Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

SpeakPages: 208

Goodreads Rating: 4.0 / 5 stars

My Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: April 1st 2001

Publisher: Puffin

Summary:

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“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

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To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise

TLJTPages: 356

Goodreads Rating: 4.15 / 5 stars

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: December 3rd 2015

Publisher: Self published

Summary:

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Jason Thorn… My brother’s childhood friend.

Oh, how stupidly in love with that boy I was. He was the first boy that made me blush, my first official crush. Sounds beautiful so far, right? That excitement that bubbles up inside you, those famous butterflies you feel for the very first time—he was the reason for them all. But, you only get to live in that fairytale world until they crush your hopes and dreams and then stomp on your heart for good measure. And boy did he crush my little heart into pieces.

After the stomping part he became the boy I did my best to stay away from—and let me tell you, it was pretty hard to do when he slept in the room right across from mine.

When tragedy struck his family and they moved away, I was ready to forget he ever existed.

Now he is a movie star, the one who makes women of all ages go into a screaming frenzy, the one who makes everyone swoon with that dimpled smile of his. Do you think that’s dreamy? I certainly don’t think so. How about me coming face to face with him? Nope still not dreamy. Not when I can’t even manage to look him in the eye.

Me? I’m Olive, a new writer. Actually, I’m THE writer of the book that inspired the movie he is about to star in on the big screen. As of late, I am also referred to as the oh-so-very-lucky girl who is about to become the wife of Jason Thorn.

Maybe you’re thinking yet again that this is all so dreamy? Nope, nothing dreamy going on here. Not even close.

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A Love of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland

ALoVPages: 299

Godreads Rating: 3.99 / 5 stars

My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: November 11th 2014

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary (Goodreads):

Once the most feared member of an Italian Mafia crime family, Gabriel Moretti returns to New York at the request of his mentor, Russian crime boss Vasily Tarasov. Vasily needs someone he can trust in Seattle to protect his estranged daughter, Eva Jacobs, while he avenges the murder of the young woman’s mother. Gabriel is unstoppable in a fight, whether he’s using fists, blades, or bullets; but innocent, onyx-haired Eva may just be the most dangerous—and beautiful—thing he’s come up against.

Intense sparks fly between the two, tempting Gabriel to mix business with pleasure while in the Emerald City. But once word gets around that Gabriel has shown up in New York, Stefano—his vengeful brother and the de facto head of the family—decides that Eva is the key to ending the feud between them…permanently.

In this pulse-pounding romantic thriller set against the backdrop of New York City’s storied underworld, loyalties will be tested, secrets will be told, and mob justice will be served.

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Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters

CoLPages: 313

Goodreads Rating: 4.31 / 5 stars

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Genre: Adult, Erotica, Suspense, Dark Romance

Publication Date: January 31st 2017

Publisher: Self published

Summary (Goodreads):

THREE YEARS
Since I ran away for the night, danced in New York streets, and almost got killed in an alley by two thieves. Until he showed up and saved me.

THREE DAYS
Since I threw a drink at the man my father expected me to marry, then found myself slammed against a wall with Penn Everett’s seductive voice whispering a proposal I couldn’t refuse.

THREE HOURS
To fall into hate with the man who reminded me of so many things and hid so much behind his lies. He couldn’t be the man who saved me three years ago…but there’s something so familiar…

THREE MINUTES
For our relationship to switch from no-strings to marriage. He announced it to my father—he’s ecstatic. He told my friends—they’re shocked. But he didn’t ask me, he commanded me—and I’m livid.

THREE SECONDS
For his lies to slowly steal my heart and make me believe, hope…trust.

THREE BREATHS
For his truth to destroy me

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Stripped Bare by Heidi McLaughlin

strippedPages: 300

Goodreads Rating: 4.21 / 5 stars

My Rating: 1 / 5 stars

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: March 28th 2017

Publisher: Loveswept

Summary (Goodreads):

They don’t call it the Strip for nothing. . . .

In this sinfully sexy Las Vegas romance from bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, a man who has it all reunites with a woman who takes it all off.

Living in Sin City, Finn McCormick is no stranger to one-night stands, but the last person he expects to find losing big on the casino floor is a former high school fling. Even though Macey Webster’s clearly down on her luck, she’s still a knockout, and she’s dressed like a stripper—because she is one. Drunk off an unfamiliar cocktail of lust, pity, and compassion, Finn offers to pay Macey’s debts if she cuddles up to him around town . . . and does whatever he wants between the sheets.

Macey came to Vegas for one reason only: money. She’s got a young daughter to support, and the tips really are bigger in Vegas. But when she blows her earnings on blackjack, her guardian angel is the rich boy who once stole her heart and never called her back. Although Macey would love to turn the tables on Finn, she can’t afford to refuse his proposition—and soon she’s enjoying herself much more than she cares to admit. Macey’s used to baring her flesh, but baring her soul will take far more courage.

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Blog Tour: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon [Review + Top 5 Favorite Lines]

tbbPages: 384

Goodreads Rating: 4.4 / 5 stars

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: February 28th 2017

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooksIndiebound | Kobo

Summary [Goodreads]:

Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . .
Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They’ve hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay.

Isabella Sawyer’s employment agency can’t afford to lose Eli Crane’s business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won’t rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

My Review:

Review also posted on Goodreads

We’re down on the last Crane Brother, Elijah Crane. He’s a former Marine who’s rough on the edges. While serving his country, an incident change his life when a grenade blasted ending up him losing his leg and lives of his fellow mates. What he’d been through was difficult, grieving for loss, suffering a mild PTSD and coping with disability. It affected him emotionally making him brooding, sad and irritable. Since he’s discharged, his brothers encouraged him to participate in their family business and they hired assistants to help him. Unfortunately, all of them drove away by his rudeness… except for one lady.

For all the well trained and efficient assistants she sent were fired, the owner of the Sable Concierge, Isabella Sawyer decided to be Elijah’s personal assistant so as not to lose her long time wealthy client. Given with her experience, she thinks she can handle the bastard billionaire. He can fire her multiple times but she’s too driven to quit easily.

When pot meets kettle, things can get more interesting. I have a soft spot for brooding heroes. They’re mysterious, flawed and closed off but they can surprise you with their true persona. Elijah is a sweet, edgy and romantic man. Despite of his flaws and vulnerability, he truthfully expressed his feelings. I love his character growth throughout this book as he dealt with his personal issues. Among the female protagonists in this series, Isabella Sawyer is my favorite. She’s fierce, independent, passionate and enthusiastic. I love she exhibits patience and understanding towards Eli. They may have arguments every now and then but it’s amusing to see Eli met his match. The chemistry between them develops with intensity and their intimate moments blazed with hotness.

This book is wonderfully written, emotionally stirring and worth devouring. I enjoyed Elijah and Isabella’s story very much.

TOP 5 FAVORITE LINES FROM TBB

#5~ Isabella Sawyer’s smart-aleck remark when Eli fires her for the umpteenth time:

 “Apologies, Eli, but I’m not changing my shoes.” She came into his office, her hips swaying with each sure step she took toward him.

“Fine. Then you’re fired.”

“Oh, no, not again.”

#4~ Merina, the heroine from The Bastard Billionaire shows up as yet another feisty woman who refuses to bow to Eli’s gruffness.

“I can go out into public, you know,” he grumbled, setting the beer bottle next to his plate—on the table, no coaster, thank you very much. “You guys don’t have to come in here and serve me.”

He was skilled at his new role of miserable bastard, and since everyone expected it now, he was determined to excel.

“Oh but we do, Lord Crane.” Merina smiled demurely as she leaned over and handed him a glass.

#3~ I loved this line after Eli and Isa had sex—his honesty cracked me up!

“I like this.” She touched the corner of his mouth. “I’ve been trying to get you to smile since I started working here.”

“Well now you know how to do it.”

#2~ Bold Isabella knows how to ask for what she wants!

“Is kissing you in my marching orders for tomorrow night?” he asked, his eyes picking up a trace of heat.

She wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity. No way. No how.

“Yes,” she answered. “Need to practice?”

#1~ Eli’s worry that he didn’t have what it took is my favorite line in the book.

He’d done what he needed to be a good soldier.

Now that he wasn’t a soldier, he wasn’t sure what it took to be a good man.

jessicalemmon_headshot1-300x249ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Follow Jessica Lemmon on her social media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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THE BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS SERIES

The Billionaire Bachelor, #1

The Billionaire Next Door, #2

The Bastard Billionaire, #3

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Overruled by Emma Chase

overruledPages: 372

Goodreads Rating: 3.84 / 5 stars

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: April 28th 2015

Publisher: Gallery Books

Summary (Goodreads):

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled Series, returns with the first installment of the Legal Briefs Series.

As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.

That’s definitely not part of the plan.
***

Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her “friend with mind-blowing benefits” begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.

Her head tells her she’s crazy…and her heart says something else entirely.
***

What happens when you mix a one stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise and even the best laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.

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Grievous by J.M. Darhower

grievousPages: 312

Goodreads Rating: 4.61 / 5 stars

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Dark

Publication Date: February 6th 2017

Publisher: Self Published

Summary (Goodreads):

Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in fairy tales after her innocence was stolen.

Morgan Myers is tired. So damn tired. Most people either push her around or brush her off, and she’s not putting up with it anymore. Determined to reclaim the life that had been stolen from her, she puts her trust in the last person she ever expected to: the notorious they call Scar. Morgan sees a side of him that few people seem to know—the man, not the myth. Lorenzo. And what she sees, she likes, a lot more than she thought she would.

But fairy tales aren’t real, as life likes to remind her. Some dragons, you just can’t slay, no matter how hard you fight them. And when hers comes back around, breathing fire, she’s forced to face some unimaginable horrors. But there’s a white knight in combat boots out there that isn’t afraid of monsters.

You see, it’s impossible to be afraid of something you see every day in the mirror.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

aeitaPages: 364

Goodreads Rating: 4.26 / 5 stars

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

Publication Date: April 28th 2015

Publisher: Razor Bill

Summary (Goodreads):

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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Love, Hate and Other Lies We Told by Deirdre Riordan Hall

LHAOLWT.jpgPages: 364

Goodreads Rating: 3.26 / 5 stars

My Rating: 3 /5 stars

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: January 17th 2017

Publisher: Self Published

Summary (Goodreads):

Let go from her job and feeling lost, Navy Carrington takes a position as coffee-girl at a publicity firm. Their newest client is Carrick Kennely, the former love of her life and her fiercest adversary. She thought she’d let go of the past by playing it safe with book boyfriends—and avoiding frustratingly sexy guys like Carrick.

When Navy’s roommate finds the Boyfriend Book, a silly relic leftover from Navy’s teens, it prompts a dare; Navy is to go on five dates and pick one to be her Valentine. Despite her reservations, she can’t say no, especially if it means proving to herself and Carrick that she can move on.

Navy chronicles her brief romantic entanglements with the Hottie in 7G, the Man-Bun-Barista, the Gym Stud, and the Book Boyfriend who turns out to be a toad—not the kind that when kissed turns into a prince—, on The Boyfriend Book Blog. She doesn’t want to let her readers or herself down, but as Valentine’s Day nears, none of the guys comes close to being her one true love.

Except Carrick. He’s infuriating, attractive, confusing, catnip…and it turns out he has a secret.

With a love letter and a plane ticket in hand, Navy leaves her baggage behind and must decide between love, hate, and the lies she told to protect her fragile heart.

Told with humor and heart, Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told may appeal to readers who enjoy Alice Clayton, Sally Thorne, and Emily Giffin’s work.

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