Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover

17832105Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Review: Layken is not looking forward to moving to a new place, especially in her senior year of high school. But after her father’s death her mom thinks that it would be better for the them to move closer to family. Immediately after arriving, she meets Will, the attractive young neighbor across the street. She is charmed by his sense of humor and good looks and soon agrees to go out with him. The date is not what she expects it to be at all, but everything she never know she wanted. Within a couple of hours she is feeling hopeful that this move was going to bring her a new start in life. If only.

Not only is Will charming, funny and handsome, he is everything she ever wanted in a boyfriend and the very man she can’t fall in love with. He is her teacher at her new high school. Add to that some unsettling news from her mother and you got yourself a doozy of a story.

I so enjoyed this story.

It’s rare for a book to make me question my reactions and touch me so deeply at the same time. This book did both.

I felt for Layken. Her sorrow at finding her perfect partner and not being able to be with him was very palpable. She was not only frustrated but heartbroken. At eighteen years old she felt she was independent enough to make her own decisions, but this one was taken right out of her hands not only by her mother but by Will himself. As a mother, I was conflicted. I wanted them to stay away from each other. But as a reader and a hopeless romantic, I wanted them to be together and say “The hell with this!” It was a rollercoaster of sort that left me confused in my stance about teacher/student relationship. Especially when I took Layken and Will’s ages into consideration. Was it really that awful?

And Will. Oh, my poor Will. I could completely see that he was captivated by the young woman across the street. It seemed she brought out the best in him and I didn’t want to see that light be dimmed by the decision he so strongly stood behind. He HAD to stay away, since so much was riding on his shoulders at the time.

And just went I was accepting their fate and looking forward to seeing Layken settle into her senior year, Colleen Hoover threw me a nasty curve. What happened next not only crushed Layken it destroyed the somewhat happy acquaintance Will and Layken had achieved after agreeing to go their separate ways.

It was heart-brake to the twelfth degree with a bit of attitude, selfishness and denial thrown in there too. I found myself hoping for a miracle while at the same time enjoying all the angst. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt.

The writing was superb, with every emotion jumping off the page and making me feel like a part of the story. I struggled along with Layken and Will, cried at the injustice of it all and in the end the feeling at seeing everything come to pass was bittersweet. I enjoyed the poetry, the secondary characters and the music references the author included in the story. From beginning to end I was riveted to the story and didn’t want it to end.

Slammed is the first book in the Slammed series and a phenomenal start at that. As a reader that enjoys dual POVs, I’m immediately immersing myself in Point of Retreat. I can’t wait to get into Will’s head and learn all about his thoughts and feelings.

A Secret Love by Douglas Black

18187878Rating: 3.75 stars

Publisher: Evernight Publishing (July 9, 2013)

Synopsis: James is nervous when he pulls into the parking lot of the secluded and conservative Caledonian Hotel. He slips off his wedding ring, gives a false name at reception, and checks into his room.

When Mark finally arrives, James expects their time together to conform to the usual pattern, but Mark surprises him. Mark wants candlelit dinners and walks on the beach. James, well, James just wants to make up for lost time. More importantly, he doesn’t want to get caught. They have six months left before they can start a new life together and James is desperate to be discrete.

Unfortunately, he never could control himself around Mark. Throw in an interfering old couple and some very public displays of affection and Mark and James’s short hotel stay might just be about to destroy not only the secrecy that has always shrouded their relationship, but also their future together.

Review: When James reunites with Mark after a too-long separation he wants more than to make up for lost time. In a way, he wants to woo Mark. He wants more than the lust-filled encounters this time around. Mark is hesitant at first, but he loves James fiercely so he relents. Dinner, walks on the beach and make-out sessions in public, it all can jeopardize their plans to get together in the near future. However, James is determined to do more while Mark is just hopeful that it won’t all blow up in their faces.

I loved this short story!

At first I was a bit confused about the role each man was playing and the situation they were dealing with. But soon I understood that what they has what something more than what I originally thought. The concept was different from what I’m reading at the moment and I appreciated that.

I liked James and Mark as a couple. They had a connection that could only be achieved through mutual respect and time. I enjoyed their banter, their chemistry and their interactions. It all came together in a way that help me understand their situation. Both James and Mark’s needs were palpable and their desire for each other undeniable. But is was what they each felt for each other that jumped off the page for me.

Short, but to the point, Douglas Black managed to bring about a sweet, fun and hot little story in A Secret Love.

I received from the publisher through Manic Readers in exchange of my honest opinion.

Ruin (Summer in Winter #1) by C.J. Scott

18168745Rating: 3 stars

Published: C.J. Scott (August 21st 2013)

Synopsis: Kate Bell isn’t perfect. Not even close. The things she got up to in college would cause her parents to fall off their pedestals in shock. Home for the summer vacation, Kate settles in for a long, boring break in the tiny backwater of Winter with folks who still treat her like she’s twelve.

Then Ben Parker arrives and suddenly Winter gets interesting. He’s hot, mysterious and good with his hands. Kate falls for him instantly, but her cop father warns her to stay away. But how can she stay away from someone as compelling as Ben? Someone who thinks she’s perfect just the way she is?

When Ben’s secrets catch up to him, not only is Kate’s heart in danger of being broken, but Ben’s entire future could be ruined.

Review: Kate is spending the summer back in her hometown of Winter. She dreads spending her days in a small, quiet town where nothing changes. Then a stranger enter the town’s diner. As mysterious events go, this one is a bug one. No one ever comes to Winter, mostly they just want to leave. So when Ben steps off the bus and into the little town of Winter, Kate can’t help but be curious about the handsome, quiet stranger.

As a short read Ruin packs a punch with its interesting characters, romance and overall plot. I enjoyed getting to know Ben, a lot. He was quiet and strong, considerate and passionate. He didn’t want to affect Kate with his past and kept his true reason for arriving in Winter a secret. I liked Kate, but not right away. To me, she came across a bit immature, especially when she kept acting like a brat with her parents. Never mind that she kept announcing how ‘imperfect’ she was to every one. That was unnecessary.

Anyway, as a whole the story was interesting to read. I enjoyed how the author went about bringing Ben’s past and his reason for being in Winter to the page. I liked that he hesitated before following his attraction to Kate. It did show a lot about the kind of person he was. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and what they brought to the story. Mrs. M was hilarious and I can’t wait to read about Jane. She was kind, shy and a great friend. I wonder what’s in store for her.

The ‘mystery’ of why Ben was in Winter wasn’t a surprise, but it was interesting to learn all the other details and the reaction of the characters to the news. I loved learning about Ben’s past. C.J. Scott brought with it a lot of emotions that I was surprised to see coming from Ben causing my heart to melt for him even more.

My biggest hurdle to get through with this story was how fast the romance developed. I don’t think a couple of weeks, with a week spent apart at that, would be enough time for two people who just met to develop strong feelings for each other. Lust, of course. But not the kind of deep emotions Ben and Kate were professing.

Short and to-the point, with a little mystery and a sweet romance, Ruin is the first book in the Summer in Winter series.

I received this title through NetGalley.

True (True #1) by Erin McCarthy

17332551Review: 3.75 stars

Publisher: InterMix (May 7, 2013)

Synopsis: When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

Review: Rory finds herself surrounded by friends but feeling alone. After one night where her roommate’s lover steps in to help her out, she starts to see him in a different light. Although she later finds out that her friend’s were trying to help her get laid so that she would loosen up, she still believes there’s more to Tyler than just the ‘favor’ her friends had paid Tyler for.

Tyler, a handsome and very sexy young man who wants to better himself to take care of his siblings, finds Roy attractive but not worth her affections. To his surprise, Rory is more than interested in his good looks. Now it is up to him to make the right choices for a future with her and keep his brothers safe.

Erin McCarthy delivered a riveting tale of loyalty and love. Both Rory ad Tucker were well-written and complex characters. From different backgrounds and with different aspirations in life, Rory and Tyler go from friends to lovers in this emotionally-driven story,

I enjoyed how Rory and Tyler were brought together. Although they had chemistry that jumped off the page it was their connection that made the story so enjoyable for me. Through honest dialogue, friendly banter and some intense scenes Rory and Tyler’s connection was developed throughout the story. Making it easier for me to believe that this pairing had a chance even with all the obstacles thrown in their path.

The addition of the secondary characters helped bring the story along. Rory and Tyler’s interactions with these characters brought a different, lighter side to each of them which help me tremendously in connecting with them and understanding their characters better. I especially appreciated the interactions between Rory and Tyler’s siblings. I think that it cemented their bond and made it viable for the relationship to be believable.

Like I said before, their chemistry was very palpable and in true Erin McCarthy fashion she did a great job in bringing it to the page. I could sense how much Rory and Tyler desired each other and that, coupled with the emotions that were brought into play, made this an even more wonderful read.

True is a great start to the True series and I can’t wait to read more. I am certainly looking forward to Riley and Jessica’s story, Sweet. Those two were great characters to get to know and I think that one would be an even more interesting pairing.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

After Hours by Cara McKenna

16104369Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: InterMix (April 16, 2013)

Synopsis: A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

Review: Wowza! How hot is that cover? Yum-my! 😉

Erin is an independent woman who takes care of herself and her sister and nephew. That is who she is, a caretaker and protector. So after taking care of her ailing grandmother, she accepts a job at a psychiatric hospital to be near her sister and nephew. Although a bit out of her element, she is determined to make it work. Thank goodness she can count on Kelly to protect her at work.

Kelly, a tall attractive man that works as an orderly at the hospital is the kind of man Erin always stays away from – dark and intense. However, Erin can’t stay away. Try as she might her mind strays to places where Kelly is the star. After much consideration she accepts his pleasure-driven proposal. It is not the pleasure she experiences what surprises, but the man himself. Kelly has layer upon layer underneath his hard exterior and after a ‘weekend’ together she can’t decide which could be worse – falling for this guy or staying away.

Oh, but this story was a doozy!!! With an abundance of chemistry, attitudes and emotions, After Hours was one of those books that once you start to don’t want to stop. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

From the start Cara McKenna draws you into the story introducing us to Erin and her new world at the hospital she just started working. We get a glimpse into the kind of person she is, her character as a person, caretaker and protector. But soon we also see the passionate side she keeps hidden from others. As soon as she sets eye on Kelly, she is torn between staying away or approaching him. He is everything she needs to stay away from and everything she needs in her life. It was such a treat to see her thoughts all over the place when it came to him.

“I’m gonna fall in love with you,” Kelly said. His words hung in the darkness, bright as candle flames.”

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. What a man! Sexy, quiet and dominant Kelly’s intensity was overwhelming. Every word, every action, every touch enticed a reaction from both Erin and me. He had me enthralled and captivated. Well played, Cara McKenna. Well played. You managed to make me emotionally vested in these two complex characters and their lives.

I enjoyed the watching life at the hospital through Erin eyes as well as I enjoyed her interacting with her sister. Of course, I LOVED her interactions and lustful moments with Kelly, but it was the emotional-driven moments that made this such a great read. From lust to loss all the way through apprehension and acceptance, the author did a great job of making these character’s emotions jump off the page. *sigh*

“What we got,’ Kelly said, ‘we’re stuck with it, even if our stubborn, rational brains might decide we’re through. It’ll always be there, whether we like it or not.”  

After Hours is a hot, intense read that had all the elements I look for in a great read – complex and interesting characters, emotions and sizzling-hot chemistry.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Talking Dirty With the Player (Talking Dirty #2) by Jackie Ashenden

18196556Rating: 3.25 stars

Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence (August 12, 2013)

Synopsis: Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother’s best friend…and the man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she’s been fooled once by this player, and she’s not going there again. To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been his Kryptonite. But his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in. In the midst of her brother’s threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he’s playing with fire. And this is one game he’s going to lose.

Review: Judith wants nothing to do with Caleb. One heart broken by the man was enough for her, but apparently her mind and her body have not come to an agreement because she continues to be attracted to the insufferable man. Caleb is a force to be reckon with on and off the field. Handsome and sexy, he grins her way and her body starts tingling. What’s more, now that she’s decided to work with him on a calendar she knows her days are numbered and that she will succumb to his charm.

Caleb has wanted Judith for a long time. He has stayed away, but try as he might she’s always there in the background wrecking havoc on his intentions. He believes he’s no good for her, but he can’t help himself. She incites him to be a better man, worthy of her company. Now it’s his move to decide how to go about keeping her.

At first, it was bit hard to get into the story. I started and had to put it down. The pace dragged a bit there in the beginning and the characters were not drawing me into the story. I felt like Caleb was superficial and arrogant while Judith was confused and undecided.

Thank goodness that by a quarter into the book, things started picking up and I started to see another side to Caleb. He was becoming more real to me and that kept me engaged enough to continue on. I wish I could say the same for Judith but she was giving me whiplash with the way she kept changing her mind. One thing is to be confused and another is to just keep flipping back and forward and disregarding Caleb’s feelings or her own. It was exasperating and threw me off a bit from her. I liked her fine, but she didn’t make a great impression either.

I enjoyed how the relationship came about and the chemistry between Caleb and Judith was hot and palpable every time they were in a room together , so that was a plus for me, I liked that they had some kind of history and that Caleb had his hesitations because he cared enough about Judith not to hurt her.

Most of all I enjoyed learning Caleb’s story and how his past had affected him as a person. I like my heroes to be a bit troubled and admire them for overcoming their issues. Although I could understand where he was coming from and his belief that he wasn’t enough for Judith, I don’t think he behaved as someone who’s issues affected him much. I would have loved to see him struggle some more with them, it would have added a bit more ‘ummph’ to his decision to be with Judith.

Talking Dirty with the Player is the second book in the Talking Dirty series, but it can be read as a stand alone too. The presence of the secondary characters was brief and there’s enough about them in the story for the reader to follow along.

All in all, an interesting, hot, little read.

I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

White Trash Beautiful (White Trash Trilogy #1) by Teresa Mummert

16146226Rating: 2.5 stars

Publisher: Gallery Books (July 9, 2013)

Synopsis: A word-of-mouth bestseller that’s captivating readers with its honesty, grit, and headstrong heroine, White Trash Beautiful is a story for anyone who has ever felt trapped in life, cheated by love—and longed for something more . . .

Cass Daniels isn’t waiting for her knight in shining armor. She knows that girls like her don’t get a happily ever after. Not if you live in a trailer with your mom, work at a greasy spoon diner, and get leered at by old men. Maybe that’s why she puts up with Jackson—her poor excuse for a boyfriend, who treats her like dirt. Cass has learned to accept her lot in life. That is, until he walks into her diner. . . .

His name is Tucker White, and he’s different from any man Cass has ever known. Tall, tattooed, and bad-ass gorgeous, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Damaged. From the moment they meet, Tucker sees something in Cass he just can’t shake. Something beautiful. Something haunted. Something special. And he’s determined to find out what it is—if only he can get her to open up and let him in. . . .

Review: Cass is resigned to live her life as a waitress at her hometown’s diner and living with her drug addict mother and abusive boyfriend. That is until a handsome stranger in a motorcycle shows up at the diner.

Tucker shows up at the diner wanting to get away from his life. At first sight, he is drawn to Cass. He wants to get to know her, show her the world and see her smile. He is determined to show her that there’s more to life than what she has settled for, if only she would let him.

I loved, loved the concept behind the story. However, once I started getting into the story I was immediately disappointed. When I read the blurb I understood Cass was a determined young woman going with the motions of her life. And yes, she is that. What I wasn’t expecting was her constant whining and crying. For some reason, I thought she was stronger and not-so easily broken. Hey, I don’t know. You know what they say about assuming…

Teresa Mummert did a wonderful job of painting the “white trash” life Cass is so used to. She went to the root of Cass’ struggles and brought out all the gritty details of her life with her mother and boyfriend. I loved that part of the story. It truly made me understand why Cass thought there wasn’t anything more for her in life. I think that’s why it was so hard to get through all her crying. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an emotional read as well as the next gal, but there were moments when she needed to adjust her big girl undies and suck it up.

I did enjoy how the author brought Cass and Tucker together. I enjoyed their interactions and the time they spent together. My only complaint would be that they didn’t take much time to get to know each other. I think that would have made it more real to me. It has somewhat hard to believe that Cass would act that way with a man she hardly knew, especially with her track record picking men.

Having said this, I do think that White Trash Beautiful is a good start to the White Trash Trilogy. Certainly there is more to Cass and Tucker’s story and I am honestly curious to know how they are working out after their struggles in this story.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Waves Of Healing by N. Wood

18341971Rating: 5 stars

Available at: Amazon (US), (UK)

Synopsis: Joel Ritter had the career he always wanted, teaching others to surf the waves in the same way he learned to in his teenage years. Instructing and guiding his students through surfing competitions had long since been his passion, but an unfortunate car accident one winter’s night in Cornwall turned his whole life upside down and dashed his ambitions.

Dominic Thornton endured school in Joel’s shadow, following his crush around like a lovesick puppy. Now as a twenty-nine year old paramedic, Joel’s life and his future rests in his hands. Can he guide the disheartened surfer through his recovery and prove to him that there is still a love and life to live for without losing his own faith and belief in Joel in the process?

Review: *sigh* This story. N. wood just about killed me with it. So many emotions, so many overwhelming moments of exasperation, so many meaningful words, so much understated love.

Amazing.

The Characters

What can I say about Dominic? He was sweet, considerate and loyal. He loved his parents, lived with a crush for a man who wouldn’t even acknowledge him and loved to help people. He was a wonderful person to get to know and his struggles with coming to terms with Joel’s attitude, his own life and what others expected of him was a treat to read. I loved everything about him. He made me want to be nicer to my parents and more accepting of other people’s situations.

Now Joel, I wanted to shake at times. I liked him fine in the beginning and although I could understand why he was behaving like he did, I could NOT for the life of me understand why he kept pushing Dominic away. He was rude and at times selfish, but I could understand where he was coming from.

The Romance

The romance in this story was understated. It wasn’t until the last few chapters that we get to see how deep the connection between Dominic and Joel was. Dominic was the light to Joel’s darkness. But most beautiful of all was watching how little by little Joel started to let go of the demons that were holding him back. Once he accepted himself and embraced the idea of being with Dominic he became a whole other man. Sensitive, tender and giving in his own way, Joel was the perfect partner for Dominic. His love for Dominic was steady and palpable through the page. And Dominic’s devotion to Joel’s well-being and his love for the man that gave him as many headaches as boners was wonderful. He gave of himself each moment and accepted Joel every step of the way. Through the hard times and the lovely times, Dominic was a force to be reckon with and I admired him for it.

The Writing

N. Wood outdid herself with the writing of this story. Every word on the page was meant to incite some type of reaction from the reader. Be it the descriptions of the gloomy weather, the desperation of finding yourself without a limb or the horrible feeling of helplessness when you can’t get through someone you care about. Every event was well thought-out to add to the journey these characters were taking to end up together. With every altercation, every insult and every moment of understanding, N Wood fortified Dominic and Joel’s connection.

This is not only a story about romance, it is also a story about the obstacles and struggles life throws your way that in one way or another hinder your chances of discovering love and/or yourself. It’s about loyalty, acceptance and new beginnings. The romance and the chemistry between Dominic and Joel was an added bonus that took the story from a wonderful read to an amazing one.

All in all, this story had all the elements necessary to make it an unforgettable read. A mix of reality, drama and romance, Waves of Healing was an intense journey of self-discovery and long-lasting devotion where the characters discover the unfairness of life and the joys of finding love.

I received this title from the author in exchange of my honest opinion.

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

RGlitterlandating: 4.75 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (August 26th 2013)

Synopsis: The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

Review: So I’ve been thinking about this book, a lot. Although It contains all the elements necessary for it to be a 5 star read for me – the great, interesting characters that win you over within minutes, range in emotions that took me from laughter to anxiety all the way through exasperation and compassion, sex scenes that meant something and some that just didn’t and a difficult subject matter that brought about a different take to the opposites attracts concept – it WAS a difficult read for me to get through.

It’s rare when my being an ESL individual interferes with my reading to the point where I consider not continuing with a book. However, I have to hand it to Alexis Hall, because within just the first couple of chapters I was already interested in knowing what would happen next and that alone kept me from giving up. So with my cell phone handy and the Kindle dictionary at my fingertips I set out to find out how the glitter pirate and the bipolar author get together.

I loved it!

Ash was a treat to read. Living a life marred by his past and present situations, honest to the point of being rude and mentally fragile with a temper to boot, Ash wasn’t just imperfect, he felt real to me. I liked that he was not one of those characters who only had some issues, dealt with them and moved one. He had major issues that impacted not only the way he behaved but how he treated others and to see him grow throughout the story while still accepting his flaws was a beautiful thing to me.

Now Darian, I loved from the start. I loved his outlook of life, his acceptance of himself and how he treated others. He was genuine, showing his innocence when talking to Ash and unleashing his passion for the Ash. He was honest and charming, outrageous and sensible. He brought out the best in Ash as well as the worst of his fears to the surface. The ying to Ash’s yang.

As I said before, I had trouble with the writing, but not only because of the Essex accent that was written as dialogue but also because of the lyrical prose used as Ash’s voice. I usually don’t have a problem with this style of writing, but since most of the words were British in nature, I had to stop reading, search for the meaning and move on. However, I don’t think it would have worked any other way for the type of person Ash was, so THAT I could get over easily. Sadly, I can’t say the same for Darian and his friends. I missed a lot of the jokes and the whole scene in Essex Fashion Week with Darian’s friends was lost on me. Hell, it took me a while just to understand what ‘hunjed pacent’ meant!

Nevertheless, Alexis Hall brought to the page an interesting story that delved into an unspoken aspect of real life and delivered a heart-warming, at times hilarious account of two completely different men falling for each other and finding a middle ground within the chaos that is life. From the endearing Darian with his extreme accent that drove me insane while reading to Niall and his loyalty to Ash all through to Ash’s panic attacks, episodes of depression and cluelessness regarding Darian, Glitterland was a surprising touching read that left me wanting more.

I received this title from Riptide through NetGalley in exchange of y honest opinion.

Rush Me by Allison Parr

Rush MeRating: 2 stars

Publisher: Carina Press (April 8, 2013)

Synopsis: When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gatecrashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL’s most beloved quarterback.

While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school. Or her brother, who’s obliviously dating Rachael’s high school bully. Or that same high school’s upcoming reunion.

Still, when Ryan’s rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday night dinners for half a dozen football players.

Over pancake brunches, charity galas, and Alexander the Great Rachael realizes all the judgments she’d made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love–even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.

Review: The blurb is pretty straight-forward, so I’ll move on right along to my review.

This was one of those books that had a lot going for it, but a lot of elements that took away from it.

What I liked:

  • Rachael, ‘normal’ if somewhat snobbish young woman.
  • Ryan, the handsome and sexy athlete
  • The somewhat realistic account of love between a ‘normal’ girl and a football star.
  • The humorous and flirtatious banter.
  • Sports theme.
  • New York setting.
  • Rachael loves books.

What I didn’t like:

  • Rachael’s judgmental side and her inability to decide what she wanted. She came across as superficial and immature which didn’t help me to connect to her.
  • The abundance of religious references. I don’t think all of them added to the story. In any case, it kind of dragged the pace of the story and took me away from it.
  • Ryan’s attitude towards Rachael. He was rude and his treatment of her just prevented my connecting to him fully.
  • Although there was chemistry between them I don’t think there was enough of a connection for them to build a relationship with.
  • Still don’t understand why I needed the whole Malcolm drama included in this story in such detail.

Having said that, I admit that the book wasn’t a total loss. I enjoyed the descriptions of New York and the interactions of Rachael and Ryan with the secondary characters, specifically the other football players. I didn’t care much for the whole high school friends since they just enabled Rachael to keep on acting immaturely.

All in all, Rush Me was an okay read with great potential if only the concept would have been developed properly and the characters were more matured.

I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.