Nov 24, 2015

ARC Review: BUTTERFLY DREAMS by A. Meredith Walters


In a powerful romance hailed as “heartbreaking, real, and breathtakingly beautiful” by Stacey Lynn, New York Times bestselling author A. Meredith Walters tells the story of a troubled young woman and the unforgettable guy who teaches her to live—and love—to the fullest.
She’s waiting to die. . . . Corin Thompson is paralyzed by her obsession with mortality. Having lost both of her parents, she is terrified by the idea that she too will die young, and she loses control at any sign of illness. But when Corin connects with someone who has survived a very real brush with death, she begins to see the world in a whole new way.

He’s learning to live. . . . As Corin struggles under the weight of her neuroses, Beckett Kingsley is attempting to rebuild a life that feels all too temporary. With the ever-present threat of heart failure never far from his mind, he just wants to make the most of whatever time he has left. And that means pursuing the girl he never expected to find.

Together, Corin and Beckett finally learn to let go of their fears and take solace in everyday pleasures. Who knows what the future holds? After all, nothing lasts forever—the only promise they have is right now.


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Rating: 3 stars.

Butterfly Dreams is only my second book by A. Meredith Walters, but from what I've read in those novels, and what I've gathered about some of her other works, I've come to the conclusion she's an author who doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, and making her characters go through a lot of suffering over the course of a few hundred pages. Unfortunately for Corin and Beckett, the stars of Butterfly Dreams, they weren't spared the heartache, and not the emotional kind.

Beckett had suffered a heart attack, and diagnosed with genetic heart defect. Corin's heart problems, on the other hand, were in her head. Ever since losing both of her parents when she was a teenager, she'd become obsessed with her own mortality. She was convinced there was something seriously wrong with her even if all her test results kept coming back normal. Her latest source of anxiety was her heart. So certain she was she had some kind of heart disease, she joined a support group for people with heart issues. That was how she and Beckett met. 

I have to admit, their story sounds more appealing to me in theory. What I actually read about them, well, I wasn't overly impressed. I did like Beckett from the start, but I wasn't so lucky with Corin. That girl, she would not be winning Miss Congeniality any time soon, that's for sure, but I don't think it was just her prickly personality that made me unable to care for her as I did for Beckett. I'm no stranger to anxiety, so Corin's troubles should've made her more relatable, but I failed to connect with her. Instead of understanding her actions, I was more annoyed by them than anything. To be honest, I didn't get Beckett's fascination with her, or why he was so determined to become a part of her life. Come to think of it, their transition from friends to boyfriend-girlfriend didn't feel as a natural progression of their relationship. It just sort of happened. I knew it was coming, but I didn't care for the way it happened

What I did like was what came next. Beckett, ever the optimist trying to make the most of every day, was an excellent influence on the always focused on death Corin. This was the point where I finally grew to like her, and every step she made be it in being a better girlfriend, friend, sister, or learning to enjoy life, living in the now, letting go of the past, or making progress in controlling her anxiety, it was great. Most of all, I liked the epilogue. The story got sad towards the end, and that epilogue was everything. I loved how it was done. 

Butterfly Dreams will be joining the books I read and wished they were written differently to give me more feels, but even so my heartstrings were tugged at, and that was all I wanted. I'm not an expert on A. Meredith Walters' books, therefore I'm not sure whether this would be the right first book by her to read or not, but to those who are already her fans, this could be another book to their liking.  

***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***
P.S. Both Purple and I were given the opportunity to read an ARC of Butterfly Dreams, so if you'd like a second opinion on it from someone who liked it less than I did, click here.

Until next time, happy reading!


Nov 23, 2015

ARC Review: REAL WORLD (Bend or Break, #5) by Amy Jo Cousins


When talking fails, it’s time to break out the big guns.

Five years ago, Tom Worthington busted his ass to overcome the fear and paranoia that led him to withdraw from the world and nearly lose his boyfriend. He never thought he’d find himself right back there, shutting Reese out, keeping secrets again.

Reese Anders is ready to try anything to get Tom to talk: if he can’t seduce his boyfriend with food, he’ll get Tom to open up in bed. But even Tom’s confession that his dad is getting out of prison soon doesn’t clear the air between them. And as the holidays approach, intensive mentoring from a new British boss creates more distractions, until Reese is keeping secrets of his own.

At a company Christmas party, it only takes Tom one look at Reese’s new boss to figure out how much danger their relationship is in. But he’s not about to let the connection that started all those years ago at Carlisle come to an end. It’s time to deal with their problems like adults. Face to face. Or back to front. Starting in the bedroom.

Warning: This book contains two adorable guys with way too many secrets, conciliatory rigatoni, a bedroom lesson on the power of multitasking, and indisputable evidence on what makes the perfect holiday HEA.

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Rating: 3.5 stars.

“I’m your rock. And you’re mine.”

It's been five years since Tom & Reese met in Off Campus. They're still together, of course. They no longer live off campus; now they're out in the real world, and seem to be doing much, much better now than they did back then.


Tom's dad is back in the news, and Tom is back to his old habit of shutting everyone out when he's troubled, and avoiding conversation at all cost.
He's not being honest not even with Reese. Now, I could criticize him for not talking with the people who are closest to him, and who would be there for him no matter what, but that would make me a hypocrite, and I wouldn't want that. Poor Tom, that's all I can say. Keeping everything bottled up is hard, but, fortunately, he's made significant steps in opening up and actually talking to the most important person in his life, and that was worth waiting for. I can safely say this novella made a true Tom's fan out of me.

This is where Tome won me over, yes, but Reese's POV was more than welcome. I was glad to see how much he's able to now with Tom without feeling trapped and freaking out. Tom may have for a bit reverted to his college self, but Reese seems to have come a long way. However, if I'm being completely honest, Reese's POV was a welcome change because it was a break from Tom's anxious thoughts.

The plot... Hmmmm... I don't have much to say here. It seemed rather scattered. I've had some issues with it in Off Campus too. At least, Real World is only half as long.

All in all, this was a nice follow-up story to Tom & Reese's book, with an even nicer -- and more happy than the one in Off Campus -- ending. Anyone who read the first book and liked them will want to read this as well.

***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Until next time, happy reading!



Nov 22, 2015

Review: OFF CAMPUS (Bend or Break, #1) by Amy Jo Cousins


Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

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Rating: 3 stars.

A little while ago Real World caught my attention on NetGalley. I wanted to read it, so I requested it, and got approved. But before I could read it and see how Tom and Reese were doing five years into their relationship, I had to read Off Campus and see how it all started. Bend or Break series was one of those I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read or not, so getting that ARC made my decision. However, reading Off Campus had me questioning if it was the right one.

It started well enough.
Both Tom and Reese seemed like the characters I'd have liked to know more about, and I was looking forward to seeing how the romance developed between them. Tom obviously had a lot of baggage, and Reese appeared to have some secrets of his own. Plus, Reese couldn't have been less enthusiastic about having a roommate. Based on such beginning, I expected theirs would be roommates who can't stand each other to lovers type of romance, or maybe that was wishful thinking on my part. Either way, it didn't go as I imagined it would, which I would've been perfectly okay with had I found the story more interesting.

There isn't much going on in Off Campus plot-wise, or, at least, not in my opinion. It didn't take long for it to start dragging, and for me to start wishing the book had fewer pages. I still liked Tom and Reese, and I wanted to get to their happy ending, but, unfortunately, the story didn't hold my attention. I believe this was a case of bad timing. I've had a lot of my mind lately, and this would've worked much better if I had a more peaceful state of mind. Alas, there's no going back.

However, even with all my frustration over my lack of focus, I did enjoy getting to know these characters, even if one of them made me want to smack some sense into him. I'm, of course, referring to Tom, although I can't really blame him for having so little trust in people after so many betrayed him, nor can I blame him for wanting to stay away from everyone. His wanting to conceal his relationship with Reese, and the worrying someone might see them together wasn't easy for Reese, therefore I didn't like it, but still I understood. I'm not an expert on the behavior of people who went through what Tom, and Reese had, but it seemed plausible. I will say for Tom, his dedication to make it in life despite all the derailments his father's actions caused was commendable, though for his own good I wished he let someone give him a hand from time to time. Luckily, he had a boyfriend and two friends to teach him to have some faith in the people in his life.

What I missed in this book was Reese's POV. I kept waiting for it, but it never happened. It would've been very nice to have gotten to know him not only through what Tom thought and learned about him, and it also would've been nice to see Tom from another perspective.

Tom & Reese, given their pasts, had a lot of issues to work through, and having the fun Steph and Cash in their lives did them good. I know I liked whenever they were a part of a scene. I must make a note to read their novel when I get a chance. Their book I think I will have much more fun reading.

Overall, to me Off Campus was an okay book, one I wish I read at a different time, because I bet it could've been way better than okay. Ah, well, it is what it is. Time to see how how they're all doing five years later.

Until next time, happy reading!



Nov 20, 2015

Blog Tour: LONG WAY DOWN by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The moment has come! This is officially the last Addicted / Calloway Sisters blog tour on this blog. I'm incredibly excited for LWD, because I've no doubt it'll be EPIC! I've grown to love Daisy & Ryke so much and I can't wait to read the ending of their story. LWD comes out TODAY, so make sure to grab your copy. :) 


Ryke Meadows is the male protagonist of Long Way Down. He’s the adventurous, pushy, loud-mouthed one of the group that constantly drops the “f” word into every conversation. So be warned. There will be some fucks. Here are some of his more interesting texts: 


Title: Long Way Down
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Series: Calloway Sisters #4
Pub Date: November 20th, 2015
Amazon: Purchase links not available until November 20th 


With a seven-year age difference, Ryke & Daisy have faced an uphill battle in the eyes of the world and their families. Known as the most adventurous, fast-paced couple — their next step has always been elusive to the rabid media.

Behind the scenes, heartbreaking troubles continue to test Ryke & Daisy’s resilience and shape their future together. 

They promise:

To never slow down. 
To never compromise who they are. 
To never abandon their love for each other. 

But preserving their happiness also means adding more risks. Ones that Connor Cobalt wouldn’t even take. As a professional free-solo climber, Ryke is no stranger to risk, but his next step with Daisy wagers more than just his health. 

With their lives on the line, Ryke & Daisy head towards the vast, wild unknown in this epic final conclusion to the Addicted series.


Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love. 





Nov 14, 2015

ARC Review: WINTER WONDERLAND (Minnesota Christmas, #3) by Heidi Cullinan


Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.


Connect with the author:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


Rating: 4 stars.

Winter Wonderland comes with the best warning: erotic snow art, toppy twinks, super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice. It was all I needed to know. I mean, how could you not want to read a book which has all that?

This is the third book in the Minnesota Christmas series, which means before it was finally Paul's turn to find his significant other, two other couples found their happily-ever-afters. Those who have read and liked the previous books will be happy to see them here too. I haven't read them yet, but I was glad they were part of the story, though for me it was because they were Paul's friends, and Paul needed friends in his life, and because they were very good friends who helped him find love where he least expected it.

Winter Wonderland had many good points. Some of them were listed in the "warning", some were related to showing love for a certain animated film I love, and mocking a demographic that likes to watch a certain news program that I like to mock, and Winter Wonderland sounded like a magical place I wanted to visit, but the best thing about this book were the characters. Aside from a few unsavory characters, I had plenty of lovely ones to enjoy reading about. I loved both main characters, Paul and Kyle, and I liked having POVs of both of them. I liked them both, but they won me over in different ways. Paul, with his loneliness, love for cheesy Christmas movies, a family who put him down every chance they got, and wishing for his one to finally appear, had an air of sadness around him. I wanted to make it all better for him, but obviously couldn't, so I wished for a white knight to come and do it. And you know what, he did. Kyle may have been the last person Paul saw himself with, but he proved to be a perfect match, and a knight who'd not let him run away from love and happiness, who'd make his days brighter, and nights hotter, and fight monsters that were Paul's family members for him. In short, Kyle was the man who made the future something to look forward to, and with Kyle, and a new family who loves and respects him, many happy days are in front of him. I can stop worrying about him. :)

I knew I picked the right book to read when I came across this: A ten-foot-tall snow penis towered over Paul Jansen’s front steps. This sentence you probably had to read twice to make sure you read it right the first time is the book's opening line, so, you know, it didn't take me long. I was hooked from the get-go. It is the talented artist responsible for those imaginative, lifelike sculptures that for me was the best part of the story. The artist was Kyle, of course, and if Paul had sadness written all over, Kyle was like a ray of sunshine, making everyone around him smile, and feel warm, sometimes with knitwear. I adored him. His relationship with Paul, his family, especially his sister, Paul's neighbor Edna, and really everyone around him was so wonderful. Ah, he was a treasure. Add to all that his domineering, controlling personality that comes out to play in the bedroom, and you have a perfect boyfriend material for Paul.

Paul & Kyle's relationship had its ups and downs as any other, but mostly it was sweet, sweet and hot. The story had parts I liked less than other parts as any other story, but overall it was a very enjoyable holiday read. But what's most important in this is:

At last, Paul had a boyfriend for Christmas he had been wishing for...

***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***
Until next time, happy reading!


Nov 8, 2015

Review: THE QUEEN (The Original Sinners, #8) by Tiffany Reisz


Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 
The time has finally come to keep their promises. 
Out of money and out of options after her year-long exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground. 

While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar? 

With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.


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4 stars.

Book eight. The end. This is the moment I've been both dreading and looking forward to for a long time. I hate having to say goodbye to another series this year, especially one with so many characters who've become dear to me over the few years I've been reading about them, but it's time. I'll miss the series, I'll miss the Sinners, I already miss Kingsley, but it's time to let them put the past behind and enjoy their happy endings. That's what The White Years have been about. Each book showed us the main characters living happily, giving us info on what's new in their lives, and what's to come, and in between we had a few hundred pages of confessions about times long gone. This, the last confession was Nora's.

The Queen was another Nora's story, and this time it really was Nora's story. Not Eleanor's, or Elle's. Nora's. It was the last important untold part of the Sinners history: how Eleanor Schreiber became Nora Sutherlin, the erotica writer and the famous Dominatrix we met a long time ago in the book that started it all, The Siren.

Both in the present and the past The Queen picked up right where The Virgin left off: in their present time the big wedding was happening, and Nora was delighted; in the past she was sitting in Kingsley's office, and her life was about to change forever. When you like a series as much as I like The Original Sinners, in the anticipation of a new book, you can't help but imagine what will happen in it based on the bits and pieces you know about it. Sometimes your imagination goes overboard, so when you actually read the story, you're surprised by how simple it all was. That's sort of what happened to me here. It's not a bad thing. Just different. I liked the addition of Thorny and Milady, one there to help and the other to hinder Nora's future as a Dominatrix, though I did think they would be the cause of bigger drama.

The Queen gave us insight into how Eleanor/Elle became Nora, how she trained to be a dominant, then later in the book how her life was going working for Kingsley, but if I had to pick one aspect of the story that stood out to me, it would the complicated relationship between Nora and Søren, and how hard it was for her to not come back to him. Having the freedom to do anything and anyone felt amazing to Nora, but there was always Søren tempting her to go back in his cage. Always Søren. Even I felt emotionally exhausted. I used to think this would be a Nora book, but given all the scenes with her and Søren, especially the end, I'm calling this a Nora & Søren book.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I've spent some time thinking about what I might read in The Queen. I thought it would be cool to have it end at the point where The Siren started. That didn't happen, but it was close enough. The cause of Søren's unusual nervousness, this I nailed. But of course, a few parts I could never have guessed. And the end, the very end, ah, it was so happy it brought tears to my eyes.

In the end, just a few thoughts about The Original Sinners. I've enjoyed reading each and every part of the series, be it a full-length novel, novella or a short story. However, I do have to admit that while I've loved reading the tales from the Sinners' past, both unknown, and the ones we heard about before, I loved The Red Years more. In The White Years I missed having those different POVs (The King excluded; Kingsley's POV only was a dream come true!), when one or more of them were of the characters outside that main group, and learning new information about the Sinners through the eyes of people who were, like me, only getting to know them. It was a magical time, getting to know Nora, Søren, Griffin, Michael, Zach, and others and learning about all the ties that bind them. The best was, of course, getting to know Kingsley. That man, I will miss reading about him so much...

I don't know what else to say at the moment, except if you haven't already, pick up The Siren, and as Goodreads says: "Meet your next favorite book."

Until next time, happy reading!

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