4 stars, all-reviews, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, contemporary-romance, romance, standalone

(ARC REVIEW) A Five-Minute Life by Emma Scott

A Five-Minute LifeA Five-Minute Life by Emma Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Thea’s eyes widened and so did her smile, and the radiance inside her burst through the cracks of her broken mind, and I saw her.
This girl whom, if we had longer than five minutes, I’d make mine.”

description

description

description

I think it’s going to be one of my life missions to get as many people as I can to read at least one Emma Scott book.

description
_______________


♪ She takes me away to that special place… ♪

Whenever I start an Emma Scott novel, I always seem to get the butterflies all laced with nostalgic excitement because I’m starting something I already know I’m going to love! But, I also get impending feeling of loss because I know that soon enough, it’s going to end and all I’m going to do is keep thinking about how wonderful it was.

I seriously envy those of you who have the ability to read this for the first time and feel all the wondrous things only ES can make you feel.

A Five-Minute Life had so much good in it, I feel like I’m on top of the world. There was so much to be learnt in this book, which reached more than just a love story, more than just a romance about two people growing and falling and breaking and fixing. Every single one of Emma’s books touches on concepts that are real and valid in the world today.


“Your thoughts aren’t inconsequential.”

The crux of this story was based in Blue Ridge Sanitarium, where we meet Thea Hughes. A resident of BR, she suffers from the second worst documented case of amnesia where she constantly “resets” every five minutes. When Jim and Thea meet, sparks flew off the page. As Jim started falling for her, I started falling for them. It reminded me of all the romance movies you sit and watch eating a tub of ice cream in a shirt soaked in tears. It was so beautiful ❤


I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my life. She swayed like willow tree, slender and delicate, while I was the oak rooted in front of her. Between her and the world, protecting her as best as I could.

My heart is so full even writing this review and if ever you are double guessing about picking up this book or any other by ES, please do it. Not for anyone except yourself. Trust me when I say that these words are worth so much more than a shot.


♪ And if I’d stare too long… ♪

There are lines in this book that made me ache. That’s how breath-taking Emma’s writing can be… so good that it makes you sore.

This book touched so much on “broken people” and how people can break through different ways and in different manners, but that doesn’t negate or undermine the pain. I loved so many characters in this book. From Rita and Alonzo to Jim and Thea, the characters in this book were so emotionally captivating and I wanted to hug the little family that I came to love.


“Can you imagine? Loving someone so much that the thought of life without them is too unbearable?”

With all the brilliance that this book has, and trust me it’s mesmerizing. Personally, it did have certain flaws that I wish I could look the other way to and give this a 5 star rating. But, that wouldn’t be like me at all 😉 The only trouble I really had was that the chemistry between Thea and Jim often short-circuited at times. I felt like their love was raw and real, but some of what took place was often predictable.

This book is split into three “parts” and although I loved all three parts, the first section of the book will always be my favourite. Just because we get to see the pain within the beauty and how suffering can make you bloom. I truly treasured this story and I still stand true to my stance that I will read whatever Emma puts out in the future without thinking twice. I’m not scared to say that I hope her novels will be looked at as classics in the Romance genre for generations to come.


“You don’t have enough to keep loving me. Only five minutes.” “That’s all I need. That’s all I ever needed.”

View all my reviews

Advertisements
1 star, alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, don't-think-with-your-dick, it-hurts, unlikeable-characters, what-the-actual-fuck

The Mister by E.L. James

The MisterThe Mister by E.L. James

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


“Yes. For a woman dressed in a nylon housecoat, she’s hot.”

description

well i mean, at least i’ll have a new joke to tell my therapist this week. dnf @30% (i tried, i swear)

_______________


*cracks knuckles*

Let’s start by taking you on the journey. From start to finish 30% (i mean, i was finished by about 5% but I was raised to be a trooper and troop i did.)

When I first saw that Ms. James was launching a new standalone novel, my first thought like I assume all other people’s thoughts were went to FSOG. That trilogy regardless of whether it was a disaster, a passer-by or a godsend in your life, was something of a global Category 5, DEFCON 1, 10th magnitude phenomena that took the world by storm.

Having read FSOG a long time back (just the first one. unfortunately, i couldn’t troop for more.) I don’t really remember my thoughts and whether I liked it or not didn’t matter because looking back now, I don’t really like what it stands for. Yet still, I respect all those lovers of the romance because for some, It actually regenerated / originated their love for the genre.

So, I thought what better way to gather my thoughts about this author then to read her upcoming standalone. By now, her writing would have improved right? her character development and her plot skills must have enhanced somehow? their should be some any sort of improvement?

(view spoiler)


i can’t believe i put on my good crocs for this

Without even starting the book, I was cautious about the premise. A wealthy, manwhorey, newly appointed Earl starts getting the hots for his illegally immigrated with a language barrier, beautiful in pink granny panties (he actually had to point this out), apparently limited access to technology house cleaner. Before I even get into all the NO, ERIKA, NO!‘s in that… let me give you a treat.

→ Chapter One.
First fucking line.
*ahem*


“Mindless sex—there’s a lot to be said for it. No commitments, no expectations, and no disappointments; I just have to remember their names. Who was it last time? Jojo? Jeanne? Jody? Whatever. She was some nameless fuck who moaned a great deal both in and out of bed.”

description

→ We proceed to find out that his brother just died and he is currently fucking his brother’s wife.


“She is and always will be my first love, my first fuck…my disastrous first fuck. And years later she’d chosen my brother, not me. But in spite of all that, we managed to remain good friends and keep our hands off each other—until Kit’s death.”

description

→ He is now “Lord Trevethick.” When it comes to names in books, I have no problem if the author has either random-word-generated or dictionary-swallowed names in their story. But that doesn’t mean that once in a while I’ll get a name that I love to absoulte bits. This name was the only selling point in this story, it brought me comedic relief. Everytime I read it, i giggled. Maxim be thicker than a snicker.

→ The writing was so poor. It felt very amateur and I shit you not, I felt like Gollum was speaking sometimes. Both of them had inner monologues (ofcourse, we like to keep the inner goddesses here in the ELJ headquarters) that were constantly repetitive and yappy. If Smeagle was the vibe ELJ was going when writing her romance. Then yes 10/10 stars;


“She’s hot. And willing. Yes, very willing.”

 


“It was a surprise finding him here asleep. Yes. That’s it. That’s all.”

description

→ The dialogue and the monologue was all very jarring and juxtaposed. It felt like I was in the front seat of a car that kept braking and going, getting whiplash from the damn seatbelt. The writing was juvenile because it wasn’t descriptive at all. It was this then that and here’s how it made me feel a lil’


“I want to know. No. I don’t want to know. I do. I don’t. I glance at the dashboard. Shit. I’m speeding. Slow the fuck down, mate. I ease my foot off the accelerator. Steady. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Calm down.”

→ I absolutely hate when there is no character development or dimensions, something that lets you get hooked to loving the story because you’re rooting for the characters. But something I hate even more is when authors use diversity in their books and don’t even get it right. There are so many reviews coming out that note specifics on how the portrayal of Albanians is very incorrect in this book.

→ The insta love was strong with this one. In truth, the whole cliche damsel in distress getting saved by dominating and rich man that suddenly changes his ways is very overdone. But like I say in a lot of my reviews, with romance there are so many tropes that are overplayed. But there is still a way that authors can use that to their advantage and still come out with a good and gripping story! I found it very unconvincing that our male MC went from this;


“I wasn’t sure. Modeling could be mind-numbingly boring, but after I was sent down from Oxford, the work had gotten me out of bed and given me an excuse to stay in shape. I also got to meet hot, skinny women.”

to this;


“I want her…. That’s the truth. I’ve never felt like this before. Everything has happened so fast. And I still don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. But I know I can’t abandon her to those lowlifes. I want to protect her.”

→ Lastly, there was absolutely no chemistry. What there was plenty of though was WTF moments. Lines and directions that just made me jerk back because who thinks of this kinda thing? For example, there is a scene where Maxim is asleep and he unconsciously kisses Alessia. Her monologue shows that she wants it but also doesn’t at the same time (there is a lot of foreshadowing to her having a bad history with men). Right after we get this;


“ it’s not just me. Maybe she just doesn’t like men. This thought is even more upsetting, so I brush it aside.”

then this;


“All my plans, all my fantasies will be for nothing if she can’t bear to be with a man…any man. And I realize that I can’t touch her. Fuck.”

description

View all my reviews

1 star, alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, arc, insta-love-bug, romance, standalone, unlikeable-characters, unpopular-opinion

(ARC REVIEW) Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Again, but BetterAgain, but Better by Christine Riccio

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


“Can we start over?”

description

description

Writers are often told to write what you know. Even now, when I think of Shane Primaveri; I see Christine Riccio, I hear Christine Riccio, I feel like I fucking know Christine Riccio. So yes, she did write what she knew, because she wrote herself.

description
_______________


*cries in YA*

I was really hesitant to read this book, but I made an effort to read it independent of its booktube writer. I tried focusing on the story and stayed away from any reviews. It really did not let me, I felt uncomfortable, like a fly on Christine’s wall.

Firstly, I want to say that I have no problem with Booktubers getting book deals. I think that it’s brilliant that readers, reviewers and writers of Wattpad, Booktube, Goodreads and even Fanfiction are getting some seriously needed exposure. A writer can be successful regardless of how they started. We really are in a time where publishers want to take and make “smart deals,” so giving a person that has a high following a book deal is more monetarily productive than giving an indie author a shot. Which understandably, can go really swell or fucking-jump-ship awful.

This was the latter for me.

I felt like this book had a check list that needed to be fulfilled but each point was taken to the extreme and failed miserably. The check list, was the “ultimate” guide to creating a “popular” YA novel. *ahem* Hello, my name is Alex and welcome to my TED talk;


Step 1) Unique Writing

From page 1, I shit you not, page one – this book had an odd writing style. It was like it was trying to reach for poetic prose but instead fell into something riddling. For example, we are being told she is in a plane here:


“Now, I’m thousands of miles over the Atlantic in a giant hollowed-out pen with wings”

Then there were times where I think humor was added, but again maybe I’m just a soulless sock that doesn’t understand comedy. So all in all, this started pretty rough for me.


Step 2) Remember to like, be like, relatable

Of course, EVERYONE loves knowing that their issues aren’t only their own and somewhere somehow, someone else is also fighting the same issues. Enter Shane…


“Not literally. But, you know that feeling like light being circulated through your veins when you see someone cute, and all the sudden you explode all over with the thrill of said cute person noticing and acknowledging your existence as a human with whom they could potentially fall into a relationship with?”


“I smile back at him and then look away so as not to appear to be a weird statue that stares at him.”


“We’re walking down the sidewalk in London together. Pilot and I. Me and Pilot. A cute boy who’s being nice to me. Who I held a conversation with. My heart is having a dance party. It’s also wondering, is this like, a date? No, it’s not a date, but it’s like … a something.”

The romance was very two dimensional, and maybe because the characters felt under-developed to me. A lot of the time, they came off as cartoonish and unrealistic. I mean come on, if you are going to name the love interest Pilot Penn, he’s got to have something going for him? Poor guy got a name from a stationary set.

The romance was all over the shop and insta-love, and as a romance reader, I’ve read my fair share of messy love stories. Pilot was a character I really didn’t enjoy and being 50% of the romance in this story, it was really hard for me to cheer on Shane and him. The underlying cheating throughout the book added angst but it also makes me wonder why a romance is going on between them in the first place?


Step 3) Let’s add an unrealistic depiction of a mental disorder

In all seriousness, this was the asset of the book that I really didn’t gel with. Shane has social anxiety and at first, I was happy that this was represented in the book. But then, I saw her “social anxiety” and I wanted to literally curl into a ball. Whoever has anxiety or any mental disorder for that fact, knows that it is not just an excuse for awkward and odd social behavior. It is your mind coming up with 10,000 paranoid alterations of reality and it leaves you feeling completely helpless.

I hated the portrayal of anxiety through Shane and if there is one thing I cannot handle is the way people use actual mental diagnoses to sensationalize and romanticize “regular” behavior.

Like when I hear people say shit like “i like having my pens in order, i’m soooo OCD” or “wow, i hate this traffic, I’m actually gonna commit” or “shit, it’s monday tomorrow… i’m depressed”

uhmmm NO.

Also the fact that Shane is magically going to cure her anxiety and social nervousness by going to another country and falling in love and making friends and etc etc etc. is false advertising. You cannot measure mental health progress on a linear scale and say this is the start and this is the end. It’s such a distorted representation of how truly unforgiving mental health can be.


Step 4) Diversity! YAY!

Any progressive reader knows that diversity in any book is a fucking gift from heaven. I would love to have a shelf solely for diverse reads, our own voices and minority representation. Even better, I would love for those characters to be the main characters *cough cough* but moving on.

But I hate when authors force diversity, like they are doing something just to check it off. That’s not the point of what you are trying to achieve. So yes, I will give a point to Christine for trying to add diversity to her storyline but then just because I wish the execution was better, I’m going to take back half that point.

Which brings me to the character dialogue. Everyone shared the same voice. Everything ended with a ‘!’


Step 5) Writing what you know

Shane is the main character.
Shane is Christine.

I’m not even going to get into this one too much because I’m pretty sure I’ve said enough already. Everything about Shane Primaveri was Christine Riccio. Their habits, their dialogue, their hobbies… If you want to know Christine on a really personal level, then this might be for you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.

View all my reviews

5 stars, all-reviews, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, darker-than-my-soul, erotica, pop-that-cherry, romance

(ARC REVIEW) A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone

A Lesson in Thorns (Thornchapel, #1)A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The realization that everyone right now is probably throbbing with the need to come shivers over me, and I have a brief fantasy of all of them—every last one of them—using my body to sate themselves with. My mouth and my tight cunt and everything, until every last person is spent and loose.”

description

description

Ms. Simone, you filthy, dirty, brilliant woman…

description
_______________


After several cold showers…

I don’t really know where to even begin with this beautifully screwed up story. This was so enrapturing and stunningly sexy, to the point where I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s about. *sigh* I didn’t know the premise of the story when I started and I enjoyed it even more because of it. Just trust that you should go into this blind, and open your mind to all the foul and dirty creations that Sierra Simone very magically devises.

description

There are certain trigger warnings that the author posted during the cover reveal that is perhaps all you need to know:
“CONTENT WARNING: pretty boys pouting and staring at the rain, old library filled to the brim with moldering manuscripts full of secrets, aggressively bisexual, ritual deflowering of virgins, kink, angst, blood, jealousy, archival minutiae, Latin words, tragic backstories, murder, Prosecco, and a dog”

But if you’re like me, those would have only intrigued you even further. As soon as I started reading this, the atmosphere was enchanting. It almost felt like there was a sense of magical element, a paranormal asset to the setting. Thornchapel is a place, but also a feeling and you can really understand it through the writing. Which brings in how vivid and alluring the writing itself was. I loved the prose and the imagery that was given on every single page, with every single line.


“I bloom like a rose when I’m handled like a weed”

This is going to sound so fucking weird, but if you read YA; this almost gave me Raven Cycle vibes. Like a disturbed, erotic, adult version of the Raven Cycle. We had the whole crew and the mystery and history repeating itself, and slightly magical air.


“You don’t pick up on the vibe here? Like this whole place is cloistered in a strange, timeless little bubble? Like a Sarah Waters novel but with pizza delivery?”

There were so many plot twists that I never saw coming, and I began to realize that expect the unexpected works so perfectly with this book. I loved every single character and all the dynamics between them, the interwoven relationships, the sexual tension. EVERYTHING! It was so hauntingly memorable, and I’m itching to get my hands on book 2. I need more of Thornchapel and Rebecca and Delphine. I need more angst between Saint, Poe and Auden. And damn, if I don’t need me some more Becket and Sir James!!! My cute lil gang of horny, kinky adults and their dog.


“Thornchapel waited. And in a clearing in the woods, in a church ruined by thorns and time, something stirred. Something called all six of them by name.”


The Dirty Laundry

I’ve devised a naughty scale for this book:

1: blushing in public.
2: closing the kindle and waiting to get home because there is no way people won’t know what your dirty little mind is up to.
3: panty dropper
4: no need to even wear garments anymore, take the day off work and just… read… 😉

If you read this book and enjoy all senses of depravity, you will be somewhere along this scale. (Hopefully)


I can’t tell. And I can’t tell who can see what, but I do know that it’s a forcefully erotic idea. That if they wanted, my friends could see my cunt. Maybe they could pet it, maybe they could lean down and kiss it to make it feel better. I could almost cry with how much I want that.

In all honesty, I feel like “erotic” is an understatement. But yes, this book was all sorts of erotic but it was erotica with a fucking interesting storyline. I find it really hard to enjoy 100% erotica because there is often no plot or character development. This had all the wet dreams you could ask for but also had me rooting for the characters? turning pages to find out about the certain mysteries of thornchapel? wanting to slip into a coma till the sequel comes out in summer? yes.

View all my reviews

2 stars, all-reviews, arc, contemporary-romance, cute-and-cuddly, romance, second chance romance

(ARC REVIEW) Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Meet CuteMeet Cute by Helena Hunting

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


“I feel her breath on my chin. It’s fruity, like she was eating something sweet before I arrived. I wonder what that smart mouth tastes like. I wonder if she kisses like she argues.”

description

Oh Houston, we have so many problems.

description
_______________


The Story

This was surprisingly my first Helena Hunting book and I anticipated it so much! Maybe that’s why it was such a letdown for me… Anyway, when I saw the cover of this book, I thought it was just the light fluffy rom-com I needed at the moment. I’ve been on a contemporary binge at the moment and the blurb to this as well as the few advance reviews seemed to set it up really well.

Meet Cute follows Kailyn’s almost-like-fate romance with Daxton. If you’ve had the chance to read the blurb and you’re like me, you’ll see that there are elements to this story that have been done before repeatedly. The trope, the second-chance romance, the cute little kid that wins all the hearts… has been done. Yet still, I wanted to read this badly! I find that it isn’t the tropes and the overdone characters that fail, it’s the execution, and while I find this book wasn’t bad at all… It lies somewhere in the ‘eh’ scale for me.

But still, I think if you want to give this a chance when it releases; forget my review and just go into it blind. This was just personal preference and my opinion is one of many 🙂


“Sometimes the darkest tragedies bring us the brightest lights.”


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I thought that this was a cute read and I flew through it in one sitting. It definitely didn’t require any hard thinking and I sunk myself in the romance just like I wanted.

That being said, as soon as I started reading I knew the writing style was not for me. It was not descriptive, rather explanatory writing. I found it hard to flesh out the characters and bring them through life because there wasn’t a lot of emotion shown in the writing. I really do lean on descriptive prose when reading, especially a romance when the feelings of the characters matter so much. After this, I noticed that a lot of the dialogue seemed off to me. It was unrealistic and uncomfortable at times. Then other times, it was cliche and the lines were cringey;

1)

“I like her even more than I did back then. I wonder if she has any idea how sexy she is. Probably not. Which makes her even hotter.”

(It’s 2019, many women should know they are beautiful without the whole “you don’t know you are and that’s what makes it better.” please get rid of this mindset. self love is beautiful.)

2)

“I sometimes bandaged so many years ago. But I can’t cover this wound with a Band-Aid. It’s just too deep.”

(I wanted more substance to the writing? A lot of the lines felt overdone)

3)

“He makes a gagging sound, and his horrified expression returns. This is far more fun than it should be for a Friday night at the CVS in the Aisle of Red.”

(Menstruation is not disgusting, and although this was tackled slightly – I feel like it should have been made more explicit.)

Then came my set of unlikeable characters. I really didn’t like Kailyn and Daxton was okay but the only character I was really rooting for was Emme. Even the main antagonist in this story was very predictable. Lastly, the rhythm of this book was jarring at times, often fragmented. This, again is a personal issue and I’m sure many will not pick up on something so simple, but I found that the flow of the plot and the story itself was very unclear.

Overall, I really wish I liked this more. Especially because of how much I anticipated it. This does not go to say I will not read Helena Hunting in the future, I just think this one was not my cuppa.

View all my reviews

all-reviews, arc, contemporary-romance, cute-and-cuddly, romance

(ARC REVIEW) The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“It sounds dangerous.” This makes him laugh. “Dangerous, like we’d end up either naked or dead?”

description

description

This was such a cute rom-com filled with glorious belly-aching laugh out loud moments. I finished it in one sitting, and the pages just flew by! It really does play out like a movie, and you can practically see it on the widescreen while you are reading. Completely a feel good book with all the fluffy romance and sexy tidbits you’d want in one.

description
_______________


The Story

The Unhoneymooners follows Olive Torres during a honeymoon that she goes on falsely identifying as her twin sister Ami, who just got married. After a bad case of food poisoning at Ami’s wedding, the only two unaffected people are Olive and Ami’s husbands brother, Ethan. Ethan and Olive have supposedly hated each other from the moment they met each other, so they both agree to disagree and go on the honeymoon together. What starts as a fake marriage and an excuse for a free holiday soon turns into many misadventures, misencounters and misunderstandings. Soon, Olive and Ethan start to realize that they have immense chemistry between them and maybe they were wrong from the start…

Firstly, I want to call it and say that the enemies to lovers trope is going to swoop 2019 away from me like a storm. There is honestly very little that can go wrong with the trope and this book was evidently showed how electric it can be. It truly was such an easy and fast-paced read that had little bouts of sexual tension that made it unputdownable.

This was really hard to rate for me. Without giving too much away, the first 65% of the book felt like a 4 -5 star read, full with funny and lovable characters that all had their own charm. However, after that mark something felt so unbalanced and I disliked the way some issues were dealt with alongside some dynamics. Yes, it was unrealistic and the story arcs that were created have been done before, but that still did not take away from how effortless it felt to sink into Olive and Ethan’s story. I’m glad the story had no obvious insta-love aspects but during the last quarter there were some cringey lines that felt uncomfortably close.


The Romance

All this book really left me with was a strong desire to go pick up more Christina Lauren books. Not very many romance contemporaries can do that for me, so that was really refreshing. The romance between Olive and Ethan was electric, it sparked and flew off the page. I could feel their hate but I could also feel how slowly they dissolved into each others company. I really enjoyed that Olive is a strong woman that learns her self-worth and sticks up for her curves throughout the story. So all in all the romance was charming.

Once the book neared the second half, I could feel my rating drop slightly. I was initially going to give this 4 stars but knew that wouldnt be true to what I thought of the story as a whole. During the end, I started being very cautious about the way that Olive and Ethan solved their problems. With no spoilers, they didn’t really solve their problems. Then when a couple chapters passed, there was a massive reveal that I felt needed a bigger reaction from Ethan.

With that being said, I loved the family dynamic and the friendship involved with Olive and her relatives. It didn’t feel like it was a filler, it felt like it belonged and made the story all the more delightful. But still, I need more girls to stand up for girls this 2019. I really enjoyed this story and definitely will read more of the authors’ works.

View all my reviews

5 stars, all-reviews, all-time-favorites, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, lgbtq, m-m

(ARC REVIEW) Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable.”

description
description

My heart is so entirely full, it’s nearly overflowing. This book was in a word; matchless. I laughed, I loved, I cried but mostly loved every beautiful little thing that led up to the last page. Now, having finished, I wish for nothing more but to go all the way back to the beginning and start again. As readers, sometimes –very rarely– you come across a book that quintessentially becomes a mantra, a new sense of hope and a burst of something you never really knew existed.
I don’t think I will ever forget this novel.

description
_______________


On the off chance this book hasn’t already won you over…

For a glimpse on my current situation:
i’m sporting sweatpants, haven’t cooked for more than 24 hours, hair’s an absolute mess, feel like screaming how gay i am out the window, and completely abandoned my responsibilities.
my horoscope did not prepare me for this.

When this book is published, and readers pick it up for the first time, I’m going to be sitting and watching all the emotions unfurl and all the fan;art,fiction,girling commence. And while I sit and watch, I’m going to be so jealous of everyone that has the luxury of reading this for the first time.

It’s equal parts funny and loving and clever and tragic. I made a note on my kindle at page 3 stating “this is it,” because that’s how much I could feel the energy of a fucking brilliant book in my hands. The camaraderie and friendship combined with rebellion and sexy banter is almost too good to be in one novel. This is quite possibly the easiest five stars I have
ever
given.


“So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing.”
“Have you met Henry?” Alex says. “How am I supposed to do that? He has the personality of a cabbage.”

description


A Tribute

In more ways than one, the story behind Alex and Henry’s relationship is magic. There is quite a lot of politics involved, quite a lot of drunkedness and quite a lot of soft moments that make you clutch your kindle slightly tighter.


“But he thinks about Henry, and, oh. He thinks about Henry, and something twists in his chest, like a stretch he’s been avoiding for too long.”

This was an enemies to lovers romance with so much more going for it. A beautiful feeling arose throughout the book as I saw the family and the omnipresent feeling of hope through friends. Nora gave me life and made me swoon. June was someone we all need in our life, alongside Pez. Bea was the softest cinnamon role in the whole bakery and when they were all together, my heart started singing.


“Alexander, babes,” Pez says when he picks up. “How lovely for you to give your auntie Pezza a ring on this magnificent Sunday morning.” He’s smiling from what looks like the passenger seat of a luxury car, wearing a cartoonishly large sunhat and a striped pashmina.”

I wish I could go up to every one that will ever have doubts about reading this book and beg them to give it a chance. Sometimes, I’m skeptical about picking up new authors – especially, when they are debuting with a genre that means so much to me. Yet, here I am, falling incredibly in love with everything this book is and will continue to be in my life.


“Never tell me the odds.”

View all my reviews

2 stars, all-reviews, arc, contemporary-romance, double-POV, Mental health, second chance romance, slow-burn

(ARC REVIEW) The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

The Girl He Used to KnowThe Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


“Are you going to kiss me?”
He laughed. “I was planning on it, yes.”
“Okay. I’m ready.”

description
description

While I enjoyed witnessing this story unfold and truly appreciate how Graves approached certain themes within this book, my true determination to reach the last page was because of the beautiful flower we meet called Annika Rose.

description
_______________


“Romance”

While yes, this is a romance novel filled with all the kisses and warm moments you’d want in one… I’d like to think this was more-so a story of hope. Hope for a strange and gorgeously odd girl that never really got the manual for life. I loved the way we saw Annika find herself and grow through the years and tears.

This story begins with Annika meeting her ex-college boyfriend Jonathan. At the start, we don’t know why they split up or why this is the first time they are seeing each other after ten years but we know that somehow, it foreshadows to Annika’s fault. Which after finishing this book, I can most confidently say that Annika deserves so much better.


“But I will call. I’ll apologize. Ask him if we can start over. “Clean slate,” I’ll say.
Such is my desire to replace the memories of the girl he used to know with the woman I’ve become.”

The story itself moves from past to present POV’s from both Jonathan and Annika. We watch as their love unfolds and Annika becomes someone she is proud of. I won’t give away too much, and really I think it’s better if you go into this one blind. Although there were a lot of sub plots and story arcs, I felt like it was easy enough to follow.


“Where do we start?” I ask.
Will smiles. “I’ve always found the beginning to be a good place.”

Before I address the parts that I felt really took away the magic of the story. I’m going to go through the parts that I really adored. I struggled to decide whether I should give this a 2 or 3 star rating and am still hesitant. Maybe as this review writes itself, I’ll find out my final answer 😉


The Characters

Firstly, Annika has my whole heart at the moment and I am not afraid to throw down anyone who says she isn’t the purest angel. She is kind and warmhearted towards everything and although she may not understand the world around her, she knows love. Annika was truly the winning piece in this story and I felt so comfortable reading her POV. It felt like being inside her head with all the weird fragmentations and beautifully blunt observations.

Secondly, Janice. Janice was the kick ass, bad ass girlfriend that everyone needs in their life. Especially through college when everything feels like it’s constantly changing and you can’t keep up. I really enjoyed that the author put in a girl advocating another girl instead of bringing her down trope. It makes my heart sing whenever I see cliches like that kicked to the curb.

Now… for Jonathan.
My mother warned me about men like him.


“His touch grounded me and made me feel as if nothing bad could ever happen as long as Jonathan had ahold of my hand.”

I would really like to say that he was selfless, mindful of Annika’s health and disorder, loving and noble. In truth, we were made to believe he was. However, reaching the end of the novel and watching everything come to light, I saw a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The whole time we think that Annika did something, and without giving anything away – she went through such hard shit in her life and continues to blame herself for everything. Then enters Jonathan, who all but doesn’t want to give her a “second chance” because he agrees!?!?

Next comes the dialogue and trust between the two of them. By the second half of the book, it truly came across that Jonathan felt like he was just settling. Annika loved him way more than he did her and it really fleshed out that way. We saw her constantly battling to be a better version of herself and there comes a point in the book when Jonathan all but tells her that he may never find his perfect girl, so Annika is good enough.

This man frustrated the living fuck out of me. He was selfish and under the surface manipulative. He reminded me of a lot of toxic people that wear a mask in order to pretend they are actually fucking living light. Every time I thought there would be some sort of redemption and justice, he went and mentioned how pretty she was.


“There’s something about having a pretty girl on your arm and knowing she’s into you that makes you feel like showing her off.”


The Writing

Having read Graves previous work “On the Island,” I have really come to enjoy her simple yet subtly poetic writing. I loved that this wasn’t a magic dick syndrome story or another “love can cure me” one either. It showed how important it is to take hold of your own life regardless of who you want to please or who you want to be with.

Overall, I enjoyed some of the warm moments that this story had to offer, but I wish there was more. Thinking now, I feel like this is a 2.5 stars, all because of Annika and the way she held herself and her dialogue. The other half of the rating was lost due to the endless amounts of sub-plots and Jonathan. Because fuck him.

View all my reviews

3 stars, alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, contemporary-romance, erotica, romance, standalone

(ARC REVIEW) A Nordic King by Karina Halle

A Nordic KingA Nordic King by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“There’s something about the warmth and depth of her eyes that makes it impossible to think. It’s like slipping into a warm bath until you’re so enthralled you wouldn’t even notice if you drowned.”

description
description

I was really looking forward to getting into this one, and although it’s around the 2.5 rating – I enjoyed myself in some occasions.

description
____________


A Nordic King
I’m going to keep this review really short.

This is my first Karina Halle book.
I’ve heard so much about how lovely her writing and her books are, I actually squealed a bit when I saw this on my kindle.

I think I need to stop hyping books and authors in my head. It’s not fair for both parties.

When Aurora finds out that she is going to be the nanny for the two little princesses of Denmark, she never expects her boss – The King Of Denmark – to be a royal pain in the ass. King Aksel is fourteen years older than her and completely off limits – but Aurora can’t help but feel a sense of attraction to him.


“There is no one way to fall in love. It may scar you, make its mark, but that fall, that impact, is different for everyone.”

That was the main falling factor for me. I really couldn’t feel the spark or the chemistry. This book was humorous and such a little gem to cuddle up to. Yet, it seriously felt like it was lacking some sparks! With a story and a trope that has been done before, it did contain its fair few of cringe lines and cliche “the girl trips over and looks up at the guy” moments, but I actually enjoy all those if it’s paired with some killer steam.

I enjoyed many moments though and will be reading more of Halle in the future!

View all my reviews

5 stars, all-reviews, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, contemporary-romance, Mental health, romance

(ARC REVIEW) Medicine Man by Saffron A. Kent

Medicine ManMedicine Man by Saffron A. Kent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“I don’t have my pride, Willow, because I feel like a man on death row. Begging for life. Begging to live one more day. Begging to fuck you one more time.”

description
description
description

If this book isn’t proof that you should always give second chances then I don’t know what is.
I’m so wonderfully speechless.
So fucking gobsmacked, someone needs to join me on release day to raise a glass… all the glasses to Ms. Kent.

description
_______________


An Explanation

Earlier this year, I received an ARC for Gods and Monsters. After reading the novel, I wrote a review and gave it 1 star (zero stars if I could) because I thought what it was telling the readers wasn’t right. I still and always will hold strong to the points I made in that review, because all those truths are self-evident.

I even thought that I wouldn’t pick up a Saffron A. Kent novel ever again, for the sole reason that I actually hate giving negative reviews. Even through all its issues, authors work hard with their writing and publishing a novel can be one of the scariest and most vulnerable things to do.

Yet, somehow Medicine Man made its way through to my kindle.

I. was. hooked.

Not the chapter after chapter hooked, the type of hooked that had my eyes burning because I didn’t even want to blink in case I missed a second of reading. The kind of hooked that kept me up till 5 in the morning with four shots of espresso and no dinner (because who has the time to cook when YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS). The kind of hooked that made me reach the last page, and all I wanted to do was flip back to the beginning and start the journey all over again.

That kind of hooked usually never. Never happens to me.


“I can’t ignore this growing… something just under my ribcage. Something like longing but with a sharper edge. More like restlessness.”


The Plot

Let me try and win you over.


“There’s a sun stuck in my head. It’s bright and glaring. It hurts my eyes, my skull, my very bones. I shove a pillow on my face, trying to shield myself from the rays. Obviously, it doesn’t help. Because the sun is inside my head. Inside. My head.”

This is a story about a girl who purposefully fell of of a roof.
This girl isn’t well.
In fact, she’s so unwell that she has managed to trick herself into thinking that she actually is.

This is a story about a man who is broken inside.
This man is a fixer.
In fact, he can fix just about everything and everyone other than himself.

This is a story about how a girl who wants to fall to her death, yet learns to fall in love instead. With a man who wants to fix her, yet learns to fix himself instead.


“Medicine is in his blood. Like illness is in mine. My blood is tainted with poison and his is laced with the antidote.”


Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

So here’s what won me over.

This book has many trigger warnings (that was stated in the beginning, cheers). Depression and Suicide being some of the many sensitive issues that are touched upon. One of the main themes, I’d say before even the Romance was the Mental Health. Not that this book wasn’t steamy, because I’m talking panty dropping scenes, hot damn.


“Broken heart is more dangerous than a disease of the mind, though. They give you a pill to make your brain happy, but they haven’t yet made a pill for heartbreak. So there. That should teach everyone who wants to fall in love.”

However, something that perhaps resonated very deeply and hit home really hard was the way mental health was handled in this book. I thought for sure I would have to rate this book down a couple stars because magic dick syndrome has it’s little symptoms pop up here and there and there was the constant message of “Love can cure my depression.”

Except it wasn’t.

It was done so brilliantly and cleverly because of how real the narration and the bouts of insanity felt. When you have a mental health, when you have any sort of issue with your mind or body – you want to believe that everything and anyone can be your cure. You want out of your situation so badly, that you start to believe in other people more than you believe in yourself.

Willow realized that towards the end and the one and only important message that I want to plaster all over every paperback and e-book of this, is this:


“Well, as happy as you can be while living with clinical depression. Unfortunately, love isn’t a cure for it, but the love of my life is there with me every step of the way.”

 


“As much as I enjoy the fantasy of him curing me, of him being my medicine man, I know he can’t. I know in this life, the only person who can save you is yourself. I’ve been fighting to save my life ever since I was born. I don’t need him to save me.”


The Writing

There was something so special about the writing in this. The way the atmosphere and pathetic fallacy was perfect under different conditions and the way some narrative descriptions was exactly what it feels like to be in that mindset. Eerie is a word that encapsulates this book.

The cover doesn’t do this book justice. Although, it’s an okay cover – this book was so much more than just okay.

It is a pretty big ass book. In fact, that’s probably what would deter people away or cause them to lose interest. (I didn’t lose interest even once but then again, I’ve already stated how fucking addicted I was to this.)


“I’m already locked up. I’m free to be insane.”

There are two more books coming after this one revolved around some characters you see. I need them now. No, I needed them yesterday – I just didn’t know.
Although, the book deals with sensitive situations and triggering topics, it really is such a hot book. There was so much sexual tension and the burn was perfect and slow.


“I feel like I needed that, his tongue inside my mouth, tasting, sweeping, licking. Hungry. I needed to be his food, his sustenance, like he’s become mine.”

I’m going to stop gushing and end this review with a little paragraph that I re-read multiple times. My eyes began to leak and I hope yours do too because whoever is dealing with issues like our Warrior Willow is, or even other issues; it’s okay not to be okay.


“Because the thing is that it’s not my fault either. That I was born this way. It’s not my fault that sometimes things get just a little bit harder. It’s not my fault that every day I fight a silent battle. I implode. I don’t make a sound. I don’t say a word. I don’t let anyone know what I’m going through. It’s like I’m blaming myself. And I don’t want to do that anymore. I told you because it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault that some days my goal is just to make it through the day. While others make plans to ace an interview or a test or go see a movie or for a walk, I make plans to just get through the day. It’s not my fault. It’s my achievement. It’s my strength that I fight. Someone told me that I’m a warrior, and that I’m ashamed of it. So this is me…” I nod, unfisting my hands. “Not being ashamed. This is me asking for help.”

View all my reviews