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text 2018-03-21 06:58
Reading progress update: I've read 63%.
Breaking Point - N.R. Walker

I sat at the kitchen counter while he made us dinner of grilled cheese on toast and talked about his day. I pretended my eye, head, and ribs didn’t hurt, that I wasn’t lying to him, that I didn’t feel guilty, just so I could see him smile.



I could use some pain relief right about now - this is getting hard.

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review 2018-02-01 01:49
ARC Review: Heard by A.M. Arthur
Heard: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 3) - A.M. Arthur

This series just keeps getting better and better.

In this 3rd installment, the main couple is Jax Orris, a widowed omega who was previously mated and has a baby son from that marriage, and Karter Jenks, a young constable who had a supporting role in the previous books.

Karter has recently undergone a change of mind after witnessing Kell Iverson's trial (from book 2) and has opened his eyes to how badly many omegas are treated by alphaholes. He's slowly becoming woke and has started to rebel against his own father's conservative views. He's still relatively young, and fairly new to being a constable, so he's not looking for his mate but fate has other plans.

Jax and his baby managed to escape from an illegal fight ring where he's been held captive since shortly after his husband died. Forced to bulk up with daily protein shakes and workouts, Jax has the appearance and stature of an alpha. Homeless and penniless, he's forced to break in to homes and steal supplies for his baby and himself. And a botched surgery has also left him mute.

Karter is investigating a recent break-in and is shocked to find the young omega is his bondmate. Jax cannot believe he isn't being hauled to jail immediately upon his capture and has no intention of trusting the constable, but also cannot deny the pull he feels toward the man fate intended for him.

This book cannot be read as a standalone. While it focuses on the relationship development for the main couple as part of the plot, there is too much backstory from the previous books to make it readable on its own. Some specific plot points from the previous books are also further developed and explored in this one, and I expect that to continue into future books. The characters from the previous books all make an appearance, and it's important to know their stories to fully understand and appreciate this one.

I cried a lot. A lot, a lot. When Jax's story comes out, as he tells Karter about his time in captivity, the consequences of losing a fight, the cruel and inhumane treatment he received because of his omega status, his fears for his baby, his willpower to survive, his inner strength - I alternately cried in anger and in joy. 

The author writes with so much emotion, and the world she's built is colorful and vivid and horrifying and believable. There are parallels to be drawn to our own society. There are people fighting for equality and there are people pushing these fighters back down, to keep the status quo, to keep the oppressed under their thumbs. It's an interesting comparison to our current political climate where some folks aren't viewed as human beings by those in power, because of the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexual orientation, their country of origin or ancestry. The author created a world in which alphas hold all the power and most of the well-paying jobs, while omegas aren't even guaranteed a driver's license but expected to be the little house-husband, taking care of the kids and their alphahole's every need, including spreading their legs whenever their alpha so desires, and their own wishes and dreams don't matter none to anyone. 

These aren't easy books to read. The author doesn't shy away from being explicit in the descriptions of the violence perpetrated by alphas against helpless omegas, but she also shows that it can be different, and that a bond-mated couple can be truly in love and deeply care about each other, and that an alpha who loves his mate is capable of treating his mate with respect and dignity. 

The horror is mellowed to some degree by the love that exists between Jax and Karter, Kell and Ronin, and Braun and Tarik. That loves gives hope to others, shows them that they don't have to accept the status quo, and that the fight to make a better world for all is in everyone's best interest and totally worth it. I loved how Jax learned to communicate in sign language, and how Karter tried and tried and tried to win his trust. I loved how Karter grew into his own person in this book, how he moved past his father's views and stood up for himself and his mate and became a better person for it. I loved how supportive Kell and Braun were with Jax, how Tarik and Ronin helped where they could, and how Serge and Dex continued to be awesome friends to them all. The characters are all fully fleshed out and carefully crafted, with realistic and reasonable personalities that all felt authentic and believable. 

This was an edge-of-your-seat read from start to finish. Have tissues ready. Wine and chocolate is also useful.

Highly recommended that you read this series. The next book is going to come out soon. 

** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-01-11 18:52
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls) - Julie Cross

Julie Cross lights the lamp with BREAKING THE ICE, the second book from the Juniper Falls series.  Juniper Falls princess/cheer captain, Haley Stevenson, needs help with her Civics class.  She decides scholarly hockey player, Fletcher Scott, is the perfect person to help her pass the class.  However, Fletcher likes to stay out of the lime light, which will be impossible if he’s hanging out with Haley.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences.  It takes place in northern Minnesota.


BREAKING THE ICE is a fun story.  Haley and Fletcher are opposites.  She is popular and outgoing.  Whereas, Fletcher likes to go unnoticed and keep to himself.  Haley bulldozes herself into Fletcher’s life.  I like Haley and Fletcher together.  They both misjudge each other.  I like that they eventually open up to one another. 


My heart went out to Fletcher.  His allergies are extreme.  I know people with less server conditions and sympathize with what he goes through.  Between his family and health issues, it is understandable why he wants to stay under the radar.  


BREAKING THE ICE was skillfully written and flowed well.  There were unexpected twists and pertinent issues.  BREAKING THE ICE is a wonderful addition the Juniper Falls series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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review 2018-01-03 21:02
Review: Breaking
Breaking - Danielle Rollins

I received a copy from Netgalley.


I initially requested this one because I liked the previous book I’d read by the same author. I had no idea it was actually a companion novel to Burning until I was half way through and looking up something else on Goodreads.


This was an interesting book, after reading the first two or three chapters slowly, I read the rest in a couple of hours one evening. I just couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t completely blown away with the book, I can’t even say I really liked all the characters that much. There was just something about the story and the way the plot unwound that made me want to keep reading and just had to know what was going on and how it all wound up together.


Trigger Warnings: Suicide.


The novel tells the story of teenager Charlotte, starting off when she’s a very young child, her mother who is some sort of doctor giving her genius tests (which Charlotte is not very good at) her mother has certain expectations of what sort of girl Charlotte should be.  You get the impression that Charlotte doesn’t really care about her mother’s expectations, even at a very young age. Skip ahead to a teenager in a posh prep school. Charlotte is in the principal’s office one of her best friends Devon, has recently committed suicide in a very short time since her other best friend Ariel also committed suicide. Both were bright, smart and popular.


Charlotte doesn’t seem to fit the bill with the other smart kids in the school. The kids in the school are all very smart to genius. She’s struggling in her classes and not making the grade. Her mom is a very prestigious (and very rich) alumni. She’s about to pull Charlotte from the school on the principal’s advice, failing grades and the sudden deaths of her two best friends very close together and Charlotte’s attitude seems to be very blasé about everything.


Whilst packing her stuff Charlotte finds a package left by one of her deceased friends containing a strange note and a tiny bottle saying “Drink me”. Charlotte realises there must be something more going on, she can’t stop thinking about the note. She realises she wants to find out what it means and will have to be at the school to do that. When almost overnight her physical appearance improves and her (really bitchy) mom notices too. She uses this and manages to convince her mom to let her stay at the school for the rest of the semester contingent on her grades rapidly improving.





Charlotte notices quickly that her grades are improving as well, she’s answering questions in class without studying, acing essays and vastly better at her fencing class than she’s ever been. And she’s not the only one who noticed. Her BFF Ariel’s former boyfriend Jack for one, when they start talking again over what happened it turns into more than talking and flirting. And a rival in Charlotte’s fencing class, Zoe, who is not happy at all when Charlotte kicks her ass in fencing.

(spoiler show)


The plot is fairly fast paced and there’s enough intrigue that kept me interested when Charlotte finds more notes and more clues left by Ariel and realises at one point that she found the notes and clues left for her in the wrong order. The mystery deepens, Charlotte’s relationship with Jack is getting more and more intense and she’s got the added irritation of fending off Zoe who seems determined to make things difficult for her.


The characters were kind of flat, I couldn’t really identify with Charlotte much, she was cold and aloof and had a sort of above it all vibe about her. There was an interesting morality grey area to the plot as it developed as well. It definitely takes a darker twist towards the end, and that’s where it ties in with the previous novel Burning. It can be read as a standalone, there’s very little that gives away anything to do with Burning’s actual plot but if you’ve read Burning there’s an “ahhh” moment when you realise the connection.


I also have issues with Charlotte and her two best friends, Ariel and Devon, the reader learns some pretty unsettling things about the two girls as Charlotte delves into the mystery as what caused them both to commit suicide within weeks of each other. These girls were supposed to have been the tight knit group that everyone wanted to be part of, yet there was a sense of underlying threat rather than close female friendship with Ariel as the ring leader and Devon following with Charlotte trailing behind. There was a sense of rivalry and tension that was supposed to be uncomfortable but more annoying than anything else.


There was an eye rolling side plot revolving around Ariel’s former boyfriend Jack who was close with Charlotte and Charlotte had always had a thing for but never did anything cause Ariel got there first even though it’s completely obvious Charlotte liked him. Jack is a typical nice guy, good looking with rich parents. His dad has an important job – senator or judge or something along those lines (can’t remember which) but Jack doesn’t seem interested in following those footsteps and like Charlotte doesn’t seem that interested in the classes at the prep school. He and Charlotte redevelop their friendship which of course develops into something more. She (of course) gets to see the side of him that no one else really gets to see.  Then Charlotte notices Jack starts rapidly improving in grades and stuff like she did. The romance angle was irritating.


It was a fairly quick read and definitely interesting, not something I would call a favourite but definitely worth a go if you like prep school mysteries and are intrigued by unlikeable characters.


Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-01-02 01:05
ARC Review: Seen by A.M. Arthur
Seen: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 2) - A.M. Arthur

Reading this book wasn't easy, and writing up a review for it has obviously taken me quite some time, considering I read this in September of last year. I'm still not sure that I can adequately describe how I spent most of my time reading this book in a state of constant anger and helpless tears at what had been done to Kell, Braun's older brother, at the hands of his alphahole husband and his father-in-law. 

There are moments in this book when Kell experiences trauma beyond anyone's worst nightmares, and I wanted to reach into the book multiple times and kill the alphaholes myself. Any book that can create such a visceral reaction is well deserving of the 5 stars it receives.

I'm not going to give away too much in my review - this book should be experienced without too much information before going in - but I will say that I believe it worth your time, and your potential rage at the inequality between alphas and omegas in this male-only A/B/O universe, and the social repercussions that stem from said inequality. 

The author rather cleverly creates a comparison between the world she's built in this series, and our own reality, where the patriarchy still rules in many countries and women (omegas) are but afterthoughts or simply vessels to bear children, expected to be grateful for the scraps they're given, without any chance at real equality at any time in their lives. 

This isn't an easy series, nor is this an easy book to read - but read it, you should. It's not a standalone, so start with the first one.

** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **

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