12 Followers
30 Following
eleanorn

The Book Hammock (Eleanor)

I read a lot. I review 98% of what I read. I post my stuff on my blog. Oh... in between I try to live life.

Sensational!

Defy - Sara B. Larson

When I requested this title from NetGalley, I knew absolutely nothing about Sara B. Larson. The synopsis didn’t sell the title for me, and yet – I requested it. Now I also know it is Larson’s debut novel.

Best thing I did NetGalley-wise.

Lush? check. Gorgeous writing? check. Action? Intrigue? A love triangle? check, check and heck yeah – check!!!

And all that wrapped inside a young adult novel.

Alexa (disguised as a boy) and her twin brother, Marcel, were forced to join the royal guard of prince Damien or they’d be taken into slavery and worse, under the king’s cruel regime. Marcel helps her guard her secret for year, but some unfortunate turn of events her secret is no more, subsequently revealing some knew it but kept it without her knowledge. But then other secrets are slowly revealed, when she is taken captive by the enemy, along with the prince and Rylan, another member of the guard.

Besides the information hidden from her that is slowly revealed, Alexa is the subject of some swoony moves from both Damien and Rylan. They are both pretty amazing, but I think I’ve settled my affections o Damien pretty much from the get go.

All main characters go through some interesting changes throughout the first book in this series. Alexa’s ARC is the most complex, I think, due to her concealing her true identity for so long, and when she is recognized as a girl again, she deals with new struggles as an “outed” girl, her behavior, her feelings, all suppressed for years.

Defy ends at an interesting place. Naturally, the story will continue and as it is it can’t be considered a cliffhanger, but yeah, I need more to feel satisfied. I need the full HEA, not just a semi.

Larson created a mesmerizingly swirling world of kings and princes, the royal guard, sorcerers, rebels, slavery and some pretty harsh situations to read, but the way it all comes together made for the perfect page-turner. Youngsters, gather ’round and pick up a book. This one in particular!

My thanks to Scholastic and NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Caro and West deserve ALL the stars in the sky

Deeper - Robin York

I’m falling in love with a boy who sells drugs, who punches when he’s angry, who knows my body better than I do.

I’m already in love with him.
 


You may or may not know that Robin York is Ruthie Knox’s New Adult alter ego. Which insta-puts her in my must read shelf. When Robin announced her New Adult escapades, I immediately added Deeper to my TBR shelf and constantly checked for the early review copies. *waves hand with kindle* I got it!!!

Caroline Piasecki and West Leavitt meet the first day she moves in to her college dorms. The impressions they leave each other with are… conflicting yet lasting in their minds.

When Caroline wakes up one day and finds compromising pictures of herself online, she immediately knows her ex-boyfriend the guy she has loved for years had betrayed her in the most heinous way possible.

Caroline’s life as she planned them, are over. No scholarship for law school, no public office of any kind, her reputation is tarnished. Once those pictures went viral, seemingly overnight, all her dreams were squashed.

West is a lot of things. He is contradiction personified. He’s cold and rash, flippant and distant, and he cares for no one. That’s why all Caroline sees in him is a man-whore drug dealer. But this West is just a ruse. A ruse created to keep from getting attached to people. His carefully presented persona is jeopardized, though, when he overhears Caroline’s ex talk about her and gets his first founded suspicion that Nathan, the ex, is behind it. Fists start flying.

He did it for me, and this is how he looked afterward. Dilated everywhere, his skin warm and his breathing rapid and shallow.

This is how he would look in bed.


Caroline’s attempt to question West about the fight fails when he gives half answers and his actions contradict them. 

Things get even more complicated for both, when they decide to be amicably not-friends. With their vastly different upbringing and individual character – what’s the point? Later on when she ends up at his nightly workplace, a bakery, after another nightmare filled night, they develop a routine of homework, talking and listening to music, getting to know each other better, albeit mostly one sided.

Caroline, while determined and knows what she wants from life, is broken by the pictures. There isn’t much she can do about them, and the voices in her head fuel her self hatred. After all, she didn’t object when Nate took the pictures. This is all tampering with her very true feelings for West. She questions her self, judging herself constantly. How can she be free to feel lust for someone when lust brought her only shame before.

Only her very limited number of close friends are there for her, mainly morally. But she doesn’t lean on them the way she should. They are a crutch in a way.

In a way, Caroline’s arc develops and changes as the flow of the plot progresses. From a broken and demure 19 year old victim she gradually realizes that her only mistake was to trust Nate. She is not to blame for the pictures showing up online. She is not to blame for Nate’s vindictive character or his reasoning for the act. She learns through her nights at the bakery with West that she, as an individual, as a woman, has worth and her worth deserves a chance. She starts feeling safe around a boy. She can trust West to not betray her so brutally. By the end of the book Caroline has a plan, and a support system, not just a crutch.

West… he’s a whole different story. His troubles run deep. Everything he does, the outwardly West – he exists for ultimate goal: succeed through college so he can take better care of his mother and younger sister.

I knew the rules. I knew where they bent, and I was good at bending them, because for a guy like me, bending them was the only way.

While Caroline made me feel sympathetic at the beginning and by the end of the book – admiring (I was so proud of her!!), West’s history that is slowly revealed throughout the story only makes him more lovable and honorable in my eyes. Yes, he is going about it all wrong, from how he got into college through the way he’s living his life once an enrolled student, but his sacrifices make him all the more appealing and endearing. 

West sees the change in Caroline since the pictures surfaced and while ignoring his attraction and deep feelings for her, he is determined to help her stop hide, stop being a victim, bring back her trust in people, in men. And in that journey, he realizes she is as important to him as his other life back home and he will do the right thing for both his worlds.

I’m mad the world sucks so much, that this should have happened to her, that she should feel so bad about it.

I’m mad that sex can’t just be sex, it has to be everything else, too – money and power and misery and pleasure all mixed together. Because I want her, I’m mad at her, and it’s fucking stupid.

Nate…. my favorite new character to hate with a passion of a trillion burning suns. It baffles me how and why someone would do that and not even realize how, apart from humiliation, it will affect the victim. My somewhat hate-fueled opinion puts him in a sociopathic tendencies box.

The development of their relationship from non-friendship to full out romance is slow burn and gradual. It is well defined and seeped into my heart until I couldn’t not be invested in them. They became real.

I fell in love with West and Caroline individually, during the first half of the story. I fell in love with them together (possibly after unknowingly cheering them on even before that) during the second half. They’re real, they’re deep, they’re beautifully crafted and carefully slated into the plot.

York writes this series with an agenda. Yes, she wants us to enjoy her words, unlikely for it not happening, but there’s an underlying very serious issue here, too. My naive self was aware of its existence, but not to the epidemically outrageous levels of this problem.

So if you’re looking for a spectacularly NA angst and friendship turned romance, with a fantastic plot, beautiful and deep characters, and are willing to invest yourself emotionally in a genuinely real story, get Deeper, fall in love with West and Caroline, read about Revenge Porn and the ridiculousness of what’s not being done at the end of Deeper. Get outraged and raise your voice.

It’s been a few weeks from the time I read Deeper and writing this review, and it has resurfaced everything I felt reading the book. While Deeper ended rather open-endedly, it’s not the end of Caroline and West’s story. This of course, doesn’t mean I don’t want to pounce Robin York and demand the rest of their tale.

Robin York and Deeper get 5 glorious stars from me. For the characters, the plot, the message, the beautiful words and all the feelings the story left me with.

I’d like to thank Bantam and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

PS – any quotes in this review are subject to change in the published book.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Fracture Me - Tahereh Mafi

After Destroy Me, which was Warner’s novella, we get what I don’t know if declared as such, but Adam’s novella.

I’m team Adam, not sure if you know, or care, or whatever, but I am. And Warner, while has my sympathies for some of his “issues” with his father or whatnot, I generally dislike him and didn’t quite “fall” into the trap that is Destroy Me. I do, however, appreciate Mafi’s success in making him a fantastic villain.

Oh Adam. That boy has my heart. In this novella Adam is so conflicted and torn and tormented and sweet.

Fracture Me spans about a day, give or take a couple of hours, where Adam and Juliette are worried and fretting over Kenji *swoon* (love him) who’s supposedly been zapped by Juliette (if you remember in Unravel Me and if you don’t get on with rereading it. There is also the discovery that Warner left Omega Point and back to working with his father (or so implied/assumed/suspected). On the day where searches are planned after some of the other Omega members, Adam, Juliette and Kenji, who’s made quite a recovery, though not 100% yet, leave Omega Point. They encounter some problem and Juliette is taken.

Adam is going through a lot in this very short companion to the series. He is, as mentioned before hurt, pining and worried over Juliette, conflicted with thoughts about his brother and father, very concerned and worried over James and his safety, and naturally, Kenji.

The novella ends with what I can’t consider a cliffhanger, but is one for all intents and purposes. It’s just that we knew that’s the situation when Unravel Me ended. Now I mostly need Ignite Me so I can know Adam and Juliette together *pre-glares at Tahereh for the off chance that’s not going to be the case*

I love this series and loved this novella, as much as it broke my heart, and am giving it 5 stars. All 5 go to Adam. He needs all the encouragement and help and love he can get.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

A Touch of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #0.5) - Lara Adrian

I’ve read the Midnight Breed series a while back, and then all subsequently released installments, and I love it. Mostly the way Adrian reinvented the series with the last full length novel, Edge of Dawn.

Anyhoo, Gideon and Savannah were already mated when the series began, and FINALLY we’re getting their story, as a prequel for the series.

First, let me start by telling you the novella is now FREE on Amazon, so get it and then continue reading this post.

Got it? Good.

Savannah in this novella is an student who’s researching ancient artifacts. Her Breedmate’s gift is seeing an object’s past upon touching it. So naturally, she takes great care to not touch a gorgeous sword while trying to date and identify it. Only… that doesn’t work out and she gets a glimpse of a brutal scene. 

So you know there’s a murder that ensues, and the media is involved, and the story is outed, and Gideon sees it, which strikes up his interest in her.

Gideon is one of my favorites. He’s funny yet serious, he’s gorgeous (like they all are) yet rugged, he’s wicked smart and he’s perfect for Savannah.

Savannah is delicate and fierce. She’s passionate about her job at the archives and it matches her gift perfectly. Surprise, surprise. Then again, Adrian has the talent to make these details blend seamlessly.

I loved Gideon and Savannah’s story. I loved another little glimpse into the Breed’s stories, especially the beginning when the core of the Breed fighters were so against being mated. The ending makes it all the sweeter.

4.5 Stars

 

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Crash into You - Katie McGarry

And he laughs. Not the heavy laughter from before. It’s a great laugh. A deep laugh. One that makes my lips lift. Isaiah, the guy who an hour ago carried himself like a jungle predator, now has the content aura of a lazy cat bathing in the sun.

 

*twirls* I loooooooove this series. Admittedly, my favorite is the first, Noah and Echo’s story. But I’ll say again, this series is one of my favorite YA on the verge of NA contemporary series out there.

 

I’ve been waiting for Isaiah’s story for AGES, YEARS, EONS… ok, so no, but I have been waiting since even before Beth’s story. There’s just something about Isaiah that screams GOOD and MISUNDERSTOOD and SWOONY.

For Rachel, I’d shovel coal into the furnace in hell.

Isaiah is in the thick of the street life, he has no choice. Rooming with Noah at an infested apartment in the not so exciting part of town, behind rent and scraping for money while avoiding his foster family, he is definitely not in the best of shapes. Noah planning on moving to the dorms isn’t helping things. And then to make matters worse (depending how you look at things) Isaiah’s mother, 2 years after being released from prison, is reaching out and want to renew their relationship.

 

Rachel Young is a blond, petite, fragile-ish girl, surrounded by 4 brothers and overprotective parents, who mostly see her as a replacement for their eldest daughter who they’ve lost to cancer before Rachel and her twin were even born

I hate Colleen. Hate her. I’ve never met her and I despise her.
How dare she be perfect and beautiful and everything everyone could have ever dreamed of in a sister and a daughter. How dare she get sick and die and leave this entire family in shambles. How dare she haunt me from her grave, taunting me with how I will never be good enough.

Rachel is rich and mostly the exact opposite of Isaiah. But they have something in common.

 

Both LOVE muscle cars.

 

Rachel suffers at the hands of her family. Not intentionally, and they do love her, but my God if there are characters more dense in literary fiction than her parents and possibly her older brothers, call me Petunia. I wanted to smash my Paperwhite against the wall several times, and possibly *cough* bitched *cough* about them on twitter a few times while reading. I did like most other characters, though there weren’t many more major-ish ones.

 

While Rachel makes a few innocent mistakes, trying to let loose and free of her suffocating and pressuring family, she meets Isaiah. At an illegal drag race. Welp!

Getting in trouble with Eric, the drag race-street-lord is possibly the last thing Rachel needs, and to Isaiah’s credit he does try to prevent that happening. However, things get slightly complicated and the end result is Isaiah and Rachel in bed with Eric. And no, not the fun way.

 

Taking into consideration everything both MCs have to deal with, throwing in Beth trying to rekindle her friendship with Isaiah and him trying to deal with his mother’s return to his life, makes for one heck of an emotional ride.

 

McGarry’s writing is always emotional, genuine and compelling. The relationships she creates are easy to empathize with, even if not to the letter (God, I hope few of us have to deal with this kind of crap in life).  And when a beautiful and complex character like Isaiah is the one the story revolves around, knowing she is the one to do him justice only makes wanting to read the story stronger.

 

So yes, while I disliked (understatement) most of the characters involved in the plot. And while there were a lot of ups and downs, many twists in the plot and yes – a lot of rage (on my part), I enjoyed this story immensely.

 

My rating: 4star

 

I am now waiting for West’s story. He’s a enough of a complex idiot (right now) that his story has the potential to be pretty awesome. Also, a novella for Ethan and Abby (hint hint) wouldn’t be rejected from my TBR list. Just FYI, Katie *wink*

Brett will always be Still So Hot! Great read from Serena Bell

Still So Hot! - Serena Bell

"This was what she had wanted. Not just all morning, not just since she had first seen him on the plane yesterday, but forever."

Ok, I’m not a huge fan or Harlequin’s Blaze series, mainly because the ones I’ve read so far are mostly mediocre. Then again, I’m a huge fan of Serena Bell. You know which one tipped the scales on me reading Still So Hot!

So yeah, my arm wasn’t exactly twisted, and Serena graciously sent me an advanced copy of the book, for which I’m now sending back smooches. And this review!

The blurb of this book only hints to the plot, and I love that. Leaves me plenty to blabber about Elisa and Brett.

I didn’t much like Brett in the first few scenes he appeared in. I couldn’t get a good read on him, which way he’s leaning to and such. And then we got a nice little Brett POV. And I was hooked. That man… unf. He literally puts a name (and face? cast him!!) to the cliché that is a man-whore having trouble settling down because of his reputation.

Being Elisa’s college bestie (of a sort) he paraded a long list of women in front of her, until the day he went out with her sister. Oh damn!! you say? Yup. Exactly. Few days after that was when she couldn’t handle being around him anymore. Oh, little bit of info (that’s not much of a spoiler) is that right before he went out with her sister, he kissed Elisa. When I read that part all that played in my head was the few seconds from Easy A where Emma Stone walks away from her best friend saying “Ooooh buuurrrnnnnn.“

A few years later Elisa is a dating coach on her way to establishing her business while coaching a young and influenced celebrity, and that’s when her path with Brett crosses again. The happenings after that are for you to find out while reading Still So Hot! 

The infamous Brett is really a good guy, somewhat misunderstood, very sweet and VERY hot! I think his character doesn’t develop much, and honestly, there’s no need for it to. I loved the lightness he brought to the story and Elisa’s sometimes tense state. He could read her and her needs very well, yet knew when to push in order to get his point across, get what he wants. Oh, and he’s a pouncer. I loved that about him. Absolutely no hesitation. LOL

Elisa, as mentioned, is tense. Yes, she’s young and content with her life, she’s got a successful business about to take off, she has her family, friends, she’s dating, although nothing much develops from those. Mostly, anything anyone would ever want. Naturally, comparing every man to Brett isn’t helping, but enough time has passed that she’s not consciously hung up on him.

And that’s what the story is about; the change in Elisa. Her character arc is pretty obvious. She is transformed from a bitter (mostly on the inside) and cold ex-best-friend to a helplessly in love woman. Her true test in this change is actually at the end, when she chooses her path.

The storyline progress and development is assisted with two pretty awesome minor characters: Celine and Steve. I love how through others’ troubles or should I say… compromising and questionable situations the MCs learn how to act in their own lives. Serena Bell managed to do that nicely here.

So yes, while Blaze novels aren’t my favorite thing, Still So Hot! is a fun, well written, extremely sexy and leaves you with a smile on your face. Brett is going to be a fantastic post-NYE cuddler. I guarantee.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

I need more Dastien. Intravenous will be just fine.

Becoming Alpha - Aileen Erin

The only thing I knew about him was that we had the same odd taste in music and that his butt looked really awesome in those jeans.

 

I. Love. PNR. And when it’s well written, has great characters *cough* especially a great male lead *cough* and a female lead that’s not a pushover… SOLD!

Becoming Alpha is alllll of the above.

 

I received a copy of Becoming Alpha from Ink Monster LLC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

When I got the email with the notice about this book, I contemplated. A lot. I have a lot to read and more advanced copies than I can chew probably, but something about this book winked at me, batted its eyelashes and got me all flustered (I’m easy that way) so I requested and was approved (thanks again!) and here’s what I think.

 

I have one word that can summarize this review perfectly but I’m not saying it now.

Tessa is a 17 year old girl (yes, they’re all 17 years old in YA) and she’s special. She’s from a long line of witches, on her mother’s side, each with her own special gift of sight. Tessa can’t touch anyone or anything without seeing what they did and feel what they felt. Her best friend is her older brother and she’s about to relocate with her family from California to Texas, in the hopes life will be easier for her.

 

Leaving LA is a feat in itself, and upon investigating a little as to the real reason they’re moving, Tessasees something she can’t explain and experiences her gift a little differently than usual. And then they arrive in Texas, where even warned to stay away from St. Ailbe’s students she manages to share a kiss with one. A kiss that changes her life.

 

Remember that word I can summarize the review with? Here it goes:

 

DASTIEN

He smiled, and his dimples showed.

 

Did I ever mention I’m a sucker for dimples?

 

I LOVE it when an author writes a great male lead, and Dastien is an excellent one. He’s hot, hot, HOT and every word I read regarding him made me all swoony. I’m quite positive that had I been hooked to an EKG machine my pulse would go nuts whenever his name appeared.

Dastien strode toward us. He wore sweatpants, no shoes, no shirt. I’d never seen anyone with a six-pack in real life before. My heart started pounding.

Personally, I’d just…

 

Back to the point: Dastien didn’t mean to bite Tessa and breaking a cardinal rule, he didn’t mean to hurt her and change the course of her life, but he did. And when Tessa wakes up changed, this story picks up and is one sweeping action tale sprinkled with the sweetest moments of first (and forever?!) love that keeps the reader enraptured.

 

Tessa’s character goes through several stages of growing up, from being almost completely isolated because of her gift to falling for an older boy in a completely new environment and everything in between. She is badass, determined, knows what she wants and knows her own value. That rarely happens with YA females and I loved it. Basically Tessa’s arc takes her from seclusion to fiercely protecting her friends and soulmate.

 

Dastien is everything. He is handsome (naturally), a charismatic leader, protective and romantic, and hot. I’ve mentioned that before, but really, that’s not a word one can overuse. And let’s not forget all the wolfy attributes; the jealousy, the agility and hot (see?) body it comes with, and all the alpha testosterone in this story… oh. my. god.

 

I’m recommending this story for anyone who’s a PNR fan, YA fan and especially of the combination. Anyone who’s not afraid to give a promising new author a shot and anyone who wants a great, well written page turner.

 

Becoming Alpha has a sequel due in a few months, Avoiding Alpha that is now highly anticipated by me. And if Becoming Alpha is any indication – it’ll be amazing. Also, the cover. I already announced I want to live in it.

 

 

My rating:  <– 5 gloriously howling wolves.

 

 

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

More. I need more!!

Bitter Sweet Love - Jennifer L. Armentrout

With Covenant done and Lux close to being done, we can all agree JLA needed to give us a new fantasy series, yes? YES!

And JLA being JLA, we’re getting something fresh and exciting!! Gargoyles. *twirls*

I don’t know why I was nervous about reading this. I guess thinking about cement monsters didn’t really excite my imagination all that much. Then again, shame on me. I know JLA can’t disappoint with her amazing creativity.

Being a female gargoyle, Jasmine is especially protected by the males in her coven. Having her heart broken by Dez 3 years ago, she is shocked to learn her best friend and the (now) man she has always loved came back, with no explanation to his disappearance and is claiming her as his mate. Since he took off right after her father announced his approval of their coupling, she cannot trust his feelings for her. Naturally.

Dez now has 7 days to prove himself to Jasmine. Since it’s her way or the highway, he agrees to help her complete a few wishes before she is mated and will most likely never get to have them come true. The problem, you ask? Some of those wishes are putting Jas in danger.

I liked Jasmine’s spunk, her love of life and freedom, and her appreciation for the little things. I adored Dez’s swoon factor, how he tries for Jas. I felt we got to know Jasmine more than we did Dez, most likely because the story is in her POV. This was a very quick read and a great short introduction to a new series. I feel like we got the basics covered so now we can dive right into White Hot Kiss. How is it not in my kindle yet? HOW?

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

“It’s Adrian Ivashkov logic. Don’t try to understand it. Just roll with it.”

The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead

Right off the bat, having read Bloodlines (duh!) I knew this is going to be a 5-star book. Now, I need to regale you with why.

All I wanted to do while reading this book was run amok around the house yelling AADRIAAAAANNNN! Nuts, right? That’s what you think. I absolutely love that boy/man/hottie/perfection of a vampire. GAH!

Bloodlines ended relatively calmly, where the only big shock was Sydney’s sister, Zoe, arriving in campus as backup/assistant combo for the alchemists. This of course makes it harder on Sydney and Adrian to keep their relationship a secret, and even worse, they barely have time to see each other. Adding to that, Adrian’s connection with Jill, the queen’s sister, leaves them with very little privacy when they are together.

Throwing in a divorce and a custody battle over Zoe that forces Sydney to pick a side, and things are beyond hectic in Sydney’s life. And let’s not forget her working on her magic studies with her professor, joining a coven and figuring out a concoction for the indigo ink. My head is spinning just thinking about it all.



Adrian, on his part is totally in love, puts time into his art studies and being his gorgeous-swoony self. Oh, and dealing with the effects of using Spirit. Spirit makes him feel high, it’s addicting, and will eventually drive him mad. That’s something Sydney is trying to help him with, since his method drives him to alcoholism.

Naturally things don’t go as planned and they both end up putting out fires more than just living their lives. Sydney being torn about her allegiance to the alchemists and living with the knowledge that not all is kosher with them, between trying to help Adrian and contemplating taking things further with him, and basically – balancing all the aspects of her life. Easier said than done.

I’ll stop blabbing about the plot itself or this post will be somewhere around 289343734620938457498368 words and just say this:

Things are exploding in this book. Big time. Taking into account the two MCs, all the not less important sideline characters and everything challenging and scary being thrown in their direction, Sydney and Adrian are dealing with a lot. A lot of which (lot) may or may not be life threatening and may or may not leaves the reader close to tears and nearly bald.



I recommend reading The Fiery Heart in book form as opposed to an e-reader. Safer for the e-reader. LOL

Nevertheless, this book is made of awesome. It brings out every feeling you can think of and some you don’t, it’s extremely well written, has a TON of swoon inducing moments that will make you all gooey inside, and it definitely packs a meaningful punch. I loved it and need the next (and last) book in the series somewhere around… now, please.



This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Brooke (Under the Never Sky, #2.5) - Veronica Rossi

YESSS!!! Another piece of the puzzle that is Under the Never Sky. This is one trilogy I’m glad is being added on to by little novellas. First it was Roar and Liv, and now we’re getting Brooke’s story. While Brooke is nasty, I’m willing to give her a chance. *whispers* and there’s the possibility for more Perry.

This little novella is exactly what I needed to calm my Ever Night craving for more Perry. So while this is Brooke’s little story, I enjoyed getting more of the fantastic world Rossi has created in Under the Never Sky.

Brooke is as selfish as ever and I doubt I’ll ever like her as a character, however, her character arc in this mini-installment is very pronounced. Brooke grows from being bitter and somewhat vindictive towards Aria, through the possibility that she still has a chance to have Perry one day, through realizing there are others who want and appreciate her, and finally to recognizing that her feelings for others indicate that Perry was never meant to be hers, that her love for him is not the right kind of love.

At that point I did feel slight sympathy towards her and the situation she’s in, having lost her best friend and the man she thought is hers, but not enough to change my mind about her. In my eyes she has yet to redeem herself.

Nevertheless, the story swept me into its magic and I enjoyed it very much.

So remember I was saying this novella tied me over? I take that back. I need more Perry now. I don’t know how I can wait more for Into the Still Blue. I’m totally ready to get back to Perry and Aria.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

2 words: Drew Evans

Holy Frigging Matrimony - A Tangled Series Short Story (Tangled #1.5) - Emma Chase

When I picked up this tiny story, I had just found out that Tangled won the Goodreads 2013 Debut Author. I was so happy for Emma Chase, and myself since I picked it in that category. And then I started reading Frigging and fell in love with Drew Evans all over again.

There’s a wedding in the works. This installment is again from Drew’s POV, about the happenings of a wedding day. That man is hilarious, mostly because of the way Chase writes him. Swoony with a twist of inner musing goofiness. In the hour it took me to read Frigging I was oscillating between being all hot and bothered, almost swooning off the bed and giggling. Sometimes simultaneously.

I’m not going to discuss this much – this is a novella after all, but just know this: if you haven’t read Tangled and consequently Frigging, I’m not talking to you anymore.

Also, I think I need Emma Chase to be my bestie. If she’s in person the same as she writes, my hunch is that life will never be boring with her around.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Before - Nicola Marsh

This short novel (or really long novella?) is a prequel to Brash, the Burlesque Bombshells series. Having not read Brash yet (released February 2013) I can only review this very objectively, so other bloggers or readers who’ve read Brash will think differently.

Jess Harper is invited by her older brother, Reid, on a business trip; a full month in Australia’s Outback. Not that any other person in whatever situation will decline such an opportunity, this comes at just the right for Jess, who’s just the night before had an unpleasant encounter. To say the least. And so she meets Jack.

Jack is a recently settled down (for now) drifter who is a cook’s apprentice at the outback ranch Jess is visiting with her brother. He is gorgeous, despite his recent past – honorable, and determined to make something of his life. Having to depend only on himself he has no other choice but to stick to his guns and hold back from his attraction to Jess.

I’d like to address Jess first. Finally, a heroine who’s not helpless. That incident I mentioned? She really surprised me with her actions and reactions. She decides what she wants to change and goes for it, a lot like Jack. She changes from a shy, demure and quiet, a good girl – to a little more brazen, going after what (or who!) she wants. Yet she manages to maintain who she truly is.

Jack, who has been homeless, for all intents and purposes, after bouncing between foster homes for most of his life, is determined to change his behavior, change his life around and make a good future for himself. He is a little brash, full of surprises (mostly to himself) and as mentioned before – honorable.

I enjoyed the plot, the originality of the twists the storyline is taking, but wish there was a little more depth to the subjective stories of the characters. To somehow give more volume to their emotions and actions.

This little novel is very well written, flows well and the ending leaves a taste for more. So for me, there will be more.


This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Dominic is Everything!!!

Before We Fall - Courtney Cole

I loooooove Courtney Cole’s words. And I looooove Dominic Kinkaide. Want to know how I knew that even before I started reading BWF? Dominic has his own prequel novella (Until We Burn) that was released early November as a serial story on Wattpad. Or available in kindle format on Amazon. Go read it and come back, because there’s a big chance this review will contain spoilers.

* Any quotes in this review were taken from the advance copy and are subject to change prior to publishing of the book.

So we know Dominic is a famous movie star, gorgeous, dark and distant, and we know he… likes… to… watch!

Before We Fall opens a few days after Until We Burn ends, at Sin’s party in Chicago. We get another glimpse at Dominic’s sexual preferences and his dark side, but we also get a very big glimpse into what he truly is inside at that party, where he saves a girl, and meets her best friend, Jacey, who will in time – change his world.

But first, Dominic Kinkaide. We are talking the ultimate sexually deviant bad boy. This guy is damaged, though we don’t know why. Dom is successful, gorgeous, dark and mysterious. He is kinky, he is cold and he is very very sad. He’s been that way for the last 6 years. The life altering is revealed about 3/4 into the story, after clues are strewn throughout the story.

Jacey, whom we’ve met in If You Leave, Gabe and Maddy’s story is Gabe’s little sister. She is beautiful, light and fun, and generally irresponsible, though she’s doing her best to turn her life around after having been burned by her ex time and again. She is pursuing a better, more stable life for herself, but she’s still drawn to the bad boys, to parties and the fun aspect of life.

It’s like he saw me. He saw that someone died because of me. He saw that there’s something so fundamentally wrong with me that my own parents don’t want anything to do with me. That I’m flawed.
He saw all of that. He looked into my eyes and saw it. And then he turned away and left me to rot in the jail cell alone.
He’s a fucking asshole.


However, Jacey has a beautiful heart. She is caring and loving and has a good sense about people. And she she’s thrown into a 3 months community service right alongside our bad boy – we get to see both their souls.

“Don’t love me,” he says simply. “Or I’ll break you. I own’t want to, but it will happen.”
I’m stunned at the utter bleakness of his words, of his voice, of the heart-wrenching expression on his face. I don’t know what happened to him to put it there.


When push comes to shove and Dominic won’t open up to Jacey about his past, he is faced with losing her forever. All over a secret that has wrongfully eaten his faith in himself, of his capacity to love and be loved.

Again, as with the first two novels in the series, the supporting characters set the stage for next novels and support the storyline beautifully. One of them is Brand – Gabe’s best friend and honorary big brother to Jacey. I had several flaily moments over him, and his role in the story is so crucial to Jacey’s journey, I’m demanding he be the next protagonist. *hint hint, shove shove, Ms. Cole*

Before you fall, you’ll fly.

As if we need more.

Courtney Cole takes no prisoners in her writing and is not afraid to tackle dark situations and somehow combine them with sexy, swoony, broken and awesome situations.

I’m aware that this review is somewhat jumble-y and a little all over the place, but I think it shows that I loved it enough to be a total idiot when trying to convey my feelings and thoughts.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Holiday Games - Jaci Burton

For some reason I forgot this was coming out so I had a nice little pre-holidays surprise with this novella. Being a Play-by-Play fan, a Riley family fan, really, I was looking forward for a little update on the early couples: Mick and Tara, Liz and Gavin and Jenna and Tyler to name a few.

I really like Jaci Burton’s writing style. Her light and charmingly flowing words make for an easy, sweeping read. Her men are always sexy and charming, and her women are diverse and determined.

This little holiday novella updates us, as expected, on the previous couples, mainly Liz and Gavin and of course, the happy, about-to-be-married Jenna and Ty. There are pre wedding jitters, tons of preparations and navigating the very different schedules the family athletes have. But for me the main event was everything that was brewing in Gavin and Liz’s little corner.

Liz, a hardass, hardcore and very sharp agent/business woman, the one you’d never in a million years thought would want to be a mother – wants a baby. Pretty much from the second she married her pro baseball hottie, Gavin. But it’s been over a year of trying and no success. So Liz being Liz, driven, always gets what she wants Liz – is stressing herself even more.

I think in retrospect, one of the stories in this series I enjoyed most was Liz and Gavin’s. It’s just always a treat to see a tough woman crack and open her heart. This novella doesn’t disappoint where they are concerned. Liz and Gavin practice, we get the steamy description, and enjoy, as always a HEA ending.

Though predictable, this is a fun and light read. I breezed through it.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

Two words: Dominic Kinkaide!

Until We Burn (Beautifully Broken, #2.5) - Courtney Cole

I have a feeling Courtney Cole loves Dominic Kinkaide so much, she made the excuse of wanting to gift her readers with a novella with a backstory of the handsome, kinky, bad boy – just so that she can write more Dom.

But you know what? Lucky us! *points at self and grins*

This is going to be short and sweet, in a kinky, cold and brutal kind of way.

Dominic is fucked up beyond belief. He has a great public image, but he is a seriously disturbed and kinky individual. He loves sex, he loves women, he loves sexual satisfaction and he especially loves watching. But his kink is driven by self abstinence of a sort. Or vice versa? I’m not so sure.

Dominic shows some redeeming personality qualities which make him an intriguing contradiction, so again – at this point I don’t know why he’s so cold and dark. But what I do know is that he treats the one woman in his life with whom he’s sexually involved on a semi-regular basis, like trash.

Whether or not she deserves it is not really the question here.

Why that is? This is the 64 million dollar question! And an answer to that we get in Before We Fall, the third novel in the Beautifully Broken series, released December 3rd, 2013.

Until We Burn is not a must read before reading Before We Fall. However, I recommend spending the hour it takes to read it just to get a deeper feel of the extent to which Dominic is damaged. Also, I absolutely loved him right off the bat. There’s something about those kinky boys.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!

All the Pretty Lies  - M. Leighton

How about that cover, ha? Up until I read the book, it made absolutely no sense to me, but now… beautifully chosen.

Not many books will keep me up half the night to finish, but I couldn’t put this one down. While dreading the next page. Then again, those are the best, the stories that keep you guessing. And my guesses were all over the place wrong. LOL

AtPL is told in alternating POVs. From the start we learn a little bit about them both, and by a little bit I mean not much other than dry facts about their lives: age, occupation and looks. We get a taste of them as individuals; Sloane wanting to break free from the sheltered life she’s led so far with 3 older brothers and a father – all cops. Hemi is a tattoo artist with a commitment issues and a take-no-prisoners agenda.

Hemi is a loner, seems like. He’s gorgeous, older and knows he’s not good for innocent, pure Sloane.

“What if I’m not that innocent?”

His lips quirk in a wry grin. “Oh, you’re exactly that innocent. I can practically smell it on you. Sweet, pure, untouched. And, if I’m being honest, I’d like nothing better than to taste that on the tip of my tongue.”


Sloane, having been protected and sheltered all her life, decides on her 21st birthday that she’s breaking free. She wants to live life to the fullest, to taste adventures and feel deep. Her first stop is the tattoo shop, where her life begins. That’s where Hemi enters it.

Hemi is a contradiction to himself. He is used to getting what he wants, since he normally just takes it, but he’s stopping himself with Sloane and she realizes that:

He’s a compelling, charismatic bundle of contradictions, I’m learning.

And having learned that, and having been told Hemi is a no-breakfast-after kind of guy, Sloane is still determined to grab life and enjoy it, even at the price of getting hurt.

“I don’t want promises. Most of the time, promises are just pretty lies. They’re words designed to make others feel better. But in the end, they’re still just lies. Disappointing lies,” I tell him in a moment of bold honesty. “So don’t worry about making me promises. I’d rather have your truth.”

But does she get it? And does she give her own?

There’s a nice character arc for both Hemi and Sloane. While Sloane grows into her independence and her own sense of what’s true and important, Hemi’s change comes more from the inside, from questioning his own truth, rather than other people’s.

Then we have Sarah, the best friend, the alibi, the partner in crime, the funny one. I love how Sarah adjusts her support and advice to Sloane as things change. She’s a true friend. However, her goal is pretty clear throughout.

“He’s a man. He thinks with his dick. As long as you keep that in mind, you’re golden.”

“You should put that on a mug.”

“I know. I’m like a modern day Confucius.”


As per Leighton’s style, All the Pretty Lies is an emotional, compelling and beautifully written New Adult romance between a man who wants to do what’s right and a woman who wants to do what’s right for her. Hemi and Sloane are both strong and intriguing characters, and I just hope we get at least a taste of them in the coming books in the Pretty series.

This review and others can be found on The Book Hammock!