Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ARC Review: Falling for Max (Kowalski Family #9) by Shannon Stacey

Synopsis:

Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.


Publisher: Carina Press

Buy Links:


What I thought About Falling for Max

I just don't know how Shannon Stacey does it. This is book nine in the Kowalski series, and I'm still loving every single word. Many times long running series start to lose their appeal at this point, but I've found the last few in this series every bit as wonderful as the first books. Falling for Max has been my "go-to" feelgood book this month. You know, the book you go back to reread when you're having a bad day. I loved this story.

Max, the guy with the great TV where the Kowalski series characters watch their sporting events, is a different sort of guy. He's not an alpha by any means. He's quiet, perhaps a bit introverted, with a great sense of humor. He's really just adorable. He decides he needs to get out and meet someone to fulfill his long term goal of finding a wife. He goes about this very precisely and with a little push goes to the diner, where he meets Tori.

He immediately "clicks" with her, and once he explains what he's doing there, Tori decides to help him find a girlfriend.And so begins the reverse "My Fair Lady", with Tori as Professor Higgins and Max in the Eliza Doolittle role. What a surprising and lovely role reversal. It really worked for me.

The growing friendship and love between Tori and Max really grabbed at my heart. Tori is very likeable and Max can't help but fall for her. She's upbeat and encouraging, except for one tiny detail, and that's her hangup about marriage. She's sworn off matrimony after experiencing her parents marriage explosion. She just can't hurt Max the way her parents hurt each other. Even though they are both falling for each other, she doesn't want to start something she wasn't going to be able to finish, and Max is looking for a wife.

It takes a while for Tori and Max to come together, and when they do, they know they aren't playing around anymore, even though they try to convince themselves it's still just "practice". But when it comes down to the "L" word, everything falls apart, leaving both Max and Tori in ruins. Lucky for Tori and Max, they have friends that help them see the light.

I loved everything about this one, but especially the friendships between Tori and Hailey, Max and Josh, Tori and Gavin. These relationships helped keep a Whitford feel to the story, and kept me loving the Kowalski series. Can't wait for whatever is coming next.

Recommended. Loved this for its sweetness, the inclusion of series characters, and mainly because I just felt really good when I got to the end.


This is my honest review. I may have received this book from Netgalley, Edelweiss, a publisher, an author, a promoter or purchased it. How I obtained the book has no bearing on my review rating.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review & Giveaway: The Tycoon's Convenient Bride...and Baby by Shoshanna Evers

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Title: The Tycoon's Convenient Bride...and Baby

Author: Shoshanna Evers

Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+

Sexual Content:
Steamy

Publication Date: July 28, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Indulgence

Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

About the BookAfter her brother and his wife go missing and are presumed dead, Lauren Peters plans to raise their infant daughter. Her brother's will, however, stipulates that baby Callie can only be raised by a married couple. Lauren’s as single as they come.

Mack Hansen can’t stand idly by while his business partner’s baby is thrown into a foster home. As he sees it, there’s only one solution --he and Lauren will marry for the sake of the baby—and he’ll keep his attraction to her at bay.

Lauren knows that Mack is all about business, including their marriage of convenience. But her unexpected feelings for him have her turned upside down. With passion sizzling between them, can Mack keep Lauren from stealing his heart…and becoming his wife for real?

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Purchase Links
Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo



What I thought about  The Tycoon's Convenient Bride...and Baby

In this modern day marriage of convenience story, Lauren and Mack are forced to marry to keep Lauren's niece out of the system when her brother (and Mack's business partner) and his wife go missing, but neither one of them are quite ready for all the complications the situations brings to their life. Not complications with work, or home or that sort of thing...what really gets complicated is their relationship with each other.

Lauren has been having fantasies about Mack even before the crazy will is revealed. She knows she's going to have to protect her heart if she's going to make it through their fake marriage. After all, once her brother is found, the marriage is over, and Mack doesn't hesitate to let her know that. This might be her only chance at a husband and child, since she's unable to have children of her own. But Mack's the playboy type, and he's not ready for what he feels for Lauren -- as a matter of fact, he doesn't recognize it for what it is until it's almost too late. He's attracted to her and possibly falling in love.

While a lot of this story could be resolved with a heart-to-heart conversation, that doesn't quite happen, and for most of the book these two go back and forth fighting their sexual chemistry, trying not to hurt each each other, and just generally assuming things. Of course that makes for plenty of drama and misunderstanding between them.

It's pretty clear to this reader that communication is the real problem here, and it isn't until late in the book that they finally come to terms with their feelings for each other. So while some of this is very improbable in real life, in the world of fiction this is a sweet little ride with just enough drama to keep it interesting and lots of hot moments between the sheets and on the kitchen floor.


What made this book for me was Lauren and Mack.  It was so easy to root for them to make it as a couple.  He's sweet and kind to Lauren, and there's some definite sexual compatibility. 

The Tycoon's Convenient Bride...and Baby was a sweet, quick read, just perfect for sitting out in the sun with a glass of iced tea on a hot afternoon.

This is my honest review. I may have received this book from Netgalley, Edelweiss, a publisher, an author, a promoter or purchased it. How I obtained the book has no bearing on my review rating.

Giveaway

The grand prize is a $25 Amazon or B&N giftcard (One (1) USA or International winner). Two winners will win autographed paperbacks of another Tycoon romance, Snowed in with the Tycoon (USA only). 3 winners will win ebooks of Snowed in with the Tycoon (USA or International).


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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Shoshanna Evers has written dozens of sexy stories, including The Man Who Holds the Whip (part of the bestselling MAKE ME anthology), Overheated, The Enslaved Trilogy, and The Pulse Trilogy (from Simon & Schuster Pocket Star).

Her work has been featured in many anthologies such as Cowboy Heat and Smokin' Hot Firemen, the Penguin/Berkley Heat anthology Agony/Ecstasy, and numerous erotic romance novellas including Bedhead and Ginger Snap from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

Her two bestselling non-fiction writing anthologies include How To Write Hot Sex: Tips from Multi-Published Erotic Romance Authors, and Successful Self-Publishing: How We Do It (And How You Can Too).

Shoshanna is also the cofounder of SelfPubBookCovers.com, the largest selection of instantly customizable, one-of-a-kind, premade book covers in the world. Shoshanna Evers has been listed on Amazon as one of the "Most Popular Authors in Romance," as well as on the Contemporary Romance, and Erotica "Most Popular Authors" lists.

Reviewers have called Shoshanna’s writing “sensuous, delightful, and sizzling” with stories where “the plot is fresh and the pacing excellent, the emotions...real and poignant.”

Shoshanna used to work as a syndicated advice columnist and a registered nurse, but now she’s a full-time romance writer and a home-schooling mom.

She lives with her family and three big dogs in Northern Idaho, and loves to connect with readers on Twitter @ShoshannaEvers, and Facebook at Shoshanna.Evers.

Sign up to be notified when the book comes out! ShoshannaEvers.com/newsletter

Connect with the Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Walk with Me by Kaitlyn Stone

Banner Walk with Me by Kaitlyn Stone photo WalkwithMeBanner_zps98596b44.jpg 


Walk with Me by Kaitlyn Stone photo ks-walkwithme257kb1_zps685f7b2a.jpg Title: Walk with Me (The Thin Blue Thread)
Author: Kaitlyn Stone
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Publish Date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: BookStrand
Oraganized by Literati Author Services

~ Synopsis ~

 

After escaping her abusive parents, nineteen-year-old Kenna Sloane is determined to create an independent life, free of emotional distraction. The last thing this focused college student wants is a relationship, especially with a hot rookie cop popular with the badge bunnies. When Kenna reluctantly agrees to a double date with Santa Monica cop Donovan Alexander, she’s launched on an exciting and dangerous journey. With time, she discovers some souls are instinctively drawn together to quiet the pain of their traumatic pasts. But even after the revelation of Donovan’s own secret burden, Kenna continues to battle the fear she may be too broken for her modern day knight in blue. Can Kenna open her heart to the healing light of true love before peril strikes?




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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookStrand | Kobo

EXCERPT:

It’s midnight, the day after my eighteenth birthday, and I’m escaping from my life of oppression and pain. With only the fear of being caught and dragged back to my cell of a life, I’m shortening the gap between what I know and the undiscovered world ahead.
The August air whips across my face and through the loose strands of my pulled-back hair. My internal will to survive, fueled by adrenaline, propels me forward into the night with no feeling of cold or discomfort. The wind stings my eyes and they begin to tear, blurring my vision as I sprint along the walking path between the condos and boat slips in the Marina, one foot in front of the other pounding the pavement. Thump, thump, thump. The same beat of my excited heart.
After two blocks I realize they’re not chasing after me. I slow to a fast walk, scanning the area ahead and behind me. My chest is heaving as I try to catch my breath and regain my thoughts, but I’m not tired. I could run for miles if I need to, and I will fight tonight to protect myself and my freedom.
I sweep the area one more time before ducking into the shadows of the next condo complex. Catching my breath, I lean against the wall of the entrance, pull out my pay-as-you-go cell phone, and call Danielle and her mom—my lifeline, my ride to freedom. This is it. I pace nervously under the cover of night, still on high alert, and wait for the transportation to my new life. Pumped from the adrenaline surge, my thoughts are spinning and making me dizzy, but assuredly I won’t be coming back here anytime soon, if ever. 
  

     


What I thought about Walk with Me


Kenna runs away from an abusive home life and vows to get her act together and make something of her life. She has no room for a serious boyfriend, choosing to spend time with guys that aren't looking for a relationship.

Until she meets Donovan.

It isn't long before they are dating, and getting to know each other. I liked how they didn't jump on each other from the get go, and took their time getting to know each other before things got physical between them. There's no insta-love here, and that's one of the nicest aspects of this story.

But Donovan has some secrets that he fears will push Kenna away, but eventually he shares those with Kenna and all is good.  That is until Kenna's past comes knocking at her door in the form of an ex-hookup and her mother. 


There's some tense and unexpected action toward the end of the book that culminates in a very serious situation for Kenna and Donovan. After most of the book is focused on their falling-in-love story, these scenes made for a nice change of pace. 

I read Walk with Me over two nights and it did keep me interested until the very exciting ending. The action at the end did a lot to help with some slow spots in the middle. I liked the main characters, although I couldn't help but feel that they were always telling me what they are thinking or feeling instead of showing it, something that could have been improved with another pass of edits.

I'm rating this three stars and a half stars because it held my interest and the characters were likable. Very nice debut effort. 


This is my honest review. I may have received this book from Netgalley, Edelweiss, a publisher, an author, a promoter or purchased it. How I obtained the book has no bearing on my review rating.


About the Author

Since childhood, Kaitlyn Stone has gravitated toward fairy tales and happily- ever-after's, forever chasing the first love dragon. She is a self-professed adventure junkie, constantly talking her husband and family into some new life adventure, where they’ve learned to just buckle up for the exciting ride. When they do stay home, it’s in sunny Southern California located along the Pacific Ocean.

Connect with the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter| Goodreads

Giveaway $25.00 Gift Card

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cover Reveal: Burying Water by K. A. Tucker

Burying Water
We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the cover reveal for K.A. Tucker's BURYING WATER! BURYING WATER is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel scheduled for release October 7th! This book will blow you away. Get. Ready. 
 
Add BURYING WATER on Goodreads!


About BURYING WATER:

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.
 

            Pre-Order BURYING WATER Now!


Amazon
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AUS (eBook)

AUS (paperback)

UK (eBook)

UK (paperback)



You can read Chapters 1-4 of BURYING WATER in the back of IN HER WAKE, the Ten Tiny Breaths prequel novella from Trent's POV! IN HER WAKE is out September 1st. Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes


About K.A. Tucker:

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.




Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads ** YouTube ** Pinterest ** Instagram

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Torrent by Gemma James

Torrent Banner


Title: Torrent (Condemned #1)

Author: Gemma James

Publication date: July 22nd 2014

Genres: Erotica, Romance
goodreads
TorrentEbook-2
Synopsis
I’ve been obsessed with Rafe Mason since I was thirteen. The twisted part of this story is that I still want him, even now. Now that he’s holding me captive on an island. Rafe has his reasons for doing what he’s doing, and if I’m honest, I can’t blame him—I’m the girl who sent him to prison for a heinous crime he didn’t commit. But now he’s free and the tables have turned…now he’s the one driven by obsession. 


Buy Links


Amazon Paperbackhttp://amzn.com/1499589115
10 Random Facts About Torrent

1. I began writing Torrent last summer. Back then it was a barebones beginning about a young, reckless girl and her dead brother's best friend who couldn't fight his darkness any longer. The island has been in the story all along.

2. I really have Skye Warren to thank for how Torrent turned out. Last year around Christmas time, she called for submissions for a short story anthology about criminals. Well, I had an idea…and that idea was too good to confine to a short story. I decided to combine my earlier efforts with the premise of a girl sending a man to prison for a crime he didn't commit, and him coming back for what he felt he deserved.

3. Once Iad the island in mind (small, privately own, with a single cabin on it), I turned to Google to find out if I could find any real islands of a similar nature to use as a reference. There just happens to be one about three hours from where I live, situated on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. It even has a cabin on it. I've driven there twice and have seen it from the highway. I call it "my island." The setting in the novel, though based on real places, is purely fictional, with the exception of the Columbia River and Portland, Oregon.

4. I rewrote the beginning about three, maybe four times.

5. Zach and Alex were originally full-blooded siblings. I gave into censoring myself out of fear of being banned from retailers, even though I had no intention at first of writing sexual scenes between the two. Once I changed their relation to step-siblings, the brief taboo scene in the beginning formed, and in my opinion, strengthened the setup of the novel. It also opened wicked avenues for book two. ;)

6. I didn't immediately know why Alex sent Rafe to prison. She was a stubborn character who kept me in the dark for a while!

7. Torrent is the first book in which I wrote from the hero's POV. It was interesting getting inside Rafe's head.

8. One of the twists about Rafe's past (something he learns after he's out of prison) basically wrote itself into the story part way through. Same with Jax, Rafe's buddy. These characters and subplots just popped in of their own accord!

9. If you're looking for an easy read with hearts, flowers, and mainstream topics—this isn't the book for you. This story will make you squirm, possibly make you sick at times, and push you into the darkest corners of your mind. But I'm a romantic at heart and believe in happy endings. Getting there is hell though.

10. I do not feel guilty about the cliffhanger ending. Have you watched any TV season finales lately? AHHHHHHHH! I understand the frustration, and I'm evil enough to rub my hands together in glee. Don't lynch me. I'm working on the second book. :D 



What I thought about Torrent


Eight years ago, Alex sent Rafe to prison with her accusations of rape.  He’s out now, and he’s got payback on his mind.  Serious payback that could send him back to prison. Shortly after he executes his plan, new revelations come to light, and he realizes that all is not exactly as he thought.  But before he can do anything to stop himself from doing any more damage, Zach, Alex’s step brother, shows up.  And everything explodes.


I’m being purposely vague because what I loved the most about Torrent was the crafty development of suspense that brings the reader to an O.M. G moment at the end of this first installment of the series.  I love a good cliffhanger, and this one definitely fits the bill.  Gemma James builds a lot of good suspenseful tension in this short piece and that was my favorite part of this read.


This is a dark romance with plenty of kink, so this story may not be for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit rough, and potentially felonious,Torrent might just be a good read for you, but for me, the real charm was in the suspense. 

Looking forward to Rampant!


This is my honest review. I may have received this book from netgalley, Edelweiss, a publisher, an author, a promoter or purchased it. How I obtained the book has no bearing on my review rating


Giveaway!
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Coming Soon in late October 2014

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Rampant (Condemned #2)



Pre-order RAMPANT for the promotional pre-order price of $0.99 on the following retailers!

B&N | iBooks | Kobo







About Gemma

Gemma
Gemma James (a pseudonym for Christina Jean Michaels) loves to explore the darker side of sex in her fiction. She's morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy and enjoys exploring the deviant side of human nature. Her stories have been described as being "not for the faint of heart." She lives with her husband and their four children—three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.


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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Hazards of Sex on The Beach by Alyssa Rose Ivy Review & Giveaway

THOSOTB RDL Banner 

We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Alyssa Rose Ivy's THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH! THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH is a contemporary romance and is a part of Alyssa Rose Ivy’s Hazards Series. It is priced at just $.99 right now. This will last for a limited time only to celebrate the release! This book, y'all. Holy cow.
The Hazards of Sex on the Beach Cover
   

Amazon | Nook | Itunes | Kobo | Google Play

THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH Synopsis:
One broken heart, one drink too many, one steamy night in the sand...

No one warns you about the dangers of drinking with a broken heart. At least no one warned me. I never imagined I'd fall for a musician, especially not one like Chase, but then again I never expected to have my heart broken into a million pieces by the frat guy I thought was the love of my life.

Sometimes it's the rash decisions, like hooking up in the sand, that lead you to the best places—the kinds of places where it's possible to let yourself fall in love again.

THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH Excerpt:
He took a strand of my hair and studied it. “Is this your natural color?”

“Yes.”

He dropped the strand. “I’ve never dated a girl with blonde hair.”

“Well, you’re not dating me.”

He gently brushed his fingers down my bare arm. “No, but I want to kiss you.”

“Then kiss me.” I was used to pushy guys. The kind that knew what they wanted and took it.

“Okay.” He smiled before leaning in.

The kiss was hesitant at first, the kind of kiss that gets your whole body excited because you know there’s more to come. I waited—hoping he’d take it further. His hand slid just under the hem of my shirt, brushing against my skin. The touch was light, but it was still enough to get a response out of me. I moaned.

That must have been what he was waiting for. He deepened the kiss, pushing into my mouth with such force I was taken by surprise. I kissed him back, enjoying the sweet taste of his mouth, and the way his hand slowly inched its way up my stomach. Blazer moved from zero to sixty. I didn’t mind it. I moved onto his lap, welcoming the arm he put around me to pull me closer. I wrapped my arms around his neck.

His hand moved higher, cupping my breast over my bra. I was drunk and hot, and so turned on I was going to lose it.

That’s when the door to the roof opened. The loud laughter of a group of girls pulled me half out of my lustful stupor.

“Want to go for a walk?” His question was asking something else entirely. I knew that when I answered with an enthusiastic yes.

Blazer held my hand as we made our way through the crowds. I looked briefly for Gabriella, but I didn’t see her. The normal Cara would have called her to tell her I was leaving with a random guy—but was Blazer random? We had chatted for hours already.

Before I could worry about it long, we were walking along the dark and nearly vacant beach. It was January on the South Carolina coast, and the crowds were months away.

“You never told me your name.” He said it as a statement as he led me further away from the party.

“Cara.”

“Hi, Cara. I’m Chase.”

I smiled. “Isn’t it a little late for introductions?” I stopped and turned toward the ocean.

“It’s never too late.” He drew something on my arm with his finger. The sensation felt good. I closed my eyes.

“You look so gorgeous. The moonlight, that look on your face.”

I opened my eyes and his face was inches from mine. “If you’ve never dated a blonde, does that mean you’ve never had sex with one?”

“Why? Are you looking to change that?” His eyes were lidded.

“I’d like to.” I slipped a finger into the waistband of his jeans.

“Should we go back to my hotel room, or do you have one?” He looked down. “I’m going to be honest here. I haven’t done this before.”

“Please don’t tell me you’re a virgin.” That would be just my luck.

He laughed. “No. Not saying that at all. I just don’t generally hook up with girls I’ve just met.”

“At least you know my name.”

“I do know your name, don’t I, Cara?”

Something happened to me when he said my name. I needed him. I reached up again, wrapping my arms around him. I crushed my lips into his.

We came up for air only after ending up horizontal on the sand. He laughed. “Or we can just pick things up right here.”

What I thought about THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH

After a break up caused by her cheating boyfriend, Cara’s friends take her to a party to help her get over her broken heart. One drink leads to another and Cara ends up flirting with a gorgeous stranger. And that’s not all. Wanting to put her past boyfriend behind her, she has sex with him on the beach and leaves without giving him any way to get in touch with her.

When Cara returns to college, she knows it’s going to be tough. Her best friends are dating men from the same fraternity as her ex, and her ex is under the delusion that he can have her back. Her whole life has changed, and she handles it pretty well. Then Jade takes her to a club to see a band perform, and her almost anonymous hookup on the beach isn’t so anonymous anymore. He’s the lead singer in the band they’ve gone to see.

Once they are together, Cara and Chase find that the attraction they felt for each other on that first night hasn’t gone away, and in spite of his touring with the band, decide to try to make a go of a long distance relationship. Of course, there are complications, mainly from Cara’s ex and a stalker-creep from another band, and some questions about Chase’s feelings for his ex-girlfriend. .

There’s more fun than drama here though. I loved how Cara finds her place on campus now that she’s no longer dating a fraternity brother. I really like this series for the lightness of it all. The drama isnt too intense and things work out with a little bit of effort. My biggest complaint is that I didn’t really feel that I got to know Chase all that well in this, since he’s off touring for most of the book.

If you are looking for a relatively light, easy read with a little drama to spice it up, this might be for you.

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Alyssa Rose Ivy- Author Photo   

Alyssa Rose Ivy Bio: Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

     

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry



Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

What I thought about Take Me On
I read Take Me On back in May when it was first released. I got to the end, and I’ll admit, I wanted more. Something felt missing to me. But there is something very unique about Katie McGarry’s books in this series. My first read is usually all about devouring the story and wanting to know what happens, but that second read is all about picking out the wonderful layers of the story and enjoying the richness of it. So I waited, and I just read Take Me On for a second time and as with the other books in this series, I’m blown away by this wonderful story.

It begins with West. He ripped his sister Rachel off for cash in the previous book in the series, setting up events that had very serious consequences. When we see him in Take Me On, he’s almost at rock bottom. He blames himself for Rachel’s accident, he’s been expelled from prep school, and his dad has kicked him out of his house. Traumatic stuff for a high school senior. He gets involved in an altercation near the strip mall that involves Haley and when he runs into her at his new school, it doesn’t take long for him to develop feelings for her.

Haley is in dire straits herself. Her father has lost his job, and her family is living with an tyrant of an uncle. And then there’s Matt, her ex. She’s scared of him in a big way, even though she’s a national titleholder in martial arts. There’s lots of bad blood there and it doesn’t help that West goads Matt into a martial arts match in two months time. It’s a good think Haley can train him.

“Home” is such a strong theme in this story. Losing it, finding it, leaving it -- it’s all in Take Me On. The challenges that Haley faces with her home situation are heart-breaking, and I couldn’t help but think of other families that have gone through the same situations her family goes through. Both Haley and West are searching for home, and there’s a great moment when he makes his realization about what home is all about.

"For weeks Haley and I have talked about what home is and what it means; a building, a structure, a memory. It's none of those things. For me, home is the contentment currently bubbling up inside me. Home is the rush of emotions buzzing in my veins." loc 3169

or when he says this about Rachel…
 

"Besides the fact she can't drive anymore and that her beloved Mustang became toast in the wreck, Rachel can only touch a closed hood. Rachel lost her home." loc 3878

The story builds gradually until everything explodes when serious family secrets are revealed, causing West to make some serious decisions about his future. The last third of this book is wrought with emotion and I just loved it.

I went into this book not really liking West, but it was hard to resist him and his determination. Haley was a bit harder to get close to, but then again, she's so busy worrying about everyone else she's lost herself. She carries her own heavy secret, and it’s her mom who helps her find the courage to deal with it.

As an adult reading YA, this is exactly the kind of book I love. A compelling story that has something to say about issues like growing up, standing on your own, and being brave without beating you over the head. I love the things that Katie McGarry says in this about family, parents, and the mistakes they make.  How the truth can set you free. I loved the positive image of a female martial arts champion too and was very happy that Haley could find a way back to her sport.

But Take Me On is really the story of West clawing his way back, and all that he learns in the process. I loved his arc in this story and how Katie McGarry painted each step of West's growth. It was absolutely interesting, dramatic and heart-warming. I just love everything about this one.

Absolutely recommended -- and I mean Take Me On and the entire series!

This is my honest review.


 For more about Katie McGarry:  http://www.katielmcgarry.com/