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Review: Beautiful Broken Mess

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Beautiful Broken Mess
Beautiful Broken Mess by Kimberly Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet, sexy and secretive

I knew for a while that this book wasn’t just about smart, handsome, honorable Jace. I was aware the this story would also be about horrible, she-devil Audrey. And even though I got BBM from the moment it went live on amazon a day early, I was hesitant to start it.

I shouldn’t have worried though, because Kimberly did as Kimberly does, which is write a wonderfully sweet book about growing up and taking advantage when life gives you a second chance.

I was hooked from the start with a rhythm that didn’t allow me put the book down, its dual perspective giving us a better scope and understanding regarding the characters’ feelings and the action around them.

Oh and by the end of the first chapter I wanted to find Audrey personally and beg her forgiveness. Beautiful Broken Mess formally presents us an Audrey who “isn’t the type of girl to wait around for anyone; she’s strong and she makes her own happiness,” “she’s kind and forgiving.” It also introduces us to very delightful, caring and hunky dimpled Lane with a great sense of humor.

“Oh, and by the way, you break her heart, I’ll break your neck. Welcome to the family, bro! Can’t get rid of me now,” Lane says in an annoyingly cheerful voice, all while I’m stunned to silence.

And the fun doesn’t end there! We get to know how Cole and Quinn and Jax and Emerson continue with their lives and relationships and how they affect Jace and Audrey’s; we get to better know Jace and his take charge domineering side while secrets are unearthed and sexy and sweet is let loose.

“Audrey, there aren’t enough nights in a lifetime to get you out of my system.”

I can’t wait for the next one!

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Review: Awaken

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Awaken by Lori Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Buy here on Amazon
A stunningly impossible love, set in a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop.

“We were not made to be together, or meant to be apart.”

Awaken is an emotional rollercoaster of a story, gorgeously written with an incredible imagination and great attention to detail on both sides of the aesthetics scale. From the picturesque and exquisite to the gruesome and horrendous. Lori Adams excels at giving us feast for the senses, especially the visual, spiritual and funny.

Michael and Sophia have fallen in love. Their love is forbidden, but they’ve managed to hide it from everyone, so far. But Michael is no ordinary boy. In fact, he’s not a boy at all. He’s an angel and soon to be part of the elite Halos of the Son warriors.

Besides being blissfully happy when she’s with Michael, Sophia also craves to be useful and independent. She’s looking forward to being a “spirit walker,” a person who helps guide and protect spirits from demons and reapers from hell. This is obviously a very important job, it’s also very dangerous. And it’s the reason why Michael is completely opposed to her “Awakening.” Of course it’s not his decision make.

While they struggle with great highs and sad lows due to their difference of opinion regarding her future, we get to see a very passionate, almost domineering and obsessed Michael. But what I was mostly left with was his borderline mean and cruel attitude towards Sophia’s decision to pursue her goals. Giving her no support and leaving her in a close to desperate need of his approval. I found myself continually irked by his disregard towards her.

She has her very funny BFF and sidekick Bailey with the YOLO attitude and her righteous and totally adorable surfer dude and Ascended Master Rama Kuan. Who sports dreadlocks and speaks in totally bodacious ways and tends to end statements with a question, “cha?”

And then there’s Dante who also doesn’t want Sophia to finish with her Awakening, or at least not in the way she has envisioned to. I feel so at odds with Dante’s character. His love for Sophia feels so epic, his faith in their adoration everlasting. I somehow find myself rooting for him. I hate to see him suffer, I feel for him, for all that he has endured, for all that he has done to keep his promise to his one, true, long lost love. There are so many sweet, tender moments between him and Sophia. I hate that she is using him even though she at least feels empathy for his suffering. I hate that he has nefarious plans… well, they seem bad to me. For him they’re just his view of a happily ever after.

In between all the excitement I found myself loving the small town events and descriptions that took me to a sort of fairytale place. Laughing my butt off with all the Star Wars and Star Trek references that appeal so much to my inner geek (I bet something big that Lori is a Star Wars geek as well). I was even cheering for Vaughn and Santiago. I enjoyed all spiritual depictions, some of which I plan on putting to practice myself. I will name tomorrow as Happiness instead of x-day and make it true to the word.

I only have one if or but, even though I know it serves the purpose of the plot. I don’t like Sophia’s plan to achieve her goal and overcome to what seems to me like a nuisance of a problem. I’m sure she’s not the only one person training to be a spirit walker, there must be other trainees with similar issues, why take such a huger risk? It seems unfeasible and not well thought out. But that’s just me being too practical, because in the end it made for a very dramatic cliffhanger.

I eagerly await the final installment of this series. I can’t envision how Lori will tie all loose ends and solve this very interesting storyline.

4.5 Awakened stars

I can’t believe I wrote this review with just the one quote, there’s so much I highlighted! I guess I’ll just have to wait until the publishing date to insert at least a couple more. But in the meantime I’m sure I can leave you with one more. Care to guess who said this first almost 40 years ago?

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”

NOTE: This is not a standalone book. It is the second book in a trilogy and should be read in order. As mentioned before, this story concludes with very affected “The end… of nothing.” Please be warned.

* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review from Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Review: Hardwired

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Hardwired by Meredith Wild
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

…. 3.5 ….

This is definitely not a five star read. This definitely has nothing to do with FSoG and I don’t understand the comparison (maybe the billionaire and girl out of college theme is always going to be compared to 50?). Whatever.. back to the book.

We have a strong heroine for once! Yes, during the first 100 pages or so I was loving the girl… then… BAM! Whiplash personality. She begins a relationship with Blake and her emotions are all over the place, she behaves like a mature woman one minute and like a petulant child the next.

The hero wasn’t dominant, jus cryptic and cero forthcoming. He needed to provide Erica with reassurance and failed to do so, until near the ending. He gets his act together and finally shows some backbone in order to put the petulant child in her place… from there things regroup, the book sets a better pace and then… damn, it ends with a cliffy…. A good cliffy BTW, the plot gets pretty interesting and I can see, in the future a better book when we get number 2.

There is no need to dig deeper, or to provide a more thorough review. This is a book that if the blurb gets you interested, you should read. This is the kind of book that you need to read in order to form an objective opinion. The premise is good; it is an interesting debut novel but it is poorly executed in many ways.

Anyway, I ended up completely hooked and, I want to know more…. The plot thickens….

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Review: To Professor, with Love

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To Professor, with Love
To Professor, with Love by Linda Kage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of Noel, a student and Aspen, a teacher and the all-consuming love they find in each other. This book is no way taboo, it’s sweet, tender and totally NA!!! just adorable!!

This book has mixed reviews and I can understand why; I liked it as a whole but, I actually agree the story is bombarded with cliché’s and several WTF moments that lulled the amazing possibilities of the plot-line.

This was supposed to be a “forbidden romance” and in a way it is, but without taking the chance to make it realistic. Why I say this? Well, for starters, Dr. Kavanagh is only 23 years old, a very much “needed” situation to appease maybe the author and readers because let’s face it: a story about a cougar and a 20 year old boy wouldn’t have flown in the New Adult world. (Although I would have totally read it)

How did the author accomplish a 3 year gap between the main characters? She gave Aspen a very high IQ, therefore she skipped school a few years; her goal is to teach and she already finished a PhD. (That was easy, right?) She is also shy, introverted and doesn’t have any friends LITERALLY, not even a darn imaginary one… poor girl. She has a past trauma that involves a football player in high school (typical drama, used in too many novels these days)

On the other hand, we have Noel Gamble, the football player, super star QB with a poverty background and a very, very screwed up family dynamic. He practically supports his three siblings. Obviously he has a reputation (cliché) with women who throw themselves at him unabashedly. What can I say, the bad-boy-screws-girls-like-a-true-asshat-but-does-it-because-he-has-issues-but-deep-down-I-am.sweet-and-a-softy-good-boy….. bla bla bla equals = TRITE.

If you manage to withstand my writing and read up to this line, you may be thinking, why the hell did she give the book 4 stars? The truth is, like I said beforehand, I really liked the book as a whole. If you take hold of the story and the way these two actually fit together; their chemistry and the hotness once they give in! It is worth the effort. They evolve and grow together, they fall hopelessly in love despite their young age, despite their circumstances and Aspen learns to let go of her fears and overcomes all the setbacks in her life. And.. Kudos for the epilogue! I loved it.

I also loved the idea of inviting the whole gang behind this book. We see appearances from Mase and Reese and how this, eventually will evolve into more stories. Of course, I need to state, for the record, that the whole Mrs. R.. showing up: unnecessary… pointless… lame… could have lived without that.. really.

Wrapping up I can say that I am in love with every character! Mase, Reese, Sarah, Eva, Pick, Noel, Aspen, Ten (Zero), Caroline and Quinn *sighs*.

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INVINCIBLE (Expanded Edition) by, Alana Albertson

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by Alana Albertson
Trident Code #1
Publication Date: March 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance,Suspense, Young Adult
Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks
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Synopsis: I’ll be honest with you—I’m no hero. Sure, the media tries to brand every Navy SEAL as some kind of Batman dressed in cammies. There’s even a line in one of our cadences: “Superman is the man of steel, he ain’t no match for Navy SEAL.” You’ve seen the movies—we’re indestructible, invincible. But that night, the one you read about in the papers … all I really wanted to do was get laid.

One harmless fuck with a Curaçao whore, no strings attached. I picked her out of a lineup—wild, dark hair, long legs and a crooked smile. After she sucked me off, I relaxed back onto the creaky, cum-stained cot, thankful for the blissful moments she gave me when I actually forgot for a second the faces of my buddies who died because I made the wrong call, the tears of the children I couldn’t save, and the eyes of the enemies I slaughtered during their last seconds of life.

But before I left, her hazel eyes peered into my soul. She whispered in a distinct Californian accent, “My name is Annie Hamilton. I’m an American citizen. I was kidnapped from a cruise ship five years ago. You’re my last hope. Please save me.”

One desperate plea. This wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster or a New York Times best-selling thriller. I knew that this time there was no room for excuses, no margin for errors. I had one chance to put the cape on and be her hero.

About the Author:

Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

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Review: Cracks in the Armor

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Cracks in the Armor
Cracks in the Armor by Helena Hunting
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 cracked stars

A gratifying inside look at the hard edged man with a tender heart and the girl that puts on a guise to achieve her dreams.

Helena manages put package a lot in this very short novella. We get a bit of Hayden and Tenlay and even TK! A sort of added epilogue where they’ve put the past behind them, moved into their new house, made it a home and are happily mellowing each other out.

I was incredibly happy for them. But also forlorn for Chris. Because their happiness next to Chris’ life is a sad reminder for him that things have been mostly mediocre for years. Sarah being the one exception.

As we get to know a tad more about him, how sweet and thoughtful he is towards Sarah and loyal to his family even after years of estrangement, the more I want him to find happiness. He’s the kind of guy you don’t just want to get a HEA, but need him to get his own.

We also get to see how stressful and detestable it is for Sarah to continue waitressing in a strip club. But also how necessary it is for her to use the funds in order to escape the life she was born into.

Finally, the story exposes what they both want, which is the same thing: each other, in a more permanent way. But it also displays their lack of experience in a healthy relationship. Avoiding instead of communicating.

I can’t wait to read how Helena continues with Chris and Sarah’s character development in their very own full length novel.
NOTE: I strongly suggest you read this series in the correct sequence in order to fully get to know these amazing characters.

* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review from Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Review: Between the Cracks

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Between the Cracks
Between the Cracks by Helena Hunting

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Between the Cracks is a short story with an eye opening perspective.

Ever since I read clipped wings, I haven’t been able to get enough of it. I pretty much vowed to stalk Helena until I got more of these very broken but even more endearing characters. Especially after having Clipped Wings end in a cliffhanger.

This novella picks up right where Clipped Wings left off with a very determined Hayden on his way to get Tenley, and it mainly follows Hayden’s distress from Chris’ point of view.

While Between the Cracks nicely ties the first and second book together, giving us a heart wrenching and sad outlook on Hayden’s state of mind and future. It also clearly depicts Chris’ character.

“As much as Tee might be struggling with her own shit, I was pissed at her for doing this to him.”

It was difficult to get an accurate perception of Chris before. I mainly thought of him as one of the sexy tattooists that co-owned Inked Armor. Playful and man whoreish, and part of the close knit group of friends who also worked at the tattoo shop.

There is without a doubt much more to Chris than what we know. He’s a loyal, caring and supportive friend. He doesn’t hesitate in helping Hayden however he can.

“I’m glad I met you. You’re a really good guy. Take care of Hayden.” ~ Sarah

Even though I’m torn for Hayden and Tenley’s sake, this short is no less enjoyable. It gives us enough of Chris’ personality to like him more and want to know further. And Helena also includes the fun, flirty side of him and Sarah in a prelude to their growing relationship.

4.5 cracked stars

Note: I strongly suggest this series be read in the correct order.

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