Once Should Be Enough Series by Nikky Kaye

(#1) Once Should Be Enough
Published: August 17th, 2016

“”I think I hate sex.”

Betting on sex with your hot best friend is not the best way to get over a secret crush.

When I confessed to my cocky friend Will that I’d never had a happy ending, he bet me a thousand bucks he could give me one. I find sex pretty ‘meh’, so once should be enough to say “I told you so,” right? Easiest money I’ll ever earn.

But I didn’t know he meant trying everything once, and now he’s raising the stakes…

This 25,000-word spicy new adult romance novella has no cliffhangers and only happy endings (more than one). It can be read as a standalone, but it also has a sequel, DON’T THINK TWICE.

Get ready for friends with more benefits than a platinum card!”

Review:

Wow wow wow wow wow. Super, super steamy. Cassie and Will make a bet. Will is extremely cocky and knows he can do it. Cassie is not so sure.

The characters in this book were very alike to what they seemed like in the synopsis. They both have certain quirks about them, and just like the synopsis, she’s quiet and he’s cocky.

There were a few things about this book that didn’t hit all the way home with me. There were some parts where I thought “…huh?”. Therefore, I had to drop it a star. However, the writing style flowed beautifully and I enjoyed it. This book could be classified as a standalone, but I am glad there is a sequel because I think it would make it that much better.

Rating: ★★★★
(#2) Don’t Think Twice
Published: February 10th, 2017

“WILL
Cassie is more than a friend with benefits, and I love helping her overcome her shyness in the bedroom. Now our teaching assistant has his eye on her too and all my primitive instincts are taking over. Maybe I’m being a bit possessive, but what have I got to lose?

CASSIE
I told Will that once should be enough, but he’s determined to make me scream over and over again… I feel truly sexy for the first time in my life, but with a new wager on the line I’d better think twice before falling for my best friend.

This 35,000-word sequel to the hot new adult romance novella ONCE SHOULD BE ENOUGH can be read as a standalone–but you might want to sit down (on a towel). If you like your romance swift, sharp and sizzling, then DON’T THINK TWICE!”

Review:

After reading the sequel, I was extremely happy that there was a sequel in the first place. There was so much that could happen after the first one, and it was very, very good. I can say the same thing about this one as the first one. It was very steamy, maybe even steamier than the first one. This story is more friends-with-benefits to lovers as the first one was more friends to friends-with-benefits. I was extremely happy with the outcome.

Again, like the last book, there were some parts that didn’t totally win me over. The characters and the writing style were great again, but there were somethings missing.

I’d recommend these two to someone who really enjoys contemporary romances with a good bit of sexiness. The chemistry was very well done in both and I enjoyed them very much.

Rating: ★★★★

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Published: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time. ”

Review:

Mark and Ryan head out to a club in the city unbeknownst to their parents. Mark and Ryan are something and then, they’re not. Mark wants Ryan, and Ryan doesn’t know what he wants. He wants someone who isn’t afraid to live. However, Ryan is in the closet still. There is a underwear competition at the club, and Mark wants to show Ryan that he can be the life of the party. After the competition, Mark makes eye contact with the girl he’s sat next to all year in calculus, Kate. Kate understands not to tell anyone that she was there and vice versa. This is a story of friendship and the struggles of coming out.

I flew through this book in a day. It was so, so, so good. I love this story and how important it is to have people that support you around you in life. The friendships that this book portrays is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was hooked right from the start.

The character development in this story was phenomenal. I went back and forth with these characters, especially Ryan. I also struggled with Kate for a little, as well. The best character was Mark. He was absolute favorite. He knew what he wanted from day one, and his head was always on straight. There were times where Mark would be struggling with love and I would be in tears. The authors did such a great job with the characters.

My favorite part of this book was how it was written. Nina LaCour and David Levithan began writing this book back and forth for a few years. They would send a chapter back and forth electronically until it was finished. I think that is the coolest thing ever and I would love to co-write with someone like that one day. I think that takes real talent to pick up where someone left off.

I was going to give this book a five star rating, but I feel like there was just one tiny thing missing. If I say what I think was missing, it would be a spoiler. The book was amazing the way it was, but personally, I wish the ending had a little bit different of a finish.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Razvak Hunter by Arel B. Grant

Published: February 28th 2016
Publisher: 
BZN Writing House

“Before…
Aelwyd has worked hard to become strong. As the Fairest One of Vallenthar, her power is formidable. Years of battle honed her into a fearsome warrior who never falters in front of an enemy.
However, there are shadows that when they come, they can swallow you whole.
After a hundred years of praying against it, the minute she walks into the chilling scene of death in front of her, she knows her personal nightmare is back.
He nearly destroyed her once, but she isn’t a victim anymore. This time, she will stop him, or she will die trying.

Now…
Dalbran knows nothing of friends, joy, or mischief. The orphaned ward of a ruthless warrior woman, she’s never showed him love or affection. Instead she fills his days with learning the art of battle, savage teachings of how to survive in their harsh world. Days are filled with pain and exhaustion, but nighttime used to be his own. Even that is now lost, though, for something lurks in the shadows of sleep, clawing at him the moment his eyes close. He tells himself it’s okay, that he can handle it. However daunting the voices may be, however cold the hand that chokes him in the darkness, as long as it stays within the nightmare, everything will be all right.

As long as it stays within the nightmare…”

Review:

I received this book in exchange for a review! Thank you again Arel!

There were many things that I liked about this book. I usually don’t read a lot of fantasy, but when I do, it has to keep my attention. This book certainly did!

The first thing that I liked was how the book switched from before and now. I love when a book does that because it makes you have to think about what happened from a few chapters ago, and it really keeps your attention moving back and forth. I loved looking back and seeing how each world was connected.

I liked the main characters and their stories as well. I especially liked Dalbran. He was very well written. Also, I loved that there was a lot of dialogue. I love when I can picture their conversation happening and I could do that a lot in this book.

There were some parts where I was a little confused and had to go back to read it again. Also, I felt like the characters could’ve gone more into depth about their cultures and how they were. There wasn’t much to describe a lot of the characters and that is where it lost some points for me. However, this does say it is the first in the series, so more might come out in the sequel.

Overall, if you are a YA fantasy reader, I would definitely encourage you to read this book. There were so many elements that were great and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel!

Rating: ★★★★

Bitter Rivals by Winter Renshaw

Published: April 30th, 2016

“First it was love. Then it was war.

XAVIER

Work hard, play harder.

All I wanted was a weekend in the Hamptons, but what I got was forty-eight hours of quality time with my former business partner. My ex best friend. The girl who walked away without so much as an explanation the second sh*t got real.

I’m going to make her sorry she was never mine.

MAGNOLIA

Work hard, forget the rest.

All I wanted was a peaceful weekend alone at my boss’ Hamptons manse, but what I got was forty-eight hours with the guy who convinced me to fall in love with him and then did the unthinkable.

He broke my heart once, and I’ll be damned if I let him anywhere near it ever again”

Review:

This was a novella so there wasn’t really much to analyze. If there’s anything I love in this world, it’s the rivals-to-lovers story. Something happens in their lives where they are arch-nemeses. Once they spend some time with each other, they see that it’s not all bad. It’s all the same, but I still love it every single time.

Xavier and Magnolia worked at the same company. They went on a retreat together years ago, and things escalate quickly (wink). However, the next morning, something happens and causes Magnolia to loathe Xavier.

Now, they have to spend 48 hours together in their bosses Hampton home. It’s pretty clear what happens, only it’s not what you expect. The author put a little bit of a different spin on it, and I really liked that. Overall, there were some parts where I was confused, but it was a refreshing rivals-to-lovers story.

Rating: ★★★★

The Romantics by Leah Konen

Published: November 1st, 2016

“Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.”

Review:

Let’s start off with the narrator of this story: “Love”. This was the cutest idea I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to narration. Love is basically a emotion that makes things happen throughout the book. Whether it’s a chair getting pushed closer together or making one of them think about something, it’s her and it’s adorable.

Gael’s life is hard. He has this big relationship that ends in the worst possible way. His parents are divorcing. He doesn’t know if he has a best friend anymore. Things are really hard at the moment. On the way from leaving his own birthday dinner, his life gets even weirder when he meets Cara by smacking into her bike. Gael and Cara aren’t really that good for each other, but it seems that they really are into each other. What can Love do to stop it?

The story flowed very well and it was such an interesting concept to learn about. I’ve never read another book with a narrator like that. It’s like Love was a person and an emotion. Super great read. By the end of the book, I loved it, but overall I felt like there was just one thing missing, and it kept me from giving this book a five star rating. I’d recommend this book to anyone!

Rating: ★★★★

 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Published: June 21st, 2016

“Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?”

Review:

This book was …interesting. Confusing, but interesting. It’s a book that you’ve never really heard of this specific story being told before.

In the beginning of this book, my attention was not grabbed. I didn’t really find anything that captivated me from the beginning. I pretty much felt the same throughout the book. I felt like I read the same chapter over and over even though the pages were ascending.

I ended up giving this book a higher rating than I originally thought I would based on the ending. The ending was totally unexpected for me and I felt like it had me questioning about the whole book from the beginning. Overall, it was short and quick, but confusing and not that captivating at all.

Rating: ★★★

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Published: November 1st, 2016

“From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

“Isn’t that the best of all life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.”

Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.

As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her.

Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.

Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.”

Review:

A novella based on the lifestyle of Alzheimer’s disease: very hard to read. I can’t imagine someone going through that.

This was very short and sad. However, I think that Fredrik Backman did a beautiful job of portraying what it is actually like to have this awful disease. He switched things up and sometimes it was a little confusing to keep up with, but the story was amazingly written.

Rating: ★★★★