6 Adult Mini Reviews | Lauren Layne Edition

I’m back with some mini reviews! In September, I went on a Lauren Layne binge. I read one of her adult books, and liked it so much I immediately purchased 5 more. And pre-ordered one… So I thought I’d share some thoughts on the 6 books by Lauren Layne I read recently! 


frisk-meFrisk Me (New York’s Finest #1)
Genre: Romance

Published: 28.07.2015 by Forever
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
Goodreads

SynopsisOfficer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they’re determined to make him into NYC’s newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD’s finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he’s more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him. Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn’t in love with Officer Moretti. That’s why she’s going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava’s determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there’s something about a man in uniform . . . and she can’t wait to get him out of his.

review

So my Lauren Layne binge started with this book. I’m the kind of person who gets embarrassed when reading books with covers like this one in public. So I bought a Kindle version, and started it on my train ride. I really liked this! It’s about a cop called Luc, who saved a little girl from drowning. He’s now a media sensation, and can barely perform his job without being bothered. And then there’s Ava, a journalist who wants to make it to newsreader. Or does she? She’s been told to make a 3-hour special about New York’s Finest Cop. Only Luc doesn’t want his story to be told. And Ava wants to know why. 

I loved many themes in this book. How this day and age, nothing can happen without it being recorded by someone. The loss of a partner. Family. Friends. It’s all important here. I love Luc’s family! They are a close, Italian family who have dinner together every week. I absolutely adore Nonna -Luc’s grandmother. The woman does not pull punches. I am a big fan of healthy family relationships in romance and fiction books, because I feel like too often the parents are absent or awful. That was definitely not the case here. 

I definitely loved the romance too. Yes, I think Luc was too rude at times. But I also think he often realized it immediately and apologized -which is already something. To be honest, I don’t know whether I would’ve forgiven Ava. I know that she turned herself around. But what she did was not okay. I know that as a journalist, you need to look for the truth. But there is a difference between being a good journalist, and being a lying person who goes behind someone’s back. 


steal-meSteal Me (New York’s Finest #2) 
Genre: Romance
Published: 24.11.2015
Rating: 3.5/5 stars – ★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti’s blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that’s just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony’s morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual. Though waitressing at The Darby isn’t exactly Maggie Walker’s dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she’d really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby—and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband—she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.

review

I feel like I can’t decide whether I love this book or not. I’m of two minds. Let me explain. 

On the one hand, there are many aspects that I love. I loved Maggie! She was hard working, kind, strong and so realistic. She struggled to pay the bills with her waitress job, but all she wants to do is write a novel. She sometimes eats cake for dinner. She gathered up her courage to leave her scumbag ex-husband. She’s a woman to look up to. And again, I loved the family aspect -the Moretti clan is just great. And at times, I really liked the chemistry and romance. 

On the other hand, there’s Anthony. While he was a fun romantic interest, and his career and family life were interesting, I thought he was far too rude to Maggie at times. For no reason whatsoever. There’s a difference between being witty and snarky, and being rude. 

But still, overall, an enjoyable read. So I decided to continue. 


cuff-meCuff Me (New York’s Finest #3)
Genre: Romance
Published: 29.03.2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars – ★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy. Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl’s heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he’ll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .

review

Again, I liked this book but didn’t like it as much as the first book. Mostly because I feel like adults should actually COMMUNICATE. Here’s the deal with this book. Vincent and Jill have been partners for years. Best friends for years. Know everything about each other -and are basically each other’s opposite. Jill is in love with Vincent. Vincent is in love with Jill -but only realizes that when Jill leaves for a few months to take care of a family member. When she comes back, he wants to ask her out. Only one problem: she came back engaged. 

I really love best-friend to romance stories! I really do. But in this case, I felt a bit annoyed at times. I think they belong together, yes. They are great together. I don’t understand how you can meet someone and be engaged to him 3 months later. He hasn’t met any of your friends or family members in that time. You haven’t told anyone. What? How does that happen? I just wanted Vin and Jill to sit down, and say what they actually wanted to say. 

I do have to admit that in the end, I thought it was an enjoyable read -and that there were many cute/adorable moments. 


only-with-youOnly With You (The Best Mistake #1) 
Genre: Romance

Published: 29.07.2014 
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn’t exactly have a life plan. She’s perfectly happy being everyone’s favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it’s time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover. Yet what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn’t take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he’s been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing…

review

I laughed out loud when I read the synopsis. I mean, a woman at a bachelorette party gets mistake for a prostitute. And then the guy who mistakes her turns out to be her next boss -although that doesn’t happen that directly, but that’s what the synopsis says. Doesn’t that just sound like so much fun? 

That’s what this book was. A bundle of fun. Sophie was a relatable character. She’s young, and kind of panicky about not having figured everything out yet. She doesn’t really know what she wants to do. She feels like her family doesn’t really understand or accept her. She doesn’t have the perfect boyfriend. She’s just a normal woman. I adored her -especially her wit. 

I really like Gray too. I especially enjoyed watching him develop throughout the story. To become more emotional, and less keep-it-all-inside-and-deny-it. To take more chances (in his personal life at least). I think they were very good for each other, because they helped each other through their struggles. Again, I think Gray was a bit rude at times. But it didn’t bother me all that much. 


made-for-youMade for You (The Best Mistake #2)
Genre: Romance

Published: 28.10.2014
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Will Thatcher is exactly the type of sexy playboy good girls like Brynn have always avoided. And yet there was still something about him she just couldn’t resist. When Will moved across the country three years ago, Brynn vowed it was time to put him behind her. She never thought Will might have other plans . . . Back in town, Will intends to get what he’s always wanted-gorgeous, unforgettable Brynn. For years, he tormented the untouchable ice princess in a desperate bid for her attention. Now he has a new plan, and he’ll do anything to rewrite their stormy past. This time, he’s out to show Brynn that the imperfect man might be the best mistake of her life. 

review

This was my least favorite book out of the 6 I’ve read so far. I just hate it when the main reason for a romance not working out is miscommunication and/or denial. This book has both. 

I still gave it 3 stars because I did want them to end up together, and I did want to keep reading to find out what happened. That, and Will’s wit, were pretty much the saving grace of this book.

Here’s what I had a problem with: you don’t annoy a woman to get her attention (that behavior ends after the age of 11), happiness doesn’t come from a life that seems perfect on paper, don’t deny what you know you feel and think because you are afraid of disappointing family members, don’t treat another person like shit because you feel like shit or because you need that person. 

If you didn’t get it yet, I didn’t like Brynn. She needs the perfect everything. But that means everything being cold, not being passionate about anything. How can that seem like the perfect life? I don’t get it. 


irresistibly-yoursIrresistibly Yours (Oxford #1)
Genre: Romance

Published: 06.10.2015
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her. Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.

review

I love this book because it’s the story of two sports editors. They are both applying for the same job. Cole feels like he earned the job already because he’s been freelancing for the magazine for years. Penelope has been a sports journalist for years. She moved to New York to get a fresh start. And what better way to get started than as the senior sports editor of Oxford? 

I really enjoyed this book because it wasn’t just them in a rivalry. The job situation gets resolved quite early on in the book, and the find themselves working together. I loved how they worked quite well together. There was mutual respect and discussion, everyone was open to hearing each other’s ideas. I know that’s how it should be, and it shouldn’t be something to remark on, but I feel like in sports journalism, it might still not be that easy. 

The only thing I didn’t like was when Cole first met Penelope. He was in awe because a woman was writing down something in a notebook during a baseball game. Then he was elated because she was eating a hot dog, which he had never seen a woman do. How can that be? Do women not eat hot dogs in New York? I have no idea. But he got that kick in the guts when he introduced himself and found out she’d be his rival for the job. He didn’t underestimate her again. I’m grateful that happened in the beginning. 

I really want to read the third book in this series (?) because that one features Lincoln. I’m so intrigued by him.

Mini Reviews | Sarina Bowen edition!

I really enjoy making these mini reviews! I don’t always have enough to say about a book to write a full review. Yet I still want to let you know what I thought! I’ve read 4 romance books by Sarina Bowen lately, so I decided to combine the reviews into one post.


SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#1The Year We Fell Down (Ivy Years #1)
Published: 20.03.2014
Genre: Romance, NA 
Rating: 4.5/5 stars – ★★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead. Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league. Also, he’s taken. Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands. They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard. But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

review

I’ve mentioned before that I like to read (NA) romance once in a while between all my fantasy books. They tend to get a bit heavy at times, so I need to switch over to a fun and quick-read genre. I’d read Him before, which is co-written by Sarina Bowen. I really enjoyed that one, so wanted to give her other works a try. 

This was a great introduction to her own works! I really enjoyed it. I liked the fact that it’s about 2 people who are injured. One more permanently than the other. I don’t think I had read many books about disability prior to these reads (aside from Me Before You), which is a shame. This taught me a lot about the parts of getting injured people normally don’t talk about: the fact that it takes months for your body to adjust so you know what you’ll be able to do, the fact that a UTI is extremely dangerous, the fact that someone has to teach you to put on your pants and socks. Those are such simple things we take for granted.

I think the characters were very strong as well. Of course, they have both been through quite a lot. And of course there was drama in this book. Yet I like that the truly-romantic-drama wasn’t too drawn out. It wasn’t like the main characters were in a huge misunderstanding for 50% of the book. 

Lastly, I loved watching Corey pick herself up. Not that she’d been a slouch before, mind you. I mean that I loved watching her look for ways to adjust: a new sport, a new access way to a building, etc. I loved the romance, and I think this is one of my favorite books by her so far.


coming in from the coldComing In From the Cold (Gravity #1)
Published: 01.05.2014
Genre: Romance, NA
Rating: 3.5/5 stars – ★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: Ski racer Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he keeps his reason a secret. The real-life curse he’s inherited from his mother will eventually cost him everything: his place on the Olympic ski team, his endorsement income, and his ability to fly downhill at top speed. Reluctant country girl Willow Reade meets Dane by accident. Literally. Her skidding truck forces him off the road during a blizzard. Stranded together in his Jeep as night falls, the two loneliest people in Vermont find themselves sharing more than they’d planned. And not just conversation. Yet neither can guess how their unlikely tryst will threaten Dane’s frightening secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only mutual trust and understanding can end their pain and give them a hard won shot at love.

review

I’m a bit torn on this one. Let me explain why. 

First of all, I love sports romances. I haven’t read many wintersports-ones though! I loved that aspect, although it wasn’t too present in the actual story line. I also liked the fact that this story felt quite realistic. I think this is something I could truly see happen to someone. 

Dane, the main male character, has quite an interesting background -in my opinion. I like to see those psychological sides to illness or its possibility.  I do think that he was kind of an asshole at times. Okay, a complete asshole. And I’m torn: on the one hand I kind of understand, yet on the other hand I also believe there’s no excuse for being so rude. 

By now, you’re probably wondering why I’m torn about this entire book. Let me tell you. I think it was well done/written. Yet it features a trope in romance novels I absolutely HATE. I can’t tell you what it is because that’s a spoiler. I can’t stand the trope though, so it automatically makes me like a book less.


falling from the skyFalling From the Sky (Gravity #2)
Published: 31.01.2015
Genre: Romance, NA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars – ★★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead. Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department. With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.

review

I think this was my favorite one of the trilogy. Well, I don’t think so, I know it was. The reason for that is Callie. She’s by far the most relatable of the women in this series -to me of course. It may be very different for you. Callie is focused on her career, which she loves. But she’s also afraid of missing out on a romantic life. She suffered a massive blow to her confidence when her boyfriend (fiance?) dumps her for a younger and extremely beautiful woman. I can relate to a low self-confidence romance-wise, and a passion for your career. 

I think this story was absolutely beautiful. It’s the story of 2 people trying to find new ways to live their lives. For Hank, it’s a tad more extreme. He suffered a terrible injury while snowboarding and has had to give up his profession and passion. I also liked the physio aspect of the story. It’s interesting to see the actual recovery story while it’s happening, instead of afterwards.

I loved the characters, and their romance. They helped each other through some tough times, showing it may not all be over after all.


shooting for the starsShooting for the Stars (Gravity #2)
Published: 16.03.2015

Genre: Romance, NA
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Pro snowboarder Stella Lazarus has always loved her brother’s best friend. But the one time she tried to show him, she was shot down faster than you can say “competitor disqualified.” Until one blissful night in Tahoe, when Stella finally gets her man. Or does she? In the morning, Stella and Bear wake up to horrible news. The sort that sends them racing back to Vermont, and straight into the arms of guilt and family obligations. For all of Bryan “Bear” Barry’s life, three natural laws held true: his best friend Hank was destined for greatness, Hank’s sister Stella was off-limits, and Bear would always manage to negotiate the rocky paths that life threw his way. In the space of two days, that’s all shattered.  Bear can’t believe he slipped up so badly with Stella. Even if his best friend wasn’t lying broken in a hospital bed, it would still be unforgivable. Determined to do better, he devotes himself to his friend’s recovery, denying himself the very person he loves. And the very thing he needs.

review

This was my least favorite one of the trilogy. That’s mostly due to the timeline though.

This book plays out around the same time the previous one does, which means I already knew/guessed a lot of what happened. That made it less exciting to read, of course. I also feel like it was more rushed than the other ones, and I didn’t get to know Bear as well as the other guys. That all made me less attached to the romance. 

I did love Stella. I admire the fact that she wants to chase her dream and be a professional freestyle snowboarder (I think). She has to give up a lot to do so, and it’s admirable. She’s a woman to look up to. Yet again, I felt less connected to her than the other women -and I already knew her big part in the ending because of the previous book.

3 Mini Reviews | Snow Like Ashes, Carry On & The Breakup Doctor

I’m back with some mini reviews. I always have some opinions on the books I read. Sometimes, it may not feel like enough to make a full review though. Or I may feel like so many reviews have already been made, like with Carry On. So here are 3 mini reviews for you!


snow like ashesSnow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch
Genre: Fantasy, YA

Published: 14.10.2014
Rating: 3.5/5 stars – ★★★.5
Goodreads

Synopsis: Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since. Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

review

There are three reasons I decided to pick this up: (1) it’s a fantasy novel, (2) it has different kingdoms per season and (3) I had seen so many people rave about it. I have to admit that I felt quite disappointed by this book. 

Here’s what I liked: I liked Meira as a main character. I thought she was a fun main character, and I never had any issues when reading from her perspective. I also enjoyed the different seasons for different kingdoms, and the way it influenced the culture of its people. 

The downside to this book is that it just felt like any other YA fantasy to me. It didn’t stand out from the other ones I’ve read. It felt like a typical story line, you know? Conquered kingdom, revolution, royalty in hiding, rebels chased down, civilians as slaves in mines. If I just gave you that description as a synopsis, you couldn’t tell me which book this is. I wasn’t truly impressed, and the plot twist didn’t take me by surprise either. 

It wasn’t a bad book, not at all. I still enjoyed reading it. But it didn’t feel special or amazing either. I don’t really have a desire to read the next books.


the breakup doctorThe Breakup Doctor (The Breakup Doctor #1) by Phoebe Fox
Genre: Romance
Published: 06.06.2014
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Call Brook Ogden a matchmaker-in-reverse. Let others bring people together; Brook, licensed mental health counselor, picks up the pieces after things come apart. When her own therapy practice collapses, she maintains perfect control: landing on her feet with a weekly advice-to-the-lovelorn column and a successful consulting service as the Breakup Doctor: on call to help you shape up after you breakup. But when her own relationship suddenly crumbles, Brook finds herself engaging in almost every bad-breakup behavior she preaches against. And worse, she starts a rebound relationship with the most inappropriate of men: a dangerously sexy bartender with anger-management issues—who also happens to be a former patient. As her increasingly out-of-control behavior lands her at rock-bottom, Brook realizes you can’t always handle a messy breakup neatly—and that sometimes you can’t pull yourself together until you let yourself fall apart.

review

I really liked the idea of this book. A therapist trying to specifically help people through a breakup -or even help with relationship advice. That sounds great! A person who actually knows what they are talking about, and doesn’t just give advice out of experience. 

I enjoyed the first half of this book. She was giving advice, and really helping people. She had a great best friend, and was a fun main character to read about. She started her own business, and a column for more general relationship advice.

The second half of this book was a complete disaster. I don’t even know where to begin. Brook turned into a complete crazy-ex-girlfriend. Honestly, I understand you’re hurting. You now what doesn’t help? Breaking into his place to check out his stuff! What?? That’s a felony. And extremely creepy. And she was so judgy! She was so rude to her best friend, when that friend finally got into a good and healthy relationship. She was so rude to her mother as well. I can’t deal with people like that.

I still gave this 3 stars because I truly did enjoy the first part. I’ll just pretend the second part didn’t exist. 


carry onCarry On by Rainbow Rowell 
Genre: Fantasy, YA

Published: 06.10.2015
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
Goodreads

SynopsisSimon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

review

I read Fangirl before reading Carry On, so I knew what it would be like before I started Carry On. I knew it would be a Harry Potter-esque story, so when I started reading, the similarities never bothered me. I had lowered expectations when starting this though, due to all the mixed reviews I’d seen. 

I really enjoyed the magic system here. It was completely different than anything I’d read before. Magic is used by uttering popular contemporary phrases. You can invent a spell by using a sentence often used, etc. 

I also liked the characters. All except for Agatha. She was a spineless, self-absorbed woman. I especially liked Penelope! She was so sassy, smart and a wonderful friend. And Baz. I loved Baz.

Lastly, I love the fact that this was a standalone. I very much appreciate standalones. 

It wasn’t the best book ever, but it was definitely an enjoyable read.

Recently Read Romance: Cora Carmack | Mini Reviews

You all know I usually read fantasy books. However, at times I need something lighter to read. So during those times, I turn to romance. I’ve read quite a few romance novels in the past months (especially NA) but from only 2 or 3 authors. So I decided to do some mini reviews of these romance books per author. Today, I’m talking about 3 books I recently read by Cora Carmack.


all lined upAll Lined Up (Rusk University #1)
Published: 13.05.2014
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads
Bookdepository

Synopsis: In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both. Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past. But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again. Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated. Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

review

I believe I had read 2 other books by Cora Carmack before starting this series. I read Losing It and its sequel, but wasn’t really impressed by them. I didn’t dislike them, I just wasn’t impressed either. I admit this book took me by surprise! I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

I liked this book because while there is still a bit of drama present, it doesn’t overwhelm the story like in some NA books. It’s the story of Dallas, the daughter of a football coach, and Carson, who wants to be in the starting line-up of the school’s football team. Can I just say that I love the way they met? It was so much fun! 

I was not only invested in their romance, but completely in the characters as well. I wanted Dallas to fulfill her dancing dreams. I wanted Carson to make it on the starting team. I wanted Levi to move to a different country and pretend he doesn’t exist. Carson is also such a nice guy! This is not a bad-boy-turned-good story -for which I’m grateful.

I also really enjoyed the family aspect of the story on Dallas’ side. She really had some things to work out with her dad. I can see how scary that must be, and I think it was handled well. I really enjoyed the fact that Cora Carmack didn’t just gloss over the relationship and defined it as bad in general. She truly made Dallas deal with it in a positive way.

As you can see, I quite liked this book and immediately continued the series. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in NA!


all broke downAll Broke Down (Rusk University #2)
Published: 28.10.2014
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads
Bookdepository

Synopsis: Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one. Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause. Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help. Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

review

As I mentioned earlier, I immediately purchased this after finishing the first book. And then went on to read it in a few hours as well. These are such quick and fun reads. In the first book, we meet Silas in the first chapter or so. It’s safe to say he didn’t make a very good impression. I was still intrigued though. 

I actually ended up loving Silas. This book takes place a few months after the first one, I believe. Silas is having some personal/family problems and works it out by getting into a bar fight (in my opinion, the other guy deserved to get hit). That lands him in jail, where he meets Dylan. Dylan finds herself in jail for reasons that are a tad more noble: a protest. I loved how passionate she was! I genuinely liked their romance, and the way they both helped each other. 

This book also dealt with family issues, but for both characters this time. The families are at the complete opposite of the wealth spectrum. Dylan’s family is fairly wealthy, while Silas’ definitely is not. Both need to find a way to solve them, as it is keeping them down. 

I thought this was a really fun read. I enjoyed the characters and their romance. Near the end of the novel, something terrible happens to a side character. I really like how they dealt with the perpetrator -how they shunned him until something was done. I was intrigued how that side character would be in the next book -she is also a side character in the next one. 


all played outAll Played Out (Rusk University #3)
Published: 12.05.2015
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads
Bookdepository

Synopsis: First person in her family to go to college? CHECK. Straight A’s? CHECK. On track to graduate early? CHECK. Social life? …..yeah, about that…. With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience). So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities. Item #1? Hook up with a jock. Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it. 

review

This was definitely my favorite book of the three! Probably because I could relate to Nell the most. She was just trying to get out of her comfort zone, and experience college at its fullest before it’s over. I like that this one didn’t include any major family issues/traumas for the main characters. Often in NA, it’s that one of the two has this trauma, injury or issue. But this is just a story of a girl trying out new things. With some help from Mateo and her friends.

I really, really loved this. Of course there was some drama present. But I liked how it wasn’t 75% of the book. Mostly, it was just a joy to read. I could really relate to Nell, and I fell in love with Mateo. I also thing that’s a beautiful name, Mateo. 

I both liked and disliked how the side character I mentioned previously dealt with her experience. Her friends were supportive, yet gave her some space. She didn’t lock herself up but she didn’t participate in many things either. Which of course, I understand. But I did feel like she should have asked for help! Maybe you don’t like to talk about it. That’s completely fine. But you should try and find a way to deal with it. I don’t know, I’ve luckily never been through anything similar so I can’t really tell her what to do. 

2 Mini Reviews | NA Books I Didn’t Like At All

You all know I read mostly fantasy. Sometimes I want a lighthearted break between fantasy novels though, because they tend to be quite heavy. So I read New Adult romances at times. They’re usually fun, easy and quick reads. I also know which tropes I like and dislike, and am usually successful in avoiding NA romances I wouldn’t like. Yet in the past month or so, I’ve read two NA books I really didn’t like. One I DNFed, one I gave 1.5 stars. 


abel paradise foughtParadise Fought: Abel (Paradise #1) by L.B. Dunbar 
Published: January 25th 2016
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: DNF
Goodreads

Synopsis: I’m not a fighter. I was born into a fighting family. As the middle child, I was overlooked in favor of my older brother. He took the negative attention, too. In comparison, there’s nothing special about me. I’m not as big as Cobra. I’m not as strong as Cobra. He’s the alpha. I’m a beta. The second son. The lesser one. The one never encouraged to fight, never encouraged to do anything, but stay out of my father’s way. I’m not a lover either – but I wished to be – that’s why I needed her. I met a girl in the pouring rain. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. It changed everything. Because of love, I learned to fight. Betas come second, but in this fight, my story is first.

review

I couldn’t even make myself finish this one. I just couldn’t. Let me tell you why.

They first meet on vacation, when she is crying in a storm and he asks her if she’s okay. Then they meet at the student admin desk at university -or a similar place. It’s only at the admin desk that he realizes she’s the girl he had a crush on for years in high school. I’m sorry, how can you not recognize someone like that immediately? I think it’s their first year at uni, so it can’t have been that long ago. 

At said meeting, she finds out she doesn’t have the money to pay for the upcoming year (or something like that) at university. He offers to pay for her, if she teaches him how to flirt and pick up girls. That already sounds extremely creepy to me. She accepts. Then completely ignores him. Not even a thank you! I mean, I’m sorry, but that must have been a lot of money. No matter the reasons, if someone pays for you, it’s only polite to say thank you. No, she ignores him because she wants to get the attention of a certain guy who will help her get what she wants. She’s rude to him in public. She completely ignores him for the other guy. He gets completely jealous and feels like they belong together, even though they literally haven’t had a conversation longer than a minute. You don’t even know the first thing about each other! But he gets jealous. And then suddenly they both know it’s love and have to be together. I couldn’t read further than that. It just made no sense to me.


stone coldStone Cold (Iron Tornadoes MC #1) by Olivia Rigal
Published: 31.03.2014
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 1.5/5 stars
Goodreads

SynopsisLisa Mayfield returns home from law school to a dead brother and a former lover she no longer recognizes. Brian Hatcher, her brother’s best friend, dropped out of the police academy. Instead of working with Lisa’s brother to bring down organized crime, he became a full-patched member of the Iron Tornadoes, an outlaw motorcycle club, the very one that may have caused her brother’s fall. Searching for answers to how her David died, Lisa can’t ignore the attraction she still feels for Brian. The chemistry is undeniable but is there anything left of the boy she once loved or has he turned into a stone cold biker?

review

I’m just going to say that the only reason I finished this book is that it’s only like 120 pages. Usually, I hate writing negative reviews. I always try to find the positive aspects in it, because a person put his time and effort into it. And I’m not trying to be mean. But with
this book, I honestly don’t know what to say. I didn’t like the writing, nor the characters, nor the story. So I’ll just tell you why.

I was not a fan of the writing because I felt like there was just no flow whatsoever. It was more along the lines of: “I did this. Then I walked there and did this. This made me think of this person.” Sometimes, I feel so attached to the characters of a book mainly because of the way they are written, like in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. This writing style left me feeling so detached from the characters though.

Secondly, the story. It was just way too short. It was only 120 pages, which of course doesn’t allow for much to happen. The story centers around Lisa, who returns home when her brother dies. He was a cop, and she wants to find out who killed him. Well, she didn’t. Not only did she not find out anything, I feel like she didn’t even try!

Lastly, the characters. Like I said, I felt so detached from Lisa. Mostly because of the writing, but I also felt like she was a very cold person in general. It’s a bit like reading a robot’s mind? There really isn’t that much emotion. Don’t even get me started on Brian. There is nothing good about this guy. He treats Lisa like a slave, is so disrespectful, and probably a criminal too.

To illustrate my frustration, I have selected some quotes for you.

“I resolve to stop crying and try to reason with myself.”

Okay, good luck with that?? Your brother just died. How do you reason that away?

“You know you are mine, right?” And my universe bursts with millions of bubbles of happiness because I’m certain what he means is that he loves me.

NEWS FLASH: that’s NOT what that means at all! What is wrong with you?

“Now that I’m wrapping my mind around the concept (of her mother dating), I see my mother in a totally different light. Objectively, she’s really okay. How old is she anyway?”

You don’t know your own mother’s age? What?

Here she asks Brian how her brother died, because he knows more about it…

“I was told by someone who was there,” he says, his expression and his tone almost indifferent. “You sure know how to kill the mood.”

Oh yes, I’m sorry to rain on your parade. Who am I to ask questions about my dead brother when you just want to have sex? How insensitive of me…

Mini Reviews | Fantasy Books I Loved Yet Never Reviewed (Part 1)

Here’s a confession: I read quite a few books in 2015 I never got around to reviewing. Yet I truly loved some of those books. So why haven’t I talked about them yet? That’s going to change. I feel like mini reviews will be more helpful to you. Here are 3 fantasy books I read in 2015, absolutely loved, yet never reviewed. 


warbreaker

Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published in 2009

Genre: Fantasy (Epic)
Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: Sisters Vivenna and Siri are princesses of Idris. Susebron is the God King one must marry. Lightsong is the reluctant minor god of bravery. Vasher is an immortal still trying to undo mistakes of centuries before. Magic from individual breath from everyday objects can perform all manner of miracles and mischief.

review

This was my second Brandon Sanderson book, and I loved it just as much as the first – which was The Final Empire, if you’re wondering. First of all, I loved the world in this novel. Magic comes from breath, and the more breath you collect, the more powerful you are. In the Kingdom of Idris, no one has breath because they don’t believe in magic or the Gods. They believe in a simple life. Yet magic is color, which means that Idris is a very dreary place and little color exists there. 

I loved the plot of this book, the schemes and the politics. I love it when fantasy books include political intrigue. There are so many aspects to this story. Religion, politics, family, and so on. Especially religion. In this world, when someone dies and comes back to life, he/she becomes a God(dess). 

I can’t say enough great things about this book. The religion was interesting, the politics intriguing, the schemes endless. Who I loved most of all was Lightsong, a God. His banter is just incredible! And I far preferred Siri over her sister Vivenna, although the latter grew on me over time. 

I’d highly recommend this book, no matter if you’re a fantasy-lover or not. If you haven’t read it, PLEASE GO DO SO.

★★★★★


the name of the wind

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
Published: March 27th 2007 by Penguin Group

Genre: Fantasy (Epic)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

review

This book is hard to describe, to be honest. The narration is pretty great, because Kvothe is telling his own story. When the book starts, he owns a tavern. There, he starts recounting his tale to a Chronicler, who writes it all down. Of course, he starts from the beginning and thus this story does as well. It starts with Kvothe as a small child, traveling with his parents in a troupe. 

I’m one of the people who absolutely loved this book. It’s different, and not an easy read if I’m honest. His writing is very eloquent, and captured my attention immediately. So, it all starts when Kvothe is a child. I’m not going to lie, he’s had a pretty rough life. I don’t want to say all that much but I felt so bad for him on many occasions. He’s a smart kid, yet often reckless. I really enjoyed Kvothe’s story, and I definitely want to know how it continues, how he ends up owning a tavern. Yet they are intimidating books, so I’m going to wait with starting the next book until I know I have enough time to finish it right away.

The only thing I did not like about this book were the female characters. The only truly outspoken one is Denna – she’s the only one who is often mentioned. Yet I feel like she is so… nothing. I know that sounds weird. But she’s so dependent on others, manipulates men to get what she wants and doesn’t really seem to do anything. Or be capable of anything other than singing and looking pretty. So I’m hoping that changes in the next book. 

Elodin proved a difficult man to find. He had an office in Hollows, but never seemed to use it. When I visited Ledgers and Lists, I discovered he only taught one class: Unlikely Maths. However, this was less than helpful in tracking him down, as according to the ledger, the time of the class was ‘now’ and the location was ‘everywhere’.

★★★★.5


heart of betrayal

The Heart of Betrayal (Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Published: July 7th 2015

Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

I won’t provide a synopsis of this book, as it is the second in the series (trilogy?). If you want to know what this series is about, feel free to read the synopsis of the first book, here

review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series. For those of you who don’t know, the first book revolves around a princess (Lia) who escapes her arranged marriage and runs away. She is followed by the prince she was supposed to marry, and an assassin assigned to kill her. For the first like 70% of the book, you have no clue who the prince is, and who the assassin is. I was afraid that this book would disappoint me a bit, because the whole mystery is gone now. I’m so glad to report it wasn’t. 

There was much more to explore in this book. Not only do you get to know the characters better, especially the two men now that we know who they are, but the world is explored more as well. Lia travels for a long time, across deserts and into harsh lands. It provides an interesting view on the different kingdoms, and their wars with each other. Maybe they wage war just to survive? Also, the religion is interesting here. Lia’s religion is so different from those of the different countries, and she’s trying to figure out what is true. What she should believe. 

I love Lia‘s character. She’s strong, smart, capable, brave yet knows to not take anything for granted. And she knows that she shouldn’t believe everything, just because someone you trusts says so. She questions aspects she grew up with, which shows true character in my opinion. Being able to understand that you were wrong. Also, I love Kaden. I dislike Rafe. THERE, I said it. I hate how the latter is always telling Lia what to do, like she’s not capable of doing anything on her own. So very controlling.

It’s a series I’d highly recommend, if you haven’t read it! I’m looking forward to the release of The Beauty of Darkness.

I had been silenced far too many times by those who exerted power over me. Not here. My voice would be heard, but I’d speak when it served my purposes. I  betrayed neither word nor expression.

★★★★★