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.

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin

Ruin

By Rachel Van Dyken

★★★★★

I’m not your typical girl. I’ve been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness…until Wes Michels offered to be my light.

I didn’t know that time wasn’t my ally — that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer–each moment as it came–but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it’s the end, it’s only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn’t–I wouldn’t ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.

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Kiersten Rowe has convinced her Uncle JoBob that she can make it on her own away at college.  The past two years she has been barely living.  Depressed and plagued by night terrors after the death of her parents, Kiersten wants to try to start living again.  Now at the University of Washington she is about to find out how to live, how to face her fears and most importantly what it means to fall in love.

Weston Michels may be rich and hot, not to mention the star quarterback but life is definitely all sunshine and rainbows. No one knows how he became  an RA his senior year, especially after rumors of an alleged rape or why he seems to travel in an entourage.  Weston seems to be keeping secrets

Absolutely one of the best books I have read all year.  I have to admit I was started to feel a little disappointed as I searched for a book to add to the short Favorites of 2013 list I have going.  2012 seemed to be a year full of so many good books I wasn’t even able to narrow down my top 10 without a lot of deliberation and quite a few tears.  2013 has not been the same, while there have been a few books I have loved very few have actually jumped out and made me think about them long after I have finished them.

Ruin is that book.  It is an emotional book that had me not wanting it to end.  I loved the fact that unlike so many New Adult books that are out right now this book did not follow the same formula of the twenty-something guy who has vowed that he will never fall in love.  He will live a long happy life as a womanizer even though at the ripe old age of 23 or 24 I am not quite sure if he really has the maturity to decide that love is not in the cards for him.  Wait til your thirties or hell even your forties before you make the decision to live without True Love.

Ruin is not like that.  I hate to say too much because I do not want to give anything away, even if you can pretty much guess what it’s all about.  I absolutely loved Wes from the very beginning and my favorite parts of the story were definitely the parts from his POV.  This is romantic, sweet and at times bittersweet.  I laughed and I cried and at one point almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish it because it was so sad.

Ruin

Ruin

I am glad I finished the book and I loved it, even the sad parts.  It is definitely a story I recommend highly.  This is the second book this year by Rachel Van Dyken that I have read and loved, so she is an author I will keep coming back to.

 

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

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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