Review: All I Ask by Corinne Michaels

All I Ask by Corinne Michaels
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 17th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Teagan Berkeley is trying her best. A single mom raising a precocious teen, she may have given up on her dreams, but she’s accepted her life in her small beachside hometown. Now the one person who abandoned her when she needed him the most has returned, bringing back memories of what might have been.

Derek Hartz arrives in town with a teenage daughter-and he’s full of guilt over his failed marriage and the way he ended his friendship with Teagan. He’s determined to set things right with her, but first he needs to gain her trust, something he’s not convinced he deserves.

As Teagan and Derek open up to each other-and confess their deepest secrets-it’s impossible for them to deny what’s always been between them. But just when their happily ever after is within reach, their complicated history surfaces again and threatens to keep them apart. Forever.

I was so excited when I got an early copy of All I Ask. First, the cover is STUNNING. Second, two single parents! And third, it’s the (ex) friends to lovers trope. Which means all the angst and all the feels. So I am a bit disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy this book more. It’s not a bad read, just a frustrating one. You can tell Corinne Michaels knows how to write, but the miscommunication in this romance got on my nerves. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when characters just don’t TALK to each other. The reason why our hero and heroine became estranged for over a decade was because they couldn’t express their feelings towards one another. This book is definitely a “it’s me, not you” kind of read, but if you also don’t enjoy reading about miscommunication, I would pass on it.

While the book is told in alternate POVs (IMO, there weren’t enough chapters from the hero), we also get two timelines: the past, when Teagan and Derek first meet in high school and fall in unrequited love, and the present, when they reunite for the first time in a decade as single parents. I have to say I wasn’t a big fan of the past chapters – they were boring and didn’t add all that much to the story because I could already tell how in love Teagan and Derek were through their present chapters. And, this is when they start keeping their feelings a secret and Derek uses his new fiancée to cope with the fact that he thinks Teagan doesn’t love him back. Did I also mention Teagan is pregnant by her deadbeat ex and Derek gets his fiancée pregnant? I guess no one uses condoms anymore. It just annoyed me to no end that they could’ve saved over ten years worth of hurt and heartache with a simple conversation.

The present day reunion is underwhelming. It starts off with some fantastic angst and I could just FEEL all the emotions and hurt from Teagan. Derek ghosted her, his best friend, like she didn’t mean anything to him. He stopped all communication with her and dropped off the face of the planet. I really wanted her to make him work towards earning back her trust and heart, but after maybe two conversations they start dating already. So that whole thing was anticlimactic. The thing is, I truly don’t believe Derek would’ve ever gone after Teagan, the woman he supposedly loved, if he didn’t become a widower. I never understood why he was okay living married but separated with his wife, a woman he didn’t love. So Teagan comes across as second best, his second choice, and that left a bad taste in my mouth.

The good things I did enjoy? The writing, which is solid, and Teagan’s daughter, who has such a personality. I’m sure I’m in the minority for this book, but I wanted more – more angst, more GROVELING, more chapters from the hero. And sadly, this just didn’t work for me.



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Review: Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker

Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker
Series: The Simple Wild #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

​From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.

Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price–a log cabin in rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.

With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.

I have been SO freaking excited for the sequel to The Simple Wild, one of my favorite books of 2018, ever since K.A. Tucker announced she would be writing more of Calla and Jonah. TSW ended on a bit of an HFN, so it made sense that there would be more of their story to tell. I adored their romance and was a little nervous going into Wild at Heart – obviously, there is the question that goes with any sequel: will I love it as much as the first? While this sequel wasn’t quite the 5-star read that the first book was, I still loved being back with Calla and Jonah again and enjoyed this further glimpse into their lives in Alaska together! If you loved TSW, I highly recommend you give this sequel a try – Calla and Jonah are still very much together and in love, but they have plenty of new struggles to overcome.

Wild at Heart picks up fairly soon after the end of The Simple Wild – Calla has agreed to be with and move to Alaska with Jonah, but only if they move to a town that’s closer to a big city. So even though Jonah is ‘home’ in Alaska, they both have to deal with moving to a new town, finding and building a home, and making new friends and connections. Jonah is just as focused on planes as he was in the first book. He’s honestly the sexiest pilot I’ve ever read! Calla is determined to make Alaska her new home, because that’s where Jonah is. But when Jonah spends more time away in order to make enough money to build a life for the two of them, Calla needs to find herself not just a job, but a passion to dedicate her life while in this new environment.

There’s not a lot of drama when it comes to Wild at Heart, and I actually liked that. It’s not as thrilling or exciting as the first book, which felt like “OMG, ALASKA!!” but that doesn’t necessarily make it worse. This sequel is more of a “let’s build a new life here, together” type of story, with Jonah and Calla creating a home for themselves and settling down. I really enjoyed the new people Calla meets in town, though Agnes, Mabel, and Wren will always be my favorites. The story is sweet and heartwarming, with K.A. Tucker’s talented writing that will suck you right back into Alaska and remind you just why you love Jonah and Calla so much. Jonah still has the ability to make me swoon, though I did want to smack him a few times when he got frustrating. So if you’ve been missing these two and/or Alaska, you definitely need to read Wild at Heart.


Reading Order: The Simple Wild series

#1 ~ The Simple Wild: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Wild at Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Review: Angry God by L.J. Shen

Angry God by L.J. Shen
Series: All Saints High #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.
A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

I wish I could say this was everything that I’d hoped Vaughn’s book would be, but it was a disappointment more than anything. I genuinely enjoyed the first two books in the All Saints High series, despite not really being into romances set in high school anymore, but I put my trust in LJ Shen knowing she could deliver fantastic writing, characters, angst, and steam. While PR and BK had all of that, Angry God in comparison fell flat. I’d been so hyped from the Vaughn/Lenny scenes we got in BK – their chemistry in that book was on fire! Their banter was so much fun! But sadly, I didn’t feel the romance, didn’t BELIEVE in their romance. It was just a fucked-up sociopath on a warpath for revenge, and he didn’t care who he had to hurt or use in order to do it.

At the end of BK, we knew Lenny and Vaughn had gone to England for an art program. Going into AG, I was expecting it to start off around that time. Instead, we get a good third of the book set during their final year of high school… and it felt like nothing was happening. The story moved so slowly I felt bored along with frustrated. Vaughn would be unbelievably cruel to Lenny (and his classmates) but also follow her around like a lost puppy, Lenny would try to act cool and collected but still get bullied by Vaughn and the mean girls. Rinse and repeat all this drama, until they finally left for England. I actually did like whenever Lenny stood up for herself – I NEED these NA heroines in bully romances to stand up to their bullies if I’m going to enjoy the story. But then any time Vaughn doled out scraps of his affection and attention, Lenny would soak it up like she’d been living in a desert, despite how horribly he treated her the other 90% of the time.

Vaughn’s quest for revenge is a mystery to everyone, but it’s fairly predictable to the reader. Something awful happened to him as a young boy, which is why he’s the sociopath that he is. While I sympathized with his tragic past, I never really grew to care for Vaughn… like, at all. He had SO MUCH POTENTIAL, but it all got squandered away by his endless BJs and melodramatic thoughts. I didn’t hate him, I didn’t like him either. LJ Shen has written some fabulous alpha-holes in the past, but sadly Vaughn is on the lower end of the spectrum. All I could think about was that he really needed to see a therapist.

The parts I did enjoy? The scenes with Vaughn’s parents. I can’t say that I loved Vicious in his own book, but anytime he shows up in any of the author’s other books, he shines. I loved seeing him as a husband and father. I loved his love for his wife and son. It’s hard not to compare father and son but Vaughn didn’t make an impression on me as much as Vicious did. Also, Vicious gave some GOOD grovel, whereas Vaughn did not.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little wary of anything else LJ Shen has in store for us now. I gave her latest two book 2 stars, which is so disappointing when I used to give her 4’s and 5’s. I’m not giving up on her just yet, but I’m reaaally hoping we get back that spark that made me love her books.

I also gotta give a trigger warning despite it being slightly spoilery, or at least it makes it easier to connect the dots: child rape/abuse


lacey

Reading Order: All Saints High series

#1 ~ Pretty Reckless: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Broken Knight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Angry God: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Series: Bad Reputation Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

​I HAVE A BAD REPUTATION.

Call me what you want: Bad Boy Next Door. Trouble. That Kid Who Can’t Do Anything Right.

When Willow moves into my neighborhood, nothing should have happened. She’s geeky. Shy. A true wallflower.

Willow is a good girl.
Too good for me.

And how the hell was I supposed to know that she’s related to Loren Hale—yeah, that douchebag celebrity that lives on my street. The same guy I’ve been pranking by spray painting vulgar words on his mailbox and worse. Much worse.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do.
Don’t ask me why it had to be her.

I’m cursed. Simple as that. But here’s the thing about people who are cursed—they break everything they touch.

And yet. . .I still want to touch her. ​

I truly never thought I’d see the day where we finally get Willow and Garrison’s much-awaited full story!!! I am beyond happy and grateful Krista & Becca Ritchie have finally given it to us – at least the first part. Luckily, book two of the Bad Reputation Duet is out only a week after Whatever It Takes! This is a new adult romance that’s a spinoff of the Addicted series, though you don’t have to read the original to understand this duet. But if you are a fan of the Addicted world and all its fantastic characters, you’ll want to get your hands on WIT immediately!

Originally, Willow and Garrison’s beginning was released on Wattpad, and it was such an adorable, wholesome new adult romance. We have two complete opposites who connect over their loneliness and bond over all things nerdy like comic books. In Whatever It Takes, we do get to see those original chapters again. The book is told in past and present POVs, so the past chapters are mainly made up of what we’d read on Wattpad, which I honestly didn’t mind reading again. We get to see how Willow and Garrison first meet alongside their present-day, long-distance relationship and how they deal with living across an ocean from each other. It was an interesting contrast to read about their relationship at two different points – one being sweet, slow, romantic, and the other full of longing and little bit of heartbreak.

I loved being back in this world. I enjoyed Garrison and Willow’s story so much, but I LOVED seeing the Calloways, Hales, Cobalts, and Meadows again. Seeing the Core 6 in their element made my heart sing. But don’t worry, if you haven’t read any of the original books, I don’t think you’ll feel lost. It’s just an amazing cast of secondary characters 😉

If you enjoy NA romances, WIT is a must read. There are parts that are set in college, a first love between a bad boy and a good girl, and a little bit of angst. It was just a great first book in this duet and I’m dying to get my hands on Wherever You Are!


Reading Order: Bad Reputation Duet

#1 ~ Whatever It Takes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Wherever You Are: EbookGoodreads (Jan. 28, 2020)

The Bad Reputation Duet is the spinoff of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series! However, you don’t need to read the original series to understand the Bad Reputation Duet.

Reading Order: Addicted/Calloway Sisters series

Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted for Now by Krista & Becca Ritchie Kiss the Sky by Krista & Becca Ritchie Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Thrive by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted After All by Krista & Becca Ritchie Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie

#1 ~ Addicted to You: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Ricochet: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Addicted for Now: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.1 (Calloway Sisters #1) ~ Kiss the Sky: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.2 (Calloway Sisters #2) ~ Hothouse Flower: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Thrive: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Addicted After All: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.1 (Calloway Sisters #3) ~ Fuel the Fire: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.2 (Calloway Sisters #4) ~ Long Way Down: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3.5 (Calloway Sisters #4.5) ~ Some Kind of Perfect: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

The Like Us series is the spinoff series of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series.

Reading Order: Like Us series

 

#1 ~ Damaged Like Us: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Lovers Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Alphas Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Tangled Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Sinful Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Headstrong Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Charming Like Us: EbookGoodreads (June 23, 2020)
#8 ~ Wild Like Us: Goodreads (2020)


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Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Series: Hot & Hammered #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 14th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation…

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippie. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

YAASSSSSS!!!! The hype for Rosie and Dominic was REAL ever since I read Fix Her Up. I was expecting all the good angst and groveling in Love Her or Lose Her and Tessa Bailey gave all that to me and then some. I did have my frustrations with Dominic but I loved him (and Rosie) anyway. This was SO MUCH FUN to read and I have to say I loved it even more than FHU. The heartache, the humor, the sexy times… all of it together made a fantastic read. And if you’re expecting your classic TB alpha, dirty-talking hero, look no further than Dominic.

My favorite kinds of romance tropes are ones where the main characters have some sort of history together: second chance romance, friends to lovers, the brother’s best friend romance, etc. And of course, the already married couple trope! (Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s what the trope is called but we’ll go with that.) I’ve read some amazing romances where the hero and heroine are already married (and not in a marriage of convenience) at the beginning of the novel and I’m so glad to say Love Her or Lose Her is another hit to add to my list. Rosie and Dominic are high school sweethearts, but their marriage has fallen on the rocks ever since Dominic came back from his time in the army. He doesn’t communicate with Rosie anymore and she’s about had enough. She wants a divorce, Dominic doesn’t, they’re still completely in love with one another… so what do they have left? Marriage couples counseling.

“You really thought I wouldn’t take any chance—any chance—to get you back, didn’t you?” His voice roughened. “Fuck, Rosie. You can’t be serious.”

I just adored Rosie and Dominic and their path to an HEA (again). They both have their own journeys, Rosie with her career and passion for cooking, Dominic with learning how to communicate, but together is where they truly shine. You can clearly tell how much these two are meant to be together and I loved getting to be a part of that experience.

“I’ll do anything you ask me to do,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Except walk away.”

Tessa Bailey is one of my all-time favorite authors and rarely does she let me down. She always gives me exactly what I expect (a kickass heroine, obsessed alpha hero, all the steam) and she absolutely delivers with this newest release! Right now, I’m dying for Bethany’s story, and if you’ve read this book, then you know who her enemies-to-lovers romance will be with!


lacey


Reading Order: Hot & Hammered series

#1 ~ Fix Her Up: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Love Her or Lose Her: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Tools of Engagement: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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