On Dublin Street by Samantha Young {Review}

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young {Review}Title: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #1
Publisher: Penguin Audio on January 24, 2013
Format: Audiobook, 10 hrs and 48 mins
Source: Purchased
3 Stars


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.

My thoughts

Joss (as she prefers to be called) never faced the devastating events of her childhood, and has lived with a wall around her heart ever since. When she moves in with Ellie, that wall begins to crumble. When she meets Ellie’s hot brother Braden, the walls are shattered.

Poor Joss really has had it rough. She lost her entire family in one fell swoop, then not much later lost her best friend. Deciding it was better to not feel anything than to get hurt again, she hadn’t let anyone close in a long time. She had friends, but nobody she would call family. It was not hard to understand why she’d done that, I can’t imagine the pain she must have felt. On the other hand, I recognized that it wasn’t healthy and she needed help. Braden was also damaged, but not nearly as much as Joss. He’d had his heart broken by his ex, and had been content to play the ladies man ever since.

I loved Ellie, she was sweet, but kind of dense when it came to men. She was clearly in love with someone who was clearly in love with her (I’m not spoiling anything, it’s obvious as soon as you meet them), but they were both too stupid to do anything about it. She was an awesome friend to Joss, and really was the first step in getting Joss back to normal. Her subplot, however, was predictable and convenient.

He was what some might call an alpha male, but I would just call a dick.
The sexy scenes were extremely sexy. Lots and lots of hotness. They were very graphic, so if that’s not your thing, this is not your book. While I thought it was sexy, I can’t say it was romantic, but only because of how I felt about Braden. He was what some might call an alpha male, but I would just call a dick. He was cocky, arrogant, possessive and demanding. Luckily, Joss thought those were  endearing qualities and called him “caveman.”  And really, more than once I half expected him to knock her down and drag her around by her hair or lift his leg and pee all on her to mark his territory. That kind of male attitude just doesn’t do it for me. More than once, my jaw dropped and I waited for Joss to tell him where he could stick it. But no, it just turned her on and they had sex again.

While I had my problems with Braden, he did have a few likable qualities. He was quite sweet when he wanted to be, and he was protective of, and very generous with, his sister Ellie. While he was aggressive about it, he also managed to get through to Joss, help her see the way she was living wasn’t healthy for her. He had good intentions, at least.

I was not a fan of the audio version of the book. I liked Paula Costello’s voice, and she did a pretty good job with the accents, but she kept chuckling at inappropriate times. She would kind of say a sentence with laughter in her voice, like she thought Joss would say it. But I didn’t think Joss would laugh in a lot of those instances. It just came across as kind of awkward. Also, I had a hard time telling when Joss was thinking something to herself and when she was speaking out loud. The narrator could have done a better job of delineating which was which.

The sum up

Sexy with a side of sweet, this is perfect if you like your men large and in charge.

About the author

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She’s been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestseller ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance and has sold in twenty-five countries.

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A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}

A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}Title: A Little Too Much
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #2
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on November 12, 2013
Format: eBook, 416 pages
Source: Mundie Moms Blog Tours
4 Stars


In the follow-up to Lisa Desrochers’ explosive New Adult novel A Little too Far, Alessandro Moretti must face the life he escaped and the girl he loved and left behind.

Twenty-two year old Hilary McIntyre would like nothing more than to forget her past. As a teenager abandoned to the system, she faced some pretty dark times. But now that’s all behind her. Hilary has her life on track, and there’s no way she’ll head back down that road again.

Until Alessandro Moretti—the one person who can make her remember—shows up on her doorstep. He’s even more devastatingly gorgeous than before, and he’s much too close for comfort. Worse, he sees right through the walls she’s built over these last eight years, right into her heart and the secrets she’s guarding.

As Hilary finds herself falling back into love with the man who, as a boy both saved and destroyed her, she must decide. Past or future? Truth or lies?

My thoughts

Alessandro is the character I fell in love with in A Little Too Far. I was not happy that Lexie chose her stepbrother over the obvious awesomeness that was Alessandro. Big mistake, Lexie. However, thanks to her stupidity, Hilary gets a chance with the one who got away. Hilary and Alessandro (and his brother Lorenzo) spent time together at a group home many years ago. They connected, but circumstances tore them apart and they lost touch. Now that Alessandro realizes entering the priesthood isn’t the way to atone for his past, he goes to New York to find Hilary and make things right. But she’s not the same girl she was when he last saw her. She’s got big dreams and an even bigger wall around her heart.

As you may have guessed from the above summary, I loved Alessandro. He was pretty much perfect in every way, and I was glad to get a chance to read more about him. He had his troubled past, which only served to make him sexily tortured, and he was kind and gentle and so sweet. He had a great sense of humor and was always willing to try something new or go outside his comfort zone for someone else. And, as an added bonus, he looked amazing. Hilary was an arm girl (as am I) and she admired and described his sexy cut arms many times, which was quite nice.

He was able to look past Hilary’s flaws and appreciate her for who she was. And he never sugar coated that he had been in love with someone else recently (the stupid Lexie). I thought that was nice, how he didn’t try to shy away from the facts. He always told the truth, but in a nice way.

On the other hand, I didn’t like Hilary as a character as much as I did Lexie from A Little Too Far. There was no logical reason, I just didn’t click with her. She was nice enough with her friends, but not overly friendly with others. She was in a relationship of convenience, without emotional attachment, and while I think that works fine for some people, that’s just not my thing.

One thing I had to wonder about was why Hilary refused to see how perfect for her Alessandro was. We find out later why (more on that in a minute), but still, she resisted much longer than I would expect anyone to. It was kind of frustrating, I kept thinking “Just kiss him, already!” and “Why are you still denying how great he is?” I didn’t understand the reluctance.

Hilary’s bestie, Jess, was super cute. She was also an actress and we didn’t spend a lot of time with her, but she was genuinely nice, which I always like to see. The boyfriend was fairly likable, considering he was only with Hilary for the sex. They lived together, though, and he was faithful to her, plus he did what he could to help her career. Of course, he turned out not to be quite so charming in the end.

Hilary had a dirty mouth and the f-word was slung around a lot. And there was a fair amount of graphic sex. The build up before the big moment with Hilary and Alessandro was nice; lots of heavy breathing and lip biting. But it still wasn’t as romantically sexy as it was for Alessandro and Lexie. Maybe I’m always going to compare those two couples…

One of the themes in the book was discovering the New York that nobody else knew about and that was fun. We learned a bit about different New York “attractions” that are under-appreciated by the everyday people who live there. In fact, one or two of them sound interesting enough that I might check them out if I ever go back to the city.

There was a big twist about 2/3 of the way through the book, however, I knew it was coming. I’m not sure if it was a lucky guess, but after reading the preview bit at the end of A Little Too Far, I immediately knew what the big event was going to be, and I was right. It’s a big one, but it’s not easy to figure it out as you read. I’m not sure if I would have felt any differently about the story if I hadn’t known what was going on. I think it would have been a big surprise, and I might have been less frustrated with Hilary’s actions.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

The sum up

Steamy and dramatic with lots of angst, this is an older “new adult” book perfect for romance and drama fans.

About the author

Lisa Desrochers is the USA Today bestselling author of A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins, and companions, A LITTLE TOO MUCH (Nov 12, 2013), and A LITTLE TOO HOT (Jan 21, 2014). Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan).

She lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves {Review}

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves {Review}Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Publisher: Penguin on August 16th 2012
Format: Paperback, 347 pages
Source: Giveaway
5 Stars


When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

My thoughts

I absolutely adored this book. When I went in, I had some misgivings: would this be one of those creepy things where the older chick likes the way younger dude? Would there be a bunch of naked sexy times on the beach? Would it be horribly depressing, them being stuck there for so long? How interesting can years on a beach be? Luckily, every one of my fears with misguided.

The characters were wonderful. Anna was dealing with a relationship whose direction she wasn’t sure of. She was strong and confident in herself. When the pilot started having trouble, she was the one who stepped up and tried to help. She remained strong after the crash and helped keep them safe. T.J. was your average kid who just wanted to hang out with his friends instead of spend the summer with his family and a tutor. He was understandably scared after the crash, and tried to be strong, but needed to lean on Anna a lot.

One of the most interesting things about the book was watching as their roles changed, as T.J. became stronger and Anna learned to rely on him more and more. It was subtle, real and so sweet.

The plane crash, their fight to survive and their hope for rescue were all heart-wrenching. Tracey Garvis Graves can write suspense, action and romance like nobody’s business. And there’s more than just their need for food and water; there’s bad weather, illnesses, bathing and much more. I was worried that it would be boring, with nothing but the island to read about, but Graves managed to make everything interesting. There was more than 1 occasion that involved me rushing through to see what happened next.

I really liked that the point of view switched from Anna’s to T.J.’s, I could get inside their heads as they matured and fell for each other. The romance was sweet and factually graphic. The actual romance didn’t start until after T.J. came of age, so need to worry about that aspect.

There were a few “Well, that was convenient.” moments that were a bit annoying, but I just rolled with them. The survival part of the story was taken over about halfway through by the romance part. While this might bother some, I enjoyed it.

The sum up

This is a survival story perfect for the romance fan.

About the author

Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood.

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Working It Out by Rachael Anderson {Review}

Working It Out by Rachael Anderson {Review}Title: Working It Out
Author: Rachael Anderson
Publisher: HEA Publishing on July 15th 2013
Format: eARC, 262 pages
Source: I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
4 Stars

A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren’s life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace’s rehab clinic post surgery, he’s every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there’s something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he’s everything she’s sure she doesn’t want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she’s willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

My thoughts

Grace is perfectly content being single. She spends her days working hard as a physical therapist and her nights trying to relieve her guilt over her brother’s paralysis. She has no room for anything else. When live-life-to-the-fullest Seth ends up as her patient, they clash immediately. But something about her intrigues him, and he’s not willing to take no for an answer.

I really liked this story. Just like her previous novel, The Reluctant Bachelorette, Working It Out, is a fun, clean read that’s pure entertainment. It tackles some heavy subjects, but it does so without going to a completely dark place.

All of the characters were likeable, except maybe Grace’s kind of creepy coworker. Grace was strong and intelligent. Seth was fun and kind. His “sister” was passionate and loving. Grace’s brother was depressed but he soon figured out the way back. They were all nice, normal people whom you would want to have in your life. They handled their problems realistically and without too much drama.

There were a few things that irked me, like Seth’s inability to consider Grace’s feelings when it came to his daredevil ways, or Lanna’s stubborn refusal of Seth’s help, even if it meant a lot of money for her charity. Just little things, and certainly not enough to make me dislike the book.

The plot is a fun one, it’s easy to see how these two might clash, and the fun comes when they’re stuck working together. The chemistry between them was quite fun. There was a touch of romance, but anything that could be considered “private” was behind closed doors and we didn’t read about it.

Rachael Anderson has a gift for capturing the atmosphere and attitudes of the story and the characters. Her novels are a joy to read and I consider them automatic buys.

The sum up

Fun and sweet, this is a classic contemporary chick-lit novel.

About the author

I love to read, write, and do most anything outdoors, with the exception of rock climbing and sky diving. (I have serious height phobias.) If there’s something I can do within five feet of solid ground, count me in!

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Audio Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

Title: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Author: Jenny Lawson
Narrator: Jenny Lawson
Publisher: April 17th 2012 by Penguin Audio
Format: Audio CD, 8 hrs and 41 mins
Source: Purchased
4 owls


When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

My thoughts

Everyone has read Jenny’s blog, The Bloggess (and if you haven’t, why the hell not?), and her debut memoir is just like it, full of crazy things she does, awkward conversations she has, crazy texts she shares with Victor or sometimes, dark places she finds herself when her anxiety or depression take hold. The chapters are individual stories, told in chronological order.

Jenny states in the beginning that most of the stories are true, and even though she says only names and dates have been changed, you have to wonder if everything else could really be true. If so, she’s had quite the life! There were a few stories or mentions that I recall from reading her blog, but most everything in the book was new to me.

The way she deals with the setbacks and disappointments in her life are wonderful; she is a great example of how humor can make most anything better. There are some truly sad parts, like her many miscarriages, but she continues on. Though it’s sad at the time, she can look back later and find the funny. She talks a lot about her husband, Victor, and I just adore him. He has (almost) the same sense of humor as Jenny, and he has the patience and understanding of a saint.

My only complaint is the audiobook. I adore Jenny Lawson, but her voice grates on my nerves. A lot of the time, she spoke in a monotone, with hardly any inflection. Several times, she would read a long paragraph or story (in a monotone), and her voice would get this gravelly sound. It got so bad I wanted to say “Clear your throat already!” And for some strange reason, she sang the chapter titles. Not very well. For those reasons alone, I would suggest going for the print version instead of the audio version.

The sum up

If you like The Bloggess, or awkwardly funny situations, check this one. Beware the salty language.

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Audio Review: Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Title: Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Publisher: November 13th 2012 by Free Press (audio by HighBridge Company)
Format: Hardcover, 264 pages (audio 7 hrs and 48 mins)
Narrator: Heather Henderson
Source: Purchased from Audible
5 owl rating


A gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease, opening a new window into the fascinating world of brain science.

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

My thoughts

What an amazing story. This would be a great fiction story, but the fact that it’s true makes it all the more incredible.

Susannah takes us on the journey she took as she fell ill to the mysterious illness. The book starts at the first sign that something is wrong and takes us through her time in the hospital, her diagnosis, treatment and the follow-up care and research. Even though she can’t remember anything from that time, she has pulled together doctor’s notes, videos and interviews to create a thorough timeline that makes the reader fell like they’re living through it with her.

And it was scary. One minute she was an outgoing, confident young woman and the next she was a paranoid, delusional mess. It came on so suddenly and there were only a few signs that something was wrong before she ended up in the hospital. The tests and incorrect diagnoses she went through before they ever discovered her problem were immense and I’m impressed that her family didn’t give up on her. Their persistence is a testament of their love. Also? I think she might have the best real-life boyfriend ever.

You know it’s going to end well (she did write the book, after all) but the writing is so immersive and intense, that you wonder how it will all work out. This could have had a very different outcome, and Susannah is very lucky that the right doctor found the right test at the right time.

The last section of the book deals with the aftermath – how Susannah continues to be affected and the research and development that have gone into the disease since her diagnosis. That section wasn’t as intense as the earlier parts, but it was interesting. In fact, there are interesting facts and tidbits throughout the book, which were especially useful so we would know exactly how Susannah’s brain was misfiring.

The narrator did a great job, she had the moods and affectations down perfectly. When combined with the fabulous writing, I really felt like I was there in Susannah’s head while she was going through this.

The sum up

An intriguing story made even better by the tight writing. Susannah is a gifted writer and I’m amazed this is her first book. Don’t miss it.

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Review: Blissful Lies by Jennifer Brown-Thomas

Title: Blissful Lies
Author: Jennifer Brown-Thomas
Publisher: January 3rd 2012 by Helm Publishing (IL)
Format: Paperback, 234 pages
Source: Publisher
1 owl


Blissful Lies tells a heart-wrenching story exploring the enviable bonds of five best friends who, in the midst of growing up together, are just starting to realize how much they still have to learn about life. They quickly find the limits of their relationships are tested when secrets and lies rapidly interrupt their picture perfect existence, threatening the stability of years of friendship. At the center of their universe is mother to one group member and Brown-Thomas University Chancellor, Addison Hamilton. Uncertainty in her own life leads her down a path of no return as she finds herself a little too involved with someone many years her junior. While each person is forced to take responsibility for their hidden secret, they wonder if ultimately, it’s just too much to move forward as the ‘family’ they once claimed to be. Join us on the journey, which allows true love to surface despite obvious obstacles, fearful hatred to emerge with a vengeance and betrayal of even the most loyal of friends. As lives are left in tattered pieces, everyone is forced to choose…. Will the group fall apart at the seams or will the strong bonds of everlasting friendship withstand the fire of deceit?

My thoughts

Addison’s life-long dream was to become her university’s first woman chancellor and now that she’s achieved that, life is perfect. She and her husband are deliriously happy together and her children are doing well. Her son Parker is the leader of a tight-knit group of life-long friends who consider Addison their mother figure. Of course, it turns out everything may not to be so perfect after all. Her husband is a cheat, and everyone knows except Addison. Now that the truth is finally out, her son’s friend decides it’s the perfect time to admit his secret love for her.

I think this might be the worst book I’ve ever read. The characters were one-dimensional and boring. Addison only care about being chancellor, but she hardly spent any time at the school. Most of her time was spent hanging around her son and his friends. All of the kids were fake and we never learned anything more about them than the most superficial attributes – stunningly beautiful, flowing blond locks, deeply tanned skin, etc.

The characters’ behavior was completely unrealistic. Addison acted like a teenager, following her libido around wherever it led her. As someone who had been happily married for 24 years, she was able to get over her husband’s betrayal pretty darn fast. After a few rolls in the hay with her son’s friend, she was declaring her love for him, yet for the last 20 or so years, she’d considered him a son. Her new boy toy was so stalkerish; after they had been on 1 date (if you could call it that), he beat up one person, and tried to beat up another, just for talking to Addison. After an argument, she had 19 missed calls from him in the span of a few hours. Red flag, anyone?

All of the students were loaded. Like, absurdly rich. One of the characters received a brand new 7,000 square foot privately gated home for his high school graduation. This is the same kid who also had 2 cars, a boat and a live-in personal chef. Every time anything was mentioned, it was described as wealthy or decadent, and every time a house was described, it was called a mansion. That gets old pretty quickly.

After the unbelievable and annoying characters, the writing was the worst thing about the book. It was choppy and inconsistent. First Addison would be “remorseful” for doing the nasty with her quasi-son, then in the very next paragraph, “they don’t have an ounce of regret.” Everything had to be spelled out, like the reader wouldn’t be smart enough to figure out things on their own. This is a perfect example:

After completing her sentence, she walked out of the room.

Thank goodness it was pointed out that she was done talking. I never would have known otherwise.

Also, Brown-Thomas (which, coincidentally, is the name of the university in the book) seemed obsessed with ellipses. They were stuck in random spots, usually at least 2 on every page, most of the time it was more.

“You not dating much… I can’t ever remember seeing you with anyone, except… That one blonde girl… what’s her name? Tall… gorgeous.”

The last quarter of the book took a very different (and ridiculous) turn when the kids and Addison ended up trapped inside a vacation house as a bad guy threatened the lives of their loved ones if they didn’t tell each other all of their secrets. There were cell phones and notes and clues involved. The whole thing felt thrown together and not well thought out. It was like Brown-Thomas decided at the last minute to make the book a mystery, and just tacked that part on. Though I did enjoy who the big bad was, their reasoning didn’t make logical sense.

Overall, I thought the book sucked and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

The sum up

I would give this a negative rating if I could.

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Review: Back to You by Priscilla Glenn


Title: Back to You
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Publisher: October 20th 2012 by CreateSpace
Format: Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Source: AToMR Tours


When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.

Or that it would end so painfully.

Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.

As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

My thoughts

Lauren has just started her new job as a Pre-K teacher. She’s still learning the ropes on her first day when in walks her old friend Michael. They were best friends throughout high school, until Michael did something unforgivable and they haven’t spoken since. Now they’re all grown up and Michael’s little girl is a student in Lauren’s class. Though Lauren tries hard to keep things professional, the two have a real chemistry that makes it difficult.

I liked Lauren’s character. She was kind and friendly, but also self-assured (even as a teenager). She was very likeable, and it was easy to see why Michael enjoyed having her as a friend. He was a classic bad boy – mean and gritty on the outside, with a sad story that made him want to hide from the world. And it was a doozy of a story. It was easy to see why he had become the person he was. In fact, I was surprised he didn’t end up more screwed up than he was. His little girl Erin is just about the cutest darn thing ever. She was mostly realistic, although I have to wonder what 4-year old doesn’t have at least 1 sleep-deprived meltdown or act like a brat at least once in a while…

The story took place in the present day, and every other chapter or so was told in a flashback. The flashbacks were not sequential, but for the purpose of the story, it fit. My one issue with the flashbacks was that I kept wanting to know what Michael did that was so horrible! They kept talking about it and talking about it, but we don’t learn what he did until about 3/4 of the way in. Also, I didn’t think what he did was as terrible as Lauren kept saying it was. Jerky, yes. But not unforgivable, in my opinion. I did like learning how they met and how they were with each other in school. And especially how wonderful Michael was to her when they were in private, when he could just be himself.

This was a fairly clean book – there was some sex, but it was pretty nondescript and glossed over. I don’t recall any curse words, though there may have been 1 or 2. This is being marketed as an adult book, but I would also consider it new-adult, since Lauren is still in school and just starting her ‘life.’

The sum up

Sweet and romantic, this is the perfect book for someone looking for a romance story with guts.

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