Review: Pucked by Rachel Walter

Pucked
By: Rachel Walter

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?

Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.

Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.

When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.

Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?

Who keeps the puck?


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This has been heart-breaking, mind-blowing, tear-inducing, soul-searching, chest-pounding story, where winter meets spring, creating a spectacular autumn that two bruised hearts call home.

Aubrey Jacob is fire, spring, a blooming dandelion in the mud. Yes, mud.. Because Aubrey girl loves mud and muddin’, and that’s something that make her unique.

Riley Silk is ice, winter, a frost that intensifies the ice surrounding his heart. Because Riley has been through a lot in the homefront, to him, love is cruel and cold and chilled.

Together, they are autumn. Together, they are fire and ice controlled. Together, they are unbreakable.

I loved everything about this book – the tears, the fights, the anxiety attacks, the milkshakes, the mud, the ice, and most specially – the one armed, one legged booty shaking dance.

I love Pucked!

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Review: Relentless River by Lindsay Cross

Relentless River (Men of Mercy #10)
by Lindsay Cross

He was Ice.

Sheriff Bo Lawson was everything a retired Marine Special Operations Operator should be. Cold. Calculating. Calm in all situations. He handled terrorists and too drunk locals without blinking, until a couple of dead bodies show up in his small town, throwing his controlled environment into chaos.

She was fire.

Cheri Boudreaux, manager of the local bar, lives her life by one rule – work hard and play harder. The last thing she needs is a repeat of her father: a strict stick-in-the-mud unable to veer from the rules. Then she meets Bo, a walking, talking sex god in uniform and her preconceived notions incinerate.

Ice meets fire.

Bo craves order. He craves control. He craves a red head with a wild streak wider than the Mississippi. She is everything he despises, but can’t get off his mind. So, when Cheri needs help, he wants to be her knight in shining armor.

Threatened by a deadly foe neither of them could predict, Bo and Cheri clash in an uncontrollable inferno. When the truth is revealed, their world falls apart – can they find the strength to fight for each other or will their newfound love fall under a relentless tide of evil?

There’s another dead body found in Mercy, and Sheriff Bo Lawson vowed to put a stop to it. A former Marine Special Operations Operator, Bo had it bad when he blamed himself for his team’s death. Now he would do everything to catch the criminal threatening his town. Even if his lady love was involved.

Cheri Boudreaux managed a local bar that was always a target for trouble. She’s got men vying for her attention, but her sight was only focused on one man alone. Cheri was a tempest, with a dark family secret. Seriously, this woman could do all things to Bo, seduce him, stimulate him, antagonize him. And in all those attempts, she always succeeded. Except that one time when she got shot by a bullet and her cousin was pursued by a cunning murderer.

So far, the last book I’ve read in the Men of Mercy series was Revenge River, and boy it was action-packed and marvelous. Nightshade and Merc left a lasting impression on me. So when I learned about the release of Relentless River, I didn’t have second thoughts reading it.

And I wasn’t disappointed at all. Lindsay Cross still has it, ten books and counting!

I loved Sheriff Bo’s character. He was indeed relentless but Cheri had full control of him. Bo and his uptight demeanor towards Cheri made him more irresistible like a pint of ice cream under a hot sunny day. Lickable!

The drug-related issues and murders were really the main focus of the story and I liked that it was tackled at length throughout the book. Now the erotic scenes between the characters, though, hmm, those were something else. Definitely hot and spicy!

Looking forward to reading more of these Men of Mercy in the next months to come. Can’t wait to meet Riser’s match!

Review: When In Rome… Find Yourself by Lena Mae Hill

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When In Rome…Find Yourself (When In Rome)
by Lena Mae Hill

Rory Hartnett has sworn off love, so boys will not be a distraction on her six-week study abroad trip to Rome. She has her plate full dealing with her anxiety in a foreign country, making new friends to explore the city with, taking classes, and applying for an internship at a travel e-zine. But when she meets the cute artist sharing her eccentric host mother’s lodging, all bets are off.

Fall in love with the first in a brand new series about four girls finding themselves—and maybe love—in the city of fountains. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss or Love & Gelato, you won’t want to miss this sweet New Adult series from new romance author Lena Mae Hill.

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Where do I begin? Hmmm.. Truth to be told, I really don’t know how to start this review about my feelings towards the characters, without hurting someone else’s feelings, but I can’t help it. It took me a while to finish the book because I had struggles reading it in the first place.

I get it, Rory was somewhat sheltered in life, but at the age of 21, she still had a lot of hang ups and indecision and insecurities and behaved like a 15 year old. Okay, to be fair, I know it’s been given that her character has a serious case of anxiety and lack of self-esteem. But that’s beside the point. I really didn’t have strong connection with her.

I, as the reader, got tired of all those things she did – like thinking, assuming, doubting, hesitating, and feeling uncertain about a lot of things.. She questioned everything! Man, in the end, I got frustrated and annoyed.

Even when Rory finally settled in Rome and met Ned, her stoner friend next door, I had hoped for her to grow some balls and backbone. That one time when she got lost, I think that’s the time my heart softened for her. One major factor that I liked though was learning about her house mother Theresa, bless her heart. That tragic event that led to what she became in the end – that I perfectly understood.

Now let’s go to Ned, the artist and the mystery guy. Well, I like him, he’s normal in his own special ways. He’s easy to get along with and he’s really nice. But him together with Rory, I didn’t feel it. I meant the sparks. I got nothing. I just didn’t get that usual “kilig” factor I usually feel.

Lastly, the story took place mostly in Rome Italy. I had expected the story to feature more scenic spots and Italian settings. Sadly, I didn’t get much of this wonderful city in the story.

Anyway, I know that I should have been more understanding about Rory and her anxiety attacks. I know how this kind of sickness make that person helpless and powerless. If ever I offend anyone with my concerns regarding anxiety issues, I apologize. I guess this book just didn’t work out for me.

—– NOTE: I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED A COPY FROM THE “RACHEL E. CARTER YA BOOK CLUB ON GOODREADS. —–

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Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

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The Best Possible Answer
by E. Katherine Kottaras

coffeesynopsisdAP exams—check
SAT test—check
College application—check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for—check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks a private picture of her to the entire school—a picture only he was supposed to see. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

thoughts-dividerJanuary is coming to an end and this book is perhaps one of the best possible treats I’ve had this week. E. Katherine Kottaras never fails to amaze me. Once again, she got me breathless with this teenage drama, angst and masterpiece, The Best Possible Answer.

Viviana Rabenovich-Lowe and her bff Sammie and Evan were really interesting characters. They helped each other grow, supported their issues, discussed their flaws, talked about realities, uncertainties, rewards and cruelties of life. In short, they matured as the story progressed and together, they may not have known the best possible answers to their questions, but they sure did experienced it.

The eccentric Professor Harold Cox made this story more exciting and sensible, what with all his oddities and philosophical thoughts at that. His bathing suits cracked me up, but hey, this Nut actually made more sense than Vivi’s own father.

Evan, this guy is The Man. I don’t know what else to say about him. I thought he was an endearing and a fair person although he’s a little insensitive once in a while.

Sammie, the best friend, also indulged me with her unconditional love and Filipino values. Yes, she’s quite a character here in the book, not because she’s a Filipino like me, but because she has those traits that I found personable, lovable and memorable. She’s a keeper indeed!

Now, Viviana, she’s made terrible mistakes in the past, she deals with it every day over panic attacks and has to discover the lies she’s been living with. Gosh, my heart went out to her and her sister Mila. I want to hug them and adopt them.

I perfectly understood where Vivi was coming from. Her story hit me right at home. Like her, I also grew up to the high expectations of my parents; they wanted me to get the first honors every year, they wanted me to behave like a proper lady and all. There had also been a time when I rebelled and didn’t go home after they got mad at me and lectured me about having a boyfriend during my junior high school. Man, that was an ugly experience, believe me.

There I was, I thought I finally resisted their control over me until I realized my mistakes. What can I say, I was madly in love and young and reckless at that time. Thank goodness, there weren’t any cellphones or iPads or Wi-Fi or social media during my time! I was spared of any humiliation and bashers and haters.

Anyway, enough about me.. The Best Possible Answer is a great read. Everyone should meet these dynamic teens. Everyone might see themselves in them. Everyone has questions. And this book might just present the best possible answer.

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Review: Days Like This by Danielle Ellison

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Days Like This

coffeesynopsisdSometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is you.Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother’s disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.

Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn’t involve Cassie Harlen.

When Cassie’s mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.

Neither does Cassie.

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Days Like This is a story about a woman who ran away from the promise of a marriage and from the sick mother who needed her the most. A story about a woman who came back hoping for a second chance.Honestly, I don’t know what to feel. I think, this novel is bone-crushingly sad. It crushed me and made me sad. I may not know a lot about bipolar disorder, nor have I encountered anyone who has it, but I think I can feel the pain they themselves feel when they couldn’t control themselves and let their alter-ego take its place.

But what I also don’t get is how and why Cassie behaved worse than her mom. I simply didn’t like the idea of her running away, just because she heard her mom say something about her dad and why he left them. I thought that she could have had a talk or confrontation with her mother when she was on her happy days. Or maybe she should have had told Graham about her dilemma.

Of course, I also realized that this book won’t be possible if things were left out settled at the beginning of the story. I wouldn’t be having this review if what I wanted to happen, happened. You know what I mean.

Somehow, deep inside me, I knew that I really liked Days Like This. That deep inside, I could feel the pain endured by all the characters, from Cass to Graham, from her mom to her bestfriend June, from her ex Rohan to Graham’s girl, Molly. This is indeed a story with complications, with a little mystery and with a wide impact.

Danielle Ellison wrote a novel that pierced my heart. She’s a competent author who can give the readers a glimpse of the good, the bad and the ugly that is called life. Kudos to Ellison for a great piece of fiction!

Oh, before I forget, please allow me to grin a little, smile a little and scream a little because I’m seriously gushing over the book cover! Yes, seriously, how incredibly beautiful is this? During days like this when I see a cover that really captivates me, it gives me more satisfaction while reading it.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Review: Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman

shadowTime

Shadow of Time
by Jen Minkman

All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.

But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the history of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?

Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.

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I can’t recall the last time I read a book about Native Americans. Maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I’m not really sure. So it felt new when I read Shadow of Time. I’ve come to know more about tribes and their traditions, lore and beliefs. It was really interesting.

Hannah was going to spend a quiet vacation with her brother in their cabin. On her way home, she met a guy in a motorcycle while she was belting out a song. It actually was a cute scene. Anyway, soon she discovered that the guy she saw was actually Josh who was her brother’s friend and who was about six years younger than her. Josh was from the Navajo reservation and held a position in the tribe. It wasn’t long before Hannah finally learned more about Josh and met his family. It was also the beginning of many sleepless nights and soon nightmares tormented her. There’s something about her dreams that she couldn’t explain. And when she’s awake, there are groups of people who always seemed to observe her from afar. Not once but twice she was saved by Josh against her attackers.

Shadow of Time promises a story loaded with Native American culture and aspects like spirit guides, shamans or medicine man and reincarnation, plus a unique plot and interesting characters. The ending was quite abrupt, so you really need to read the next book in the series to know what happens with Hannah and Josh. To be honest, I got so many questions.. What happens next? Who are those three mysterious people who keeps appearing in Hannah’s nightmares and everywhere else? What’s Josh hiding? What’s with all the secrets of the Navajo tribe? I was really hooked!

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Review: Sunset Wish by Sabrina Thompson

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Sunset Wish
by Sabrina Thompson

coffeesynopsisdKatelyn had wishes and hopes and dreams. A lot of them faded since her father left, and even more faded when her mother found a new kind of love at the bottom of the bottle. Years of neglect and abuse by her mother and classmates had Katelyn feeling alone in her small town.

Then Jamie took notice. He saw the shy girl who hid behind worn clothes and blue eyes. For him it took very little to fall in love with her. For Katelyn it took all that she had not to fall in love with him. She has been hiding the abuse and hurt for so long can she finally let it go?

In Sabrina Thompson’s debut novel she explores the kind of relationship a victim of domestic abuse faces, and the love that can come out of it. Sunset Wish will have readers fighting with Katelyn and Jamie to find a way to make their love work, and maybe make their wishes come true.

 

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After an emotional book yesterday about abuse and forgiveness, here I am again opening the floodgates. I can’t count how many times I cried reading this book. Katelyn Wires had been physically and emotionally abused, tormented, almost left to die, but somehow, there’s something on her that made her get up every time. I may not have agreed with her decisions for not exposing her secrets, but I understood where she was coming from. I wasn’t happy at all with her loving condition, sometimes I’d like to slap her myself for her outrageously stupid decisions, but it was her insistence, persistence and sheer determination to survive that made me respect her and not pity her.

Jamie Townsend is god-sent. (I know it rhymes, but it is what it is.) At first I was doubtful about his intentions, I wasn’t convinced with the actions that he’d shown, but eventually, this guy softened my heart.

But the best thing that ever happened to them, in my opinion, is Grace.. And I bawled so hard when the real score about her was revealed in the end.

Lord knows how much pain and tears I’ve shed reading this book in one sitting. Sunset Wish is fast paced, emotionally draining and it totally ripped my heart into shreds. I wish the author Sabrina Thompson had forewarned me about the possible heart stroke I’d be experiencing while reading her book. I thank her though for slowly opening my eyes about the harsh realities of life. I wished Katelyn’s father’s story was explained further, but like the main character in the book, I found contentment in knowing that there was still hope for a better sunrise after saying your sunset wish. Thanks Sabrina for a beautiful and heartfelt story..

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