The Trouble With Kissing Frogs (St. Mary’s Academy #6) by Seven Steps {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Trouble With Kissing Frogs
Author: Seven Steps
Series: St. Mary’s Academy #6

Synopsis:
SOPHIA’S KISSED PLENTY OF FROGS. HAS SHE FINALLY FOUND HER PRINCE?

The last time Sophia Johnson spoke to Josiah Walker, she gave him a fake name, a very real kiss, and a broken heart to remember her by. Now, he’s back, and handsome as ever. There’s just one problem: he hates her guts for lying to him last year. When he embarrasses her in front of the entire school, the feeling becomes mutual.

But, when Josiah is hired as her tutor and cast as her co-lead in the school play, old feelings begin to resurface and sparks start to fly.

Will Sophia resist Josiah’s charms? Or can this frog turn into her bona fide prince?

The Trouble With Kissing Frogs is a funny, emotional, enemies-to-lovers, second chance, older brother’s best friend romance. Inspired by The Princess and the Frog, it’s a tale of one girl’s journey to find her voice and find love. Grab your copy of this unforgettable young adult contemporary romance today.

St. Mary’s Academy is a young adult contemporary romance series that brings classic fairytale characters to life in a modern day, high school setting. It’s filled with angsty heroines, hot heroes, and drama galore.

Be prepared. You’ve never read fairytales quite like this.

Book 1 – The Boyfriend Agreement
Book 2 – Chasing Mermaids
Book 3 – The Golden Boy
Book 4 – Stealing Hearts
Book 5 – The Secret Lives of Princesses
Book 6 – The Trouble With Kissing Frogs
Book 7 – Rebels, Love Letters, and the Secret Crush

GOODREADS

 

Review

Loving this series!

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The Boyfriend Agreement (St. Mary’s Academy #1) by Seven Steps {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Boyfriend Agreement
Author: Seven Steps
Series: St. Mary’s Academy #1

Synopsis:
NEVER DATE YOUR FAKE BOYFRIEND’S BROTHER. TRUST ME.

Bella French is a high school junior with sky-high grades and a non-existent social calendar. So, when Jake Winstead, the most gorgeous, wealthy, and popular guy in school asks her to be his fake girlfriend, she makes a bold choice. She says, yes.

Now this wallflower is going from invisible to trending.

There’s just one problem. Jake’s very real twin brother, and Bella’s arch nemesis, Cole Winstead.

After two years of being at each other’s throats, Bella and Cole are paired up on a school project. Bella is determined to stay focused on completing the assignment but it’s hard when sparks are flying, and a boy she’s grown to hate starts to change his ways.

Stuck between two brothers, what will Bella do? Stay with Jake and ride the wave of popularity or give a beastly boy a second chance?

The Boyfriend Agreement is funny, emotional, and wonderfully romantic. Inspired by Beauty and the Beast, it’s a tale of one girl’s journey to help her friends and find love, all while discovering herself.

Grab your copy of this unforgettable young adult contemporary romance today.

St. Mary’s Academy is a young adult contemporary romance series that brings classic fairytale characters to life in a modern day, high school setting. It’s filled with angsty heroines, hot heroes, and drama galore.

Be prepared. You’ve never seen fairytales quite like this.

Book 0 – The Beginning of Forever
Book 1 – The Boyfriend Agreement
Book 2 – Chasing Mermaids
Book 3 – The Golden Boy
Book 4 – Stealing Hearts
Book 5 – The Secret Lives of Princesses

GOODREADS

 

Review

This book surprised me in more ways than one and I seriously was not expecting this!

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Favorite Romance Audiobook Performances & The Things That Make Them Great

As you may or may not know, most of the books I read are in audio form. And since I also primarily read romance, I’ve become pretty picky with the narrators and performances I prefer as I listen.

It’s very easy for a narrator or the performance to take me out of a story, but there are many times either of those two things bring the story to life.

Here are the things that make an audiobook performance great for me:

1. Perfect casting
I so appreciate authors/publishers who take the time to cast a narrator thoughtfully.  (Here’s lookin’ at you Lauren Blakely). Particularly when a novel is written in first person, it’s important that the narrator sound like how I picture the character would – there have been many times, especially in YA, where the narrator sounds far too old for the character and it takes me completely out of the story.

2. Comedic timing
Another thing that a lot of the narrators of these books get right is comedic timing. A great comedic performance can have me laughing out loud.

3. Differentiation between characters
I love books with a lot of dialogue, but it can easily get confusing remember who is speaking if the narrator does not make differences (even subtle) in their voices when they speak for different characters.

4. … But The Voices Have to be Believable
An accurate accent is important, but so is male narrators using female voices and vice versa. I’ll never forget listening to Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time and hearing the narrator change her voice for Christian… I nearly burst out laughing at a part that was supposed to be intense because it sounded exactly like the voice I use to make fun of my husband. In contrast, I’ll never forget letting my husband listen to XE Sands narrate and then telling him it was one person narrating for the male and female parts and he didn’t believe me!

5. Any audio nuances/extras are always appreciated
Even if it is just music for the chapter transitions (like in King of Code) or special music played when magic is being wielded (like in Vampire Academy) or full-cast/duet/duel narration. I also love, love, love it when there are extras at the end of an audiobook such as interviews or music.

Now it’s time to share my list of books that did everything right.

 

My Favorite Romance Audiobooks

Let’s get these first two out of the way, shall we?

Every Single Lauren Rowe Book
Why? Because Lauren narrates all of her books alongside John Lane. There is something to be said for authors who narrate their own books because you know that the way it is read is how it was intended to be heard. Also, she’s a fantastic voice actress with on-point comedic timing. As for John Lane, his deep, gruff voice somehow works perfectly for every single character in all of her books, no matter how different.

Every Single Mariana Zapata Book
This is my love letter to Callie Dalton. Mariana Zapata’s books are full of internal dialogue, most of which is incredibly hilarious, and Callie Dalton absolutely nails it every single time. Recently, Mariana has had her books done in duet narration – my favorite second only to full cast – in which there are two narrators narrating for their characters throughout the book. (Please see: From Lukov with Love and Luna and the Lie)

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Lauren Blakely is my favorite audiobook author simply because she so avidly loves her audiobook-reading fans. So much so that she orchestrated this amazing Full Cast narration – purposely casting all of the most-loved Romance Audio Narrators. This also included a hilarious and fun interview at the end!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han
Laura Knight Keating’s voice is absolutely perfect for Lara Jean. She doesn’t sound too old and not too immature. It truly sounds like she IS Lara Jean!

Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
This entire series has pretty fantastic narration, but the 5th book in the series was my all-time favorite. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with Jacob Morgan, but Jacob Morgan doing a Scottish accent? Yes. Freaking. Please. Also… we can’t forget Rose Diorio’s sweet voice which was so perfect for Poppy.

Darkly, Madly Duet by Trisha Wolfe
But, like, Joe Arden is doing an Irish accent… also this is one dark, sexy novel… the combination is almost too much to bear.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Such a swoon-worthy performance by Deacon Lee and Kyle Mason. There really isn’t much more to say about that. Also, there is a really great interview at the end of the book between the authors and narrators.

King of Code by CD Reiss
This was my first introduction to CD Reiss and Christian Fox and it was almost too damn much. Christian’s voice may just be perfect and it was perfect in this performance. I also heard that he played the transition music for each of the chapters as well (he’s a musician and a singer).

With Visions of Red by Trisha Wolfe
I will never forget the first time I listened to this book. I read the eBook before the audio came out and the second I got to Christian Fox’s chapter, I legit had to hit pause and pull the car over to take a breather because I could not handle how perfect his voice was for one of my all-time favorite heroes.

Tangled by Emma Chase
SebYo (Sebastian York) is well-loved in the romance audio world for good reason. The comedic timing was so important for this novel in particular and Sebastian absolutely nailed it.

By Your Side by Kasie West
Another YA book well cast with Caitlin Kelly as the narrator for this sweet story. Her voice fit the book and the character so well.

American Queen by Sierra Simone
Stephanie Rose’s voice is a great combination of innocent and sexy – which was, in turn, perfect for this super steamy book.

Priest by Sierra Simone
Ok. So, can we talk about how a book this freaking on fire is almost too much to handle when narrated by Jacob Morgan? Hearing Sierra’s words come out of Jacob’s mouth is bordering on excessive.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Never has an audiobook been cast as perfectly as The Hating Game. Katie Schorr’s adorable, quirky voice made me love Lucy even more. She nailed all the subtle inflections and comedic timing.

A Little Night Magic by Lucy March
OMG no one could have made A Little Night Magic as hilarious as Amanda Ronconi. She absolutely nails the sarcasm and self-depreciation like no one else.

Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank
I swear, XE Sands is a freaking magician with her accents and ability to do a man’s voice. All of the characters sounded different and there were SO MANY characters in this book!

 

 

June Wrap Up ~ Books I Read in June

As I mentioned in my previous post – June was a crazy month for me and it’s definitely spilling over into July.  We are renovating our entire house (mostly just replacing the floors), I went on vacation, my home library is completely torn apart due to renos, etc.

But… that didn’t stop me from reading! Granted, I didn’t read quite as much as I anticipated during my vacation, but I was able to read one physical book and one ebook while we were at the beach.

I wish I had a Wrap-Up video to share with you this month, but since my library is in boxes and all my shelves are pushed into one corner, I don’t have a filming space!

Anyway, here is what I had going on book-wise in June:

June Stats

  • 11 Books total
  • 8 Re-reads
  • 1 three-star book
  • 1 four-star book
  • 1 five-star books
  • 10 audiobooks
  • 1 hard copy
  • 1 eBook

 

Re-reads

Jacob and Gideon (Nightwalkers Books 1 & 2) by Jacquelyn Frank

I can’t even count how many times I’ve reread this entire series, but these first two are my absolute favorite!
Goodreads

Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers – the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer…

For 700 Years, He has resisted temptation. But not tonight…

Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He’s heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers, or the curse of the moon, his control is total…until the moment he sees Isabella on a shadowy New York City street. Saving her life wasn’t in his plans. Nor were the overwhelming feelings she arouses in him. But the moment he holds her in his arms and feels the soft explosion of her body against his, everything changes. Their attraction is undeniable, volatile, and completely against the law. Suddenly everything Jacob has ever believed is inflamed by the heat of desire…

Bring on the night.

Full Tilt & All In (Full Tilt Duet Books 1 & 2) by Emma Scott

Another perfect duet that I’ve read over and over again. I always reach for this when I want something full of angst and emotion.
Goodreads

I would love you forever, if I only had the chance…

Kacey Dawson has always lived life on the edge–impulsively, sometimes recklessly. And now, as lead guitarist for a hot up-and-coming band, she is poised at the brink of fame and fortune. But she is torn between wanting to be a serious musician, and the demons that lure her down the glittering, but alcohol-soaked path of rock stardom. A wrecked concert in Las Vegas threatens to ruin her career entirely. She wakes up with the hangover from hell and no memory of the night before, or how she ended up on her limo driver’s couch…

Jonah Fletcher is running out of time. He knows his situation is hopeless, and he’s vowed to make the most of the handful of months he has left to him. His plans include seeing the opening of his glass installation at a prestigious art gallery…they do not include falling in love with a wild, tempestuous rock musician who wound up passed out on his couch.

Jonah sees that Kacey is on a path to self-destruction. He lets her crash with him for a few days to dry out and get her head on straight. But neither of them expected the deep connection they felt, or how that connection could grow so fast from friendship into something more. Something deep and pure and life-changing…something as fragile as glass, that they both know will shatter in the end no matter how hard they try to hold on to it.

Full Tilt is a story about what it means to love with your whole heart, to sacrifice, to experience terrible grief and soaring joy. To live life with all its beauty, and all its pain, and in the end to be able to smile through tears and know you wouldn’t have changed a thing.

***FIRST BOOK IN A TWO PART DUET***
All In (Full Tilt #2) available here: http://amzn.to/2cBvM26

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Dear Aaron, From Lukov with Love, and Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Thus began my binge of ALL of Mariana Zapata’s books. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me I’ve read a zillion times, the rest were books that I’ve only read once and I came to realize that the handful I rated 4 instead of 5 stars, are actually 5 star reads. I freaking love Mariana!
Goodreads

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

★★★ 3 Star Reads

Leo by Mia Sheridan

One of my 5 star reads in June was from this author, so I thought I’d give another one of her books a shot, but this one was completely forgettable and not entirely believable despite the interesting premise.
Goodreads

Evie and Leo met in foster care as children and formed a bond of friendship. As they grew, their bond turned to love, and they vowed to make a life together when they turned 18 and were no longer a part of the system.

When Leo unexpectedly gets adopted as a teen and moves to another city, he promises Evie that he will contact her as soon as he gets there and come back for her in a few short years. She never hears from him again.

Now eight years later, in spite of the odds, Evie has made a life for herself. She has a job. She has friends. She’s content. Then a man shows up out of the blue, claiming that her long lost love, Leo, sent him to check up on her. The attraction between them is undeniable. But, should she trust this sexy stranger? Or is he keeping a secret about what his connection to Leo is really all about and why Leo disappeared all those years ago?

THIS IS A STANDALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY LEO. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

 

★★★★ 4 Star Reads

On the Way to You by Kandi Steiner

The thing that stood out the most to me with this story was the representation of depression. Even though I didn’t completely fall for the couple, I appreciated it in any case.
Goodreads

What makes you happy?

That was the question Emery Reed asked me the day we met, and I couldn’t give him a single answer. I could have said my dog, or my books, or yoga – but I just stared.

And then, I got in his car.

It was crazy to take a road trip with a stranger, but after years of standing still, he was my one-way ticket to a new life, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

We shared the same space, the same car, the same hotel room – and still, we were strangers. One day we’d be laughing, the next, we wouldn’t speak. Emery was surrounded by impenetrable walls, but I wanted in.

Discovering his journal changed everything.

I read his thoughts, words not meant for anyone’s eyes, and the more I learned about him, the harder I fell. It turned out nothing made Emery Reed happy, and I wanted to change that.

I earned his trust by violating his privacy, and as wrong as it was, it worked – until one entry revealed a darkness I never knew existed, a timer I never knew was ticking.

Suddenly, what made me happy was saving Emery from himself. I just didn’t know if I could.

★★★★★ 5 Star Reads

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

This is classic Helena Hunting that I love!
Goodreads

The New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and The Good Luck Charm delivers a Hollywood happily-ever-after where a famous heartthrob falls for his ultimate fangirl in this sexy standalone romantic comedy.

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

 

 

Where I’ve Been…

Oh, hi there!

You may or may not have noticed a bit of a dry spell here on the blog and over on my YouTube channel.

As with my previous hiatuses, this one was entirely unexpected and, thankfully, not for a bad reason at all.

First, I went on vacation the week of my birthday.

And while I fully expected to have a ton of downtime while my family and I vacationed at my friend’s condo on the beach, all I did was lay in the sun, swim, read, and spend time with my family. It was absolutely glorious and perfect.

 

Then, as soon as we got back, we started working on replacing our floors.

My sister and her husband could basically star in their own HGTV show because they’re so freaking talented when it comes to home improvement projects.

I left the floor replacement to them, but I helped by re-painting all of our baseboards and doors. (I’m terrible at DIY stuff, but they turned out ok… if you don’t look to close LOL! Meanwhile, our floors are perfect.)

It’s an incredibly slow-moving project because my sister and brother-in-law both have full-time jobs, so we’ve been doing one room one day per week. Right now only the girls’ room and the bathroom are finished.

This weekend we move onto the playroom.

We had every intention of starting in my library (which is where the front door and dining room is located), so I packed up ALL of my books and moved all of my shelves away from the walls to remove the baseboards… then we found out we had mold and had to get insurance involved.

Instead, we moved to the girls’ bedroom and are working our way from that side of the house while the mold issue is getting taken care of.

This means that I haven’t filmed in weeks since my beautiful background is a hot mess until we get to the library and everything gets fixed.

Our house has been absolute chaos. Each room in boxes and shifted around as we work on the floors room by room.

Now, I’m the youngest of four and a Gemini and a general chaotic mess in general, so it doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it’s given me a chance to go through and reorganize and unhaul a ton of unnecessary stuff. (Especially in the playroom).

I’ve been able to donate BAGS of stuff to our local thrift store and after cleaning out our hall closet last week, I was able to donate four bags of blankets to our local animal shelter.

The playroom had so many unused toys that the girls have grown out of that we donated this week as well.

As far as reading goes…

I’ve taken on the task of participating in my very on Mariana Zapata Reading Challenge.

This isn’t actually a real thing, I just felt like re-reading all of MZ’s books, so I did. I read every single one. Now, I’ve read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me about 3,000 times, but all the others I’ve only read once MAYBE twice, so going back into her backlist has been so refreshing.

I was in a bit of a slump, so it was nice to be revived again.

Mariana even let me know on Twitter that she’ll be out with a new book soon, so I’ve prepped perfectly!

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 4.15.51 PM
PS follow me on Twitter! @inloveandwords

I’ve since moved on to reading The Mister by EL James because it became available at my library and I’m so deeply disinterested in the story and characters so far, even though I’m about 20% in.

It should be noted here that I was not a fan of Fifty Shades of Gray, however, I read the entire series and I ADORED the movies. I felt like the movies were cast well and, more than anything, the cinematography and score was absolutely stunning.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things here on the blog and over on my BookTube channel. I have some pre-recorded stuff I can edit and put up while I search for a place in my crazy house to film!

I love and have missed you all! Please tell me what you’ve been up to!

The Harvest by K.B. Benson (Call of the Sirens #1) {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Harvest
Author: K.B. Benson
Series: Call of the Sirens #1
ARC received for an honest review:

Synopsis:
Sometimes the most beautiful things grow in darkness.

Iris never expected to live her life trapped on land. Nor was she prepared for what she would find there. A siren isn’t supposed to fall in love with her prey.

When Jace moved to Santa Cruz, he never imagined he’d risk his life to protect a monster. He soon finds that ancient myth has become reality. And not every pretty face is what it seems.

After Iris sings her siren’s song to Jace — a hypnotic melody that leads men to death beneath the waves — both of their worlds are turned upside down. Will Iris give in to her bloodlust or will she turn her back on everything she’s ever known?

As the tide runs red with the blood of the Harvest, Iris must choose: save the life of the human boy she loves or sacrifice her chance at humanity forever.

GOODREADS

 

Review

This book was amazing and right up my ally!

Read More

May Wrap Up ~ What I Read in May 2019

Happy birthday month to meeeeee!!!

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My birthday is June 14 and I’ve basically been celebrating since May 31 (stay tuned for a giant book haul).

Anyway, May was an AWESOME reading month for me! I had SO MANY five star reads this month and only one semi-dud.

May Stats

  • 18 Books total
  • 5 Re-reads
  • 1 three-star books
  • 3 four-star books
  • 9 five-star books (!)
  • 15 audiobooks
  • 3 hard copies
  • 1 ARC

If you’d like to hear my thoughts on these books, check out my wrap up video:

Otherwise, you can see my ratings below!

Re-reads

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Misadventures of a College Girl by Lauren Rowe
I have reread this book about a million times and will likely reread it a million more. I absolutely adore this story and the characters.
Review | Goodreads

Straitlaced freshman Zooey Cartwright has arrived at UCLA determined to have a heck of a lot more fun in college than she did in high school. What’s the first item on Zooey’s agenda before classes start in two days? Losing her pesky V card. She’s definitely not looking for a boyfriend, so where can Zooey find the right guy to do the deed and move along without a backward glance? At a party thrown by a bunch of football players, of course.

Enter Tyler Caldwell. A beast on the field and off, cocky as heck, and often wearing T-shirts with sayings like “God’s Gift to Womankind,” Tyler is most definitely not boyfriend material.

After a make-out session with Tyler leaves Zooey entirely unsatisfied, she is determined never to see him again. But her schedule lands her in not one but two of his classes, and it doesn’t take long before Tyler is giving Zooey exactly what she wants—and a whole lot more she never bargained for. Can Zooey surrender her body to this bad boy without giving him her heart, too?

*****
Misadventures is a romantic series of spicy standalone novels, each written or co-written by some of the best names in romance. The stories are scandalous, refreshing, and, of course, incredibly sexy. They’re the perfect bedside read, a ‘quick blush’ for the reader who loves a page-turning romance.

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Caraval & Legendary by Stephanie Garber
I mean, I had to prepare for Finale! I love these just as much the second time around as the first!
Review | Goodreads

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

51738
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
I haven’t read a Sarah Dessen book in at least 8 years, I was curious if it would stand the test of time and it certainly did. I love how she tackles hard topics.
Goodreads

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

51737
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads

A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?

 

★★★ 3 Star Reads

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

For some reason I just couldn’t get into this one! It was an interesting story, but it definitely didn’t hold my interest for some reason 😦 
Goodreads

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

 

★★★★ 4 Star Reads

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Fake It Til You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

This was so adorable! Nothing ground-breaking, but I did really enjoy it.
Goodreads

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

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Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

This book was pretty intense, luckily I knew that going into it. I think it got a little excessive by the end, but it was still good.
Goodreads

A Standalone FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA…

Think you know what it’s like being a baller’s girl?
You don’t.
My fairy tale is upside down.
A happily never after.
I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.
I was a fool, and his love – fool’s gold.

Now there’s a new player in the game, August West.
One of the NBA’s brightest stars.
Fine. Forbidden.
He wants me. I want him.
But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won’t let me go.

*Some aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

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Unzipped by Lauren Blakely

Had to get my required Lauren Blakely novel in for the month! This one was super sweet and funny. 
Goodreads

Wanted: Dating coach to help hot nerd win back the woman of his dreams…

Picture this – I’m ready to win back the love of my life, and I’m going big this time. We’re talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I’m good and ready this time around. After all, if you’re going to grand gesture the ever-loving hell out of a second chance, you need to pull out all the stops.

There’s only one little problem.

My college girlfriend isn’t the one who shows up when I play my “I’ll do anything to win you back” tune.

The woman who flings open the second-floor window tells me my ex doesn’t live here anymore. But she’ll help me win her back. Anything for romance, anything for a guy so willing to go big for love. And that’s what I want at first. Until I get to know my new “romance coach” and discover she’s funny, clever, and keeps me on my toes. And boy, do I ever need that.

Now I don’t want to win anyone else’s heart. I want the woman who’s been helping me all along.

Trouble is – she thinks I’m in love with someone else, and when we take off on a road trip, everything I think I know about women is about to be unzipped and turned inside out. 

***
He’s the last person I ever expected to pop into my life, but he might be exactly what I need to save the thing that matters most to me. All I have to do is not fall for him.

 

★★★★★ 5 Star Reads

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I just love Nicola Yoon’s writing style so much. I immediately saw the movie afterwards and loved it, too!
Goodreads

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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Rockstar by Lauren Rowe

It was so nice being back with the Morgan Brothers!
Review | Goodreads

It was lyrics at first sight when I saw Violet Rhodes across that crowded party. She was lights and darks, swirled together. Music in motion. And all of it while looking like a hitwoman at an Elvis convention.
I had nothing to offer the intriguing girl but a one-night stand. I figured I’d revel in my last night of anonymity before my first tour and shoot her a quick “We’ll always have L.A.!” goodbye the next morning.
But nothing went according to plan.
In one night, Violet crawled under my skin and into my bloodstream. She tattooed her name across my chest and between my legs. She became my muse. And then she was gone.
Now, months later, here she is again. And in a twist I never saw coming, it turns out Violet is ultra-violet radiation. Beautiful, ethereal light bringing with her the promise of damage and destruction.
My brain tells me to walk away from this girl, but my heart can’t stop feeling like she might be one of a kind . . . the sort of girl who comes along once in a violet moon.

ROCKSTAR is a standalone romance, the love story of Dax Morgan and the electrifying woman who rocked his world during his journey to worldwide rock superstardom.

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The Deal by Elle Kennedy

This 100% lived up to expectations. The audiobook was a huge disappointment, though. They had a female narrator reading both the female and male first-person perspectives and it was so distracting.
Goodreads

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata

FINALLY read this one and I’d forgotten how much I adore Mariana Zapata! 
Goodreads

The problem with secrets is that they’re too easy to keep collecting.

Luna Allen has done some things she would rather no one ever know about. She also knows that, if she could go back in time, she wouldn’t change a single thing.

With three sisters she loves, a job she (mostly) adores, and a family built up of friends she’s made over the years, Luna figures everything has worked out the way it was supposed to.

But when one of those secrets involves the man who signs her paycheck, she can’t find it in her to regret it. Despite the fact that he’s not the friendliest man in the world. Or the most patient.

Sometimes there are things you’re better off keeping to yourself.

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

OMG I absolutely adored this sophomore novel possibly even more than The Kiss Quotient!
Review | Goodreads

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

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Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

This book absolutely stole my heart. I had so many butterflies while reading it! (And I swear it’s not because the main character has my name.)
Goodreads

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer’s Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Best. Ending. To a series. Ever.
Review | Goodreads

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series! 

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Buzzwordathon (Round 4) TBR & Recs

This will be my second Buzzword Readathon I’ll be participating in, and this time around the buzzword is “you.”

Any form on “you” is acceptable.

This readathon is taking place June 12-June 18 – find out more here.

Watch my Buzzwordathon TBR video here

or read on below:

Buzzwordathon Recs

By Your Side by Kasie West
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An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question: What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her.

Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye.

As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyles
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Discover the love story that captured over 20 million hearts in Me Before You, After You, and Still Me.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
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Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
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Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay’s career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they’re preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian’s first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can’t get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she’s seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon’s breath, which Bael just might turn out to be….

Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren
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All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

Buzzwordathon TBR

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
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One night. No one will know.
That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

The One You Want by Gena Showalter
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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter introduces the Original Heartbreakers—about sexy bad boys each meeting their match—with a special prequel novella!

In small-town Oklahoma, reputation is everything, and Kenna Starr will do anything to overcome hers. The supposed bad girl is determined to walk the straight and narrow, a seemingly impossible task when Tall, Dark and Sexy shows up…

Rich and powerful, Dane Michaelson is every woman’s dream. When he returns to Strawberry Valley after a sixteen-year absence, he is unprepared for the redheaded girl he’s never been able to forget. She’s all woman now—and he’s never wanted anyone more. But to have her, he’ll have to break through her defenses… and surrender his own.

* First published in the 2014 anthology, All For You.

The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter
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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter introduces the Original Heartbreakers, where three not-quite-reformed bad boys are about to meet the women who will bring them to their knees.

Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has a dark and twisted past. And now, he has only one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn’t exactly this rugged bachelor’s default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…

Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it’s done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, stunningly protective, breathtakingly sexy and as tempting as sin, and the passion sizzling between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.

Everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun
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The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account.

Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, an alien sent to study Earth. Always feeling apart, even among his species, Jomny feels at home for the first time among the earthlings he meets. There is a bear tired of other creatures running in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, a turtle hiding itself by learning camouflage, a puppy struggling to express its true feelings, and many more.

The characters are unique and inventive—bees think long and hard about what love means, birds try to eat the sun, nothingness questions its own existence, a ghost comes to terms with dying, and an introverted hedgehog slowly lets Jomny see its artistic insecurities. At the same time, Jomny’s curious presence allows these characters to open up to him in ways they were never able to before, revealing the power of somebody who is just there to listen.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too is also the story behind the widely-shared and typo-filled @jonnysun twitter account. Since the beginning, Sun intentionally tweeted from an outsider’s perspective, creating a truly distinct voice. Now, that outsider has taken shape in the character of Jomny, who observes Earth with the same intelligent, empathetic, and charmingly naïve voice that won over his fans on social media. New fans will find it organic, and old fans will delight at seeing the clever words that made them fans in the first place.

Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused Alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the animals and plants of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all the earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we will all learn how sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
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From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
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Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

On the Way to You by Kandi Steiner
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What makes you happy?

That was the question Emery Reed asked me the day we met, and I couldn’t give him a single answer. I could have said my dog, or my books, or yoga — but I just stared.

And then, I got in his car.

It was crazy to take a road trip with a stranger, but after years of standing still, he was my one-way ticket to a new life, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

We shared the same space, the same car, the same hotel room — and still, we were strangers. One day we’d be laughing, the next, we wouldn’t speak. Emery was surrounded by impenetrable walls, but I wanted in.

Discovering his journal changed everything.

I read his thoughts, words not meant for anyone’s eyes, and the more I learned about him, the harder I fell. It turned out nothing made Emery Reed happy, and I wanted to change that.

I earned his trust by violating his privacy, and as wrong as it was, it worked — until one entry revealed a darkness I never knew existed, a timer I never knew was ticking.

Suddenly, what made me happy was saving Emery from himself. I just didn’t know if I could.

On Repeat by Kylie Scott

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: On Repeat
Author: Kylie Scott
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance – available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she’s forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did – which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can’t seem to let her go again.

Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

GOODREADS

Review

I loved this book from the first page.

Read More

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: Let’s Talk About Love
Author: Claire Kann
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

GOODREADS

Review

Let’s talk about how this novel was kind of a huge disappointment.

Read More