Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Another super late book review I’m finally posting. I don’t remember why I never posted this in the first place, but whatevs… It’s here now! 😊

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

••• 

— MY REVIEW —



⚠ WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!



This was my second sci-fi book ever read (The first was The Martian, which I loved!) So I seriously hoping it would be similar to that book in the sense that the “science-y” stuff is going to be easy to follow, that there was a bit of humor to break up all the technical aspect and based off of the synopsis a bit of romance.

Well… this book didn’t fail. I loveeeeed it! 🙌 I’ve been saying to just about anyone who would listen that if all science fiction books were as amazing as The Martian and Illuminae are then I could be reading a lot more from the genre! 😉

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I think another thing that captured me with Illuminae is how quirky and different the book layout was. It wasn’t set out like your everyday typical book. Some of the pages were written to form images, some were written to make follow each line into a bigger picture. It’s hard to explain, all I can say is if you haven’t gotten a copy yet – do! Go to your local bookshop, look for it and just flip through it and you’ll see what I’m trying to say.

The book overall is set a journal/ records type format and put together into one big file, basically. So there’s emails between characters, logs recorded from certain days and interviews. It’s ridiculously jam-packed!

It’s very well created and it had me wanting to keep reading to find out what happened next. It was hard putting it down for the day.

I never saw full reviews on Illuminae prior to reading it so I wasn’t sure what people thought of it besides whether or not they liked it but I have to say halfway through the book I had a strong sense of Resident Evil-esque to the story line. Where the spaceship’s AI (aka AIDAN) is corrupted and pretty much turns evil and starts wanting to kill everyone on board but thinking he’s doing the right thing. Then you have half the crew and civilians on board infected with some kind of virus that’s also causing serious problems all over the ship. It’s one massive chaotic disaster that puts you on the edge of your seat.


“Am I not merciful?” — AIDAN


Reading about Kady and Ezra’s roller coaster relationship added a romantic touch to an otherwise sci-fi story line and it pretty revolves around them and wanting to keep each other safe. I loved reading their messages to one another. It’s probably the bits of the book I loved reading the most.

Besides the sci-fi aspect and the romance aspect – this book also provides us with comical relief in all the right places (usually involving Ezra because he’s a funny smartass). 😄

Downside to being introduced to super cool characters?

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That was me the further I read. As much as I loved reading Kady and Ezra’s exchange of funny but sweet banter-filled emails, I knew it wouldn’t have lasted forever and I was right. Why do authors love making us fall for characters just to take them away from us?

Spoiler Alert: Ezra died! 🙈

Yep… and just like Kady, you don’t find out til it’s too late. Unless you’re one of the clever readers who analysed every detail of this book and probably saw signs early on.

*Side Note: Jay and Amie actually said that if you really pay attention to the details in the book, it gives off little clues on who certain characters are that are still unknown to us or hints of upcoming events.

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Seriously, this book was one big fuuuuuuuck-with-your-mind type of story. It was so hard to put it down because I just didn’t know which direction the story is going.  I don’t know about other people who’ve read this but I didn’t see any of the plot twists happening. Not even a smidge! Maybe I need to reread it again and keep a lookout for those hints I mentioned earlier lol.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Another highly recommended book. If you’re like me who usually only ever reads fantasy fiction, give this one a go. Trust me you won’t regret it and I guarantee you’ll love it enough to want to read Gemina (second book in the Illuminae series)!


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Happy reading, friends! Hope you’re all doing well. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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For Love And Honor by Jody Hedlund

Another old review I never posted. 🙈 But better late, than never!

This was one of the very first historical romances I ever read (before I even knew it was considered “historical romance” because at the time I was clueless about sub-genres). But anywho — I borrowed it at my local library on a whim. Glad I did too!

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•••

— BLURB —

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

*** This is Book 3 in the An Uncertain Choice series (aka Noble Knights Series).

•••

— MY REVIEW —

As mentioned earlier, I borrowed this book from my local library on a whim liking how the blurb sounded. But I hadn’t realized at the time that this was part of a series… and the last book too (check the edit below)! What were the chances?!

(But note to self — Get onto Goodreads first and research before borrowing books!)

I’m usually not a fan of reading books out of order in a series, despite the fact that they can all be read as standalone. I’m obsessive compulsive that way, but I didn’t want it to go to waste before I had to return it so… I read it! 😄

Thank goodness each book in the series has different protagonists with completely separate story lines. The thing that connects each book is that the characters all know each other one way or another.

I feel like I’ve been reading YA fantasy fiction with so much detailed romance (that it should technically be in the NA category), so this was a nice, simple change of pace. This book was quoted as “clean” historical fiction and I absolutely agree. It has the cute, lovey-dovey, hallmark romance going for it that still makes you grin.

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Sabine is a spunky, strong-willed protagonist who has her moments of teenage rebelliousness. But you gotta love her for it. Her lighthearted banter between her grandmother and especially with Sir Bennet is what made this story all the more enjoyable. Yes, they were stuck in the middle of a dangerous battle with secrets up in the air but boy, I couldn’t help but swoon during the scenes where Sabine and Bennet were together and wondering how the other truly feels about.

There’s a little bit of magic and curses wrapped around Sabine that’s affected her ability to trust and open herself up to new people. Things are not what they seem.

An overall nice, steady developing romance with just a little bit of suspense and secrecy thrown in that’ll keep you engaged. There’s a simple little world-building here, enough to keep you picturing castles, pretty dresses, chivalry, and with it — seedy minions! 😜

RATING: ♥♥♥½

•••


This was an enjoyable read! 👍 If you have a few hours to kill and looking for a quick read, I highly recommend this one! Ooh and the rest of the series too!

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Side Note: After checking Goodreads, there’s apparently a fourth book; A Loyal Heart to be released sometime this year! I hope it does get released, I’m liking this series so far.

**EDIT: Since this is a super old review that I never got around to posting, my guess is the fourth book HAS been released. Although I can’t say for sure as I never did get around to finishing this series (and I hadn’t looked at on Goodreads since). 😅 But I still would recommend it though. It’s clean, adorably sweet, clean romance books. 


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Catch you guys in my next one. Happy reading! Xo

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Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

This was a reaaaally old review (I’m talking years old) that for some unknown reason I never got around to posting. Even this pic from my Instagram is old. Haha. But after a little tweaking here and there, here it is! 😅

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Well apparently I shouldn’t have read this one before reading the rest of the books in the “Hopeless” series. This is how much of a CoHo newbie I am that I didn’t even know that she had book series. I seriously thought all her books were standalone contemporaries…

FindingCinderellaCoverI should’ve checked Goodreads first! Eeep. 😅😅

Anywho — I can’t do much about it now. I already read the book. Haha!

Books that are inspired from, or is a retelling of a fairy tale will always peak my interest. It’s mostly the reason why I decided to start with Finding Cinderella before any of her other books.

The main difference with the classic tale and this modern take is that the protagonist is not “Cinderella” but “Prince Charming” himself — aka Daniel. This is YA fiction and I’d say he’s a pretty typical teen.. with realistic mannerisms and attitude (he actually reminded me of a few guys I used to go to high school with). Picture the cool guy in class who loves to make jokes and who doesn’t seem to be phased by anything — yeah, that’s Daniel… at least on the surface. This is a great example of not to judge a book by its cover (no pun intended). Daniel, is actually a fairly nice, caring person. I loved his relationship with his family and their interactions together. The way they can joke about things with each other and take it lightheartedly, it surprisingly made me laugh out loud.

It’s an enjoyable easy-going read with a steady pace, and I thought the overall story was okay. This is a novella so I wasn’t expecting a deep, long storyline but it could’ve easily have reached that point near the end, unfortunately Daniel and Six’s story wrapped up a little too conveniently for my liking and with I guess you would call “a happily ever after” ending.

All in all, it’s not a bad book to start off with when it comes to Colleen Hoover, but then again… as many people have said all of CoHo’s book are pretty good. She’s not a best selling author for nothing! 😉 I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

RATING: ♥♥♥½

**EDIT: I just checked Goodreads and this was the first thing that popped up before the synopsis —This novella is a companion novel to the Hopeless series, but can be read as a standalone.” 

— Wooo! I don’t feel too badly for reading this now before the other books! 🙌😜

•••



Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover is FREE to read!

🎁 Download your copy now!

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU



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Catch you all next time. Happy reading, guys! Xo

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The Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

This is a mini review for Natasha Knight’s retelling of The Swan Princess that is included in the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology that’s releasing August 18! Happy reading! 😊

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

In a castle adorned with gems, coated in gold, and dusted with luxury, the youngest of the Constantine Family will be introduced to the elite of New York. But the party isn’t all glamor. Villains lurk in dark corners, evil deals are struck, and starcrossed loves are born.

FAIRY TALES INCLUDED:

The Ugly Duckling by CJ Roberts
Beauty and the Beast by Willow Winters
Cinderella by Aleatha Romig
Little Red Riding Hood by Karina Halle
Jack & the Beanstalk by Marley Valentine
Snow White by T.M. Frazier
Rumplestiltskin by Celia Aaron
King Midas by Skye Warren
King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly
Princess and the Pea by Sierra Simone
Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

Attend the ball, wear a red cloak, lose your shoe, spin straw to gold, or fall prey to a witch. In these fairytale retellings from bestselling authors, you will find a prince, but you might choose your happily ever after with the beast.

DARK FAIRY TALES is a limited-time anthology of modern fairy tales containing all NEW novellas. Download your copy and tell a book-loving friend, because it won’t last long.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Why, why, why had I not discovered Natasha Knight sooner??! Like, two years sooner?! 🙈 I’m kicking myself that I could’ve been reading her amazing Mafia romance books and drooling over her hot mafioso men for years! And now she has this amazing, swoon-worthy retelling?! 🤤😍

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I loved the tale of The Swan Princess growing up… *whispers* I even like the 90’s animated movie… “Odette!!!” 🦢

So I was immediately drawn to this one when I first saw which fairy tales would be included in the anthology. And man, it did not disappoint! It only made me want more… LOTS MORE! of the mysterious masked man who exuded power and danger, and the innocent young woman who wanted to escape her life for the night.

Intrigue, magic and secrets are what fills the air of this once in a lifetime masquerade ball. There’s no time to lose. This novella will have your eyes popping, and your mouth open, tongue lolled out because the heat goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds! 🔥🔥

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Sparks were immediate the moment our (anti) hero and heroine first interacted. I loved reading every minute of it. The Swan Princess in a Mafia setting? Umm, brilliant!

Although this was a novella (and a fairly quick one at that), the conclusion didn’t leave me with an unsatisfied feeling like I dreaded it would. On the contrary, it made me want to check out more of Natasha Knight’s books asap!

*hint hint* These characters may be old friends to you if you’re familiar with Natasha Knight’s books… 😉

Not only has Knight managed to create a refreshing and modern spin on this classic tale, but she’s managed to provide some world-building, a backstory between our two main protagonists, and keep the suspense and intrigue constant from start to finish. If you love a good enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance, it’s right here!

Although this book has an unbelievable bevy of romance authors and retellings, this story is definitely one of my faves. A must read! Especially for fans of dark/ mafia romances!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you to Skye Warren, participating authors, and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

•••


Read my reviews for the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology!

📔 Dark Fairy Tales Anthology

📔 King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly


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Hope you enjoyed it. Catch you in my next one, guys! Xo

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Doctor Dearest by R.S. Grey

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•••

— SYNOPSIS —

Natalie

Dr. Easton is part man, part myth.
He’s a formidable surgeon. Highly respected in his field.
He also happens to be an ex-collegiate quarterback with a classically handsome face.
Are you catching on yet?
He’s horrible.
Beautiful.
A walking Ralph Lauren ad.
He’s also so off limits he should come with a warning label: This way lies heartache.

Not only is he an attending at the hospital where I’m training, he’s also my brother’s best friend. If you’ve lost count, that’s two reasons why I plan on putting this ridiculous crush behind me. Besides, it’s definitely not mutual.

Dr. Easton has never once paid me special attention. No tempting smirks. Not even one subtle innuendo. To him, I’m just another resident—all but invisible.

Connor

For the last five years, I’ve mentored Natalie in the OR, stayed in line, and kept my hands to myself, but it’s been agonizing.

Natalie is trouble in scrubs. A walking temptation I’ve been forced to ignore.

For so long, I’ve wanted her in silence. By the time fate finally gets around to throwing me a bone, my patience has run out.

Natalie’s brother is leaving town, and he wants me to watch over her while he’s gone.

He has no idea how I feel about her.
Neither does she.
But she will.

Haven’t you heard good things come to those who wait, Natalie?
Well… I’ve done my waiting.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Okay… *pheeew* Just survived another R.S Grey book without too much withdrawals! 😛

If you’re familiar with her books, then you know what to expect—

  • Fast-paced storylines.
  • Overly detailed, yet funny descriptions of the lead swoony character.
  • Banter. Lots of banter!
  • Characters pouring out random, crazy thoughts like word vomit.
  • A few embarrassing hide-under-a-rock type moments.
  • Supporting characters that add an another element to the plot.

Doctor Dearest is no different. This is another, fun, enjoyable, sit-back-and-get-comfy type of read that I flew through at rapid speed. Despite thinking I knew what to expect from another Grey book, I was surprised to see that this story took a turn from secret crush and into a rollercoaster ride of love, hate, love again, nope hate, uhhh no… love again scenario.

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Normally I would eat up the hate-to-love trope in my romance books (it’s actually one of my faves) but this one had one too many loop-de-loops for my liking. But I think that’s more to do with Natalie. She’s an indecisive little thing. Lol. But looking back at it now that I’ve had time to let the entire story sink in, I can actually get on board with why she’s that way throughout the book. It’s easy to criticize, question or judge someone’s actions when you’re only a spectator but honestly if I was in Natalie’s position I probably would’ve been just as confused, scared shitless and hesitant of going all in, and so quickly too. So, I’m giving Natalie a reprieve over her flip-flopping ways.

Connor on the other hand was someone I could easily add to my book boyfriend list.. *cough* along with all the other gorgeous, swoony men Grey has conjured up in her books *cough* 😉 😉

Is he perfect? No. Like Natalie, he didn’t always have the best reactions to circumstances. But in saying that, he was sweet, didn’t mess around and all in all a very well rounded, damn good guy! He’s someone you would want to be besties with (that’s if.. if you weren’t attracted to the guy). Because not only is he smart, caring, has a good sense of humor and easy-going— he’s also the type of guy you would be saying ” Oh, his mama raised him right!” about. The man’s a package. Good looks, brains and manners!

GeneralHospital_Doctor He was definitely the more mature one in this relationship. And I’m damn glad he had more sense than Natalie, or else their relationship would’ve ended long before it even got to the juicy bits.

I tell ya though, she has some of the best people doting on her. Besides the protagonists in R.S. Grey’s books, I always look forward to the side characters. They always put the extra oomph in these rom-coms. And Doctor Dearest has some awesome ones included! 😀

Noah; Natalie’s brother (and Connor’s best friend), is one I absolutely would love a book centred on. He’s the cool, bigger brother who loves and protects, but who can also tease and be playful. And based on how Natalie mentions how girls drool over him, I’m thinking he’s not a bad looker either. I’m putting it out there — book gods.. could we get a book on Noah?! Pretty please??

And then you have Natalie’s best friend Lindsey. She’s a hoot. You would never be bored or feel lonely with a friend like her. I love the fact that she was a great sounding board for Natalie. She needed someone who she could vent and cry to and genuinely have support in return. I’ve read one too many amazing romance books but I found a lot of them have annoying friends (ones who are too loud, too out there, too in your face) and who takes a lot of the focus and attention away that it makes you wanna roll your eyes and say, “Oh, shut the eff up. You’re ruining a potentially great story here!”

Lindsey is the complete opposite. I wanted more of her. Book gods? A book with Lyndsey as well, if that’s not too much to ask for? Sigh.

There’s really not much else I can say without word vomiting spoilers. If you love romantic comedies, then this is definitely not one to miss. R.S Grey has perfected these types of romances and honestly, they read like I’m watching one of my all time fave rom-com movies. The blurb is pretty much self-explanatory of how Natalie and Connor start off. It’s all a matter or just seeing how it all develops — like all good, swoony, lighthearted romances go.

Were there parts I found predictable? I admit, yes. But it didn’t bum me out knowing that’s where it was heading. I was actually curious to see how it would be handled.

But were there things I wasn’t expecting? Hmm. Yes and no. There’s one particular thing I was hoping would happen… and when it sort of brushed against the idea I was over-the-moon giddy about the prospect of it. Buuuuuut…. it unfortunately didn’t go any further than I would’ve liked, so my giddiness was short lived.

How did I find the overall backdrop? Natalie and Connor are both doctors working in the burns unit. There’s plenty of terminology, examination scenes, and steps explained on taking care for these victims that made it all the more intriguing and put depth in what would have been an overall fluffy love story. Regardless of this being fictional (and a romance book), the amount of research Grey put into making sure the setting felt authentic, and that Natalie, Connor and all the doctors in this book looked the part and knew the lingo was pretty impressive, in my opinion. I don’t know how accurate all the technical medical mumbo-jumbo was, but to me it sounded pretty on point!

Overall — I loved reading it. It’s great escapism from the hustle and bustle of everyday adulting. I seriously think I was smiling the entire time. Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice feel-good read, am I right?! After reading this, along with the half dozen of Grey’s books I already crossed off my TBR, I realise they always leave me feeling like I stumbled upon another modern day fairy tale— light, airy and one hell of a love affair.

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RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5 

Thank you to R.S Grey and InkSlingerPR for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

•••

Doctor Dearest is NOW AVAILABLE!

Grab your copy: Amazon

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•••

Author_R.S. Grey

About the Author

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughter, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga!

Follow R.S. Grey on her Social Media

Don’t miss out on all the latest news! Newsletter Sign Up!

•••

Hoped you enjoyed this one. If you wanna read more reviews on the other R.S Grey’s books I’ve read and blogged about, then check these ones below! 🙂

Happy reading! Enjoy your day, and catch you in my next one! Xo

 

Alternate Endings by Brittany Anne

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— SYNOPSIS —

They both want to run, but they want each other more.

Charlotte was not living the life she’d dreamed of. Dead end job, tiny apartment, no family left, and forever trapped in the small town where she lost it all… that was her life, until the man she’d spent ten years working to forget walks in as if he’d never left. Owen ignites her like no one else, but can she really trust him again? Charlotte had been burned by him before, and she knows in her heart that she will not survive saying goodbye a second time…

When she looks at him, does she see the man she loved, or the man she left?

Owen worked hard to build a life for himself in the Navy, but ten years later, fate calls him back to the little town where he lost everything. When he sees the woman he’d spent a decade running from, he finds himself at war in his own mind. Sparks begin flying, and he finds the wall he built around his heart slowly crumbling down. He wants to forget the past, but he doesn’t know how to see beyond her betrayal… or trust that she won’t do it again.

Can true love really get a second chance, or was their romance always doomed to end in tragedy?

•••

— MY REVIEW —

ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for my honest review

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I thought it was a decent second chance romance that left me smiling in the end. There were things I liked, but not going to lie – there were a few things that happened that I had to roll my eyes at. All things considered it was an enjoyable read that just needed a few tweaks.

Although I couldn’t connect with either one of the lead characters as much as I would have liked, I still found myself not wanting to put it down 😀

I would’ve loved a more detailed backstory on Owen & Charlotte’s past relationship (or a little more than what was offered) at the beginning to better understand and sympathize with the pain they were both going through in the present – because I think that was a big part of why I couldn’t connect with either of them, or their story on a deeper level.

And although the author purposely leaves those details out so the more you read ahead, the more gets revealed about why their relationship ended.. unfortunately in my opinion it was the case of ‘too-little, too-late’ and by 2/3 of the way through when the reason for their split became apparent, the rest of the storyline became fairly predictable.

Owen is a likeable character. I felt like he had more character growth then Charlotte despite the fact the she’s the one adamant on having changed over the years.

I wish I felt the same way towards Charlotte as I did Owen. She was too indecisive, said one thing and did another, and couldn’t sum up courage to speak out – which got to the point where it was annoying. At first I understood her anxiety over having to relive memories from her past but it got to the point where she’d done it on multiple occasions throughout the book that by the time everything was all out in the open I was already not feeling her.. *sigh*

(FYI: Charlotte is not a bad person (or character). I think for me, it just came down to personality clashes. Others may find her completely sweet, and that’s cool!)

It also felt a lot of the time their story was on a constant loop, the same issues popping up and never getting resolved – or if some did, it miraculously went back to becoming a problem again. I thought their issues (well.. mostly Charlotte’s) were being blown out of proportion at times than they actually were. And I get that it’s all psychological and a big reason as to why she can’t help being the way she is now.. but it wasn’t any less sad to see how it was affecting their second chance at love.

Owen is trying to make amends and move on, but Charlotte’s constantly hesitating and resistant towards the idea.. and in all honestly the story probably would’ve ended a lot faster if it wasn’t for the repetitive push and pull between the two.

What I did like most about Alternate Endings was the idea of the story. Old flames who had their relationship end in a bad way unexpectedly meet again years later. I loved that there was initial hate flooding back in for both of them towards the other, but yet there was also lust.. (lots of lust!) and a still obvious attraction too.

The intimate scenes between Owen and Charlotte were the best parts in my opinion (don’t get dirty-minded lol) because it was the scenes I felt they had the most connection with one another emotionally. It was those moments that had me engaged and wanting to see what would happen next.

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Owen was the saving grace in my opinion. There were definite sweet moments and words said that made me swoon. No doubt. Despite his hardships, he handled things as best he could and was really considerate of Charlotte decisions, even if it resulted in them being apart. *cough cough* … And who doesn’t love a bit of alpha in their leading man?? Hehe

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RATING: ♥♥♥.5/5

Overall it was a nice, effortless read you can finish in one sitting (or in a day, if you’re a slower reader like me) 😉 If you haven’t read second chance romances before, this is a good one to start off with to dip your toes into.

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! XO

•••

SaveTheDateRelease Date: AUGUST 2, 2019

Pre-Order: Alternate Endings on Amazon

Add to your TBR: Alternate Endings on Goodreads

 

The Best Years by Elena Monroe

TheBestYears_Cover

— SYNOPSIS —

SAINT

College. My one chance to escape. And I ran as far and as fast as I could. Straight into the arms of something more dangerous. Oliver.

He thinks I’m a good girl. But he doesn’t know what I’m running from. He thinks I should stay away from him. But I can’t. I like his cruel words. And his intoxicating smile. He’s a temptation I can’t resist. Am I a sinner or a saint?

SINNER

College. Second year. There are bad decisions at every turn. Including the new freshman, Layla. Temptations I can’t fight. Shackles I can’t escape. I’m only comfortable with the cruelty that slips from my lips.He innocent charm isn’t going to polish away my bad reputation. This wasn’t going to end well.

We all have secrets. What’s your sin?

#amherstsinners

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[ Sidenote: Before I get to my review, I just want to say this is a late blog post. I had planned on posting this review last month (and why I have it under my May book reviews) but sucky adulting and getting a friggin’ cold (twice) got in the way. Apologies for the delay, guys. But it’s here now 🙂 ]

•••

— MY REVIEW —

ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for my honest review

Dark and gritty, NA contemporary romance told by both Oliver and Layla’s POVs. Enjoyed the read and was hooked with Ollie’s (Oliver) story from the first few pages. Despite the very serious issues he’s suffering through, you cannot not like him!

Layla on the other hand was someone that took awhile for me to get used to. She’s also dealing with her past, and although her issues are just as serious and traumatic – I just couldn’t connect with her as a character. It’s nothing personal, I think she’s more of an acquired taste and partly why I couldn’t rate this book higher. I think she’s the take it or leave it type of character. Hopefully in the next books, she’ll grow on me.

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Overall, I think it’s a promising start to the series and a great debut for Elena. The story kept me engaged, there’s lots of drama and lots of angst as you go through their journey. I love when you see character growth in books and this one did not disappoint. Ollie was the standout for me. There’s just something about bad boys with soft hearts.. hehe.

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The side/ minor characters like their friends and family (especially Ollie’s) gave the story another layer because you get to see their actions and reactions towards what Ollie and Layla have gone through. It felt more relatable and realistic. Shoutout to Caden (Oliver’s best friend)!

I did find the story a little slower paced in the first half but it does eventually pick up. I should also warn you… it does end with a cliffhanger (but that shouldn’t come as a surprise as this is a series). But it’s a great read for those who love NA fiction and who’s used to or wanting to give dark reads/romances a try.

Trigger warnings! 

Please note: This book contains sexual content, abuse and addiction.

Sidenote: My copy had minor spelling and grammar mistakes but in no ways did it deter me from reading on (but hopefully it’s all been edited now for you readers wanting to read it). 

RATING: ♥♥♥/5

Thank you for checking out my spoiler free review. Hope you enjoyed reading this one! Until next time, folks..

GlassesGirl_Reading

 

The Best Years is out NOW!

 

 

 

Inspired by Jessica Florence

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Call it pure desperation, or maybe we’d agree it was the lack of sleep that had me signing six weeks of my life away to be bossed around by a life coach. Either way, I was trying to get my life together, and Logan Woodland was going to help.

I thought he’d make me eat healthier, drink more water, and do yoga. What I wasn’t expecting, was to be forced to see myself as I was and how far I’d fallen.

But then his program worked.

He’d shown me a life filled with passion and desire. A life where I was stronger and could be the woman I’d never known existed inside me.

I did have a six-week life-changing experience, but now, I wanted more than I’d signed on for.

Him.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

I found it to be a slower paced read up until about the halfway mark, which by then things started progressing faster and I could finally get into the groove of Mia and Logan’s relationship. So if you can handle a slower pace for half a book, then you’re right for this one. Think of it as a rollercoaster ride – you start off slowly rolling higher and higher to reach the top and once it starts dipping back down over the other side you know it’s going to be one hell of a fast-paced ride. Inspired was just that!

I admit I didn’t get an immediate connection with Mia and Logan. I didn’t see a spark between them so it was a little difficult to believe in the beginning when they both had similar thoughts on how attractive the other was. I just couldn’t believe it.. at first.

Like I said the first half of the story is slow and it concentrated a lot on Mia wanting to improve with her life and Logan coaching her through changes. The romance didn’t kick in until later and despite it being a contemporary romance (and not gonna lie a big reason why I was eager to read this) – to me this was more so a story to inspire. After having finished it the first thing that came to mind was that it was uplifting. Inspired was such an uplifting read.

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I found that Mia’s self-discovery and journey to emotional and mental healing, and the things that Logan taught her throughout the book is what I connected with the most. As someone who’s been going through depressive states throughout my adult life, the things mentioned and said really resonated with me, and will most likely stay with me from this day forth.

Here are some of my fave quotes from the book that I found profound, powerful and made me truly think about my own life.


“People really didn’t need another human to make themselves happy. Happiness came from within.”


“The simple act of continuing when you feel like giving up is the bravest thing anyone can do.”


“But forgiveness can’t be rushed. It comes when you realize that you don’t need that pain anymore. You’ll forgive (him), and it’ll be like you shed a dead part of yourself off. Wounds don’t heal until you stop touching them. Same goes for mental wounds.”


Now let’s talk about Mia and Logan’s second chance at love.

Boy oh boy, I was waiting for something to finally happen and when it did it felt like an unexpected punch in the face. LOL. They went from being strictly professional, to starting to get comfortable around each other.. then BAM! 0 to 100 hot and heavy! 😄

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I think I actually burst out in a snort-laugh at how shocked I was that after their first kiss (which I thought was totally inappropriate btw.. considering he was suppose to be her life coach) how quickly it escalated to them getting each other off.

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Don’t get me wrong – is was HOT kiss scene and it was at that moment where I was finally sinking into the story… I didn’t think their relationship would jump to that so quickly, but I suppose with nothing happening in the first half of the book, it had to happen sometime, huh? I immediately thought it was insta-lust/ insta-lust but as I kept reading, I enjoyed how their relationship progressed. Yes, it developed in a short amount of time but I (fiiiinally) felt that spark between them as the story went on.

Their relationship felt realistic and relatable and just so down to earth. I thought the events (both good and bad) that occured and the situations that resulted from them, and how they were eventually resolved felt convincing and organic. I think that’s why I didn’t come away from reading Inspired thinking “aww what a great second chance romance” (even though it was!) — I mostly came away thinking “what an encouraging love story”.

If I could say a couple of things I wasn’t feeling as much, it would have to be Mia’s “sometimes” weirdness. I cringed at some of the things she said – thank goodness it was only to herself but I had serious second-hand embarrassment for the girl. Logan had cheesy moments too but by then I was rolling my eyes. But hey, all in good fun. At least Mia knew she was weird. Hehe. I’m just glad it didn’t last more than a few chapters.

I would’ve liked more character development and more details into each protagonists’ back stories besides what was mentioned in conversation. I think it would’ve set the atmosphere a little better by seeing detailed events of their past so you can see the reasoning on how they got to be the way they are in the present.

I do however love the supporting characters. Mia’s family and friend Jay. And ughhh… Logan having Tate, Callum and awesome mama bear Tink. Their involvement made this book all the more enjoyable. The little jokes and teasing. The love and support. I loved it all! Bromance at its best! (Am I crazy in kinda wanting Tate and Callum to have their own love stories too?)

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Before I wrap up this mish-mashed review. I have to mention the one moment in this book that totally and utterly took me by surprise that I’m thankful I wasn’t eating or drinking anything at the time or I would’ve 100% choked..

The scene where Mia and Logan were doing yoga with the instructor. That moment with Mia and her… umm… embarrassing mishap… oh gosh! Had me in tears!

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Read the book to find out what it was. It’s a total unexpected crack up! And I can tell ya… I can relate! 😜

I’m currently in one of my darker days where it feels like grey clouds are constantly over my head, so reading Inspired couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I recommend this to anyone who’s had or having days like this where you don’t feel like getting out of bed. This book is a great reminder we are not alone and will hopefully lift up your spirits.. at least for a little while.  Jessica, thank you for sharing this story and for using some of your own experiences as inspiration for it.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you to Jessica Florence for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜

🔔 Interested in reading Inspired? Grab your copy here: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Score by Elle Kennedy

•••

— BLURB —

He knows how to score, on and off the ice.

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over.

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

** Each book in the series can technically be read as standalones but I recommend you read them all, in order.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Ahhhhhh! Dean is officially MY. FAVE. PLAYER. from this series!

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I would’ve given this one full ratings just like the first book buuuut this one didn’t have an epilogue and I desperately needed one! Or at least a longer final chapter. And I know the timelines for each book all correspond with another and maybe that’s the reason why Dean’s story didn’t get an epilogue but it just felt a little unfinished.

But besides the fact that I loveee this damn book so much! Dean and Allie are such a perfect pair..and once again as individual characters..they didn’t suck one bit. So I think it’s safe to say Elle Kennedy is now my number one fave rom-com author who can create characters I don’t want to choke with my bare hands. Yipee!

This is the third book in the Off-Campus series and after having read all three back to back I can now pinpoint which way the stories are heading. I saw it about halfway through in The Mistake and I saw about a quarter way through in this one. Sometimes when a book gets predictable it can be off-putting to finish it, or not as excited to finish it — well that was no way the case with these books. There’s something about Elle’s writing style that keeps your attention (predictability or not) from start to finish.

Another amazing awe-inspiring couple in the series and another enjoyable storyline. There was no doubt that this book had the same amount of banter, flirtatiousness and humor as it’s predecessors but this one had such heartbreak. Head up if you haven’t read this one yet…have tissues nearby. You may need them. I know I did! (I’m still in a state of denial and I admit there was a moment where I was thinking “Why Elle, whhhhhy?!?!”) But I guess that’s a good sign that I’m emotionally and mentally invested in the story and the characters, huh?

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Two thumbs up! An effortless read that will have you laughing. It’ll cure any reading slump or shitty day. Dean is the best. As a friend mentioned to me when I said Dean was my fave — everyone loves a (reformed) bad boy..

Lol. I don’t know about that. But I, for one do prefer the troublesome, alpha, not-so-squeaky clean characters.. *ahem ahem*

Amazing series. A must read. End of!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

•••


Read my reviews for the books in the Off-Campus series!

Image result for off campus series elle kennedy

Book One: The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Book Two: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Book Four: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

•••

Happy reading, guys! Enjoy your day and catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Deal by Elle Kennedy

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•••

— BLURB —

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

** Each book in the series can technically be read as standalones but I recommend you read them all, in order.

•••

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Couldn’t fault it! Enjoyed every second of this book. If I didn’t need sleep I would’ve read it in one night. I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner when I’d had it on my kindle for months.

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A New Adult, contemporary sports romance and it checked all the boxes for me.

– The characters. Well written, developed and most importantly mature thinking adults. For characters who are 20/ 21 years old, there was no annoying, immature mentality when it came down to the nitty gritty.. which was soooo refreshing to see from a NA novel.

– The serious matters. The leads; Hannah and Garrett both have very serious traumatic pasts. There’s dealings of rape, and physical, mental and verbal abuse. Reading this scenes (although heartbreaking) wasn’t too graphically detailed that tend to put some readers off. I also love the fact that both Hannah and Garrett (especially Hannah for me) were strong characters. They didn’t want their pasts to dictate their futures or ruin what dreams they may have for their lives.

– The humor. Big part of why I flew through this book. There was just the right amount of humor in just the right places throughout the story to break tension and to keep it from getting too serious and deep in the issues the characters were dealing with.

– The romance. On point. Garrett may have been a guy who liked to hook up, have fun and was not at all interested in a serious relationship but he was no jerk either (at least not intentionally) towards the women. He’s your stereotypical jock persona on the outside but who’s really sweetheart once you get to know him.. Which Hannah did. The connection between these two even before they became friends was siiiizzling! I love a good banter. LOL.

– The friendships. There were quite a few different friendships going on here but all were amazing. They added more to the story rather than take anything away from the main characters. It’s rare for me to actually love ALL the characters (there’s usually at least one friend who I find craps and ruins things) but amazingly not a single one here!

And finally – the sports to romance ratio. This is a sports romance (specifically college ice hockey). I haven’t read a lot of sports romance but the majority of the ones I’ve read I found the sporting aspect were little to non-existent.. (a few mentions here and there but no real details), and whilst this was not overly heavy on the sports part either, it did have plenty to make you see that Garrett and his friends (who are also his team mates) are very much into hockey.

Like I said earlier – all boxes checked and I couldn’t fault it 🙂 In fact I enjoyed this one so much that I’d downloaded the other 3 books in this series and plan to read them back to back asap!

So, it’s safe to say I would recommend this to all fans of contemporary romance, who don’t mind a smidge of sports in it. Even if this book is technically NA it can absolutely be read and enjoyed by those not in the NA age group ;-p (Hey. I’m not, and I did!)

I should mention before I end this review that be aware there is a serious trigger related issue (sexual abuse) in this book. Not at all graphic. In my opinion, Elle wrote it in a way were it sheds light, gives more awareness, and gives the courage to openly speak about it. But nevertheless, I wanted to give a warning. 

This book was beautifully written and well balanced. Character development and story building was on point. I loved every minute of reading it.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

•••


Read my reviews for the books in the Off-Campus series!

Image result for off campus series elle kennedy

(How amazing do these paperback editions look? I may actually love them more than the sexy abs version)
Book Two: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Book Three: The Score by Elle Kennedy
Book Four: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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