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review 2018-01-29 05:47
The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1) by Roni Loren
The Ones Who Got Away - Roni Loren
Finn and Olivia are part of a group of students that survived a school-shooting on prom night known as The Ones Who Got Away. He has been working as a cop for the past few years but returns home to take part in a documentary that will mark the anniversary of that fateful day. Once back home, he gets reacquainted with Olivia and other friends, but it’s definitely Olivia who’s never far from his thoughts and for whom he still has deep feelings.

I really liked their relationship. The traumatic event they went through helps them form a very unique bond since not many people around them are capable of understanding what their lives are like. At first they are a little hesitant to start any kind of relationship but then they realize that it’s in each other’s company that they will find the courage to move forward and live the lives they always wanted to live. I also liked how realistic and relatable the characters felt. I can honestly say I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Olivia. Someone would say something to her and my mind would wander to a response and sure enough, that’s how she had responded in the book! I thought that was terrific and funny! Finn was such a perceptive and lovable man what with him being a cop trying to atone for past mistakes, and also being a regular man facing the same kind of problems any other person in his situation would. I thought the author did a great job in making such authentic characters. 

The story itself was different and even a bit gritty. While it has dark themes and deals with some PTSD issues it never falls into the extremes of angst or revenge, and it keeps the humor on the lighter side without being comical. In short, it was an endearing story about friendship, survival, leaving the past in the past, and above all, love. 

** I won a copy of this ARC through BookishFirst. This is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
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review 2018-01-29 04:12
Lost Treasure (Audiobook)
Lost Treasure - Kate Sherwood

For a story about a guy going up to Canada to settle his estranged grandmother's estate, this is a refreshingly angst-free story. Sure, Kyle has regrets about his grandmother, but mostly he spends the book remembering why her cabin by the lake was once a happy summer retreat for him and realizing that he's been a little too compliant with his parents' expectations for his life. 


He also gets reunited with his childhood friend Ryan, who of course has grown up to be a total hottie, and who has a great kid who is freakishly well-behaved but not a total pod person. Since Kyle isn't planning to stay, they decide to just stick to being friends. Of course, that doesn't last long. Look, can someone explain to me why getting beat up is such a turn on? What is the appeal here? I don't get it.


In the meantime, Kyle has to hand out his grandmother's bequests, which is a series of baffling "interviews" with various townsfolk who all have their own stories to tell about Kyle's grandmother. And isn't it great that they all became better people? :D


This is a short, sometimes sweet sometimes funny but mostly average romance with a dash of self-discovery thrown in for good measure.


The narrator did a decent job, though he really made me want to fast-forward through the sex scenes even more than I usually do.

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review 2018-01-28 00:00
More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance)
More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance) - Jillian Quinn I wanted to explain my rating.

This wasn't the worst book ever, but I felt like everything was skimmed over - nothing developed.

I wasn't invested in any of the characters. I didn't believe any of the relationships. The storyline wasn't anything new, but could've been really interesting if things had been fleshed out and not just dropped onto the page.

I know I sound harsh, I just wanted more.
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review 2018-01-11 17:52
Review: "The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue" by Mackenzi Lee
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee


~ 4.5 stars ~


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review 2018-01-09 02:12
ARC Review: Before You Break by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams
Before You Break - Parker Williams,K.C. Wells

I'm ridiculously overdue with this review - my apologies to the authors. 

This book is the first in the series called Secrets, which is a spin-off from Collars & Cuffs, which I loved. At the end of book 8 of C&C, Eli and Jarod (from book 7) have decided to move to London to purchase and revamp an existing BDSM club, which they rename Secrets. 

I was excited to see Eli and Jarod again, and how the authors would set this new series apart from their first one. 

Wayne and Ellis are both members of London's Specialist Firearms unit and best friends. In recent months, Wayne has noticed Ellis behaving erratically, angering quickly, and being generally sleep-deprived. So far, Wayne has covered for Ellis and prevented any fuck-ups, but he realizes that this cannot go on. Thus, Wayne, a member of the club Eli and Jarod bought, invites Ellis to the Grand Reopening, in hopes that Ellis will see what goes on in Wayne's world for himself, and perhaps be more agreeable to a proposition Wayne has for him.

As I expected, Ellis has a freak-out. 

I had a difficult time understanding how Wayne thought that his straight best friend would be amenable to what Wayne was proposing, and that he thought this would be best for Ellis. At no time had Ellis ever given Wayne any kind of indication that he was a) not straight, and b) interested at all in the lifestyle. That whole situation felt forced to me early on, even if Ellis eventually agrees. I also was a little exasperated with Wayne's constant BDSM lectures, even though they made sense within the plot, since Ellis has zero experience in the lifestyle and possibly some preconceived false notions. 

The angst in this book comes mainly from Ellis and the messy relationships he has with his family, primarily his sister. It was clear to me that she was emotionally manipulating Ellis at all times, and that he bent over backwards to keep her happy. For someone in such a high stress job, I was wondering if there weren't psychological evaluations required at certain intervals, and whether an experienced therapist wouldn't have figured out that Ellis was at breaking point. Not even Wayne, his supposed best friend, really had any idea what Ellis was dealing with.

Once Wayne and Ellis set off on their BDSM journey though, I could see the relationship flourish, and there were many emotionally charged moments between them as Ellis learns more about Wayne's proclivities, and opens himself to being not so straight after all. These emotional moments are what keeps me coming back to these authors - they really have a knack for writing hardcore explicit kink with hardcore emotional impact. 

The ending was well done, even though there are some edge-of-your-seat moments that had me with my heart in my throat. Still, all's well that ends well, and this was a good start to this new series. I can't wait to see what else they have in store. 

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

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