Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Reckless Magic (Star-Crossed #1), by Rachel Higginson

16 year old Eden Matthews has been in and out of private schools for the last two years. She can't seem to stop herself from closing them down. Kingsley is her last chance to finish high school and the last private school willing to accept her. 

She is focused on just getting through graduation until she realizes Kingsley is not like the other private schools she's been to. The students may be different, but so is she. And after meeting Kiran Kendrick, the boy who won't leave her alone and seems to be the source of all her problems, she is suddenly in a world that feels more make-believe than reality. 

To top it off, she is being hunted by men who want to kill Kiran and her best friend Lilly is taken away to a foreign prison. Eden finds herself right in the middle of an ancient war, threatening everything she loves. She alone has to find a way to save her best friend and the boy who has captivated her heart. 

Reckless Magic is an intricate story about mystery, adventure, magic and forbidden love. Eden Matthews is an unlikely heroine determined to save the world and be with her one, true love before it's too late.

4 out of 5 stars

I've found a new YA paranormal series that I'm totally addicted to!  Reckless Magic, the first book of Rachel Higginson's Star-Crossed series was the perfect launching pad into a world full of magic, intrigue, mystery, romance and even suspense.  To be completely honest here I will admit that I'm writing this review after having read the first 4 books of this series.  I enjoyed each new installment so much so that I didn't want to take the time to stop in between and write reviews.  That being said though, looking back on all 4 books I can clearly see #1 was primarily meant to set the stage, so I encourage you to jump right in, especially since it's a free download!  The books get better and better with each story.  I don't think the writing changes, because it is consistently good writing the whole way thru, I think it's because with each book you fall further and further into the the complicated plot author Rachel Higginson's weaving and without even realizing it you'll find yourself heavily vested into these characters lives.

Eden Matthews will be your narrator thru this journey, she is special, but she's been raised as a human so when things start spinning out of control in her normal life she cannot help but think there is something wrong with her.  At no point does she even consider herself "special" or even "powerful."  She works very hard to not hurt anyone and more importantly blend in, the last thing she wants is to bring attention to herself.  But simply blending in was never the path Eden's life was meant to take.

Her first day at Kingsley goes worse than she can expect in large part thanks to another new student, Kiran.  He's gorgeous yet mysterious and while Eden may find him attractive it's definitely not love at first sight, more like hate.  As the story progresses and the two get to know one another friendship blossoms into love, but with Eden's introduction to the world of magic comes complications and that also includes any type of love life with Kiran.

I have to admit Eden seems so clueless at times, it's as though as the reader you're able to put together what's going on long before she does, but at the same time you sympathize with her.  After all, she's just a teenager, trying to figure out life and deal with circumstances way out of her control.  The name of the series is Star-Crossed so obviously Eden and Kiran's love is doomed from the start, but their's is the kind of love you cannot help but want to read more and more about, it's addicting, it's complicated, it's passionate, it's frustrating and it's what keeps you coming back book after book.

Take a chance on this series with Reckless Magic, it's definitely got a Harry Potter vibe, but with it's own unique twists!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

5 of 5 Stars

I have not read Ms. Fisher's Love Me With Lies series.  I know that I will love it and it has amazing reviews and they are all on my kindle.  But I decided to wait to read those.  The only books I have previously read by Ms. Fisher are the ones she co-authored with Colleen Hoover and I love them.  I adore both of their writing styles and couldn't get enough.  I also knew that lots of people who read her LMWL series compared them to Mud Vein so I decided to read them in reverse order.  

I am going to start this review with a warning.  If you are looking for a happy, sappy, feel good book. Don't buy this one because you won't like it.  99% of the time, that is me.  I love the HEA, I love the butterflies and first love feelings that those books bring me.  But sometimes, I need something out of the ordinary and I need to know that it is okay to not be okay....enter Mud Vein.  

Senna Richards is a complicated character.  You are not going to like her at first and maybe not at all.  I can relate to her because I have someone in my own life that is very similar to her.  Senna was dealt a hand that she didn't ask for in life.  She didn't really complain about it but she doesn't think that she deserves any better.  She is a product of her environment and situation and pushes her feelings down.  
I don't want to give a lot of the book away by talking a lot about the other characters and their connections with Senna because while they are important, they are not the point of the story.  To me, this book is written to other people that struggle with their darkness.  It is for individuals that don't know how to embrace the part of them that others might judge or look down on but actually makes them unique and amazing.  We all have a mud vein, but some are darker and deeper than others.  It is my hope that anyone that struggles with these demons will read this book and find the closure and help that they need to be the best they can be....true to themselves.

If you are in for a book full of twists and turns with lots of darkness, you should read this book.  Just remember that you need to go into knowing that it won't be unicorns and rainbows.  As far as writing goes, Tarryn Fisher is flawless and won't disappoint.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: Out of Focus by L.B. Simmons

“Shhhh, Cassandra, it’s our little secret.”
Secrets are stubborn things when they refuse to remain hidden. They tear through your soul, clawing and lashing until the pain becomes so unbearable, you’re left no choice but to silently scream your agony. No one hears you, of course. You smile on the outside and drift through life as though your mind is at peace, but all the while, you remain your own tortured prisoner. Sealed inside the darkened, soundproof room of your conscience, deafening cries echo as you plead for someone to unlock the door and release you from your nightmares. And eventually, when no one comes, you find ways to cope. To dull the suffering the only way you know how.
But what happens when you’ve become so numb, when everything around you has become so blurred, that you begin to lose focus on the saving grace standing directly in front of you? When you’ve anesthetized yourself to the point of losing consciousness, forced to watch as his once solid image fades away, lost to your reach in the haze as it smothers you?
What do you do then?
You fight. You heal. Then you bring him back.
Well, my name is Cassie Cooper, and it’s time.
No more secrets.
This is my story.

***WARNING - The subject matter of this novel centers around the psychological effects due to sexual abuse experienced during childhood. For this reason, as well as sexual situations, language, and adult themes, suggested reading age is 17+.***


Review:  5 of 5 stars

It is no secret that I adore LB Simmons.  The first book in this series, Under the Influence was one of the best of 2015.  I was so anxious to get my hands on book two and it did not disappoint!  

If you loved Spencer and Dalton's story, you will love to learn more about Cassie in Out of Focus.  I have to say, if you haven't read Under the Influence you are missing out.  Even though this can be read as a standalone, I encourage you to fall in love with the characters in the first book since it will just enhance your love of this book.

I thought I knew Cassie Cooper in Under the Influence.  Her sarcasm and love for books and Spencer made her fun to read.  What I didn't know was how much she used those things to hide from her past. She is a beautiful soul that needed to tell her story.  LB Simmons did a fantastic job of exposing her story one piece at a time.  The majority of this book plays out like the ending of Under the Influence. The storyline is playing out in Cassie's life at the same time Spencer is getting her ending and epilogue.  I was so consumed with Spencer and Dalton in book one that I wasn't thinking about what was occurring for Cassie.  Let me tell you, it is a heartbreakingly, beautiful story.

Grady Bennett is one hell of a character.  He is kind, patient, and sees so much more of Cassie than she can see in herself.  He knows how to push her but respect her space.  He lets her open up in her own time.  Grady is a class act and every woman deserves someone that is sensitive to their heart issues.  

Without getting into too many details, you are going to weep for Cassie and her lost innocence and time.  But, you will see that she is a survivor, just like we all are when faced with terrible acts of injustice.  The poignant story will touch your heart.  Yes, it is heartbreaking.  But, LB Simmons will weave everything back together and make it more beautiful than it was at the beginning.  Thank you for writing such amazing stories that are full of emotion!

L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science.  She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years.  She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Cover Reveal: Spy Girl by Jillian Dodd




Blurb: What happens when you get pulled out of spy academy before graduation because you look good in a bikini? Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Get close to the hottest prince on the planet. Uncover the plot to assassinate him. Keep him safe. Kill the bad guys. Don’t blow your cover. And don’t fall in love. Pre-Order Links iBooks: iBooks has an exclusive sneak peek of the book Amazon:


Jillian Dodd

About Jillian Dodd Jillian is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen contemporary romance novels, from the The Keatyn Chronicles and That Boy series to Vegas Love. She grew up on a farm in Nebraska, where she developed a love for Midwestern boys and Nebraska football. She currently lives in Florida. Checkout Jillian's website for added content and sneak peaks at: and be sure to sign up for her newsletter there.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review and Excerpt: The Consequence of Seduction by Rachel Van Dyken

By:  Rachel Van Dyken
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1503953017
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: February 9, 2016

From New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken.
Reid Emory has never had reason to question his luck with the ladies. As the owner of a lethal set of aqua-blue eyes and a devastating grin, this Hollywood heartthrob always brings his A game…but lately his luck seems to have run out. The actor is in need of some help, and there’s only one person he can trust to take his love life—and his career—to an explosive new level.
Jordan Litwright’s newest client is trying her patience. As a publicist, she’s more than content to stay in the background and let others shine. But when a publicity stunt backfires, she suddenly finds herself thrust into the spotlight—as Reid’s new love interest. And while other men usually overlook her, Reid is focusing in with laserlike intensity. There’s no denying they have serious chemistry.
But once Reid breaks into the big time, can they turn their made-for-the-media romance into a forever love?


I wasn’t nervous. Please. The nervous guy was always played by a dude who had no fashion sense, had never kissed a girl, and thought that foreplay was an actual play—in baseball.
I had killer fashion.
Had kissed tons of girls—even secured my first by the age of four from a six-year-old riding the bus to school.
And foreplay was my specialty. I like to think that some men are just gifted in that area—not to boast, but I’m one of them.
Oh, and I was a hell of a baseball player.
So that weird, shaky feeling currently residing in my stomach, slithering its way up my chest? Heartburn.
I popped two Tums.
“Hey, you okay?” Jordan asked. Her big brown eyes were makeup free—making them look even prettier—more natural. She’d given up on her hair so it was wildly cascading in every direction known to mankind, giving her a sex kitten look I wasn’t at all comfortable her sporting outside my apartment.
“Yeah.” I coughed. “Heartburn.”
“Weird. I wonder why you have heartburn after all those shots, five slices of pizza, and three glasses of red wine?”
I grinned. “Beats me.”
She rolled her eyes and grabbed the remote from my hand.
“What are you doing?” I asked calmly, trying to keep my voice from shaking.
“Changing the channel?” she answered without looking at me. “The movie ended an hour ago and you usually go to bed at eleven, so . . .”
“But this is date night.”
“Uh-huh, and now date night is over. I’ll tell you what.” She turned and tucked her legs beneath her. “Since you’re new at this whole dating thing, I’ll give you a free pass and let you in on a little secret.”
“I’m listening.” Okay, so I was trying to listen while my eyes zeroed in on her low-cut blouse and fringes of the black lacy bra that was peeking from beneath. Focus. Focus. Focus. Did she have pizza sauce on her breast?
“When girls come home from a date, they don’t take a hot shower and run their hands all over their body moaning and groaning and replaying every touch, every caress, every kiss.”
Can’t. Look. Away. I leaned forward. Yup, definitely pizza sauce. “Well, that’s disappointing.”
“Usually, they pour themselves a glass of wine, toss off their tall heels, turn on the TV, put on their sweats, and read while New Girl plays in the background.”
How was it possible she wasn’t aware she had food on her chest?
“Reid, are you listening?”
“Of course I am!” I nodded. “Wine, heels, TV, books, New Girl.” I know, neat trick, right? Just pull the details out of what they said and repeat them. Works nine times out of ten. Unless you’re Max. If you’re Max, you usually just get punched, because he tends to brag about the fact he remembered in the first place.
“What?” Jordan looked down. “What are you staring at?”
“Sauce.” I pointed. “Right there.”
Jordan rolled her eyes. “I’m not falling for that trick where you point and I look down and you hit me in the face. How old are you, ten?”
“No, seriously.” I moved forward. “You have pizza sauce right here.” I swiped it with my thumb and then licked it off.
“That should be gross,” she breathed.
“I know.”
“But it was kind of sexy.”
“I know.”
“Stop saying ‘I know.’”
I smirked. “Sorry . . . oh, look, you have something right here too.”
This time she did look down. And my ten-year-old self cheered as I knocked her in the chin and said, “Gotcha.”
Defeated, her shoulders slumped forward. “I deserved that.”
“I couldn’t help myself.” I watched in a hypnotic trance as her tongue sneaked out and teased her lower lip. It was the perfect moment for a kiss, but the line had been . . . skewed. I wasn’t sure if it was okay, in the privacy of my apartment, to actually kiss her. I mean, I’d kissed her, but this felt different, more intimate.
“This is the part”—Jordan leaned forward and gripped my shirt with both hands—“where you either kiss me or cough awkwardly, make an excuse, scratch your balls, and cower back in your bedroom.”
“Wow, so many choices,” I mused, meeting her halfway. “Eenie, meenie, minie—” Our mouths met in a frenzy. She tasted like wine and pizza.
Holy shit, it was hotter than it should have been.
My hands moved to her hips as I tried to pull her onto my lap. But her skirt was too tight.
“Damn it.” I tugged harder and heard a split.
Jordan reared back. “Did you just rip my skirt?”
“Small tear.”
“No.” I gripped the fabric until it gave with a scratchy tearing sound. “That’s a rip.” With a grin I tossed the discarded remains onto the ground.
Jordan stared at the skirt for a few seconds before wrapping her legs around my torso and fusing her mouth with mine. “You owe me a skirt.”
“Can I rip you out of that one too?”
She laughed against my mouth. I stood, lifting her with me, and walked her backward toward my bedroom.
We looked good. She was half-naked, sexy, I was carrying her around like a badass, and then things went . . . south.
And not a good south.
“Watch out for my shoes—”
I tripped over two spiked heels, sending Jordan flying into the wall. She slid down said wall and landed on the plant—yes, the plant, the one she’d kept alive for all those years.
“My plant!” she yelled. I burst out laughing as remnants of dirt and plant sifted through her hands. “You killed it!”
“Whoa!” I held up my hands and backed up, tripping over the damn shoes again and stumbling to the floor.
I shit you not, Jordan giddyup crawled toward me, faster than lightning, straddled me, and started fighting.
“We’ll get you a new plant!” I yelled as she smacked my chest. I gripped her wrists and flipped her onto her back. “Don’t you think—”
She bucked beneath me.
“—it was probably time to let the plant go? You know, cut the apron strings!”
“It’s not my child!” she wheezed, tuckering herself out.
“Exactly.” I nodded, then released her hand and patted her cheek.
Her eyes went wild.


I always feel like I start out my reviews for Rachel Van Dyken's the same.  Something along the lines of "How does she always write a good book???" But she totally does!  Reid and Jordan's story is no different. If you loved the first two books in The Consequence series, you will love this one too.

You probably remember Reid from the first books.  He is Max's brother that was accosted by Milo's grandmother.  He is a master at getting women, but is off his game.  He also has just landed the movie role of a lifetime and if he doesn't get things in his life in order, it might just be his last.

Enter Jordan Litwright, publicist extrodinaire.  I LOVE this character.  Possibly because she is a klutz, speaks her mind all the time, and refuses to take BS off of Reid.  She is such a fun character to read and I can relate to her. Anyone else fall down steps on the way to work besides me?  Well, Jordan would so she is my new book BFF.  :)  Reid and Jordan might be polar opposites, however, they are hot and attract like magnets!  

Max is an added bonus for fun and humor.  His mind is similar to Grandma Nadine and if those two are ever in a room together you better watch out.  LOL!   So, if you love some crazy antics, fun, humor and just good HEA, then pick this one up and enjoy!