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.

tattoo-guns-high-quality-design

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.

23ms2b

📖ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for honest review!

View all my reviews

Let Love Live by Melissa Collins

Let Love Live

Let Love Live (The Love Series book 5)

By Melissa Collins

★★★★★

Who would you become if you lost the only person who ever mattered?

For twenty-six year old Dylan Hopkins, the answer is easy. He’s become no one. Memories of the happier times are all he has left as he finds himself meandering numbly through his now dull life. Though he cares about his work and family dearly, he’s yet to let himself find love again. Afraid of letting go of what he once had, Dylan chooses to keep his heart buried, where it belongs, having died a long time ago.

Conner Michelson is about to change everything Dylan knows. He’s every bit the bad boy persona – tatted up, ex-MMA fighter, but after an injury leaves him unable to fight, he has to rethink his goals. Having just opened his own gym, Conner can cross his first major life accomplishment off his very short list. Next up: find a man he can settle down with and build a family. Seems simple enough – a dream most people have, but when he meets Dylan, his carefree, easy-going life is thrown into a tailspin.

Determined to keep Dylan in his life, Conner vows to resurrect Dylan’s long ago buried heart and let love live once more.

Let Love Live is a full length, standalone (within a series) novel

 


 

An Absolute Must Read!

Before you came into my life, I was a completely different person. I was angry at the hand the world had dealt me and I didn’t know how to recover. Then I met you and everything changed. You brought me back to life. You woke up my heart and made me realize that all I was doing before you was existing.” – Dylan

It is hard for me to write a review of this book because in truth it isn’t very often I read a story that makes me feel so much. I actually found myself having to put down my kindle quite a few times in order to take a breather and wipe my tears. I full on cried while reading it. I didn’t read the other books in the series, in all honesty I just stumbled upon this book and thought it sounded good so I gave it a shot, maybe I would’ve been better prepared if I had read the others (however I don’t think it’s necessary to get the full impact of the story).
While this is a love story about Dylan and Conner it’s also about the love story of Dylan and Shane which we need to see to truly understand Dylan. It’s a story of discovery, discovering who you are, discovering love, strength and ultimately happiness. It’s a story of unimaginable loss and guilt and how fragile life can be. But most of all to me this was a story of finding peace and that second chance to love and be loved.

The story of their love is both inspiring and devastating. It’s one of finding out who you are by allowing yourself happiness in someone else, only to have that person, and, in turn, everything that made your life worth living, taken from you.” -Conner

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of M/M romance or not, I still recommend this book. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful story and one I think anyone would love. 

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully

By Penelope Douglas

★★★★

My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We’re neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I’m back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I’m hoping that after a year of breathing room, he’s moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn’t changed, I have. I’m not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We’re going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

bossmustang

I am not sure how I feel about this book.  I have to be honest, I truly enjoyed reading it, it evoked so many different emotions from me I couldn’t put it down.  However I feel like I should not have found it as enjoyable as I did simply for the fact that the love story in this book is essentially between a bully and his victim.

This isn’t just a matter of miscommunication and misunderstandings between the two characters.  This isn’t the story of boy who simply teases  a girl and then they fall in love.  This is the story of a guy who comes home from spending the summer with his estranged father a completely different person.  His best friend, the girl next door has no clue why he now hates her.  They no longer spend time together or talk and if they do it’s him being a jerk to her.  Rumors are started at school, boys treat her like trash and most of the girls whisper behind her back.  She is the victim of pranks and public ridicule and has hardly any friends.

What makes it even worse is the fact that not only is he tormenting her but also his best friend Madoc, who doesn’t even know why he does it.  There are many times that Madoc goes above and beyond simple teasing and pranks and skirts into sexual harassment.  The upside of it is when Madoc does cross that line she seems to grow a backbone and makes it clear it’s not acceptable (between a broken nose and a good swift kick to his manhood) she at least is not a complete pushover.

Tate finally standing up for herself makes her feel as if she is turning into a bully herself, I am sorry but I totally disagreed with her.  I was glad she stood up for herself, even when it got a little physical because frankly it needed to be done.  People needed to see she was not some weak, pitiful, lesser individual.  I actually thought there were times when she should have been even tougher and not backed down.

As for finding out the reasons behind the bullying I am not sure that it was enough to justify or excuse it in my book.  I couldn’t really understand where Jared was coming from in that regard but it didn’t necessarily take away from the book.  I still found myself completely immersed in it and I am definitely anxious to read the next one and see it from Jared’s POV.  I think it will give me a better idea of why Jared chose to Bully Tate in the way he did.  After reading the first chapter on the authors Goodreads page I am anxious for the next book.

bossmustang

 

To find out more about author Penelope Douglas check out her Facebook page here.

 

To purchase a copy of Bully at: ➸ Amazon

 

Crossing!

There is absolutely no way I can write a review for this book and give it the true attention and praise it deserves without spoilers, it could never do it justice, so I apologize  for giving anything away.

Crossing
By Stacey Wallace Benefiel
★★★★1/2

Blurb:

He stole her lipstick…and her heart.

Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.

When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

lipstick

This book is really about so many things, there are quite a few messages. It’s a story about love and acceptance, it’s about self discovery and overcoming fears and for me at least, this was a book about forgetting about norms and discovering something outside of my comfort zone. And this was definitely outside of my comfort zone.

Dani is a character that I found very realistic and incredibly easy to relate to. Her insecurities are ones that so many women young and old can relate to. It’s hard living in a world surrounded by beautiful people and feeling as if you could never compare to them and its even harder when so many others purposely making you feel that way. I found Dani’s quick wit to be truly endearing. She had me laughing out loud throughout the book and her banter with Liam was great.

Liam is more of a complicated character.  While he first appears to be your everyday boy next door type, he has a pretty big secret that we don’t find out about until half way through.  This is a make or break type of secret and I have to admit at first I was not sure how to look past it. He is sweet and charming and can be incredibly funny but at the same time he always seems to be holding back slightly. I really felt for what he was going through even if I couldn’t connect fully with him.

lipstick2

Being a fan of Gay Romance I have read my share of cross dressing stories. This story however was very different. I found I had a harder time dealing with a heterosexual man dressing as a woman I had to really push past my preconceived notions about people who lived this lifestyle and pay attention to the story that was being told. I am glad that I did because when all was said and done I truly loved it.

The author has An incredible voice and a great ability to enable her readers to actually visualize the events unfolding as we read them. The dialogue is both entertaining and believable. The plot is fresh and unique and the characters are real and likable.  This is a book I definitely recommend.

Purchase CrossingPurchase book at Amazon  or  Barnes and Noble

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

Another Emotional Ride

Miss Me Not by Tiffany King

Miss Me Not by Tiffany King

Miss Me Not by Tiffany King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They had a pact. 
Leave the world behind much as they had lived it.
No one would miss them. No harm, no foul.
Their personal demons would be left behind once and for all. 
It was the only thing they could count on. 
It was all she had.

Madison Hanson has spent the last four years being a “shadow.” Her parents ignore her. The students at her school stopped talking to her years ago, and the majority of her teachers forget she’s even there. In her desperate yearning to leave her invisible life behind, Madison makes a pact with her only friend, James Garrison, to end their lives as inconspicuously as they live them. No fuss, no muss. No one would miss her and she would miss no one. Their plan is set, and it’s all she can count on. That is, until fellow student, Mitch Peterson, beats them to the punch. Everything Madison believed in is shaken to the core when she watches the aftermath of Mitch’s death unfold. By taking his own life, Mitch unwittingly saves hers. What a selfish prick. 

She is now left with the daunting task of living. Trying to bury her demons once and for all, and finally trusting someone with her fragile existence. 

Living is hell. Death would have been so much easier.   


“Mitch Johnson died last night. He killed himself. I wasn’t sad or heartbroken when I heard. I was pissed. Stark raving pissed. I didn’t know Mitch well. He was like me, a shadow that floated down the hallways, unnoticed and seemingly nonexistent among the crowd. I knew my attitude seemed callous, but I didn’t care. Mitch stole my thunder.

It should have been me.”

Suicide is such a prevalent issue among teenagers, especially these days as we are made aware all to often by the increasing media outlets.  Bullying has become such a hot topic as of late that it seems as if no matter where you turn you are hearing another story of a teen taking their own life.  It is so sad to realize that the way that we as adults look at the world is so far from the way that teens do that it is completely unfair of us to just tell kids to “suck it up, things will get better”.

I remember my time in high school and how it felt as if my problems were so big  and things would never change.  I had no idea that once I stepped out of those hallways and into my life as an adult my outlook would change significantly.  There were so many different possibilities out there for me and what once seemed unbearable would fade.  High school in retrospect was such a short period of time compared to the big picture.  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and these are not things that you can tell to a teen and have them truly understand.

Reading this book made me think about that, it made me think about how I wished I could step in and let them know that things would get better.  With that I knew that this was a great read because I found myself so immersed in it, emotional and desperate for an ending in which I would be able to stop the tears and smile.

This is not only a story of death, loss of innocence, abuse and sadness.

“Our friendship was formed on non-probing. He didn’t ask about my lack of parental involvement or my inability to touch other people, and I didn’t ask about his father or his bruises. We weren’t typical friends. We were silent comforters. I felt his pain and he felt mine.”

This is a story of how sometimes letting someone in against your better judgement can open you up to possibilities you never knew existed.

“Dean was my polar opposite. He was the sun, while I was the darkness.” 

sunmoon3

This is a story of a girl who not only finds the desire to live again but to embrace it.  This is a story of love and acceptance, forgiveness and self discovery.

“The amazing thing about love was that when you didn’t have it, the word seemed impossible to use, but when you were surrounded by it, it was as easy to say as breathing.”

There are so many things to say about this book, so many things that I would like to convey but when it all comes down to it all I can really say is this is a definite must read.  It’s funny at times and sad at others,thought provoking and emotional.  While I recommend this book I must say be warned, you will need a tissue.