Kiss of the Royal
by Lindsey Duga
on July 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Princess Ivy has one goal—end the war against the Forces of Darkness.
Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair—if only they could agree on...well, just about anything.
But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.
Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right...
Review of Kiss of the Royal
Kiss of the Royal is a YA fiction novel by author Lindsey Duga. The story follows Ivy- a seventeen-year-old girl with unparalleled magic that can be bestowed upon others in the form of a kiss. In this richly imaginative world filled with dark forces such as goblins, dwarves, dragons, witches, and wraiths, a society of noble princes and princesses known as the Royals are sworn to protect the three kingdoms from evil. Their sole purpose is to fight the forces of darkness and squander any rebellions from a group of people known as the Romantica- a group of heretics who believe in “true love”- a notion the Royals find fanciful and fictitious, as they believe in suppressing emotions and operating only with cool logic and clear reasoning.
These long-held believes are challenged when Ivy pairs up with an infamous Royal swordsman named Zach, her page and best friend Bromley, and a sassy and talented mage named Millenia, on a quest to defeat the latest threat to the kingdoms- a lethal dragon that is in the process of being hatched by the Evil Queen- the very one who introduced the Kingdoms to the dark forces and sparked the beginning of the magic kissed utilized as weapons by the Royals. This journey to save the world was fraught with nail-biting encounters with a number of imaginative and mystical creatures, enough plot twists to leave you dizzy with shock, and heart-melting romance.
Zach’s character was flippant, charming, and swoon-worthy. From the second he was introduced to Ivy I just knew he was going to be an instant favorite of mine. Zach had me laughing routinely throughout the story and I could never predict his actions- something that rarely occurs with me. His confidence, unwavering faith in love, and his desire to help those around him snagged my heart and shot him straight to the top of my mental book boyfriends list (I seriously need to get a second list going). Ivy’s character was also complex- she was noble, righteous, brave, and selfless. Having been raised by a mother devoid of warmth and love proved to be a challenge for Ivy during her interactions with others- which is probably the main reason she struggled to believe in the concept of love once it was revealed to her. It made it that much more interesting to watch the charged emotions and evident chemistry between Zach and Ivy.
The breathtaking romance, grand and harrowing adventure, imaginative world, and intricate plot made Kiss of the Royal an instant favorite of mine! Honestly, it truly is the must-read novel for those who love YA romance, dark fairy-tales, and fantasy novels!
FIVE stars for Kiss of the Royal!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One Small Thing
by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin on July 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Dating & Sex
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo of The Royals and When It’s Real comes a sensational new novel about a girl falling for the one boy she should never have met…
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems like a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
Review of One Small Thing
One Small Thing is a standalone novel by New York Times bestselling author-duo Erin Watt. The story follows Beth, a high school student who-for the past three years-has been sheltered and monitored closely by her parents after the sudden, tragic death of her older sister. However, her desire to finally break free from their over-protectiveness leads her to a party where she runs into another high school student- Chase. Chase has just been released from a three year stay in juvie due to his involvement in Beth’s sister’s death. His desire is to start fresh and to make sure he is never put into a position where something unfortunate may happen. When he and Beth meet, the metaphorical sparks fly and they push all the darkness aside that has been clinging to them for years and lose themselves in each other.
One Small Thing is definitely one of the darker, heavier novels written by Erin Watt. Despite the controversial foundation that was created at the beginning of Chase and Beth’s relationship, the story held the subtle humorous notes that are present in previous novels. Beth’s ability to look beyond Chase’s actions the night her sister died, and recognize that he made a tragic mistake made her an instant favorite of mine. She struggled deeply with her conflicting emotions throughout the story- her love for her sister, her forgiveness of Chase, her frustration with her parents, her fear of being judged by others for feeling something for Chase, etc. Chase had his own metaphorical demons to contend with- his guilt over Beth’s sister’s death, his experience in juvie, his feelings for Beth, his own guilt for putting Beth in a position to lie to friends and family about their closeness and involvement with each other, and his belief that he should continue to atone for what occurred in the past.
Despite all the turmoil and controversy surrounding their burgeoning relationship, Chase and Beth are able to connect on a level that far exceeds the tender, sweet juvenile love that is often seen in novels in this genre. The melancholy tones weave perfectly with their relationship, making their feelings stark, real, and meaningful. Beth was exactly what Chase needed to realize that he was more than the sum of his past mistakes, and Chase was exactly what Beth needed in order for her to understand her parents, and herself, when it comes to their way to heal and grieve.
One Small Thing was a beautifully written masterpiece about star-crossed lovers who find the strength to grow from their grief and forgiveness while seeking solace and understanding in each other’s company. It is a deep and meaningful love story that was crafted and built from a subtle, melancholic place and flourished into something enduring and lasting and real.
Five stars for One Small Thing!
by Jen Frederick
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 4, 2016
Genres: Romance, Romantic Comedy, Coming of Age
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
She's always played it safe... College junior Lucy Washington abides by one rule-avoid risk at all costs. She's cautious in every aspect of her life, from her health, to her mock trial team, to the boring guys she dates. When a brash, gorgeous jock walks into the campus coffeeshop and turns his flirt on, Lucy is stunned by the force of attraction. For the first time ever, she's willing to step out of her comfort zone, but can she really trust the guy who's determined to sweep her off her feet? He's always played around... Entering his last year of college eligibility, linebacker Matthew "Matty" Iverson has the team captaincy in his sights. And it's his for the taking, if he can convince his quarterback Ace Anderson to give up the starting position. Luckily, Matty already has an edge-the hottie he's lusting over just happens to be Ace's childhood best friend. Getting Lucy on his side and in his bed? Hell yeah. Matty is more than confident he can have both, but when he falls hard for Lucy, it's time for a new game plan: convince the woman of his dreams that she's not sleeping with the enemy.
Jockblocked is the second novel in the Gridiron series by USA Today bestselling author Jen Frederick. The story follows Lucy Washington, a college junior who works at a coffee shop, spends a great deal of time practicing for a mock trial, and steadfastly avoids jocks- especially the football players. Matthew Iverson is a star football player who plays defense, but when he meets Lucy studying in the coffee shop, he immediately moves into the position of offense. As Lucy tries to respect the wishes of her best friend Ace- the football team’s quarterback- and avoid his teammates, all while trying to manage her health issues and mock trial team, Matthew-or Matty-finds himself in the unique position of trying to pursue his interest in Lucy while keeping his own team together- by trying to convince Ace to leave his quarterback position.
From the moment Lucy and Matty meet in the coffeeshop, the metaphorical sparks fly and the chemistry between the two immediately pulled me into the story until I thought, “Oh yeah, this is going to be good.” I have read stories where the chemistry between the characters starts off strong, and then half-way through something changes and I have to struggle to detect the sizzling attraction between the two that the first half of the book promised.
That was NOT the case with Jockblocked.
Lucy was a compelling character in the sense that she was very believable- a mix of flawed and intriguing characteristics and morals. Lucy was adamant and consistent in her defense of her friends- she did not allow people to run rough-shod over her feelings, and she certainly did not say or do something that went against her firm beliefs in how a friend should behave or act. I respected Lucy for these beliefs, and respected Matty for understanding them as well. With that being said, Lucy realizing that what she had previously thought were strengths in her character but were well-rooted fears keeping her from taking chances, was what truly won her over for me.
Now, Matty Iverson…where do I begin with him? I have always been a fan of strong, alpha heroes who grin frequently, have a wicked sense of humor, dirty mouth, and are respectful and persistent. Matty was all of that and more! He won me over with that foot rub…seriously, I need that in my life. His character not only adapts to the health needs of the woman he desires in every sense of the word (what guy is that willing to go out to eat at a vegan restaurant?), but he demands that his friends respect her, and even sacrifices something he cares about to ensure her safety and well-being. Matty…you may have just won your spot on my next book boyfriends post.
Jockblocked was a humorous and sizzling mix of intense chemistry, laugh-out-loud moments, compelling characters, and non-stop fun! I literally could not put this book down. While I initially read it on my kindle, I loved it SO much that I am ordering the paperback version and the rest in the series along with it!
Five stars for Jockblocked!
by Laura Thalassa
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on March 21, 2018
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
They came to earth-Pestilence, War, Famine, Death-four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn's town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed. Too bad no one told her Pestilence can't be killed. Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he's eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she's with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her ... and hers towards him. And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she'll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.
Review of Pestilence
Pestilence is the first novel in the Four Horsemen series by Laura Thalassa. The story follows Sara Burn, a young woman who literally draws the “short straw” and must stay behind when her town evacuates due to the impending arrival of the horseman known as Pestilence. Every town and city that Pestilence has ridden through has resulted in a mass number of people perishing from the pervasive and deadly disease- the plague. Sara’s main task is to shoot and kill Pestilence as he enters her hometown- a task she both dreads and anticipates as she believes it is her parents’ only chance for survival.
Naturally, her plan goes awry, and Pestilence not only doesn’t die (despite the horrific way she ended him and his horse), but he kidnaps Sara in revenge and keeps her as his reluctant prisoner. What follows is a haunting adventure plagued (pun intended) with disease, heartache, betrayal, hope, redemption, and love.
There was a surprising amount of cruelty involved in this story. I will admit to being shocked by the actions of Sara when she attempted to kill Pestilence (though I understood her motivation). I couldn’t blame Pestilence for his anger at being attacked in such a way (and it made me cringe a bit when he even implored her for mercy). However, Pestilence more than receives his revenge by his brutal handling of Sara (being dragged by a horse, starved, shot with an arrow, and forced to watch others die slowly from the plague)- honestly, I half wondered if it was even possible for both characters to look past such events, forgive one another, and even fall in love.
While I understood why Sara felt the need to end Pestilence (he was causing widespread disease which was killing off thousands of people), it took me a bit to understand Pestilence. As the story progressed, I began to understand his character a bit more. Pestilence’s actions are divinely perceived as orders from God because of humans’ destructive behavior. In his mind, he believes his actions just. In addition, he isn’t human…he’s lived thousands of years as a “higher being”, so he does not truly understand human love, compassion, and all the emotions and actions that make people truly “great”. While Pestilence began to see a more beautiful side to humanity- through Sara’s eyes and actions, his burgeoning feelings for her, and the compassion in a few of the humans they cross- Sara begins to see parts of humanity that are truly troubling.
One thing that did bother me was the fact that Sara did not think, prior to initially attacking Pestilence, that someone had not thought to do so before. In fact, she didn’t dwell on this possibility until halfway through the novel.
Amid all the conflict, heartache, and turmoil, Pestilence and Sara begin to develop a stronger understanding of one another, and through that, feelings begin to develop into something pure and beautiful.
Pestilence was a deep, thought-provoking, passionate story about two people with vastly different points of view who find ways to overcome adversity and misunderstandings to not only save the world, but find love in the process.
Four stars for Pestilence!
by Katy Evans
Published by KT PUBLISHING on November 24, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
A bad boy with something to prove.A woman with a mission.The race of their lives.The love of a lifetime.
I don't think his parents expected him to live up to his name?Racer Tate?but once he felt the adrenaline rush behind the wheel, he was addicted.
He's the fastest, fiercest driver around.
�Scouting new talent brings me to his doorstep... but his smile sends me to my knees.�
The sexy, mysterious Racer Tate is not the kind of man a girl like me falls for. He's secretive, reckless, elusive. But his proximity pushes me beyond reason, and his kiss....
This is our last chance to win, and he is our only hope. I'm supposed to watch him?make sure he doesn't get into trouble. But it's an impossible task. And now the one in heart wrenching, toe-curling, soul-crushing trouble is me. Because when your heart belongs to someone, their truths become your own, and their secrets become your salvation...or your curse.
He says he wants me. He says I'm the One. But he also thinks he'll break my heart, one piece at a time until it's gone.
Racer is a contemporary standalone novel by New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans. The story follows Lana, a twenty-two-year-old woman who is trying to keep the family business of racing professionally afloat. Unfortunately, without finding a driver for their team, the HW Racing Team may not see another season. This quandary sends Lana back to the States in search of someone to race for their team- a trip that sends her crashing- literally- into Racer Tate. Racer lives for the adrenaline rush fast cars provide and has earned a reputation among the illegal racing circuit as being one of the best drivers. So, when Lana approaches him about racing professionally with her team, he jumps on the opportunity. Of course, it isn’t just the promise of being able to drive at harrowing speeds that has Racer practically pumped with anticipation- it’s having the chance to grow closer to Lana and win her heart.
Racer Tate was a force of nature in this novel. His energy and intensity were consistent throughout the story. He was the first male protagonist in a romance novel that I have read about that has bipolar disorder. It was interesting to see how this disorder would play out in his professional life, as well as his romantic life. Lana has grown up the youngest of four children- with three older brothers, an ill father, and a mother who was no longer around. This has sort of forced Lana into a position of having to be strong, patient, and steady. Luckily, both Racer’s intensity and Lana’s steadiness help to balance each other. The chemistry was palpable between both characters and remained overwhelmingly present- there’s just no hiding something as raw and beautiful as the charged emotions between these two. While I usually don’t like male characters to be overly confident (as it often comes across as arrogant), Racer pulled it off nicely! In fact, Racer’s confidence and assurance in his ability to win Lana’s heart managed to snag mine in the process (hello new book boyfriend!).
What I also enjoyed about Racer was his consistency in the story. Racer kept me constantly engaged and sleep-deprived for a good couple of days. In fact, I’m quote confident that I strode into work a couple of days with blood-shot eyes and haphazard pony tails with a serious case of “book hangover”. Not surprisingly, I finished the novel faster than I would have liked because I enjoyed the characters so much. It was also refreshing to see two dominant and strong men (Racer and his father) being able to express their love for each other. Racer’s father is inspiring and admirable in his support of his son and the mental health issue he is facing. Also, Lana’s relationship with her father is equally warm and supportive. In this, both Racer and Lana have something in common.
In all, Racer was a fast-paced, humorous, and sizzling read that completely absorbed my world for a good couple of days. It also holds the current position in my life as the giver of a pretty solid book hangover. I’m going to need to cure this feeling pronto.
FIVE stars for Racer!!