High Contrast: Evolution Ink Book 1

High Contrast (Evolution Ink, #1)High Contrast by Tess Bowery
ebook, 226 pages                                                   Publication: May 3rd 2016 by  Samhain Publishing   My rating: 💎💎💎

Blurb:  The deepest scars aren’t the ones that show.
Jacob Shain is your average member of Generation Screwed. He has a boring internship, no cash flow, and a tiny NYC apartment he has to share with Ethan, his much-cooler, tattoo-artist twin brother. Not to mention his love life is DOA. At least, until his brother’s shop hires on a new piercer, and Jacob’s humdrum life takes a turn for the weird.

Cody Turner is gorgeous, funny and kind—everything Jacob wants in a boyfriend. Except for the way he refuses to talk about his past, or where he lives, or anything about his personal life.

When Ethan is arrested while on a mission of mercy, the reason Cody is so tight lipped comes to light. And while Jacob and Cody fight to understand the depth of their feelings for one another, the police dogs catch their scent. So does the local mob.

Now Jacob has to make the hardest choice of his life: stay safe like a good boy, or dive headfirst into a world he barely understands…and hope Cody is there to break his fall.

Warning: Contains a good boy who wants to be bad, a bad boy who longs to be good, bodies that are canvases for living art and high-speed chases with police dogs.

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This was not at all what I expected. From the looks of the cover I expected something a little darker or grittier maybe? More of a serious read at the very least. However I found that High Contrast was more of a mixture of humor, romance and a touch of drama and angst.

High Contrast was not just a story of straight laced Jacob, a self confessed nerd and Cody the reformed badboy tattooed piercer. There is an entire cast of great characters from Jacob’s twin brother Ethan, his bestfriend and Ethan’s girlfriend Andi, Ethans business partners Travis and Val and sweet young Priya the tattoo shops counter girl. They are a great group of friends, a pseudo-family and best of all a Scoobyesque gang of wannabe slueths.

I loved the banter even if at times it felt a little immature, especially between Jacob and Ethan who at times I felt might have stolen the spotlight. I was a little disappointed with the “criminal/mob” element, mainly because it fell short. There was a lot of potential there but didn’t get enough page time.

I think this was a good setup for a series and I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book.

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📖ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for honest review!

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Getting Him Back by KA Mitchell

Getting Him Back (Ethan & Wyatt #1)Getting Him Back by K.A. Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

💎💎💎💎

 

Blurb:  An unexpected fresh start leads to an unlikely-but-absolutely-perfect pairing in this male/male new-adult novel from bestselling gay romance author K.A. Mitchell

Ethan may have followed his high school sweetheart to college only to get dumped his first day there, but he’s not going to let that stop him from exploring all his new life has to offer. Sex-only hookups, his photography, new friends and a campus-wide game of zombies vs humans all help keep his mind off his broken heart and move him toward building a new, better life without his ex.And then there’s Wyatt. Mysterious, grouchy—hot. And possibly not gay. But Ethan’s not going to let that stand in the way of figuring out what makes Wyatt tick. New college goal? Get Wyatt into bed and into Ethan’s life.

Step one: arrange a “tutoring” date. Step two: “accidentally” bump into Wyatt as often as possible. Step three: explore the sexy body under that ever-present hoodie. And when their friendship deepens into something neither of them expect, convince Wyatt he’s not just a pity fling or a one-time hookup, but that Ethan is in it for the long haul.

This book is approximately 43,000 words.

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Kindle Edition, 133 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by Carina Press

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Cute, funny and fast paced read. Different than I expected, in a good way.

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Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert

Love Me Tenor (Perfect Harmony, #2)Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert 

Published February 16th 2016 by Lyrical Shine

Blurb:  There’s no way he’ll shake this off…
Trevor Daniels is feeling aimless. A recent college grad, he’s not sure what to do with his useless degree, and his family all but abandoned him after he revealed the truth about himself. But a friend’s suggestion that he take his chances on a reality show aimed at finding the next big boy band strikes a chord with him—until the show’s producers convince him to act like he’s in a relationship with a guy who’s not at all his type. It isn’t exactly love at first sight for Jalen Smith either—but lust just might push them in an unexpected direction. If only their secrets weren’t even more twisted than their sheets, threatening to cost them the win—and each other

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3.5 Stars!

For some reason it took me a while to finish this book. There were parts I really enjoyed and then parts I thought dragged on way too much. I also have to admit I didn’t really fall in love with any of the characters. I liked them but in the end I kind of had a “Take him or leave him” type attitude towards Trevor and Jaylen.

On a whole the story was good I just wasn’t totally invested.

Colors by Russell J. Sanders

ColorsColors by Russell J. Sanders

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Blurb: High school senior Neil Darrien is a budding musical theater star. He has it all-a beautiful girlfriend, a scholarship at a prestigious school, and plenty of chances to showcase his talent. But when Zane Jeffrey comes to town and immediately lands a spot in the school show choir, Neil is jealous. What Neil didn’t count on, though, is Zane’s charm and humor, and the two soon become friends.

Melissa, Neil’s girlfriend, notices Zane monopolizing Neil and draws Neil into her church. There Neil discovers a situation he knows he needs to fix, but if he does, a deep, dark secret that could cost him his future career might come out.

When his relationship with Melissa becomes rocky, Neil is drawn to Zane in a way that is more than friendship

Published January 14, 2016 by Harmony Ink Press: Buy

 

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What I liked? The story was technically well written and the author was definitely able to paint a vivid picture of what was going on. I loved the premise and the cover is definitely eye-catching. Unfortunately here comes the “but”.

When I first started reading this book I was convinced that it was going to be a very hard and emotional read for me as Neil told his story of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his childhood Pastor. However to me the story seemed to focus more on how he was handling his senior year of high school, juggling his “sort of” girlfriend and then meeting a the new kid who becomes his one and only true friend. Colors wan’t really what I had expected it to be and because of that I was left a tad disappointed.

I wanted to learn more about Neil’s past, delve a little deeper into the abuse. I wanted to know more about his parents and the church he belonged to that would inadvertently let this happen. We know that Neil’s parents were killed in a carjacking and before were very involved in the church but that’s it. How can we really get a clear picture of Neil’s past? I also wanted to see more resolution. Once it becomes know what happened to him we get only a few sentences of response by those close to Neil. We don’t even get a real look at Zane’s reaction to everything.

I felt as if the book started off as if it would be a heavy read and then became more of a light read. Because of this, because of the lack of a deeper look into Neil’s life outside of theater I never found a way to connect to him and subsequently never grew to actually like him. I hate what happened to him, I felt for what he must have felt and was sad that anyone so young should have to experience anything so horrible but that was pretty much it. There was so much potential for me to fall in love with Neil but it just never happened.

Zane was likable but again I didn’t feel we got enough of him, who he truly was and how he felt. The only time we got anything from his POV was in the few text messages between him and his friend from back home and those weren’t enough for me to feel as if we knew him. I wish we could have seen more of his interaction with Neil after Neil comes to him and tells him about the abuse. I wish there was a bit more of their developing relationship in the end.

Too much Melissa who was so unlikable I wanted to scream. Too much waffling on how he felt about her and too much of her pressuring him about her church. She was not supportive of him, he couldn’t truly confide in her and when he and Zane started to get close she didn’t even try to understand. How he continued to put up with this was infuriating and went on far too long.

In other words, too much of the new church and not enough of Neil’s childhood church. Too much theater without anything really life changing happening other than meeting Zane. Not enough backstory and definitely not enough resolution.

 

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

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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

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!

Alpha Biker Heroes

Kristen Ashley just continues to make me swoon with her pantie melting, super alpha, hot men she writes about.  A few years ago if you would have told me that I would dream about throwing my leg over the back of a Harley and wrapping my arms tightly around a sexy member of a Motorcycle Club I would have laughed in your face.  Somehow though reading these books I find myself picturing myself as an “Old Lady”.  Between Tack, Shy and now Hop I am firmly ensconced in the world of Chaos Motorcycle Club, jealous of Tyra, Tabby and now Lainie.  Please Ms. Ashley keep bringing us these fabulous stories!

♨Release Date: June 4, 2013!♨

Fir Inside (A Chaos Novel)

Fire Inside

By Kristen Ashley

★★★★1/2

Lanie Heron is absolutely the last person that Hopper Kincaid–Chaos MC Lieutenant–should take to his bed but he can’t resist when she approaches him and asks for “just one night”.  Lanie is all class and sophistication.  She’s also haunted–nearly being killed for standing by your  fiancé will do that to you.   Hop knows he should say no but he can’t.  Soon one night becomes more and Hop realizes that there is a lot more to Lanie than he originally thought.

“Not sure that’s a good idea, Lanie,” he told her, gentling his voice as he gave her the honesty.

“Why?” she asked immediately, and he felt his eyes narrow on her before he answered.

“Maybe ’cause you’re best friends with Tack’s old lady. I respect him, I respect her, and shit like this, babe, it gets complicated. Any complication sucks but a complication like this—” he shook his head “— no one needs that.”

She threw out a hand and declared casually, “It won’t get complicated.”

“I’ve thought on it and decided it’s you.” Her hands at his neck gave him a squeeze and fuck him, fuck him, that moved him even more. “I understand why you don’t want to, but I promise, Hop, I swear, no kidding, seriously, no strings. No expectations. Just us. One night. Tomorrow, it will be like it’s always been. Like it didn’t even happen. I promise, Hop. Swear.”

Lanie is amazed at how much she enjoys being with Hopper Kincaid.  He’s different than what she’s used to.  Hopper has the ability to destroy her and there is no way she can allow that to happen.  She’s broken and scared, not to mention she can’t stop thinking about how she almost died and why.  Lanie has vowed to never put herself through that again and that means not allowing any man in again even if he is a sexy, smooth talking biker she can’t seem to resist.  Being with Hop can’t last, no matter what she has to keep him at a distance.

“You know my story,” she whispered. “You think I want another guy?” She paused then finished with emphasis, “Ever?”

The more Lanie fights it the more Hop has to prove to her that they were made for each other.  He will do anything to show Lanie she is worth it and he can help her heal.  It won’t be easy putting her heart back together and healing in her what threatens to destroy her but Hop is confident he can do it.

“I said just one night,” she reminded him.

“And I said I wasn’t done with you,” he fired back.

Unfortunately Lanie will do everything she can to not allow Hop to steal her heart and give her his at the same time.  There are only so many times she can push him away before he realizes that he’s fighting a losing battle.  Will he ever be able to get Lanie to completely trust him or is she too far gone?

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 To be honest I was not at all impressed with Hop in the previous books he appeared in.  I disliked his character in Motorcycle Man and as for Own the Wind I really didn’t give him much thought at all.  By page 10 in Fire Inside I was completely in love with Hopper Kincaid.  He was redeemed in my eyes and I have to say he gave some serious competition to Shy who has remained my favorite of all the Kristen Ashley men.  I could seriously see myself drooling over Hopper.

What makes me love his character so much?  It’s simple, he is strong, intense, domineering in that way that makes you shiver when reading any of these books.  Hopper is also sweet and sincere and the type of man who shows the woman he is with a side of himself you would never expect but crave.  He’s protective and truly wants to help Lanie not only to open up and let him in but to also trust herself again.  He wants her to let her past go and to live, which also means he wants her to be able to let everyone, not just him back into her life.

“Hop is willing to do anything to make his woman happy. He’d walk a tightrope with no net if she was on the other side, cheering him on. And he just proved what we already knew, and he did that in a big way.”-Shy (From Own the Wind)

Lanie has some hurts that can’t just be healed with a few sweet caring words.  She has demons that need someone who can have an objective outlook to help her conquer them. She is classy and sophisticated with a smidgen of crazy (the good kind) thrown in.  She has drama–most of which Hop finds amusing–but you can’t help but find her funny and endearing.  She may not always see it but she has an innate strength as well.  There are times that Lanie makes me mad and frustrates me but I definitely like her character and won’t mind seeing more of her throughout the series.

“…Lanie is beautiful but she’s a fuckin’ nut. There’s no guarantees with her in the mix, and Hop’s not sayin’ it, but he’s gone for her. I caught sight of them late one night standin’ by his bike and I can’t say I’m an expert at readin’ bitches but, body language, she’s gone for him too. Cherry or Tack get in his face, Cherry butts up against Lanie, there’s gonna be fireworks.”-Shy (From Own the Wind)

If you’re a fan of Kristen Ashley, if you love books about Sexy Bikers and the women that manage to steal their hearts or you just love stories about love and redemption, you will fall in love with this book.  The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the fact that we only got brief glimpses of Shy, I could have used a little more of him *wink*.  Other than that Fire Inside is a definite must read!

To purchase your copy of Fire Inside (Chaos #2) Amazon ◈ Barnes & Noble ◈ Google

*Thank You to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for honest review.