Sunday, January 13, 2019

{Book Review} Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Sparrow by L.J. Shen
Published: March 8, 2016
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Romance
Troy BrennanEvery southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart throb with steel blue eyes. "The Fixer" who can make or break you in this city.

Oh, and my new husband.

Sparrow Raynes

That's me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life.
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he'd ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he'd decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.

{Review}
L.J. Shen continues to blow me away with her extremely amazing writing, dark characters and angsty romance. As I have been reading my way backwards towards L.J. Shen's earlier works, I have noticed that her writing has always been captivating and entertaining. Her stories are dark, angsty and seem to star a-holes that you just can't help but like. This story was no exception. It is pretty much the ultimate hate-to-love romance! It was addictive and I can't recommend L.J. Shen enough to fellow readers.

Like most of Shen's female protagonists, Sparrow was feisty, independent and full of life. Even though she wyas put in a tough position, she continued to thrive and reach for her personal goals. She was definitely one of my favorite parts of this story. 

Troy, the leading male, was the king of all a-holes! Like me, I think a lot of readers will have a problem with Troy's actions for a good chunk of this book. He was selfish, mean and treated Sparrow like garbage. I was super surprised that Shen was able to redeem his character in my eyes by the last page. He was truly a complicated character that I loved guessing what his true attentions were.

This book had such depth within the plot. It is most definitely not just your typical romance book. While the romance was the for fount of the story, it also had revenge and mystery intertwined as well. 

I will say that I don't think this book is for everyone. Troy is pretty hard to swallow at the beginning of this book. He is horrible and has absolutely no sympathy for what he puts other people through. I am in no way saying that the relationship or the characters portrayed within this book is what readers should aspire to be. But...it is fiction and addictive as F. I make no apologies for liking it and if you like darker reads, then I highly recommend!


{Rating}

"All I knew when I drove away from my childhood church were two things: My father had sinned. But I was to be punished."

Also check out L.J. Shen's other books below!


Sunday, August 5, 2018

{Book Review} Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
Published: October 18, 2016
Series: Royally #1
Source: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.
Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn't bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.
Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.
Dating a prince isn't what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There's a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they've traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven't chopped anyone's head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.
But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.


{Review}
I was SO excited to finally read this book! Recently, I have been addicted everything royal wedding, so this book was just what I needed. I have never read anything by Emma Chase, but I have already purchased the second book to this series because it was just too cute and I am even more excited for book two! 

The writing in the book was great and the plot was fast paced. While reading this book, all I kept thinking was that this would make a great Lifetime movie! It was sweet and cute, with just enough conflict and drama to keep me interested. I think that this book literally played out every girl's fantasy about being swept off their feet by a Prince who is soon to be King. 

I absolutely loved the characters in this book! There were so well-developed and I enjoyed that the character development came before any of the conflict making me care about the outcome that much more. Olivia was an amazing female protagonist. She was strong, proud, selfless and I want us to be BFFs. Nicholas was amazing as well. I enjoyed that he had so many different sides to him and each were explored in detail. All of the side characters were just as dynamic as the main ones. I fell in love with each and every character and can't wait for the next books in the series!

The romance was cute and I really felt the chemistry between Olivia and Nicholas. I liked the trope of the summer fling that turns into more and thought that this one was done flawlessly. Also, it was nice that although I would not categorize this book as incredibly deep and emotional, it did not have everything wrap up easily. Emma Chase could have easily gone completely cliche and have all the obstacles that character's had to endure completely disappear over night, but she didn't do that which I really liked. And the ending was cute and completely satisfying!

I would HIGHLY recommend this book to readers who love romantic movies and/or readers new to the adult romance genre. It made me feel emotions, but it was also fluffy and cute at the same time. I can't wait to pick up more books by Emma Chase and I will definitely be picking up the second book in this series!
{Rating}

"My mother once told me that time was like the wind. It rushes over you, passes you-and no matter how hard you try, how much you want to, you can't hold onto it, and you can't ever slow down.”


Also check out the other books in the Royally series below!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

{Book Review} The Bad Ones by Stylo Fantome


The Bad Ones by Stylo Fantome
Published: April 10, 2016
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Love isn’t always bright and shiny.
Sometimes, it’s dirty and wrong, buried six feet deep in a secret place where only wild things dare to go. Hidden behind a big black curtain that covers things no one should ever see.
Sometimes it happens between two people who should never be allowed to come together. One who is a match, and the other who just happens to be gasoline. One strike is all it takes to burn the whole world down, and that’s exactly what they plan on doing. Even if it kills them.


{Review}
This was my first read by Stylo Fantome and it made me highly interested in her other books, which is good considering I already own a lot of them! Before starting this review, I will say that this was not my first choice of her books. A lot of her other books have synopsis' that peak my interest more, but I read this book before those because it was what was picked out of my TBR jar for the month of July. It was good and certainly kept me highly entertained, but I just did not fall in love with it as much as I was hoping. However, this book would be perfect for readers who enjoy dark romance that what something different.

I will say that I highly enjoyed Fantome's writing, which does make me really excited for some of her other books. This book really captivated me from the first page! I have been taking forever to get through books for the last couple of months, but this one flew by! It was dark, cryptic and kept me guessing what was going to happen next. The plot flowed well and it was definitely very original from anything else I have read before.

The main reason that I could not give this book a 4 or 5 star rating was because I just could not connect to these characters. I wish that they would have been developed a bit more, but at the same time, it kept their actions and motives totally in the dark. I don't really feel like one character stood out more than the next; Constantine and Dulcie (the two main characters) were neck and neck when it came to the crazy train. These characters were hard to root for since they don't really fit in with societal norms, which is not bad, but like I said above, made it hard to connect with them.

The romance was interesting, but again, fell a bit flat for me considering I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. There were a few moments where I did think that their romance was kind of sweet in a serial murderer kind of way, but nothing that I could really swoon over myself. 

This book is really graphic and gory. It never really pushed my limits too far, but I know that some readers might be disturbed by this book's contents. I would recommend it to readers who are intrigued by the synopsis. I never found myself bored and at then end, I was happy that I was able to experience it. The beginning and the ending were my favorite parts, but overall, it was a fun, yet weird read.


{Rating}


"Someday, you’ll really love me, and if it’s even half as much as I love you, we’ll set the world on fire”

Also check out the other books from Stylo Fantome below!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

{Book Review} Scandalous by L.J. Shen

Scandalous by L.J. Shen
Published: September 21, 2017
Series: Sinners of Saint #3
Source: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
They call him The Mute for a reason. Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks. When he does, it’s with disdain. When he does, his words aren’t meant for me. When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis. He is thirty-three. I am eighteen. He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner. I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter. He’s emotionally unavailable. And I am...feeling. Feeling things I shouldn't feel for him. Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul. And yet, I can’t stay away. And oh, what beautiful chaos it will be.

{Review}
I absolutely LOVE this series! If you like a-hole, alpha males, then this series is like hitting the jackpot! The HotHoles will steal your heart and make you swoon. I will say that although I really enjoyed myself reading Scandalous, it was my least favorite of the series thus far. However, it still was really good and worth the read!

The writing was amazing, just like with everything that I have previously read from L.J. Shen. It was very addictive and I flew through this one fast. I will admit that age gaps in romance is not my favorite plot trope, but I think that this one was done very well. I still was not head-over-heels for that aspect, but I know for a lot of readers, that will be a big plus for them. I really enjoyed that the plot had multiple facets that kept me entertained and intrigued.


Edie was definitely one of my all-time favorite female leads. She was spunky, smart, caring and sacrificed everything, including her own happiness, to help those she loved. She was one of my favorite aspects of this story and I really hope that she makes a cameo in the final book, Bane. I think my biggest issue with completely loving this book was that I liked Trent's character, but didn't love him. I am not exactly sure what was missing with his character, but for some reason, I just could not connect with him.


I really loved seeing the older versions of the characters that were featured in the previous books since this book is set several years after the events from the first three books, Defy, Vicious and Ruckus. I also really loved that readers got a glimpse of their children and their personalities. I am super excited for the spin-off series featuring the children! I will definitely be picking them up as soon as they are released!

I did really enjoyed the romance, but like I mentioned above, age gap romances are usually not my thing. I was happy that at least both participating members were of age, but at times I felt a bit disconnected from their relationship because it seemed like they were at completely different places in their lives. But, I was satisfied with how their relationship progressed and I hope to see how it progresses in Bane.

I absolutely love these books, especially Vicious (book one). I loved these books so much, that they earned a spot on my re-read list and I bought all of the audio books too! I highly recommend this book, this series and anything else that L.J. Shen has written!

{Rating}



"I gravitated toward him like he was the sun. A beautiful pleasure conceived by nature that could very well kill you if you got too close. He looked at me like I was the moon. Pale and lonely and so far away.”


Also check out the other books in the Sinners of Saint series below!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

{Book Review} Elect by Rachel Van Dyken


Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Published: December 10, 2013
Series: Eagle Elite #2
Source: Purchased
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
{Goodreads}{Amazon}

Would you die for the one you love?

Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

{Review}
Wow! I really loved the first book in the Eagle Elite series, but this one blows that one out of the water! I flew through this book because I had to know all the mysteries that were not solved in book one and how the characters were going to deal with the repercussions from their actions. This book nicely wrapped up the loose ends surrounding Nixon and Tracey while still adding intrigue to the plot to make readers desperate for book 3!

The plot of this book was a lot more dynamic and intricate than book one. A lot more focus was put on the dynamic between the separate mafia families and how their past interactions have led them to the conflicts they have today. I think the nice thing about this book is that it does resolve the conflicts from book one so that way readers who don’t want to continue on could have closure. Of course, I don’t know why anyone would not want to continue on, especially with the little teaser readers were given of what is to come.

I fell even more in love with Nixon's and Chase's characters in this book! I loved seeing how Nixon was willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves and for his family and friends. Chase was the funny lovable character readers fell in love with in book one, but he also had a more serious side to him in this book. The side characters were still amazing and new characters were added that I am interested in learning more as I continue on with the series.

I think the #1 problem readers will have with this book or what will cause some readers to not continue on to this book is that it does indeed have a love triangle that is a big focal point. I will say that it is probably just as big, if not bigger, part of the story than the mystery surrounding who the murder is. However, love triangles are a guilty pleasure of mine and out of all the books I have read featuring one, this one is one of the best. I was highly invested in both relationships and honestly, would have been okay with Tracey ending up with either. My heart was literally torn in two and there was a good level of angst surrounding both relationships.

I was pleasantly surprised that this book continues on with the twists and turns. I honestly can say that I did not guess anything that happened regarding the reveal of the mystery and how it would all play out. There were so many characters that had morals that were not completely good or bad, which made it hard to know who was telling the truth or who was going to back stab someone. It was great and I can’t wait to delve deeper into the mafia family dynamics in the future books!

I just can’t get over how much I love these books and am ecstatic that this is a really long series that is still going! My only fear with long series is it seems to run out of steam or that the plots are repeated with different characters, so I am really hoping that it continues getting better and better as I read on!


{Rating}


"I truly believed that the greatest sacrifice someone could make in life was putting someone else’s needs before your own wants and desires. Loving someone with such a passion that you’d suffer the rest of your life just so you could see them smile. You’d go to hell and back-if only it meant keeping them safe.”

Also check out the other books in the Eagle Elite series below!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

{Book Review} Elite by Rachel Van Dyken


Elite by Rachel Van Dyken
Published: July 9, 2013
Series: Eagle Elite #1
Source: Purchased
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
{Goodreads}{Amazon}

For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.

{Review}
This book was my first by Rachel Van Dyken and I am glad that I finally discovered this amazing author! I became absolutely addicted to this story and had a very hard time putting it down. The plot was interesting, the characters were funny and intriguing, plus it had a mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat! I can’t wait to continue on with this series and I am really happy that this is a long series so I don’t have to part from these characters anytime soon!

I really liked Van Dyken’s writing. It was addictive, simple and easy to read. I will say that at the beginning of the book, there was some dialogue that I found weird, but it was short lived. I soon found myself completely immersed in the story and would highly recommend these books to any readers who find themselves in a book slump!

I really loved the plot to this book and I consider myself lucky going into the story not really knowing much about it. I would recommend not doing too much research about this book so that you don’t get spoiled considering the majority of this book focuses on a huge secret. This book mainly focuses on the unrevealing of said secret and college life where the main protagonist, Tracey, is bullied/tortured by Nixon and his friends. I will say that the college bullying was a bit overdramatic and unrealistic, however, the next book does not focus on the college aspect as much and is super good!

I really like the characters in this book. Tracey was pretty stereotypical when it comes to this type of story and she was a bit too trusting and forgiving, but I still liked her. Nixon was one of those alpha male a-hole characters that you love to hate and then you find yourself falling head-over-heels in love with his character! I really fell in love with Chase and can’t wait to see the other Eagle Elite members in the future installments of this series!

The romance was great! I can’t go too in-depth about it because of spoilers, but I found myself completely addicted to any scenes that had both Tracey and Nixon interacting in them! I don’t know why I am addicted to stories that have the two main love interests at each other’s throats at the beginning of the story, but I can’t help but seek them all out! It was also refreshing to read a book that did not have as mature content in it (however I am thinking that will change as the series progresses).

I highly recommend this book! It was addictive and a really fun read! I have already read book two and have purchased all the other books so that way I can binge them!

{Rating}

"Maybe the world isn't as shiny and fun as you once thought. People are mean. Humanity is a cruel joke, Trace. I'm just trying to prevent them from getting the last laugh."



Also check out the other books in the Eagle Elite series below!

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