On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young is a book that’s been at the top of every New Adult Romance Goodreads list, and it’s usually the only one in the top ten that I haven’t read. I was super proud of myself that I finally got around to reading it, and I’m so glad I did.

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Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

I fell in love with Joss and Braden. Joss was such a likable character. She had questionable decision-making but her personality and inner-vulnerability made her so relatable. The way she fought to not like Braden was fun to watch because the reader knew what was really happening.

Braden was an interesting male lead. He had the alpha male thing going (with a tinge of Christian Grey) but he was also really vulnerable at times too. I loved how Joss was trying to deal with her issues and Braden was pushing her to open up. The sexual tension between them was really nice and the love scenes were entertaining but not overdone.

I feel like this review isn’t doing this book any justice. I devoured this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down and I fell in love with these characters. I’m now a huge fan of Samantha Young and I plan on reading more from her.

The goodreads list was right. You should definitely add this to your TBR pile pronto.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Dark Debt by Chloe Neill

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Dark Debt by Chloe Neill, which is released on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. This is the 11th book in the Chicagoland Vampire series.

20556438Between standing Sentinel of Cadogan house and making society appearances with House Master Ethan Sullivan, a new member of the American Association of Vampires, Merit has her hands full. The last thing she needs is trouble, especially of the deadly kind.

But when an old friend shows up in need, Merit can’t refuse. Morgan Greer, Master of House Navarre, has gotten himself into serious debt with a dangerous Chicago crime syndicate known as the Triad. And they’re willing to exact more than a pound of flesh for payback—unless Merit can find a way to stop them.

Only the Triad’s connections go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last…

I love this series. Merit is an amazing protagonist and she is both badass and likable. I started this series within the last year and I gobbled them up one after the other. If you like urban fantasy, you have to read Chloe Neill.

 

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Caution: There may be slight spoilers since this is the third book in a seires.

I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas. I loved Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight confirmed my love for this series. I was super excited to finally read Heir of Fire, but it wasn’t what I expected.

20613470Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

First, this is not the last book. I repeat, this is NOT the last book. Apparently, this is not a trilogy. I don’t know why I expected it to be; I don’t know why my assumptions were wrong. This fact alone will save you the turmoil and disappointment of turning the final page of this 565-page behemoth.

I was not prepared for Heir of Fire. This book is in a completely different realm than the rest of this series. Don’t get me wrong. This is a great change, exhibiting Maas as a mature fantasy writer in contrast to her earlier work. This book has a different feel – it’s more high fantasy, the alternating chapters from various characters, old and new, reminding me of George R.R. Martin’s style. I found myself in a tumultuous place every time I finished a chapter, because just like a Game of Thrones book, I had preferences and certain chapters I preferred not to read causing my reading experience to be a roller coaster ride. With that said, this book was fantastic. It just wasn’t what I was expecting from Maas.

After accepting the fact that this book would be different, I feel in love with the new character, Rowan. I loved the journey Celaena was forced to undertake, the battles she had to fight and obstacles she had to overcome. It was painful at times and Celaena’s inner turmoil even brought me to tears at one point. This book is less adventure and more about Celaena coming into who she is meant to be.

Now I didn’t say no adventure! There is plenty of action in this book as Celaena fights foes, big and small. She is still a badass fighter and throughout the novel, once she comes into her own, she kicks some serious ass.

I ended up really liking this book, despite my confusion early on. I was heartbroken to find there was yet to be any resolutions on the plight of Celaena and her kingdom. However, that just means another book to anticipate. The next book is still untitled but scheduled for release in September 2015. We’ll have to wait and see.

STARS: 5 out of 5

 

Releases and Recommendations: Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott, which will be released Tuesday, February 24, 2015. This is the second book in the Fire & Flood series.

20657437What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t quit–she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left–and only one can win.

I really enjoyed Fire & Flood, the first book in this series. It had that fight to the death competition, like Hunger Games, but with the possibility of less dead. Plus, each competitor has an animal-friend to help them through the challenges. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout

WARNING: I freaking love Jennifer Arementrout so this review will consist of bias fangirling!

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout was just what I needed. She has a way of creating the most drool-worthy characters with one-of-a-kind storylines. Who thinks of gargoyles? And then makes them hot? I am in awe of Armentrout’s amazing ability.

17455585One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

As the first book in the Dark Elements series, we are introduced into the world of gargoyles and demons. The female protagonist, Layla, is instantly likable and entertaining. As a half-demon, half-gargoyle, she’s got some issues. I loved how she struggled with her identity. Once Zayne and Roth were introduced, I KNEW I was in trouble. These two guys are equally hot but couldn’t be more different. This love triangle was so wonderfully constructed that I can’t choose between them. I CAN’T CHOOSE A TEAM, YOU GUYS! I always know which guy I want, but not in this series.

Armentrout is even doing something really cool and unique — letting the readers choose who Layla ends up with. Voting ended Nov. 11. I’m actually worried that the story won’t turn out how it should because of all of us fan girls, but I’m trusting that the truth will prevail.

I am totally in love with this series and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Armentrout did it again! I love her stories so much; she hasn’t let me down yet and I’ll read anything she publishes, and you should too!

STARS: 5 out of 5

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

I was blessed to receive a copy of I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre. It arrived in the mail on a day when I really needed a pick-me-up. I devoured it in one sitting. This is the first Contemporary Romance that I’ve read from Aguirre (I’ve read and loved her YA Razorland series.), and I was really impressed.

untitledNadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

I was drawn to the premise of this story, where a young college girl falls for a guy with a kid. It was beautifully done between describing the chaos surrounding a college girl’s life from parties to finals to the stress of working full-time and being a father. I was drawn to how real both Nadia and Ty were. I love realistic characters and I could relate to Nadia’s life ( It literally felt like my college experience in the beginning). Ty was an amazingly complex character. He was haunted by his past, both loathed and loved his current situation and secretly longed for more. His transformation from standoffish to lovable and loved was magical to watch.

I was surprised by Aguirre’s ability to show Ty as both a father and a hot-as-hell ginger. Just like Nadia, I lived for his weekends off when Nadia and Ty could finally be together without interruptions. This book had a lot of steamy, surprising moments. I was impressed that the love scenes weren’t repetitive or over-the-top; they were deliciously unexpected and different, creating emotional, tantalizing scenes.

This book was so refreshing because it was realistic in every way: the sexual tension between Ty and Nadia, the hardships of being a young father and a poor girl putting herself through college, and the beautiful payoff once the characters realized how love can never be planned and is always unexpected.

I devoured this book in one night, staying up way too late, but it was because I literally consumed this beautiful story that Aguirre created. Besides Ty and Nadia’s relationship, there is a lot going on with the secondary characters. At times, it felt like a little too much, but it makes me think these secondary characters will have their own stories later on. I enjoyed hearing about the drama of Nadia’s roommates and the stress of work. I really enjoyed Ty’s son Sam; he had so many cute moments.

Overall, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a steamy contemporary romance with realistic characters and a unique premise. I absolutely loved this book and I wouldn’t be the diehard BSB fan I am without mentioning the genius of naming this novel after a Backstreet Boys song. I am in love with this series and I can’t wait to read more.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Thank you Author Rx and Ann Aguirre for a copy in exchange for an honest review.