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Review: Losing Us by Jen McLaughlin

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Losing Us
Series: Sex on the Beach
Author: Jen McLaughlin
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When it all comes crashing down…

Everything I thought I had with Austin Murphy—safety, stability, the normalcy I crave but my celebrity lifestyle rarely allows—was ripped away in one night. I wanted to surprise him, but the joke was on me. Now I don’t know if I ever really knew him at all.

Someone has to pick up the pieces…

Mackenzie Forbes was everything I ever wanted and the one person I didn’t deserve. When a past mistake costs me the girl I love, I’ll do everything I can to get her back. We both have demanding careers and family secrets darkening our pasts, but I need Mackenzie in my future.

Sometimes everything you have to give just isn’t enough…

Full Tour Schedule HERE

Full Tour Schedule HERE

 REVIEW 

I will admit I was terrified to start reading this story. I love both Mac and Austin, they are perfect together, so I really, really didn’t want anything to happen to their relationship.

The story takes a look at coping with life in the public eye and the additional pressure it can put on relationships. Mackenzie has been burned by the paparazzi in the past and understandably apprehensive regarding the media and her relationship with Austin. She has tried to guide Austin having spent her life in the public eye, however, Austin doesn’t fully take on board her advice leading to a tenacious situation.

Tension was already high with the sense of foreboding I had before I even started reading, so when events played out at the beginning I felt as if my heart was in a vice. I felt Mackenzie’s actions were completely justified, protecting herself had to be a top priority.

Without trust you have nothing, trust is essentially the core of any relationship but more so if you live your life in the public eye and endure large periods of time apart. I’m not sure I could handle the pressure and moments of insecurity.

Mackenzie projects an image of self-confidence but she has her own insecurities exasperated by the incidents within the plot. Personally, I’m not sure if I could make myself vulnerable again.

I kinda hated Austin at times, his lack of discretion caused a tremendous amount of hurt. Also his constant flirting was unnecessary as much as he tried to justify it. The insight into his upbringing did make me understand him better and aid winning me over. The way he views Mackenzie was equally heart-warming and heart-aching.

While I enjoyed Losing Us  I need an epilogue set a few years later in order to fully punt the demons raised in this book to rest ;)

Review: Chasing Me by Jennifer Probst

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Chasing Me
Series: Sex on the Beach
Author: Jennifer Probst
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

It was supposed to be a love story….

I knew she was out of my league but I didn’t care. Looking back, I wonder if I hadn’t pursued her, would things have turned out differently? Is it Fate that determines our choices in life? God? Free will? Or just plain old innate selfishness?

I got her, of course. There hadn’t been a girl I wasn’t able to seduce. Problem was she seduced me right back, body, mind, and soul. She possessed me, tormented me, and showed me a world that was so bright and pure I was almost blinded.

Didn’t she know after such a drug I could never settle for less? Didn’t she realize no matter how many times I screwed up, or broke her heart, or bent her to my will, I’d never be able to let her go?

If I hadn’t known such intensity existed, would it have been better for both of us?

True love, the real kind, isn’t nice and sweet and pure. No, it’s dirty, and sinful, and messy.

It’s like ripping a chunk of flesh from your body and watching yourself bleed out in slow, helpless intervals until you thankfully pass out.

This isn’t a love story. But it’s the only story I got.

Full Tour Schedule HERE

Full Tour Schedule HERE

 REVIEW 

OMG this boy is an imbecile, idiot, nitwit, numpty SHEESH he needs a good kick up the bottom. The definition of poor little rich boy, seriously if you looked it up in a dictionary you would see a picture of  James. OK, so he wanted to be a better person for Quinn but she fell in love with him just the way he was, why mess with a good thing *sigh* I just don’t get why he would forgo his money to be a better person. Yes, I know money doesn’t buy happiness but for goodness sake if you’ve got it why not life comfortably. As I said IDIOT.

The plot is all kinds of angst ridden and a times it is obvious to see the twists ahead. The mention of plot developments with the other novellas gives spoilers for the other stories.

I hate how other people’s interference add to the doubt and insecurities within a relationship, made worse if that person is a loved one. Feeding negativity is just NOOOO.  There are extremes of personalities at play within the narrative adding to the drama. Add into that the pressures of working while attending college, time restrictions add a void in any relationship.

In depth look at rehabilitation from addiction added depth to the narrative as well as expanding Quinn’s character; providing insight into her decisions and desire to help others. Re-establishing how deeply we aer shaped by the elements we are subjected to during our formative years. Having personal experience with alcoholism with my Ex and seeing how it shapes children was quite eye-opening in ways I hadn’t considered; especially the part about them being driven to succeed and be an overachiever WOW.

Relationships require work and should be given the appropriate amount of appreciation as any other important aspect of our lives. Something both Quinn and James seem to have forgotten and pay the price for :( It seems the whole world is against their relationship and conspires to tear them apart.

Elements of the abuse of power by authority figures add further tension to an already strained plot.

Chasing Me reiterates the point that you can’t change who you are for people and sometimes turmoil builds stronger foundations.

Books I’ve Read: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Books

Image  from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Series: Hundred Oaks #5
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Read an excerpt HERE

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Someone please tell me why it took me so long to start this series – I can foresee a binge read in my near future ;)

The first thing I have to say is how the characters inner thoughts mirrored my own – it was uncanny and made Miranda Kenneally an instant must-read author for me :)

Annie is training for a marathon in honour of her boyfriend’s memory. The emotions within the narrative are intense and fuel the plot as well as Annie’s determination to undertake this challenge. Miranda doesn’t underplay how challenging competing in a marathon really is; showing that a training program alongside expert help and advice is invaluable. the commitment and mental strength needed in order to complete such a challenge is ingeniously shown within the story alongside the way in focusing on something outside of yourself helps sort through emotions even easing grief. Exercise in whatever form is a positive way to channel emotions. The sense of accomplishment if gives is priceless. Something very well portrayed within Breathe, Annie, Breathe. I loved how Annie was able to find a purpose she had previously been lacking. Not only did she gain confidence within herself but she found her niche – you can’t ask for more than that ♥

Although, this is my first foray into the Hundred Oaks world I am aware that the characters from the previous books are woven into the current story. I adore it when an author progresses characters we have already grown to know and love. I have to say, Miranda’s characters very quickly get under your skin and into your head and heart.

While the romance is a central part of the book, it is far more than that. It is the equivalent of being set down within a close-knit community, knowing each and every one of them deeply and with a huge sense of belonging.

I have to bring up the adrenaline junkie aspect with Jeremiah, are they born with the need to feel that rush or is it something that is developed – similar to the nature versus nurture debate to an extent. I imagine the rush can be very addictive, as clearly shown by Jere within the plot :)

I loved every single thing about Breathe, Annie, Breathe from the characters, the plot, their interactions and the emotions woven through. I highly recommend reading this series – now I’m off to catch up on the ones I’ve missed ;)

Review: Naughty King by Michelle A Valentine

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Naughty King
Series: Manhattan Fairytale #1
Author: Michelle A Valentine
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The King Always Gets His Way.
Women, business, pleasure: When I want it, I get it.
I’m never denied.
Including her.
I will break her.
I will show her who the king of this city really is.
The Feisty Princess of Manhattan will learn I am not a man that can be tempted.

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

REVIEW 

Ohhh Alexander is definitely Naughty. At first it is easy to put him in the anti-hero category, although this is quickly dispelled with the glimpse we get of his underlying vulnerability. For some reason yet to be divulged, Alexander has cloaked himself in almost impenetrable armour. As a reader you want to dig deeper into his past to discover what it is that has shaped into the man he has become. Hints are given but not fully revealed maintaining the obsession to crack the armour surrounding Alexander.

Both Alexander and Margo have their own agendas where their interactions are concerned; to Alexander it is a case of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer; while Margo is trying to save her father’s company from Alex’s clutches. The lines quickly blur due to their undeniable chemistry; however, they try to justify their actions as anything but a deeper connection.

There is much more to both characters than initial impressions would suggest. I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface and desperately want to get to know them both better.

Alex’s friend Yamada, is delightfully quirky and is a pivotal part of the plot. He made me laugh out loud while questioning his motives. You can’t help but think he is the best friend ever and a complete trickster ;)

Naughty King is seriously addictive, Feisty Princess cannot come soon enough.

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Review: The Islands of Chaldea by Diane Wynne Jones/Ursula Jones

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Islands of Chaldea
Author: Diane Wynne Jones/Ursula Jones
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: Feb 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Aileen was supposed to grow up magical – just like the other women in her family. Unfortunately, she’s just found out that the magic seems to have skipped a generation… but that’s not her biggest problem right now.

In her world, there are four Islands of Chaldea. The largest and most magical island has been cut off from the other three for decades – and is slowly draining the magic from them.

But now a prophecy has come to light. Someone from Aileen’s island will gather a man from each of the three islands, bring down the magical barrier, and unite them with the fourth island again. And according to the king, that someone is Aileen’s Aunt – who insists on dragging Aileen along. AND the boy Aileen is sure she’ll marry (one day); AND the local boy with more brawn then brain. Someone seems to want to stop them too… someone with an interest in keeping the Islands apart. But still, with magic on their side, nothing can go wrong. Right?

REVIEW BY HAYLEY 8:1

Young wise woman, Aileen, dreams of following in her aunts footsteps. Aileen’s aunt was known throughout the remaining Islands of Chaldea for her remarkable knowledge of all things occurring frond her. However, soon there is a problem, ever since the barrier was erected around the island of Logra the guardians have been divided, resulting in the magic of the islands fading. Aileen and her aunt are sent to bring down the barrier and reunite the guardians. If that wasn’t hard enough, someone is plotting against them, determined to ensure they fail in their quest.

The main character, Aileen, is a strong female character. Determined to succeed in her quest, even when her aunt is taken ill and she must continue the quest independently. Along her journey with her sick aunt, Aileen encounters long lost family as well as uncovering the whereabouts of her long-lost father and Prince Alasdair.  Adding further importance to her crusade.

My favorite part of the story was when Aileen meets the King, showing that owning land and having wealth does not prevent ignorance. The clear differentiation between the good and bad characters stood out at this point whereas the difference was rather vague in the other parts of the plot. In one respect this is a good thing as it keeps the reader captivated with the characters and gives the narrative an interesting twist. It is also at this point Aileen’s character development is exceptionally noticeable.

I did, however, feel that the ending was a little predictable. I have read a few books by this author and that may be the reason I found the ending a little easy to guess, her other books tend to have the same kinds of twists. I would recommend this book as it is interesting and grabs your attention with likable characters you can easily identify with.