Chrissy’s Review: Playing Defense by Aven Ellis

Playing Defense (Dallas Demons #5)
written by Aven Ellis
published by Soul Mate Publishing, LLC, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I did. I read Playing Defense every free chance I had, and as with all of Ms. Ellis’s books, I loved it. I was left with that happy, giddy feeling I always have at the end of her stories.

Playing Defense follows JP Rochat and Reese Brannon through their fast relationship. These characters are young. There were a few times I just wanted them to talk to each other instead of listening to others and not getting the whole story. But that’s the beauty of being the reader, I know what’s happening even when the characters do not. I also wanted more Real.Life.Reese. and hockey. There was quite a bit, but I just wanted more.

Their romance was sweet. I loved their competitiveness. I loved that Reese wasn’t afraid to post her non-healthy treats–Oreos! And I loved seeing what the other characters were up to, especially Harrison and Kylie!


Would I recommend it? Yep! I sure would.




About the book – from Goodreads: After a string of bad set-ups and boring dates, Reese Brannon is done with men. She’s focused on her job as a fitness model and blogger. Her life in the city is fun. She’s young. There’s no need to look for a man because she doesn’t want one. Especially when relationships usually end in heartbreak.

Jean-Pierre Rochat—known as JP— is done with women. All this Swiss hockey player has ever wanted is to fall in love, but his relationships never end with a happily ever after. Believing he’s always going to be dealt the friend card, JP is over it. If he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone, he’ll keep things casual for his new endgame.

But will one hot Dallas summer night change everything for Reese and JP?

Because when the two meet again when JP returns for hockey season, Reese finds her attraction to him hasn’t waned since their first meeting. Charming and intelligent, JP is different in all the right ways, but Reese realizes letting him in will make her vulnerable, something that terrifies her. JP never forgot Reese from their initial introduction last winter, and the sparks fly for him even more so the second time. But with Reese, his thoughts are anything but casual . . .

Can JP and Reese let their guards down to take a chance on love? Or will this simply be a game of playing defense?



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Jaclyn’s Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless
written by Colleen Hoover
published by Colleen Hoover, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? 
Oh my goodness. This is one of the best books I have read in quite a while! I’m not even sure how to review this book without completely gushing over it and ruining it for everyone else! There is something about Sky that draws you in from the very beginning. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot find a single fault with Holder. You start this book and think you know where it is going–and then it changes. You’ll hate that it changes, but then you’ll love it even more. This book is, quite literally, breathtaking. I found myself holding my breath through passages, gasping with shock at others, heaving sighs–everything! The ending brought me to tears. This book gave me one of the worst book hangovers that I have EVER had! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pick up another book after this one–it took me DAYS to recover! I may go reread it now . . .



Would I recommend it? Absolutely! This book has some sensitive subject matter, so I would be cautious with anyone younger than high-school age (and I’m still not sure that it’s OK for teenagers, but Sky is a senior in high school). This book is phenomenally written, well thought out, well developed–everything in this book is completely perfect. I can’t say enough about this book. Go read it!




About the book – from Goodreads: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.


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Jaclyn’s Review: Made for Me by Kathryn R. Biel

Made for MeMade for Me
written by Kathryn R. Biel
published by Kathryn R. Biel, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? I really liked this book! Michele has a series of unfortunate events and decides to use them to her advantage. She auditions for a reality TV show where the contestants have to design and make clothes for a member of a (fictitious) royal family. The usual hijinks ensue. The plot is cute, I liked the characters, and it had a happy ending–what more could you ask for?


Would I recommend it? Absolutely! This was a fun, cute read.




About the book – from Goodreads: Michele’s lack of focus in life hasn’t bothered her, until the day she finds herself with mounting credit card debt, unable to afford her rent, and without a job. While her meddling family questions how she can end up in this predicament, at the age of 29, and single to boot, Michele doesn’t want to admit the truth. All she wants to do is sew.

Faced with the prospect of moving back into her parents’ house, Michele throws a Hail Mary pass and applies for a TV design contest, Made for Me. In order to win the contest, Michele will have to compete with nine other contestants to design the new wardrobe for Duchess Maryn Medrovovich, who’s about to marry Prince Stephan of the United Republic of Montabago.

While in the seclusion of the show, Michele starts to realize where her focus in life should be, and what’s truly important to her. However, a dashing competitor might just cause her to lose her focus once and for all. Can Michele keep her eye on the prize while being true to herself?


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Fall Reading Challenge: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (Chrissy’s review)


Emma in the Night
written by Wendy Walker
published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links)  Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooksTargetWalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I did. I read this book every free chance I had and even stayed up late to finish it.

Emma in the Night had a few twists that I didn’t quite see coming. It kept me reading from beginning to end. I can honestly say I didn’t care for most of the characters, but they kept me interested in their story. And what a story Cass had to tell when she returned from going missing three years ago.  Her story led everyone on a path to the truth. I can’t give you many details because it will ruin the book, but it was a page-turning read.


Would I recommend it? I would. It’s a good psychological family thriller.



About the book – from Goodreads: 
From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

What do you think of my student ID? 😉


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Beat the Back-to-School Blues Blog Tour: Bridge of the Gods by Dian Rios (Melissa’s review)

Bridge of the Gods (The Silver Mountain Series #1)Bridge of the Gods
written by Diane Rios
published by She Writes Press, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
So here’s what happened. I promised I’d have this book finished for the blog tour, then promptly forgot about it until two days before I was supposed to post. So obviously I’m reading like a maniac–while folding laundry, while stirring dinner . . . you get the idea. Here’s the thing: this is a book based on a world where mountains decide to fall asleep. Because the only thing less mobile than a mountain is a SLEEPING mountain. Guess what. This is not at all a fast read. It’s downright molasses-in-winter slow.

If I’d have had more time (totally my fault), I’d likely have said how I loved the sleepy, old world pace. I’d have drawn lovely parallels between nature and prose and mentioned how despite the creepy body-collecting ambulances this was a beautiful ramble through both the outdoors and the plot. As it were, though, I just kept thinking to myself, “HURRY UP ALREADY! I KNOW FROM THE BLURB YOU’RE GOING TO GET KIDNAPPED AND SOLD TO VAGABONDS. WE’RE NEARLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK AND YOU’RE STILL HOME! GET ON WITH IT!”

Though I do feel like Rios waited until the midpoint of the book to really get things started, I did enjoy it. I love Chloe and Shakespeare. I love the idea of “natural magic” instead of wands and spells. I LOVE Mrs. Goodweather (and I sort of want to steal her recipe book). I was hoping for some resolution at the end, but I suppose I’ll just have to wait for the next book to see how things play out.


Would I recommend it? I mean, YES, but please make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy it . . . this is not the sort of book one ought to read on a deadline.




About the book – from Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Chloe Ashton is an only child living in the remote wilderness of Oregon. She spends her days happily exploring the forests around her home, and is astonished to find the animals seem to know her, to follow her, and even try to speak to her. When a family tragedy results in Chloe’s abduction and sale to the vagabonds, she is taken deeper into the woods, and finds out just how much the animals know. Set at a time when technology is first touching the west, there is an evil rising in the land. The country is under attack, and all creatures, man and beast, must hide. The old legends speak of an ancient, natural magic deep within the mountains and rivers, and as Chloe struggles to survive, she finds that it still exists deep within the forests. Friendship can be found even in the darkest of places, and it doesn’t always come in human form. Bridge of the Gods is a novel for all ages about the magical power of nature, and of finding friendship in the darkest of places.

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Jaclyn’s Review: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman No. 17Woman No. 17
written by Edan Lepucki
published by Hogarth, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I kind of liked this book. It was definitely not my favorite, but I really wanted to see how it was going to end. What’s funny is I actually didn’t like what was happening throughout most of the book, but I liked that I had such a strong reaction to the plot. The main characters are written well–you alternate between liking and hating them. You are constantly questioning motives and meanings behind actions.


Would I recommend it: If you want to read a book that is not a cheerful, happy, fluffy book, this is for you. This book is a bit dark and doesn’t have a happy/warm and fuzzy ending. If you like books that aren’t cookie-cutter clean, I would go for it.



About the book – from Goodreads: A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear.

Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.


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Melissa’s Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige


Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1)Stealing Snow
written by Danielle Paige
published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, WalmartiBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I mean, if by “enjoy” you mean “binge read all afternoon while letting the children overdose on screen time,” then YES. ALL THE YES. I mean sure, the book has its flaws (mainly, how does a girl who spends her formative years in an insane asylum seamlessly adjust to an alternate, magical reality so gosh darn quickly?), but wow. I fell in love with this book, and I can’t wait to see what Snow does next. Hurry, Ms. Paige! Hurry!



“It is possible with enough time and imagination to break your own heart.”

“Sometimes we have to steal our future.”

“And maybe, just maybe, it didn’t matter how you looked going into battle. It just mattered that you went.”



Would I recommend it: Yes, yes, yes!




About the book – from Goodreads: First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.


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Beat the Back-to-School Blues Blog Tour: The Raven God by Alane Adams (Melissa’s review)

The Raven God (Legends of Orkney #3)The Raven God
written by Alane Adams
published by: expected publication Sept 12, 2017 by Sparkpress

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I think I waited too long between the first two books and this one. I struggled a bit to find my way back to the characters, and when I finally did remember their stories, I just wasn’t as invested as I should’ve been. I blame me. The story itself is still cool–I mean, how often do you get to read about “modern day” Norse mythology?

Anyway. I guess I’m disappointed in myself more than the book–I expected to love it as much as I loved the first two books in the series, and, well, I just didn’t.



Would I recommend it: I mean, YES. I think it best to read the series back-to-back (especially if you’ve a terrible memory like mine). Don’t let my failure stop you from reading–Alane Adams is still awesome!




About the book – from Goodreads: After defeating the Volgrim witches, life in Orkney is quiet. Too quiet. Before Sam Baron can catch his breath, an army of fire giants led by Surt gather in the Eighth Realm of Musspell, determined to destroy Orkney–and it’s all Sam’s fault. After all, he took Odin’s life with an ancient cursed dagger, and now, mankind has lost its protector. To make matters worse, the God of Mischief, Loki, is on the loose and determined to reunite with his evil wife, Angerboda, and their three children: Fenrir the wolf, Jormungand the sea serpent, and Helva, Goddess of Death. Orkney’s only hope lies with Sam and his stalwart friends. As Surt prepares to launch his forces against Orkney, Sam and two of his fellow witches, Perrin and Mavery, set out on a journey to rescue Odin, aided by Skidbladnir, a magical ship of the gods that can fly over land and sea, and Geela, a Valkyrie who can transform into a battle-ready goose. Meanwhile, Leo and Keely travel north to stop Loki from starting a war between the Eifalians and the Vanir, while Howie is left to watch over Skara Brae. With time running out, our heroes try frantically to prove once again that they can find the courage to do what’s needed when the odds are stacked against them–even when the sacrifice asked is greater than any of them could imagine.


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Jaclyn’s Review: The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

The Amateurs (The Amateurs, #1)The Amateurs 
written by Sara Shepard
published by Disney-Hyperion, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
First let me say, I do NOT read a book series until the whole series is published (at least, not if I can help it). I was really skeptical about starting this book since I was going in with an obvious bias. This book is also billed as a great read for someone who liked the Pretty Little Liars series. Since I didn’t care for that, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like this one. Big surprise! This was a good read! I thought it was a great “whodunit” kind of book. It wasn’t horribly gory, and the plot kept moving at a good pace. I liked the characters–they were revealed slowly, which makes sense for book 1 of a series. I found myself binge reading toward the end, because I just HAD to figure out who did it!

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this, despite being book 1 of a series. This would be a good read for a mature pre-teen to get them into the murder mystery genre. There was some violence, but nothing out of control or inappropriate. I would consider reading the next books in this series–which is really saying something!



About the book – from Goodreads: I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.


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Chrissy’s Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence
written by Kasie West
published by HarperTeen, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, TargetBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. This was a fun YA read with some serious plotlines that I read every free chance I had. It was a quick read, too.

Charlotte Reynolds is your typical tomboy. She can hang with the guys with no problem, but when it comes to the girls, she not very comfortable. At least until she starts a new job and makes some new friends. I really liked Charlotte. She was fun, into sports, and just seemed like a great girl. I’d be friends with her. I really liked how oblivious she was to the guys around her who obviously liked her. Braden, the honorary brother and neighbor, was a great character. I liked that he looked out for her and that he opened up to her. Their fence chats were sweet and intense and showed their true friendship.

On the Fence was a quick read that had me turning pages. I loved the love story, but I also enjoyed the story about her family. It was interesting and heartbreaking to watch that story unfold.


Would I recommend it: I sure would! This is another great contemporary YA read from Ms. West.




About the book – from Goodreads: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.



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