Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

Series:
Narrator: Austin Butler, Emily Rankin

Title: Carve the Mark by Veronica Mark
Series: Carve the Mark, Book 1
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Format: Audiobook (14 hours, 56 mins)
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance, Magic
Published By: Harper Audio  

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not – their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power – something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: She is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive – no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive – or to destroy one another.

three-stars

I was hesitant to start this book until the series was finished. I just didn’t want to invest in another series like I did with Divergent only to be gutted by a terrible ending. But at alas, I couldn’t help myself so I got the audiobook.

I came in with an open mind and avoided all reviews. This book was alright, nothing super engaging. The characters are an alien planet where there are various factions vying to rule their planet. There are the Shotet people who are currently in power and subjugation the other faces such as the Thuvhe people using their magical powers. Each race has unique powers, but only one race has the ability to raise Oracles. The oracles are useful because they can be used to predict the future. The current Shotet ruler, Ryzek,invaded Thuvhe to get one of their oracles in order to know what to expect or how to anticipate his enemies moves.

The main characters are Akos, who was kidnapped along with his younger brother who is a budding oracle and Cyra, whose brother tyrannical ruler Ryzek wants Shotet to dominate all the races on their planet. Akos and Cyra are pawns and when it is discovered that their individual magical talent complements the other, Akos is forced to move in with Cyra as her slave. Then they begin to get to know each other and see what the effect of Shotet rule is having on their planet and the citizens. They had to decide how to deal with their individual family dynamics, their feelings and their society as a whole.

The story was slow in developing but it is a book 1. I did like the characters Akos and Cyra but I wish they were developed a little more. Also, I realize there are a number of controversies regarding the racial stereotypes, many reviews address this issue. I do think the author should have done a much better job on that issue.

At the end of the day I found Akos and Cyra as a couple as well as the storyline to be a bit boring. I was interested in enough to see how Ryzek would be defeated because he was terrible. I was interested to see how Akos would rescue his brother. Akos and Cyra were not as engaging but I am glad they found love together.

It was okay but nothing memorable. Though I may read book 2 when it comes out.

Ezi

Audioreview: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Lingus by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

Blurb: Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn’t know.

“My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn.”

When 25-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she’s both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expects is to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

four-stars

The blurb/synopsis doesn’t accurately describe the heart of this novel nor does it do the love story justice. The porn convention was a backdrop to a friends to lover trope.

Katherine Berger goes to a porn convention with her bestie and while she was attempting to discretely pick her panties out of her butt, a guy named Tristan saw her. Tristan began teasing her and it was a beginning of a friendship and later romance. If you have listened to a Mariana Zapata book, you know that the journey to love tends to be longer and slower than the norm. Usually I enjoy the ride but this book felt longer than the previous books by the author. I liked the friendship but it was always clear that Kat wanted more than his friendship and was waiting around for Tristan to want her back. I loved the humor, I also loved the friendship but I found Tristan underdeveloped. We never really got to know him as Robby Lingus and I didn’t believe people in law school or law firms wouldn’t find out his job. Tristan seemed a tad antisocial but I would have liked to get to know his layers more. I know an ex-girlfriend led him into porn, and he was using it to pay for school. He clearly didn’t care for it but he never really talked about it. Kat, her dad, and their bond was explored along with her loving relationship with her girlfriends showed with care and precision. Tristan was really the unknown in this equation.

With that said, I laughed listening to this audiobook.  Mariana Zapata has a gift in building realistic relationships. This story was special because the friendships were authentic. The friendship between Kat and her girlfriends as well as Kat and Tristan was so real to me. I felt elated and satisfied when Kat and Tristan finally took the leap together.  I will read any and everything this author releases. I enjoy her work that much and I always know the journey to the happy ending will be worth it.

Ezi

Resurrection (Redemption Harbor #1) by Katie Reus

Series:
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Resurrection by Katie Reus
Series: Redemption Harbor #1
Release Date: July 7th 2017
Pages: 6 hrs and 24 mins
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published By: KR Press, LLC

Blurb: She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

three-half-stars

I love Katie Reus because her writing style just evokes a range of emotion because her characters are so multi-faceted. The combination of good writing with one of my favorite narrators, Sophie Eastlake, was clearly a winning duo. The narrator shined at the task of bringing these characters to life and I finished this audiobook in one day.

In this series beginner, we have two couples intertwined as the two male leads are former marines, CIA operatives and friends for years. Off the bat, there was action, adventure and love on the table. Two men grieving for the loss of the lady loves. Colt Stuart is silently mourning the death of his partner and love Skye Arevalo who died in a warehouse explosion in the line of duty. Meanwhile one of his best friend Mercer was not handling the loss of his wife Mary Grace well at all. Even though he didn’t share his suspicious, Colt suspected that Mary Grace was still alive somewhere and he decide to mount a rescue off the books (unsanctioned by the CIA) before he said anything to Mercer.

During the course of mission, Colt found that Mary Grace was indeed alive and had been rescued by a rogue agent, his “dead” lover Skye. This revelation led to examination of two couples that loved each other desperately but operated very differently. I must admit that I gravitated more towards Mercer and Mary Grace than the actual lead Colt and Skye. They were more emotionally connected and sappy where Skye and Colt were more physically aggressive and passionate. They weren’t as verbal and open about their feelings, but it is clear their devotion was a strong as Mercer and Mary Grace’s.

The underlying story was a familiar theme and the villain was an obvious one, but I enjoyed the unfolding of the story nonetheless. This story was intriguing, suspenseful and romantic. Katie Reus is just one of best in this genre. I know that second book is going to be even better.

Ezi

About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Scorpio Hates Virgo: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love #2
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Pages: 245 • Format: eARC
Published By: Anyta Sunday
Purchase Links:
Anyta Sunday

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

 

five-stars

A billion gazillion hand hearts!

I had no clue, what this book would do to me. I read it about 2 weeks ago and didn’t write my review. I know, just crazy. Well I re-read it last night and got the same butterflies, love, stupid grin on my face by the end of it.

Scorpio Hates Virgo is one of my favorite books of the year! Its not many on this list, but there was no way it wasn’t going on it. I’m relatively new to Sunday’s writing, but after book 1 being a joy for me, I couldn’t say no to book 2. I was write. I adored it way more. Book 2 has such amazing banter, chemistry, love, and joy for these two.  They couldn’t be completely different if she tried writing it that way.

Percy is such a sweetheart. He’s dealing with the death of his family. Not his only surviving relative, but the only one who cares enough about him. He’s alone in this world after his breakup of Josh. He’s adamant about coming home to Aunt Abby’s house and getting things in order to sell it. Not knowing his all time nemesis Cal is going to thwart his plans every step of the way. First of all, I love that they are nemesis. If my love for Percy isn’t showing, then hell we’re doomed. Callaghan deserves to go on Best Book Boyfriend List forever. Everything about Cal was for me! He is studying for his Master’s in Jurassic Park Studies for FFS. LOL. Its really Paleontology but you get the gist. He’s amazing with his family, and offering help to others.

“A movie? I thought your idea of a night out would be the restricted section of the library.”

“It would have been but for that pesky rule that we can’t apparate into Hogwarts.”

“Crap.”

Everyone around them can see they belong together but the sexual tension and the love tension are off the charts. I’m certain they know when they have stopped being nemesis to each others and started being environmentalist. I swear, I wish I came up with the witty banter like these two. They are destined to be together, and I’m no Frodo but I believe in it wholeheartedly. Not only were these two a joy, but the side characters were amazing as well. Sunday did a really good job of creating such an eclectic bunch of characters. Love all their different personalities and the love they have for each other. Also, Sherlock Gnomes is something I might steal, and do with a select group of friends. I loved this game.

“Are you saying you know how much I don’t exactly despise you?”

“You’re an open book — my open book– and I’ve been studying you for a long time.”

“Stop reading me so well.”

I’ve highlighted the crap out of this book. Its definitely a re-read for me. Its a feel good romance, a real slow burner though, and about two people who loved each other for so long coming together to be finally be in love. Sunday has done an amazing job with this book. I look forward to her next installment. Hopefully something with Cancers we’re an awesome bunch after all. Highly recommend this book to all.

“I guess we really are earth and water.”

“Because together we’re mud?”

“Together we stick.”

 

 

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About Anyta Sunday

Anyta Sunday – New Zealand writer in Berlin, Germany.

A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.

My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!

When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my sons around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.

New Author Alert: Midlife Crisis by Audra North

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Midlife Crisis: by Audra North
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Pages: 205 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

four-stars

Well, North certainly surprised me. I’ve never read anything by her before. After reading this, I saw she is a MF romance writer. I have skeptical feelings about them, but I don’t let it cloud too much of my judgment. More surprised at myself for finishing it. This was not only a slow burn, but the pacing was snail at best. I didn’t find myself bored so I guess its a win for me. Its very detailed, and everything is written in a way that molasses pours faster. I was really drawn to it because of the older mc’s. They are in their 50’s well off, and established wanting different things in their lives.  North’s writing was real, emotional, and such a sweet romance. It doesn’t focus on the physical side but more emotional. Cam was such a character that touched my spirit. I teared up at plenty of the hard facts that he had to face. Dave is such a sweetheart. Super understanding to the cause and patient.

Cam’s character made my feelings come out through this story. I don’t know what was happening at the time of my reading it, but he resonated so much to me. Maybe its because he’s a black man, and all his loyalties, duties, and reservations about his family is so common in the community, even more in the south. My family is from the south, so I could understand all his thoughts, dreams, fears, hurt when it came to being happy. Or lack thereof in his case. He sacrificed his happiness for the community, the way of life in Bitter, Texas. He was a drowning man, until his wife died. It was heartbreaking and I know it was emotional because it kept an egg shape size of despair in my throat. He tried to do right by what was expected of him, he tried to be the best father, and husband he could be. It only took 51 years of living to realize that he wanted something for himself. In walks Dave, in his biker workout clothes, and friends. With his smile, easy on the eyes, and friendly manner its no wonder Cam falls for him. Its not an easy romance. While Cam does come to terms about being gay, its another to act on it. Its something that he’s never thought of. Of course being happy with Dave, does nothing to dis spell all his responsibilities back home or with his children. No matter his orientation, his children are his. Cam shows so much vulnerability with his kids, Dave, and his knitting crew. Dave is trying to get back on the horse as well. Being single for a few years after being in a long term relationship, Dave has reservations about being with someone as closeted as Cam. Its something that he can’t help since he’s falling just as much as Cam.

I am still kinda shocked at how much I’ve enjoyed this. I look forward to North writing more gay romance if its going to be real like this. If you like older guys, interracial romance, hurt comfort, out for you, tears, and extremely slow burns then this book is for you. I quite like the pacing, and writing myself. I would recommend this read.

 

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About Audra North

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series from Entangled Publishing, the Hard Driving series from St. Martin’s Press, and the Pushing the Boundaries series from Samhain Publishing. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Illegal Contact: by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Release Date: August 15th, 2017
Pages: 259 • Format: eARC
Published By: InterMix
Purchase Links:
AmazonKoboiBooks

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

four-half-stars

 

This was an instant winner for me. Hassell last few books didn’t really do it for me. I was hesitant to try this one, but I was so glad I did. I loved the slow burn of the relationship, and Gavin Brawley is everything. Love that he means what he says, and says what he means. Noah is everything as well. Who knew Clark Kent would be so dirty? Plus Football is sexy! About time I can get a sports romance and I know the sport forward and backward. No offence to Hockey, but Football is so much sexier.

This is definitely a realistic fiction story, but a softer side then I’m used to. Yeah, I had some issues with me feeling like every guy is a Michael, Raymond and Garrett. I have a hard time keeping different characters apart when all of their backgrounds are so similar. It doesn’t take away from my inner glee with this story though. It was gritty, honest, sexy and I never wanted it to end.

Gavin is a softer version of all 3 of those guys. I mean, he has a shitty life, and anger problems. He’s on a 6 month house arrest for physical assault. No one outside of Simeon & Marcus seems to know the real Gavin. At times, Gavin doesn’t know the real Gavin. Enter mister Noah Monroe. Freshly finished from college, and out of a job. Not caring who the client is, he decides to take a position for a PA. I really enjoyed Noah. More often then not in stories like these we have to deal with that pesky miscommunication trope, but here everyone is outspoken and sarcastic. Basically speaking my language. Right off the start they are bitchy towards each other. After countless assumptions, we finally see a different side to each guy. They start opening up to each other, and everyone around them can see the attraction clear as day. This is something Noah doesn’t want to deal with again. Falling for his boss. It didn’t lead him to a good place the first time, and he’s trying so hard for it not to happen a second time around. Gavin make me gush so hard, he understands Noah’s boundaries so well. He respects him, and that is how he knows he’s screwed. He’s never loved anyone before. I loved that its a slow burn for the romance. The buildup between these two are scorching hot. From the first kiss to the last scene, it kept me glued to my tablet. Do you know how hard it is to read in Miami? If I wasn’t drinking and partying, I was neglecting my friends to read this. **Sighs**, I really enjoyed them.

Fans of sports romance, gay romance, and Hassell in general will most likely fawn all over this. Can’t forget about the amazing Simeon & Marcus. These are the bestest friends ever! I can’t wait for Simeon’s book! I definitely recommend this book!

 

 

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About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Standalone Sunday (8/6/17): Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Blurb
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."

When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

ADD TO GOODREADS

I have enjoyed every book since trying The Wall of Winnipeg earlier this summer. This is the only remaining audiobook by Mariana Zapata that I haven't tried. I'm looking forward to beginning it shortly. What's your favorite book by this author?

Audiobook Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: January 19th, 2014
Format: Audiobook (16 hrs and 5 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other. But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop… she should have chosen the strip club.

four-half-stars

If you have read Mariana Zapata, then you know you are in for a slow yet well developed romance. I haven’t read one that I didn’t enjoy and this book was no exception.

Iris “Ritz” Taylor lost her mom, and having no way to take care of herself, moved to Austin, Texas to live with her half brother Sonny. They shared a deadbeat dad who seemed to prefer getting in trouble than taking care of the kids he kept creating. Sonny worked a garage, but arranged for Ritz to work at a tattoo parlor owned by his friend named Declan “Dex” Locke. When Iris showed up, she met this Dex and it wasn’t love at first sight at all. Dex was definitely a douche and a naive Iris was the recipient of his constant venom.

This book detailed the journey as Iris and worked hard to rebuild her life and protect herself from the loan sharks her father But slowly, Iris showed her grit as she and Sonny tried to handle the loan sharks who decided to target them since they can’t find Iris’s dad. This required help from Dex and soon Sonny found herself living with Dex for protection. The two got to know each other and sparks flew.

Callie Dalton did a great job narrating this story. Her voice for Ritz had a youthful and hopeful note and her voice for Dex was gruffy, rude and bossy. The chemistry and angst was palpable that I was on pins and needles waiting for Dex to declare his feelings to Ritz.

Mariana Zapata has become one of my new favorites for a meaningful adult-ish romance (not overly sexy) with characters that are entertaining. I think this is my second favorite book from her so far.

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Release Date:October 4th 2016
Format (Pages): Paperback (384 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Published By: Imprint

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

five-stars

This book featured one of my favorite romance tropes: good girl falls for bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. But what made it so enjoyable was the visceral writing of Kami Garcia. I felt like I actually knew these kids and I couldn’t help but hope they had what it took to overcome their obstacles.

Frankie Devereux was a seventeen year old forced to move in with her police officer dad due to some bad choices and actions on her part. While at her new school, she met Marco Leone, the resident bad boy that everyone warned her to stay away from. As fate often does, situations kept bring them together and revealing that each character was more than the image the exuded to the world.

The author did a great job of developing the characters and the story was so captivating. It had just the right amount of angst, suspense, cuteness and hope that I fell in love with this book. I hope the author will consider doing a sequel on the supporting characters because the friends all had things going worth exploring.

This book was just what I need to remind me what I loved about new adult romances.

About Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages, and the film Beautiful Creatures released in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. Kami’s solo series, The Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her forthcoming YA contemporary romance THE LOVELY RECKLESS releases on October 4, 2016, followed by THE X-FILES ORIGINS: AGENT OF CHAOS, a novel about a teenage Fox Mulder, in January 2017, both from Imprint (Macmillan).

Kami was a teacher for seventeen years before co-authoring her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Review: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Format:  Kindle Edition (348 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Purchase Links: Amazon | Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

An angry, bitter amputee.
An optimist losing her eyesight.
A dying kid.
A suicidal thief.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination.
Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.
What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?
He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.
They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love.
And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.
The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

four-stars

This book was an emotional roller coaster that kind of ended well, but the subject matter was HEAVY. I am glad that I read it though I probably will never read it again.

Christopher Barlow was a former marine floundering after he was maimed by an IED. He was forced to get counseling after a suicide attempt as well as his continuing PTSD battle. During his group therapy, he met several people including: Jillian Martel, a woman going blind, Barbara Stiles, a woman who had attempted suicide a few times due to sexual abuse trauma and Connor McCann, a young guy who had less than a year to live. To help Connor tick off items on his bucket list, the therapy group went on a road trip.

This trip began the bonding that allowed each character to make themselves vulnerable to the other members of their group. Most of the stories were sad but I was also in awe at the strength that each of them exhibited as they tried to deal with their depression.

I haven’t read anything like this from Sawyer Bennett and I am surprised that she tried this. I will give her kudos because the story shows bravery, real life issues and the uncomfortable reality of many people struggling with being less than “society perfect”. I put it down a few times to decompress but I am glad that I finished it. There was light at the end of the tunnel and it was worth it to finish this book.