ARC Review – The Risk by Elle Kennedy

 

Related image

4/5 stars

Release Date: February 18, 2019

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

*CW: drug abuse/addiction

Elle Kennedy has done it again. If you haven’t read her Off-Campus Series yet, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Elle’s new series focuses on the same school (Briar University), exploring new characters. I wasn’t in love with the first book in this series, The Chase, but this one has completely won me over. It may be, dare I say, her best book (in my opinion) right up there with The Deal, because let’s be honest, that book is unbeatable.

The Risk explores the relationship between Brenna Jensen, Summer’s best friend and daughter of the Briar hockey team’s coach, and Jake Connelly, the number 1 college hockey player in the country and star of Briar’s greatest rival team, Harvard. The Risk is another steamy, hot, tension-filled romance that will have your toes curling. The two are introduced in The Chase, and sparks were flying in the very few tense encounters shown.

the characters

Brenna Jensen might be one of my favorite female characters Elle’s ever introduced. She’s stubborn, snarky, confident, and always wearing red lipstick and leather jackets (the epitome of a bad girl). Jake Connelly might just be my favorite male character she’s ever introduced (under Garrett, of course). He’s cocky, flirtatious, seductive, cool, and hotter than hell (which he knows). They both have the “no bullshit” attitude and don’t care to hide their snide remarks and coy teasing. Jake’s not one to back down from a challenge, and Brenna’s not about to let him win anymore. But, there’s more to each character as Elle delves into their childhoods and personalities.

the plot

This book has both of my favorite tropes combined in one: fake dating AND enemies/rivals to lovers. There’s nothing I love more than steamy tension between two characters. Brenna makes a deal with Jake, and the two find out they are in way over their heads when it comes to the other person. The story follows the rivalry between Harvard and Briar, especially with the Championship just around the corner. It follows Brenna’s struggle with figuring out her plans for senior year and her terse relationship with her father and it follows Jake’s rise to stardom and his plans for when he joins the NHL next year. My only issue with the book is that it centers quite a bit on Brenna’s background/history in high school with her ex-boyfriend who is now an addict. I do not believe the intention was to make it seem like addiction was solely his fault, but it came across that way at some points. There were other ways to give her a “bad” ex-boyfriend without making him an addict.

the romance

Obviously, this is a romance book and centered heavily around Brenna and Jake’s relationship. The sexual tension between them is palpable with every encounter they have. There literally isn’t one interaction they have that’s not sizzling with desire on both ends. They explore more than just their attraction to each other, both falling for each other as more time passes though neither of them planned on it. Their constant sneaking around behind everyone’s backs slowly builds throughout the entire book as they continue their “forbidden” relationship. This is definitely my favorite relationship she’s introduced right next to Garrett and Hannah. SO! MUCH! TENSION!

 

The Risk is now live on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Image result for king of scars

5/5 stars

Synopsis: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

*includes Grisha spoilers but no King of Scars spoilers*

It’s the book we’ve all been waiting for. And if you haven’t been waiting for it, or haven’t read any of Leigh’s other books, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. I, for one, have been counting down the days for its release since she announced Nikolai would have his own spin-off series.

Nikolai, a fan favorite of everyone who has read the Grisha trilogy, now has his own journey to venture to rid himself of the demon lurking inside his body to be the man he was before the war and the king Ravka needs. With the help of his fellow friends from the trilogy, they all strive to remedy his affliction while hiding this dangerous secret from the rest of the world.

the characters

Nikolai has been my favorite fictional character ever since I read about him in the trilogy. His quick wit and arrogant sarcasm continue even when lives are at stake. Not to mention, I really fell for Zoya at the end of Ruin and Rising. All the main characters have been introduced before, so the appreciation and love I felt for them before just developed more into this novel. Genya, David, Nadia, Tamar, Tolya, and Nina star in this epic journey to save Ravka’s king along with a few new faces who I hope to see much more of with the second book (*cough* Nina’s future girlfriend *cough*). Zoya’s character was very prominent in this book. She’s the General of the Second Army and an important member of the Triumvirate. Zoya and Nikolai’s perspectives are followed the most, and there’s so much more depth to both of their characters we never saw in the trilogy. I can fully say, Zoya is my favorite “unlikable” female character ever. I will die for her a million times over. Her development is astonishing. So much has happened to her and continues to happen to her, so much growth and power in one woman. Also, a heads up for all my Six of Crows lovers, be prepared to shed some (many) tears during Nina’s chapters.

the plot

The book is divided into two parts like SoC. The first part reads a lot like a continuation of the trilogy, many of the characters are reintroduced for new readers and follows how they’ve fared since the war. The whole first part sets up how they will solve Nikolai’s problem and how they plan to keep themselves out of another war between the Shu and Fjerda. The second part follows the execution of their plans and is mainly split into 3 main events, all characters split up between the 3 plots who are all collectively working towards, essentially, the same goal. With multiple POV chapters, it follows everyone’s progression (and leaves you very anxious when a chapter ends on a cliffhanger and you have to wait a few more chapters before returning to the same characters). There are a few plot twists that had me on the edge of my seat, and I found every chapter, every scene interesting enough on its own, but that may also be because I’ve been anticipating this book forever and I had 3 days to finish the book. Without saying too much about the plot, I can say every chapter had something new happening.

the romance

For anyone who has read the sampler, it’s not really a secret that Zoya and Nikolai have a little something sizzling between them. And for those who didn’t know, now you do (I hope that’s not a spoiler). But the chemistry between them is through the roof, the ultimate power couple we all deserve. I’m not giving away spoilers, I’m just projecting onto you all my love for this ship. A boy and girl both driven by duty who cannot afford to follow their hearts, the pining hurts. Genya and David’s cute love story continues on and so does Nina’s with a new girl Leigh introduces. It’s not a romance-driven book, only mentioned in passing or the subtle little moments between characters. The main goal is to save Nikolai and Ravka.

the writing

Leigh Bardugo’s writing only gets better with time, in my opinion. It’s like her writing has matured with us as readers growing up with her books. From it being published in 2012 (I was 12) to now, when I’m 19 and following characters who are now the same age as I am, I’ve grown with them. I don’t need to tell you all how good of a writer she is. Her work speaks for herself with her books being on the NYT Bestseller’s List and the many fans she’s gathered for all her work in the Grishaverse. I absolutely cannot wait for Ninth House to release later this year to see how she writes specifically for adult genre books (and I love a good college-set book).

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Image result for the wicked king

5/5 stars

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: January 8, 2019

Synopsis: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

If any of you follow me on Twitter (@thecruelprince) you must know that I am the biggest fan of this series. I’ve been counting down the days until The Wicked King‘s release, and it was worth every bit of the wait. Now, I’m sitting here idly waiting for the final book. I never wrote a review for The Cruel Prince, and I couldn’t tell you why. I think it was just because I was busy, lazy, and already wrote a couple other reviews, so I didn’t want to do one more. I really should have, though. This review contains The Cruel Prince spoilers, but not The Wicked King.

Holly Black is truly the queen of faerie. Her writing? Exceptional. Her characters? Morally grey and beautiful. Her plot? Original and exciting. I love how she handles the concept of faeries being untrustworthy and, sometimes, sinister. Everyone will always talk about faerie qualities, and attempt to write them, but no one does it better than Holly Black. I read Tithe, and I can’t say I was very impressed with it, but, man, if her writing and development hasn’t come a long way since then. I absolutely love this series and every aspect of it, and every aspect of it is written perfectly.

Again, this book isn’t for everyone. There’s been many discussions about the romance in it and abuse. I’m not here to discuss it, for I have all my own opinions on it. If you read The Cruel Prince and didn’t like it, this review is not for you. If you were on the fence about liking it or loved it, then this review is for you.

Jude and Cardan have a whole different objective this book, new enemies to defeat and new obstacles to overcome. They have a lot to deal with relationship wise, and I’m gonna be honest, it’s a little aggravating at times. In my opinion, Cardan grew a lot as a character and king whereas Jude remained the same stagnant, murderous character. I believe all of this was intentional, because their character traits are pertinent to the development of the plot, and if Jude didn’t do the things she did, the book wouldn’t have ended the way it had. I’ll say this about the both of them: they are the exact same. They are both morally grey, untrustworthy characters. Everything that happens to them is their own doing, and they deserve it (but doesn’t mean I still can’t be mad about it). They grow a lot as a “couple” and it really shows in her writing and their actions. It’s subtle and easy to miss, and it’s what makes their relationship/partnership so great.

The book itself is exhilarating. Maybe it was partially my own excitement, but I read it all in the span of a few days, and every turn had me on the edge of my seat. Literally, it ends with the biggest cliffhanger ever. All I get is more and more betrayal, I swear. I’m regretting reading it so early just because of it, though it was all worth it.

It’s a very political book as it revolves around Cardan and Jude’s reign over Elfhame and because they have to deal with neighboring/rival courts. Black’s character development and character writing is what sets this book apart from others. Her characters are so strong, they drive the entire plot of the book. It’s hard to write great, complex characters, and she does it very well. It truly is a dark, lush book about betrayal and loyalty. Jude fights to make a place for herself at the table, she doesn’t want to find herself or belong, she wants to make herself known.

Intricate plot, riveting events leading to the climax, seductive characters and stories, and complex plot twists all make for another great book by Holly Black. The Cruel Prince proved itself to be an intelligent novel with all its moving parts, and The Wicked King follows it. It’s just as intense, only the stakes are higher this time. Jude has to prove herself, maintain control over Cardan, fix relationships, and figure out the mess with Oak all while lying to everyone around her. This series really is one where only three characters can lie, yet betrayal is found around every corner.

The Cruel Prince had me highly anticipating the next book, but after reading The Wicked King, I feel like I might die if I don’t find out what happens next after that ending.

My Ultimate Romance Masterlist (2018)

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 10.25.03 PM

If any of you follow me on Goodreads or Twitter, you’ll see that I am frequently reading romance novels more than anything. I find it so hard to write reviews for every single romance book I read as I can read multiple in a month and have no time right now to blog as it is. I’ve been waiting until I had enough recommendations to make this compilation, but I hope it was worth the wait!

  • ALL the following books listed include sexual content
  • I try to mention content warnings, but it’s been a long time since I read most of these and I apologize if I miss some (please let me know if I missed some so I can add them!)
  • There are a few freebies on Amazon (I’ll tell you which ones)!
  • These are in no specific order based on my preferences, I’m just going from my Goodreads profile
  • Books with (***) indicate personal favorites of mine
  1. Vein of Love (Blackest Gold #1) by R. Scarlett – 99¢ on Amazon!
    • Molly’s ancestors signed a contract centuries ago that promised her as a wife to a powerful demon
    • HEROINE IS 19
    • Hate to love
    • Paranormal romance
    • Alpha male hero
    • CW: some references to assault
  2. Body of the Crime (Blackest Gold #2) by R. Scarlett –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to Vein of Love
  3. A Vow of Thorns (Blackest Gold #3) by R. Scarlett – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to Body of the Crime
  4. To Crown A Beast (Blackest Gold #4) by R. Scarlett – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to A Vow of Thorns
  5. ***Filthy Gods (American Gods 0.5) by R. Scarlett – 99¢ on Amazon!
    • Prequel to upcoming series
    • Enemies (rivals) to lovers
    • Juliette secretly spends her summer working to pay her tuition at Yale, she runs into her biggest rival, and they come to an agreement: a summer affair to rid themselves of their pent up aggression/sexual tension before the new year starts
    • COLLEGE-AGED ROMANCE
    • Alpha male hero (who very much respects Juliette and her intelligence)
    • CW: references to assault
  6. ***The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Hockey stud Garrett Graham requests Hannah Wells’s help in a class he’s failing in order to stay on the team in exchange for giving her tips on how to get the guy she has her eyes on
    • Hate to love (kind of, more like ‘dislike’)
    • COLLEGE-AGED ROMANCE
    • Sports romance
    • I’ve reread this more times than I can count
    • CW: talks about rape and assault
  7. The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to The Deal
    • Stars Garrett’s best friend Dean and Hannah’s best friend Allie
    • One night stand into something more
    • Some kink
  8. The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to The Mistake
    • Stars Garrett’s best friend Logan and new freshman Grace
    • Mistakenly confuses her room for someone else’s and they have a minor hookup which develops into something more
  9. The Goal (Off-Campus #4) by Elle Kennedy – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to The Score
    • I HAVE NOT READ THIS ONE BECAUSE THE PLOT DIDN’T INTEREST ME BUT INCLUDED IT ANYWAY TO ROUND OUT ALL THE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES
    • Stars Garrett’s (last) best friend Tucker and Sabrina
    • Unplanned pregnancy after a one night stand
  10. The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off series to the Off-Campus series
    • Stars Dean’s (Book #2) younger sister Summer
    • Summer transfers to Briar U and needs a place to stay, so she joins in with Dean’s old teammates/friends, one of whom she’s had a crush on for awhile, but he thinks she’s materialistic
    • Hot, nerdy, tattooed hero
    • Heroine tries her best to not give a shit and prove she has substance
    • COLLEGE-AGED ROMANCE
    • Sports romance
  11. Bad for the Boss by Talia Hibbert- $2.99 on Amazon
    • Jennifer is new in the office, and her boss Theo surely notices
    • Age-gap
    • Office romance
    • Black British heroine
    • British-Chinese hero
    • CW: kidnapping, violence
  12. Sweet on the Greek by Talia Hibbert – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of Bad for the Boss starring Jennifer’s best friend
    • Nik is intrigued by Aria from the moment he sees her, and they strike up a deal because Nik needs help
    • Fake dating
    • Charming, nice, Greek, bisexual hero
    • Black British heroine who rocks piercings and tattoos
    • Kinky
    • Sports romance
  13. A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Small town setting
    • Evan is new in town and lives right next door to Ruth and the two start an unlikely friendship
    • Kind, thoughtful, ex-military hero who cooks
    • Black British, autistic heroine who is rude, awkward, and the town jezebel
  14. Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert – $1.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off from A Girl Like Her starring Ruth’s ex-enemy Laura
    • Laura runs away from her abusive husband to carry out her pregnancy in peace where she reconnects with her teenage love Samir
    • Moroccan-Italian hero who cares deeply for heroine and provides comfort and safety
    • Heroine trying to get her life back on track and stay safe
    • CW: mentions of partner violence, child abuse, and domestic abuse
  15. ***The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Prince Ruben visits an office for business affairs where he meets Cherry. The two are caught in the middle of a makeout by paparazzi and they have to come to an agreement: she has to come back to his home country and be his fake fiancée for a year in the public eye
    • Fake dating
    • Dominant, royal hero
    • Outspoken, vibrant heroine
    • CW: scenes of abuse, violence
  16. ***Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert – $2.99 on Amazon
    • Rahul and Jasmine have been friends for years, and when Jasmine needs a place to stay, they finally act on the feelings between them
    • Forced proximity
    • Best friends to lovers
    • Sweet, caring, patient Southeastern Asian-British hero (I believe)
    • Detached, reckless black British heroine
    • CW: mentions of alcohol dependence
  17. Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert – 99¢ on Amazon
    • Halloween/seasonal paranormal romance
    • A werewolf wants to mate his hunter
    • Murderous banter
    • Forbidden lust/love
    • SUPER SHORT
  18. Operation Atonement by Talia Hibbert – FREE WITH E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION TO TALIA’S WEBSITE!
    • Adam and Dionne meet at a wedding, and he’s immediately interested
    • Irish hero who will do anything for heroine’s attention
    • Black British heroine with past secrets and a closed-off personality
  19. Always with You by Talia Hibbert – FREE WITH E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION TO TALIA’S WEBSITE
    • Friends to lovers who have been into each other for awhile, but haven’t acted upon it until now
    • Super short read
  20. Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau –$2.99 on Amazon
    • The title says it all
    • Naomi needs a fake date for a weekend getaway with her friends and ex, so her brother asks his best friend to step in
    • Recluse, writer hero who wants to be kept out of all drama
    • Outgoing, energetic, Asian heroine who wants her brother’s best friend to see her for who she truly is
  21. ***The Gentleman Mentor by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Brie needs help with embracing her sexuality and contacts Hale, a gentleman mentor and Dom to assist her in feeling comfortable in the bedroom so she can seduce the guy she’s been pining after
    • Dominant, secretive, non-committal hero who teaches sex
    • Shy, determined heroine who is willing to try anything
    • KINKY, BDSM
  22. Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1) by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • The two frequent the same coffee shop, and one day she slips him her number
    • Demanding, stern, possessive alpha hero who runs an escort service with his brothers
    • Shy, innocent, bookworm librarian who is not so innocent after all
  23. Dirty Little Promise (Forbidden Desires #2) by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to Dirty Little Secret
  24. Torrid Little Affair (Forbidden Desires #3) by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of Dirty Little Secret starring Gavin’s brother Cooper and his new assistant as he tries to get over someone else
    • Fun-loving, scandalous hero who uses sex to get over another girl
    • Caring, secretive, bold heroine who is dealing with a lot tbh
  25. ***Tempting Little Tease (Forbidden Desires #4) by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of the first 3 in this series starring Gavin and Cooper’s older brother Quinn
    • Alessandra steps in to tutor Quinn in Italian before she leaves for Italy in a month with a one-way ticket
    • Age gap (heroine is 22 I believe)
    • Stoic, serious hero who is willing to bend over backwards for the heroine to show her he’s all in
    • Young, inexperienced, confident heroine who is making the most of the situation before she will inevitably leave him
  26. Bro Code by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Barrett is in town to celebrate the retirement of his best friend’s dad and is forced to stay in their home where his younger sister also happens to be staying as well
    • Forbidden/off-limits love
    • Forced proximity
    • Stubborn, serious hero who is determined to not cross that line 😉
    • Equally stubborn, serious heroine who just wants to have fun with the man of her wet dreams before she takes on the biggest challenge of her life
  27. The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Sterling and Camryn could be considered as more of acquaintances rather than friends, and now she has to find him a wife within 6 months or he risks losing a huge inheritance
    • Forced proximity
    • Forbidden (or so the hero thinks) romance
    • Focused, driven, struggling heroine who only wants to get the job done, get her money, and get her life together
    • Persistent, successful, charming, alpha male, British hero who has to turn his whole life around now
  28. King of Wall Street by Louise Bay –$3.99 on Amazon
    • CEO and single dad Max King rules Wall Street, yet he can’t help but get distracted at the new junior researcher Harper Jayne
    • Forbidden office romance
    • Light BDSM
    • Dominant, caring, complex alpha male hero who has a few kinks up his sleeve
    • Smart, loyal, determined heroine who knows what she wants
  29. Signed by Marni Mann –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Talent agent Brett Young finds himself attracted to America’s sweetheart James Rayne. After a spicy hookup, he signs her as a client as they try to salvage her reputation after a scandal
    • Age gap
    • HEROINE IS 18
    • Stubborn, focused hero who tries to save heroine’s career while also trying keep his hands off her
    • Young, easy-going, trusting heroine trying to save her own career while also keeping her hands off her agent
  30. ***Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1) by Alisha Rai – $5.99 on Amazon
    • Nicholas and Livvy have a deal: one night a year they get together for a one night stand despite their long history with each other. Then, she doesn’t show up, but she does turn up back in town
    • Driven, Asian, “unlikable” (as seem by others) tattoo artist heroine
    • Powerful, successful business owning hero
    • Family friends turned enemies by betrayal
  31. ***A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Akira’s been attracted to Jacob for over a decade but nothing’s ever happened as much as she wishes it would
    • Powerful, sultry, businesswoman, Asian heroine
    • Aloof, focused, responsible author hero
    • Kinky
  32. Play With Me (Bedroom Games #1) by Alisha Rai – FREE! on Amazon
    • I also don’t remember much of this book
    • Tatiana and Wyatt have a history together, but now that they’re older, can it turn into something more?
  33. Risk and Reward (Bedroom Games #2) by Alisha Rai –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to Play With Me
  34. Long for Me (Luminous #3) by Stacey Lynn – $3.99 on Amazon
    • Rebecca runs into her boss at a BDSM club and they agree on one night; what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but they can’t get the other out of their heads
    • VERY KINKY! BDSM!
    • Forbidden office romance
    • I have not read the previous books in this series, and this one made complete sense on its own
    • Alpha male, dominant hero
    • Driven, submissive heroine
  35. The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights #1) by Thea de Salle – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Sol DuMont owns his own hotel in New Orleans, yet he’s lost interest in his partying ways until Rain checks in trying to escape pressures of her family and backlash from the media
    • Age gap
    • Kinky affair
    • Dogs! Corgis!
    • Insta-love
    • Successful, fun, bisexual hero
    • Eager, heiress, fat heroine
  36. The Lady of Royale Street (NOLA Nights #3) by Thea de Salle – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to The Queen of Dauphine Street (which I did not read, but it’s also a spinoff of The King of Bourbon Street)
    • Follows Sol’s brother Alex, his best man, and his budding relationship with Theresa, Rain’s maid of honor
    • Forced proximity
    • Fun, outgoing, lively, witty, outspoken heroine
    • Stern, focused, serious, “a kettle perpetually whistling as it boils itself to death” hero
  37. Haven (Beards and Bondage #1) by Rebekah Weatherspoon – $4.99 on Amazon
    • Claudia’s life turns upside down when she has to fight for survival after a getaway turns deadly. She turns up on Shepard’s doorstep for refuge and the two reconnect after a couple months apart to deal with the emotional trauma of that night
    • Linked by tragedy
    • CW: References to violence, death
    • Cuddly dog
    • Heavy BDSM
    • Traumatized, recovering, city-girl, fashionista, black heroine
    • Secluded, cranky, photographer hero with a home in the woods
  38. Sanctuary (Beards and Bondage #2) by Rebekah Weatherspoon –$4.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of Haven starring Claudia’s friend Liz
    • Liz has to hide when former client threatens her; she runs to the countryside to stay with a coworker’s twin brother
    • Fake-dating
    • Dogs!
    • CW: violence, death
    • Light BDSM (female Dom)
    • Smart, powerful, black, lawyer heroine
    • Secluded, reserved, grumpy, farmer hero on the Autism spectrum who has trouble talking to women
  39. Fit (Fit Trilogy #1) by Rebekah Weatherspoon –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Food channel producer Violet is looking for a personal trainer to help her lose the weight she’s been putting on recently
    • Business + pleasure
    • Light BDSM
    • Short (83 pages)
    • Feisty, successful, fat, black heroine
    • Successful, fit, lonely hero
  40. ***Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands #1) by Cherise Sinclair –FREE! on Amazon
    • Jessica stumbles across a BDSM club when she’s stranded in the middle of a storm looking for shelter and she attracts the eye of Master Z
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • Submissive, professional, reserved, accountant heroine
    • Dominant, elusive, alpha male hero
  41. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands #2) by Cherise Sinclair –$3.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off to Club Shadowlands starring Master Dan, another member of the club
    • Kari tries her hand at BDSM, and after breaking up with her date for the night she lets Dan show her around
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • Shy, inexperienced, submissive, school teacher heroine
    • Detached, strict, dominant, alpha male hero
  42. Breaking Free (Masters of the Shadowlands #3) by Cherise Sinclair –$4.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of Dark Citadel starring Master Nolan, another member of the club
    • Beth is trying to recover after a sadistic husband left her scarred, but she can’t seem to let herself go around the Doms and she begins to heal under the most unlikely one
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • CW: abuse, violence, sexual assault
    • Broken, healing, submissive heroine with a dark past
    • Alpha male (most dominant of the Doms), powerful, dominant hero
  43. Lean on Me (Masters of the Shadowlands #3) by Cherise Sinclair –$4.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off of Breaking Free starring Master Cullen, another member (my favorite) of the club
    • Andrea wants to submit but needs the ultimate Dom to do that; more like a Domme than a Submissive, Cullen has to work to get her on her knees
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • Stubborn, feisty, confident, independent heroine
    • Alpha male, powerful, dominant hero
  44. Owned by Fate (Serve #1) by Tessa Bailey –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Caroline enters an exclusive BDSM to write a lifestyle piece for her family’s magazine, but instead she catches the eye of the elusive club owner who is determined to show her what the lifestyle is really about
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • Successful, focused, journalist heroine
    • Dominant, alpha male, successful, powerful hero
  45. ***Exposed by Fate (Serve #2) by Tessa Bailey –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off to #1 starring Caroline’s best friend and her brother
    • Wanting to give BDSM a try, Eliza catches the eye of someone in the club, but the problem is: she doesn’t know anything about BDSM and needs a tutor
    • HEAVY BDSM!
    • Forbidden/off-limits best friend’s brother romance
    • Determined, inexperienced, eager, interior designer heroine
    • Focused, successful, dominant hero
  46. Driven by Fate (Serve #5) by Tessa Bailey –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Spin-off to #2 starring the man Eliza hoped to seduce and a BDSM newcomer
    • Frankie spends one night with Porter Evans, but it’s not enough. Knowing nothing about BDSM, he introduces her into his lifestyle
    • HEAVY BDSM! VERY DOMINANT DOM!
    • Stubborn, tough heroine who likes to back talk
    • Alpha male, strict, antiques owning hero who likes to mix pleasure and pain
  47. Wanting Mr. Cane (Cane #1) by Shanora Williams –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Kandy has known Cane her whole life, he’s one of her dad’s best friends. Now 18, she hopes to catch his attention, yet he believes it’s a silly crush that will eventually fade away
    • Age gap (hero is older than heroine but not as old as her father)
    • HERO DOES NOT TRY OR DO ANYTHING WITH HER BEFORE SHE’S LEGAL (like seriously he doesn’t look at her that way until she’s 18)
    • Forbidden/off-limits romance
    • Determined, ambitious, shameless heroine (who is either black or mixed, I can’t remember)
    • Stern, tattooed, focused hero who owns his own business (that comes with his dark secrets of his past)
  48. Breaking Mr. Cane (Cane #2) by Shanora Williams –$2.99 on Amazon
    • Sequel to Wanting Mr. Cane
    • Kandy moves off to college and works to build a new life, but problems back home follow her 1,000 miles
  49. Naughty Boss (Steamy Coffee Reads #1) by Whitney G. –FREE! on Amazon
    • Mya accidentally sends her boss an email meant to go her friend complaining about him (and talking about a couple fantasies she used to have)
    • I honestly don’t remember this, but it was good I think (and it’s free)
  50. Mogul by Katy Evans –$4.99 on Amazon
    • Sara finds herself sharing a cab with a hot stranger, and when they find out they’re both heading to the same hotel, he invites her to his room for a one night stand after her shift as the concierge
    • Casual relationship after not seeing each other for months
    • Hard-working, focused heroine who is trying to make ends meet after an accident destroyed her dreams of dancing professionally
    • Driven, recluse, hesitant, dominant hero dealing with personal issues who harbors a few secrets

I can’t even begin to keep track of how many romances I’ve read, and I know I’ve read more than these, but I felt like 50 was enough for now. Yes, I’m aware a lot of these have alpha male/BDSM tones to them, call me out for it. All of these books I’ve highly enjoyed, and if you think you might have the same tastes as me, you’ll enjoy these as well! Don’t buy that coffee or tea today, or this week, and instead buy one of these books, they’re so worth it!

Filthy Gods by R. Scarlett

Image result for filthy gods r scarlett

5/5 stars

CW: sexual harassment & sexual assault

Synopsis: Young. Wealthy. Elite. Attractive. The gentlemen’s secret society at Yale was filled with them.

And Nathaniel Radcliffe, the bane of my existence, was one of them.

As the right hand of the American Gods, he was conceited and arrogant. A dangerously handsome man in a tailored custom suit and shiny black oxford loafers.

The classroom was our battlefield. We made a sport out of arguing and debating, ready to do anything in order to win over the other.

Deadly opponents, deadlier minds.

I’d sworn I’d never give him the upper hand, until…

The secret I’ve been hiding for the last three years?

He just discovered it… and now he has all the power.

I’ll just start off by saying this was, singlehandedly, the best purchase of my life. I’ve been adjusting to life as a college student, and I still managed to finish this whole book in one sitting (maybe some homework didn’t get finished, but that’s neither here nor there.) Since I’ve been a little busy with school, it’s taken me a little time to write this, but now that I am, I will not stop raving about this.

First of all, this is a novella. A novella. This was just a mere taste of what she’s going to give us, and I’m already highly anticipating the actual release of the series (seriously, when is it gonna come out, a girl is SHAKING with excitement.)

the plot

I cannot stress enough about how we need more college-aged NA books. I’ve read countless romance books, and only a few were set in college. College is a time for living life and trying new things, and I believe there should be way more books centered around this than there currently are. Thank God (and R. Scarlett) for this book, they really blessed us with this release.

The story sets up the base for her upcoming series American Gods, focusing on Juliette and her biggest rival, Nathaniel (who happens to be very good friends with the “American Gods.”) The two are at the top of their law programs, yet Juliette always finds herself just a little short of reaching Nathaniel’s status. Their illicit affair begins when Nathaniel finds out a secret she’s been keeping the past 3 years. Using it against her, he makes a tempting offer that will benefit the both of them. The book jumps right into their relationship, sparing no detail of their late night adventures together. They only have the summer together, and every moment they’re together is pure fireworks exploding everywhere.

the characters

Oof, don’t get me started on them. Juliette is a stubborn, determined, feisty student fighting for a place at the table with all the other Ivy Leagues. She’s the epitome of working hard for what you want, and all the hard work pays off. She’s top of her class (under Nathaniel), and she constantly has to prove she deserves to be Yale with all the other rich and famous people. Nathaniel is the typical arrogant, charming, damnably handsome guy who always seems to get what he wants. As you can see, the two very different personalities are bound to clash. Not only are these two electric, but the author also introduces the heroes for her upcoming series in subtle ways. Juliette catches glimpses of Gabe, Arsen, and James throughout the summer, building up their mysterious backstory that has me intrigued beyond belief.

P.S. Gabe’s story is the next book expected to drop, and he was my favorite in this novella, I’m so excited to see what happens to him.

the romance

AHHHHH!!!!! THIS WHOLE PART WILL BE IN CAPS LOCK BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THEY MAKE ME FEEL!!!!! THEIR TWO PERSONALITIES COMPLIMENT EACH OTHER SO WELL. THE BANTER BETWEEN THE TWO IS THROUGH THE ROOF AT ALL TIMES. THEY’RE CONSTANTLY CHALLENGING EACH OTHER, PURPOSEFULLY SAYING THINGS JUST TO GET A RISE OUT OF THE OTHER. SINCE THE FIRST DAY THEY MET, THEY’VE ALWAYS CLASHED HEADS. IT MAY HAVE BEEN A NOVELLA THAT PICKED UP AFTER 3 YEARS OF KNOWING EACH OTHER, BUT YOU CAN PHYSICALLY FEEL THE TENSION THAT HAS BUILT UP BETWEEN THEM IN THAT TIME. EVERYTHING WAS HOT, SEXY, SPARKS FLYING OFF THEM AT ALL TIMES. A TRUE RIVALS TO LOVERS STORY, R. SCARLETT PROVES YOU DON’T NEED TO BE FRIENDS TO GET THE BENEFITS.

the writing

This was the first book by R. Scarlett I’ve ever read (thank you Kat), and it was nothing short of spectacular. For me, this book was perfectly paced and had the perfect amount of sex scenes. Personally, I’m a fan of more fast-paced books. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good slow burn, but a person can only be on fire for so long before they burn to ash. The romance took off right from the start, and the whole length of it was building their relationship and developing the next series. Her male characters are somewhat haughty and confident, but it doesn’t make them any less compassionate and real. It’s nice to read more dominant centered relationships while also illustrating the independence and strength of the female love interests. Not once in the story does Nathaniel intentionally patronize Juliette for not being as good as him or for being poorer. He may be an ass at most times, but he values her wit and intellect. They truly are equals, two halves of a whole, and I can’t wait to see what R. Scarlett brings with her next book (seriously, again, when is it coming?!)

R. Scarlett’s newest series American Gods, will be coming soon, but until then you should all read this one. It’s a quick, steamy read, and will leave you hanging on for the next installment. PLUS, it’s only 99c on Amazon!

ARC Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Related image

4/5 stars

Release Date: September 18, 2018

Published by Penguin Teen/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

For anyone who has followed me on twitter or on here for the past year knows that I was in love with Warcross. I truly believe I will never be on that kind of high while reading a book ever again, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Warcross was truly unparalleled in all aspects, and I’ve been anticipating Wildcard ever since I finished it.

the plot

Spicy. There was a main objective to be accomplished and multiple bad guys to watch out for. So much takes place in the span of a week, they need to overcome the impossible in order to, literally, save the world. Its action-packed with new games, characters, and challenges. There’s finally an answer and resolution to the cliffhanger that kept me on my toes for a year, and it was something else. Every route I thought Marie Lu could take never compared to the actual truth of the story. For a person who hates sci-fi, I loved this book and all its futuristic aspects. It’s original, refreshing, and completely worth the hype it gets. If there’s anything I have to say about Wildcard, though, it’s that Warcross was more fun, lighthearted, and thrilling whereas its sequel took a more serious, heavy tone. Both were great in their own aspects, and the ending satisfied me, but they were both very different books in tone and meanings.

the characters

The Phoenix Riders are the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for. They reappear in this book, and play an important role in Emika’s plans to take down Hideo. Many fantasy books focus around one main character’s ability to change the world (with the assistance of a few friends who only help during the takedown), but Marie Lu emphasizes the role friends and a team has. A team supports and helps each other in all aspects, and even with the impending threat of the world domination, they are always there for one another and their personal problems. Even after everything ends, the quartet remain close, forever a part of each other. Not to mention, there are new characters introduced, and they are completely badass in all aspects. Jax is truly a queen, and possibly my new favorite character. There is even a brief encounter with a new non-binary character assisting Emika in her hunt. My only beef with this all is that Ren never came back into play, and I really did love him. Marie Lu, if you see this, I just want to know how he’s doing.

the romance

COMPLETELY WORTH IT UGH I LOVED IT SO MUCH TRULY AN OTP. I CAN’T SAY MUCH MORE WITHOUT SPOILING, JUST READ IT.

final thoughts

Warcross was a tough book to beat. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t as crazy about Wildcard, but it was also an impossible bar to meet to begin with. Nevertheless, Wildcard was great from start to finish, and I had little complaints about anything presented in it. For me, it just didn’t have that initial fire I fell in love with like in Warcross, but Wildcard is still a fantastic sequel that gives a content ending to the fast-paced, dramatic world Marie Lu has created.

 

If you still want to find out which Warcross team member you are, my quiz can be found here, comment what you get!

Book Boyfriends: Peter Kavinsky

In honor of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before becoming its own film, it’s only mandatory that I make a post about the handsome Peter Kavinsky.

It’s no secret that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is becoming a Netflix film, and if you haven’t heard, now you know. I just binged the entire book in one sitting, so I’m writing this up while it’s still fresh in my mind. I started off the book loving Josh, and I don’t think I’ve ever turned around on a love interest that fast; going from loving one guy to loving another so quickly. Disclaimer: I also love John Ambrose McLaren with all my heart, I could make another post about him.

We all love a good fake dating trope, so if you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for?!?!

In the book, Peter is described as the lacrosse-playing God of their high school; the most beautiful All-American charmer. He’s arrogant and cocky, but also sweet and friendly. I can’t recall many of his details as I read it all picturing Noah Centineo as Peter, but one look at Noah and you’ll understand why Peter Kavinsky is the best book boyfriend.

It’s not really a fancast because we get to see him on screen for real, but let’s look at Noah Centineo again, just because.

There’s many screencaps of him filming, but there’s too many good ones to choose from to put on here. I don’t think I could’ve ever pictured anyone better to play Peter.

Favorite Peter Kavinsky quotes/quotes about him:

“You only like guys you don’t have a chance with, because you’re scared.” this one hit too close to home, he didn’t need to call me out like that.

“I’ve never gotten a love letter before. But reading these notes like this, one after the other, it feels like I have. It’s like . . . it’s like there’s only ever been Peter. Like everyone else that came before him, they were all to prepare me for this. I think I see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. When you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you. And Peter does. He sees me, and I see him.”

“He looks at you a lot. When you’re not paying attention. He looks at you, to see if you’re having a good time.”

“Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way? Probably not. People like you don’t have to suffer through those kind of things.”

“That’s when I see him. Peter Kavinsky, walking down the hallway. Like magic. Beautiful, dark-haired Peter. He deserves background music, he looks so good.”

“So, how does he kiss?”
I’m blushing. I tap my fingers on my lips before I say, “He kisses like … like it could be his job.”

“Let’s talk strategy for a second. All you have to do is act like you’re in love with me. That shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Let’s do it fucking for real, Lara Jean. Let’s go all in. No more contract. No more safety net. You can break my heart. Do whatever you want with it.”

 

Noah Centineo truly is one of the most beautiful boys I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t be happier that he is playing Peter Kavinsky. If you can’t get enough of him (like me) you can also find him starring in another Netflix film, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, coming out in September!