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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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!

The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

The Forever of Ella and Micha
By Jessica Sorensen
★★★1/2

I keep struggling to decide whether or not I want to rate this one 3 stars or 4 stars so I think I am just going to settle on 3.5 Stars!

Ella and Micha may have thought that things were going to be great now that they were together and he was off with his band but now they face the difficulties of a long distance relationship and Ella is left to deal with feelings about her life and her past. Without Micha there to constantly pick up the pieces Ella begins to come to the conclusion that she has to do things for herself and maybe her baggage will end up being too much for Micha. All she has ever wanted is for him to be happy but can he be happy with her or will he eventually come to resent her?

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Micha realizes being on the road is not all that he thought it would be and the more time away from Ella the more he realizes what he really wants is her by his side. Scared that he will end up sending her running off and disappearing again he keeps his feelings about the future to himself, the last thing he wants to do is push her. Unfortunately the more he struggles to get through the time apart and missing her the more he realizes she is pushing him away. Micha knows his future is with Ella, does she feel the same way or is it better to move on?

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I am a huge fan of angst, I absolutely love it.  I am a sucker for a powerful read that takes me on a rollercoaster of emotions, crying, laughing, anger and elation are all emotions I crave when I am looking for the perfect book.  If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, easy love story, this is not the book for you.  This book is full of angst (dare I say too much) and emotional turmoil.  Personally I will admit I loved The Secret of Ella and Micha and I was very satisfied with the ending,  I would have been perfectly alright with leaving it there and having the second book about Lila and Ethan (the subjects of book 3).   However with this we get to see redemption, growth and healing.  It’s a new beginning for both Ella and Micha.

As for the author, Jessica Sorensen I becoming a favorite of mine in this particular genre.  Again I loved The Secret of Ella and Micha and The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden was one of my favorite books of 2012.  I am anxiously awaiting for The Redemption of Callie and Kayden as well as the third book in the Secrets series The Temptation of Lila and Ethan.

*Thanks to NetGalley and for this book in exchange for honest review!

Woo Hoo It’s Here! Walking Disaster

Walking Disaster

Walking Disaster
By Jamie McGuire
★★★★★

“Our story might have been typical: Bad boy falls for good girl, but Abby was no princess. She was hiding something.”

If you have read Beautiful Disaster (If not I highly recommend it to get the full understanding of the story) then you know how they met, how they became friends and how they fell in love.  Abby told us all but now it’s time for Travis to tell us.  It’s his story now…

Travis Maddox is not only the quintessential Bad boy, he’s practically a legend. He’s slept with half of the female population at Eastern.  He rides a Harley and fights in underground arenas for money.  Everything about him screams heartbreak.

Abby Abernathy is all Good girl on the outside, fresh out of Kansas.  But Travis can tell from the minute he sees her in her cardigan and pearls that this girl is a lot more underneath it all.  She has an attitude and she’s a lot tougher than most would think.

Unlike most girls that meet Travis she has absolutely no desire to sleep with him.  What first is seen as a challenge by Travis quickly becomes a lot more.  Travis needs Abby to stick around, he’s never wanted to be friends with a girl before but with Abby he finally sees how important it is for her to be in his life. The more time he spends with her the more he falls for her.

“I decided a long time ago I would feed on the vultures until a dove came along.  A pigeon.  The kind of soul that didn’t impede on anyone; just walked around worrying about it’s own business, trying to get through life without pulling everyone else down with its own needs and selfish habits.  Brave.  A communicator.  Intelligent.  Beautiful.  Soft-spoken.  A creature that mates for life.  Unattainable until she has reason to trust you.” – Travis

Abby however can’t let herself think of Travis as more than a friend.  She has come to Eastern to get away from her old life.  She wants nothing to do with the one guy that reminds her too much of her past.  But no matter how hard Abby tries to keep things in the “just friends” category between her and Travis she can’t deny the pull she feels towards him.  

“…The fighting, the gambling, the drinking…it’s what I left behind.  When I’m around you it’s all right there for me in an irresistible, tattooed package.  I didn’t move hundreds of miles away to live it all over again.” -Abby

Travis can’t stop trying to get closer to Abby even if he knows she’s too good for  him.  No matter how hard he tries he can’t live without her, she makes him a better person.  No one can understand it but everyone can see the changes since Abby has come into Travis’s life.  If only Travis could prove to Abby that they belong together.

First they will have to get past his reputation and then they will have to face Abby’s past.

“When we first met, something inside both of us had changed, and whatever that was, it made us need each other.  For reasons unknown to me, I was his exception, and as much as i had tried to fight my feelings, he was mine.” -Abby (From Beautiful Disaster)


I am going to be honest, I thinks I did a 5 minute happy dance when I received a copy of this book.

I haven’t been this anxious to read a book in I have no idea how long so it completely made my day.  As a huge fan of the first one I was almost desperate to get my hands on this one and I was not at all disappointed.

Getting inside the mind of Travis Maddox was a great way to really get an understanding for the story.  There have been a lot of people out there that have questioned whether or not this book was an example of glorifying a destructive relationship. Although I never looked at it that way I have to admit that I could see why certain people may have thought that way.  This story is not all hearts and roses, the characters are not without faults and their relationship had been volatile and tumultuous from the get go.  However with this look into Travis a lot more of the reasons for his behavior are explained and we are able to see that he is slowly yet steadily changing, maturing and learning as they go along.

This book is a great followup to Beautiful Disaster.  Each book essentially tells us the same story however in each unique voice we get something new and exciting.  I am a huge fan of Jamie McGuire and Beautiful Disaster has been one of my favorite books, now Walking Disaster has been placed on that list as well.

Jamie McGuire is an excellent author with a great voice. This is the type of book you can read over and over and never grow tired of. I’ve read beautiful Disaster at least a dozen times and am always able to get something different out of it and I am confident that it will be the same with Walking Disaster.

*This ARC was provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Walking Disaster

Purchase Book Here

Atria Books

448 pages

ISBN 9781476712987

 April 2013

To find out more about this author visit her website: www.jamiemcguire.com

Lush (Delicious #3)

As always Lauren Dane has made me wish it was possible to jump into the pages of her books and live in the world of her characters.  As soon as I saw Lush I knew I had to have it.  The opportunity to catch a glimpse of those wonderful and sexy Browns and their friends is something I just can not pass up.  Of course Lush is not actually part of the Brown Siblings series but a part of the spin-off series Delicious but it still shares the irresistible galaxy.  We have a great set of characters that we were introduced to in Never Enough (Brown Siblings #4) as well as our wonderful core characters from The Brown Siblings books.


Lush (Delicious #3)
By Lauren Dane
★★★★☆

Mary Whaley has her hands full running a successful catering company and overseeing her supper club. She has everything she ever wanted—or so she thought. When she meets ridiculously hot and very dirty rock star Damien Hurley at her friend’s engagement party, the attraction she feels is overpowering—and she isn’t about to deny herself.

Damien is used to a hard and fast life. He and two of his brothers started a band when they were fresh out of high school—then they hit the big time and stayed there. He’s also a legendary madman on the stage and in the bedroom. But when he meets Mary, something clicks, and the bad boy starts thinking he may have finally found something good.

What begins as a series of fleeting trysts soon gets much more complicated. Damien can’t figure out why Mary doesn’t want more from him. And before long, it’s Damien who wants more from Mary. But it turns out Mary is no stranger to celebrity news, and he’s got a very big job ahead of him: proving that he’s worth more than a one-night stand…


 

Lush is the perfect blend of Hot and Sweet!  It started off as the typical sexy story the author is so great at creating and then blended smoothly into a sweet romance.  Of course what is not to love about a “Bad Boy Rocker” who meets his match in a  independent woman who not only knows who to make him hot in the bedroom but also in the kitchen?  What’s the old saying, “The way to a mans heart is through his stomach”?   

I loved Mary but I have to admit it was Damien that I could not get enough of.   I actually found myself a little jealous of Mary, of course I’m jealous of most of the women in these stories.

All in all the combination of food and music, a sexy drummer and a sweet caterer is a definite winner in my opinion.

*ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review

The Brown Siblings

Take It Off (Market Garden 2)

Take It Off by L.A. Witt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

WOW, Hot! Hot! Hot! I just liked the first one, Quid Pro Quo. I loved the second one, Take It Off!

We are once again given a glimpse into the world of the Market with Tristan and Jared as they a reunited with “Rolex” the man who started it all for them as a duo. Ever since that first time with him Jared and Tristan have been working together as a team for various John’s. In that time Tristan has found his attraction for Jared grow larger and now he has a plan to seduce him in hopes that they can expand from just a professional relationship into something more personal.

Jared had let Tristan take the reigns throughout their professional relationship. Tristan has been great at leading and even better at teasing Jared to the brink. Jared has always had a little crush on Tristan and now he sees his chance to turn the tables on him for a change. After all turnabout is fair play right?

With Rolex calling the shots and Jared’s impressive skills as a dancer this is one scorching hot read. It may be short but it definitely get’s the job done and makes you anxious for the next installment. I definitely want more Jared and Tristan!

Upcoming Release:

Book 3

If It Flies

Previous Book:
Book 1

Quid Pro Quo
4 out of 5 Stars!