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Posts Tagged: Titles: M – O

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Sort-Of Return of a Terrible Blogger (aka Rapid Reviews #1)

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Ack!!

2017 has not been a good year for me blogging wise. Its not that I don’t want to blog I just get so overwhelmed with how far behind I am on reviews and so run away from the open blog post window and escape into a book. Which then just makes the cycle repeat. So I think that I am just not going to try. Which is a terrible thing for a blogger to say…but its October 2017 and I’m like 158 blog posts in the hole….there is no way I am digging myself out that that with any grace. lol

So instead what I am going to do is draft up a series of posts listing out the books I’ve read each month. Starting with some of my 2016 backlog….yes, I still have books to review from 2016. 

 

I will mention the book, my star rating, and will add in a line or two of thoughts for those books I remember enough to comment on. Maybe one day, for some of them, I’ll write up something longer. But for now I think that this is what I can handle and then I can start of 2018 with a clean slate. Because I do miss blogging. I’ve just been doing this for ten years and got a bit overwhelmed so I think this break has been good for me. That said here are my first Rapid Reviews.

READ IN 2016 – Part 1

1. Title: All Note Long
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story and I just loved the push and pull between these characters. They gave me all the heart-achy feels that I love and I had such a hard time putting this one down. A great end to a fun series.
Recommend: Yes!

2. Title: Interference
Author: Kay Honeyman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: This one left me wanting something more. I also did not like the main character. She was so clueless about everything, her love interest was always trying to make her look like an idiot, and her parents were just awful. I went into this one with high hopes and found it to be just so-so.
Recommend: Not really

3. Title: Even Odds
Author: Elia Winters
Series: Slices of Pi, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: So…I kind of recall reading this one but I also don’t really remember much else. GR says I read it in a day which is usually a good thing, but I made no notes. So, in the end a forgettable read.
Recommend: um…maybe? lol

4. Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Narrator: Frankie Corzo
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Parallel World
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story!! I loved how Friedman pulled off the parallel words and how she brought everything full circle for a satisfactory ending. The narrator was A+ and really helped to bring these characters to life. I wasn’t always a fan of the secondary characters (Ruby 😡 ) but I could totally relate to Summer.
Recommend: Yes!

5. Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Series: The Star-Touched Queen, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: ZOMG this MC bugged the ever loving crap out of me! Talk about your TSTL sort of heroine. I spent much of the book wanting to shake her and the rest rolling my eyes. I found the plot to be repetitive and really the only thing that kept me in this one until the end was the narrator.
Recommend: Nope!

6. Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was one of those books that I didn’t mean to start when I picked it up and then became so engrossed I couldn’t put it down. I loved these characters and the story that Stokes told. I do think that some things were a little rushed but overall just a great story that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. <3
Recommend: Yes!

7. Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was sent to me by a sales rep friend of mine and I wasn’t sure if it was a me book. But my starts, this friend gets me and the books that I like. I fell in love with these MCs and had such a hard time putting this one down. It just hit me right in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough.
Recommend: Yes!

8. Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Narrator: Christa Lewis
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Alternate History
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I went into this one with high hopes and was terribly disappointed. It was so very sssllllooowww! Nothing seemed to happen for much of the story and then you blink and its over in this crazy convoluted climatic scene. Ugh. I was annoyed more than anything and not sure if I’ll ever pick up sequel as I really don’t care about these characters.
Recommend: Maybe

9. Title: Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Annabeth Albert is a total must read author for me as she writes such wonderful characters. There is angst and heart ache and everything just ends in a happy sigh. I know when I pick up an Albert book that I’ll most likely read it in one sitting and be left wanting more and this one was no exception.
Recommend: Yes

10. Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Narrator: Ramon de Ocampo
Series: Shadow Magic, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: It took me FOREVER to start this one, not because anything was wrong with story but because I was so scared I wouldn’t like it that I was afraid to start it. But once I did I was totally sucked in. Loved these characters (HADES!!!) and this world. Such a fun, fast paced middle grade series. My only real disappointment was that they didn’t use two narrators. There were POV chapters from Lily’s POV and they would have been even better with a female narrator to go along with them.
Recommend: Most definitely!

11. Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Holy geekery goodness! I loved everything about this story. Trixie was a character that I could easily relate to and this story took me notice or at all to read. I think I had a big smile on my face for much of the book. Lots of pop culture nerd references which you don’t see a lot of in YA characters. The only real thing missing was that the romance wasn’t super romancy (i.e. not enough kissing) but there is a companion coming out so I hope to see more of these characters in that book!
Recommend: Si Senor

12. Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: I DEVOURED Illuminae and was super excited for Gemini. While I didn’t love this as much as the first I did still enjoy it. This one was a wee bit more love triangly (though not terribly so) than I would have liked. Overall this was still an addicting read and I am really curious to see where things go in the third book.
Recommend: Heck yeah!

13. Title: One Silver Summer
Author: Rachel Hickman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Gift
Rapid Review: This one seemed like it would be totally up my ally but oh my stars it was painful to read!! I did read it in a single sitting as I kept hoping for improvement but alas this one was a dud. Too many one off POVs, easy story lines to figure out and a way to annoying heroine just wrecked this one for me.
Recommend: Nope. Nope. Nope.

14. Title: Cold-Hearted Rake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Kleypas is usually an easy sell for me but I didn’t love this one as much as her others. I really wasn’t a fan of how the heroine’s sister hijacked much of the book. This is all the more annoying when you know that book 2 is the sisters book so much of what happened here should have happened there. I liked the characters for the most part those the heroine did annoy me more than I would have liked as well.
Recommend: Yes, but not to everyone

15.Title: The Deepest Blue
Author: Christina Lee
Series: Roadmap to Your Heart, Book 2
Genre: New Adult, MM Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I always love a good Christina Lee story and have been enjoying her foray into MM romances. And while I enjoyed this one there was just something missing that kept me from loving it entirely. I liked the family interactions and the push/pull between the two MCs…I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t set my heart aflutter. Still worth the read though if you stumble on it 🙂
Recommend: Yes

16.Title: Overexposed
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book 4
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Oh star this book!! Oh how these characters made my heart ache in all the best possible of ways. I could not put this book down and its totally my favorite in the series. I loved how this story progressed and how Erickson brought them to their HEA. Biggest regret is that it had to end.
Recommend: YES!!

17.Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 14
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance (Ace MC)
Rating: 3 stars
Sourced: Library
Rapid Review: This one drew me because of the Ace MC but I did feel like I was being lectured to a lot about the different types of love. It also seemed a little too, gay for you at times as well, but that may have just been my frustration with how some of the characters acted and all the lectures. I also really hated on character and wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Why oh why do I read epilogues? Overall though, I did like how different types of sexuality were explored in this book as there aren’t enough Ace characters in books.
Recommend: Yes

18.Title: Fly With Me
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: Hello sexy fly boys! I don’t read a ton of military romances but I did enjoy this one. The characters were fun and the chemistry sizzled off the page. There was lots of great banter and angst and I just rushed right through this one until I hit the end of the book.
Recommend: Yes

19.Title: Shuffle, Repeat
Author: Jen Klein
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This one started off of so adorably cute and I was loving every page. I was flying through the pages but then it all just took a turn near the end. I still liked it but it totally killed some of my enjoyment of the whole story.  Definitely worth the read though if you are looking for something cute to pass the time.
Recommend: Yes

20.Title: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters of Impending Doom
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: Frazzled, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: I don’t read a ton of middle grade but I did adore this one. Its a mix of drawing and story and it just all flowed really well. Abbie Wu is a character that was easy to identify with and the story made me laugh out loud at times. It was a super quick read and I am looking forward to reading more of Abbie’s adventures in middle school.
Recommend: Yes

Reviews Left in the Queue

2016: 30
2017: 111
Total Reviews: 138

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Off Base by Annabeth AlbertOff Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert
Published by Carina Press on January 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Contemporary Romance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Love Me Tenor, Beta Test

Place(s) Traveled To: West Hollywood, California // Coronado, California // San Diego, California

First Line(s): “What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now.

OFF BASE is the newest release from a new favorite author of mine, Annabeth Albert. I’ve been devouring everything she’s written and so was very excited to get my hands on this one. Especially since its a spin off of her #gaymers series which I adored. We first meet the main characters in OFF BASE, in CONNECTION ERROR (review coming soon) and Zack seems even more up tight than he was when we first meet him. Its a good thing that Pike worms his way into his life because he is Zack’s opposite in many ways and the two of them really work well together.

OFF BASE is filled to the brim of heart achy feels because Zack is just so tortured about who he really is. He’s been brainwashed since he was young that being gay was wrong and he’s faced nothing but homophobia since which has made it hard to be comfortable in his own skin. Things start to change when he is roomed with Ryan in the VA hospital and he starts to see another side to what he thought he always knew. I loved all the moments between Zack and Pike and the cameos of Ryan and Josiah. They all just made my heart sing. What I didn’t like was the homophobia that ran rampant throughout the book. It just made my skin crawl whenever Zack’s teammates said something or when Zack talked to his parents.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the relationship between Pike and Zack. I do wish that Zack was a little more comfortable in who he was but I understood it. I also liked watching Pike come into his own as he found his grove in teaching. I liked that he learned that sometimes the unexpected path could lead to something even better than what he dreamed was possible. And once Pike and Zack started to put their difference aside this story because a favorite enemies to lovers story. There was just so much tension between Pike and Zack that I couldn’t stop turning the pages in order to see how they would reach their happily ever after.

I find that Annabeth Albert really excels at writing a feel good story that often packs a punch to the emotions. Her characters are real and raw and they are all so uniquely drawn. Every story she tells does follow a certain path but there is always a fresh spin that keeps me coming back for more. The are quick, engrossing reads that I just suck up when I get my hands on one. I lose track of time until I hit the final page and then I am sad because I can’t read the story for the first time again. If you are a fan of MM Romances then you really want to give Annabeth Albert a try.

Add Just Drive by L.A. Witt to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You,
Published by Viking Adult on 31 December 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 481
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stortfold, England // Mauritius // Zurich, Switzerland (2007, 2009)

First Line(s): There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes is one of those books that I’d heard about but didn’t give much thought about until I saw previews for the movie version of it. I was intrigued by the previews and like many readers I decided to read the book before trying to see it. While I liked ME BEFORE YOU and found it to be a quick and emotional read the more I thought about it the more complex I felt about it. At first read, I really liked this book and the journey that Lou Clark takes in living the life that she was always meant to live. At the start of ME BEFORE YOU, Lou is stuck working dead end jobs in a small town in order to support her family. She’s shy and unassuming and completely miserable. It also doesn’t help that her family is absolutely retched to her.

Then Lou meets Will and her life changes in ways that she never thought possible. Will is a quadriplegic and is suffering from severe depression as he used to lead a very adventurous life.  When Lou first starts to work as a companion to Will their relationship is very strained but I loved watching them bother get to know each other and to grow and change from that interaction. But most of all I loved who Lou became through her association with Will. She grew into herself and became more confident and self assured and that is a message that I loved in ME BEFORE YOU. That its ok to be who you are. That you should live each day to its fullest and to always try to find wonder and adventure in even the smallest of things.

Me Before You Quote

But where ME BEFORE YOU leaves me feeling less that good is with the ending. Oh how I didn’t like how things went the way they did and it wasn’t an ending I was expecting. Well, I knew the what I just didn’t know the how and its the how that I didn’t care for. That is a message that we see all to often in books and media and its one that doesn’t paint the best of pictures. It was an easy out and one that definitely involved emotions but I don’t think that it was the right choice. There is more that I want to say on this but its hard without spoiling (well, any more than I’ve probably done) and its hard to find the right words for my thoughts.

I also didn’t like the random POV changes to Lou’s sister which only made me dislike Lou’s family more. I really wish that the entire story was told from Lou’s perspective and I wish that the ending had been a little different. If so, then I think that ME BEFORE YOU would have been a book that I was completely and utterly over the moon about. Instead I liked it, I’ll probably recommend it to some, but its not a book that I long to be able to read against for the first time. I am also on the fence on if I want to read the sequel, AFTER YOU. Its a book that has come up in my library queue but I keep tossing back and then putting back on my holds list.

I liked where Lou was at the end of ME BEFORE YOU despite all the heartbreak that she had gone through. In terms of how Lou thought about herself she was in a very good place. She was hopeful and ready to live the life she’d always dreamed about. I’m afraid that if I read AFTER YOU that will changed. Books need conflict in order to move forward after all so Lou can’t be happy in the way that I want her to be. So I may not read it. I may just keep Lou in that place where she is in my mind and continue her story in my own way.

irishdarkblue

IR - Me Before You

Add God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo to Goodreads.

Add P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel HarrisThe Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending
Also in this series: The Fine Art of Pretending
Published by Spencer Hill on 05 April 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 297
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Taste the Heat, Seven Day Fiance, Accidently Married on Purpose, The Fine Art of Pretending, You're Still the One

Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is already getting swoons from readers everywhere! We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. Known for her sweet romances, Rachel’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US, is no different! Check out everything we have for you on this amazing title and then go grab your copy today. Justin and Peyton’s story is sure to put a smile on your face and keep you turning pages long into the night!

Review

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairwood City, Texas

First Line(s): They say once rodeo gets into your blood, you’re never the same.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US by Rachel Harris is a companion story to THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING (my review) which I read and enjoyed last year. In FINE ART the main character Aly wants to date her long time crush, Justin, and uses her BFF Brandon to help her out. Things don’t work out the way Aly plans and while she finds her HEA Justin does not. I liked Justin’s character in FINE ART so was really curious to see who Harris would pair him with in THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US. In this book we meet Peyton who is a smart, quiet girl who just happens to share a past with Justin. We learn of their history via flashbacks as they reconnect in the present when they are forced to work together on a school assignment. Which Justin sees as an opportunity to win her back and Peyton sees as the worst punishment ever.

While THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is told in classic Harris style there was just something missing in it for me to love it completely. For me, the flashbacks just took away from the story as they were overly long and the lead ins to them were a bit too cliched. Learning the history of Justin and Peyton is important but I think it was just too drawn out and I wanted more of them in the now. There was just so much potential for their story and in the various class assignments that the two of them had that just weren’t really explored. But the think that bothered me more about THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US was how Peyton had a boyfriend for a good 75% of the book. I do not like love triangles and while this wasn’t as angsty as they tend to be it still could have been a cleaner story without the added complication of a boyfriend.

What I did like was how Justin and Peyton interacted together. They were cute together and their personalities fit well. I do think that Peyton was a little too forgiving but I also liked how Justin worked to prove himself to her. I liked how his character changed for the player to the committed boyfriend and I would have liked to see this story continue on for a few more chapters just to see them as a couple. Justin’s backstory hurt my heart at times as well and I thought that he was a boy who really needed a hug and I liked that Peyton saw beyond the facade and saw the real him.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US isn’t a perfect book but it is a quick read and is out just in time for beach season. This is a great book to read on the beach or by the pool as its just not overly complicated. Its a fun coming of age story with some more serious undertones as Justin and Peyton are both working through some life issues that they are both too young to deal with. I adored Peyton’s family and her BFF Faith and really wish that they’d had more on page time. In the end, I liked THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US but it I just wanted sometimes more from this story so I didn’t love it. But I do think that it will appeal to many of my readers….after all….I do tend to be harder on books than all of you. If you liked THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING then you will most likely like this one.

 

irishdarkblue

 

 

Excerpt

“Hold out your hand.” At the expression on his face, I rolled my eyes. “Just do it.” Cautiously, as if I was going to put out a cobra or something, he uncurled his fingers and lifted his palm. I dropped a small silver coin in the center. “For luck.”

Wonder warred with confusion in his gorgeous brown eyes and my heart melted.

“On this side there’s a horseshoe,” I said, my cheeks warming with a blush. “You know, the universal symbol for luck… and a small reminder of me.”

I bit my lip, hoping he didn’t think that was too corny—or that it revealed too much.

I flipped the coin over, exposing the other side, and my fingers slid across his rough skin. My breath caught. When I lifted my eyes, I found him watching me with so much intensity, so much heat, that an actual shiver rolled through me. Just like in my favorite books.

Huh. So that was what smoldering looked like. Good to know.

I swallowed hard and noticed him do the same, and nothing could hold back my smile. Justin glanced down and laughed. “Kick some ass!” he read, skimming his fingernail over my initials.

“I figured…” I cleared my throat. “I thought you could hide it in your sock or something,” I said, unable to tell if he liked the gift or not. He just kept staring at it. “If it’s dumb, you don’t have to—”

“No.”

He’d said it so quietly I almost wasn’t sure he’d spoken at all. But then he closed his hand around the coin and raised his head. Time ceased to exist as Justin’s eyes trailed across my face. I held my breath waiting and a sweet smile crossed his face.

“Damn.” He shook his head softly. “You’ve done it now.”

“What?” I asked, hoping whatever it was that it was a good thing. “What did I do?”

Justin merely shook his head again and smiled. “Wait for me after the game.” Shifting his gaze to the old concession stand, he took a step back and said, “Over there, okay?”

When I nodded, excitement lodging in my throat, making it impossible to speak, he winked and then took off to join his teammates. As I watched his cute butt in those uniform pants run across the field, a giddy grin found my lips.

 

 

 

TNHoU - Signed Books

You can order a signed and/or personalized copy of THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US now through April 8th HERE!

TNHoU - Tour Teaser 1

 

About THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US:

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

Order THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US Today!

Amazon **Barnes and Noble ** Kobo ** IndieBound

Add to your Goodreads

 

Rachel Harris - Author photoAbout Rachel Harris:

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Goodreads

 

 

TNHoU - Tour Teaser 3

 

Tour Stops

Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US– Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

March 28th

For the Love of Books & Alcohol – Excerpt

A Leisure Moment – Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

Home.Love.Books. – Review

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Excerpt

March 29th

A Crave For Books – Review

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Angel Reads – Review

Girl with a Pen and a Dream – Excerpt

Lovin’ Los Libros – Review & Excerpt

I Read Indie – Excerpt

The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

March 30th

Bookish Things & More – Review & Excerpt

Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt

Reading Adventurously – Review & Excerpt

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

March 31st

Dazzled by Books – Review & Excerpt

Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

Book Groupies – Excerpt

We All Make Mistakes in Books – Review & Excerpt

The Bibliophile Confessions – Review & Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

April 1st

Bookaholics Reading Haven – Review & Excerpt

Books Eater – Review & Excerpt

SprinkleofBooks – Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review & Excerpt

Gaga Over Books – Review & Excerpt

My fictional escape – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Collector of book boyfriends – Excerpt

Caitlin Audet – Excerpt

Andi’s ABCs – Review

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings – Review

A Dream Within A Dream – Excerpt

Defiantly Deviant – Review

Book Briefs – Review

April 3rd

The Romance Reviews – Review

Cheyanne Young – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Review

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review & Excerpt

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Blogging For The Love Of Authors And Their Books – Review & Excerpt

April 4th

The bookworms obsession blog – Review

Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

Addicted to Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Escapes – Review & Excerpt

Adventures of a Book Junkie – Review & Excerpt

The Bookish Thought – Review

Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 5th

Book it – Review & Excerpt

Julie Antonovich Reece – Excerpt

Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

YA Book Madness – Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

A Full Bookshelf – Review

April 6th

Books and Boys Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Reading Is My Bliss – Review

Behind Closed Covers – Review & Excerpt

Jackie’s Book World – Review

The Procrastinator’s Corner – Review & Excerpt

KatyaRath – Review

The book slayer77 – Review

April 7th

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

The Lovely Books – Review

thebookdragon – Review & Excerpt

Aira Reads – Review

Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt

Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt

Love & Life & Learning – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Alpha Book Club – Excerpt

Crawling Over the Pages – Review

Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt

Reviews By Rah – Review & Excerpt

All For Love of the Word – Excerpt

Library of a Book Witch – Review & Excerpt

The Bookmark Blog – Review & Excerpt

 

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THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING!

 

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo CousinsNothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Bend or Break, Book 2
Also in this series: Off Campus
Published by Samhain Publishing on 03 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 249
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Off Campus

Place(s) Traveled To: Colchester Falls, Iowa // Carlisle, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The girl whose nonstop monologue about intersectionality and film had kept him company for eleven hundred miles – from the East Coast all the way to the cornfields of Iowa – kicked him to the vurb in the pre-dawn hours, duffel bag at his feet, banjo case strapped across his back.

NOTHING LIKE PARIS is the second book in Amy Jo Cousins’s Bend or Break series and stars a secondary character from the first book, Jake. Jake was a bit of a bully in the last book and despite the reasons he thought he had the school has a low tolerance for bullies and he’s put on probation and might be kicked out. As a result he heads back to the small town where he is from feeling as though all his hopes and dreams are over and not sure where he will go from there. When he returns home he runs into his old boyfriend, Miguel. The two have some issues to work out but from the moment that their paths cross again there is chemistry. For the most part I liked their relationship and story better than OFF CAMPUS (my review) but I still had some issues with it.

Most especially with all the derogatory comments about Community Colleges. Miguel is a small business owner taking classes to get a degree and Jake kind of shits all over that. Jake thinks it would be better for Miguel to go to his big fancy school and that it was the only way for Miguel to live his dreams. But it seemed like Miguel was living his dream and that the only thing that was missing was someone to love and share that with. It seriously went up my butt sideways though all the horrible comments made on Community Colleges. Community Colleges can make for a great stepping stone to a four year college and they have some tougher and more challenging curriculums than some four year universities. Credits and that Associates degree are also transferable so I hated the implication that NOTHING LIKE PARIS gave that they weren’t, that the time Miguel spent at a Community College was wasted and he’d have to start from scratch at a four year university if he transferred to one. *hulk smash*

Nothing Like Paris Quote

My issues with how Cousins deals with Community Colleges aside, and when I strip away my ragey feelings, I did enjoy NOTHING LIKE PARIS. I have always had a soft spot for second chance romance stories and NOTHING LIKE PARIS did hit all the right notes there. I loved traveling though Jake and Miguel’s journey as their story made my heart ache. I was cheering for them all the way through to their happily ever after. Though I do wish that there had been a little bit more from that ending which felt a little inconclusive to me. Although maybe we’ll get mentions of Jake and Miguel in other books in this series so I’ll have to read them to find out.

I don’t think that NOTHING LIKE PARIS will ever be a total fan favorite for me but it was a quick read and kept me entertained on the plane ride home from Greece. Its a good brain candy sort of read that would make a good beach or crappy weather read. I liked how Cousins redeemed Jake from the first book and how he made amends for his actions. I always do enjoy a good redemption story because the characters are always so much stronger in the end. I enjoyed the bond that regrew between Miguel and Jake and they are characters that I will miss now that their book is over so I do hope that we see them again, some how, as the series progresses.

 

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Nothing Like Paris

 

Add Focus on Me by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey Quinn

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey QuinnMissing Dixie by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams,
Also in this series: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas
Published by William Morrow on 27 October 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas

Place(s) Traveled To: Amarillo, Texas

First Line(s): “I need a Michelob light, two jack and cokes, a bourbon on the rocks, and a Sex on the Beach,” a waitress named Kimberly calls to me over the crowded bar.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I continued this series all the way to its bitter end. Perhaps because my copy of MISSING DIXIE was a review book because I’m not entire sure that I cared if she and Gavin ever found their Happily Ever After. Especially when I stop and really think about this book and realize that if the two of them just talked to each on page one then the entire 300 page story could have been avoided. Now remember kids, this is 300 pages on top of a whole other book so don’t go picking this one up thinking its a standalone. You really need to read the first half of the story, LEAVING AMARILLO (my review), to get the full scope of what the heck is going on and just how frustrating these two characters are.

There really isn’t much that happens in MISSING DIXIE that couldn’t have happened in LEAVING AMARILLO. Sure some editing would have come into play but there would have been a more cohesive story that didn’t feel like it was overly drawn out. Because seriously, how often can two people angst about not being with the other person and mope about as they refuse to talk to each other. I did like Dixie a little better in this book, she was less of a doormat but still allowed herself to be emotionally manipulated more often than not by those around her. Especially Gavin who would need her desperately one moment then refuse to talk to her the next saying they could never be. Oy, talk about running hot and cold!

Missing Dixie Quote

As with the previous books, there are no shades of gray in this world. Everything is either black or white and there is no compromise. So Dixie can either act as a foster mother to a needy boy or she could have a music career as there is no way for a musician to ever possibly be a parent. *insert eyeroll here* The whole story line with Liam left me feeling a bit cold and disconnected because it just didn’t fit in the context of this book and the story of Gavin and Dixie. It was just one more thing that was put in MISSING DIXIE to draw out this story when everything should have been resolved in LEAVING AMARILLO.

I also felt that the ending of MISSING DIXIE was rushed and tied up a little too neatly. After how slow the story was getting up to that point it was all wham bam thank you ma’am this book is done. If the pacing was better than maybe I would have liked MISSING DIXIE more than I did. It wasn’t terrible but its not a book that I’ll be rushing to recommend to folks either. Though at least in MISSING DIXIE, Casey Quinn did add in Gavin’s POV to help offset the angst of Dixie. Not that Gavin didn’t have angst of his own but it was nice to see things through his eyes. It made things a little more clear when you got both sides of the story. Overall, not bad but not totally great either.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Leaving Amarillo

Add Make it Count by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Lined Up by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my reivew.)

three-stars
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Audio Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Narrator: Amber Faith
Series: The Naturals,
Published by Listening Library on 05 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Long Game

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado // Washington, DC

First Line(s): The hours were bad.

THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes first came out in 2013 and while it was on my radar then it got shuffled off to the side enough that I forgot about it. Until recently when there just seemed to be a renewed interest in the story as it was mentioned all over my social media. Not long ago I’d read Barnes’s THE FIXER (my review) and I liked her Scandal meets Veronica Mars story and so I requested the audiobook of THE NATURALS when I saw that it was available. THE NATURALS can almost be described as a teenage Criminal Minds as all the kids in the book have these natural profiling abilities. The FBI has collected a bunch of them to live together and to hone their abilities for future careers within the FBI. But of course things are never that easy when it comes to a mystery novel.

There are some added complexities to THE NATURALS first you have an eclectic cast of characters from Cassie (who is our narrator) to numbers nerd Sloane (complete with all the social awkwardness that is sterotypical of the ubersmart) and Lia the natural lie detector. And no YA book would be complete without your broody, chip on his shoulder male love interest and this one has two: Dean and Michael. Which will lead to a love triangle I am sure because you can see the beginnings of one in THE NATURALS but thankfully while there is some teen angst over liking boys and kissing boys the focus on this book isn’t the romance.

The Naturals Quote

One must suspend a lot of disbelief with THE NATURALS, not that there aren’t people out there that aren’t naturals at reading people or a crime scene but that the government would recruit and train them as teenagers. And then of course there is the complex backstories of all the main characters along with the revelation that a killer has turned up over a decade later who is killing woman in the exact same way that Cassie’s mom was killed. A case that was never solved and has haunted Cassie for a variety of reasons.

For me, THE NATURALS was a very slow story. There was a whole lot of sitting around and doing nothing with a few instances where we were supposed to be wowed by Cassie’s ability. There was a lot of angst and indecision and then things just sort of happened and boom the book was done. THE NATURALS was filled with set up and background and as such it suffered by not having a ton of plot on its own. I didn’t fully buy the mystery aspect of it and was just left underwhelmed by it all. I did like the narration of Amber Finch though like most female narrators she suffered with her male voices but overall I enjoyed her style. Her voice is soothing though which doesn’t go along well with a slow and plodding story so this was one that I couldn’t listen to when sitting still else I’d space out.

I didn’t love THE NATURALS as much as I had hoped but I do see the promise of the series.  I think that I will continue with it for at least one more book though the love triangle aspect does concern me. I’m also unsure if I’ll try the audiobook version or switch to a physical read as I liked the narrator but wasn’t all ZOMG must listen more! In the end, this was good not great and I’ll just have to see how things go in KILLER INSTINCT.

IR - The Naturals

Add I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi MeadowsThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen, Book 2
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 05 April 2016
Genres: Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight

Place(s) Traveled to: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom // Aecor City, Aecor

First Line(s): The Prince’s blood was on my hands.

If you’ve read THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) then you know what complete and utter shit that ending was. Like seriously! I’ve read terrible endings by evil authors but THIS one…my stars…Jodi Meadows didn’t pull out any stops and if I was anything like Wilhemina then I’d have been hunting her down demanding answers, and maybe a little vengeance. But I am not Wil, so instead all I could do was sit and weep as a part of my soul had been crushed by how that story ended. No really, here is an actual photo of me after I finished reading THE ORPHAN QUEEN:

a river of tears

Therefore, you should not be in the least surprised to know that the moment I was able to get my hands on a copy of THE MIRROR KING that I did so.

Push through a crowd

For me, THE MIRROR KING was a drop everything and read title because I *HAD* to know what happened next! And fortunately Meadows doesn’t putter around and she picks up the story almost immediately after THE ORPHAN QUEEN ends. Oh how I had missed all of these characters and this world. The banter between all the characters is so amazingly good that I found myself laughing in between bouts of tears as Meadows tried her damnedest to stop on my heart some more. This author, folks, she is evil incarnate. I know that comes with the territory of her being an author but really did she need to do THAT?!?!  Is it really too hard to give a HEA at say page 1? Is that too unrealistic?

Not how it works

Mirror King Quote

So, feelings aside I really enjoyed THE MIRROR KING and I am oh so very very glad this this was a duology and not a trilogy as I couldn’t have recovered from 2 books with cliff hangers. Especially with that one in THE ORPHAN QUEEN! THE MIRROR KING is filled with lots of twists and turns and gasp out loud moments along with ones that will break your heart. Seriously, this book is an emotional roller coaster but its ending is totally worth the journey in getting there. Because while the ending of ORPHAN QUEEN made me weep and toss my book across the room the ending of THE MIRROR KING made me happy sigh and clutch my eReader to my chest.

book hug

But what utterly and completely kills me with THE MIRROR KING is THAT LETTER!!! If you’ve read PERSUASION by Jane Austen (my review) then you know the sort of feels that I mean. While the letter here is more of a list it is oh so perfect of a list and oh so perfect for this story. It “pierced my soul leaving me in half-agony and half hope” much as Captain Wentworth told Anne in those final moments. There may have been an eternity* to wait between THE ORPHAN QUEEN and THE MIRROR KING but oh how it was worth it because Meadows really delivered a wonderful story that was so perfect for this world and her characters.

Though its a bittersweet ending because this story is over and there are no more words. Its really really hard to say goodbye to a beloved story and characters. That Meadows can get me so attached in just two books is truely a remarkable thing and I can not recommend this series enough. Its fantasy at its best and if you know me then you know just how hard I am on fantasy, especially YA fantasy. So well done Jodi Meadows, well done. You’re still evil but I still love you. Thanks for writing a kick ass book! *muah*

two thumbs up

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

irishdarkblue

IR - Orphan Queen

 

Add The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo CousinsOff Campus by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Bend or Break,
Also in this series: Nothing Like Paris
Published by Samhain Publishing on 30 December 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 317
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Nothing Like Paris

Place(s) Traveled To: Boston, Massachusetts // Carlisle, Massachusetts

First Line(s): His bed was missing.

I forget how I first heard of OFF CAMPUS by Amy Jo Cousins but I do recall being drawn to it because it was an opposites attract story. OFF CAMPUS is the story of Reese and Tom who are both unexpectedly sharing a dorm room at their elite college in Western Massachusetts. Tom is mostly just looking for a place to crash as he finishes up his degree after taking some time off due to a scandal that left him broke and his father in jail. Reese is openly gay and was bullied the previous year and thought that he’d be getting a single for this year in school. What’s worse is that Tom is a former jock and as Reese’s bullies were jocks they don’t get off on the right foot. What Reese doesn’t realize is that Tom is bisexual and doesn’t mind that Reese is gay, in fact, he likes his new roommate more than he wants to admit.

Off Campus Quote

OFF CAMPUS is a slow burn romance with a lot of push and pull between Reese and Tom. Reese, while attracted to Tom, decides the best way to deal with a potential homophobic jock roommate is to flaunt his flings in front of him. I do love a good slow burn story and Tom and Reese really made me smile. Even if I wanted to shake them at times because initially Reese could be such an asshole to Tom. But I did love watching the two of them come together and form a bond of friendship and then of something more. I also enjoyed most of the secondary characters in this book, especially Cash, who just brought a lot of humor into every scene that he was in. Tom was a little overly paranoid for my tastes and that aspect of his character did get old. I much preferred him when he became more comfortable in his own skin.

OFF CAMPUS was a quick read that I enjoyed a lot though the third person narration was a little off putting. The POV would shift to focus on both Tom and Reese but more time was spent with Tom and I wish that it had been a more even split. The third person narration also acted like a wall between the reader and the characters and so you don’t get them as well as you might otherwise. This story also got a little choppy and uneven at the end and there are some events that happened that left me shaking my head in confusion as they seemed to come out of nowhere. Overall though, I did enjoy this story and I liked Amy Jo Cousins’s writing enough that I am curious to check out more titles by her.

irishdarkblue

IR - Off Campus

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Make Me by Tessa BaileyMake Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful,
Also in this series: Chase Me
Published by Avon on 11 August 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Chase Me

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Southampton, New York

First Line(s): Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.

MAKE ME is the third and final book in Tessa Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series and one that I had my hesitations on after the disaster that was NEED ME (my review). But even with that slight hesitation I was still curious about Russell and Abby’s story. Fortunately, MAKE ME, was an entirely different book than NEED ME. There was no creep factor for one and Russell and Abby were just the cutest couple. Stubborn as all get out but adorable. Oh how these two made my heart ache! That is when I didn’t want to shake them for being so obtuse!

MAKE ME is definitely one of those books that would have had no real conflict if the characters just TALKED to one another. But even with that overused cliche in romance stories I still liked their story. MAKE ME does take the cake though in not have just one pointless break up…but TWO! Which while utterly frustrating at times still doesn’t lesson my enjoyment of the book. Of the three books in the series MAKE ME is definitely my favorite and contains one of my favorite declarations of love. Oh stars will Russell and Abby tug on your heart strings!

Make Me Quote

As with the previous books, MAKE ME, is filled with cameos of the other characters and its always nice to see where couples end up when their story ends. I really liked the friendship that Abby had with Honey and Roxy and how all their very different personalities just worked well together. But where MAKE ME shines is definitely in the chemistry between Russell and Abby. Russell has waited for Abby to see him and even though she pined for him too they seemed to keep missing the signals. That friends to lovers trope…oh…so cliche at times….but oh how it just makes me swoon every time.

MAKE ME is a quick read and will give you all the feels. The characters are stubborn and never listen when you yell at them what they need to do but they make you want to turn the pages to see how they get to their happily ever after. Its not a perfect story but its fun and a great way to escape when you need a nice brain candy read to distract you from life.

irishdarkblue

IR - Make Me

Add The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Whisper to Me by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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