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Published: December 31st, 2014
Prentiss Puckett is certain of three things:
-Graduation is two weeks away.
-Summer only gets hotter in south Mississippi.
-She’s getting a job with air-conditioning.

She did not expect to be kidnapped walking to work. 
And she never expected to become a hero.

Red Dawn meets L O S T in this new action-adventure romance from Amazon bestselling author Leigh Talbert Moore.










LEIGH T. MOORE
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Amazon

Leigh Talbert Moore is the author of the popular young adult romantic comedy The Truth About Faking, its companion The Truth About Letting Go, and the mature YA/new adult romantic suspense novel Rouge, a Quarter Finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

She is an award-winning journalist and editor, who has also worked in marketing and public relations for many years. Her writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the southeast and Midwest U.S., and she runs the popular writing-craft blog That’s Write.

A southern ex-pat and beach bum, she currently lives with her husband, two young children, and one grumpy cat in the Midwest.

BOOK TOUR ORGANIZED BY:
 

BOOK REVIEW: Make Me, Take Me by Amanda Usen

Make Me, Take Me (Hot Nights #3)
by Amanda Usen
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date Published: December 15th, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Format Acquired: ARC from Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books
My Rating:

He's every fantasy she's ever had...

Betsy Mouton knows that easy doesn't last forever. She's working her butt off to launch the Last Call CafĂ© so her family can leave the New Orleans bar business—and its heartaches—behind forever. That is, until the hottest one-night-stand of her life shows up next door, twice as uncompromising and two million times hotter, offering to buy the bar and send the Moutons to Easy Street.

Hotelier Quinton James has never forgotten the unbelievably hot night he and Betsy shared. Never forgotten how beautifully she submitted to him, or how he found the only peace he's ever known in her arms. Now that Betsy is the only thing standing in the way of his new hotel, she's the one in control. But there's more at stake than her cafe or laying their past to rest—Quin wants a future. With her. All he has to do is convince her...one sensual command at a time.




This is a first time for me to read an Amanda Usen book, and I haven't read the first two books of the Hot Nights series either. The first time I started reading this book, I wasn't feeling it. I had it on my currently reading list for more than a week, when usually, I could finish a book in a day or less. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't have the urge to continue it, but the moment I felt like re-reading since I wasn't exactly far in yet, so I did... And I realized it wasn't so bad after all. But I didn't love it. 

Betsy Mouton is a girl with a dream -- to end her family's hardships by turning their night bar in New Orleans into a cafe. She'd even gone to school for it, just to make that dream come true someday. She's a girl who's sworn off rich men, because she knows they're bad news and would break her heart someday, just like what they did to her mother. But when she meet's Quin James, she can't resist a night of pure debauchery. 

Quin James is back in New Orleans, and has huge plans in reconstructing the French Quarter to his own liking. He's set up a five star hotel branch and has bought every available lot in the whole corner, the only one left is Betsy's bar. But Betsy's not selling and even if taking his money would do her family a lot better, so he's going to have to convince her otherwise. 

I found the story line quite interesting but the characters not quite enjoyable. They came off quite annoying -- too stubborn for my taste, especially with Betsy acting as if she's such a know-it-all, and Quin being such a pushover. However, I did enjoy the chemistry between them. They were adorably sweet and awesome together, but they're terrible as individuals. 

There was also too much going on that kind of confused the hell out of me, particularly Quin's past. It came off too vague and wasn't explained properly, which made me constantly raise an eyebrow as I read about him. 

However, despite the above, this book still does good for a Brazen, because of the steamy scenes going on in this novel. Every. Sexy. Scene. Is. Just. On. Point! Definitely lives up to the "Hot Nights" series, because everything about this book is just sizzling HOT

Lovers of dirty romances will love this very much.

BOOK SERIES TOUR: After Hours [1-3] by Elle Kennedy [Reviews + Giveaway]


Three nights. Three gorgeous men. Three sexy books that will take your breath away. 

WARNING: Drowsiness might occur due to the lengthy post that follows. Revert sight back to sexy book covers for instant revival. If symptoms persist, revert to aforementioned images again. Thank you.


After Hours series
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Brazen Imprint)

One Night of Sin (After Hours #1)
by Elle Kennedy
Date Published: August 4th, 2014
My Rating:

Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

When it comes to sex, good girl Skyler Thompson always plays it safe, choosing stable and sedate over wild and thrilling. She doesn’t do one-night-stands, but one look at sinfully sexy Gage Holt and she’s willing to reconsider. He makes her want to be bad for once in her life, and she’s prepared to take what she wants.

Danger follows former MMA fighter Gage Holt like a shadow. Despite his successes as part owner of Sin, an exclusive nightclub in Boston, Gage can’t risk getting involved with a woman, especially one as sweet as Skyler. Still, he can’t resist a taste—and it’s so damn good he has to see her again. 

As addicted as he is to her, Gage knows there’s no future for him and Skyler—not with his past lurking in the dark corners of an MMA cage. But Skylar’s tougher than she looks, and she’s ready to fight for her man.



He rummaged in his pocket for his e-cigarette, lifted his head—and froze.

His blue-eyed angel sat eight feet away. Slender body up on the wooden crate next to the staff door, chestnut-brown hair falling over one shoulder, dress riding up her thighs to reveal long, silky legs.

He sucked in a breath. Lord, she was even more appealing up close. Not beautiful in the Hollywood sense, but intriguingly attractive in a very real way. The enormous blue eyes were her best feature, and her mouth was just pouty enough to conjure up the image of plump lips wrapped around his dick.

Gage cleared his throat. “You shouldn’t be out here.”

She jumped at the sound of his voice, head swiveling and gaze flying to his. She instantly hopped off the crate, smoothing out the front of her dress as a frown creased her lips. “Why not?”

“A pretty girl all alone in an alley at midnight—I don’t think it needs much more explanation than that.” He inhaled a quick drag of the e-cigarette. The mint-flavored vapor was no substitute for a real smoke, and he wasn’t sure why he even bothered with it.

“I just needed some air.” Her voice was huskier than he’d imagined it would be. Sexier. “I’ll go back inside soon.”

Wait—she’d only come outside for air? And her date had been asking about prostitutes in her absence? Wow. Real stand-up guy.

“It’s so crowded in there,” she added.

“Nightclubs usually are,” he said dryly.

“Yeah, I guess they are. I’m not much of a clubber, but Mick wouldn’t take no for an answer. He said I haven’t lived until I’ve gone to Sin.” A sigh slipped out. “It’s our first date…”

Gage waited for her to continue. When she didn’t, he filled in the rest. “And you’re not at all into him.”

“Why do you say that?”

His gaze slid back to hers, slow and purposeful. “Because if you were, you wouldn’t have been eye-fucking me all night.”

Her breath hitched, cheeks growing the most appealing shade of pink.

He had to laugh. “Am I wrong?”

The denial he’d expected didn’t come. “No, you’re not wrong.”


(Reviewed: August 4th, 2014)

IT'S ANOTHER BRAZEN!!! And because I am a Brazen addict, I sure had high hopes for this book, even if it's just a novella. It's been on my "To Read" list for quite some time, and thanks to the gracious publishers, I now have an ARC of it!

One Night of Sin is a short romance... but it will surely leave you squirming! This is the first of an upcoming series called "After Hours", and it's got a subtle sexiness to the title. Like, what does happen "after hours"? 

Adorable and sweet Skyler Thompson is ready to get some smokin' hot sugar lovin' when she sets her eyes on Gage Holt, the hunk of pure deliciousness at the bar. The moment she laid eyes on him, she knew she was ready to get down and dirty with this sex god, even though she wasn't the type of girl to. There's just something about Gage that got her thinking dirty. Gage is the kind of guy that can definitely make them good girls go bad. Now when will we ever find a guy that will make us feel the same way, huh?

But Gage... he's got his secrets and his demons, and he doesn't want to drag anyone else in. But after a sizzling hot encounter with Skyler, he can't deny that he wants more of her. But he's terrified he'll break her any minute.

Skyler is such a lovable character. She's the typical girl next door sweetheart that everyone will surely love. A little too much of a goody two shoes, but for Gage, oh only for Gage, she's sooo ready to be bad.

Gage may be secretive and broody, but guess what? He's a family man. He's always on the lookout for everybody's safety, probably because he guards as a bouncer in his own bar. He's protective and always true to his word.

Skyler and Gage are definitely two contradicting characters and they bring out the best and worst of each other respectively. Opposites do attract and they're like a hot time bomb ready to explode of extreme sexual tension. She's a bright ray of sunshine to Gage's dark, broody stature. But when they stumble in bed, oh damn, they both turn into animal freaks, they're bound to be marked by tons of bruises and hickeys. Hah!

But let me tell you... Even if this is a Brazen and a sizzling hot novella, this book also has its right amount of drama going on. It's not just the boom-badabing-boom-bam-wham sex all day, everyday. (But I sure won't mind that. Teehee) Gage's past and life makes up for a good story line, bringing about a story of trust and promises, whether within the relationship or the family.

I can't wait for the next book of the series to come out, I'm really excited!!!

****

One Night of Scandal (After Hours #2)
by Elle Kennedy
Date Published: September 8th, 2014
My Rating:
The wrong man never felt so right...

Ex-fighter Reed Miller has been secretly lusting over his best friend’s girl for months, but he refuses to jeopardize a friendship over a woman—especially one who doesn’t like him all that much. Now that Darcy’s on the market again, it’s even more imperative to stick to his strict hands-off policy. But the sizzling attraction between them is too powerful to ignore, and once he’s had a taste of her…all bets are off.

Darcy Grant is tired of walking the straight and narrow path. She’s on the hunt for passion, and there’s no denying Reed is just the man to give it to her. Although she has no interest in dating a bad boy, and certainly not her ex’s best friend, it’s impossible not to melt beneath Reed’s skillful touch. Now it’s just a matter of setting a few ground rules—and hoping her rule-breaking, sweet-talking bad boy agrees to follow them. But if she lets Reed into her bed, does she stand a chance of keeping him out of her heart?



“Last night you said that you have to act like a jerk towards me because it’s the only way for you to…” She eyed him sternly. “Finish that sentence, Reed. To what?”

Reluctance dug a deep groove into his forehead. “It’s nothing. Forget I ever said it.”

“I can’t forget. It’s been bugging me all day. I need to know what you meant by that.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Sounding frustrated, he gently uncurled her fingers from his arm. “Nothing good can come out of this conversation, baby.”

Darcy frowned. “Don’t baby me. And PS? I never took you for a coward. You’ve always struck me as a man who says exactly what’s on his mind.”

Something hot and dangerous moved through his eyes. “Why are you pushing this?”

“Because I’m curious.”

“Curious? No, I don’t think that’s it.” His voice was silky now, deep and mocking. He eased closer, his arm brushing hers as he shifted so they were facing each other. “This is more than curiosity. 

You’re blushing. You know what that tells me?”

Her breathing went shallow. “What?”

“It tells me you know exactly what I meant last night.”

“I…” Her next words were barely over a whisper. “I need to hear you say it.”

Her body grew tight and achy as she searched his face, waiting for an answer. God, why was she pushing him? He was right, nothing good could come of this. Nothing good at all.

“Don’t do this.” A warning note crept into his husky voice. “Don’t make me say it.”

Darcy’s heart was no longer beating at double time. It had skipped right over triple and was now veering into cardiac arrest territory. The air in the alcove became stifling, rippling with the tension she’d only begun to notice last night. And now it was impossible to ignore.

Reed was standing so damn close to her. Close enough that his addictive scent was once again wreaking havoc on her senses. Close enough that all she had to do was lean in slightly and their lips would be touching.

“You’re right,” she stammered. “You shouldn’t say it.”

“I shouldn’t.” Yet even as he voiced his agreement, his hand had risen to her face, his thumb delicately sweeping over her bottom lip.

Her breath hitched. God. Her entire world had reduced to this one moment, this one man. Her lips were actually trembling from the crazy urge to kiss him.

“Fuck.” The expletive tore out of Reed’s throat, his frustration thick between them. “I want you, Darcy. I. Fucking. Want. You.”

Shock slammed into her, along with a burst of arousal that seized her core. Oh God. She couldn’t believe he’d said it. Couldn’t believe she’d pushed him to.

Because now there was no way to unhear those blunt words. No turning back from them.

“Is that what you wanted to hear?” he said angrily. “I’ve wanted you forever. Every goddamn time I see you, I’ve had to force myself not to blurt it out. I can barely even look at you, for chrissake, because I’m scared you’ll see it in my eyes. Is that what you want to hear?”

The confession sizzled through her body like merciless flames ravaging a dry forest. Her thighs clenched, breasts tingled, heart stopped. She wanted to dive through the curtain and pretend she’d never seen the raw lust in his eyes, never heard those gruff, honest words tumble out of his mouth.

But she was rooted in place.

They stared at each other for what felt like an eternity, neither one speaking. Darcy had stopped breathing a while ago, and now her lungs burned, almost as painfully as the desire burning in her blood. Reed’s hand was still on her face, his calloused fingertips tracing the edge of her jaw. Her skin felt tight and prickly, the flames traveling south and tingling between her legs.

Reed’s blue eyes blazed with accusation. “Why are you still here?” he burst out. “Go, Darcy. Just go.”

“No,” she whispered.

He took another step closer, crowding her, his broad body dominating every inch of the tiny space. Their mouths were so close she could feel his warm breath fanning over her lips, mingling with the sudden rush of air that seeped out of her lungs.

“You have to go.”

She swallowed. “No.”

“This is wrong.” Half mumble, half moan. The anguish in his voice matching her own.

He cupped her cheeks with both hands, groaning when their eyes locked again. “Just once,” he muttered. “I just need to know.”

Her voice wobbled. “Know what?”

“What it would feel like.” A determined glint lit his gorgeous eyes. “Maybe it won’t be as good as I imagined.”

A laugh shook out. “It might be awful,” she said helpfully.

He groaned again. “Worse than awful.”

“We’ll probably hate it so much that—”

Reed’s mouth crashed down on hers before she could finish.

And there was nothing awful about it.


(Reviewed: September 8th, 2014)

*ARC courtesy of Publisher in exchange for honest review

Remember anti-social Reed and cute and bubbly Darcy from Skyler and Gage's story in One Night of Sin? THIS IS FINALLY IT. Ever since I've read the first book, the relationship between Reed and Darcy had intrigued me so much. And I am so in love with this book, from that sexy cover to every page turn. Because Elle Kennedy writes abso-frggin-lutely HAWT books. 

Notorious is Reed Miller's middle name. He's a playboy, a kinda of a laid back guy, impulsive and definitely not the type to take anything seriously, especially relationships except for the business he co-owns with his best friends... Well, sometimes, he does forget to stock the bar. But there's nothing more notorious than lusting after your best friend's girl, and wanting more upon finding out about their break up. And he's never wanted anyone else until she came along.

Darcy Grant is on the lookout for passion. She's cute, adorable, goody-two-shoes and an elementary teacher at that. After a mutual breakup with AJ realizing there hadn't been any sparks at all, Darcy is ready for that casual fling, and Reed might just be the perfect candidate. But is sleeping with your ex-boyfriend's best friend a rational thing to do?

I seriously love how this book just oozed with sexual tension from beginning to end. In the first installment, One Night of Sin, we witnessed a little bit of tension breaking out between these two, with Reed acting as if he disapproves her of being AJ's girlfriend. Well boy, was he not wrong, because he definitely wanted her as HIS girlfriend instead. 

"I've wanted you forever. Every goddamn time I see you, I've had to force myself not to blurt it out."

I'm also basically in love with these two characters, but the reason I couldn't give it a whole FIVE stars? Darcy. I seriously disliked how she just focused on being judgmental, labeling Reed as someone who can't stand a relationship when all he needed was to find the right girl. 

And my Reed. Oh my sweet, poor Reed. He was just a heartbroken soul waiting to be fixed up. Although the story had been a little too fast to elaborate more on Reed's past, there had been more or less a couple of entries about it. The boy who was never good enough, always a mess up. I love how it wasn't the female character with the insecurities this time, because let's face it, boys and even GROWN MEN get insecure and their feelings get hurt too, probably not in the same way as we girls do. (Although he wallowed in self-pity almost the whole time, but it's a debatable act. He was going through things.)

You know what I'm excited about now? AJ's book. He's described as a sweetheart and a lovable character, but I'm so sure that he's a monster in bed, even if Darcy doesn't seem to think so. He just wasn't the right guy for her. 

****

One Night of Trouble (After Hours #3)
by Elle Kennedy
Date Published: January 5th, 2015
My Rating:
No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it's lust at first sight. He's always been labeled the "nice" guy―opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, "nice" has nothing to do with it...

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she's put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing―and no one―could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble...



AJ pulled a cell phone from his back pocket and glanced at the screen. “It’s eleven fifty-eight. Looks like you’re about to turn into a pumpkin. Did you drive here?”

She shook her head. “I’m calling a taxi.”

“Or…” His eyes gleamed recklessly.

Brett’s throat went dry. “Or?”

“Or I could drive you home.”

Uh-oh.

Big uh-oh.

The awareness that had sizzled between them earlier returned in full force, leaving pinpricks of heat along her bare arms. The air was cool and she’d left her coat inside, but she wasn’t cold. Not by a long shot.

She knew exactly what would happen if she let AJ drive her home. She might have willpower when it came to alcohol, but around this man? With his sandy-blond hair and chiseled features and sparkling green eyes? And that incredible body? And throw in the fact that she hadn’t had sex in six months?

Willpower? Fat chance.

“What do you say, Brett? Do you want a ride?” No missing the way his voice went husky at the word ride.

Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

This was not the AJ Walsh she remembered. Back then he’d come off as a gentleman.

Right now there was nothing gentlemanly about him. His expression was downright smoldering, broad body radiating pure sex appeal. If he took her home, she knew it wouldn’t end with her walking up to her apartment alone.

But she still had to make sure she wasn’t misinterpreting that look on his face.

“What are you really asking me?” she said bluntly.

“I’m asking if I can take you home and screw your brains out.”

Her thighs clenched so hard she almost keeled over.

Okay, well, that certainly left nothing to interpretation.

“Judging by your response, I think you like the sound of that.” There was something smugly male in his voice.

Hers was embarrassingly squeaky and as weak as her attempted ignorance. “What response?”

He flashed a knowing smile. “What, you think I can’t tell when a woman is attracted to me?”

Nope, this was not the AJ she remembered. The golden boy was gone, replaced by a primal creature teeming with raw sexual energy. The electricity in the air was liable to burn her alive.

“Y-you…” She swallowed hard. “You don’t seem like the kind of man who does stuff like this. Sleeping with someone you’ve just met…”

“Why do women always take it upon themselves to decide what kind of man I am?”

“Am I wrong?” she challenged.

After a beat, he gave a sheepish grin. “Fine. I haven’t had a lot of one-night stands. But…” His eyes burned. “I have a feeling not going home with you tonight would be the biggest mistake of my life.”


*ARC courtesy of Publisher in exchange for honest review

I had been so excited to read about AJ's story because he's the different one among the bunch, but this book wasn't anything I expected to be. In fact, it was BETTER than I expected. 

If you've read the previous books or my previous reviews, you'd definitely understand that AJ is the different one among the bunch, and he's definitely not someone you'd expect to be a night club owner. I mean, you know how most guys are; dark, brooding, notorious...? But no, AJ is definitely none of those. You know the type of hot preppy looking guys who smile a whole lot, act like a real gentleman and isn't a player? That basically sums up who AJ Walsh is. Smart. Sweet. Sexy. SWOON. Definitely the dream boy that you can take home to meet the parents, and would surely get along so well with the Daddy. 

All the while I had thought of AJ as someone who's boring and such a goody two shoes -- I stand corrected -- HE IS NOT. In fact, what shocks me the most is the fact that he's actually a "closet bad boy" because the moment I read the blurb, I just toppled over, because WOAH. This was not the AJ introduced in the previous books, and my god, not only is he of pure deliciousness, he is also one hell of a dirty talker. 

For this one night, he could drop the good-guy mask and act on the primal urges he'd been fighting his entire life.

I have a major fascination with tattoos, and getting one (or maybe two... or three) is chilling on my bucket list, and the moment Brett came in the picture, I knew I was going to love her. She's cool, she's badass and definitely a hot chick at that. But despite the idea that she's a character with a sassy tongue and doesn't take crap from anyone, she's actually pretty much inferior to her family as the only girl among the siblings and had practically grown up in a family of burly men with thick bears and covered in tattoos (She's definitely not the type of girl you want to mess with, because her brothers will sure hunt you down). 

Pretty much in this book, she tries to right her wrongs by leaving behind her reckless ways in order to convince her father that she's mature enough to run her own tattoo parlor. The thing is, she's not even exactly a wild girl, rather it had been her ex-boyfriends that dragged her down that path in the first place. I'd prefer to think of Brett as a misunderstood passionate woman. 

Despite the instantaneous romance, everything about this story is just so explosive, from their relationship to their personal drama, especially with the "self acceptance" theme. This is what I love about Elle Kennedy's romances. No matter how steamy and sexy her books are, they hit straight right in the gut. It's not all just a book that's all about sex, but it's a book that connects and gives you the feels. 

However, I did find a few parts lacking, especially with the confrontation between AJ and his parents, in lieu to his confession about being a untrue to himself, just because he didn't want to disappoint and also, because of a heartbreaking back story that I'd rather not spoil (I feel you, AJ). I had been expecting that moment to be intense and dramatic, but let's say it didn't reach my expectations in that department. I, however, wouldn't deny that it was a touching scene. 

Regardless my negative commentaries, I swear, this series is one of the best yet and definitely a favorite. Pick it up, and you'll thank me later on. You're welcome. 











ELLE KENNEDY
Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Newsletter

A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BA in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Elle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website www.ellekennedy.com or sign up for her newsletter to receive updates about upcoming books and exclusive excerpts. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter (@ElleKennedy).