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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Special Forces by Brynn Paulin | Review

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Amelia Barker and Keon Munro are about to meet face-to-face for the first time. With F-16 butterflies dive-bombing her belly, she nervously awaits her soldier and the promises he made over the internet. Fresh off deployment, Keon is ready for some one-on-one action with the woman who captured his heart through cyberspace. Too bad she’s not who he thinks she is. Either way, she’d better be ready for his special force. He’s been dreaming of this night for months, and her sweet behind is his.


What can an 18-page book really accomplish, apparently a nice little story. Although it doesn’t include complex characters, or a particularly engaging plot, it still surprised me because it was so condensed. The gist of the story is simple; Amelia Barker has been pretending to be her fickle sister to a military pen pal, Keon Munro, after she completely ditches him. Feeling bad and adventurous, she decides to keep up the charade his entire deployment, until she realizes he want’s to meet her (since they kinda began a relationship) and remembers she’s not her sister.

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Fionn (Irish Sugar) by Marteeka Karland | Review

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★ ★ ★

Ice fills my soul. Nothing matters to me but my brothers. I’d kill for them. Every death chips away at the hint of humanity still clinging to me. And when the day comes to pay for my misdeeds….I don’t think about that… Until then I will bask in my transgressions allowing the passion of my chaos to keep me warm. I’m the thing you fear when darkness surrounds you. If you’re in my crosshairs, you’re as good as dead. My name is Fionn O’Shea. Death is all that matters…

Until…her.

She alone fills the gaps in my soul, returns my humanity. By protecting her, perhaps some part of me will be redeemable when I must answer for my sins. She brings order to my chaos, keeps me warm when the ice threatens to overtake me. If you threaten her, you’ll pray for the monsters in the dark to take you. But they won’t. I’ll bring your pain. I’ll bring your suffering. I’ll live for nothing else…

[Source: Goodreads]


When it comes to kidnapped sex I’m not a lover of it. Anytime a person possesses/enforces some type of dominance over you in an unbalanced way I don’t take kindly to that. In Fionn (Irish Sugar), it was better than some of the previous novels I’ve read, however I still didn’t like it.

Fionn is basically a living Grim Reaper; Ice flows through his veins and it doesn’t as though it’ll ever defrost. He’s an enforcer. He’s dangerous. That is until he kidnaps LeeAnn, who’s a rather innocent, smart girl caught between two webs of injustice.

While holding her captive Fionn realizes he’s the one being held captive, as his heart begins to melt. LeeAnn also starts to feel for him and soon their love blazes through the pages.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the page length.

When writing a story where you’re dealing with a subject, such as kidnapping, it needs to be fully developed – not to mention when you have douchy male lead that we need time to warm up. There’s also abducted sex waaaaay too soon. No matter how I looked at it, I just couldn’t get around how quickly everything happened, however this is an effect of the book being too short.

I did enjoy what Markeeta Karland attempted to accomplish, but it fell short for me.

His Pretend Baby: 50 Loving States, Oregon (50 Loving States #16) by Theodora Taylor | Review

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★ ★

Are you ready for an alternative alpha like Go Gutierrez???

So I was pretty sure my dead ex-boyfriend’s brother hated me…until he asked me to marry him.

And pretend his brother’s baby—which I’m carrying, BTW—is really his.

So now I’m suddenly the wife of a quirky tech billionaire, and falling in like with him so fast, it’s beginning to feel an awful lot like love. But we both have issues, and there are shadows creeping around the edges of our fledgling relationship. Can two people as different as we are make a pretend relationship real?

Find out if the Freak and the Geek can find their way to a happy ending in this unique standalone interracial romance. Perfect for those who prefer their heroines off-beat and their alphas super geeky. One-click now to discover why real heroes wear glasses!

[Source: Goodreads]


Rodrigo (aka Go) and Nyla

Fun Fact: This book  features some diversity! Nyla is black and Rodirigo (aka Go) is Latino.


Nyla’s pregnant with her dead, ex-boyfriend’s baby.


(Have I mentioned that I ❤ New Girl, especially Coach?!)

Go’s the brother of said brother and he decides to claim the baby as his own in order to spare his family the heartache (?) of knowing that he cheated with Nyla.

I didn’t get this book.

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WWW Wednesday

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This is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On A World Of Words (SamAnnElizabeth) where we answer the three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you just finish reading?
  • What are you planning on reading next?

What are you currently reading?

What did you just finish reading?

Maze by Ursula Sinclair – 3 Stars (sports/MMA/triad)
First by M. A. Grant – 3 Stars (ARC/romance)

What are you planning on reading next?

I Dunno! Hehe.

Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton

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A +

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…


*Disclaimer: this book is outrageously hilarious and will lead to giggling fits, rough chuckles, and boisterous laughter. Read at your own risk.*

Keep this in mind: Caroline hasn’t had an orgasm in a loooooong time.

“I shrugged it off, thinking maybe she just needed a night away, still experiencing a little PTSD from Pizza Parlor Cory.”

Funny is an inadequate word to describe how humorous this book actually was. It’s so rare that a book can make me laugh so hard I cry, but this novel achieved that feat numerous times. Wallbanger follows the lives of two neighbors, Caroline and Simon, as they work their way from enemies, to friends, to lovers.

The first time Caroline meets Simon is through the shaking and banging of her apartment wall. The second time was her banging on his door to keep quite while she’s trying to…do things. After this meeting they hate each other, while also being attracted to each other.

What I loved about this novel was the friendship that they built before anything happens between them. They hate each other and then are forced to be friends after their friends begin dating. But then they realize they have a lot in common and that they’re kinda awesome for each other.

Omigosh, Clive! You have yet to meet the coolest cat ever.

I can’t even explain how much fun it was to read this book! Just read it!

WWW Wednesday

transparent

This is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On A World Of Words (SamAnnElizabeth) where we answer the three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you just finish reading?
  • What are you planning on reading next?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

WHAT DID YOU JUST FINISH READING?

Loving True: The Men of CCD – Marie Rochelle ★  (IR)*
Wickedest Witch – Eve Langlais ★ ★ ★  (Paranormal/humor) *
Beauty and the Blitz – Sosie Frost ★ ★ ★ ★(New Adult/retelling/sports romance/humor) *
Tethered – L.D. Davis ★ ★ ★ ★ (multicultural/romance/teen-to-adulthood)*
Flirting with Chaos – Kenya Wright ★ ★ ★ ★(dark romance/new adult)*
Easy Street (The Hard Way) – Ron Perlman ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (nonfiction/autobiography)*
Jane – Michelle N. Onuorah ★ ★ ★ ★ (IR/Religious-themes/serious topics)*

Review to come *

WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON READING NEXT?

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde:

I’m honestly looking forward to this. Gothic fiction is a genre I enjoy but don’t read often enough. Some might disagree with it being labeled a Gothic fiction novel (I’ve read some reviews that vehemently state this), however since I haven’t read it yet I wouldn’t know. After watching Penny Dreadful (which is amazing by the way) I became increasingly interested in the character of Dorian Gray – due to the fact that it’s a novel and I hadn’t read it – which is why I’m giving it a go now. This is a short novel, nevertheless, I plan to listen to the audio book and read it.

Excitement Level: 6/10

Eleanor – Jason Gurley:

Having won this novel a Goodreads Giveaway (read about that here), I’d been meaning to read it all year. However, knowing I’d need to write a review, I procrastinated until I was really in the mood for genre of Eleanor. I’m in that mood.

Excitement Level – 8/10

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green:

There was a guy named John Green on an episode of the television series Death in Paradise, and I’ve been promising to read this book for awhile soooo…..

Excitement level – 1/10

Ballers: His Game (Ballers Series #1) by Blue Saffire

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For Him she was the one from the moment he saw her. He just didn’t know it would be so hard for her to see him, but when she does he takes his chance. He would never regret it, but what he would regret is walking away. Then she appears in his life again and he is floored by all he truly walked away from. It will never happen again, no matter what.

Football had been his life, not anymore and if walking away from it all is what it takes to have her and all that comes with her so be it. He has left it all out on field, now it is time to leave it all at her feet.

Because Tamara is his for keeps!


*Warning: This review will not be like my others. Since this is a New Adult novel, I will have adultish comments about it. For once I’m acting my age :d*

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Normally one-night stand romances don’t interest me; they usually suffer from paucity in both validity and plot since it’s normally about sex alone. In spite of my concerns I jumped off of the proverbial bridge and read Ballers. My reasoning lie mainly with the unfortunate truth that I was in a dry spell in the book department, so I surmised that a quick, cheesy romance novel would get my book mojo back. However, when I finished this novel I was pleasantly surprised.

Ballers is a sweet adult-fiction, sports romance novel featuring a football player theme. The novel goes something like this:

Boy meets girl. Girl tells boy she’s not interested.

Boy doesn’t let that deter him. Girl is like well, he’s not so bad.

*One-night stand ensues*

Boy thinks girl doesn’t really like him – although he likes her tremendously – so he bolts (not so smart hombre)

Girl wakes up to an empty bed – she’s sad. She really liked him.

Girl finds out something that she keeps from boy (dun dun dun, we all know what that is)

*A bunch of years past*

Girls a successful agent, boys a successful football player.

They meet again, however old wounds heal slowly – but not in this case!

They feel like they never broke up, but life keeps finding a way to tear them down.

Girl pulls away, sad and afraid to hurt the man she loves

Boy pushes girl because his love for her exceeds all else

Sometimes football isn’t so forgiving to the body or the mind, just like life.

 

Now, to explain why I wrote the review in this odd fashion, I must be candid:

I read this book in January/February, in consequence this review isn’t the one I wanted to write but I was forced to alter my previous ideas.

Like all books (except Jane Eyre) there’s good and bad material in this novel. Sometimes the writing was off, others the story line seemed stilted, however these things didn’t take away from the strong characters of Tamara and Brad and their love for each other. It also didn’t diminish the sweet moments and the truth, in the sad reality of our worlds views.

 

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.

Paper Towns by John Green

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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…


Let’s begin with Quentin. Quentin is the very definition of a one-dimensional character. After finishing this novel I still have no idea who he is, but not in a complex way that makes him this wonderful character full of animation and vitality, the exact opposite is true for Quentin.

What are his likes, dislikes, favorite color, favorite food, what kind of music does he like, what movies do he enjoy, etc. Yes, these are trivial questions but those are the things that make-up a person.

Little things + big things + actions = YOU

All Quentin talked about during the novel was Margo. In the beginning it was how beautiful she was. I kid you not, every page mentioned her hair, eyes, skin, smell, and just overall perfection. It’s weird and kinda creepy for him to be this obsessed with a girl that he didn’t seem to care much about until this book started. But I was able to move past this after awhile and focus on the future of the novel – I wasn’t impressed.

FYI (if you care): For people who haven’t been to Orlando Margo describes downtown quite well actually. After living in Orlando for a year I know that it’s terrible, and her representation of Orlando’s homes is also accurate, certain sections are paper towns. S0, that’s a score for Margo.

The second part of the novel is really boring. Quentin figures out Margo is missing and soon gathers clues to find her. In this time he reflects on how cool she is, how eccentric and misunderstood (I call bullshit) she is compared to everyone else in the world. Hanging out at abandoned buildings and reading poems by Walt Whitman because she’s so down-to-earth. Soon enough Quentin learns that maybe the Margo he thought he knew wasn’t her, but someone else.

Q: Who is the real Margo?
A: Who gives a shit!

I realize that that answer is harsh, but the proverbial question of “who is Margo?” got old quickly. The real question I repeatedly asked myself was WHO GIVES A SHIT! Seriously, Margo isn’t interesting. She’s not too cool for school or some overly complex mind troubled by her past. She’s just an upper-middle class girl who reads Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, hangs out in abandoned buildings, and runs away a lot for attention.  Could she be more cliche? I’m sorry, her extensive collection of records that include Johnny Cash is what really makes her unique.

Are you understanding my issue here? Now, I’m not trying to bash Emily Dickinson, Johnny Cash, or Walt Whitman – who I happen to love – because they’re not the problem, it’s how Green utilized these things as evidence that she’s so different. Until, of course, the end where she’s the same as everyone else. In the end I couldn’t buy what he was trying to sell, nor could I buy the ending and how neatly wrapped everything became. She was a spoiled brat – end of story.

The road trip portion of the novel was one of the reasons I relinquished and gave two stars. It was enjoyable and believable, especially to someone like me who’s been on MANY road trips.

Philadelphia –> Oklahoma, Philadelphia –> Florida, Philadelphia –> North Carolina, Florida –> Georgia, Florida –> Philadelphia, Philadelphia –> Washington D.C., etc.

The major problem Paper Towns suffered was making it about Margo and Quentin when he should have chosen one. Either Margo and her outer facade -the way she’s described is as if she’s this higher being with beauty, charm and majestic qualities, but there aren’t facts to back-up this claim – and the real her, or Quentin.

The end was supposed to be all philosophical and profound, a serious thinker, but it was just pretentious. Plus, where she ends up being is completely preposterous. I don’t really know what else to say. I can give a list of characters dimensions…

Margo – One-Dimensional

Quentin – One-Dimensional

Ben – One-Dimensional

Lacey – One-dimensional

Radar – Three-Dimensional (they didn’t mention him enough in the book)

Parents – One – dimensional

Entire high school – One-Dimensional

I’m sorry if this review wasn’t more in-depth but it took me forever to finish this book because it was soooo boring and self-centered. There were good moments but the bad outweighed the good by a large margin.