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Review: Only for Us by Cristin Harber

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Only for Us
Series: Only #3
Author: Cristin Harber
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 14 April 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The third installment of the Only series. Must be read in order.

Grayson and Emma. First love. True love. And… they have a daughter. Abandonment is his curse. He left his woman, survived his team, and missed the moment most precious to a father. Until now.

“I didn’t know you were killing yourself with work. I didn’t know you’re raising our daughter. So help me God, had I known, there is no military force on earth that would’ve kept me from you.”

Love needs to heal all, or they won’t survive the collision of their separate lives. Emma must reach deep into her heart that is barely hanging on and find forgiveness. Grayson, wrecked with PTSD-filled nightmares, must prove that he’s here to stay and able to rebuild his family against all odds.

“I need to say I love you. But what I mean is I love you–in a way that defies definition and exists only in a world that you and I are in.”

Only for Us is the third installment in the Only series. All novellas will release Spring 2015.

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

REVIEW 

Please bear in mind Only for Us is the third installment and therefore, the review may contain spoilers to the previous installments.

Emma and Grayson’s love is the kind I think all of us hope for in life. It is passionate, all-consuming, tender, caring and the type of forever love you can only find once in a lifetime ♥ Obviously they are not without their problems, trying to fight their way out from under a mountain of regrets and past hurt; however, you can never, ever question whether they truly love each other.

Only for Us is intense and highly emotional on a number of levels including relationship, family and parenthood. I absolutely adore Gray and Emma, more and more with each installment. The dual narrative allows insight into their relationship that cannot be seen from an outside perspective; their decisions and emotions all linked together in current interactions and past events.

Emma is such a wonderful role-model, mature beyond her years, even before she had to deal with being a single mother. She is responsible, independent, loving and caring. I hate that she can be judged on her choices, when her decisions were purely based on providing for her child.

Emma and Gray have a lot to overcome, their memories, both good and bad, add to their characterizations and interactions within the narrative. Emma’s family are understandably, overprotective of both Emma and Cally. It is difficult to know how I would react in this situation if it was one of my children. Time and distance has provided all concerned with a deeper level of clarity on the positive and negative aspects of their life.

I have to mention Mazie, I have a deep dislike of this character no matter how many times it is re-iterated that she is nothing more than a friend. I found her inclusion in this installment unnecessary and in fact thought it disturbed the flow of the narrative rather than aiding it.

With the cliff-hanger ending I am desperate to find out what is in store for Emma and Gray next.

Books I’ve Read: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Virgin Romance Novelist
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: April 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Her bosom heaved at an alarming rate as his rough hand found its way down to her soft, yet wiry briar patch…

Can you say briar patch in a romance novel? What about meat sword? That’s what it is…a meat sword, right, all meaty and sword like, slaying through the inner dungeons of a woman’s dark desires. What about breasts? Do bosoms really heave?

God, I have no idea what happens when private parts touch.

I’m a virgin trying to write a romance novel and can’t seem to write past a sex scene thanks to my lack of experience.

My two best friends encourage me to drop the pen for a while and gain some real life practice through multiple dating facets such as blind dates, online profiles, and random hookups.

But losing my virginity is proving to be tougher than expected…

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This book will make you laugh so hard you will have tears running down your face; your children will be checking on you every five minutes to make sure you are OK because you keep cackling away to yourself while reading 😉

It literally, has to be the funniest thing I have read in ages. Some based purely around being a woman and the observation of the unbelievable torture we have to endure in the name of beauty – brazilian waxing will never be the same again. While other incidents are seriously cringe worthy but hilarious moments – manscaping comes instantly to mind 😉

Rosie is a brilliant character combining the deadly combination of naivety and curiosity. Stuck in a dead-end job writing about cats, (think the movie Cats and Dogs for the cats she encounters) she dreams of writing her own steamy novel but has zero experience on which to base her stories on. You all know the saying – ‘write what you know’ – pushes Rosie to put her curiosity to the test. Her naivety lands her in some seriously absurd situations, I didn’t know whether to cringe, be embarrassed for her or just laugh my head off – so I choose all three most of the time 😉

The romance aspect of the story plays a secondary role to Rosie’s character development and observation of love and life. Although I liked the way the romance played out, I didn’t connect with it fully due to incidents fueled by rejection/anger within the narrative. Vague, I know, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. While I think the person in question is the right choice for Rosie, I was still unhappy about some of the events that took place.

The Virgin Romance Novelist is a perfect pick-me-up book for all women over the age of 20. I say this because over that age you can relate to the life observations better. The Virgin Romance Novelist is guaranteed to beat any reading slump. Get it, Read it, Laugh so hard you cry. One more thing YOU’RE WELCOME 😉

Review: Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Aimee and the Heartthrob
Series: Backstage Pass #1
Author: Ophelia London
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Publication Date: 14 April 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Buy Links: Amazon/B&N/Kobo

Synopsis from Goodreads

He never noticed her before, but now she’s all he can see…

Miles Carlisle is every teen girl’s fantasy. His rugged good looks and exotic British accent have helped catapult his boy band, Seconds to Juliet, to super-stardom. But after two disastrous and very public breakups, Miles isn’t interested in dating just any girl; he wants The One. And the only girl he’s interested in is not only his best friend’s little sister―and off-limits―but won’t even give him the time of day…

As a kid, Aimee Bingham had a huge thing for Miles…until he made fun of her for always tagging along. Now that she’s outgrown both him and her pigtails. the prospect of spending two weeks on tour with the childhood crush who broke her heart isn’t exactly enticing. Except now Miles seems interested. Very interested. And no matter how hard Aimee tries to resist him, her crush is definitely making a comeback.

But everyone knows that falling for a heartthrob is a backstage pass to heartbreak…

Aimee and the Heartthrob_Long Excerpts

REVIEW 

Aimee and the Heartthrob mixes up the rockstar/brothers best friend romance. Throw in a manufactured, all be it talented, boy band, reality TV and public image and you have the basis of the story 😉

Both Aimee and Miles have altered drastically since they last saw each other 2 years ago. Aimee has developed into a stunning young woman with a bright and bubbly personality, fiercely loyal and kind. She is an imaginative blogger with previous fan fiction experience, bear this little piece of information in mind for later. I really liked her.

Miles had been badly burned with his previous 2 relationships. In his position it is difficult to trust especially when his most intimate moments could be turned into publicity fodder. His character progression from the start of the book to the end was very well portrayed. Initially I felt he was a product of his own publicity, buying into the whole heartthrob persona. As Miles and Aimee get re-acquainted a different picture of Miles is drawn, allowing the reader to feel more sympathetic to his situation.

The restrictions placed on the members of the band and the control other people have over them was enlightening. The idea that people in powerful positions manipulate situations for their own gain added to the tension within the narrative. Playing on the insecurities of the characters for their own personal gain was an additional eye-opening piece of tension within the narrative.

The story highlighted the dangers of posting things of the internet. No matter how far you bury them they can always come back to bite you in the bottom 😉 Fan fiction taken out of context can just be seen as creepy, especially when based on real people.

There are so many books featuring both rockstars and best friends brothers it is a difficult task to bring anything original to the table. Aimee and the Heartthrob is a cute romantic quick read, perfect to while away a sunny afternoon 😉

Review: The Truth About Jack by Jody Gehrman

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Truth About Jack
Author: Jody Gehrman
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Publication Date: April 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

Synopsis from Goodreads

Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.

Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…

Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.

Full Tour Schedule HERE

Full Tour Schedule HERE

 REVIEW 

 The Truth About Jack is one of those books that bring on the warm and fuzzies in spades 😉

Initially, it is easy to think of Dakota and Jack as completely opposite due to their upbringing. Jack is from a privileged but over-protective background while Dakota has grown-up free-spirited in the middle of an artist colony (could be translated as hippy colony, lol) However, as the story progresses it soon becomes blatantly apparent that Jack and Dakota are kindred spirits, this knowledge is aided by the dual narrative providing a deeper level of understanding to their characterisations.

The aspect that stands out the most in The Truth About Jack is the beautiful writing style used by Jody Gehrman employs. Full of stunning simile and metaphor bringing the imagery to Technicolor life. The projection of emotions within the narrative ensures the empathetic connection to the characters. The vocabulary is full of wickedly wonderful words aiding the swoon factor.

I couldn’t really understand why Jack found it necessary to create an alias in reply to Dakota’s message in a bottle. We all know that a relationship built on lies will inevitably fail, lies will always be found out in the long run and cause more problems than their initial worth.

I will say the letters written between Jack/Alejandro and Dakota bear their souls within their words; their letters are far more personal and revealing than any conversation with a ‘new’ person would be.

The characters are very introspective often bordering on psychoanalytical, making the characters very self-aware. This also allows the reader to analyse their own situations/feelings/emotions as a byproduct of the narrative. I stand by my often used statement – it is the tragedies we endure in life that shape us the most. Aptly depicted by Dakota and Jack.

If you need a book that is going to make you swoon, give you hope that romance isn’t dead and make you feel a little giddy – you can’t go wrong with The Truth About Jack :)

About the Author

Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of ten novels and numerous award-winning plays. Her Young Adult novels include The Truth About Jack, Audrey’s Guide to Black Magic, Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft, Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love. Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Bombshell, Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin. Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English and Communication Studies at Mendocino College.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

Received from Publisher

Received from Publisher

Title: Asa
Series: The Marked Men #6
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 21 April 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

REVIEW 

Let me start by saying that I always feel greatly privileged after reading any of Jay Crownover’s books. For me, I feel as if she puts her heart and soul into each and every one of her characters. In that respect (and her acknowledgements in each book) I always feel as if I have received a personal connection to the characters and the author. It really does feel that special.

Asa has been a regular feature in the Marked Men books since Jet. You really have to read Jet first to fully appreciate Asa’s character development and the interactions between him and the other characters :) His previous bad boy ways have overshadowed his life and tainted his self perception. Seriously if you looked up REDEMPTION in the dictionary you would find a picture of Asa 😉

Asa and Royal have been drawn to each other since their very sighting. The whole opposites attract thing could be applied to them, however, they have far more in common than initial impressions would give credit to. Both are ridiculously good-looking, allowing for certain pre-conceived notions to taint their connections to other people. Both, Asa and Royal have unconventional family backgrounds creating additional plot twists within the narrative. At one point I honestly thought my heart couldn’t possibly take another twist 😉

I loved that Royal pursued Asa in this story, going after the thing she wanted the most, putting herself out there and not taking no for an answer. Even when she is spiralling with guilt and regret she is still a wonderful female role model. I also liked how even negative events can have positive results. Making a person examine themselves and their situation, creating a oppurtunity for self-awareness and growth.

There is a lot going on within the pages of Asa, each plot thread and character expertly developed and carried out. The progression of the previous characters and the staging of the next series solidify Jay Crownover’s writing genius.