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review 2014-06-08 00:00
Bar Crawl
Bar Crawl - Andrea Randall Bar Crawl (a novella) releases on June 16th! New Andrea Randall! Yay!! :)

★ Check out my list of UPCOMING BOOK RELEASES!!
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review 2014-03-19 10:30
In the Stillness - Andrea Randall

In the Stillness was intense, emotional, and breathtakingly honest. This is a story that touches your heart & mind and left me speechless in the end.

“They took his soul over there, fuckers, and left me with the breathing carcass.”

 

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♦︎ The Story ♦︎

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“But, the thing about guilt is, no one can take away for you; you have to unpack it yourself.”

Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. This is a story someone can easily love. This wasn't even on my to-read list, but I though eh, what the hell and decided to go for it. Best. Decision. Ever. It's completely realistic... her hopes, struggles, voice, everything. To me, it's what made this a five-star read.

∙Recap

Natalie once had her life in order. She was going to get her degree in anthropology and travel the world.

 

 

But things changed when she unexpectedly becomes a mother and wife. In order to stay strong for her family, she patches a bandaid on a festering wound that, over the years, becomes too much to ignore. In order to escape, she seeks an old friend, her blade. And for her to get better, she's going to have to face her past and learn to let go.

 

 

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In the Stillness does deal with the issue of self-multilation, but it's so much more than that.

 

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♦︎ Characters ♦︎ 

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∙Natalie

 

I exist. Right?

 

Natalie is one of my favorite heroines ever. You can't help but share in her pain, betrayal and loneliness. There were so many things weighing Natalie down and holding her back, that cutting was her only way of escaping, of staying sane. She had dreams and aspirations, just like any of us, and although she loves her children, she can't help but yearn for the life she could have had.

∙Eric

I have mixed feelings about Eric... and they lean towards the negative. He's a perfect example of sometimes, love just isn't enough. Do I understand why he did the things he did? Eh… yesish. Does it justify it? Absolutely not. To put it in simpler terms, all he cared about was himself and his image.

∙Ryker

 

“His body came home, but his soul had been devoured in the firefight of a godless desert.”

 

Oh, how my heart went out to him! His character was fictional but his stubble wasn't.

 

Ryker was swoon-worthy and so playful and sweet... ♥ it was difficult to read of how much they struggled to piece each other together and find their way... whether it was together or alone. I was so proud to see how much he grew as a person. ____________________________________________

 

 

♦︎ Overall ♦︎

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“How’d you get through it? The uncertainty, I mean.” “Because I was never uncertain about our hearts.”

This book is a must-read, for sure. From beginning to end your experiencing and feeling everything that goes on. I can't stress enough how realistic this book was, even the ending was fulfilling without being overdone.

 

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review 2014-01-04 00:00
Sweet Forty-Two
Sweet Forty-Two - Andrea Randall image

3.5 stars

"...undone were my defenses against him getting inside my head. He'd found an underground tunnel, the bastard. Probably through my tongue."


Sweet Forty-Two was an emotionally darker read than the previous two books.  It was also my favorite.  While the first two books in the November Blue series focused on Bo and Ember's relationship, Sweet Forty-Two focuses on a different couple, Regan and Georgia.  Sweet Forty-Two is a story about dealing with the pain in life and learning to move forward, live happily, and learning to trust someone else with your heart.

This book picks up a few months after the bittersweet ending of Reckless Abandon.  Regan is the violin player that joined Bo and Ember's group.  Now living in San Diego, Regan, and Ember are joining musical forces with Ember's parents as they record a new album.  Along for the ride is Regan's cousin, CJ.  Spending most of their days in the recording studio, the group moonlights at E's, a local bar that where CJ's best friend, Georgia, works.

Georgia has a hard exterior.  She is brash and rough.  She wears just enough clothing to cover up what the good Lord gave her, yet it still doesn't leave much to the imagination.  Everyone makes assumptions about her — that  she's been abused, that she's sleeps with tons of guys, etc.  She lets them believe them.  Correcting them and telling them the truth would be easier than letting them see the real her and the issues she has to deal with on a daily basis.  I won't detail what Georgia's issues are, so you can find out for yourself.  I was happy to find out that she wasn't physically, mentally, or sexually abused, as I feel like that plotline is overused.
I reminded myself that girls like Georgia were good at making guys want them. Grave them. With skin-baring clothing, wicked eyes, and a bottom lip pinched between their teeth, they owned us.  All of us.

Georgia self-created outward facade is not a good representation of who she really is.  On the inside, she scared and lost.  She has constructed these impenetrable walls around her, terrified to let anyone in, except for CJ.  When she meets Regan, she tries to treat him like all of the other bar patrons, flirting with him and teasing him with her body.  But something in the way he carries himself stops her in her tracks. He's different.

After months of living with Bo and Ember, Regan needs a place to stay.  Conveniently, Regan has an extra apartment for rent in the building she owns.  Surprisingly, she offers him the vacant apartment at a great price.  This small gesture is the beginning of their friendship and the start of the demolition of Georgia's walls.
"Keep slurping it," I blurted out.
I needed him to be real, still. Flawed in the volume of his drinking. Loud enough to override the palpable rawness of his allegiance to the doctrine of love.

Beneath the two apartments in Georgia's building is a bakery, Regan's bakery.  This broken and heavily guarded woman has a passion for baking.  Baking is an escape for her.  Decked in Alice Wonderland-themed decor, the bakery is completely renovated and ready for business.  However, due to Regan's personal issues, she has not opened it.  I loved the way Randall described this bakery. It seemed like such a warm and inviting space, I wanted to visit.

Regan has his own set of issues to deal with, the death of his girlfriend.  There were several times in Sweet Forty-Two where I felt like my own heart was breaking over his loss.  Randall's words at those moments where he let all of his emotions out was very moving and I almost teared up.  As each of them shared pieces of themselves with each other, Regan and Georgia began to trust one another.  
"For a half an hour or more I was folded awkwardly over Regan's body in a broken hug as he clenched my hand to his chest. Where his heart once was."

I had a hard time connecting with Georgia until later on in the book, which I think was intentional.  She was confusing and frustrating, even Regan said that.  I also had a hard time completely understanding why she didn't want to be in a relationship.  I wanted that to be more fleshed out for the reader.  For me, parts of the book dragged, namely the first third.  Though, the pacing of last half of the book really picked up along with the tension between the two characters.  I really liked the ending and where Regan and Georgia ended up.

Oh and I have to say that the cover is PERFECT! When I got to the part in the book where the cover's significance is revealed, I internally "ahhhhed."  The partnership between Andrea Randall's story and Okay Creation crafted a beautiful and meaningful cover.

Out of the three books in the series, thus far,I enjoyed Sweet Forty-Two the most.  Unlike in Ten Days of Perfectthe relationship between Georgia and Regan was a very slow-burn, which I prefer over a fast-paced romance.  I enjoyed seeing them get to know one another and watching both of them develop deep feelings for each other.

3.5 stars

*I received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2013-12-24 00:00
Reckless Abandon
Reckless Abandon - Andrea Randall image

Reckless Abandon continues Bo and Ember's story.  With the way things ended in Ten Days of Perfect, I had to know what was next for Bo and Ember.  The story begins with Ember wallowing in her relationship woes. She's not eating. And she's barely talking to anyone, save Adrian Turner, her ex-boyfriend from college, who has reappeared in her life rather conveniently.  He has jumped right in to pick of the pieces of her broken heart.

Though Bo and Ember are no longer seeing each other, they still have to work together due to their non-profits collaborating together.  Primarily, Ember works with Rachel, Bo's sister, on the project, but soon Bo starts to find ways to see Ember. He still loves her but it's difficult for him to be around her and not be able to actually be with her.  What's worse is that he realizes that Adrian may be more than just a friend to Ember (and he wouldn't be too far off).

Bo's point-of-view was sprinkled throughout the book and I really liked getting inside his head.  Like Ember, he's a complete mess.  In addition to his rocky relationship with Ember, he goes through something else in this book that is really traumatic, something no one should ever have to go through. I have to say that when I got to that part in the book I was deeply moved.  I did not see that plot twist coming and I was so SAD!

Like in book one, I really liked Andrea Randall's writing style and the general flow of the story.  However there were a few things that still bothered me.  Personally, I felt like some of Ember's internal dialogue was over-the-top and dramatic, especially when compared to her short relationship with Bo.  The repetitive use of the word, "soul" throughout the novel was a little distracting — "I feel my soup rip off her lingering bandages," "pound on the door to my soul with such force that cracks were forming," "turbulent waters of my soul."

I had to get over the instalove and learn to accept the fact Bo and Ember just had this deep intense (albeit short-lived) relationship — and that the length of it didn't matter. The focus in Reckless Abandon is on mending Bo and Ember's relationship and their hearts.  What I liked most about Reckless Abandon was the building tension between Bo and Ember.  From page one, the reader knows that both characters still have deep feelings for one another.  It just took the characters awhile to come to that realization and put those feelings to action.  That sort of sweet tension is what I love about reading romance novels — the waiting for that reunion.

3 stars

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review 2013-11-17 00:00
Something's Come Up
Something's Come Up - Andrea Randall, Mi... Something's Come Up - Andrea Randall, Michelle Pace I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Giving a rat’s ass caused me issue after irritating issue for a lot of my childhood. So after my mom died, I quit caring. Gave it up for Lent and never looked back.

Once I heard that this book was in the works I could NOT WAIT to experience the melding of minds that is Michelle Pace and Andrea Randall. Through various book groups, I have come to know both the ladies over the past year. Let me tell you; they are some kick-ass chicks! Snarky, funny, honest to a fault, and simply put, AWESOME. I am familiar with both of their writing styles as I have read all their books, some more than once. Both authors have collaborated with other authors previously, and I was curious to see the outcome of their epic merging. Sufficed to say, Something’s Come Up far surpassed anything I could have imagined.

Good old Pace. Six feet and four inches of ripped, ebony sex god. Tasty, tattooed, and oozing testosterone.

I am not even going to lie. There is very little romance in this book. What is there then you ask? TONS of sexy, fun banter and plenty of panty-dripping excursions. Randall and Pace have a fluidity of writing that puts you in the story. There are many points in the book where I found myself needing a fan and a cold shower. Sexually descriptive, yet not vulgar, Something’s Come Up give you erotica with an actual story. The sexiness aside, what I really loved about this book was the repartee between Steph and Pace. They both give as well as they take, and boy do they ever give! I found myself smiling throughout the entire book and even laughing out loud at some parts.

“Cat got your tongue, Cary?”
“Interesting choice of words, given what I’m about to do to you.”


This story stars Steph Brier from Michelle Pace’s Sound Wave series and Pace Turner from Andrea Randall’s November Blue series. Having devoured both series, I loved hearing about interactions I didn’t previously know existed. The storyline isn’t forced and it fits into each series flawlessly. If you haven’t read either or both series, don’t fret. While you don’t HAVE to in order to understand what is going on, you definitely SHOULD because they are just that good! Both series have new books coming out in the next few weeks and I cannot wait! I loved getting to know more about Pace, as he is only briefly in the November Blue series. I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

“That’s how I’ll come, with your legs around my waist and your back trusting the glass. But first I’ll let you watch the city below as you scream my name.”

There is little to no angst in this book, so look forward to a fun and sexy read. Worth every penny and more, I will always snatch up anything these authors write! 5 mouth-watering, red hair a blazing, chocolate sex god in waiting stars! I know you will enjoy it as much as I did ;-)
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