ARC REVIEW: That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: That’s Not a Thing
Author: Jacqueline Friedland
Format: ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
Release Date: 4/14/20

Synopsis:
Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

GOODREADS

Review

I’ve never been yanked around by my heartstrings so much by a book before.

I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis before I picked up this book to read it, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I went into the novel blind, because I thought I had a pretty good idea about where this book was going, and I was so wrong.

I won’t go into detail here for that reason.

The first half of this book is told in a dual timeline. Sometimes when this happens, I find I’m more invested in one timeline than I am in the other, but that was not the case with this book. I was completely invested in both timelines from the very first page. I felt attached to the characters I was meant to feel attached to immediately.

I felt as torn as our main character, Mer. And that is not at all an easy place to be, not at all.

The first 30ish percent of this book seems like your typical novel. I thought I knew where it was going and I was comfortable with that. And then I was completely blindsided…and immediately after the first punch in the gut, I felt like I got hit again. And again. Up until the very end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how and if everything was going to be resolved. NEEDING everything to be resolved. And entirely unsure HOW I even wanted it to be resolved.

I casually read the first part of this book over a couple of days, picking it up whenever I had time. Little did I know that once I hit a certain part, I’d abandon my plan of getting to bed early and stay up all night reading fiendishly until I finished.

aside from the story itself, I loved the three main characters in this book.

Mer is not a main character I usually like so much. She’s almost overly self-sacrificing, greater-good kind of character that can be eyeroll worthy sometimes, but she isn’t perfect and she’s not annoying. She’s just a good person in a really heartbreaking situation.

Then there is Aaron, who seems like your typical almost-too-perfect rebound boyfriend and Wes, the magnetic first love.

There are a lot of typical romance tropes here, but I promise this book isn’t typical. It’s so much more and it’s a story that needed to be told.

I adored this book, these characters, and yes even the heart pumping, tear-jerking rollercoaster it took me on.

Keep in mind there are trigger warnings in this book for severe illness and loss of a parent. I’m not the best at spotting triggers, but I felt like I should mention the ones I did notice since this was an ARC.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Truth or Beard
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Format: eBook purchased from Amazon

Synopsis:
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

GOODREADS

Review

Why the hell was I sleeping on this one?

It took me a while to make my way through Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series, but I did really enjoy that one,

I will say, however, while I appreciate the way she writes, she does some repetitive things as far as the words she uses that are a bit irritating. Don’t get me wrong, Penny Reid is a gorgeous writer, but sometimes it is almost ruined by the repetitive “therefores” and “at lengths” – it makes the otherwise smooth, beautifully writing and butterfly-inducing romance read like a research paper rather than a story. I found myself trying to pretend they weren’t there so that my eye wouldn’t start twitching in annoyance.

Having said that, I am absolutely OBSESSED with this story.

If you are like me and you crave desperate LONGING in romance novels, this book will absolutely sweep you off of your feet.

I’ve never been a big fan of the country boy romance novels and the Winston Brothers series takes place in a very small, country town, and they are all big country boys, but man… if country boys are written like this, they can call their parents Mama and Daddy all they want.

To be fair, I still call my dad “Daddy” so who am I to judge?

You guys. This book was amazing from the first sentence. I fell in love with Jessica immediately.

Typically when a main character is already pining after a character in a novel, I feel like it takes a lot for me to catch up with her feelings, but I was right there with Jessica and her obsession.

I was SO excited to be completely taken off guard right from the beginning of this book. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail, but ughhh… again… the longing made my heart hurt and swell over and over again, it was almost too much to take.

I devoured this book in one late night and I don’t regret a thing

I am so excited about this series, but at the same time I’m so hungover and worried that none of the other books will live up to this one! It’s almost nerve-wracking when a first book in a series skyrockets to a favorite spot. I worry it can only go downhill from there.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Reed Rivers Trilogy
Format: Audiobooks purchased from AudibleSynopsis:
Swallowing lies has never felt so good.Reed freaking Rivers. I wouldn’t trust a word out of the arrogant music mogul’s mouth if his gold-plated tongue were notarized. The Man with the Midas Touch would say anything to get me into his bed, and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to succeed.
Indeed, the moment I laid eyes on Reed while he was speaking at an on-campus event I’d crashed, my body physically ached to feel his golden fingers—and tongue—all over me. Unfortunately, though, I can’t give into my powerful craving to jump Reed’s cocky bones. Not until I’ve figured out my best strategy with him . . .
The truth is Reed has something I desperately want. Something my heart desires even more than my body craves one night of delicious fun with the yummiest man alive. Reed assumes he’s running this game of seduction. He thinks he’s a thirty-four-year-old big cat on the prowl, and I’m nothing but a blushing twenty-one-year old field mouse with stars in my eyes.
Yeah . . . no.
As Reed is about to find out, he’s not the only cat on the hunt in this game of cat-and-mouse . . . .

 

GOODREADS

Review

I have been waiting for Reed’s book since I read The Morgan Brothers Series years ago.

My expectations were extremely high going into this series, so as excited I was, I was also a little bit worried that Reed would lose his mystique. In the Morgan Brothers books, Reed is such a force. He’s powerful, smart, ruthless, intimidating, and, honestly, pretty mean.

I worried that his character would suddenly turn into an entirely different lovesick character that wasn’t anything like he appeared to be in other novels. This was not the case. Well, not entirely, he did fall hard, but the book did what I hoped: Reed’s character didn’t change, he grew. Or, at least, you got to understand him a bit better. You got to dig a little deeper.

And the ‘how’ of that was pretty brilliant.

Making Reed’s love interest a journalist was absolutely perfect.

You know what else was perfect? Georgina.

She’s not a perfect character – I think she overreacted and was a little immature and frustrating at times, but she was also very young. She acted like someone in her early twenties would, falling into a very big relationship as she did at such a young age – with someone like Reed.

My other worry was that the heroine couldn’t possibly live up to Reed’s super-high standards. Who could bring a man like Reed to his knees?

The answer?

Georgina.

Georgina is confident and captivating. She knows her power and knows how to wield it. She’s just as talented as Reed is, if in a very different field.

Of course, Lauren nails the chemistry, the banter, and the meet-cute. Haven’t we all had fantasies of making eye contact with someone on stage who notices you out of the hundreds in the crowd? So. Swoony.

Reed remains intimidating throughout the entire book. There were moments, especially in the beginning, where I honestly felt like I was in Georgina’s shoes – so anxious about what Reed was perceiving in all of her actions. How he was going to tear it apart.

It made for such an exciting read.

Like I mentioned before Reed isn’t just the a-hole music producer who doesn’t waste his precious time of those who don’t deserve it. In this book, you also learn about his loyalty, his selflessness, and how fiercely he loves. Not just romantically, which is new for him, but platonically as well.

I think some, when reading this, may think it’s a stretch that someone like read can do all of these amazing things for people and truly not think he doing anything special, but when I tell you I know someone exactly like this – I mean it.

It’s my mom.

My mother is one of the most selfless, giving people I’ve ever known, but any time you point it out to her, she rolls her eyes and waves you off. She doesn’t see her own goodness past all her perceived faults.

People like my mom and people like Reed truly think nothing of all they have given and are willing to give because they are so focused on the negative aspects of their personalities.

I. Love. That.

And I love this series.

PS – if you love yourself some good grovel… this book SO gives it to you.


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

#-stars
As much as I love the Dream Team of John Lane and Lauren Rowe narrating her books, there could not have been a better substitute than freaking Jacob Morgan and Andi Arndt. Jacob’s freaking voice as Reed’s was SO perfect.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes

I must re-read all of the Morgan Bros, etc books!


Bookshelf Placement: YES!

I NEED THE PHYSICAL BOOKS ASAP!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars
Reed. Is. Everything.

 

 

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Series: The Brown Sisters #1
Format: Audiobook borrowed from Scribd

Synopsis:
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

GOODREADS

Review

I was 100% here for the chronic illness rep.

Read More

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1

Synopsis:
I wasn’t free of my past, not yet.

Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

GOODREADS

 

Review

This is the POV we all needed without really knowing it!

Read More

Behind the Bars (Music Street #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry *New Favorite*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Behind the Bars
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Series: Music Street #1
Format: Audiobook Available on Audible Escape

Synopsis:
When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, I became her darkest storm.

GOODREADS

Review


You guys. I’m so here for the swoony sweet hero. Give. Me. More.

Read More

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Format: Audiobook Borrowed on Libby

Synopsis:
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage

GOODREADS

Review

This is my second Katherine Center book. The first one I read was How to Walk Away and I loved that one just as much as I loved this one.

Read More

Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love #1) by Anyta Sunday

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Leo Loves Aries
Author: Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love #1
Format: Audiobook available on Audible Escape

Synopsis:
A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

GOODREADS

Review

Don’t judge this book by its cover.

Read More

Credence by Penelope Douglas *New Favorite*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Credence
Author: Penelope Douglas
Format: eBook Borrowed from Kindle Unlimited

Synopsis:
Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he…

He’s going to keep her.

GOODREADS

Review

I was scared to read this.

Read More

ARC Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams *NEW FAVORITE*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Undercover Bromance
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: Bromance Book Club #2
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review

Synopsis:
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

GOODREADS

Review

I don’t often laugh out loud while reading books, certainly not nearly as much as I did while reading this book.

Read More