Monday, September 22, 2014

Finding the Light in the Dark

"...I first came to appreciate that there was
no such thing as good and evil;
it could never be that simple.
Somewhere between black and white,
there were shades of gray."
--Nikki Kelly, Lailah



Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Feiwel & Friend
Pages: 416
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: First book in the series
Goodreads Description

Over one million Wattpad readers have made Lailah a sensation!

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely Allie – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

The Story

Y'all I had zero expectations going into this except Ksenia from Macmillian loves this...and that's good enough for me. I love books that blow your minimal expectations out of the water and THIS was one of those books. Lailah opens up with a girl named Francesca (aka Lailah but she doesn't know she is Lailah) who really doesn't know who or what she is. She knows she has lived past lives and doesn't know why she wakes up after she dies. She has flashbacks to previous memories every so often and she always remembers one man's face and name...Gabriel. She also knows of the existence of vampires due to past circumstances and happens upon one while walking home from work one night. From there we are catapulted into the world of angels and vampires and the battle between dimensions.

This story is SO good. It is fast-paced with the perfect tempo of revealing big secrets and plot points. I kept wanting one more chapter, one more chapter, one more chapter. We don't know what Lailah is, why vampires are after her, who Gabriel is to her, there are just so many variables and I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! Ok, back up. So Lailah finally meets Gabriel (SWOON!) and that vampire she came across in the beginning? Yeah, that's Jonah (SWOON!). You can read more below on that. We slowly learn the rules of this vampire and angel society, where they come, and eventually how Lailah fits into this. In the mean time, the gang is on the run and trying to keep Lailah safe with Gabriel and Jonah being the two major components of said defensive strategy. I loved getting to know these guys. Anyways. I don't want to reveal too much plot but I couldn't put this book down. The dynamics between Lailah and Gabriel and Jonah and the other vampires is intense, funny, dangerous, and highly entertaining. Each character brings their own unique quirks to the table and their interactions combined bring a whole lot to the table.

The Triangle

I know a lot of people hate love triangles and I don't particularly enjoy them but this one was SO well done. I mean, the best divide I've read about in a long time because I seriously LOVED both these guys. Gabriel is an angel and light and is so devoted to Lailah. They have a history and piecing together that history is a major part of the story that I LOVED! SO MUCH! He is a little closed off and tight-lipped about their past so getting underneath that shield was super fun to read...and sexy...And then there's Jonah. Jonah is a vampire and dark and has evilish tendencies but only in the way of vampires. I loved seeing Jonah start to care about her. He is rugged and sexy and has so many amazing qualities. I definitely...DEFINITELY ship one guy with Lailah over the other but I do love them both. In fact, I don't know how the rest of the story goes but it's almost like there isn't a triangle at the same time because it seems pretty obvious who she loves...but we'll see...

The Theme

Another reason why I didn't mind the infamous love triangle is not only because it was so well-written but because is also represents a a major ongoing theme in the book. The representation of light vs dark, good vs evil, and all the gray in between is beautiful. I loooooooved this. I love the complexity of discussing the 'right' or 'good' decision versus the 'bad' and 'evil' choice. There are more than 50 shades of gray in between and the battle for making the right choice is a constant theme. We are all complicated and complex human beings. Nothing is every simple when it comes to matters of the heart. The way that Nikki Kelly writes these polarizing components is brilliant. She not only juxtaposes the good and bad she also intertwines and combines them. It's brilliant. Touching again on the love triangle aspect and why I loved it--because it shows that we are not all one thing or the other. We all have good and bad and dark and light inside of us. None of us fit nicely into any one of those abstract categories because we all have so much inside us. I absolutely loved how complex and intricate the choices Lailah has to make are and how it all plays a major role in the end and let me tell you, the end is freakin' amazing. I cannot wait another year for the next book. It's going to be painful.


The Descriptions

This is nit picky but some of the descriptions of the action scenes got a little confusing to me. It wasn't super bothersome to me but I found  myself head tilting a little bit trying to keep track of who was where and what exactly was going on. Especially when a dark cloaked figure would make an appearance.

Backstage Pass
If you like paranormal, vampires, REALLY well-written and complex matters of the heart, and the idea of the gray area in between black and white--this book is for you. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Do You Fight For Love or Survival?

"The first thing you have to learn is this: 
in Queen Anne Boleyn's court, there is only one rule...
The only rule in your cousin's court is that there are no rules.
She doesn't follow them.
So why should we?"
--Katherine Longshore, Brazen



Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 528
Publication Date: June 12th, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Gilt & Tarnish


Goodreads Description

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

The Characters 

Oh my word, does Katherine Longshore know how to develop her characters. Seriously. While I love historical fiction for the untold stories and the setting, it is always the characters that I want to fall in love with. I want to know the life and love and loss of somebody that actually lived that long ago and was maybe overlooked a little. That fictional insight into what could have been drives my love for this genre every single time. Katherine Longshore doesn't hold back in this final book of her Tudor Court series. In this book we follow Mary Howard, then Mary Fitzroy, wife to Henry VIII bastard son Henry Fitzroy. I didn't have a lot of prior knowledge about Fitz and especially not his wife so I was a little hesitant if I would get into as much as her other books...oh why did I even doubt?

Mary is 14 at the beginning of the book and is getting married...say what? Yep. 14 years old in a court of deception and somewhat chaos. Mary has always been the one to do the right thing; by her father, her king, her queen, her country. But when she is forced to live apart from her new husband and not get to know him, she starts to see the cracks in the foundation of this life. Her growth and strength does not come easily and this is what I loved about her. She wasn't quick to react and she was smart. Anne Boleyn herself even told her she reminded her of herself at that age. Well, if that isn't like the greatest compliment of all time. Jealous. In the dangerous game of court politics, Mary keeps her head on straight...for the most part...no spoilers. While it doesn't come easily, her independent voice does come. I loved watching her grow into somebody Anne would be proud of while still keeping her head firmly attached to her neck...too far?

Not only did I LOVE Mary but Fitz...holy freakin' swoon! This boy was a poet and owned words. The things he said to Mary were so heartfelt and thoughtful and honest that I was falling in love with him myself. Wow. I thought Thomas Wyatt had a way with the swoon (and he does) but this guy was giving him a run for his money. Their relationship grew into so much more than either of them could have ever hoped for. It was sweet and innocent yet wildly passionate. It was this juxtaposition of youth yet maturity. It was amazing to put it simply.

The secondary characters are nothing to slouch at either. I LOVE LOVE LOVED seeing Anne Boleyn as Queen even thought it was in the midst of her downfall, I never tire of snarky words and putting people in their place...especially Jane Seymour...what a bitch. Anyways. Mary's brother Hal was a perfect comic relief for an otherwise very serious place. Madge was annoying but I knew a decent amount of history going into this book that I wasn't going to like her. A character who DID surprise me was Margaret Douglas, niece to Henry VIII. I loved her. I thought she was strong in a silent but deadly way. She didn't have to be boisterous to command the room, she just did. Complete old school royalty and she was an incredible character to meet because I didn't know a lot about her going into this.

Last note: I was pleasantly grinning like an idiot at references to Tarnish and what happened in that book. Basically everything that had to do with Thomas Wyatt and Anne Boleyn. It was cleverly weaved into dialogue and scenes and I just freakin' loved it. Personal favorites: Thomas going still when Mary joked about teaching her flirtationg and when Anne asks Thomas to dance to piss off Henry. AMAZING.

The Plot

Obviously, I was intrigued to get an in-depth look at the bastard son of Henry VIII because not a lot is written about him in all the Tudor books I've read except in passing. I think the idea to write about this tumultuous time in Anne and Henry's court from this inside yet outside perspective was brilliant. We see what's going on and how it all unfolds like it does and there 's nothing you can do to stop it. It was absolutely heartbreaking to read about how horribly Anne was treated and even though I know how it ends, I"m still wishing along with the characters that Anne gives birth to a son. Le sigh.

The Message

Not to go all Anne Boleyn crazy but one of the main reasons I love her is that she paved the way for independent thinking females. She is the creator of playing hard to get. She owned Henry for so long and she helped give women a voice and realize that they matter. We are not just pawns on a chessboard to be lorded over by our husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, kings. She showed us that woman can be smart and articulate and make their way in a man's world. She gives this gift to Mary and watching her realize that she is a person of importance was beautiful.


The History

Yeah, can't fault the book for how it all turns out in the end but it doesn't mean I have to like it...sorry not sorry.

Reserved Seating
If you love historical fiction, if you're looking to get into historical fiction, if you're just plain looking for a good book to read. Read Brazen. And read all other books by Katherine Longshore if you're looking for a fantastically written and character driven historical fiction. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What To Do When The End Is Here

The past few months have brought a lot of final books in very popular series and with that comes a lot of different reactions across the board. Naturally, we all bring our own subjective opinions to the table whenever we crack open the spine of a book. We all have our own feelings and thoughts on where we want the characters to end up or what we would like to happen and sometimes it works...and sometimes it doesn't. With such a wide variety of emotions about the conclusions to some of our favorite series, it got me thinking and raised the question of...

What are your expectations of the final book in a series?

I'm not trying to start arguments with anybody but I am extremely curious as to what you guys expect from a final book. Do you have to have a happily ever after? Do you have to have all of your questions answered? If the plot doesn't go exactly the way you expected it, do you hold it against the book?

I talk about this a lot with Hannah over at So Obsessed With blog about character and plot development over the course of series and their conclusions. What makes me dislike a final book is when the characters don't align with everything we know about them from the previous books. Another thing I dislike is when it feels like it is either a rush to tie up loose ends OR nothing at all happens plot-wise and then a big dramatic conclusion. Examples: The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons, in my opinion, decimates everything that are inherent to the characters she made us love in the previous two books and 1600 pages. That hurts. I didn't even write a review for it because it broke my heart and come to find out that book was never even supposed to be written. Her initial intention was the only have two books but fans of the series wanted more. Well you got more and hardly any of it was good. Allegiant is the example for another thing I dislike. NOTHING happens in the entire book until the very end and BOOM drama and it's over...uh...what just happened?


AND THEN there are final books that not only meet your expectations...but blow you away. Books that take the characters you have known and love for the past several years and give them an ending to the story that they deserve. I have actually LOVED a lot of series finales this year and had my heart just bursting with so much joy over how things concluded. Words cannot describe my love enough. We get plot development and character complexities and romance (hopefully lots of kissing) and a conclusion that is resolved...but hopeful. That's my favorite kind of conclusion. Resolved but hopeful of even more to come.


My Favorite Finales

My...Not-So Favorite Finales
The Summer Garden

Those are some of my more dramatic examples but I want to know what you guys think. 
What are you expectations from a final book? 
Does it always have to go the way you want it to?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

"It's our actions that define us.
What we choose.
What we resist.
What we're willing to die for."
--Karen Marie Moning, Bloodfever


Genre: Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Pages: 303
Publication Date: October 16th, 20
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Darkfever
Goodreads Description

I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who’d get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.

When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I’ve learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it….

MacKayla Lane’s ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland’s shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh–a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V’lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.…
The Journey

(WARNING FOR SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS BOOK IF YOU HAVE NOT READ) takes us back with Mac who is still struggling with her sister's death and trying to find her niche in where she belongs in this Fae infested world. And I get her struggle. She has no idea who to trust, who's telling the truth, who she can confide in, all while still trying to mourn the loss of her sister. My heart ached for her. While I'll talk about what bugged me down below, I have to give Mac mad props for the path she is on to self-discovery. She has been turned 180 degrees so many times she doesn't know up from left. She starts to put her foot down and talk back, which you all know I love, and I thought she was a lot smarter in who to be wary of. We also meet other sidh-seers and I was fist pumping when she didn't take no shit from there. I couldn't stand the women she met so I loved that she didn't trust them either. I especially loved every moment when she talked shit and threatened people with her spear...cuz that happens. Amazeballs.

Barrons

While I thought the first book was a little lacking in the swoon department, this book turned up the heat! Barrons with his slightly destructive tendencies, barely concealed innuendo, and alpha male assertions. Rawr. He continues to be an enigma in this book but we start to also crack that facade he built up. Like wow, those cracks were hard won and totally worth it. He and Mac are still on their hunt for the book and takes them to some questionable places. The final destination of the book, no spoilers, was brutal as it was amazing. The character development really kicked up a notch when they find themselves in a very, very bad situation. Obviously, I can't tell you what that is. OH and when Barron gets jealous, I totally get all warn and tingly inside, just sayin'.

The World

I love this paranormal setting that Moning created set in Ireland so freaking much! I seriously want to go back to Ireland so badly while reading it! I'm going to have to find an Irish pub around here to sate my addiction. I can see the Temple Bar District in my head and I love how she intertwines the streets of Dublin as we know it and the Dark Places. I see the juxtaposition in my head as clearly as it were right in front of me.

The Southern Charm

Now, this could just be a personal thing. Mac really got on my nerves for about the first 2/3 of the book. Her world went from sunbathing by the pool to killing Fae in her spare time. I get the abrupt world changing thing, really I do. However, even if her world wasn't totally thrown upside down, I still would not be able to tolerate her rose-colored view on what she believes the world is, or was in this case. She refers to herself as a Daddy's girl and her favorite colors are still pink and rainbow, she bitches all the time that she can't wear pastels anymore...I mean, come on, people. Pink and rainbows?! What the actual fuck. I am not dissing on Southern Belles in general because my BFF Hannah is also from Georgia and she's like my sister from another mister so I love the Southern Belle charm. This was overkill to me, though. I was choking on this naive view of life. The irony of her growing from this viewpoint to the current one is not lost on me, I get that's part of the point of the story but it was too much in my humble opinion. Pink and rainbows...honestly...

Reserved Seating
I could not put this book down. It is such a quick read and I'm itching to get my hands on the next book, HURRY UP AMAZON, so I can find out what happens next! If you're looking for an adult paranormal series with great world building built on sexual tension then you should give this series a try.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rule Number One: Family Comes First

"Rule One: You kill for your family.
You die for your family.
Because you can't trust anyone else."
--J.J. McAvoy, Ruthless People


Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: The Writers Coffee Shop
Pages: 328
Publication Date: July 17th, 2014
Source: Bought
Find on Goodreads
Previous Books in Series: First book in series

Goodreads Description

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets the Sopranos..."

To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts.

Ruthless People is a romantic crime fiction set in modern day Chicago, and follows the life and marriage of Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan—rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage, arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians.

Liam believes he’s getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody. She knows exactly what type of man he is, and would rather die than give up the power she has spent her life building.

The Mafia of the past has evolved, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to learn to work as one to take down those who stand in their way.

1 Marriage x 2 Bosses = 3x the Chaos

*Warning: Due to bad language, graphic violence and sex this is for over-18's only* These are not mobsters with a heart of gold....

They do VERY bad things and will NOT change.
They are criminals...murders.

If things like that bother you Ruthless People is not for you. You've been warned ;)

The Blood 

We all know when it comes to book with fucked up premises that my twisted little soul yearns for them. I don't know why but I have an idea. I'll say it again. I'm Sicilian. I have the stereotypical temper and have been known to threaten a good throat punch when angry (but never actually done it, don't worry). My mouth is a verbal weapon and I won't lie when I say most of the people that know me are also slightly scared of me. They know not to fuck with me. The urge must be somewhere in my blood that I can thoroughly enjoy reading abut people murdering without shame all in the name of family protection. Call me old-fashioned. With that said, this book is about ruthless people, pun intended, and there is no shame in their game. We meet Melody, head of the Italian mafia, who marries Liam, the leader of the Irish mob. It was initially a business proposition that turned into so  much more after Liam realized what an asset both in the business and out of it Melody would be. I'll go into more detail on that but let's get back to the blood. While these are not actions I condone, a weird part of me liked that our main characters didn't have any qualms about what they do. It gets messy when people start to feel guilty and I liked that this book didn't do that. They treated all their illegal dealings with an objective eye of defending their family and making money. I appreciated just able to enjoy reading about their lives without any of the emotions getting involved...well, emotions about buisness...read on reader...

The Romance 

The sparks between Liam and Mel were off the chain. Their foreplay, at times, is legit trying to kill each other without kill each other. So hot. I loved that they met each other strength for strength and didn't back down. They loved to push each other's buttons and the chemistry that was created is not even on the periodic table yet. They fight, they love, they have amazing sex, and they find their way to one another's hearts that they themselves didn't even probably know existed. I loved how tender Liam was with Mel and I loved just as  much when he put her in her place...or tried to. AND of course, I loved when Mel called Liam a bitch and gave him the business, too. I can't be sorry when I say their dialogue and brute force with one another is equal parts violent and sexy and I loved every second of it.

The Role Reversal

It is pretty unheard of for a female to be the Boss of any mafia, let alone the Italian and Irish one. Not only did I really love a woman stepping into this brutal role and being respected, I LOVED that when it came to the romance love, Liam was the one to bend. He loves Mel from the moment he sees her. He sees her as his equal, even though it takes him a while to get there. He does anything...and I mean anything...for him to get her to see him as somebody worth loving and not just physically. I found this aspect of their relationship to be really unique and I think J.J. McAvoy wrote him in a way that he was vulnerable with her but I never questioned his strength otherwise. Love doesn't make you weak. I loved that message.

The Minions 

The secondary characters were equally engrossing. I loved that we got sections of chapters from everyone's POV. The growth between sister-in-laws had me grinning because Mel is a force to be reckoned with on any front and I loved that her sister-in-laws, especially Coraline, saw her strength and how it could be used to gain even more respect from their husbands. OH! Sidenote: having every single Callahan man deeply devoted to their respective wives was a huge part of my love for this book. None of them cheat. None of them even look at another woman. And when another woman does look at Liam, he himself shuts the girl down in a very aggressive way. I loved this. Call me twisted. Oh, but also there is an amazing bathroom scene when Mel stakes her claim on Liam that I really, really loved. Sorry not sorry but I pity the bitch who thinks she could ever try and take my future man away from me. Team Mel.


The Editing 

My only real issue with this book lies in the editing. It wasn't glaring but I noticed a few mispelled words and a few grammar issues. It was just a few but I'm beyond anal retentive about spelling so it stuck out to me. Nothing that distracted from the book but something I noticed.
VIP
This isn't a book I can recommend to everyone but if you love books like Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts or Dirty Angels by Karina Halle, this book is for you. Like the author's note says, it is violent and bloody and if that offends you then this isn't for you. IF IT DOESN'T then you need to pick this book up because it is sexy and funny and just good times had all around. 

I Don't Care Who You Are

"'Worth waiting for?'
'Always. As long as you love me...and I know you're coming back to me.'"
--Ann Aguirre, As Long As You Love Me


Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Pages: 352
Publication Date: September 30th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: I Want It That Way
Goodreads Description

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there's the reason Lauren can't admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend's older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He's the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever—until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
The Story

Oh, my gosh you guys! I freakin' fell in love with this story! I loved I Want It That Way and to be honest, I didn't know if I would really get into Lauren's story because I wasn't too fond of her in IWITW but WHOA Ann Aguirre is brining the heat and the feels and everything in between. I completely and almost immediately fell in love with their budding romance. We get to see Lauren in a completely different light and I loved this. She is fresh from getting kicked out of college, partly by choice and partly by actual failure due to lack of caring, and she is changed. She is reenergized trying to figure out and go after what she does want in life. However, what hasn't changed is her crush on Rob, her best friend's older brother. Rob is working on remodeling his house while the construction season is on hiatus so they start hanging out. Lauren starts helping Rob with his house while his girlfriend, an awful (or is she?) girl Lauren went to high school with. Neither of them cross the line into romance but circumstances force Rob's relationship to end and before we know it we get all Rob and Lauren all the time.

Excuse the turbo version of that recap because a lot of stuff happens that leads up to that AND there's a ton of amazing inner thoughts from Lauren when she's trying not to ogle Rob. It's highly entertaining, which leads me to one of the many reasons I love this book. Lauren. Lauren is funny, sarcastic to a fault, smart, and kind. I love a character with a quick wit and she has it. I was laughing out loud with some of the stuff she said. Her interactions with Rob were just so heart-warming. She sees Rob for the type of person he is and never hesitates to tell him his worth. Rob...ROB. Oh, my freaking gosh SWOON. Rob has pretty much been put down his entire life by everyone around him including his family. He is not book smart and because of this, his family has always seen him as nothing but a pretty face. You guys, my heart actually broke her for him. I hated that just because he didn't excel in a classroom that he was deemed stupid. There are infinite forms of intelligence in the world and not all of us have the same ones. While I am quick with medical things and have a plethora of useless historical facts shoved into my brain, if you try to explain finance or architecture or construction to me, my eyes will glaze over. We are all different. We are all special and I loved more than words that Ann Aguirre highlighted this fact. Rob was so capable in what he loved and hearing him perk up when talking about his house was beautiful. We all have different gifts and I loved this aspect of the story.

Back to Lauren and Rob. Their romance was hot. And what I loved about this book was that the focus was so much on the relationship and building it and figuring out their quirks and errors in communication. Hell, I even loved their fights! Why? Because they were perfectly communicated. I cannot tell you enough what a breath of fresh air this was. Lauren did something that hurt Rob's feeing unintentionally, he got mad, explained his feelings, she explained her side back. Resolve. I love, love, loved this so hard! The open communication they had was what I believe a real relationship would have. No unnecessary drama here.

The Conflict

With that said, there obviously is one major source of conflict in the book and while it broke my heart to read, it felt completely right for the story. The emotions involved were so on point and beautiful that I ended up staying up until 11:30 pm when I had to get up at 5:30 am the next day and work three 12 hours shifts the next three days. Didn't even care. I HAD to know if Rob and Lauren were gonna be okay. I was that invested with this story. No joke. I was tears when it was happening but the selflessness that occurred as a result was just perfection. I loved this entire story. Love love love.

The Female Sexual Prowess

Now this might sound weird but I loved Aguirre's take on Lauren's sexuality. She wasn't timid, she knew what she wanted, she talked about masturbating. Yeah, ok, why do I like this? I know it sounds weird. But again, it was refreshing to read about a female who owned her sexuality and went after what she wanted in bed. Her interactions with Rob were so hot and it wasn't because he was a sexual beast, it was because she took charge. I feel like even now in 2014, women are still sexually oppressed in a lot of book. Not all. And don't get me wrong, I love me an alpha male who takes charge but I equally love a female who is not weak and knows what she wants.

The Secondary Characters

This wasn't just a story about a romance. This story was also about overcoming previous judgments about people as well as overcoming your own personal demons. Lauren strikes up a friendship with somebody she never thought she would ever get along with and this relationship brought so much to the book. The development of this was unexpected and so perfect for the story. The girls nights were so fun to read about but this part also wasn't all fun and games. Lauren suffers from anxiety while her friend suffers from something else entirely and they both work towards overcoming these obstacles. This aspect made the story even more grounded in real life because it wasn't all kisses and heated glances. I won't give too much away but I loved, again, seeing Lauren take charge and make decisions to change.


???

Really...there's nothing I didn't like about this book. The relationship felt real, the decisions organic with the character's we came to know. I loved it all. I'd love another whole book of Lauren and Rob if that's in the cards.

Backstage Pass
If you love a realistic yet swoony romance, strong female characters, stories with a lot of heart as well as real issues, and fans of New Adult will LOVE this book. I can't stop thinking about how much I loved this. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Three's Company

"'I'm in my underwear.'
'And your nose is broken. Does it look like I give a fuck?'"
--Karina Halle, Bold Tricks

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 226
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Sins and Needles & On Every Street & Shooting Scars

Goodreads Description


With more lives at stake and games in motion, Ellie, Camden and Javier form an uneasy alliance that will take them from the treacherous streets of inner-city Mexico to the wilds of the Honduran jungles in order to find their freedom. But with liberty just on the horizon, the cost might come at their own redemption.

Mini-Review

Wow. I mean…wow. After finishing Shooting Scars and having our trio of destruction all together in the same place…I was ready for fireworks of all kinds of variety. This book will mind fuck the shit out of you because you have NO idea what is going on or what will happen in a good way! The twists and turns of this story and meeting a few characters that will become relevant in the spin-off was SO amazing.

The emotions are high and I could just feel Ellie’s desire to be forgiven and to move on. It was palpable and all consuming. It was perfection. Her and Camden…wow. They are so visceral and emotional and just GAH OH MY GOSH I LOVE THEM SO HARD! And I found is so amusing when Javier would call Camden her ‘ape.’ All I picture in my head is 6 feet of muscle and tattoos…if that makes an ape then get me a cab to the zoo. Holla!

The plot and drama are high stakes and the trek into the jungle and EVERYTHING that happens afterwards is just incredible. I keep replaying how it all plays out and I just wanna jaw drop. It’s intense. It’s bloody. It’s brutal. It is down and dirty in the mothe f’ing jungle.

Anyways. I loved where the story went and how the plot develops and concludes. I feel like so much was learned and resolved and it was a beautiful ending for these characters…and quite the beginning for another…bring on Dirty Angels *wink*

Backstage Pass