ARC Review: Burn Before Reading by Sara Wolf

Burn Before Reading by Sara Wolf
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: May 18th 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

A girl meets a wolf.

And a wolf meets his match.

Beatrix Cruz – Bee for short – has exactly one goal; kick her dad’s severe depression in the ass. She’s got a foolproof plan;

1. Get into the elite high school Lakecrest Preparatory on a scholarship

2. Study like crazy

3. Graduate into NYU and become a shrink

Nothing can stand in her way – not even Lakecrest’s rich, hot, and notorious Blackthorn brothers. Not Fitz Blackthorn, with his flirting and his elite computer hacking, not Burn Blackthorn, with his intimidating height and emotionless face, and certainly not sinfully handsome Wolf Blackthorn, who hands out ‘red cards’ to students who displease him, and expels the ones who keep doing it.

But when Bee stands up for a student, she pisses off Wolf, and he’s suddenly itching to pull her scholarship from underneath her. To keep it, Bee strikes a deal with the devil – father Blackthorn himself; spy on Mr. Blackthorn’s sons, become friends with them, and learn their secrets in exchange for staying at Lakecrest.

Betraying the Blackthorn brothers’ trust is supposed to be easy.

Becoming friends with the Blackthorn boys makes it hard.

And falling in love with Wolf makes it impossible.

I loved Sara Wolf’s Lovely Vicious series, so when I heard she was releasing a new book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Her writing is meaningful yet infused with so much humor – I don’t know how she does it, but I hope she never stops writing! Her books always make my heart ache while laughing my butt off at the same time. Burn Before Reading was no different – it’s an excellent enemies-to-lovers romance. It’s more YA than NA, which isn’t something that I generally read anymore, but I adored it all the same.

My name is Beatrix Cruz, and no matter what anyone says, no matter what happens tomorrow, this was the story of how it went down.
This is how Lakecrest ruined my life.
This is how Wolfgang Blackthorn destroyed me.

Beatrix “Bee” Cruz is set in her goal of graduating from the elite Lakecrest so she can go to NYU and become a psychologist, one that can help with her father’s depression. Her scholarship to Lakecrest means everything, and she’s not going to let anything jeopardize it – especially not the Blackthorn boys, who rule the school. The oldest, Burn, is big and intimidating; the youngest, Fitz, is charming and sly; and the middle one, the one that gives her the biggest trouble and makes her feel things she has no business feeling, is Wolf. With his father on the school board, Wolf can have him revoke Bee’s scholarship in a snap. But Bee protects herself by making a deal with their father to spy on the boys for him.

What starts off as playing pretend for Bee turns into so much more as she delves deeper into the Blackthorn boys’ lives – and she finds out that despite their being rich, they have just as many problems as she does. They’re human, just like her, and they grow to be people she cares about deeply. But what happens when they find out that she’s been spying on them since the beginning?

The only girl I’ve ever wanted.
The only girl who will never want me.

I adored Bee so hard. I love feisty heroines, and Bee was that in spades. She’s lovable and flawed – she does the right things for the wrong reasons. She makes snappy judgments about the Blackthorn boys, especially about Wolf, but they end up teaching her so much about life and love. She is HILARIOUS – I don’t think Sara Wolf can write a heroine who isn’t funny. Bee and Wolf were great together too – I loved the fiery tension between them, though it was a little tamer than I’m used to.

If you’re looking for an addicting read that will have your heart invested in the characters, I highly recommend you give Burn Before Reading a try. It was hilarious yet heartbreaking – two words that don’t usually go together, but Sara Wolf made it work. I seriously enjoyed reading this book!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Now here’s an excerpt from Burn Before Reading! ❤

excerpt button

You know me, paper-and-pen. You know I absolutely despise people who have it easy. And the Blackthorns had it so easy. They were rich. They were gorgeous. And everyone liked them. They lived charmed lives.

Or so I thought at the time.

Anyway, it wasn’t the fact everyone stared at them constantly and would stare at them for the rest of eternity until they left the room that pissed me off. It was the fact they never seemed to care about the attention.

There was Bernard, or Burn, for short. Taller than his brothers by at least a head, he was the oldest of three – a senior. His green eyes were always heavy-lidded, like he was perpetually on the verge of falling asleep, though he had the same dark, thick lashes as his brothers and high cheekbones. I knew he was on the Varsity basketball team, and was the whole reason Lakecrest went to states for four years. He didn’t talk much, but he didn’t need to. With his height and width, he was more than a little intimidating. Some people called him ‘the bear’, half-jokingly, half-terrified. Now that I think about it, he was definitely most of the reason people gave the Blackthorn brothers such a wide berth, physically speaking.

The second brother was Fitzwilliam – Fitz, to everyone outside his family. Aside from the fact their mother was clearly on a big Victorian England trip when she named her sons, he was the most likable. And by ‘likable’ I mean he deigned to acknowledge people. Sometimes. If they were pretty enough for his tastes. He grinned more than the other two brothers. Once, he even winked at a girl, and the poor thing dropped her textbooks on her foot and she limped for a whole week straight with a dumbstruck smile on her face. The teachers and staff at Lakecrest were just as susceptible to his charms – he had a way with a smile and a compliment that got even Mr. Nomsky, the grizzled old English teacher, to soften up. Fitz was part of the computer science club, though I’d heard from the other members he never attended a single after-school meeting.

Fitz had wavy hair like golden lace, neatly slicked-back, and the same green eyes as Burn, but with a friendlier edge to them. He was the only one with freckles on his nose, and he wore his uniform like it was a casual toga – his tie-half loose and his jacket slung over his shoulders. He was the baby of the three, and it showed in the way he never took anything seriously. I had three classes with him, since he was a sophomore, too, and not once did I see him pick up his pencil or try to read the textbook. And strangely enough, the teachers never harped on him to do it, either. I chalked it up to the general unfairness of wealth until I saw his test results; nothing lower than 98% on every single test. And here I was, busting my ass from the time I got home from school till midnight just to make an 80% in one of the most strict, college-oriented curriculums in the country. Needless to say, I hated him. Still do, actually, but back then I hated him without knowing him.

And finally, we came to the grand emperor of all evil – Wolfgang himself. He didn’t always walk in-between the other two, but he seemed to like to, as if they were his personal gargoyles instead of his brothers. Taller than Fitz, but a hair’s shorter than Burn, Wolfgang – or Wolf for short, because of course there’s always a ‘for short’ with them – walked like a sidewinder moves in sand; utter silence and perfect poise. I think that’s what intimidated most people – that he looked like he could never be ruffled, or upset, or tilted off-balance, not even by a passing tornado. There was something unshakeable about the way he held his head, his broad shoulders. It scared people. Well, maybe it was also the fact it looked like he hated everything. Where his brothers’ eyes were green, Wolf’s were brown-green, hazel if you really wanna get all gushy and poetic with something like Satan’s eye color. Regardless, Wolf’s eyes burned. They burned with a deep poison I can only describe as utter contempt. His gaze was always sharp, and started to hurt a bit if you maintained eye contact with him for too long. It was a small mercy his hair was as dark a black and shaggy as it was – it got in his eyes a lot, and put a buffer between the world and his acid-fire. Unlike Fitz, he wore his uniform perfectly pressed, though he always kept several silver rings on different fingers, and it was no secret he played with them, turning them around his skin in idle moments, or even when he walked. The middle brother, Wolf was a junior, and the rumors were already swirling he was poised to go to an Ivy League. He was on the Varsity swimming team, and nothing else.

Burn was the quiet one, Fitz was the flirty one, and Wolf was the nasty one. Everyone knew that.

And as they approached Eric and I, I realized from Eric’s stare and the way he started trembling harder that they were the ones who sent him the post-it. I grabbed it from his fingers and waved it as the Blackthorn brothers came close.

“So you’re the ones who gave Eric this weird, ineffective paper stop-sign, huh?” I asked. Wolf spun a ring on his finger and pointed his volcanic glare at me.

“This doesn’t involve you, scholarshipper. I suggest you keep your nose out of this.” He snarled.

Burn, obviously used to Wolf’s usual venom, closed his eyes and leaned on the lockers like he was taking a casual nap. Fitz turned to the hallway railing and watched the clouds go by, as if he was bored by it all. Scholarshipper. Of course he’d use the fact I’m the only one on scholarship to this school against me. Everyone else had mommies and daddies who could pay for such a prestigious place. I took a deep breath.

“And I suggest you go back to Hot Topic and give them their entire juvenile angst section you’ve clearly gobbled up and repurposed as a personality.”

Burn cracked an eye open. Fitz turned his head over his shoulder, one eyebrow raised. Wolf narrowed his long-lashed eyes to slits. Eric probably peed himself.

“Who do you think you are?” Wolf asked. The way he said it, dark and low and serrated like a knife, made me realize for a split-second why Eric might’ve pissed his pants. Beneath all that rich-boy angst, Wolf had an anger in him, a genuine, awful fire. Burn might’ve been the brawn behind the Blackthorns, and Fitz the affability, but Wolf was the fear.

“I’m just a scholarshipper,” I said brightly to counter his darkness. “Minding her own business.”

“You clearly aren’t,” Fitz chimed in with sweet smile, voice like cool honey compared to Wolf’s ragged one. “This is none of your business.”

“You’re right. One sec.” I held up the post-it and ripped it in half, letting the paper flutter to the floor. I’ve always been one for dramatics. And for a fair fight. Eric versus all three of the Blackthorns wasn’t fair by any definition in the solar system. I smiled at Fitz. “Now it’s my business.”


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Audiobook Review: Irresistible in Love by Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully

Irresistible in Love by Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully
Series: The Maverick Billionaires #4 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Length: 8 hours and 6 minutes
Narrated by: Eva Kaminsky
Links: Audible • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

Evan Collins is the man with the Midas touch. Having left his hard childhood behind him, the financial genius vowed to one day have everything. But when he discovers that his marriage is built on lies, the only people he can trust now are the Mavericks—and the woman who has always been there for him: Paige, the sister of his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Paige Ryan has always loved Evan Collins, a secret she’s hugged close to her heart for nine long years. But when her sister’s devastating betrayal is revealed, Paige can’t keep her feelings hidden any longer.

Paige is a beacon of light for Evan. Despite believing he needs to keep the walls around his heart stronger than ever, he’s irresistibly drawn to her sweet, pure heart—and the undeniable sparks flaring between them. She’s the only one he trusts to help him face the darkness of his past head-on before it destroys him. But will their forbidden romance end up destroying them both?

I’m a big-time fan of Bella Andre’s and her audiobooks, so when Irresistible in Love finally came out in audio, I couldn’t wait to listen to it! Especially since it seemed a little more angsty than her other books – the hero gets a divorce and falls in love with his soon-to-be ex-sister-in-law. A total mess, right? I was excited to see how Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully would manage to play this out. And while it wasn’t quite what I expected, it was still a worthwhile listen. Fans of the previous Maverick Billionaires audiobooks will definitely want to give Irresistible in Love a listen!

Paige Ryan has loved Evan Collins since she met him almost ten years ago. But Evan loved her sister back then, so she sat on the sidelines and watched them get married and have the life she wished she could have had. But when Evan’s marriage comes crumbling down, Paige puts aside her feelings for Evan and is there for him as one of his closest friends.

When the truth about what his wife did comes to light, Evan has no clue how he could’ve been blindsided by Whitney’s lies over the years. He realizes he made a mistake in trusting Whitney… and marrying the wrong sister. Because all he can think about now is Paige and how she has always been there for him when he needed her most. Can Evan prove to Paige that she’s the woman who was always meant for him?

I had a great time listening to Irresistible in Love – I always do with an audiobook narrated by Eva Kaminsky! Paige and Evan’s story was a little frustrating, a touch sweet, and very heartwarming. It wasn’t hard for me to believe in Evan’s love for Paige, but I didn’t like that he never saw her that way in the nine years they’ve known each other. Paige seemed too picture perfect in my eyes – she really had no flaws except for loving a man who was married to her sister. But aside from all the dramatics, this was still an enjoyable listen. Not too angsty, not too dramatic, but just a sweet romance that you can expect from Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully.

IRRESISTIBLE IN LOVE is now available on Audible: http://amzn.to/2q3hekr


lacey


Reading Order: The Maverick Billionaires series

Breathless in Love by Bella Andre 
  

#1 ~ Breathless in Love: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Reckless in Love: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Fearless in Love: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Irresistible in Love: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Wild in Love: Goodreads (March 7, 2018)

Here’s an audio excerpt from Reckless in Love, also narrated by Eva Kaminsky!


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ARC Review: Daddy’s Best Friend by London Hale

Daddy’s Best Friend by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Links: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

She’s temptation personified
Nathan’s always been more than just my dad’s friend. I never thought he’d see me as an adult, especially not after avoiding me for so long. But one hug, one moment feeling every inch of him against me, shatters that illusion. Consequences no longer matter—I’m eighteen, and I’m willing to risk everything for my shot with him.

He’s not going to resist anymore
I never should’ve seen Eve as more than my best friend’s daughter. As a cop, I know it’s wrong. It’s my job to protect her from guys like me. Chasing her could cost me my career—not to mention the only family I’ve ever known—but I can’t hold back another second. One taste, and I want her. To hell with the fallout.

I’m a sucker for forbidden love, and even more so when there’s an age gap between the characters. Do I like it in real life? not really, but I LOVE it in my books. When I heard that Brighton Walsh was pairing up with another author under a pen name to write a new series that would be the definition of a May/December, I couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on it. And let me tell you, I marathoned the whole series back to back, that’s how fun and dirty this series is. I had the best time reading the first three Temperance Falls books, and Daddy’s Best Friend is just the start to all the hot and steamy.

“If we do this, we can’t ever take it back. Things are going to change forever. Once I have you, Eve… Once I have you, I’m not going to let anyone else even look at you. You’ll be mine.”

Eve has been having dirty thoughts about her best friend’s father for a while, but she never expects him to return her feelings for him. What starts off as something forbidden and secretive turns into so much more as Eve and Nathan realize just how good they are together, in and out of bed. But Nathan struggles with the fact that he’s so much older than Eve – and he’s her father’s best friend. Will he be able to confront his best friend and prove that he’s all in with the one woman meant for him?

Nothing would matter if it meant I had to be without her. If it meant I couldn’t have her by my side. She was mine, and I’d fight for her if I had to.

If you love taboo, erotic reads, this series is a must-read for you. Each novella is just as filthy as the next, but they’re unique enough that you don’t feel like you’re reading the same story over and over. The sex is seriously hot – trust me, these older men know what they’re doing 😉 I highly recommend reading these if you’re a fan of age gap and/or forbidden romances!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Temperance Falls series

  

#1 ~ Daddy’s Best Friend: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ The DILF: Ebook • Goodreads (May 16, 2017)
#3 ~ Nanny with Benefits: Goodreads (May 30, 2017)


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Release Day Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Links: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

I LOVEDDD this!! Omg. Pipe Dreams might be my favorite of the Brooklyn Bruisers series. I freaking loved Lauren and Mike so hard! Their second chance romance is angsty, emotional, and SO sweet. Mike is definitely a man who knows how to grovel and win back the love of his life. 😉 If you love second chance romances or sports romances, you need to read Pipe Dreams in your life!

Widower, single father, and hockey goalie Mike Beacon lost the love of his life after an act of misplaced good intentions. Years later, Lauren is back in his life (albeit unwillingly) to take care of the team’s owner. Mike sees this as his chance to make things right with the only woman he’s ever loved… and possibly make her love him again. Will he be able to break down the walls around her heart – that he put up? Or will he have forever lost the best thing that ever happened to him?

A year from now he knew they’d wake up every morning in a bed together. He was sure of it, even if the details weren’t worked out yet, and even though he wasn’t allowed to speculate.

Lauren is known as the Ice Princess for her stone-cold facade. After a devastating heartbreak, she closed herself from all emotions to avoid ever having to feel that kind of self-destruction again. But when the cause of her heartbreak is back in her life and determined to win her love again, can she hold strong and stop the heartbreak from happening again? Or will this second time around end up being the real deal?

“I love you,” he said. He was just going to keep saying that forever, and he wanted her to know it.

I adored this book so, so much! It was everything I hoped for and more in Mike and Lauren’s second chance romance. And despite how angsty it was, it was also pretty low on drama, which I found myself appreciating. Despite the complicated mess their relationship turned out to be, Lauren and Mike’s love for each other was simple and never in doubt. I wholeheartedly loved these characters and their story!

This is another open plea to Sarina Bowen to please, please give us Nate and Becca’s book!!! Some developments happen in Pipe Dreams, but I NEED MORE!!! Please.


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Brooklyn Bruisers series

  

#1 ~ Rookie Move: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hard Hitter: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Pipe Dreams: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review: What’s Become of Her by Deb Caletti

What’s Become of Her by Deb Caletti
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Links: Ebook • PaperbackHardcover • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes an emotionally riveting story of a woman falling for a man who may be hiding a dangerous secret—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.

“Guilty people keep secrets.”

Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on a small, isolated Pacific Northwest island to take over the family tourism business after the death of her mother, a disapproving parent and a hard woman to love. Feeling lost, Isabelle is also struggling with a recent divorce and wondering if she’ll ever come into her own. Then her life takes a surprising turn: The mysterious Henry North arrives on Parrish Island, steps off a seaplane, and changes Isabelle’s world forever. From the beginning, their relationship is heady and intense—then Isabelle learns of Henry’s disturbing past, involving the death of a fiancée and the disappearance of a wife. Suddenly Isabelle is caught between love and suspicion, paranoia and passion, as she searches for the truth she may not want to find—and is swept into a dangerous game she may not survive.

I used to read Deb Caletti’s YA contemporaries back in middle/high school, so when I heard she was releasing a suspense/thriller, I was intrigued enough to read it. It’s not my favorite genre, but I thought I’d give it a try to see how the author would play it out.

Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on Parrish Island, only to take over the family tourism business because her mother recently passed away. Struggling to recover from her recent divorce, Isabelle is lost and vulnerable. It’s at this point that she meets a tourist, Henry, who begins to spend time with her and ask her out. She’s attracted to him and falls easily for him, but when a friend investigates Henry’s past and finds a dead fianceé and a dead wife, both who died of mysterious circumstances, Isabelle has to wonder if she should be afraid.

She finds out that Henry is not who she thinks he is… which causes her to make poor decisions while she’s wrapped in her paranoia and confusion. Thanks to her bad decisions, the suspense is both mysterious and frustrating, but it definitely kept me hooked and flipping the pages.

I was perplexed and intrigued by Isabelle’s character – I kept wondering why she stayed with Henry when everyone else tried to warn her off. Her decisions make her a flawed, frustrating, but addicting character. I found myself still rooting for her even when I didn’t agree with what she did.

This book is full of mystery and unanswered questions. I’m still not sure what to make of it, but it definitely succeeded in the mystery/suspense aspect. I’m excited to see if Deb Caletti will be writing more thrillers!


lacey


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