Elite by Rachel Van Dyken

Elite

By Rachel Van Dyken

★★★★★

When I won the annual Eagle Elite College Scholarship lottery, I was thrilled. After all, my grandma had just died and I wanted to take care of my aging grandpa — he couldn’t be a farmer in Wyoming forever. And graduating from Eagle Elite meant opportunity.
But I wasn’t counting on meeting Nixon.

Nor was I counting on the rules of the Elect.

1. Do not touch The Elect.

2. Do not look at The Elect.

3. Do not speak to The Elect.

And worst of all? Don’t discover the secret they hide, because in the end, you may just realize… it’s about you.

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Wow! Wow! Wow!  Holy baby Jeebus that was good.  I am truly surprised at how much I enjoyed Elite and I can not wait for the sequel Elect to come out (I am not sure I will make it to November).   I could not put this book down, I actually told my entire family to leave me alone so that I could read it in peace.  It took me almost two hours to make dinner because I was reading and cooking at the same time.

So the official blurb of the book was pretty cryptic, I had no idea what this book was really about and I have to admit that drove me crazy.  I wasn’t sure if the Elect were going to turn out to be Demons, Vampire’s, Immortals or what (obviously I have been reading a lot of paranormal).  I conjured up scenario after scenario of what I would do had I been in Trace’s shoes which of course had me completely addicted to story, determined to figure it out.

Once I found out what and who the Elect were it just kept getting better and better.

Tracy “Trace” Rook has won the prized Elite lottery, entrance to the most exclusive college in the world Eagle Elite.  Coming from a ranch in Wyoming after being raised by her grandparents following her parents death at the age of six, Tracy has absolutely no idea what to expect.  From the moment she arrives on campus she is thrust into a world unlike anything she could have imagined.

Her first encounter is with what she learns is the Elect, four extremely good-looking, arrogant and mean guys who seem to have nothing better to do than to point out her place at the bottom of the totem pole.  She is not to look at them, speak to them and definitely not touch them.  Her safety depends on whether or not she can follow these rules.  While Trace has no idea what this means she soon finds out that Nixon Abandonato the Elect’s “fearless leader”  controls everything and everyone.

…I tried to jerk away. His face lit up with a smile, and honestly, it was like staring at a fallen angel. Nixon was gorgeous. He was an ass, but he was a gorgeous ass. “You feel this?” His hand continued moving up my arm until he reached my shoulder, and then his hand moved to my neck and his thumb grazed my trembling  lips. “Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much breathe the same air in my atmosphere, I will make your life hell. This touch, what you feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.”

It’s hard to put into words everything I want to say about this book without giving too much away.  I try not to do too many spoilers because most of the time the mystery in these types of stories are what really makes or breaks it.  I honestly believe you have to just sit back and enjoy the ride when it comes to this book because knowing too much would ruin the experience of unraveling the many mysteries and secrets of the book.

I’m thinking the easiest way is to break it down like this:

Plot: Loved it!  ★★★★★ (Can’t say any more than I did above).

Characters: ★★★★★ The story is all from Trace’s POV which worked great because it added to the whole enigma of Nixon, his friends and the school.

Trace (The Heroine): ♥♥♥♥ I could feel her pain and confusion throughout the entire story.  There were times when I wished she could have been a tad bit stronger when faced with the cruelty of the students but I loved how she stood up to Nixon on more than one occasion.  I am looking forward to seeing how she grows and develops in the next book and I really want to see her establish her rightful place at school.

Nixon (Our Hero/Antihero): ♥♥♥♥ As much as I want to hate him for his cruelty to Trace I pretty much got over it 30% in the book.  Learning who he really is and getting an idea of why he does the things he does changed my mind about him.  He’s despicable but I still fell in love with him (what does that say about me?  I’m not quite sure yet) and again I can’t wait for more of him in the next book, from the look of it Elect (Eagle Elite #2) is from Nixon’s POV.

Chase (The Best Friend/Right Hand Man): ♥♥♥♥  Yep the author just had to throw a little love triangle in there for us.  I really loved Chase as well even though I felt one of his reprehensible actions in the beginning of the book never got addressed properly.  I liked that Chase had a sensitivity and sincerity that was evident from the very beginning, it was easier to like his character right away not to mention he’s funny and charming and loyal.  While I love to root for the underdog when it comes to love triangles I don’t think I want to see Chase with Trace, he makes a perfect best friend but I don’t think he’s the one for her.

Monroe (Nixon’s Beautiful Twin Sister): ♥♥♥♥ I wasn’t sure about Monroe at first.  I loved her because she seemed so nice and accepting and seemed to sincerely want to be Trace’s friend right from the beginning but I couldn’t help waiting for her to stab her in the back.

Romance: ★★★ I just wish it had been slightly steamier.  As New Adult I expected a little more in this area (it felt more Young Adult to me) so I am hoping for a bit more in the next book.

So when all is said and done this is definitely a must read for me, I definitely recommend this to those who love New Adult books.  I will be stalking Amazon for the sequel so I can see what happens next.  I will also be checking out more books by this author.

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*Thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and NetGalley with providing a copy of this book for honest review!

To find out more about author Rachel Van Dyken click here.

To purchase Elite:  ➸Amazon |  ➸Barnes and Noble | ➸ Google Play | ➸ Kobo

Lick (Stage Dive#1)

Lick (Stage Dive #1)

By Kylie Scott

★★★★☆

Evelyn Thomas wakes up the morning after her Twenty-first Birthday on the bathroom floor of her cheap Vegas motel.   With one of the worst hangovers she can ever remember and a sore butt cheek she tries to remember what happened after the tequila shots.  Her memory a complete blank and limited clues to what happened she is surprised by the incredibly hot guy with long hair and tattoos who seems to want to help her feel better.  Who in the world is this guy?

Something winked at me from my left hand, snagging my attention. A ring, but not just any ring. An amazing ring, a stupendous one.

“Holy shit,” I whispered.

It couldn’t be real. It was so big it bordered on obscene. A stone that size would cost a fortune. I stared, bemused, turning my hand to catch the light. The band beneath was thick, solid, and the rock sure shone and sparkled like the real deal.

As if.

“Ah, yeah. About that …” he said

After the discovery of the very large diamond ring on her left hand, the tattoo on her butt of the name David and the extremely pissed off man–who claims to be her new husband storming out of her motel room–it becomes obvious Evelyn’s life is about to change. Maybe no one ever has to know about any of this.

Unfortunately what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas.  

Getting off the plane back home she is surrounded by paparazzi, turns out Evelyn’s new husband is none other than David Ferris, guitarist and Rock God of the band Stage Dive.  Now with a barrage of photographers and angry fans convinced she’s the cause for the rumors of the bands imminent breakup Evelyn isn’t sure what to do.  David offers to have her come to L.A. to stay with him until their annulment can be finalized and Evelyn reluctantly agrees.

Now in L.A. Evelyn is thrown into a world she knows nothing about.  From skanky groupies, obnoxious band-mates, callous lawyers and snide PA’s Evelyn isn’t sure being in L.A. is such a good idea.  David on the other hand uses her being there as an opportunity to see if he can get her to change her mind on their marriage or at least get her to remember why they got married in the first place.

It’s not fair that you remember and I don’t.”
“No,” he said, his voice hard, cold, in a way I hadn’t heard it. He looked over at me, jaw set. “It’s not fair that I remember and you don’t, Evelyn.”

Evelyn realizes she’ll probably never remember what happened in Vegas but the more time she spends with her husband the more she realizes she should give him, them, a chance.  If only David didn’t have so many secrets about his past.  Just because Ev finds herself trusting David doesn’t mean he trusts her and ultimately this may be the thing that destroys them.

I have to admit I liked this book a lot more than I originally thought that I would.  It was an interesting spin on the whole rocker romance theme that we are seeing so much of.  It was a fun and easy read, while part were a bit predictable I still very much enjoyed it.  I liked most of the characters although I wished we could have seen a little bit more of the band to get a feel of who they were as a group.  Of course this is obviously the first in the series so we will get a chance to see all of the band-mates, it just would have been nice to get a better feel for them right off the bat.

I got a good feel for Evelyn’s character and could definitely understand most of her actions throughout the story even if I felt she needed a bit more maturity.  As for David, I really liked his character.  In the beginning when we first meet him he seems so sweet and attentive.  Ev not remembering them getting married obviously hurts him and leads him to be a jerk to her but after things start to come together it becomes pretty obvious why he behaves the way he does and you can really see he cares about Ev.

The comic relief in the story is definitely David’s best friend and band-mate Mal.  I loved his character.  The right amount of obnoxious, cocky, charming and sincerity.  I can not wait to see more of Mal and what happens when he finally meets a woman who will make him change his womanizing ways.

Lick is definitely a must read if you like “Rockstar Romance”.  I can’t wait to see more from this series in the future!

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Find out more about Author Kylie Scott here.

Purchase a copy of Lick (Stage Dive #1) at: | ➸Amazon | ➸Barnes and Noble  |➸Kobo

The Winning Season by Alison Packard

The Winning Season

The Winning Season

By Alison Packard

★★★★1/2

Published July 15, 2013 by Carina Press

From the moment I first read about Matt Scanlon and Kelly Maxwell in Love In The Afternoon I could not wait to read their story.  Finally it’s here and it’s definitely a winner, I loved it!

Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

baseballI loved the characters in this story.  

Matt, once a “Golden Boy” of baseball has now become the “Bad Boy” of baseball.  For the past year he’s been off the rails, drinking, fighting, sleeping with too many women.  His baseball career is quickly going downhill and he’s traded to the Blaze, the team he hates, the team where Kelly Maxwell works.  He hates how he treated Kelly the night he met her, he said things he never would have said if he wasn’t so far gone.  Now faced with seeing Kelly every day, forced to essentially work with her Matt has to deal with his growing attraction to Kelly, letting go of the pain he’s been in for the past year and hopefully getting his new team to the World Series.

Matt is hot and funny and has just the right amount of arrogance.  You can’t help but like him and want to see him redeemed not only with his fans and with Kelly but also with himself.  The mystery around what caused Matt to lose his way seems somewhat predictable until we find out the entire story and then it becomes heartbreaking.

Kelly is funny and smart and tough.  She has her own demons she’s fighting and although she seems to have it all together and not need anyone, Matt is just what she needs.  Matt challenges her and understands her.  Having a man who can pretty much get any woman he wants want you is the self confidence booster that Kelly truly needs.  If anyone can get Matt to open up it’s definitely Kelly.

I loved the tension between Matt and Kelly.  There is a great deal of buildup between the two characters and when they finally give into their attraction it’s great.  I felt the author did a perfect job of building heat and sexual tension without dragging it out too long.

There is also a great group of supporting characters who I really hope to see again in their own books.  JT the backup catcher and Matt’s only friend on the team.  Angie, Kelly’s best friend at work.  I’m definitely interested in finding out more about these two and seeing where they end up.

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If you read Love In The Afternoon you should definitely read The Winning Season, just as good if not better this is a great contemporary romance story.  If you haven’t read Love In The Afternoon it won’t take away from this story at all but I definitely recommend it to see not only that first meeting between Matt and Kelly but to also meet Sean and Kayla.

The Winning Season

Find out more about author Alison Packard at http://alisonpackard.com/

Purchase The Winning Season at amazon   button_buy_barnes_noble Released July 15, 2013!

Find out more about Alison’s debut novel Love In The Afternoon.

*Thanks again to NetGalley and Carina Press for a great read!

Facade (Games #2)

Facade

Façade (Games #2)

By Nyrae Dawn

★★★★★

Can love save them?

After her father commits a crime that shatters her family, eighteen-year-old Delaney Cross is tired of pretending everything is all right. Packing up her car, she sets out to find the people her father hurt. Her search leads her to places she’s never been—and into the arms of Adrian Westfall.

To the outside world, Adrian is a sexy, charming ladies’ man. But his playboy persona is just an act. Secretly his soul is tortured by a memory too painful to share. Only Delaney seems to see through his façade to the real man underneath. And for the first time in his life, Adrian feels he can begin to open up about his past.

Together, Adrian and Delaney share a passionate love they never expected to find. Yet both still harbor their own secrets. When the dark truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together—or tear them apart forever?

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Emotionally charged!

Two people broken, connected through tragedy unable to move on from the past.  One trying to make some sort of amends. The other trying to escape.  Both trapped behind lies and secrets.

Adrian: It hurts too much to let myself bleed”

Delaney: “Sometimes we need to bleed to heal…”

Intriguing Love Story!

Her intentions were to find him and do what she could to help him begin to heal.  Her hope was that in return she would find a way to start healing as well.  He just wanted to forget for a while, numb the pain that never seemed to fade.  Neither expected to fall in love, it’s the one thing they can’t runaway from.

I want you bare to me, my little ghost.  I don’t know all your secrets and you know none of mine, but I don’t want to wear masks with you right now.  I want to see all of you.  Show me those ghosts in your eyes and I’ll try to kiss them away.  Let me bare my scars to you and feel your lips on them”  -Adrian

Delaney knows falling in love will make things harder when the secret she carries comes out but she can’t seem to to stop herself.  Adrian has never been in love. He’s only ever had two people in his life who loved him and he’s lost both of them.  Falling in love with Delaney isn’t something he wants or expects and it’s definitely not something he thinks he deserves.

There’s something about Adrian that feels good.  Feels right.  I see the pain in his eyes and I want to extinguish it.  To fight it until there’s nothing left to hurt him. -Delaney

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I loved this story.  I had high expectations for it after reading Charade, the first book in the series and I have to say I was not disappointed.  I truly believe that Nyrae Dawn has a gift when telling a gripping story, I read Facade in one sitting.  I laughed and I cried and really felt connected to the characters.

Your heart beats so strong, I feel it against my chest. You make mine want to catch up, to match the rhythm.”-Adrian

Adrian had so many sides to him, the man everyone around him sees.  The man his close friends Colt and Cheyenne (from Charade) see.  The man he sees and then the person Delaney sees.  His pain is heart wrenching and after everything comes out my heart broke for him even more.  I wanted so much for him to find some way to let go of his guilt but I could understand how he felt he couldn’t.  I wanted him to fall in love and have someone help him try to forgive himself and live again.

Haunt me,
my little ghost,
Posses me
Live inside me,
And scare away my sins
Until there’s nothing left.
But You.”-Adrian

Delaney radiated strength.  She has so much against her yet she doesn’t actually run from it.  She doesn’t let her father’s mistakes beat her down even though he destroyed her entire family (and Adrian’s).  She continues to love her mother even when it’s obvious that love will never be returned.  She wants to help the people she cares about put their lives back together even when they seem determined to not to let her.

We really don’t get a lot of Colt and Cheyenne but it is nice to see that they are happy and getting their happy ending.  We do get to see some of Delaney’s older brother Maddox who I have to say I found myself wanting to know more about, we get a sneak peek at his book which is the next in the series.

So when all is said and done I absolutely loved Facade, a big 5 Stars and a definite must read!

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For more about Charade, the first book in the Game series click here.

For more about author Nyrae Dawn click here.

To purchase Facade by Nyrae Dawn: ➸Amazon │➸ Barnes and Noble │ ➸Google Play

Mission One of Auggie The Alien

Mission One of Auggie the Alien

by Leah Spiegel and Megan Summers
★★★★★

Cute and Funny Read!

Auggie’s human mother and Alien father send him to Earth to observe and interact with humans to see if it’s possible for them to coexist. Auggie is placed with his maternal grandparents (his Grand MA who doesn’t originate from Massachusetts and his Grand PA who isn’t from Pennsylvania) and enrolled into Mrs. Malumrector’s 4th grade class.

His “mission, and ultimate goal, was to first and foremost blend in”. How will he complete his mission? By completing 3 goals.
1. The Sleepover
2. Being invited by more than one buddy to a ‘social outing’.
3. Getting Invited to a birthday Party
Not necessarily in that order.

Unfortunately while Auggie tries his hardest to fit in he finds that it’s not as easy as he was hoping. His teacher doesn’t understand him, the other students think he’s weird, even his grandparents aren’t quite sure what to think of him. On the bright side, he does have his new bestfriend Left Hand Chuck, his new puppy “Pop-A-Squat” and Miss ‘Wise One with Guidance’ Phelps the guidance counselor.

From air mattresses, the P and the J, 3D movies, slang and Ripley’s Aquarium, Auggie does his best to navigate this new world around him. After all his experiences and all of the people he meets and connects with could it be that maybe “blending in” is the goal he should be trying to work for?

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Although this is not my typical read I have to admit I really enjoyed the story of Auggie the Alien and his experience here on Earth. His precociousness had me laughing quite a bit. It was cute to see how a young alien interacts with humans both his own age as well as adults.

The author did a wonderful job painting the picture of Auggie’s interactions and making them so believable, endearing and funny.  His banter with his teacher as well as his grandfather made up for most of the funniest scenes and I truly found myself laughing out loud repeatedly.  If you are looking for a great book to give to a kid who loves to read, this is perfect!

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Find out more about Leah Spiegel and Megan Summers here.

To Purchase a copy of Mission One of Auggie the Alien: | ➸ Amazon, | ➸ Barnes and Noble |

*Thank you to Leah Spiegel for providing me with a copy of this book for honest review!

 

For You by Mimi Strong

For You

By Mimi Strong

★★☆☆☆

Aubrey is a tough girl who rarely smiles. She fled her shabby past for a reason, and won’t let anyone close enough to discover her secrets.
Boys with tattoos are on Aubrey’s Stay Away list, but fast-talking Sawyer refuses to take a hint.
Sawyer is a kindred spirit who seems as lost in the world as Aubrey. And he’s cute. Really cute.
She tries to resist, but Sawyer talks his way into one date, and then another. Things get steamy at the beach, and he does say the sweetest things. Aubrey finds herself smiling, and falling in love.
But when the truth comes out about Aubrey’s past, and the police are at the door, will Sawyer stand by her side? Or is she more trouble than she’s worth?

THIS NEW ADULT ROMANCE contains mature content. Ages 17+

FOR YOU is a stand-alone novel with a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending and absolutely no cliffhanger.

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I wanted to love this book, I really did but unfortunately it just did not do it for me.  The story itself had great potential, girl on the run falls for a bad boy no matter how hard she tries not to.  Bad boy might be exactly what she needs but if her past catches up to her she might lose everything, including those she loves the most.

I could not connect with the characters in For You.  Our Heroine, Aubrey is extremely awkward to me.  There are times I feel like she was strong and the in the next paragraph she seemed weak. She’s tough but it’s not consistent or believable to me.  There are so many things that happy to this character throughout the story that I wonder why they are there.  What’s the point?  The entire mystery of why she is on the run?  We finally find out the story and at the end it is cleared up in about 2 paragraphs.

Sawyer was okay but again there was no connection.  We know he’s a tattooed, bass playing, bad boy painter.  He comes from money but lives like a broke college kid in a rundown home with his druggie friend. We never learn why he lives the way he does other than he always chooses the hard way in life.  We needed more.  More character development, more back story.

The great thing about this book is definitely the fact that it is a standalone.  It was wrapped up and we don’t have to wait for a second book to find out if it all works out.  I truly think Mimi Strong can be a great author so I will try out some of her other books in hopes of getting a better idea of her writing.

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Aiden’s Luck (A Seattle Stories Novel)

Aiden’s Luck (Seattle Stories #3)

By Con Riley

★★★★☆

Aiden Daly has spent the last 5 years after his father’s suicide running his business and taking care of his brother and mother. His life is all about making sure his family is happy and has everything they need even if that means he has to settle for having nothing. When he agrees to house-sit for a friend for the chance to get away from his brother’s new boyfriend, the last thing he expects is to be sharing the home with the perfect replica of his first crush.

Marco looks so much like his older brother Ben that Aiden immediately realizes there is no way he can be around him. What makes it even worse is that Marco seems to want to keep close to Aiden. His constant chatter and teasing grate on his nerves. The way Marco seems to try to ingratiate himself in all the aspects of Aiden ‘s life drives Aiden insane. It isn’t until Aiden ‘s carefully constructed life begins to crumble that he realizes that Marco may be the only person who he can actually confide in.

Between his brother’s annoyingly meddlesome boyfriend, a potentially scamming employee, his father’s suicide and now the possible emergence of his birth father, Aiden has too much on his plate to entertain thoughts of being with Marco.

Marco helps Aiden to see that he has people who care about him, he doesn’t have to do everything alone. It’s time for Aiden to have a life and to start doing things for himself. Of course this means he’ll have to finally reach out to his family and admit a huge secret he’s been hiding about his father’s death.

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While I absolutely loved After Ben, the first book in this series, I didn’t quite feel the same way about the second book. Saving Sean didn’t resonate with me as much and I feared I would feel the same way about this book. That however was not the case. Aiden’s Luck was a great story.  I really enjoyed reading about Aiden and Marco. I really feel in love with Marco’s character, he was cute and funny yet so sweet and caring. He took great joy in taking care of Aiden who really needed it.

I was a bit torn on my feelings about Aiden at first.  His grumpy attitude bothered me because it just seemed so out of place for what I wanted him to be like if he was going to be with such a charming character as Marco.  I hated the fact that he never opened up to anyone and he pushed people away when he really shouldn’t.  I hated that he took so much on when he should have asked for help.  Half way through the story I decided I was wrong in the way I thought about Aiden, I started to feel for him and the pressure he was under.  It was sad that he felt what he felt and I wanted him to be happy.

I am anxious to see what the author has in store for those characters in the future and hope we will get to see it soon. As for the other character in the book it was good to see them as well as meet a few new ones I hope we’ll get to see more of…Drew, Jack and Levi *winks*.

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To find out more about this author and her Seattle Stories series Con Riley.
Purchase Here:
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