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Paper Princess by Erin Watt

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Official Blurb:

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 

 

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Review:

I’m going to be frank, I didn’t even buy Paper Princess… not on purpose anyway. The result of this purchase was because my one-year-old managed to get ahold of my kindle while I was cleaning up. He bought this book and one other (that I returned instantly as a mistaken purchase). But… since I head heard of this one, I decided to give it a go. After all, it was already on my kindle for me. Now I had heard mixed reviews complaining of sexual content and themes of cheating and all that and it had turned me off of the novel for quite some time.

I have never been so happy for an accidental purchase! I really enjoyed Paper Princess and (after immediately purchasing the sequel, Broken Prince, I loved it too). Ella is a good character. She’d been through hell and back… and back again but she wasn’t jaded and still held on to optimism and hope which felt not only authentic to who she was throughout the book but also unique. In a sea of novels about jaded teenagers who don’t believe in love and keep their hearts closed to the world, Ella was refreshing!

The boys.
I’ll start with Callum, the patriarch of the Royal family. I liked him, I truly did, but he seemed out of touch (which he is supposed to be) except that it struck me as a little odd to hunt a girl down like he did and then take a step back.
Easton’s next. (I don’t have much to say about the eldest son, Gideon, or the youngest twins. They were good, but didn’t play large roles in this story which is fine.) I LOVE Easton. He’s crude and gross and totally vulgar. But he doesn’t hide who he is or pretend and even if he’s all those things, he’s also sweet. He’s caring and loving and fiercely protective.
Finally… Reed. Pretty much a jackass if I’m being totally honest. But really, he’s just clueless. They sort of all are but Reed seems to think he knows everything and what’s best and he’s clueless. It’s pretty easy to tell that he’s also protective of those he loves, and even if he does awful things sometimes it was clear to me that he wasn’t an awful person. Just a person hurting and making mistakes because of that deep hurt inside him.

Now… I’ll be honest, there’s some sort of graphic sexual stuff in this book. At first it made me feel kind of icky because Ella is just 17. This is a high school novel and it seemed wrong to have that kind of sexual content. But then I was thinking… Yeah, it does but it’s been described as “the Cruel Intentions” of this generation. A TEEN movie that featured just graphic sexual themes and grossness. In fact, lots of movies meant fo a high school audience feature the same things… and TV shows for that matter. I wouldn’t necessarily give it to a 13 year old to read, but really it’s not any worse than most teens watch in movies and tv.

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What Lies in the Darkness by Jessica Sorensen

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Official Blurb:

In the mostly wealthy town of Shadow Cove, nothing is what it seems…

When Makayla’s older brother, Sawyer, is found dead, the police rule his death a suicide. But her father, a reporter for the local paper, believes Sawyer was murdered and begins his own investigation to prove it.

Eight months later, he vanishes without a trace, and Mak is left trying to live a normal life in a town that ridicules her family. And it doesn’t help that every time she gets too stressed out, she starts seeing the ghost of her brother. 

All Mak wants is a little bit of normalcy, so when an opportunity arises to participate in the local skateboarding charity event, Mak grabs onto the chance to do something she used to enjoy doing.

In order to pay the pricey entry fee, Mak decides to call a number on a reward poster for a lost laptop, figuring she’ll be able to make use of the mystery-solving skills she picked up from her father.
With the help of her three best friends, she begins searching for the missing laptop. But what starts out as a simple case, ends up turning into a mystery full of twists and turns that show a darker side of Shadow Cove.

Follow the four friends as they discover the secret societies and deadly games hidden in the glamorous side of Shadow Cove.

A YA Mystery series with a splash of paranormal.

Review:

Holy cliffhangers Batman! Talk about a book hangover. I’d venture a guess that this is the most intense novel you can find for under a dollar! (Currently $0.99 on Amazon)

I didn’t know what to expect from book one of Jessica Sorensen’s new Shadow Cove series, but if you’re craving a little mystery/suspense with strong friendships and (obviously) cute boys, this if for you! What Lies in the Darkness is a short novel at 132 pages and can be read in a couple of hours. And ohhhhh what an awesome couple of hours it shall be!

Despite it’s length, I didn’t feel frustrated as I closed the book, except the obvious gut wrenching desire to throw my kindle across the room because… that cliffhanger, man! Every character develops and shows off more than two-dimensions really well.

As a sucker for a love story, my only disappointment was that there wasn’t much of that. But there were plenty of cute moments that made my heart skip a beat or two and the wonderful friendships between Mak and her best friends was more than enough to make up.

All in all, I was thrilled to have read this title and will impatiently be awaiting the release of the next… and the next. If you don’t have the ability to handle cliff hangers, maybe wait until the whole series is released – which will hopefully be soon.

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Rules of a Rebel and a Shy Girl by Jessica Sorensen

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Official Blurb

Willow
It started with a kiss and ended with a list. The middle is a bit more complicated.
The list of rules is supposed to protect mine and Beck’s friendship and stop us from accidentally kissing again. But most of all, it’s supposed to protect my heart from getting crushed and keep me from ending up broken like my mom.

I’ve always been great at following rules. But the more time I spend with Beck, the more I can’t stop thinking about that kiss and how amazing his lips felt against mine. For the first time in my life, I wish I was a rule breaker. But I can never cross that line. Not with Beck. Not with anyone.

Besides, if Beck knew the truth about my life, then the list wouldn’t have to exist because he wouldn’t have kissed me to begin with.

Beck
It started with the most amazing kiss ever and led to Willow handing me a list.
That stupid list. When she gave it to me, I wanted to shred it to pieces, pull her against me, and kiss her until she realized a piece of paper wasn’t going to stop me. Willow’s been my best friend since forever and she should know by now that I’m not a follow-the-rules kind of guy.

She may think that kiss was a mistake, but she’s wrong. Kisses like that can’t be a mistake. Willow and I belong together, have since the day I promised to always protect her from the bad stuff in her life. And somehow I’m going to prove it to her. Just like I’ll always protect her no matter what.

A standalone contemporary romance.
Suggested reading age 18+

Review

I am so excited to have had the opportunity to read and review this book! As seems to the M.O. of every Jessica Sorensen book I’ve read (which, BTW, is all of them!), it’s good to go in expecting to cry a little. And giggle a little. And a smile a whole, whole lot. For me, it was a quick, wonderful read that left my heart all warm and gooey inside.

We met Beck and Willow in Confessions of a Kleptomaniac (another super awesome book if you haven’t read it yet you can find it here) and while in the book I didn’t care one way or the other for Willow’s character, I fell in L.O.V.E. with Beck. He is interesting and kind and I wanted to know more about him from the moment we were introduced. And though I went in only luke warm about Willow, that quickly changed.

She is one of the strongest of Sorensen’s female characters but that does not mean she is without vulnerability. And as a girl who struggles with anxiety and stress and who takes on the weight of the world, I connected with Willow (though what I’ve been through is nothing in comparison to what this chick has to battle).

So one of my favorite things about Jessica Sorensen is that her female leads lean on their male counterparts for support and aide–Ella relied on Micha. Kayden lifted Callie up. Grey encouraged Luna. And Beck was Willow’s anchor. But in none of her books does the guy get credit for “saving” the girl. These are not damsels. Like in real life, they lean on the people they love for help, but they make the decisions to save themselves. And that is why I will always read Jessica Sorensen’s books. And in part why I loved this one. And definitely why I will talk it up to everyone I know.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

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Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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Okay. I’ll admit it. I heard about the movie several weeks before I realized that Nerve was a book. Once I did, I was quick to grab up a copy of my. Obviously, I needed to read it before I go see the movie!

I found it to be a quick read. It wasn’t long at all and I was able to finish it in a day (which, with a 4 year old and a 1 year old is a feat!). Nerve was packed with action, so I never really wanted to put it down and I never got bored.

That said I found it to be a little… lackluster.

I liked Vee and Ian well enough, but I always enjoy really getting to know my characters. I don’t need the author to reveal the name of their second grade teacher or anything like that, but I like to have time to build a connection with these characters. While reading Nerve, I didn’t really get that. One of the downfalls of so much focus on the action is that it left little room for real development.

It wasn’t just the characters I found lackluster though, it was the dares. Yes, you have to have some nerve to do the silly dares, but they were just that. Silly dares that young middle school kids might dare each other to do. Sure, I might not do them, but I would’t be entertained by them so far that I would seek out videos of others doing the dare. They just weren’t all that. And they all seemed very based in sex. So much so to me that it didn’t feel genuine and instead seemed forced and immature.

I know, I know… It’s a YA novel. But I LOVE young adult reads and I expect silly high school things to an extent, this… it just pushed it past what I enjoy I guess.

Still, I read the whole thing. It was entertaining. It was that the concept was so cool to me and had such potential that I was just expecting a little more.

 

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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Looking for a cute, quick summer read? Kasie West’s P.S. I Like You is the perfect choice!

Does it have great character development and deep storyline or create a world that will leave you with a book hangover to last the rest of the century? Maybe not. But it is fun, quirky, and gosh darn cute! Like I said, it’s that perfect sort of easy Summer read. It’s the kind of book that made me long to be on a beach, reading it with the waves crashing in the background.

For me, this came with an Owl Crate shipment, but I’d read a couple others by Kasie West, so I was optimistic because I had enjoyed those. I don’t think this was her best work, but if you’re a fan like I am, it’s worth a read.

The only negative thing I have to say about this light, fun high school romance is that I got a little confused toward the end. There seemed to be a scene where (excuse my vagueness because I don’t want to put in spoilers) something big was revealed, but then in the next chapter it was as though that moment had never happened. I’m not sure if it was something with editing or if I just misunderstood… I haven’t seen anyone making similar complaints so perhaps I just totally misunderstood what was happening in that moment.

Anyway. All in all, I’d reccomend it for anyone looking for a cute, sweet high school romance to read because P.S. I Like You hits it spot on.

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Game Master by Scarlett Dawn

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Official Blurb

Arizona Creed lost her assassin father, and her whole world changed.
Literally.
With one magical skeleton key, Arizona lands in another realm.

Forget Earth. Terlant is the place to be. And Lucifer wants her there, the dashing man with no last name and more secrets than even she has. But love isn’t always enough. Arizona must find purpose in her new life.

The Royal Guard could give Lucifer and Arizona what they desire.
They only need to pass two tests to win the Game and enter the elite Guard.
But is her real test to open her heart to true love?
And will she win her wings to fly into his arms?

Review

Game Master was a quick fun read, full of action, emotion and of course, a bit of romance. Arizona, on the run from men trying to kill her, happens upon a skeleton key that leads into another world where frogs talk, magic is real, and Lucifer isn’t necessarily the devil. She’s stuck in this world, away from the earth she knows and loves, but when it comes down to it, will she even want to leave?
I enjoyed the novella, which is part of a bigger series of novellas The Skeleton Key, but for me, it did miss in a couple areas. To me, this one would have quite simply worked better as a full length novel. As always, I found myself transported to the world Ms. Dawn created, but all too soon, it was over and I was left wanting more. We caught a quick glimpse of the magic of the world, enough to really spark my interest but not enough that I felt like I knew the world. And I wanted to know it. There were a couple instances where something was mentioned, like a dangerous forest but we never got to find out more about it or the creatures inside. Similarly, I wanted to know more about both Arizona and Lucifer – about their pasts and their present.
That said, I did love the main characters in this story. They were unique in different while at the same time they reminded me of my favorite couple in Scarlett Dawn writing, Lily and Ezra. It made it impossible not to fall for these characters too. Arizona was confident and strong while remaining human and relatable. Lucifer was thoughtful and kind but with a bit of mystery and a lot of sex appeal. And Kingsley. There isn’t much more I can say about him aside from the fact that I very much loved our resident talking frog.

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Moon Mark by Scarlett Dawn

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Official Blurb

When natural disaster strikes Joyal, Madeline is tossed from her planet into the hands of the Kireg. Madeline has always feared the Kireg, an alien who can bend—or snap—a mind with only a thought. What she found on their home planet is even more frightening. Civil unrest has exploded and enemies are everywhere. But the one thing she never expected to find was her mate, the rebellion leader who started the war.

Review

Moon Mark was nothing and everything I expected from Scarlett Dawn. With what I’ve come to consider her signature mix of sexy and humor, Scarlett Dawn takes us on a wild ride with Geo and Madeline. You guys, this one had me blushing like crazy! It’s a little dark, kind of twisted – my eyebrows shot up and my jaw dropped at least once. I read one portion aloud to my husband giggling like a child because man, oh man, was it sexy.
Scarlett Dawn excels at creating badass bitches and hot as heck alpha males and she does not let us down here. Seriously, you thought that the Mian’s were a little possessive of Briata? Yeah… Geo takes it to a whole new level. Yet, he did not once come off as stalkerish and creepy to me in the way that these super testosterone filled characters have potential to do. Madeline is a good, strong character. She worked through her fears, (reluctantly) kept an open mind to new things, and she stood up for herself and for others. She protected those she could.
My only complaint is that we didn’t get to see enough of these two together. I’m not talking about sexy-times because there was plenty of that for sure, but if felt like it lacked a little emotional connection. Yes, this story took place in the midst of civil war and a lot happened in the course of the short novella, but I wished we had gotten to see the characters having a little bit of fun together – actually getting to know one another. A little bit more flirting and emotional foreplay would have gone a long way with me.
Despite that, this is a solid four stars and great quick read if you’re looking something with a bit of action, some steamy romance, and a few laughs. If you enjoyed getting to know the Mians in Cold Mark, you’ll enjoy a glimpse into the world of the Kireg in Moon Mark!!

Go get your copy at Amazon now!!