The Third Wish by Carolyn Brown

Published: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing

Be careful what you wish for…

When she was eight years old, Jessica found an old bottle on the beach and made three wishes: that she wouldn’t always be the tallest kid in the class, that she would find a big conch shell, and that she would finally meet her father someday. Jessica’s wishes never came true—no other kids ever matched her height and she only ever found a small conch shell at the beach—but twenty years later, when she finds her mother’s old love letters, she has a chance to make the third wish come true.

Jessica travels to Florida to find her father but their reunion is interrupted by his arrogant junior business partner, Rocky Rycroft. Indignant, Jessica goes back to her Texas hometown and is surprised that Rocky follows her home. He explains he’s been sent by her father’s family learn more about Jessica, but all of Jessica’s friends insist his interest is more personal than that.

Jessica was looking for her father, not love. Could she now possibly have both?

Review:

I loved this book from the synopsis. I haven’t heard something like this before, so I thought it would be great. I was unfortunately disappointed with how it was. It wasn’t so much the story, it was the editing and the characters that didn’t do it for me.

I think that this book went too fast. The flying back and forth was a little crazy and confusing. There were also characters that had similar names and qualities and so I couldn’t differentiate who was who.

The editing had me almost stop this book a few times. There were many mistakes with grammar and spelling throughout this short novella. There was one point where the word “here” was spelled like “hear” and I had to stop and put it down. There were some things that I just couldn’t deal with, so I had to drop the rating on this book.

Rating: ★★★★

Melt by Deborah Bladon

Published: January 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published

“I saw my boss naked.

Actually, most of the women who work at Matiz Cosmetics have. It’s understandable since the pictures went viral almost immediately after being posted online. Ryker Moore and his social media star girlfriend were photographed on a private beach in the Caribbean.

No swimsuits, no hats, and no bad camera angles.

Ryker’s back in New York City and his relationship is over.

The fact that he’s single shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. It’s not because I’ve secretly wanted him since I landed this job. It has absolutely nothing to do with that one kiss we shared under the mistletoe at the holiday party last year.
It matters because of the way he looks at me when he doesn’t think I’m paying attention. That melts my heart but I know enough about Ryker to realize he’s trouble.

He’s the last thing I need, but that has nothing to do with what I want, does it? ”

Review:

This book was great in the beginning. From the synopsis, I thought “Wow, I love that kind of book! Must read now!” I’m glad I felt that way, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t the best.

Things were good in the beginning. I liked the characters and how they were introduced. I like their backstory and how things went down in the past. It makes for this kind of story.

Reading on, I felt like there was some lack of chemistry. It was hard to read through because I just couldn’t see it in my head. It was a little too much for me. It was pretty back and forth, which I usually enjoy, but this time, it was just a lot.

Lastly, I am a stickler for editing issues. I will knock stars off if there is one mess up. There are problems with self-publishing because it sometimes doesn’t get edited. That’s how I felt with this one. I wish it was read a little better.

Overall, I liked the idea of this story. It could’ve been better, and I hope in the future, Deborah Bladon checks the editing some more.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Irresistible Attraction by Brenda Jackson

Published: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

“Sydney Corbain never forgot her explosive encounter with Tyrone Hardcastle at her brother’s wedding. So when she runs into him in New York City on business, they both see this as an opportunity to explore their undeniable attraction. But can a whirlwind of passion turn into long-lasting love?”

Review:

This book was very short, almost like a novella. In this small novel, I really enjoyed everything Brenda Jackson wrote.

I read this on IBooks so there were 113 pages. Throughout those pages, the chemistry was definitely felt. It was a weird story about Sydney and Tyrone, and I got confused sometimes, but the chemistry is amazing. Brenda Jackson really wrote this well and it flowed beautifully. I couldn’t stop reading!

I loved the characters and their development as well. They both were great by the end and I’m glad they turned out the way that they did.

Like I said before, this was really short, so there isn’t much I have to say. Overall, this book was very well done, but confused me as some parts. I would read Brenda Jackson again!

Rating: ★★★★.5/5

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Published: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”

Review:

Wow. This was super, super sad. If you are an emotional reader, I would recommend having a box of tissues nearby. Marin is a girl who lost her mother at a young age. She was being taken care of by her grandfather and she doesn’t know how to cope when he doesn’t return home. Marin deals with grief and confusing feelings for her best friend Mabel. She up and leaves San Francisco to go to New York, leaving everything behind.

Marin is a young girl that shouldn’t have to deal with what she does. She is left alone and even though she has had many different people that loved her, she always felt alone all of the time. When her grandfather never comes home, she packs and heads right to New York, closing everyone off and not letting anyone in. Not even her best friend Mabel. Mabel, who Marin is in love with. Things get really confusing for both girls.

I think that Nina LaCour did a beautiful job writing how Marin goes through grief. There are seven stages, and I think that each stage was represented. Marin needed help and the author really showed her going through what she was. Things were really hard for her, and because they were hard for her, some parts were hard to read.

I feel like there was something missing at the end of the book. I felt like I was waiting for something, but it didn’t really take away from the book. This is my second Nina LaCour book, and I’m really starting to love her as an author. Can’t wait to read more.

Rating: ★★★★

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Published: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books

A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.”

Review:

I’m so happy I loved this book as much as I did since it was my 80th book this year and therefore, the end of my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year! (Of course I’ll continue to read, but yay!). Jordan is a girl who is at a boarding school for performing arts who is struggling to receive parts in the musical for the last three years. Her mom doesn’t want her to be there if she can’t get cast in the musicals. When a spot in the boarding school’s most elite acappella group opens up, she does what she has to in order to get a spot. She dresses up as a boy and it turns out that Jordan, now as Julian, is exactly what the group was looking for. She goes through all of the measures to make sure that this works out. Of course, there are bumps along the way.

Okay but this book was amazing. There were so many great things! This was like Mulan (which is one my favorites) mixed with Glee (another one of my favorites) so it was just amazing to read. Jordan is one of my favorite characters in a book ever. The lengths that she goes through to make sure that she won’t get caught is unfathomable. She is so strong for dealing with so many things on her plate, but she doesn’t let it get to her.

Next, I love the different romances in this book. There were so many and it was awesome to see the straight, bisexual, and gay couples being so well loved. Riley Redgate really wrote these parts wonderfully.

The only thing that I thought could’ve been better were some of the characters. I understand that there are some people who are meant to be background characters and main characters. However, a lot of them were main and then background again, so there were some confusing parts that I had to reread. Other than this, I loved this book a lot. The writing style and story were something that I never really heard of so I was captivated from the start.

Rating: 4.5/5

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: ★★★★

Sex & Sweet Tea Series by Juliette Poe

#1: Ain’t He Precious
Published: April 11th, 2017

“Welcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.”

Review:

Trixie and Ryland made life choices that left them both without love for eleven years. He stayed in Boston, working at one of the biggest firms there, while Trixie went back home after Harvard. When Trixie needs help on a case, she asks Ry to come help her in her hometown of Whynot, NC. Trixie is exactly where she is supposed to be and Ry sticks out like a sore thumb. After denying their chemistry for so long, it’s bound to happen that things will escalate in the way that they both want it to.

This book was so fun to read. Sawyer Bennett is using a different name to write as Juliette Poe. There were so many memorable and hilarious quotes that could come from this book. One of my favorites was from Ryland: “The people in this town are nuttier than squirrel shit.” There were moments where I laughed out loud.

The chemistry that this book had was unbelievable. I read tons and tons of romance. It’s one of my favorite genres. “Ain’t He Precious” had some of the best chemistry that I have ever read. I love the story of this book too. Two loves from college get away from each other: if it’s meant to be, it will be.

The last thing was the characters. Juliette Poe did a magnificent job describing what it’s like to live in a small town. I live in a town where it’s only two miles long. It’s very true that when you go out into town, you know everyone. When we have family or friends visit, they always say, “Wow, you know everyone, don’t you?”.  Juliette Poe wrote the small town narrative perfectly.

Overall, this was a wonderful book that I would recommend to any romance lover. If you like a little steam, you’ll get that too! The writing style and characters were all phenomenal. Read. This. Book!

The second book of this series: Stubborn As A Mule, is published as of July 20th, 2017. This is a story of Trixie’s brother Lowe, and how he got himself in deep trouble with the law. There’s a historical house that belongs in the Mancinkus family and it was bought from underneath of him by a woman named Melinda. So, what does Lowe do? He vandalizes the house and paints it bright pink. The second book will be about Lowe and Melinda’s journey to fix the house as court ordered by a judge.

Rating: ★★★★★

#2: Stubborn As a Mule
Published: July 20th, 2017

Down in Whynot, NC, there are three things that hold true: 1) life moves just a little bit slower, 2) family means everything, and 3) you don’t mess with history.

When his family decides to sell a home that’s been part of their history for over a century, Lowe Mancinkus is madder than a hornet. To add insult to injury, the woman who purchased it is some fancy pants, city girl looking to fix it up and sell it off. Doesn’t matter that she’s sexy as hell or that just being near her gets his blood racing like never before. That home belongs to his family, or at least it did until she came to town.

Well that just won’t do, now will it?

From the moment that she laid eyes on the historical home in rural North Carolina, Melinda Rothschild knew Mainer House was something special. The perfect escape from life in New York City, Melinda signed the papers and set to work restoring the house to its natural beauty. That is until an angry Lowe showed up on her doorstep one day. With a scowl on his handsome, chiseled face. And a shotgun in his strong, muscular arms.

Is it getting hot in here?

Melinda’s about to get a lesson on life in the south, but Lowe is about to learn a lesson of his own – this city girl doesn’t back down from a fight. ”

Review:

I waited and waited months for this book to come out and let me say, I am NOT disappointed. Stubborn as a Mule starts off with Lowe and Melinda in the court room trying to figure out a punishment for Lowe’s vandalism. The judge has known Lowe and his family for a long time, so when the outsider, Melinda, starts putting up a fight about how much punishment he is actually getting. When the judge finds her to be a nuisance, he summons both of them to work on the house together for 200 hours. When they begin working together, it’s not a surprise that there is chemistry there. Melinda learns the hard way of a town that is so small, running into Lowe’s ex-flings and having to hear all the details. Lowe is falling for Melinda and vice versa. The perfect story yet again.

I should just copy and paste my review of the first in the series. This book was absolutely fantastic. Honestly, it was the perfect sequel. This book had a different premise than the first. The first book was more of a “one that got away” story line, and this one was enemies-to-lovers. It was amazing.

The characters were great. I loved Lowe because even though he acts tough on the outside, he’s sweet and romantic on the inside. I didn’t like Melinda at first. She was just so mean and her attitude was holier-than-thou. However, I loved her by the end. She’s a strong, independent woman that hasn’t been in a relationship in a long time. Again, Melinda learns how it is in a small town. Juliette Poe continues to really bring that home.

Overall, again, a perfect love story about learning how to be patient and kind. Trixie and Ry were mentioned in this book, so it’s important to acknowledge that this series is staying together. I love this series and can’t wait for the next!

As of right now, this series is five books long. The next book is called “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and it’s about Trixie and Lowe’s sister, Laken, who is the only veterinarian in Whynot. What will happen when a new dog shows up in town with a very cute owner? We’ll find out in September of 2017!

I will continue this post as a series when each book comes out!