First by M.A. Grant | Review

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a-5

 

 

 

 

 

Maya and Cat have been there for each other through thick and thin, the good and the bad, the laughter and the heartache. But with college graduation on the horizon and real life looming, they find themselves facing an uncertain future: one where not even friendship can save them from confusing choices, bad decisions, and the risks of falling in love.

Maya knows that love only leads to pain, and the best relationships are short—one night short. But after waking up with Jake, her best friend’s older brother, in her bed, suddenly things aren’t as cut and dry. Cat and Jake are close, a tight unit since their parents’ death, and Cat will never forgive her if Jake gets hurt. Jake is a firefighter, and is used to running into flames—not away from them, and Maya can’t seem to resist. But she’s already decided her future, and it’s far away from here. The only way to get what she’s always wanted is to burn every bridge behind her, and destroy the possibility of a future with the one man she may be willing to love.

When Cat Jacobs’s parents died while she was in high school, her brother’s best friend Dallas Miller was there to help pick up the pieces. Several years and a looming college graduation later, Cat’s motorcycle-riding, tattooed knight is about to ride off into the sunset—and leave her in his dust. She only has six days to convince him to fulfil her secret fantasy of having him for her first before he’s gone forever. She’s stubborn and he’s tempted, but this is a battle for more than just some time in the bedroom—it’s a fight for both their futures.


Note: I received this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
First is a New Adult novel by author M.A. Grant. It’s one whole novel broken into two mini novels. The first novella was the rather unconventional relationship of Maya and Jake:

Jake is a young firefighter on the road to career stardom. His personal life revolves around his little sister, Cora, after the untimely death of their parents. However, his self-discipline and extremely strict lifestyle didn’t reward him in the romance department, that is until he finds himself in bed with his sister’s best friend, Maya.

Maya is an anti-relationship, anti-love, childish, college student that has been through a disabling childhood (sarcasm) engendering her anti ways. She hates Jake because he reminds her of her father, who was “awful and controlling” toward her. After her parents divorce she shunned love and refuses to try her luck at love, especially with Jake.

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‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

★ ★ ★ ★

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
 
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
 
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…


Note: I received this advanced reader’s copy  via netgalley by Berkley Publishing in exchange for an honest review

I’ve read every single Amanda Quick novel – finding her work at an early age, I  immersed myself into her spitfire heroines and Victorian romance novels that were never cut and dry, but also featured a fun murder mystery (well if you wanna call that fun). Although her novels have a habit of following a similar formula, I can say this novel was not the customary mystery romance novel and I cannot contain my joy!

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As You Breathe Again (The Walker Boys #2) by Molli Moran

As You Breathe Again (The Walker Boys #2)

 D+
★ ★

Delaney Shaw isn’t looking for anything complicated. After her teaching career is put on hold, she decides to spend the summer in Georgia with her best friend. Lanie lives for the here and now, and she isn’t thinking past the end of the summer. She’s never had any problem being unattached, because she learned a long time ago that life is safer that way.

Until Reece Walker decides to change her mind.

Almost a year after his ex-wife’s death, Reece is still reeling from her passing. He’s devoted himself to raising their son and working his family’s farm to keep himself grounded. Reece feels like he’s lost sight of the man he used to be, and he’s not sure how to find his way back.

Everything changes when the woman he’s unsuccessfully tried to forget walks back into his life.

Even though she’s fighting their sizzling chemistry, Lanie is losing the war. But love isn’t always like it is in the movies, and they have real issues. Lanie is terrified Reece’s small town won’t accept their interracial relationship, and she doesn’t know how to let him in.

Lanie has had years to build her defenses, but Reece isn’t the sort to give up without a fight. If he can counter Lanie’s fears with the future only he can offer her, maybe they can both learn to breathe again.


Note: I received this advanced reader’s copy  via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This book had loads of potential that was totally wasted. It’s a tragedy that I didn’t enjoy this book because it could’ve been a real contribution to the New Adult genre that also featured a multicultural romance,  but the execution wasn’t there. Being part of a series I was skeptical about reading this without reading book one, however the blurb expressed that it could be read as a standalone. I don’t think it should be read without reading book one because I felt disconnected with everything.

I’m guessing there was this foreshadowed romance that developed between Delaney and Reece in book one, however it didn’t translate well. The romance seemed unrealistic and like insta-love, which means it’s cheesy and their connection wasn’t based on anything. Not once did I ever feel like their love wasn’t forced, or like love at all to be quite frank. But this might’ve been because, as I stated previously,  I didn’t read book one, or it could be the one-dimensional characters in the book.

Sometime one-dimensional characters hide in the silhouette of  complexity. Delaney Shaw was that type of character – I couldn’t relate to her. She’s  afraid of commitment because of her past experiences, which she allows define her future. Fun and carefree, no one knows the real Delaney beneath the mask except Reece who has his own demons. These simple truths weren’t the reason I didn’t liker her character, it was the lack of realism. She didn’t feel real to me – her character was supposed to be vibrant and full of life, but she just seemed dull. Again, this could be because I didn’t read book one.

Another issue I had was with the inconsistency. She’s supposed to be this strong woman that’s slowly allowing her weaknesses to show and open-up her heart, but it wasn’t balanced enough. There were times I felt as though I was reading a different character with her mood and attitude changes. After completing this novel I still didn’t understand who she was and what motivated her besides Reece.

Reece wasn’t bad. There’s nothing amazing about him or memorable. Everyone of importance seemed like minor characters and minor characters that don’t add any substance to the book. Let’s just get off the characters.

Plot? Hmm…this book lacked the length needed for a journey of self-discovery, nor was it a straightforward romantic love story. It’s fast-paced and but seemed to drag on FOREVER.

This seemed like the first draft of a really good final product.  I’m just saddened by how much I didn’t like it.