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Everyday Rowena

I'm Rowena and I blog at Book Binge. I read lots of romance, YA and lately, NA. You'll find a lot of those on my shelves.

Review: Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Dead Girls Don't Lie - Jennifer Shaw Wolf

This was one of those small town mysteries with high school students turning up dead. The police seem to think that the two murders have two different Mexican kids is gang related and they’re warning the town to be on alert for any suspicious activity. Stuck right in the middle of everything is Jaycee. Jaycee’s best friend Rachel was killed in a drive by shooting. She was in her room when it happened and she was calling Jaycee for help. Jaycee was mad at Rachel for going out with the boy that she had always had a thing for so she didn’t pick up. Instead, she was out with Skyler Cross. Kissing him. That’s something that Jaycee is going to have to live with because well, it happened and Jaycee can’t take it back.

 

So, this book was one giant ball of mystery and suspense. I was at the edge of my seat throughout the entire book and as exciting and suspenseful as it was, when everything is revealed in the end, I was a tad bit disappointed. Disappointed in that I had everything so wrong and disappointed because of that. I was also disappointed because Jaycee was a hard person to like. She was strong, yeah but she was also very stubborn and she trusted the wrong people, even when she was told by the one person that she did trust to trust in so and so, she didn’t trust in them. It drove me nuts but in the end, it was all good.

 

Man, this book is definitely not a romance because the person that I had everything so very wrong. But, still…it was a good story but I just wished that I could connect with the characters a little more. I felt disconnected from Jaycee and Eduardo and even Skyler. If I could have connected with them a little more, I might have cared a little more about what happened to each of them. I will say kudos to Jennifer Shaw Wolf because she really did fool me with who the killer was. I did not see that coming and I probably should have but it’s all good.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2013/12/review-dead-girls-dont-lie-by-jennifer-shaw-wolf

Review: Before Jamaica Lane by Julia Quinn

Before Jamaica Lane  - Samantha Young

Nate and Olivia have become really close friends. Best friends, even. They have a lot in common and they get each other so it’s easy for them to enjoy each other’s company. They connect in a totally platonic way because they both know what it is to lose someone they love to cancer. They bond over their losses and Liv is comfortable with Nate because he’s such a good friend to her and because she knows that he’ll never see her in a romantic light so she doesn’t have to worry about mis-stepping with him. She’s shy by nature around men and chalks it up to spending her formative years taking care of her ailing mother. When other young girls were learning the romantic ropes, she was playing nurse to her mother. She loved her mother dearly so it wasn’t a hardship for her. She liked spending time with her Mom and because she didn’t know how much time she had left, she made the most of their time together.

 

Olivia at 26 years old is horribly shy around men. She hasn’t had sex in years and her whole sexual experience isn’t much to write home to. Nate is the opposite. He’s got the experience, the confidence to knock women on their asses and he does it on a weekly basis. Liv and Nate are at opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to sexual experience and this is one of those books when one best friend goes to the other best friend for guidance. And shenanigans happen.

 

I really like this series and this book carried on my love for this series. I loved getting to know Liv and Nate more, though I wouldn’t have complained about more Nate time. I thought they were both great characters that carried this story. Young did a great job of telling their story and making the reader connect with the both of them as individuals and as a couple. Their friendship and their issues all made for an entertaining story that I enjoyed. It’s always good to see the couples from the other books and I appreciate that though Joss and Braden are like the series “main couple”, they didn’t usurp a lot of the story like I’ve read in some other series.

 

Young does a great job of writing the kinds of books that take me to my happy place. She did a great job with this book and I definitely recommend it.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-before-jamaica-lane-by-samantha-young

Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

The Sum of All Kisses - Julia Quinn

I love Julia Quinn. She’s one of my favorite historical romance authors. She writes the kind of historicals that I absolutely love. The kind that make me laugh, make me mad and makes me want to have its babies. I wanted to have this books babies. I thought it was adorable and perfect and just fantabulous. Hugh and Sarah were wonderful characters that leaped right off the pages and their witty banter kept the book going, hitting all of my happy buttons.

 

At first, I couldn’t remember who the hell Hugh was. I read the first part of the prologue, wondering…who the hell are all of these people and then BAM, it hit me. And I thought, “Duh. I remember who Hugh is now.” I thought it was pretty clever of Julia Quinn to write Hugh’s book. He’s not your normal hero. He’s not perfect. He’s wounded and he’s unhappy but man did he have potential and Quinn wrote him up and I fell right in love with him.

 

I liked Sarah from the previous books but she wasn’t my favorite. I think Iris is and man, I’m really looking forward to her book…we do get her book, right? Sarah was kind of a wallflower character for me. She existed in the background of the other books and I never really paid her much attention. But man was she quite the heroine in this book. She was dramatic and she was loud but I really, really liked her.

 

Hugh is one of those nerd heroes who makes being a nerd, sexy. He can do complicated math in his head and his memory is something for the books. He’s really good at cards because he counts them. He was injured in the duel between him and Daniel Smythe-Smith (Sarah’s cousin). Daniel was shot in the shoulder but is fine. Hugh was shot in the leg and he can’t walk without a limp anymore. In A Night Like This, we see Daniel coming to grips with the duel and what he’s done to Hugh and you see them try to repair their friendship. In this book, we see a bit more of that and we see what really happened the night of the duel and we see Hugh come to terms with it and truly move on from that night.

 

Hugh and Sarah do not get along. Sarah holds him responsible for Daniel having fled the country to save his life from Hugh’s father. That whole scandal pushed her coming out a year and in the year that she was supposed to come out, 14 gentlemen proposed and got married. Sarah is now one and twenty years of age and she’s still not married.

She blames this on Hugh.

 

Sarah has made it crystal clear what she thinks of Hugh and Hugh doesn’t care because he doesn’t care about Sarah. But when Honoria asks Sarah to help Hugh feel welcome at her wedding to Marcus, Sarah has no choice but to agree. This was the beginning of the end of her hatred for Hugh Prentice. Over the course of the two weddings that Sarah and Hugh attend (first Honoria and Marcus’ and then Daniel and Anna’s), a bond is formed between the two and a love that takes them both by surprise pops up and wraps them both up.

 

This was a good book. It was fun and entertaining and I didn’t want to put this book down. Even when Hugh’s stupid father makes an appearance and makes me want to punch him in the throat, it was good. Seeing Hugh’s background and seeing what he went through and what he survived made him my very favorite hero of the series so far. I adored him and I really liked Sarah as well. This was a good book and it was a fabulous addition to this series and I cannot wait for more. I’m pretty anxious for the next book. Read this one!

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-the-sum-of-all-kisses-by-julia-quinn-2

Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke - Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare strikes again!

 

This book was another fantabulous addition to Tessa Dare’s back list.  It entertained, the romance was steamy and the characters were memorable.  There isn’t much more that you can ask for in a romance.  Dare delivered a wonderfully romantic story that reminded me why I started reading in the first place.  Not too long ago, Holly and I were talking about how we missed the old school romances that ate us up with emotions.  The ones that were full of angst and gutted us with goodness.  Dare captured all of my favorite things in this book and I couldn’t be happier.

 

Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up with a famous writer as a father.  Her father wrote fairy tale stories that starred Isolde herself and Isolde is a celebrity because of it all.  It was funny to see a historical celebrity who had a fan club.  People who geeked out over books like we do.  But Isolde’s father is dead and everything that she once had, now belongs to a spiteful and hurtful cousin who threw Isolde out on her butt.  She’s got nothing left in this world.  No home, no food and yet, when she gets mail from an old friend of her father’s that speaks of an inheritance, Isolde heads over to this castle and finds out that she’s inherited the castle.  The whole thing.

 

The problem is, the castle she inherited is already occupied by someone who claims to be the owner.  And that owner is tall, dark and completely scary.  But with nothing to lose, Izzy isn’t going to be run out of her inheritance.  She’s staying and she’s going to build herself a home and a life.

 

Ransom, The Duke of Rothbury is the rightful owner of the castle and he’s living in it.  He’s also not in the mood or the right frame of mind to deal with others right now so he’d like to be left alone but this lovely distraction refuses to go away.

 

Over the course of the book, Ransom softens toward Isolde and Isolde proves to be addicting to Ransom.  Their romance made me laugh and it made me sigh.  Ransom turned out to be quite the hero for Isolde and I adored reading this entire book.  Tessa Dare writes the kind of historicals that stay with you long after you’ve finished the book and this was one of those books.  This book is proof of my adoration of all things Tessa Dare.  She won me over with her Spindle Cove series and I have every faith that this is going to be another fabulous series.  I’m already looking forward to more so I’m hoping that we won’t have too much of a wait.

 

Read this book, you won’t be sorry!

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-romancing-the-duke-by-tessa-dare

Review: Play by Play by Kate Donovan

Play by Play (A Play Makers Novella 1) - Kate Donovan

This was a novella featuring Jake Dublin, freelance writer who has a popular sports blog. On this sports blog he talks about whatever he wants to talk about. Most of it is sports but from time to time, he blogs about his personal life and when he meets his new neighbor, she makes it onto his blog. He’s completely smitten with this girl and wants to get to know her so when she shoots him down that first time, Jake takes to his blog and talks about it. The closer they get, Jake starts to realize that he needs to come clean about who he is and what he’s doing on his blog. Sophie (aka Elevator Girl from the blog) really likes Jake and she likes that he likes whatever she likes and that he’s hot and well, just a lot of things. One of those things that she loves about him? That he doesn’t like sports (haha). The story takes place while Jake is trying to come clean to the girl that he’s quickly falling for and the fallout from what happens when she finally realizes who he is.

 

This was a short story and it definitely felt like it was a short story. It really could have been a cute story but there was so much cheese thrown in that by the middle of the story, I almost DNF’d it. Jake was a likable character and I thought his blog was pretty decent as well. It was actually pretty funny to see his readership get really into the stories that Jake posted about Elevator Girl. Not once did I think that Jake was this phony guy in his interactions with Sophie but holy goodness Sophie was kind of dumb. I mean, the fickle way that she was about Jake liking sports. First it’s a really good thing that he hates sports and she really likes that he hates sports and then she wants him to like sports just a little bit because sports is a huge part of her family. The connection that Sophie had with Jake’s favorite football coach made me roll my eyes down the street and her cousins? They didn’t come off as protective brothers, they came off as idiot jocks that I couldn’t be bothered with.

 

I went into this story, wanting to like it and while there were times when I laughed, for the most part I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care for Sophie as a character, I didn’t understand why Jake fell so hard for her. I didn’t like her at all. Her whole wishy-washy crap and then the way she reacted to Jake’s blog, ugh….it was all just so juvenile. When the book ended, I was glad. It just wasn’t for me.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-play-by-play-by-kate-donovan

Review: Rome by Jay Crownover

Rome  - Jay Crownover

Holly brought these books to my attention because she thought I would enjoy them.  I had both Rule and Jet forever but I never read them.  But then I saw this book come up for review and I wanted to give it a try so I read this one without having read the other two books and I enjoyed it.  Crownover does a great job of writing this book as a standalone and I wasn’t confused or felt lost so it was all good in my hood.

 

Rome has just returned home from overseas and he’s suffering from grief over losing his brother and survivor’s guilt from his time at war.  He’s not sure what his role is now that he’s home since everything is so different.  He used to be the big brother that took care of everything and everyone around him but Rule doesn’t need him as much anymore, having started a life with his childhood friend Shaw and his other brother Remy, well Remy’s just gone.  He’s constantly in a bad mood and the bad mood is starting to make everyone around him suffer until Cora Lewis puts him in his place.

 

Cora is loyal and she’s fearless.  She takes care of those in her inner circle, even when it pisses them off and she doesn’t like anyone coming in and messing with her friends happiness.  Even if they’re related to people in her circle and love her friends just as much as she does.  So when she dumps her beer all over Rome Archer, she’s not sorry.  Rule may be pissed at her but she’s not sorry she did it because Rome needs to get that giant stick out of his ass and deal with his issues without taking everyone down with him.

 

Rome and Cora are complete opposites.  He’s clean cut and big all over while she’s a half pint with tattoos and jewels all over her body.  They shouldn’t work together, yet they do.

 

This story isn’t big on plot and twists and what not, it’s more character driven and I was okay with that.  I liked getting into both Cora and Rome’s heads.  There was enough conflict between the two of them to fill this book with a lot of things that kept me invested.  There were times when I thought the two of these guys needed a swift kick in the ass but in the end, I was glad that I read this one.  It’s made me want to read the other books in this series and I’m looking forward to doing that.

 

Rome and Cora were a nice mix, they complimented each other where it counted and I liked that they fought to be together.  I thought that Crownover was going to throw us all over the place with the return of Jimmy and all of the issues that both Rome and Cora still had to conquer but Crownover did a great job of bringing these two together and I was happy with the outcome of the book.  I would definitely recommend.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-rome-by-jay-crownover

Review: Finding It by Cora Carmack

Finding It  - Cora Carmack

Cora Carmack has won me over with her first two books, Losing It and Faking It. She also cemented my love of her work with her novella, Keeping Her. I have enjoyed everything that she came out with and I didn’t think that would change with this book.

 

Finding It follows Bliss and Cade’s friend Kelsey as she backpacks abroad, trying to find herself. What they don’t know is that Kelsey is trying to fill a void in her life, a void that was made when she was younger and turned to the two people that were supposed to help her…and didn’t. Now, she’s grown and she is living her life, partying in a new European city each week and even though she should be having the time of her life, she can’t help but feel lonely.

 

Things start to turn around when she meets Jackson Hunt. Jackson invites her to join him for a week of adventure and in my opinion, against her better judgment, Kelsey agrees.

 

Now, I say against her better judgment because the night before she agrees to go on this trip with Jackson, Kelsey was drugged and the last memory she has of that night was of being with Jackson. Now, she doesn’t know Hunt. They just started seeing each other around as they were partying at the same places but on the night that she was drugged….she was with Jackson. Now if that happened in real life to my friend, there’d be no way in hell I’d let my friend go off with the guy she was with WHEN SHE WAS DRUGGED! Yeah, I know that Hunt wasn’t the one that drugged her but still…she didn’t know him.

 

Anyway, so Hunt whisks Kelsey away for a week of adventure and it is while she’s on this trip that Kelsey is finally starting to find out who she really is and what she was missing in her life. So, alls well that ends well but as far as my enjoyment of the book, it was tampered only by the fact that I knew what was going to happen before it happened. There wasn’t much of a mystery there but in the end, I didn’t even give a damn. I liked Kelsey (which was saying something since she was a brat for most of the book) and I really liked the person that she grew to be throughout this book.

 

I liked Hunt too because he was sexy and when things thawed between him and Kelsey, they were pretty hot. They were hot together and I enjoyed that part of the book but I wasn’t a fan of the secrets and the way that the secrets came out and then the grand gesture at the end was a bit excessive for me but if someone I was madly in love with did that for me, I’d probably be impressed.

 

So while this book isn’t my favorite book by Carmack, I still enjoyed it. I really came to like it in the end and Kelsey’s character had a lot to do with that. I enjoyed seeing the growth in her character and seeing her become that strong individual at the end made the entire book satisfying. Made it worth reading. So yeah, I recommend this book.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-finding-it-by-cora-carmack

Review: The Destiny of Violet & Luke by Jessica Sorensen

The Destiny of Violet & Luke  - Jessica Sorensen

This is the third book in the Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen and it follows Kayden’s best friend Luke and Callie’s college roommate Violet as they fumble their way to that happily for now.  Only because this is a Jessica Sorensen, shit didn’t get resolved in this book because there’s going to be another freaking book in this series where Luke and Violet will hopefully get some resolutions but if I’m honest, I’m not holding out any hope for that since I didn’t feel The Redemption of Kayden and Callie got much resolution but whatever.

 

Luke Price has always been a mysterious character.  In the previous books, he is the guy that is always there for Kayden.  He plays a pretty small part in the other books but in those books, we learn things about Luke.  Like he’s diabetic but not very many people in his life know that and he’s had a pretty messed up childhood (but we don’t know what).  So going into this book, I was glad to finally get that back story that I’ve always craved for Luke.  Now that I know what it is, I can’t even imagine what living in his shoes must have been like.  Everything that he feels for his Mom is justified because after I found out what the hell he was forced to do for his Mom, it made me hate her and want her to die a slow death.  Luke was so young to have to deal with that and knowing what he lived through made me want to beat his Dad up too.  Luke is a private man and he keeps to himself.  He doesn’t form attachments but when Callie and Seth come into his life, attachments are formed any way and I was glad for him.  He needed a support system and I’m glad that he had that in the little family they formed at college.

 

In this book, we really meet Callie’s roommate Violet. And holy cow, she’s had it pretty bad too.  She’s a Foster kid who has dealt with a whole lot of bad things in her short life.  She went from foster home to foster home and while her story is pouring out with each page, your heart is put through the wringer.  With each new thing that we learn about Violet’s life, my heart went out to her.  I can’t imagine having to deal with the loss of both her parents at such a young age let alone dealing with the way that her parents died.  It wasn’t enough for her to have to live through that, the rest of her life up until now hasn’t been a cake walk either.  She just keeps getting dealt one bad card after another.  One of those bad cards was having to live with Amelia the bitch and Amelia’s junior bitch daughter, Jennifer.  Those two pissed me off but their interaction with Violet left me exasperated because Jennifer is a bully.  Jennifer likes to run her mouth and tell everyone that Violet is a psycho bitch who killed her parents and everyone at school likes to point and laugh at Violet because she’s a psycho killer.  How in the world does that make sense?  When I was in high school, the kid who was rumored to be a psycho killer was not bullied.  He was feared.  And rightly so.  If he killed someone before, wouldn’t he kill again if someone pissed him off? So why in the world are people bullying Violet when she supposedly killed her parents?  How real is that? I don’t buy it.  Still, Violet had it rough growing up.

 

So when she runs into Luke and they strike up a friendship of sorts, I knew that the good stuff was finally coming around for Violet.  She was finally going to get a support system and seeing her struggle with trusting Luke and then trying valiantly to not depend on him made for good reading.

 

Jessica Sorensen does a great job of bringing these two characters together and I was loving the read until we got to the end.

 

*sigh*

 

Why? Why oh why can’t we get a full story in just one book?  Why do we keep having to wait months for the end of a story?  These cliffhanger endings piss me off.  There’s no kind of resolution and the reader is left hanging for months on end.  I hate, hate, hate them.  What I hate most of all? Is that even though I hate these damn endings, I know that when that next book comes out, I’m going to read it but know this, even when I’m reading the next book, I’m going to hate that I’m letting myself be dangled by the end of the stupid “wait months for the next installment” rope.

 

With all of that said, I still enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed getting that look into Luke Price’s background and I enjoyed getting to know Violet so even though I hate the ending, this was still a solid read which is why I gave it a 4.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-the-destiny-of-violet-luke-by-jessica-sorensen

Review: Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn

Masquerade - Nyrae Dawn

I’ve only read the second book in this series and I enjoyed it a lot so I was looking forward to reading this one.  I think I enjoyed this one even more than the other book, Facade.  This book follows Maddox (brother to the heroine in Facade, Book 2) as he stumbles his way toward that happy ending we’re all struggling for.

 

In Facade, I thought Maddox was cold and that he was a bit of a dick to his sister. But at the same time, I wanted to know more about him so when I found out that this book was his, I was a happy camper. If I remember correctly, Facade ends with Maddox hooking up with a girl…who ends up being his woman in this book, Bee.

 

Maddox wants to be a tattoo artist and it’s been a long time since he’s ever wanted anything. Ever since his father went to prison and his mother tried to kill herself (yet again), he’s been living in that “I don’t give a f*ck” land and he’s finally showing signs of wanting a future and Lanie is not going to let that slide. So when Maddox tells her that the new apprenticeship that he was hoping to land fell through, Laney does what any sister would do to help their brothers get a shot at their dreams. She went and had a little talk with the owner of the tattoo shop, in an effort to change their mind about Maddox.

 

And it works.

 

There’s some awkwardness between Bee and Maddox at first on account of the one night stand they just had. They both thought that they were never going to see each other again and then Maddox shows up at Bee’s shop and Bee shoots him down. But after looking at Maddox’s drawings, Bee changes her mind and lets Maddox come on down and apprentice with her. Maddox wants to learn the ropes so bad that he comes through.

 

Getting to know the both of these two people made for an interesting read. Bee was dealing with the issues of being kidnapped as a child but growing up with two people she thought were her parents and who were really good to her. Now she’s back and dealing with the guilt that comes with loving the people who kidnapped her and raised her as their own from age 4 to age 13. She’s got her real parents who never gave up the search for her, two people who love her more than anything but who don’t really know her anymore.

 

Maddox was dealing with a whole lot of guilt, himself. The guilt of knowing that his father was having the affair and not saying anything. The guilt of not being able to protect his sister from the harsh treatment from their mother. He doesn’t trust anyone and it’s hard for him to want to be close to anyone and with Bee, she understands where he’s coming from and she lets him be which is why they’re so drawn to each other. There’s understanding between them and I really liked seeing them grow closer together.

 

Their relationship was complicated and so very steamy and I really liked it. I loved the guy that we see Maddox morph into over the course of this book and same with Bee. They were both beautifully broken characters that came together and their journey was a good one. I thought Nyrae Dawn did a fantastic job of sucking the reader into their world, into their story and it’s left me wanting more from this characters. It was good to see Adrian, Laney and their friends. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy New Adult books or steamy romantic reads. This one delivers the goods! =)

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-masquerade-by-nyrae-dawn

Review: Undone by Shannon Richard

Undone - Shannon Richard

This was a sweet romance from cover to cover. It was one of those romances that is slow to unfold but not necessarily boring. There isn’t any big plot that is drama filled or anything like that. There’s just a man and a woman who meet and fall in love with each other. They learn to care for each other and then from the friendship, a love grows. I thought it was a cute story. It wasn’t one of those stories that is filled up to the brim with drama and bogged down with everything under the sun. It’s just a romance novel that is really big on the romance.

 

For me, this book was one of those stories that will probably not be popular because not a lot is going on except two characters growing close with each passing page but it worked for me.

 

Paige is down on her luck.  She lost her job, moved in with her boyfriend and when he breaks up with her, she moves back home to her parents house.  Only, they don’t live in the same house that she grew up in.  They moved to a small town and she’s not feeling welcome.  She’s gone on multiple job interviews with no call backs and after months of putting up with everything, her car breaks down…and she finally catches a break.

 

When Brendan showed up with his tow truck to pick up Paige’s car, he wasn’t expecting to find such a beautiful woman to come along with it.  After that meeting, Brendan finds that he can’t get her out of his mind and he embarks on a full pursuit of her and his pursuit was too freaking adorable.

 

The meeting, the attraction and the build up made this book such a cute story and I enjoyed it.  It’s a little on the light hearted side but it was perfect for what I was in the mood for and I definitely recommend this book.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-undone-by-shannon-richard

Review: Undertow by Leigh T. Moore

Undertow (Dragonfly) - Leigh Talbert Moore

This is the second book in the Dragonfly series by Leigh T. Moore and it starts off not too long after the first book ends.  Anna is working for the town’s newpaper and she’s dug up a story that has been buried, one that involves the boy that she’s come to care about a lot but the two adults that are also involved in the story want her to keep her mouth shut about what she thinks she knows.  In an effort to get her to understand why she couldn’t tell their secrets, Bill Kyser (her ex-boyfriend’s Dad) gives her three journals to read and to understand.

 

So she does.

 

She spends a weekend delving into the past and the more she reads, the more confused she gets because at the center of all of the lies and secrets, is the boy that she’s fallen in love with.  Julian.

 

This book digs into the secrets from the first book. Anna finds out some stuff about Julian’s parents and also about Jack’s parents.  The story of Bill and Meg Kyser and then Alex Lesalle was a complex story with an ending that broke hearts and ended lives.  It was interesting to see Bill Kyser’s character come to life.  In the first book, he’s kind of a dick and while you wonder about him, because he’s suck a jerk, you don’t really care about him.  But in this book you get to see life happen to Bill and understand that the life he had before shaped the person that he is now.  His story wasn’t an easy one.  It was raw and it was emotional and you see the grief, the guilt and the secrets pile up until it feels like your drowning.

 

I’m glad that I read this book.  While I missed Anna and Julian being at the center of the story, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it.  I was wrapped up in Bill, Meg and Lexy’s story and it made me thirsty for more.  I’m anxious for the next book and I can’t wait to dig in.  This was a solid story, one that I would definitely recommend.  If you’ve read the first book and enjoyed it, you’ll like this one too.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/01/review-undertow-by-leigh-t-moore

Review: Playing for Keeps by R.L. Mathewson

Playing for Keeps - R.L. Mathewson

What a gem this book turned out to be for me. Ames recommended this book to me a long time ago. I can’t believe that I’m just getting around to reading it. I read this entire book in one sitting. I didn’t get to sleep until almost 4am because I couldn’t put this book down. It was such an enjoyable book that I didn’t want to put it down. Was it perfect? No. But I didn’t even care because I really came to adore both Jason and Haley.

 

Jason and Haley are next door neighbors. She’s the dutiful neighbor who keeps her yard clean and keeps to herself. He’s the worst kind of neighbor. He has parties and he never cleans up after himself and he only mows his lawn like once a month. But Haley keeps to herself and she avoid Jason like the plague. She’s not one for confrontation so she keeps all of her rage toward him suppressed but it all comes spilling out when she sees him ripping out her tulips. She literally blows up on him….and they never go back from that day.

 

Turns out Jason was getting stung by the bees in the nest that came about with Haley’s tulips and he was tired of it. So he’s digging them out and he’s pissed off and when Haley comes storming out of her house to unleash her wrath of pain, the bees come alive and they run for cover…at her house. That day starts the beginning of a friendship that becomes more than either one of them thought.

 

Jason is attracted to Haley, who wouldn’t be with her sexy, hot bookworm look and smoking body but they’re friends and Jason isn’t a relationship kind of guy. So he keeps things friendly between the two of them because her friendship is one of the bright spots of his days and he wants to keep things that way. Haley knows the score with Jason. She knows that he doesn’t do relationships and she’s okay with the way that things are right now. He keeps her life interesting and it’s fun to have someone to cook for who doesn’t talk down to her the way that her family does. They enjoy each other’s company and before either of them knows what’s up, feelings pop up.

 

This was such a fun book. It was cute and cuddly and it had me laughing out loud in the middle of the night. The pranks that these two did to each other, the conversations, the shenanigans that Jason came up with to scare Haley’s pursuers away had me laughing all the way through. I really enjoyed seeing these two laugh and care their way toward their happy ending. It was a bumpy road for sure and even though I wanted to smack the both of them from time to time, I enjoyed their story so much that I overlooked all of that. This was a fun book and I definitely recommend it. Seriously. Thanks to Ames for the pimp!

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/02/review-playing-for-keeps-by-r-l-mathewson

Review: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Once in a Lifetime  - Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis really knows how to write the books that I want to read.  Ever since I got this book for review, I’ve been itching to read it and I pulled it out the first chance I got…and I’m not sorry about it.

 

Ben McDaniels lost his wife Hannah five years ago and has been living on the edge ever since.  He quit his engineering job in town to work around the world in war-torn places, building much needed things like water filtering systems.  He’s worked in places where suicide bombers are the norm and he’s seen some pretty bad stuff.  Now, he’s back home in Lucky Harbor and the town has welcomed him with open arms.  He’s the beloved son of the town.  Everyone loves him.

 

Aubrey Wellington is the opposite.  She’s not the town’s most popular resident and she hasn’t ever been but she’s trying to fix that.  She knows that she hasn’t always been perfect but she’s never meant harm to anyone, not really anyway.  Aubrey has a list of people to make amends with and when Ben finds out about her list, he’s mighty intrigued by it all.

 

Aubrey’s opening her Aunt’s bookstore again and her uncle hired Ben to help her with the renovations.  He’s handy with a set of tools and he’s got the brains and the brawn for the job so Aubrey accepts his help.

 

Both Aubrey and Ben are working through different sets of issues.  Ben is trying to reconnect with his family and friends but the disconnect keeps creeping up on him and the only person he wants to be around constantly is…Aubrey.  Which is weird, considering they both don’t really like each other.  But boy are they attracted to one another.

 

Aubrey used to be a mean girl in high school and not a lot of people liked her because of it.  She got into a lot of trouble and she’s trying to be a better person these days but in order to fully move on, she wants to make amends with the people she’s wronged in the past.  Having the courage to do that is what really made me Team Aubrey.  She kept falling on her ass throughout this book but she never let that get her down.  She gave herself a chance to dwell on what happened and then she shook it off and tried again.  I really respected that about Aubrey.  She wasn’t the most perfect character but she was trying to be someone she could be proud of and I really liked that about her.

 

I really liked the way that Ben saw her as well.  He saw past what everyone else thought about her and he liked the person that he knew Aubrey to be.  My favorite thing about Jill Shalvis books are the imperfections in her characters.  They’re like normal people that you come into contact with every single day and she gives those people stories.  She gives them life and a background and she makes those imperfect people likable and relatable.  And I really dig that.

 

We find out toward the beginning of the book that Ben is on Aubrey’s list.  When he finds out about that, I was taken aback by his reasons for being mad.  Not that he was mad, I knew he would be but the way that he handled that whole thing ticked me off…but of course, in the end I forgave him because duh, he’s a sexy man and I’m easy like that.  But I wanted to kick him in the nuts for being an idiot (as Jack told him, repeatedly)

 

Ben and Aubrey came a long way over the course of this book and the ride was definitely one that I enjoyed being on.  It was a fast read for me and I couldn’t get enough of both Ben and Aubrey.  Their story was a good one and while it wasn’t perfect, it was so damn close to it that I loved it anyway.  I definitely recommend this book to lovers of the Lucky Harbor series and to lovers of Jill Shalvis and contemporary romance.  This is a great romance and these characters are character you’re going to want to know.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/02/review-once-in-a-lifetime-by-jill-shalvis

Review: The Ever After of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

The Ever After of Ella and Micha  - Jessica Sorensen

Ella & Micha are getting married.

 

Micha has loved Ella for as long as he can remember and he’s giddy with the thought of having her by his side for the rest of his life.  It’s all he’s ever wanted and things are finally looking up for him because she has agreed to become his wife.

 

Ella wants to marry Micha, she wants it more than she thought she would.  Being with Micha feels right to her but they have to do things the right way.  They can’t get married hundreds of miles away from their home, from their family.  So Ella does what no normal person does, she doesn’t show up for the wedding and nearly breaks the love of her life’s heart by…not communicating with him.  Instead of calling him and telling him what she’s thinking, she just sits on the bed and scares the crap out of Micha…again.

 

All throughout this book, I was frustrated with Ella.  I lost count of how many times I wanted to punch her in the throat because it’s the third book that her and Micha are featured in.  She should have her shit together by now.  She has already put Micha through the wringer in the previous two books, she has broken his heart more times than is probably normal and yet, it’s Book 3 and she’s STILL doing it.  It drove me nuts.  She drives me nuts.

 

And I hated how Micha treated her with baby gloves.  When they weren’t having sex, that is.  She was all woman when he was banging her in the bathroom, on the kitchen counter or whatever but when they’ve got their clothes on? Its all about protecting Ella..from herself.  That got real old (and it was old in the last book), real fast.  Micha needed to put Ella in her place, smack some damn sense into her.

 

I sincerely hope that this is the last book in this series.  I don’t think I could handle another book featuring Micha & Ella.  I first met them in The Secret of Ella & Micha and I adored the hell out of them.  My heart broke for them over and over again in that book and I didn’t want to leave them behind….but now I kind of wish that I had stopped with that book because then I wouldn’t be nearly as annoyed with them as I was while reading this book.

 

It’s a testament to Jessica Sorensen’s writing that even when I’m annoyed to high heaven with her characters, I’m still captivated by their story.  I still have to read the entire thing and fall into their world.  I ate this book up and am looking forward to reading the other Ethan & Lila book but I hope to high heaven that their story ends in that one.  I don’t want these characters dragged through the mud longer than they need to.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/02/review-the-ever-after-of-ella-micha-by-jessica-sorensen

Review: All of You by Christina Lee

All of You - Christina  Lee

I’m addicted to New Adult books so when I saw this come up for review, I was all about reading it.

 

Avery Michaels is a nursing student who lives by herself and is pretty scarred from her mother’s colorful past with men. When I say she’s scarred, I mean she’s not a relationship type of person. Relationships come with expectations and she doesn’t do well with those. If she learned anything from her mother, it’s that you can’t count on anyone but yourself so she steers clear of the strings that come with commitment. She’s a friends with benefits kind of gal or a one night stand kind of woman and she really wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

The book starts with Avery and her friends at a party and Avery is scoping the scene, looking for her bed partner for the night. She’s in college so it’s not hard to find a willing bed partner for the night. When she comes across the extremely hot Bennett Reynolds, she wants him. Bad. But when he doesn’t give her a second glance, she gives up for the night and heads home…alone. She’s kind of let down because the hot guy didn’t want her but what can you do? Not much.

 

But when she wakes up the next morning and finds Mr. Hot Guy who Rejected Her moving into her apartment, she’s embarrassed and wants nothing more than to keep on trucking away from him. But before Avery knows what’s what, her and Bennett have become friends. Really good friends. He helps her through an attempted break in and he’s there for her when she needs someone to be there and they get a lot closer than Avery thought she’d get.

 

Over the course of the book, the relationship between Avery and Bennett deepens. Avery is still the person she was in the beginning of the book but she likes being with Bennett. Bennett’s family life isn’t much different from Avery’s but where Avery has sworn off relationships, Bennett has sworn off casual hookups. Meaning, Bennett is a virgin. He doesn’t do casual hookups and well, that’s all Avery does. Trying to find middle ground between two people that are fiercely attracted to each other but set in their beliefs made for an interesting read and I thought Lee did a fantabulous job of writing Bennett’s character. Avery’s too.

 

Bennett and Avery have a normal relationship. It’s emotional and it’s physical and I thought she really made it all the more real when Bennett told Avery, “I’m a virgin, Avery, not a saint.”

 

Seeing these two find their common ground and grow into the people they were at the end of this book was such a treat for me. They were two characters dealing with their lives in such a realistic way that it was so easy for me to connect with the both of them. I loved getting to know them and I really felt as though I was experiencing everything going on in the book right along with them.

 

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Such a good one.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/02/review-all-of-you-by-christina-lee

Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler

I’ve been wanting to read this book for, forever and I’m so glad that I finally got around to it. This book starts out with leopard print bras, tension filled car rides and walking away from things that you’ve always had in your life…and that’s all in the prologue. When I started the prologue, I kept right on reading despite the fact that I was at work and it was still early in the day. Long before lunch time. But man, I couldn’t bring myself to care because that prologue started off a book that I really came to love.

 

Hudson Avery is an ex-figure skater who walked away from the world of ice skating when her parents marriage fell apart. These days, you’ll find Hudson baking delicious cupcakes in the kitchen of her mother’s diner. She’s made a name for herself in the town that she lives in as the Queen of Cupcakes (which confuses me with the cover of the book since…I don’t ever recall Hudson baking cookies in the book but whatever) and each chapter of the book begins with one of Hudson’s cupcake recipes. When Hudson walked away from ice skating, she walked away from it all. Her coach, her best friend and well, you get what I mean. Now she’s got a new best friend and she’s trying to help her Mom stay afloat in the food service business by baking cupcakes and filling in wherever she can. Her Mom is now a single parent, since Hudson’s father took off and lives with hundreds of miles away.

 

This is one of those coming of age stories that makes you smile, makes you laugh and makes you sigh with contentment. It’s a story about a young girl who is dealing with loss, with first love and with finding out how to be happy again.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was such a wonderfully put together book with a story that stayed with me long after I finished it.

 

The love interest in this book was adorable and just perfect for Hudson. Hudson is a normal teenager so of course she made mistakes and decisions that made me want to smack her a time or two but in the end, it was all good. She learned some life lessons and she found a way to make herself and those around her happy and I was glad.

 

This was a good book, one that I’ll be recommending to my daughter to read. She’s just starting to get into reading and this is one of those books that I just know she’d enjoy…and I’m sure anyone else would too. I definitely recommend.

Source: http://bookbinge.com/2014/02/review-bittersweet-by-sarah-ockler