Author: Arielle (page 1 of 4)

BOOK REVIEW: The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy

BOOK REVIEW: The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle KennedyThe Chase (Briar U #1)
by Elle Kennedy
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

I’m gone for this girl. So gone.

Imagine my surprise as I was browsing GR the other day and saw that one of my friends had started reading this book. I’m not even kidding, the last time I looked it up (I would check pretty often, honestly) it didn’t even have a date for when it was going to be published. I went and bought it IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!! You see, ever since I stumbled upon The Deal a few years ago, Elle Kennedy has been my #1 favorite and go-to author when it comes to NA/sports/romance books. I can’t fathom why more people haven’t read these books… I watch her upcoming due dates like a freaking hawk, waiting to snatch up the newest book as soon as it hits the shelf. I finished this thing as soon as my busy work and four-month-old baby schedule would allow.

“Is he a good kisser? What’s our penis situation like? Did he go down on you? Did you sleep with him? Why did you do this? Is he annoying in bed? Do you regret it? Is he—” 

First things first, I was really excited when I found out that this book was going to be about Summer. Her older brother, Dean, is the star of the third book in Kennedy’s other series based around Briarwood, called The Score (which was my second favorite of the four) and was friggen hilarious. I just knew that this book wouldn’t disappoint, and for the most part it didn’t! Summer’s character was a refreshing one. Her family may be filthy rich but you can tell that everyone in her family is a hard worker and doesn’t just coast by because they can. She is a great friend, has girl power written all over her, and even has ADHD which is a pretty major part of this book (which isn’t very common!). Even though she is clearly very intelligent, she has problems writing and has struggled all throughout school. Throughout this book you can see how this really has a serious impact on her sense of self-worth and it makes her incredibly self-conscious at different times.

And I’m still debating it when Fitz enters my bedroom without knocking and levels me with two husky words. “Don’t go.”

Luckily for her, her male counterpart in this book, Fitz, helps her to see that her learning disability doesn’t make her any less of a person and that she shouldn’t be ashamed just because she can’t write an essay. Colin Fitzgerald isn’t perfect either. The guy is incapable of sharing his emotions for about 70% of the book and BOY did it frustrate me until you find out why that is. I was actually pretty interested in seeing what his character was going to be like. He is mentioned all throughout the other series as he is on the hockey team with Garrett, Logan, Dean, and Tuck but for some reason I had this completely different perception of who he was (basically that he was just this quiet nerd- and I say that lovingly- because all we really hear about him is that he’s a great gamer).  It was great getting to know him though and I think he was the perfect pairing to Summer because of his level headedness and how he built her up when she was feeling low about her learning disability and stuck up for her when she was being insulted. 

“Nieces and nephews plural? How many kids you planning on having?” 
“A lot!”
“You’re not allowed to get pregnant until you’re at least thirty. I’m not ready to be an uncle.” 
“Oh my God. Life isn’t always about you!”
 They stand there bickering as if I’m not bent in half on the marble floor, gasping for air. 
“I’m not having kids with you,” I wheeze at Summer. “I don’t want to be part of your insane family.” 
“Oh hush, sweetie. It’s too late. I’ve become attached.”

Hm let’s see, what else did I like about this book? Well, probably my favorite thing was the bromance (girlmance?) between Summer and Coach Jensen’s daughter, Brenna. Good lord she was hilarious and tough and I CAN’T WAIT for her book. I swear she better end up with Connelly—how steamy would that book be?! I also loved the humor and pop culture references in this book (all her books). They make reading them all so enjoyable. Football players who watch project runway, Summer likening one of her professors to Gilderoy Lockhart, and numerous others. 

Kennedy’s books are also great because they feature real, important things. This one in particular was full of them; learning disabilities, comments on rape culture (and how horrible/real it can be in college), body shaming, abuse in its many forms, and on and on. It’s not just all frivolous smut (though let’s be real, she write the best smutty scenes out there in my opinion lol) like some NA.

For the first time ever, I truly feel like I’m living life instead of hiding in the shadows.

Basically I am so happy to be in the sphere of people again and I seriously can’t wait for Brenna’s book. The only thing that had me a little unsatisfied was that this was a *serious* slow burn. Like the reader is basically left hanging until about 70%. Even though that is super sexy sometimes, in this book I started to become disconnected to the characters and started to get really pissed off with Fitz until he explained himself to Summer. Even then though I felt like I needed a little more from the both of them together and I ended up feeling super bummed for Hunter. I really hope he gets his own book, too! Despite all that though I HIGHLY recommend this book and her other series set at Briarwood if you love or even like sports centered NA.

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted After All (Addicted #3) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted After All (Addicted #3) by Krista and Becca RitchieAddicted After All (Addicted #3)
by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Two addicts. One epic love story.

Prepare for the worst.

That’s what Lily and Lo try to do when Jonathan Hale schedules an “important” meeting. The problem: after being swept into the public eye and battling their addictions, they’re not sure what the worst is anymore.

In a sea of many changes—including Ryke & Daisy living with them—Lily realizes that the best part of her fluctuating hormones might just be the worst.

Her sex drive is out of control.

Loren knows that she’s insatiable, but he’s not giving up on her. She’s too much a part of him. And as he carries more and more responsibility, some of the people that he loves doubt his resolve.

In the conclusion to their love story, Lily & Lo stand side-by-side to fight, one last time, for their happily ever after.

I fell in love with Lo like a little girl opening her heart to magic. It always seemed surreal until the moment it became true. 

What a ride this series has been. It has been so fun re-reading these books again after having read about their children in the About Us series.  While you could read those separately, and even the Calloway Sisters series separately, it makes more of an impact if you had started at the very beginning with Lily and Lo.

And there is a hope, a chance, that he could be more than what I am. That he could be better than me. 

Initially I had decided to go back and read this series despite the negative things that I had seen about book one because of how much I fell in love with this family in the Calloway Sisters books. So much so that I felt like I owed it to Lily and Lo. In the other series, which really focuses on Rose and Daisy, I felt like I just didn’t know enough about this couple that had struggled with two very serious addictions for nearly their whole lives. I found myself being put off my Lo’s abrasiveness because I did not understand where it was coming from. I also found myself being annoyed with Lily’s skittish nature and her inability to talk about anything sex related without either turning bright red or hiding. I still came to love them though and connected with them through their talk of all things geek so I wanted a chance to remedy that.

A feeling swirls inside of me—one where you know someone all your life, but in a singular moment they look strangely different. Like you’re unearthing a fragment of them that has never surfaced or been touched before. 

By the time that this book came around, the progress that both Lily and Lo have made has been tremendous. Yes, that first book is heartbreaking and hard to read –it’s about two terrible addictions. HOWEVER, if you can weather through it (and I hope you do) it gets better. It’s not all completely smooth sailing, as both of them continue to struggle with their addictions but they TRY. They gain their strong support system and try and they gain hope which is good.

“Fly away with me, Lily Calloway?” 
She whispers, “Only if we make-believe that we never, ever have to grow up.” 

My favorite part of this book in particular was reading about the pregnancies of Rose and Lily. I almost felt cheated in Fuel the Fire because the last time I had seen the two girls, they had just found out they were pregnant and then then it skipped straight to them having the babies. I wanted to DEFINITELY see a fierce, pregnant Rose but I also wanted to see how Lo and Lily handled it seeing as they weren’t sure if they ever wanted kids. It was delightful. ALSO—that friggen scene where Rose has her baby….INTENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONNOR ♥ Loved it.

“For what it’s worth,” I tell Connor, “it’s kind of extraordinary that you can transcend sexual orientations. You’re like an amoeba.”
“Amoebas are asexual,”
he says. “I’m more like a god.” 

Another important thing that you get to see in these books are the relationships that form between Lo and Connor and especially, Lo and Ryke. Right away in Kiss the Sky you see that Lo and Connor have this really close relationship and hilarious banter but you never really get the gist of how it all happened. I loved being able to see Connor meeting the two and then how Ryke ends up inserting himself into their lives. It really is a special thing and you can really see how much Lo ends up depending on his brother for help staying sober.

“Or you could write one,” I shoot back, rising to my feet. “Perks of having the Hots for a Sixteen-Year-Old Supermodel and Having to Wait until She Turns Eighteen, Only to be Cock-blocked by Your Bastard Half-Brother.”
I flash a bitter smile.
“That title needs some work,”
Connor says, clipping on his Rolex watch. “And that’s if we all agree Ryke can write a full-length novel.” 

What I am TRYING to say is that if you have read the Calloway Sisters and fell in love with the characters like I have, you realllllly need to read this series too. It may be hard at first but believe it, it is so worth it being able to get into ALL of their lives, learning about every facet of each of them. I haven’t been able to read anything else since starting this series and am SOOOOO excited to read Some Kind of Perfect (which is basically a 664 page prologue of the three couples growing up and having babies).

“Your name is on her ass,” I state blankly.
“I’m so fucking in love with her,”
is all he says. And I believe every word. 

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted for Now (Addicted #2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted for Now (Addicted #2) by Krista and Becca RitchieAddicted for Now (Addicted #2)
by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

He's addicted to booze. She's addicted to sex... staying sober is only half the battle.

No. More. Sex.

Those are the three words Lily Calloway fears the most. But Loren Hale is determined to be with Lily without enabling her dangerous compulsions. With their new living situation—sleeping in the same bed, for real, together—Lily has new battles. Like not jumping Lo’s bones every night. Not being consumed by sex and his body.

Loren plans to stay sober, to right all of his wrongs. So when someone threatens to expose Lily’s secret to her family and the public, he promises that he’ll do anything to protect her. But with old enemies surfacing, Lo has more at stake than his sobriety.

They will torment Lily until Lo breaks.

And his worst fear isn’t relapsing. He hears the end. He sees it. The one thing that could change everything. Just three words.

No. More. Us.

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content

“Lo?” Ryke’s voice turns serious. “Hey, talk to me.” 
I let out a breath. “Tell me why I shouldn’t.” I pinch my eyes. I want this to end. This torment. These feelings. I want to help Lily without needing something to drown my own thoughts.

“Because you love Lily more than that.” 

This book picks up right at the end of Lo’s three month stint at rehab. Lily had already moved in with Rose when Lo left so this is the first time that they will really be tested together since they both made moves to work on their addictions. This is the first book of the series that has both of their POVs which is great because now the reader gets to see firsthand how Lo struggles instead of just seeing Lily’s side of things. I was so glad that his POV was added because in the first book, even though you can clearly see how much he loves Lily, it might be still easy to not like him because let’s face it, he can be a major ass. Once you get to see into his head and how much he struggles and how sometimes even though the first words out of his mouth are meant to hurt a person as much as possible, you realize that he isn’t a bad person. He’s just a fragile human who has an addiction and grew up with a father that has that very same addiction and who could tear Lo down better than anyone else (even if he clearly loves his son—it’s all a pretty messed up and vicious cycle). 

Fortunately in this book Lily’s addiction is still a secret so she spends most of the book doing normal things like wading through schoolwork and working for Rose at Calloway Couture. She ended up transferring to Princeton because of her move with Rose and while I don’t think that Lily is dumb, it’s pretty obvious that she only got into Princeton because of her last name (no offense, dear Lily!!). Instead of having Connor the wonder tutor available, she gets stuck with Rose’s jackass friend. Basically I hate him because he gets Lily to cheat by giving her old tests and tries to manipulate Rose/ break up her and Connor’s relationship. He’s the worst—and obviously an idiot if he thought he could break up the nerd stars.

“I don’t know how to live without you.” And I shake my head quickly as tears pool. “And I don’t want to know how. I don’t want to find out.” He is my breath. My soul. My life-force. I have spent forever with him. Being apart is the most unnatural feeling in the world. Three months—I could handle that like a bad itch. Forever without him?

All in all this is basically a transition book that is once again more focused on the characters. While one of the main threads of the book deals with all of the nasty, anonymous tests that Lily and Lo are getting about exposing her addiction, a lot more of it just focuses on the two of them going through their lives while the battle their addictions. Because I read Kiss the Sky first (after Lily’s secret had been exposed) it was actually really nice to read about their lives before they got SUPER chaotic. Obviously they still are really rich and help run their own companies and go to galas…but still. They are safe from the paparazzi and their lives are semi private. Other than their addictions they live relatively “normal” lives. 

Certain parts that I loved included Rose and Connor going to different therapists pretending to be Lily and Lo to find the perfect one for Lily. I literally can’t imagine Connor pretending to be an alcoholic with Lo’s attitude bahaha. I also loved their trip to Mexico because we get to see more interactions between Ryke and Daisy and how protective Lo and Lily are. Also there’s the fact that Rose gets drunk so that’s a funny bonus too.

In the end you finally find out who leaks Lily’s secret and it’s pretty devastating for all involved. We see the very beginning of the fallout for Lily and things obviously spiral out of control very quickly. It’s honestly so heartbreaking to see how people treat her..including her own mother and father. What’s also hard is when Lily goes through enough therapy to figure out what might have pushed her down the path she ended up going down. Despite that though, I was reminded how darn funny she is. Sweet Lily is so kind and geeky and I laugh so hard every time she hides underneath Lo’s shirt or climbs up his body like a koala. I love that her and Lo talk about fandoms and and Marvel and that even though Connor is a certified genius, that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about half of the time, lol. Other than the sex addiction I would definitely relate the most to her out of the three sisters. So yes, this might have been one of the “tamest” books of the series but it still was enjoyable to read. Any more pages spent with this group of people is a win for me.

So in Harry Potter’s epic final words, “All was well.”

 
 

BOOK REVIEW- Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

BOOK REVIEW- Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena ShowalterFirstlife (Everlife #1)
by Gena Showalter
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Step one...you die.

ONE CHOICE. TWO REALMS. NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley "Ten" Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live — after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, long-time enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she's drawn to isn't where the boy she's falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

“What is light, exactly?” What’s she going to be pushing on me?

“Whatever is needed to help someone find a way out of darkness.”

The library that I work at has this great thing where all of our reference team staff members meet once a month to talk about books we’ve been reading recently.  We do this because our tastes are obviously all over the place and by talking about books we love in the genres we love, we can expose other people to books they might not have heard about before.  Mine are ALWAYS YA lol and usually one other woman’s are too.  She brought this series up at our last meeting and it sounded like something I would really like, and probably fly through since we have very similar tastes.  She was right!  I sped through this book and currently have the other two on hold! Fingers crossed I get them ASAP.

Before we parted, the TL assigned to me asked me a question that cracked through a hard outer shell I hadn’t known I’d erected. Are you living your parents’ dream…or your own? I’d scoffed at him then, but that night and every one after, I’d wondered… Why do I believe what I believe? What is truth and what is lie? What is real? What makes me right and so many others wrong? What if I’m wrong?

Now, as a disclaimer, I REALLY did enjoy this book buttttt I feel like talking about the things that grated on me first.  I have never read any other book by Gena Showalter so I don’t know if these things are the norm in the rest of her books but parts of her writing bothered me.  This is small thing that might just bother me because I was an English major but I noticed that there were several words throughout the book that were used COMPLETELY wrong in a sentence.  Like maybe it was just super shitty editing??? Not sure but I just kind of had to stop a few times and wonder what she was trying to actually say.  Shrug.  Then…and this is totally just me…I have really started to notice my age recently (and maybe having a baby now affects me, too).  It might be because more YA seems to be inching closer to NA lately but when I go back and read a contemporary or even certain YA fantay/dystopian/sci fi, I have been having some MAJOR eye roll moments.  Like some of the innuendos that these friggen 16-year-olds use and the sappy moments they have together with situations of expressing their undying love makes me want to gag and/or laugh hysterically (basically things that I would have eaten up a few years ago).  So yeah, there were a few of those moments in here, bahaha.  That was really it for the things I didn’t like though and most seem to just be totally small and personal!

“Living shouldn’t be synonymous with surviving.”

On to what I did like..which was about 90% of it!  Firstly—this super creative storyline!  All humans on Earth are living what is called a Firstlife (so basically just what we’re living right now).  Eventually when they die they will enter one of three realms as their Everlife—Troika which serves the light, Myriad which serves the dark, and then there’s a third in-between kind of place.  You see, to enter the first of the two realms, you have to pledge yourself to one of them before you die.  Those that don’t, end up in the in-between place that has a horrible name for itself.  Spirits called Laborers from Troika and Myriad can also come into the regular human realm in bodies called Shells to basically try to scout people and get them to join their side.  Whichever side has more people basically has the upper hand.

When we meet the main character, Tenley/ Ten, she is locked up in an asylum for young people who refuse to make a decision (mostly by parents who have certain things riding on their children signing to a specific realm).  She gets a roommate, Archer –who is disguised as a girl named Bow (lol), who is her Troika Laborer and eventually runs into bad boy Finn (WHO HAS AN IRISH ACCENT OF COURSE) who is her Myriad Laborer.  She’s a special case because her spirit will either be able to amplify the light or darkness depending on where she ends up in her Everlife.  The two aforementioned eventually help her escape and basically she’s on the run for the rest of the book and spends the entire thing trying to think about what she should end up deciding.  (It’s more interesting and action packed than I just made it sound, too FYI)

This decision was also a part of the book that I LOVED.  It seemed to me that Troika= a version of heaven, Myriad= a version of Hell..but like…a better, more fun version? lol, and I was assuming the in-between place would be like a purgatory.  BUTTTTT here’s the thing.  It wasn’t cut and dry, black and white.  Ten struggled over which to pick because the two main realms have their fill of good and bad points and I loved that.  I can really appreciate when things like this have a little gray area instead of being completely binary.  Makes things niiiiiice and complicated haha.

So yes, overall I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a strong and sassy female lead, a super interesting premise, and hot, Irish bad boys.  Won’t tell you what Ten decides so you’ll just have to read and find out for youself!

I prepare to take it like a girl. Better than a man.

 

Which would you choose?

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted to You (Addicted #1) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW- Addicted to You (Addicted #1) by Krista and Becca RitchieAddicted to You (Addicted #1)
by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content

If you guys can’t tell, I have been on a crazy streak of only reading books by these ladies lolol OH WELL

“I want to love you more than I love this”–he waves his bottle–“and I don’t know how else to do it unless there’s something to lose.”

After reading Alphas Like Us I went a little crazy and decided to re-read the entire OG series because it had been awhile and I missed the core six (parents and uncles/aunts of Moffy and the gang).   I actually ended up changing my original rating from 3 stars to 4 in the process.  Honestly I’d give it 5 stars because it isn’t that the book wasn’t good, it’s that it was so hard to read because of some of the content. Back when I first read all of these books, I started with the Calloway Sisters series. Because of that, I first was introduced to Lo and Lily while they were already working through their alcohol and sex addictions. In these books, actually reading about their struggles and problems before any of their friends/family knew was HORRIBLE. I myself have never had a serious addiction to anything so I had no personal experience to relate what they were really going through. That made it hard for me not to hate both of them at different times for enabling each other instead of truly helping like they should have been doing. It was so hard because they loved each other but just….didn’t quite know how to channel that love without giving up the love they had for their respective addictions. UGH. 

She looks at me with more concern than I thought possible. In the end, it was not a boy who helped me. It was my sister. <—LOVE that quote

For those that want to start in order with this book, here’s a little rundown of what this book and the start of this series is all about…

This and the next book, Ricochet, are the only two in the entire series that have only one (Lily’s) perspective.  Since these books are truly about the Calloway sisters, I think I like that we at first only get her perspective on things.  We learn right away that she is a sex addict but don’t truly come to understand the extent of it until later on.  You might just think “oh Lily, she’s just a slut, how can her wanting to sleep around count as an addiction…” but that is DEFINITELY not the case.  Enter Loren, or Lo, Hale.  He’s Lily’s best friend and fake boyfriend.  You see, for years these two have been covering up their addictions (his is to alcohol) by being together.  They take care of each other to the best of their abilities but honestly like I mentioned above, they do much more harmful enabling than good.  Because of their problems, they basically have shut out Lily’s family, never going to family functions, never picking up their calls…it’s heartbreaking.

Eventually, the two are in a situation on a boat trip with their family were they end up at a crossroad and Lo gives Lily an ultimatum. Yes, her addiction is so bad that she is contemplating sleeping with one of the bartenders on the boat.  She would have given up their secret to satisfy her addiction and Lo ends up telling her that if she does this, they are done for real.  Instead he offers himself up to help curb her needs.  What she finds out is that he’s not just offering himself up because he feels bad, no he truly loves her.  All of the years of teasing and offering to “help” her was really him trying to get her to realize she could have picked him over any other guy any day.  Unfortunately, Lo can kind of be a snarky ass and Lily didn’t pick up on his clues AT ALL.  Because she’s always loved him too, she decides to actually try a real relationship with him.  Their addictions eventually come out (though I won’t say how or who to in case you start with this book) and their lives change a LOT after that.  Like I said, it isn’t an easy read but Lily and Lo are such compelling characters and it was refreshing to read a romance that is entirely different than anything else out there.

What I did love about this book was meeting them all. Seeing how Lily and Lo met Connor and Ryke and how their relationship, and Connor and Rose’s started out. Those relationships are what have become so important to me so reading about them from the very beginning was great. I will definitely read the rest of this series but just know that the Calloway Sisters books are a much better read if you want more hope and happiness!

“Wait for me.” The words come out choked and pained. “I need you to wait for me.”

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