Goodreads Monday (6/19/17): The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links!

My choice today is The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

BLURBI’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?

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I got this book as a freebie arc during the Romantic Times Convention 2016 in Las Vegas. It’s been on my bookshelf but I was traveling to Montego Bay for my annual anniversary vacation, I grabbed it for a plan ride.   It was one of my favorite reads of 2017. I didn’t sleep a wink on the plane. I wish I read this one last August when it came out. 5-Star all the way! I will add a review as soon as I’m caught up on real life stuff. I do have her Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) audiobook but I haven’t listened it yet. Have you read anything by Kami Garcia? Watched the movie maybe?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf?

 

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

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: It Happens All the Time: A Novel by Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) •Audiobook (9 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Fiction
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Audible
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

two-half-stars

I am sorry if my thoughts on this book offend an rape survivor but this book created some strong emotions in me and I felt really unsettled and unsatisfied with this book’s ending. I get that the author was tackling a sensitive subject but I didn’t quite agree with certain things. I needed time to reflect so I can write my review with sensitivity, yet honesty. I do not feel like I can be honest without victimizing people who have already been brutalized. So I will keep my words brief.

The book starts off with a history of how young Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks became friends complete with their various family dysfunction. I believe the author was trying to lay foundation of what drove Amber and Tyler. This background led me to connect with Tyler and not so much with Amber. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong. First I want to start off by saying Rape is just a horrible crime. I am not interested in victim blaming or justifications, however I do believe alcohol abuse does change the situation. I am not blaming Amber at all, but I am saying that Tyler wasn’t in a clear frame of mind to be making sure he “got” consent first. In addition, I do not agree that Tyler, whom the author had painted as a nice friend, just turned into a this monster so fast and the reader is to believe that he would take advice for a father whom he has despised just so he can avoid dealing with devastation his actions wrought. I do love that Amber talked to both her parents and they stood by her. The fact that they embraced her immediately and validated her was everything. Her parents seemed to be really good parents unlike Tyler’s parents.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy in the end with Amber committing a crime, but it’s viewed with “understanding” and it’s okay that Tyler covered her actions up because I guess Tyler owes Amber for his part in hurting her.

At the end of the day, I hope all rape victims get counseling and have a support for their healing. .This book was hard to review but it make me examine my own beliefs on the topic. I hope to learn more about how to help victims.

Ezi

ARCstravaganza Monday (5/29/17)

Thanks to #ARCstravaganza Monday is a weekly meme started by our friends at YA and Wine Blog! One of the best parts of being a book blogger has got to be getting ARC/eARC copies of books, and this meme is your opportunity to show those beauties off and spread the word about your most anticipated new releases!

Feel free to get creative! Post those Bookstagram pictures, share a book feature on your blog, or both! You are more than welcome to use the creates #ARCstravaganza image. Linking back to our page in your post is, of course, much appreciated!

Use the #ARCstravaganza hashtag on Instagram or comment on our weekly #ARCstravaganza post with a link to your own post, and you will be entered to WIN A PHYSICAL ARC COPY OF AN UPCOMING YA NOVEL at YA and Wine Blog! One winner will be selected randomly each month.

The ARCs that I’m most excited about are: 

The Story of Us by Tara Sivec

Stay (WAGs #2) by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Title: Sparrow by L.J Shen
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Format: Audiobook (9 hrs and 23 mins)
Genre: Mafia Romance, Dark Romance

Troy Brennan

Every southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart throb with steel blue eyes. “The Fixer” who can make or break you in this city.

Oh, and my new husband.

Sparrow Raynes

That’s me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life.
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’d ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he’d decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.

Sparrow is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

three-stars


I never quite clicked with Troy Brennan and Sparrow Raynes. I liked Sparrow because she dealt with the world on her own terms. Troy was kind of a dirty dog and I guess he did Sparrow a solid by handling an issue on her past that cause her a lot of pain. But Troy still toyed with her. He had been watching her for a long time and knew stuff about her. Plus, I can’t get over that he gave her a weding gift picked out by his mistress, brought his mistress into their home and had relations with that crackhead whore, and he let Sparrow wear a dress he knew belong to his mistress to a public outing. That was so foul. Plus he kept that housekeeper. When a man lets his mistress get one up on his wife, I cannot ride with you.

The wife should never be blindsided by the sidepiece. So Troy got two middle fingers from me.

I never felt their attraction was anything other than a physical itch that each needed to scratch. It didn’t feel like love or passion. It just didn’t work for me like i was expecting. How the fixer just shared his business with that guy who took something that belong to him was also weak to me. I enjoyed the twist about bad guy more than anything. The bad guy laid his plan down so properly that it was a tad sad it didn’t work.

The writing was okay but I wasn’t feeling the couple’s chemistry. I will try another book by this author to see if its the writing or just this story.

Ezi

If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) by Debbie Macomber

Series:
Narrator: Khristine Hvam.
Source: Netgalley

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: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings #3
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Format: e-ARC (432 pages) • Audiobook: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Ballantine Books
Purchase Links:  Amazon US Audible

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

three-half-stars

This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie.

Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On) and that first dinner was a disaster. Both of them came to the date with preconceived notions, so nothing really clicked for them. One the way home, Beth got into a car accident and Sam was one of the first people on the scene. Beth’s misfortune paved a way for Sam to connect with her in a new way. As Beth recovered, Sam came to visit and keep her company in the hospital. They began looking
forward to spending time together.

I thought it was sweet that Sam kept coming to check on Beth, but I had issues with both of them. How could a grown twenty-five year old teacher be so completely under the mother’s thumb? Beth seemed to be a sixteen-year old girl at times where Sam had the jaded attitude made him seem really old. Sam had a painful experience with a woman, so he swore off love and relationships. Yet, he went to visit Beth every chance he got because he just wanted…what exactly did he expect?
Each character seemed to be the opposite of their counterpart. Beth as sweet and flexible, Sam was gruff and inflexible. Beth’s mom Ellie was pushy and judgmental while Beth’s dad seemed like he took things lighter and respected the autonomy of others.

I liked Sam but didn’t feel like his past gave him a pass to be so mean and unforgiving. I had a harder time liking Beth because she was pretty weak as a heroine, yet nosy as hell with other people’s issues. Her mother was annoying and rude. I am glad Beth’s dad was in the story to balance out the mother’s prickly personality. It’s obvious that Beth wouldn’t even live on her own if not for her dad.
I liked the side story of the Aunt Sunshine, which ended well after 30 years. I also had issues with their communication or lack thereof, but it did end well, so I had to be content with that.

Overall, the story was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Ezi

Release Day Blitz: Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: LETHAL LIES
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers, #2
On Sale: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions. Zanetti’s brilliance at storytelling is on full display…When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don’t get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti’s stories are always woven with vivid detail and a breakneck pace. As a reader, there’s really no time to draw a peaceful breath until the story ends. Lethal Lies is another winner.” –Heroes & Heartbreakers on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker’s lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that’s sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.” — Heroes & Heartbreakers on DEADLY SILENCE

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

BUY THE BOOK HERE

Amazon US    Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million   Google Play   iBooks IndieBound   Kobo   Target

**Pick up the print edition for exclusive bonus content!**

THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

DEADLY SILENCE, #1
LETHAL LIES, #2
TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

The Blood Brothers Series: Series Page on Goodreads

Follow  Online: Website  Facebook   Twitter   InstagramPinterest

CLICK on RAFFLECOPTER for a GIVEAWAY

 

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Paperback Book Blitz: Deadly Silence (Blood Brothers #1) by Rebecca Zanetti 

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

**NOW AVAILABLE IN MASS MARKET**

The first book in a breathtaking new romantic suspense series that will appeal to fans of New York Times bestsellers Maya Banks, Lisa Gardner, and Lisa Jackson.


Title: DEADLY SILENCE

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers, #1

On Sale: April 25, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

BLURB:
Under siege. That’s how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can’t outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he’s been trying to keep at arm’s length is in danger…and he’ll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She’s making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There’s a lot Ryker isn’t telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn’t catch up to them first…

Full of twists and turns you won’t see coming, DEADLY SILENCE is New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti at her suspenseful best.

**THE PRINT EDITION CONTAINS EXTRA BONUS SCENES NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE!**



BUY THE BOOK HERE

Amazon
Barnes & Nobles
Books-a-Million
Google Play
iBooks
IndieBound
Kobo
Target
**Also available in-stores at Walmart!

 

THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

DEADLY SILENCE, #1

LETHAL LIES, #2

*TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

 

*READ AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM TWISTED TRUTHS, ON SALE MAY 16TH!

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

Author Website

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Pinterest

Goodreads

 

FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE

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RAFFLECOPTER

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Teaser Blitz: Lethal Lies

Title: LETHAL LIES​

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers, #2

On Sale: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions. Zanetti’s brilliance at storytelling is on full display…When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don’t get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker’s lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that’s sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE 

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.” —HeroesandHeartbreakers.com on DEADLY SILENCE


A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

 Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

 Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath. 

PREORDER THE BOOK 

AmazonBarnes & Noble; Books-A-MillionGoogle PlayiBooksIndieBoundKobo

EXCERPT 

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.



THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

 DEADLY SILENCE, #1

LETHAL LIES, #2

TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

Series Page on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Shelter The Sea by Heidi Cullinan

Oh My Shelves welcomes author Heidi Cullinan to the blog today. She brings her highly anticipated release Shelter The Sea out today. Along with her is a sneak preview of chapter one of Shelter the Sea  and a great giveaway. Please give Heidi a really big OMS welcome!!!!

 

Chapter One

Emmet

My boyfriend, Jeremey, thinks the moon looks like a watermelon.

He said this the night we visited my aunt for Christmas. My aunt who lives in Minneapolis, not the one who lives in Ames, though Althea was there that night too. Aunt Stacy has a telescope, and she let me use it to show Jeremey the moon up close. I was listing the names of the seas and craters when he told me what the moon reminded him of.

“It looks like a watermelon.”

I tried to work out how the moon could be similar to a watermelon, but I couldn’t do it. “Jeremey, it isn’t even green.”

“But it has the lines across it, the same as a watermelon, and they all come from a single point, the stub where the stem would have been, leading back to the rest of the plant. See? That spot there. The bright one at the bottom.”

He let me use the telescope again. I still didn’t see a watermelon. “That’s Tycho. It’s a crater.”

“Like the toy company?”

“No. The toy company is spelled T-y-c-o. This is T-y-c-h-o, for the Dutch astronomer. It was seventy percent likely formed by the asteroid 298 Baptistina, which they used to think was the same one that made the dinosaurs go extinct, but then they found out it wasn’t.”

“It will always be a watermelon to me now. But I’ll remember the stem’s name is Tycho.” Jeremey leaned on my shoulder, gazing at the moon without the telescope. “I didn’t realize there were so many seas on the moon. I didn’t think it had any water.”

“It doesn’t on the surface. Solar radiation burned all the water off, but they thought it might be in lunar rocks. Surface ice has been discovered recently, however.”

“Why do scientists always look for water on the moon and other planets?”

“Because it’s the essential element for any human habitation. Unfortunately, so far lunar habitation isn’t looking good.”

“But they have all those seas on the moon. Does that mean it used to have water?”

“No. Those are lunar maria, basaltic plains. The early astronomers thought they were ancient seas, but they were in fact formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.”

Jeremey settled his head more heavily on my shoulder, listening, and so I kept talking. I told him about the lunar dust, how it covers the surface and comes from comets hitting the surface, five tons of dust rising and falling every day. How the dust takes ten minutes to land.

Jeremey shook his head. “What do you mean, ten minutes to land? That’s how long until the dust hits?”

“No. It hits, then rises, but because there’s so little gravity, it takes five minutes for it to rise and then five minutes to fall back down. Which means the moon has on average one hundred and twenty kilograms of lunar dust rising one hundred kilometers above the surface at all times.”

“Wow. You know a lot about the moon.”

I knew a lot more than what I’d said so far, and when I told him this, he asked to hear the rest. We sat there for another hour, me telling him everything I knew, until my voice was scratchy and I needed water. He went inside and got some for me, and then he talked while I drank it.

“It’s so weird to think the moon has all those seas but no water. The names are so pretty. I almost prefer the Latin ones because they’re so mystical. Mare Nubium. Though Sea of Clouds is nice too.” He hugged his arms around his body. “Are there places on Earth called seas or oceans without any water?”

“They call the deserts sand seas, sometimes.”

“That sounds sad, though.”

He swayed back and forth, and I rocked and hummed with him because I was so content.

Then he spoke once more, his voice quiet. “I heard your mom talking inside. About The Roosevelt. Bob is worried about money.”

I stopped rocking, but my insides felt jumbly the way they always did when this subject came up. The Roosevelt was the place where Jeremey and I lived, and Bob was the man who owned it, the father of David, one of our best friends. “David would tell us if something serious was wrong. Bob’s having a fundraiser on New Year’s Eve.”

“Your mom is worried it won’t be enough. Not with the budget cuts the state is proposing and the way they’re restructuring the mental health system as a whole.” Jeremey hugged himself tighter. “I don’t want to lose The Roosevelt.”

I didn’t want to lose The Roosevelt either. I didn’t think it was a good idea to worry, though. “Why don’t we wait to talk to David. There’s not much we can do about anything up here on the roof. We should enjoy the moon and think about how slowly the dust is rising and falling.”

We did exactly that, and I noticed Jeremey relaxed. The next time he had something to say, it was about the moon, not about fears of losing our home. “Sometimes we say people have seas of emotion. What would sea of emotion be in Latin?”

“Mare Adfectus. And sand sea would be Mare Harenam.”

“I like sand sea in Latin better. But mostly I enjoy hearing you tell me all about things like the seas of the moon. Even if they are salt.”

“Basalt isn’t salt. It’s silica.”

“Can you tell me all about basalt and silica?”

I could, and I did.

Most people don’t want to hear me talk about the things I know, but most people aren’t Jeremey. He doesn’t mind that I’m autistic. He says it’s one of his favorite things about me. He says sometimes my autism is the best medicine for his depression and anxiety, which was why we’d gone up to the telescope in the first place. Jeremey was anxious in my aunt’s house, and he’d been depressed for a few days as well, he’d told me. He’d been depressed more often than not for several months now, in fact, and it didn’t matter how they adjusted his meds or how often he went to see his therapist, Dr. North. Depression, and sometimes anxiety too, kept getting the better of him. I wondered if it was because he was worried about the rumors we kept hearing about The Roosevelt being in trouble, though it was hard to say with depression. It could be for no reason except because depression eats happiness.

But Jeremey said when we sat together in the moonlight and I told him all the facts about the moon and basalt, he felt better.

Jeremey and I have been boyfriends for over two years now. We’ve lived together for most of that time in The Roosevelt. Neither of us is okay to function in the world alone, but together and with the help of our friends and family, and the staff at The Roosevelt, we’re independent and happy.

Except that night with Jeremey wrapped in a blanket and arranged carefully in my arms, I decided I didn’t want to be quite so independent anymore. I wanted to keep Jeremey with me, to take care of him and to let him take care of me. I wanted to be dependent on him. I wanted him to be there to tell me the moon looks like a watermelon and then ask me to talk for another hour about basalt. I wanted to do everything with Jeremey, forever. This is a special kind of thing between boyfriends, when you feel this way. This meant I wanted to marry Jeremey.

With people on the mean, coming to such a realization would be simple. I would have bought a ring, asked him, and we’d have gotten married. But I’m not a person on the mean, and neither is Jeremey. And when I made the decision to marry Jeremey, it was only December. There were so many changes about to happen, earthquakes coming because the world wasn’t content to let people such as Jeremey and me simply enjoy the next step in our happy ever after. Not without a lot of complications.

This story is about how we undid those complications and got ourselves the rest of our happy ever after anyway.

#

Asking Jeremey to marry me was a big question, and it deserved some serious consideration and preparation. I knew getting married was complicated no matter what, but I didn’t know what kind of accommodation my autism and his depression and anxiety would require from a practical standpoint. I was nervous, but not because I thought asking him was a mistake. Marrying Jeremey was a logical move, and I felt confident about our relationship. I didn’t worry about Jeremey’s answer, either. The probability of him saying no was low.

But I knew our families would be concerned, especially Jeremey’s. They didn’t like that I was autistic. They hated the autism part more than the gay part, Jeremey said. They would be upset if we got engaged, and this would upset Jeremey, which would only make his depression worse.

Jeremey’s depression was often challenging for me. I had a difficult time understanding how to live with it as his partner. His anxiety was okay. He had the AWARE anxiety management strategy to manage himself, and I knew all the steps and could help him remember to do them. But depression was tricky. Anxiety I could see on the outside, but depression happened on the inside. It scared me. He’d already attempted suicide once, and I never wanted it to happen again. I knew I couldn’t necessarily stop this from occurring, but I also knew the variables which influenced the odds.

My mother would call this splitting hairs. I will never understand either this metaphor or how anyone could split a hair with any knife or ax or sharp instrument of any kind.

There were other considerations to proposing to Jeremey, though. I didn’t get disability anymore because of my employer, but Jeremey did. He had a job as our friend David’s uncertified aide, but it was part-time. He attended community college for a short while to be a Certified Medical Aide, but it was too stressful for him. He took some classes online, but it was hard for him. Eventually he decided to stay on disability and maybe try classes another time. He made a small salary as David’s aide, but it was basically a discount on his fees for being at The Roosevelt.

Right now his insurance comes from Medicaid, which is complicated and messy since the State of Iowa decided to make it privatized. My mother, a medical doctor, has a great deal to say about this, and most of it is swearing. All I know is when Jeremey had to switch to the private plan, he had to pick one of three insurance companies, and now he has to drive to Des Moines for half his appointments since most of the providers he used stopped taking his insurance due to the Medicaid privatization. Some of the doctors he saw only took one kind but not another, so he had to choose which ones he wanted to see. He has regular panic attacks over dealing with his health care management now, and this is with me, my parents, and The Roosevelt staff helping him. My mother says people who don’t have support staff are up “shit crick.” Crick is a colloquial way of saying creek, which is a synonym for small stream. She assures me they do not actually need to walk up a river of poop, but they might as well because it would probably be less awful than navigating our new health system.

I’ve never been on Medicaid. Even if I had been, it wouldn’t have mattered as we also had my family’s insurance, which meant we could make other choices. Technically Jeremey could use his family’s insurance until he is twenty-six, but then he would have to negotiate with his parents, who are challenging, so he’s elected to deal with the messy state system alone. I don’t use my family insurance anymore either, since I work full-time now at Workiva. I worked for them part-time while I was still in college because they think I’m a genius. This is because I am a genius.

Workiva gives me a generous salary and benefits package, including insurance. I thought if I married Jeremey, he could be on my insurance, but I didn’t know if Jeremey’s disability payments would change if he was my husband. Jeremey’s job with David and his SSI payments cover his part of our bill for our apartment and fees at The Roosevelt with a tiny bit of spending money for Jeremey left over. The truth is if he didn’t live with me, he couldn’t afford to live at The Roosevelt. I don’t know, to be honest, how he would live at all.

I hoped marrying me would make things easier, but it was worth checking to make sure they didn’t get more complicated instead. The trouble was, I didn’t know who to talk with about my plan. I thought about talking to David, who was my friend as much as Jeremey’s, but he wasn’t my first choice. David was disabled, but he wasn’t on the spectrum. I felt these were spectrum issues, and so I decided I should go to a friend who was also on the spectrum, Darren.

I made the decision to contact Darren on my way home from work one day, so when I arrived at The Roosevelt, I was eager to go upstairs and begin the conversation. First, however, I had to stop in the lounge and say hello to Jeremey and my friends. I didn’t want to because I was so focused on the potential conversation with Darren, but it would have been rude to skip them. Since the whole point was to figure out how to marry Jeremey, it was logical to take the time to care for his feelings first.

I was already being a good husband before I’d even proposed.

When the Workiva car dropped me off at The Roosevelt, I hummed, feeling happy. I liked that we had snow. Everything felt quieter when we had snow. There had been a blizzard the day before, and we’d made snow residents on the lawn. They smiled at me as I passed, and I smiled back.

As I entered the lounge, I counted seven people in the room, eight now because I was also present. David and Jeremey were there, as well as Sally and Tammy, the support staff for the building. Paul had his back to them as he played Xbox, but he had no headphones and the TV sound was off, so I knew he was listening to the conversation. Cameron was with Sally at the table, running his Spirograph while he spoke. This meant he was concentrating.

Stuart sat beside him, watching the circles and patterns and occasionally making yelp noises to let Cameron know he enjoyed the drawings and was excited to be included in the conversation. Most people wouldn’t consider drawing a conversation, but it was to Cameron and Stuart.

Stuart is a strange guy. He’s on the spectrum too—a lot of us in the building are—but there’s something about him that makes me want to flap my hands. Technically the term for flapping is stimming, but I’ve always thought of it as flapping, so that’s what I call it. Stuart makes me feel flappy. He uses his camera eyes to watch me, the same as I watch him. Like a lot of autistic people, he doesn’t have to look directly at something to see it. Yet I always feel as if he’s watching me whenever I’m in the lounge. Tammy says this is because I did a viral video with David and Jeremey last year. We dressed up like the Blues Brothers and danced through Target to Stuart’s favorite song by his favorite artist, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and became YouTube stars for a few days. To this I say, why doesn’t he watch Jeremey or David?

Tammy says it’s because they don’t dance like Elwood Blues or have autism the same as he does. Except our autism isn’t the same, but Tammy doesn’t understand. She means well, but autism isn’t one size fits all. Stuart and I are living proof.

Beside Stuart was David in his wheelchair, and beside David was Jeremey. I signed my special hello to Jeremey, and then I flapped at the room so they knew I was happy to see them too.

Sally waved me over. “We’re making plans for a party, Emmet. A New Year’s Eve party. Come join us.”

I ignored her for a minute because every time I see Jeremey after work I give him a touch. Jeremey loves touches and hugs about as much as they make me feel as if someone put my skin on inside out. Sometimes I hug him after work and sometimes I don’t, but he always gets some physical contact from me.

I put a hand on his shoulder, and his body went soft as he leaned his cheek on my hand.

Though physical contact isn’t my favorite thing as a general rule, when I touch Jeremey it’s a different story. Today as it usually happened, when I rested my hand on his shoulder, I wanted to sign for him to go upstairs with me and have sex. But it would be rude to leave the party-planning meeting when I’d just arrived, plus I had the chat with Darren to do. So I found a straight-backed chair I could put near David and Jeremey.

David had waited to greet me because he knew Jeremey came first, but when I sat, he held out his fist for me to bump. Our fist bumps are awkward since I clunk too hard and he can’t close his fist all the way or aim well to meet mine, but it’s okay.

Tammy had a list in front of her with two columns, one labeled activities and another snack food. Karaoke and dancing were under the activities column. They were not my favorites. But Mexican train dominoes was on the list too, and I enjoyed this game a lot. I don’t know what is Mexican about it, and I’ve asked, but Sally says it’s only a name. I haven’t been able to find any research that explains why it’s called that either, but I enjoy the game a great deal.

I studied the snacks side of the list and flapped excitedly when I saw what she’d written. Parmesan popcorn was a treat Tammy made when she was extra happy or wanted to reward a resident. It was on the list twice, once with plain written beside it and the other saying there would be M&M’s in the popcorn. This is because some residents enjoy the sweet and salty mixed together in the same bowl and some of us would need to go to the corner and hum if food were jumbled like that.

I didn’t say much while the others planned. Too many people were talking at once, and work and thinking about how to propose to Jeremey had drained my energy, so when I had an idea, I sent texts to Jeremey, who read them to the group. But then I had a thought so big I wanted to say it myself. I tapped the table, and when Sally called on me, I said, “Can we invite Darren?”

“That sounds like a great idea. I’ll talk to his staff and see about arranging for him to come over.”

I was annoyed because I wanted to invite Darren myself, not have staff do it. I thought if I hurried to the apartment, I could maybe invite him first, but before I could excuse myself, Jeremey tapped my leg twice to get my attention. When I turned to him, he didn’t speak, he signed.

A teacher of mine a long time ago taught me and my family to use American Sign Language to communicate during a period when speaking out loud felt too intense for me. I speak out loud often now, but I still use ASL sometimes because it’s handy. My family, friends, and boyfriend use it too, especially when we wanted to have conversations without other people getting involved. When I saw what Jeremey had to say to me, I understood why he was signing instead of speaking.

I caught Sally and Tammy whispering about budgets in the staffroom when they didn’t think I was close enough to hear.

Jeremey was worried about The Roosevelt closing again. Though if Sally and Tammy were whispering about it, maybe he was right to worry. I signed back to him. We need to talk to David instead of eavesdropping.

Jeremey nodded. I thought I would go see him now before we went upstairs to make dinner. But it might mean we start making dinner and do our laundry late.

This worked out perfectly. I need to talk to Darren about something anyway. We can adjust our schedule by a half an hour or even forty-five minutes without a problem.

Jeremey smiled at me, and my chest felt warm and tight. I love you, Emmet.

I love you too, Jeremey.

I kissed the inside of my palm, then pressed that palm to Jeremey’s. His eyes were bright as he took the kiss tight in his fist and his open palm to his lips.

I couldn’t stop smiling. I loved him so much.

“I’ll see you at dinner,” I said, then stood to go get some advice on what would be the best way to marry him.

 

Book Info

 

Shelter The Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevlet #2
Release Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 190 • Format: eARC
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

Giveaway

Carry the OceanShelter the Sea signed paperbacks and Roosevelt Blues Brother kit (black fedora and skinny tie)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen OakleyNarrator: Candace Thaxton, Jonathan Todd Ross, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

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: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format:  e-ARC (366 pages)
Published By: Gallery Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble •  Books-a-million iBooks Indiebound

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

An evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart, Close Enough to Touch is perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

three-half-stars

This book had a really interesting premise but it took me two-thirds of the book before I truly got invested in the characters. It was written well but there just wasn’t a connection with the main characters for most of the book. The beginning was like 2-3 stars and the second half was 4-stars.

As a three year old toddler, Jubilee Jenkins developed a rare skin allergy that made touching other humans deadly. Her mother went to specialist after specialist before abandoning her to marry some rich guy in another city. After a kiss in high school almost killed her, Jubilee grudgingly acknowledged that her life was meant to be different from others and without skin to skin contact.

When her mother died and her step father withdrew financial support, Jubilee was forced to find a job to pay for her own bills. She got hired at the library which placed her around people. Once Jubilee saved a little boy Aja from drowning, Jubilee was introduced to Eric Keegan, Aja’s father who slowly opened Jubilee’s heart to a future of happier possibilities.

I like that Eric Keegan wasn’t this hero that made everything better. He had his own messed up situation and was trying to figure out his own life. Eric’s drama made everyone including Jubilee made her face some things from her past as well as make some decisions about her future.

I like how the author used the library and reading as vehicle of communication to allow the characters to understand each other. I felt the most for the young boy Aja. He was clearly in pain and I just wanted to hold him so tight. It was after Aja and his X-men comments that I truly plugged into this story.

Colleen Oakley didn’t write a clean, smooth, cheesy story. It was a slow burner where the individual journey overshadowed the romance, which was okay with me. The writing in the first half dragged but the second half was more touching (pun intended). Overall, it was a good read.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi