The Brilliance of Erin McCarthy – A Review of “Sweet”

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In book two of the “True Believers” series, we learn more about Jessica and Riley.  Let me tell you…they are worth getting to know!

Jess comes off as a spoiled rich kids while Riley is the older – HOT (if I could make this word flash in neon colors I would) -brother of Tyler.  Riley has moved back home after their mother passed away and Jess is struggling to find a place to stay for one week until her sublet apartment is available.  If you recall from book one, Jess and Riley are a lot like oil and water rather than moth and flame.
At first impression of Jessica in “True,” I really thought of her as the spoiled rich kid that was on this high horse and not a single person could measure up.  I also thought she was a bit slutty and mean.  In “Sweet,” we learn more about why Jessica is this way and that I may have misjudged her entirely.

Riley is super hot (tattoos, muscles on top of muscles, no shirt, low hanging jeans….YUM) and seemed like a loaner in the first book.  In this book we get to know Riley as a person and I have to say…be still my beating heart.  He’s HOT, soulful, intense, loyal, HOT, emotional, caring and did I say HOT.  Like really hot.

Erin McCarthy has a way with spinning a story that hooks you from the start.  You have no choice but to read and read until you finish.  I am in awe of her writing ability and the way in which she writes about average everyday people doing average every day things but with such interesting twists that one has no choice but to become immersed in the world that Erin has created.  Her characters have real life problems (no money, no place to live, drug addict mom, controlling parents, young people trying to find their own way in life) and Erin makes it interesting and heart wrenching.  I just love it.

I really liked this book. I liked it because of the twists that she puts on family dynamics.  Jess comes from this super well off family that wants to control every aspect of her life.  Her brother is a vindictive ass-hat and her mother is so self involved she can’t think of a single other person above herself.  Riley is poorer than dirt but the loyalty and love that he exudes is massive.  He would do anything – absolutely anything – for his brothers.  He gave up his dreams so that he could take care of his little brothers.

I also liked how she drives home the adage that opposites attract.  Rich, high styling, spoiled Jessica and penniless, rough, roofer, Riley.  It’s a stretch of the imagination that these two could hook up but Erin makes it believable and good!

I must admit that I am a big Erin McCarthy fan and would read just about anything she writes.  Trying to remove my bias and provided an honest to gosh rating, I would give this book a solid 4 stars.  Most definitely worth the read.

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Review of “Song of the Fireflies” by J. A. Redmerski

Bray and Elias meet when they are the mere ages of 8 and 9 respectively.  Bray is magnetic to Elias.  He can’t seem to break the trance that she has on him.  They become best friends “forever” and so the journey begins carrying them into adulthood. Elias is this strong, self-controlled yet fun loving young man.  He loves Bray but is afraid to move from friendship to intimacy because they might lose each other.  They begin this journey down the path of soul mates that turns them into a modern day Thelma and Louise for lack of a better analogy.

I liked this book.  I was so excited to be awarded an ARC by Netgalley that I stopped reading the book I had started so that I could read this one.  I read “Song of the Fireflies” in a little over a day.  I love J.A. Redmerski and her story of Andrew and Camryn so I had high hopes for this book too.  I expected to pull my ugly cry out for most of this book and had the kleenex at the ready.  Unfortunately though, I only had a few alligator tears at a singular moment in this book.

While I still liked the book and would still read it, I have to say that I think J.A. was trying too hard with this book.   I think she was trying to duplicate the intensity of her “The Edge of Never” book that it made this book too unbelievable.  There was just too much going on with this couple to believe in the ending that she wrote for them.  The love between Elias and Bray was wholeheartedly believable and I loved these two as a couple.  I still love the eloquence of writing in this book.  Jessica is a great story teller and even though I had a hard time believing in the ending, I switched my eReader off with a smile on my face and a sense of fortune that I spent the morning finishing the book.  I hope you will try “Song of the Fireflies” and like it, as I did.

Also, I loved the cameo appearance of Andrew and Camryn in the book and I have to say I am curious about Tate and Jen, Caleb and Cera, and Grace and Knox.  I hope to read about them in future books.  I also LOVED the title of this book and the Cover of the book…they are perfectly Bray and Elias.

 

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Not Regretting “Take this Regret” by A. L. Jackson

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After reading the Novella that introduced this couple, there was no question that I would read the rest of the series.  “Take this Regret” begins as Christian and Elizabeth are in their last year of college having met and fell in love on their first year of college (Novella; “Lost to You.)  They’ve been together for the four years and have been happy.  Christian is still struggling with his demanding father but Elizabeth is his happiness.  Until she tells him that he is going to be a father.  The ultimatum he places at Elizabeth’s feet leaves her little choice as she walks out of his apartment and life to have this baby alone…heartbroken…afraid.

For five years, Christian struggles with the decision that he made years ago.  He finds himself heading up the San Diego law firm for his father’s company having realized his plan of being a lawyer while abandoning his child and love of his life.  Yet he wonders if she will be there, in the same city that she grew up in.  Will she be happy with Matthew as he assumed she was?  What about the child; is it a he or a she?  

The encounter is unexpected but profound.  In his heart, he knows it’s her; he can see through the eyes of this little child as she clings to this woman that Christian has never met.  This chance encounter is all that it takes to drive him to find her…them…his family.  But will Elizabeth be ready to embrace Christian in their lives…

Wow, this book was fantastic.  I loved it from page to page.  I read every chance I got just to find out what would happen next in the book and if happiness would finally find them.  It was a page turner and often made me late to do things I was suppose to do.  This is the kind of book where to want to read it cover to cover in one sitting and you don’t want anyone to disturb you until you close the book.  

A.L. Jackson, you really know how to write a book chocked full of angst and emotions that overwhelm your reader and sucks them in to the story from the first page.  I look forward to reading “If Forever Comes” as well and can’t wait to find out what other trials this couple has to go through before they find their happily ever after.

Review of “Full Exposure” By Tracy Wolff

This is a story about a woman coming to terms with her tragic past and facing her demons.  She does this by moving forward with her life while still being dragged back into her past involuntarily.  Serena is a survivor.  She is strong to a fault and tries to ensure that she only needs to block out her emotions and fears and not let anyone close enough to break through the shield that she has built around her heart and secure inner sanctum.  That inner sanctum is about to come tumbling around her as her next assignment is supper Hot sculptor Keven Riley.

Kevin is a bit of a recluse himself preferring solitude and peace to people.  He lives in a swamp where he builds these beautiful sculptures from nothing.  They are so profound and meaningful that he is the hottest thing since sliced bread and everyone wants a piece of Kevin.  He’s a brooder and a loaner that just wants to be left alone.  Until Serena is assigned to work with him to create a book about Kevin Riley and who he is through his art.  She is a photographer that takes beautiful pictures of Kevin as he sculpts his next project.

Unfortunately for both of them, they seem too preoccupied with each other.  Kevin sculpts but he can’t seem to get his mind off of Serena.  And Serena, she is taking pictures of Kevin but the pictures she is capturing – his ass – aren’t really the book worthy kind she needs.  The romance blossoms from there but can Serena let her walls down enough to let Kevin in.  Can Kevin penetrate the facade that Serena has built to protect her and save her from herself and her other demons that continue to lurk from her past?

I really liked this book.  It was a great start to an intense love story.  Both characters were beautifully defined and strongly conveyed.  The author did a great job in providing enough back story to get the reader invested enough to keep reading.  The storyline kept me turning page after intense page  to find out how it all played out.  I was in the dark about who exactly was Serena’s ‘demon’ until it was revealed and that scene was intense enough to make me jump at every noise in my house for the next several pages as it unfolded.  I would give this book a solid 4 stars and would recommend to any of you reading this….please put it on your ‘to read’ list.  It’s worth the time to read it and try out this author if you haven’t before.  I definitely will be looking up her other books and giving her another try.

 

 

Tracy Wolff – GREAT JOB on the story and LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover!!!

Review of “Claimed” by Stacey Kennedy

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Presley just ended her engagement when she found our her fiance cheated on her.  She is not a bitter person.  In fact, she is a timid woman that has conformed to the life that is expected of her…till now.  She has found vanilla sex lack-luster and wants to be more adventurous. 

Listening to her friend, Cora, she decides to go to Club Sin, a BDSM club that she hopes will be more fulfilling. 

Master Dimitri is not only an expert in BDSM and owner of Club Sin; he is just what Presley needs.  And, as it turns out, Presley is just what Dimitri needs.  Master Dimitri decides to train Presley himself and so the love story begins.

What I liked about this story is the manner in which this relationship begins.  I love stories where you have a timid partner that needs to be taught about sex and how to reach that euphoria that everyone strives to reach in a relationship.  This is the perfect story for that and the author did it justice.

I really liked the characters Cora, Dimitri and Presley.  I thought they were very nicely described and had unique traits that you could fall in love with.  I also liked that the other Masters of Club Sin were described enough to produce a series – I would love to read a book about Cora and Aidan.  I didn’t really like the Steven character and thought that the story could have been more intense if written differently.  I didn’t think he was scary enough but that was clearly the direction that the author was going.

Overall, I liked the book and was glad that I read it.  I would give it a solid 3 stars.

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Review of “Breaking” by Claire Kent

This is a continuation of her “Escorted” book which I did not read yet but I don’t think that detracted from this book.

In this book Ander comes home from a long work trip troubled and sad.  He doesn’t want to worry Lori with what is bother him but she knows something is wrong.  He is falling into old habits that he had when he was an escort which is not like he has been with her since they became a couple.  

Lori is so happy to have him home and allows him to wallow for a while but then changes tactics and demands that he open up to her and tell her what is wrong. 

This was a quick read and the author did a good job providing the back story so that folks like me that did not read book one before reading this one could get the jest of what happened in book one. 

Ander – awesome name by the way – is sexy to the nth degree.  Bald head and beautiful beyond description. 

 

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Lori is soft and loving and a romance novelist.  She is head over heals for Ander and you can feel the insecurity she feels that Ander is moving on or doesn’t want her anymore. 

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One of the things I love most about .5 books is that you see what happens after the main event.  It’s clear to me after reading this book that Lori and Ander had a hard time finding each other and convincing themselves that they belonged together.  Even with the spoiler of learning what happened in book one, I still want to read it now. 

I believe in rating novellas differently than I would rate a full story book and here is my criteria for this book.

Does it give you a good back story?  Check

Does it add some element that needs to be overcome?  Check Check

Does it keep you interested in the couple even after the original story?  Check Check Check

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My recommendation…Read “Escorted” then “Breaking.”  I think you will get more out of it if you do.  I plan to go back and read “Escorted” now.

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Review of “This Girl” by Colleen Hoover

In this last bookImage of the series,  we are on Will and Lake’s honeymoon.  During the honeymoon, they talk about their relationship and what has happened to them to get them where they are.  We are retold a lot of the story given to us in books 1 and 2 but with additional insight from Will as the story is told from his perspective.  We learn a lot of the whys that we were left questioning in the first two books.  Between the flashbacks, we read about how Will and Lake are enjoying their honeymoon and how much they love each other.  

Since this is the end of the series I have to say that I am extremely happy and sad after reading this book.  This is a book couple that I will remember for quite some time.  In addition to the amazing couple that Colleen has created in this series, she also created some really great key phrases and take aways.  I love the theory of discussing the “sweets” and “sucks” of the day with your family and think a lot of families could benefit from this.  And who could not love her use of the word “butterfly,” how creative and absolutely fantastic.

Colleen Hoover, I will forever be a fan of your work and will gladly read and shout about how amazing your writing is.  Thank you for giving the world Will and Lake Cooper!

 

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