These reviews are all over the place when it comes to genre – REALLY all over the place – NA, dystopian, YA and Historical m/m O_o but these were all books that I wanted to spotlight but didn’t want to write lengthy reviews so here we go…
Tease (The Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie JordanNew Adult
Source: Amazon Vine for review
What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her?
A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:
Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.
Then Shaw comes along. A hottie from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy, dark-eyed, bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.
But instead of making Shaw beg, Emerson finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rule book. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control—a guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson and who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.
A guy who just might leave her wanting more. . . ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: I adored Foreplay (book #1 of the Ivy Chronicles). I felt that it stood a step above the onslaught of NA that was all angst, all the time with very little real life conflict.
Sadly, Tease was no Foreplay. While the sexual encounters did serve the plot of Tease, they also overpowered it. Emerson and Shaw are hot together and obviously, it is more than just sex in the end. They both have issues that haunt them but the hot sex kind of solves it all. Especially regarding Emerson (although there is a nice twist to her story). I also liked how it explored what a woman vs a man can get away with sexually. How a man is just getting around but a girl is a cocktease.
Alas, the way a few very important issues were dealt with made me stabby. You can read my full review here.
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
YA – dystopian
It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.
Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story. ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: Although a little weak on the world building, Plus One exceeded my expectations with a beautifully original, fast paced story with an emphasis on character development and relationships.
All the moral ambiguity, betrayals, twists and tension kept me my toes the whole time. None of the characters were one dimensional.
The romance was so perfect. These are the type of characters and romances I love to read about. A lot of care went into writing Sol & D'Arcy's story. It was so beautiful, bittersweet and real. I believe this is a stand alone. Part of me wants more but the other part of me couldn't bear reading what they would have to go through in another book.
Highly recommend this one!
Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4) by Katy McGarry
Source: Amazon Vine for review
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.
Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for. ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: West was a lot better than I expected. He was a total tool in Crash Into You. Despite my many problems with this book I did like West and Haley’s romance.
I think it’s time that I threw in the towel on this series. While the first two books are admittedly cheesy, and angst filled, I found them to be compelling and swoony. Now the conflicts are becoming unnecessarily convoluted. Take Me On is basically a rehash, plot wise, of Crash Into You. This time it's fighting instead of drag racing.
I'm also tired of all the alpha posturing that goes on. Despite the heroines having kick ass interests – car mechanic/kick boxer – they are reduced to being property that their male relatives have to protect (even though they treat them like CRAP in order to do so). The boyfriends - while loving the strength the girls show - must fight for them. Once a couple gets together they are everything to each other. It’s like nothing else exists. It's this weird mixed message about empowerment. I think it was done really well in the first two books, especially with Noah – who learned to respect women, but it's getting lost in the drama that gets layered on in each book now.
I used to like all this – so maybe it’s just a reflection of how my tastes have changed over the years. Because people are rabid fans for this series and I am literally the only person who didn’t like it on Goodreads.
Not my favorite of the series, obviously, but I think readers who love that high level of angst & romance (I did love Haley & West together) will really like it - so ya' know…just ignore me and go read & enjoy!
Sharp Love by Ava March
William Drake has lived among thieves, bastards and beggars all his life, doing what's necessary to survive. As a young orphan, that included looking after his best friend, Jack Morgan. But as they grew older, Jack took the honest path, leaving Will behind to fend for himself the only ways he knows how.
When an unsavory errand for his employer brings Jack back to London's underbelly, he needs Will's help. It's there, among the alleys they ran through as children, that the love he's always felt for Will returns. As their nights together grow hotter, Will discovers something new about his old friend—Jack's need to serve extends into the bedchamber.
Will has never fully abandoned his dream of escaping London with Jack. But what could the Duke's driver want with a dishonest cheat like him, beyond a bit of rough sex? It takes the gamble of Will's life to find out if he can win Jack's heart…
Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: D/s theme and elements, and male/male sexual practices. ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: It’s so refreshing to read a book that has honest to goodness, real, believable conflict between a couple that doesn’t come off whiny and self indulgent. Well done! I’m looking forward to reading more by this author even though historicals and erotica are not my favorite genre. (Weird title though)