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BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la CruzThe Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the countrythey are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia's deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he's the Guild's most dangerous member and the Queen's one and only assassin. He's also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow--to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts--to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she'll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they're forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they'll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they'll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen's Secret series.

Review:

Guys, I really, really, really liked this book. Like I finished it in three sittings over two days and I can’t get it out of my head. Shadow and Cal have made themselves at home and now I’m desperate to find out what’s next, which is TOO FAR away.

Quick note before I start gushing – this book probably won’t be for everyone. I’m already seeing some mixed reviews and I’m sure there will be more. There’s a lot of historical backstory and there’s a some tropes happening in this book. But let me be clear – I didn’t care. Tropes are tropes and we all have ones we love. I adored the main characters and was invested in their struggles.  I also think there’s enough differentiating factors to make this feel unique in its own right. So there, now moving on. Mild spoilers ahead.

Do you like…

  • Adventure, action and traveling for a secret mission?
  • One person keeping a secret from the other in order to protect them?
  • Characters constantly denying their feelings but get jealous (a lot)?
  • Royalty, balls and spying?
  • Witchcraft and knights?
  • Oh no, there’s only one bed at the inn, guess we’ll have to share?
  • One person making a huge sacrifice for other and then both have to deal with the aftermath?
  • A bit of a cliffhanger ending?

If you said yes to any (all) of these, it’s time to start reading The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz. Outside of read the Au Pairs a long, long time ago, I haven’t read any other of her books, so I can’t compare to any of her other series.

TQA is told from the alternating perspectives of Shadow, who has spent her whole life trying to prove she should follow in the footsteps of her family and join the Guild, and Caledon “Cal” Holt, the queen’s personal assassin. Cal is bound by a blood oath, passed on from his father, to find the Deian Scrolls as a means to not allow warring countries old and serious magical powers. Shadow has been learning some of this forbidden magic that has been passed down through the generations and hopes to be as helpful to the crown as Cal.

Their paths cross after Cal saves her life and after a daring escape, Cal and Shadow team up to find the scrolls and identify a new threat to their country. Of course, there’s plenty of complications along the way.

This series is described as a romantic fantasy and I think that’s an incredibly fair description. There’s a lot of historical information given to help the readers truly understand the history of the different nations and bloodlines, as well an understanding of the magic in the world. There’s royalty and court intrigue and spying and balls (of course!). And there’s a blossoming romance between Cal and Shadow that’s pretty much apparent from the moment Shadow goes out of her way to help Cal. He’s reluctant to team up, as he’s always worked solo. And he’s even more determined to never fall in love, as his blood oath could be passed down to the next generation if he fails to find the scrolls. Obviously Shadow’s addition to his life complicates all his best laid plans.

Shadow is determined to prove that she is more than capable of training and joining the Guild. The opportunity to rescue and join Cal in a secret mission is more than she can hope for to prove her worthiness, but she’s also keeping a secret from Cal that could change everything.

I don’t recall specific ages being mentioned, but I imagined our two were somewhere between 17-20 (sorry if I missed this detail). Even as they go from reluctant partners to friends to more, they both are constantly fighting against their feelings, as both are determined to focus on the task at hand. However, their immaturity shows at various times, as jealousy becomes a huge point of frustration between them. They can’t stand the idea of the other flirting or kissing others, even when it means they may get important information for their mission. I’ll be honest, I really enjoyed these moments, but I can see others struggling with the drama of it all. But to each their own.

While I liked the historical information that provided throughout the book, sometimes it did slow the pacing down. It was important and informative, but so much else of the book was moving at lightning pace. A LOT happens in the 384 pages, and yet, I am in desperate need of more. As much as I enjoyed all the fantasy aspects, it was Cal and Shadow’s relationship that truly drew me in. In some ways, it really reminded of Serpent & Dove (which I also LOVED), with shades of Red Queen and Everless.

Hard spoilers for the ending: View Spoiler »

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this book and I’m full of anticipation for the future books. While I have ideas where it could go, I can see a lot of things getting in the way of the happy ending I’m wishing for. The ending of this book ripped my heart, but I still have hope for the next book.

If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU. This was a long one, but I just had a lot of thoughts and feelings lol. I hope if you decide to pick this up, you enjoy it as much as I do!

Favorite Quotes:

I want to train. If I go to the palace, it will be as an assassin. Not as a doll. Or a pawn.

*

“Not saying I don’t believe you,” he says, noting just how quickly she grows defensive. “Good thing I was here then,” he says with a grin. “To help you out when your magic couldn’t.”

Instantly, he know he should’ve kept his mouth shut.

*

Here I am, about to embark on an adventure under the tutelage of the Caledon Holt. It’s all I’ve ever wanted-and yet all I feel is frustration and fury.

*

Today he hasn’t been half as irritating, which I find rather irritating.

*

He would spend every night at the flea-bitten inn if it meant he would lie next to her again. But of course he doesn’t tell her that, as much as he wants to, and as much as he wants to know how she feels about all of this.

*

“All I did was kiss a girl I didn’t particularly want to kiss, but I did it, for us.”

“For me? You kissed her for me?” Shadow whips from the window. “Should I be grateful? Should I kiss the king too? For you?”

*

“Keep in mind, you’re my brother,” Shadow whispers to him. “Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot,” he says, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “That would certainly give them something to gossip about, wouldn’t it?

*

Unbeknownst to Shadow, her lies were made of truth. “After all, there is no place safer for the princess than with the Queen’s Assassin.”

*

“I am not free, not without my love,” he says and this time, when he looks at me, I don’t look away. “Shadow. Be with me. Always. I am yours. Be mine.”

Giveaway:

Win one copy of The Queen’s Assasin (US only)! Contest runs Feb. 4 – Feb. 18, 2020.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Keep up with Melissa: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

BOOK REVIEW: Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne

BOOK REVIEW: Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren LayneMarriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Review:

Marriage on Madison Avenue was the perfect ending to this series.  I fell madly in love with the fake fiancée story-line…oh my heart, it was so much fun!  And I loved Audrey, Clarke, and their group of friends.  I found myself laughing, crying and even gasping out loud while reading, this book was such a huge win!  So if you’re a fan of swoon worthy romance, a fabulous group of friends and the fake boyfriend trope, you definitely have to pick this one up!

Clarke’s fingers dug slightly into her hip, reminding her of the plan, and she played her part, winding an arm around his waist and beaming up at him. “Me, too. I don’t know what took me so long to see that he’s the one, but I’m glad I finally woke up.”
The smoldering look Clarke gave her in return caused her breath to hitch just for a second and made her think the man had seriously missed his calling— that was some Oscar-level acting right there.

I have been excited for Audrey’s story since the first book, Passion on Park Avenue.  She was always my favorite, but shhh don’t tell the others.  Audrey was an Instagram influencer who was extremely popular.  But an evil troll got dirt from her past and tried to tarnish her reputation.  When her best friend since childhood, Clarke, announced they were engaged, it looked like all of their problems could be fixed.  Her troll would hopefully disappear, right along with Clarke’s ex who was back in town.  And being pushed on him by his over bearing mother.

What had been brutally true was that Audrey was the other woman. The whole time she’d thought she’d finally found her happily ever after, she was destroying someone else’s. A woman who, as Audrey had come to discover, deserved it more than anyone she knew.

I absolutely loved Audrey, she felt like a friend. Her thoughts made her easy to relate to and I loved all of her energy.  But my heart hurt for her.  She had lost faith in herself when she was damaged by a horrible man.  And it ate away at her.  Audrey had been the other woman, even though she had no clue.  So she didn’t think she deserved a happily ever after.  A fake engagement was not only perfect, since it’d fix her reputation, but it’d be the closest thing she would ever get to experiencing marriage. Without it going anywhere. Or so she thought.

“Smile,”he instructed, stepping even closer and sliding his hand around her waist. She smiled automatically, even as she registered that his hand had slid low on her back, his face needlessly close to hers.
“Clarke—”
“Brace yourself,”he said out of the corner of his mouth.
“What—”
His lips closed over hers.

Clarke was the ultimate friend and book boyfriend.  He was driven, dedicated and I loved how much he loved Audrey.  And how he always tried to do right by her.  Even the relationship Clarke had with Audrey’s parents was what hopes and dreams are made of.  But with his overbearing mother pushing his ex in front of him and his ex showing up where he was, being engaged seemed like the perfect answer to fix it all.  It was a safe plan.  Especially since Audrey had been his best friend since they were kids.  What could possibly go wrong?

It was no big deal, she told her thundering heart. Just a perfunctory stamp of a kiss to get the doubters to back off. It’d be over before she knew it.
Clarke’s lips moved against hers, his head tilting to the side, deepening the kiss slightly as his hand slid up her back, pulling her more firmly against him.
Audrey felt something strange and unfamiliar flutter in her stomach.

As Audrey and Clarke got further into their charade, I was a smiling, laughing and oh my gosh what’s going to happen next mess.  I had butterflies and excitement, but I was also so nervous for them.  Because what happened when pretending to be in love with your best friend caused feelings to stir inside?  Especially when you had to touch each other in public.  Act like you’re in love.  And have kisses that melted those around you.  It was only a facade.  Right?!  Ahhh see that’s why I love these types of books so much.  They’re such a blast and Lauren Layne, for the second time, has pulled this trope off beautifully and seamlessly (the other book she wrote with this trope is Isn’t She Lovely and that book is like a modern day Pretty Woman…sooo addictive!).

“Okay, I’m going to ask something that’s not my business,” Naomi said.
“Now, there’s a surprise,” Claire said. Naomi gave Claire a toothy smile and turned back to Audrey.
“Have you ever thought about trying this whole romance thing for real with Clarke?”

On top of a beautiful romance story, there was a friendship that spanned these three books.  And it was such a huge gem in these stories!  Audrey, Naomi and Claire seemed like an unlikely trio.  Especially since Audrey and Naomi had been sleeping with Claire’s husband, unbeknownst to them that he was married.  And from their first meeting on the day of his funeral, a beautiful friendship blossomed.  One that was based on trust and respect.  These ladies had true friendship goals, and I loved watching them grow with each other throughout this series!

She glanced down and winced. “I was in a hurry to talk to you.”
“About?”
Slowly she dragged her gaze back up, but only as far as his Adam’s apple. “About us getting married. Shouldn’t there be . . . more?”
He swallowed, though it felt like a Herculean effort. “Do you want there to be more?”he asked roughly, needing to ask the question even if he wasn’t at all sure that he wanted to know the answer.

If you’re looking for a fun romance story that is light and will make you smile and laugh, but also deep and will pull at your heart, then definitely add Marriage on Madison Avenue to your list!  This story left me feeling so happy, especially with that epilogue!  Just keep in mind, this series is a little different than LL’s other books, since it’s a fade to black.  But it was still extremely sexy!  So yes, I definitely recommend this book and series!  And Marriage on Madison Avenue can easily be read as a standalone.

PS The crossover with Alexis Morgan, from To Love and To Cherish, as their wedding planner had me squealing with delight!  Especially with that Bride Wars reference…the scene with it was absolutely perfect!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn GraceAll the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1)
by Adalyn Grace
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Review:

All the Stars and Teeth was the first book I read in 2020 and it very easily could be in my top ten by the time the year ends. That’s how much I adored this book.

There’s everything I love, wrapped into nearly 400 pages: Magic! Pirates! Mermaids! Enemies(ish)-to-lovers! Peril! Teamwork! Romance! A heartbreaking ending! Promise of more exciting things to come!

ATSAT is wild ride, from the very beginning chapters. Amora Montara, princess of Visidia, has been training in magic her whole life to take over her father’s throne. The magic is dangerous and there are very few who can do what she can. All she has to do is one demonstration of her ability to use this magic and she will ascend to the throne. But something goes terribly wrong and then next things she knows, she’s running away from a pirate to save her kingdom and prove she can one day rule.

It’s on this journey we meet the team: Bastian, the man who saved Amora from execution and has secrets of his own; Ferrick, Amora’s fiancé by way of an arranged relationship; Vatea, a mermaid who helps them navigate cursed waters after they rescue her. To say I loved the group dynamics would be an understatement. All of them bring particular skills and have such unique, but lovable, personalities.

The four of them sail around of the realm, trying to find the items they need to travel to Zudoh and face those who are practicing a dangerous magic face-to-face. As the group goes further on their travels, secrets are exposed and devastating information becomes exposed. Each character is battling their own personal demons, but all have a singular focus: to defeat the evil growing in the kingdom.

This is the first part of a duology, and while I would love to see it go even further than that, I’m happy to know there’s more to come. Because that ending was both satisfying and devastating. Certain storylines are wrapped up, but the sacrifices asked of some of our favs are almost too great and it broke my heart.

ATSAT is fast-paced and beautifully written. The characters are highly engaging and likeable. There’s monsters and magic and sea creatures. There’s also romance and deep friendships. All the characters grow and learn as they face precarious situation after precarious situation. There’s brutality but also sweet love. I truly don’t want to spoil a lot of aspects of this book, so I’ll just say I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. If you love YA fantasy as much as I do, All the Stars and Teeth makes a wonderful addition to this genre.

Favorite Quotes:

My hands hesitate over the fire as the confidence I built like armor around me shatters. Everything I’ve done has been for them. And yet…my own people fear me.

*

Bastian rolls his eyes and leans closer into the cell, dropping his voice so no one can eavesdrop. “Listen to me, I don’t want to abandon Visidia.” He pulls back his coat to reveal my dagger and satchel tucked into his belt. “I want you to save it.”

*

Hand on my cabin door, I shoot the boy a dirty glare. “Fine, keep your secrets. But remember that if you try anything, I’ll stab you without a second thought.”

“Are you flirting with me?” he teases. “It’s a bit hard to tell, considering how terrifying you are.”

*

“I’ve a collection of me who I intend to repay for generous they were to me.” Vatea’s smile gleams wicked. “Dismemberment for anyone who ever tried to touch me. The tongue flayed from those with wicked mouths. And the hearts eaten from any man who’s ever told me to smile.”

*

“As it turns out,” I say softly, “it’s impossible to break anyone out of the trance unless they have feelings for you.”

“Feelings?” he echoes, shifting his right hand so his fingers weave between mine. “You mean like this?”

*

It’s not too late for us; we are not the mistakes of our family. We have the opportunity to change Visidia for the better.

*

Bastian once asked me why I didn’t just find a crew and save myself. But what he didn’t realize was that I’d already found them—this is my crew, and I hold them tight. “We’ll do this together. All of us.”

*

Carefully, he reaches out to take my hand. Giving it to him is the only thing that makes me feel whole again, and I hate it.  

Giveaway:

Win one copy of All the Stars and Teeth (US/CAN only). Contest runs Feb. 4 – Feb. 20, 2020.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Adalyn Grace graduated Summa Cum Laude when she was 19-years-old. She spent four years working in live theater, and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper. During and after college, she studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular animated show, The Legend of Korra (sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender). She was a participant in Pitch Wars 2016, and is a former literary agent intern for an established agency.Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full time while trying to find the city’s best burrito.She has several projects in the works, and hopes to continually push the boundaries and explore the limits of upper young adult fiction.You can follow her on Twitter, at @AdalynGrace

Keep up with Adalyn: Goodreads | Website | Instagram | Twitter

BOOK REVIEW: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

BOOK REVIEW: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarryEchoes Between Us by Katie McGarry
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Echoes Between Us is bestselling author Katie McGarry’s breakout teen contemporary novel about a girl with everything to lose and the boy who will do anything to save her.

Veronica sees ghosts—more specifically, her mother’s ghost, thanks to the blinding migraines that consume her whole life and keep Veronica on the fringes. But the haunting afterimages make her wonder if there is something more going on….

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but this All-American is hiding an adrenaline addiction that could kill him. Drawn to each other after a chance meeting, can they help each other battle the demons that haunt their every step or will they push their luck too far and risk losing it
all…including their lives?

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Echoes Between Us was a breathtaking story that touched my heart.  I laughed, fell in love and when it all came together, the tears wouldn’t stop.  But with whispers of paranormal moments within the pages, this book also gave me the chills.  So if you’re looking for a book that will pull at your heart and also fill it with warmth, then definitely add this one to your tbr!

“There’s no such things as ghosts.”
Veronica offers me a slow daring grin like she knows secrets I don’t . “You’ll change your mind after living there a few weeks.”

I didn’t realize that this story had characters from Only a Breath Apart.  And when I made the connection that Veronica was V, oh my gosh, I was so excited!  We got to see Jesse, Glory, Leo, Nazareth and Scarlett!  But if you haven’t read that story, don’t worry, Echoes Between Us can easily be read as a standlone.

Sometimes silence hurts more than words. – Sawyer

We alternated between Veronica and Sawyer. And while we started out a little bit in the dark, we got to know all of their secrets.  Veronica saw and talked with the ghost of her mother.   And Sawyer broke his arm doing something that we don’t learn about right away.  They were both broken and drowning in a sea of hurt.  And while they tried to be strong for others, it all became too much at times for them to handle.

He knows my secret, and I’m not okay with that.

I had already fallen for Veronica in Only a Breath Apart.  I loved how she was kind, gutsy and had a take no crap attitude.  And here I got to see how brutally honest she was and I loved that she stood up for herself.  Others called her weird and she tried her best to let it bounce off her.  But she was only human, and words hurt.  Yes Veronica was quirky and celebrated holidays at different times of the year.  But as we learned more about her past, her horrific migraines and the brain tumor she had, all the pieces of who Veronica was started to fall into place.

Most of the time, my life makes me feel as if I’m trapped inside a nailed-shut coffin that’s already been buried six feet deep, and I’m running out of air. – Sawyer

Sawyer broke my heart as I fell in love with him.  He seemed like the golden boy to the world, but inside he was suffering.  And to make the pain stop, he had an escape that was beyond dangerous. But Sawyer was so much more than he thought he was.  He was strong, the best older brother ever, and stood up for those he loved.  So while Sawyer had a few close friends, he didn’t do relationships.  He was jaded and saw them as toxic.  But when Sawyer, his mom and little sister ended up renting the first floor of the huge Victorian house that Veronica’s father owned, things started to change.

Then she does something unexpected. Veronica leans forward and places her hand over mine. Soft fingers, a delicate touch and my entire body sparks to life. As if I had been in darkness— the world was black and white —and then the flip was switched into color.

Fate pushed Sawyer and Veronica together and I hoped they would give each other a chance.  But it wasn’t an easy path and there was so much in their way.  Hurtful words, secrets, friends, family.  And while there was some bite in their interactions, moments here and there gave me butterflies.  Yet some of their times together, it felt like there was something more there.  And I’m not just talking about friendship or love.  But a presence that gave me the chills.  There were scenes that made my hair stand up and not want to read this story in the dark.  And I wasn’t sure how it was all going to play out.

She’s strong, she’s courageous , and for some reason, she’s trusting me.

Echoes Between Us was a beautifully haunting story.  It truly had it all.  Love, friendships, family and facing who you are.  And when some twists shined light on stuff, oh my heart, this book made me cry.  But it ended at a beautiful spot and my heart was so happy where Veronica and Sawyer ended up. So if you’re looking for a story that will touch your heart, definitely grab Echoes Betwen Us!  In case you can’t tell, I’ve fallen for another Katie McGarry book!

Her throat moves as she swallows, then she whispers, “I saw a ghost.” – Lucy talking to Veronica

PS I love Sawyer’s little sister, Lucy!  She was one of my favorites in this book!

PPS  Two books later and Nazareth is still such a huge mystery to me. I’m hoping he gets his own story someday!  Fingers crossed!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Heartland (True North #7) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Heartland (True North #7) by Sarina BowenHeartland (True North #7)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

Review

If there were one fictional family that I would gladly want to be folded into, it would be the Shipley clan.  From the very first time we are introduced to all of them in Bittersweet, I knew that I was going to form a life-long attachment and love for the entire family.  I actually recently went and re-read that first book and I forgot how many little snippets we see of a younger Dylan that are just hilarious.  He still had that larger-than life, easygoing personality (especially compared to Griff).

Since most of the other books take place when the MCs are in their mid-to late-twenties or so, I enjoyed this one being set in college.  Since I’m an old woman now with almost two kids (har har, jk..kinda) I always get giddy and nostalgic thinking back to those easygoing times.  This book was no different.

I was also pretty excited to learn more about Chastity.  After Zach’s book when she shows up and it’s pretty evident that she has her own story to tell about how she got the hell out of there, I was eager to learn more about it and how she was going to fit in in a college setting.  Other than struggling with some of the class aspects of things though, I thought she really thrived.  She ate up those “normal” college experiences and craved more.  Of course I loved that Dylan helped tutor her.  What a sweetheart.  Really though, other than him having a filthy mouth and being this super brawny hunk of man meat (lolll) he may be the sweetest Shipley out there.  No, I take that back.  He definitely is.

My heart broke for him on numerous occasions because of the blame he was placing on himself for his father’s death.  It’s always easy to see from an outside perspective that there would have been absolutely NOTHING he could have done that day to make his father still be alive.  But he still couldn’t see that and of COURSE because he’s a stubborn male he couldn’t talk about it with anyone.  I was so happy when he finally was able to talk that out with his mom and brother *sobs*.

Hmmm what else?  Oh, the steamy scenes?  Yeah, you aren’t going to want to miss those.  The whole dynamic where the girl wants the more experienced guy to “teach her” the ways of things always gets me.  I mean, how can it not?  Especially when Dylan is so sweet to her and cares to make things as good for her as they possibly can be ~shivers~.  Highly, highly recommend, as always.


 

Extra Purchase Links

Kobo https://geni.us/HeartlandKobo 

Nook https://geni.us/HeartlandNook 

Google https://geni.us/HeartlandGoogle

About Sarina Bowen:

Sarina Bowen Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of 30 books, including: the True North series, co-author of Him/Us and the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy, The Ivy Years series and the Brooklyn BruisersAnd more!
Are you looking for a friends-to-lovers story or maybe even a secret baby book? You can read a list of Sarina’s books broken out by trope and style.
Need to know what’s coming next ? Get all the latest news on Sarina’s website, and sign up for her newsletter so you don’t miss a book or a deal.

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