Tag: New Adult (Page 1 of 47)

BOOK REVIEW: Rise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1) by Whitney Dean

BOOK REVIEW: Rise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1) by Whitney DeanRise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1)
by Whitney Dean
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


Born and raised in the forgotten and broken kingdom of Ashbury, Elora has spent years resenting the royals of Pumpkin Hollow, the kingdom that forced the fall of Ashbury and procured the town as its own.

Separated by a mysterious glass bridge, Ashbury is treated as the orphan kingdom, left to squander and starve with only the promise of protection from King Jasper, preventing anyone outside their realm from searching for the magic that lay within the ashy valleys and red skies.

Because twenty-five years ago, the Cinder Fae arrived. As mysterious as the magic encompassing Ashbury, the Cinder Fae bargained for their lives by promising to keep the entire realm warm with their ability to mine mountainsides into coal.

But Elora and the Cinder Fae hold a secret that could bring the end to Ashbury and the mysterious winged creatures, who, despite Elora's best efforts to pry, refuse to share where they came from or why they can't return.

In her desperation to prevent the downfall of her kingdom and the death of her beloved Fae, Elora drinks from an enchanted spring, convinced she can make the prince of Pumpkin Hollow fall in love with her and guarantee their safety.

But magic takes to give.

And Elora didn't realize her heart would be the sacrifice.


Rise of the Cinder Fae was an enemies to lovers, fairytale retelling of Cinderella.  With a fantasy twist, an arranged marriage, found family, and one horse, this book will take readers on a magical journey!  

“A marriage of convenience. How romantic.”
I curse. “Believe me, Irina. The only one this is convenient for is her.” I recall Elora’s glares and venomous insults, my jaw clicking as a fresh wave of annoyance rises and nearly drowns me. “Romance is out of the question.”

My heart was instantly pulled in by Elora.  With an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters, who used her as their personal maid, I couldn’t help but feel for her.  She should have been a princess.  Yet instead she slept in the attic and didn’t seem to have much freedom.  So when Elora was taken in a pumpkin carriage to the ball to meet a dashing prince, I was so excited for her!  Yet this Cinderella retelling had so many fascinating elements mixed in.  There were the cinder faes, an arranged marriage, a King who was disgustingly horrific, and a future mother-in-law and sister-in-law who I absolutely cherished!

“This is twice you’ve walked away from me,” he snaps, his tone laden with irritation.
“I’m shocked you can count.”
A low growl rumbles in his chest as he wraps a hand around my wrist and tugs me backward.

The kingdom Elora was from, suffered greatly.  And as she set her sights on the prince, she hoped that she would be able to save her kingdom.  I adored that we not only got this story from Elora, but from Finnian too.  He was the dashing prince.  I loved their enemy vibes from the start.  And I loved how they both saw each other, because I just knew their growth would be fun to watch.  From the moment they smashed pumpkins together, I was smitten.  Especially during the cleaning up afterwards.  Elora and Finnian were at the start of a beautiful relationship! So by the time they were dancing where she grew up, I was in love. 

Finnian tsks. “I expected more from you, Elora. Is your only weapon that mouth of yours?”
My lower stomach tightens. “The one you keep staring at?”
I don’t turn to gauge his reaction.

My absolute favorite in this story was Irina!  She was Finnian’s sister, and a princess.  She was bold, hilarious and just made my heart melt with happiness.  Her taking a liking to Elora, and helping her every step of the way just made me love her that much more!  I would hope that she gets her own book too, or is super prevalent in the next book.  

The second I crossed that bridge, my life was decided.
I fell right into their trap.
What a foolish doe to graze where lions play.

While this story was slow to start, I adored the first half.  I didn’t care that it was long, I was fully absorbed and obsessed with every single word.  Yet the latter half of this story dragged for me.  Even with some interesting twists, I couldn’t help but find myself skimming from time to time to hurry it along.  Also, there were some scenes that had me questioning what the characters were thinking, like the river and small room scene.  But as the story kept unfolding, I realized that I couldn’t ever find the love I had for this story.  Which made me so sad.

“There is only one way this can end.”
I barely feel his hand on my lower back as the stars above us start to spin. “And which way is that, little doe?”
“Ruin,” emerges in a breath as the starry sky envelopes me.

This story ended with a bang, and will leave the reader excited for the next book.  While I’m unsure whether I’ll read the next story in this series, I absolutely loved how unique this retelling felt.  So if you’re looking for a spicy retelling that also has fae mixed into the story, then definitely give this one a try.  Here’s hoping you love it more than me!

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

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (Maple Hills #2) by Hannah Grace

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (Maple Hills #2) by Hannah GraceWildfire (Maple Hills #2)
by Hannah Grace
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


Maple Hills students Russ Callaghan and Aurora Roberts cross paths at a party celebrating the end of the academic year, where a drinking game results in them having a passionate one-night stand. Never one to overstay her welcome (or expect much from a man), Aurora slips away before Russ even has the chance to ask for her full name.

Imagine their surprise when they bump into each other on the first day of the summer camp where they are both counselors, hoping to escape their complicated home lives by spending the summer working. Russ hopes if he gets far enough away from Maple Hills, he can avoid dealing with the repercussions of his father’s gambling addiction, while Aurora is tired of craving attention from everyone around her, and wants to go back to the last place she truly felt at home.

Russ knows breaking the camp’s strict “no staff fraternizing” rule will have him heading back to Maple Hills before the summer is over, but unfortunately for him, Aurora has never been very good at caring about the rules. Will the two learn to peacefully coexist? Or did their one night together start a fire they can’t put out?


While I adored Icebreaker, this book and I didn’t mesh as well.  One of my favorite things that was missing in this story was the group dynamic.  I adored that we got it in the beginning, with the Jenga scene.  And that it pushed Russ and Aurora together.  But once they left for camp, that component was gone.  Yes there were characters at camp I adored, but they didn’t give off that same feeling, or the banter.  I missed it.

Russ Callaghan can call me a good girl anytime.

While the camp scene wasn’t really my thing, what I did enjoy about this story was the characters.  I adored them and felt their struggles in my heart.  These characters were so fleshed out and their issues felt real to me.  Russ was the sweet, cinnamon roll guy that was so easy to fall for.  And Aurora felt like the girl next door you could easily be besties with.  And both of them were hurting because of their family.  People had always made both of them feel less than and they tried their best to hide their hurt deep.  His dad had a gambling addiction, and her dad just ignored her.  I knew that they could find happiness with each other, if they would just take that next big step!

“We could have just had a conversation. This is not the kind of main character moment I’m looking for in my life!” She groans loudly, peeking at me between her fingers.

Watching their friendship form was heartwarming.  I loved how they had to work for it.  How the camp forced them together, like in the team building activities.  And how they realized they were having miscommunication issues.  Yet the whole time, it felt like their story was low on the angst and tension.  So they were adorable and also had some steam too!  Their date in the back of the truck was beyond cute!  And the epilogue down the road left me closing this book with a smile.  But for me, this book was wayyyyy too long.  I would have been happier with a couple hundred less pages.  So if you’re looking for a forced proximity, miscommunication, NA romance with a cinnamon roll guy, then this book may just be what you were looking for!

“You are the brightest thing in my life, Aurora,” he says. “And you’re a living reminder of the good things that can happen when I allow myself to be happy.”

PS I adored Fish, Trout, and Salmon!

BOOK REVIEW: Icebreaker (Maple Hills #1) by Hannah Grace

BOOK REVIEW: Icebreaker (Maple Hills #1) by Hannah GraceIcebreaker (Maple Hills #1)
by Hannah Grace
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA. It looks like everything is going according to plan when she gets a full scholarship to the University of California, Maple Hills and lands a place on their competitive figure skating team.

Nothing will stand in her way, not even the captain of the hockey team, Nate Hawkins.

Nate’s focus as team captain is on keeping his team on the ice. Which is tricky when a facilities mishap means they are forced to share a rink with the figure skating team—including Anastasia, who clearly can’t stand him.

But when Anastasia’s skating partner faces an uncertain future, she may have to look to Nate to take her shot.

Sparks fly, but Anastasia isn’t worried…because she could never like a hockey player, right?


Icebreaker was a steamy NA sports romance that had a reverse grumpy sunshine that was done so well.  I laughed so much with this story, like tears pouring down my face gasping for air kind of laughter.  Mix that in with some found family and I was hooked.  While I felt like the book was longer than what I would have preferred, I still had a lot of fun reading this story!

“Ask me nicely. Let me show you how much I like it when you’re nice.”
“Why would I do that when I don’t like you?” Her words are strong, but her delivery is strained and wispy, giving her away.
“You don’t have to like me to scream my name, Anastasia.”

Anastasia was a tough one for me to connect to, until I was almost halfway through the book.  I love me a grumpy character, but my gosh she was so challenging to find that connection with, especially when she was being cold to Nathan.  But I still enjoyed my time with her till we finally clicked.  She made me laugh so much.  Like when she told Ryan and Lola what she did, I couldn’t breathe.  She was hilarious without meaning to!  And she tried her best to be a good friend, and was dedicated to her goal of making it to the Olympics.

Removing his fingers and mouth, he leans back so he can look up at me properly, wearing the smuggest expression I’ve ever seen as he sucks his fingers into his mouth, not once breaking eye contact.
Oh fuck.

Nathan was such a steamy book boyfriend.  He played Hockey in college, and had a professional team waiting for him to graduate.  When he did the whole putting his hands on either side of her head while leaning in move, yup, I was done for!  I loved how he had no problem proving Anastasia wrong, like when he was on his knees.  And I loved that he was a good guy who would step up for his team again and again. I was just sitting here tapping my fingers waiting for Anastasai to catch up with the rest of us!

From now on, she’s going to come to me.

The two of them together were like fire and ice. They were forced to co-exist. And while Anastasia seemed to rally with the enemies to lovers vibe, I never got the enemies vibe from Nathan.  He liked her.  And as they spent more time together, their moments could be scorching hot.  The uber scenes?! *fans face* His dirty talk?! Loved!  There were so many steamy, descriptive scenes in this book!  I love how they both respected each other physically and mentally, and how they talked a lot of things out, it made my heart happy.

I’m addicted to her when she’s like this. When she forgets about this game we’re playing, when her eyes drink me in, and her hands grip the front of my shirt like she’s scared I’m going to slip away.
Our faces are dangerously close; I feel her breath against my lips.

Their friend groups were phenomenal!  I loved Nathan’s group chat with his teammates.  I knew each time those popped up, I would be laughing.  Lola was a true ride or die bestie.  She had Anastasia’s back again and again!  And I loved that she got her own little side romance story too!  And Henry was my favorite of Nathan’s friends.  I’m so excited he got his own story too!  The one person who I didn’t like was Aaron.  The rage I felt towards him was just another level.  And just when he made us think we couldn’t hate him more, nope, he ratcheted it up even higher.  He was a toxic douchebag who I kept waiting for something horrific to happen to.  Like in my fantasy novels where his heart would get ripped out of his chest haha.

“I can’t believe you think I could ever reject you, Anastasia,” he said in shock. “You have no idea, do you? The lengths I’d go to if you’d let me. What I’d do to make you happy.”

This story ended with a fabulous epilogue that jumped years into the future and made my heart so happy!  I love when contemporary books end like that!  So while I struggled finding that connection in the beginning, and the book went on a little longer than I would have wanted, I still absolutely adored this story.  The steam, friendships, personal growth, family, and storyline were so well done!  I can’t wait to read her next book!

BOOK REVIEW: Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

BOOK REVIEW: Check & Mate by Ali HazelwoodCheck & Mate by Ali Hazelwood
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory’s focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.

Nolan’s loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What’s even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory’s victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can’t help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist....

As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren’t only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent…and infuriating…)


It pains me to say that I struggled to find anything to love within these pages….besides Nolan. If the characters would have been older, I would have labeled this Women’s Fiction on Goodreads. Sigh. So here are the top three reasons I struggled with this book……

“You’re not being fair to either of us,” he says calmly. Maybe he’s right, but I’m past caring.

Nolan, the romantic interest, was barely a side character….
I adored Nolan.  The tiny bit of time we got to spend with him in this book made me realize he was kind, thoughtful, caring and understanding.  Unfortunately time would fly by and we wouldn’t see or hear from him.  Three weeks here.  Two months there.  Etc.  We barely got to see, let alone spend time with Nolan.  And it felt like we spent less time with him than side characters in so many other countless stories.  That’s why this book gave me strong Women’s Fiction vibes, other than the ages were all wrong. 

“Ah. I’ve seen your press conference, by the way. Nice job making it look like you totally despise him even when he said nothing but super- nice things about you.”
“I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did,” Darcy and Sabrina say in chorus, without tearing their eyes from the TV.

I didn’t like Mallory….
From page 10 and her slamming gluten sensitivity, I was hoping that that was just a weird fluke with me not liking what she was saying or how she acted.  Yet I never found that connection to her, or the ability to like her.  Even though she helped her family and was financially responsible for her mom and two younger sisters.  Yes she gave up her dreams, but her words, actions and lack thereof made me just not like her.  She ran away from situations.  She lied to others.  She could be so harsh.  And when others helped her, she lacked the simple common decency to say thank you.  And there was a situation at the end of Chapter 17 that just left an ick factor and a bad taste in my mouth towards her.  Granted she is 18, but there are so many YA books where the character is immature or has qualities about them I don’t like in the beginning of the story.  Yet they show growth as the story progresses, and by the end of the book I am so proud of how far they have come!  Yet by page 263 she took a step.  And then by page 334 she seemed to to grow a little.  But at those points it felt like it was too little too late, and also not enough.

“He’s cute,” Mom whispers while I’m loading the dishwasher.
“Cole Sprouse?”
I huff. It doesn’t come out as indignant as I’d like. “No, he’s not.”
“And he seems to have great taste.” “Because he ate a stomach- pumping amount of your meat loaf?”
“Mostly that. Only secondarily because he doesn’t seem to be able to look away from my most oblivious daughter.”

The naming was just too much….
I read to escape reality.  And while reality can bleed a little into the pages for me, I prefer not to have political people or pop references throughout a book.  A few I have no problems ignoring.  But when they’re in almost every single chapter and multiple times within that chapter, I just can’t anymore.  By page 25 we already heard Obama, Harry Styles, and I’m forgetting what else.  And it continued that way till the end.  But here’s the thing, I need a break from the real world at times *cries*.  And this book definitively didn’t allow me to have that.

So what did I love besides Nolan?  I loved Nolan’s friends.  And Oz.  Especially on page 281!  That scene right there had me clapping my hands for Oz!  Also, for me this book was NA.  It’s set in the summer after she graduated High School, and her friend was leaving for college.  And then it followed her life through what would have been her first year of college, if she would have accepted.  For me, that’s NA.  So yup.  This one definitely didn’t work out for me.

BOOK REVIEW: The Total Knockout (Southern U O’Brien Brothers) by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW: The Total Knockout (Southern U O’Brien Brothers) by Cookie O’GormanThe Total Knockout by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


Maisie Hawthorne doesn't do boyfriends.

Or girlfriends. Or relationships. Burned in the past, the scrappy bartender knows better than to trust a pretty face. Dex O'Brien is gorgeous (with or without the scar). Pierced, tatted, annoyingly attractive. She knew he was trouble even before she saw him fight. Her mind told her to stay away—but her heart wouldn't listen.

Dex O'Brien doesn't do love.

Not the romantic kind anyway. Sure, he loves his family, would defend them with his dying breath. And yeah, he loves baseball and fighting too. But falling in love? No thanks. Too messy. Dex couldn't care less, especially about the bookish bartender with the smart mouth and beautiful eyes.

She needs money to pay the bills. He needs a tutor to keep playing ball—even if he'll never admit it.

When the Southern U Wolves recruit Maisie to tutor Dex, tempers flare and sparks fly.

This new adult sports romance features two scarred souls, one hot-and-hilarious case of enemies-to-lovers, and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.

The #1 lesson they'll both learn?

Love is the total knockout you never see coming.


The Total Knockout was a sports romance that was impossible to put down!  This story was laugh out loud hilarious, will pull on your emotions and make you fall in love.  With a fun and flirty vibe, this book was so entertaining!  If you love romance that is sweet with a little bit of spice, a dash of enemies to lovers, and a story line that will have you smiling from that first page to the last, then you need this book in your life!  You definitely don’t have to read the previous ones in this series to enjoy The Total Knockout, but I can’t recommend the rest of this series about the O’Brien brothers enough!

“If you’re trying to book-shame me,” she said, “it won’t work. I read what I like. Doesn’t matter what you or anyone else has to say about it.”
“No shame,” I said. “If I was gonna waste my time reading, I’d probably reach for the R-rated book porn too.”
Her jaw dropped.

Dex O’Brien was struggling in college and was at risk of being pulled from the baseball team because of his grades.  When his coach told him that he had no choice about seeing a tutor, that tutor ended up being Maisie Hawthorne.  From the beginning they had a rocky start.  Dex thought he could scare her off and Maisie needed the money so she wasn’t going anywhere.  It was impossible not to laugh and smile when they were together!  So when you add Dex’s siblings Finn and Emmy into the mix, who adored Maisie, whelp it was a ton of fun! 

“So, are you going to keep staring or teach me something?”
Maisie blinked then looked down, a flush of embarrassment rising to her cheeks.
“Right,” she said, “sorry, I just didn’t know you could do that.”
“Do what?” I asked.

I absolutely loved Maisie and wanted to be friends with her!  She was kind, patient, thoughtful and such a hard worker.  She was putting herself through college while working at a bar, tutoring, and she did other jobs on the side.  From the beginning we got to see how much she loved and cared for her younger sister, Lola.  And I loved when Lola was around, because it felt like she would help pull Dex and Maisie closer together. Yet there seemed to be something going on with her past, since Maisie was jaded and swore off relationships.  But even with her no relationship policy she couldn’t help be attracted to Dex. He was a pierced, tatted, bad boy who lived and breathed baseball and secretly had a heart of gold.

I raised a brow. “How do I look at her?”
“Like you just saw something you desperately want but can’t have.”
I swallowed.

Dex’s way with words had me falling head over heels in love with him.  He was definitely cocky and didn’t shy away from saying what he thought.  From the beginning he told Maisie that he thought she was pretty.  Yet Dex didn’t want anything more than just fun.  He didn’t do relationship either and didn’t believe that love was for him.  I wondered if maybe his overconfidence was to cover his struggles in school and the comments people made about him physically?  I don’t know. But regardless, there were times I had tears in my eyes for Dex.  And as we spent more time with him, your heart will melt.  The confessions he said.  The way he made for sure that Maisie was safe and protected her without a second thought.  To even how there was a little bit of jealousy in there at times too, sigh. Dex was the most fabulous of book boyfriends! 

Dex scoffed. “Better lower those expectations, Hawthorne.”
“Why not?”
“Because I believe in you, O’Brien,” I said.
“You do?” he said.
“Yeah— but I also believe in ghosts, faeries, and shape shifters, so you shouldn’t feel too special.”
He chuckled at that then gestured to the bar.

This story alternated between Maisie and Dex, and I loved both of their thoughts!  This is one of those books where it’s impossible to pick your favorite moment, because there were so many of them.  Emmy throwing Maisie under the bus?  I was dying laughing.  The mirror scene? That was so hot!  And so many more I don’t want to mention for fear of spoilers.  On top of countless memorable scenes, Dex’s siblings, Emmy and Finn, were the best!  If you are adore family in a story, you’re going to love this one!  The way they messed with Dex was perfect!  But back to Maisie and Dex….as they worked together and time passed, it was smile inducing watching their hate for one another fade.  And it almost seemed like a friendship was forming between them.  They showed up for one another.  They cheered each other on in their own ways. And they realized that not only were they both scarred physically, but emotionally too.  Through every moment though, there was always sparks and banter flying.  And those sparks seemed to arc higher and higher the more time they spent together.  It was one of those stories where I couldn’t wait to see where their explosion took them!

“There’s a lot of things I want,” he said then reached up to brush a strand of hair behind my ear. “What about you, Hawthorne? Anything you want right this second?”
I hesitated then shook my head.
“Liar,” he said quietly.

Romance lovers will fall passionately in love with The Total Knockout!  If you love sports, new adult or a story that keeps you smiling and laughing then you need to put this one on your tbr!  Now I’ll be patiently waiting for Cookie’s next release, her books always make me oh so happy every single time.  And each one becomes an instant favorite!

Once the door closed, I looked back and found Rose smiling.
“I think that went well,” she said. “Definitely our most eventful book club meeting so far.”
“I second that,” June said. “So much drama.”
“And tension,” Rose added. “This air was practically vibrating.”
My brow furrowed. “What are you guys talking about?”
“Nothing,” they said in unison.
Finn shook his head, staring after his brother.

PS Is Emmy next or will it be Finn?  I’m thinking Emmy after what happened in this book, eeps!  I am so excited for more in this world!

As I kissed her all I could think was, this. This was it. This was what makes life worth living.

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

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