Better When He’s Bad: Welcome to the Point, Book 1

Better When He's BadAuthor: Jay Crownover
Book Name: Better When He’s Bad
Series: Welcome to the Point
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Good

Blurb:  Welcome to the Point . . .

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad. . . . Meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he was the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft . . . and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con the Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she’d have for a guy like him. But it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize . . . some boys are just better when they’re bad.

Review: Normally I really like Jay Crownover.  Her Marked Men series is one of the better New Adult series I’ve read.  But this book just seemed to be missing the extra spark that made those books so good.

This does lean towards a darker side and I’m normally fine with that, but I just had difficulty connecting with these characters and this story.  I usually really enjoy books with those less than perfect, struggling characters and this had those kinds of characters but there was just something about both of them that lacked something that, as a reader, I needed.  Maybe it was that Dovie was a bit too perfect and unfailingly loyal.  Or maybe it was that Bax mostly didn’t have lines that he wasn’t willing to cross.  Both cases sort of flatten those characters for me.

This was still a good book, but just not as good as I’ve come to expect from Ms. Crownover and maybe that is just as big of a reason why I didn’t like this one quite as well as some of her others.


Falling Into Us: The Falling, Book 2

Falling Into UsAuthor: Jasinda Wilder
Book Name: Falling Into Us
Series: The Falling
Order: #2
Genre: Romance/Erotic/New Adult
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  The story you thought you knew…

When Kyle Calloway died, he took a part of Nell with him. She wasn’t the only one left to pick up the pieces, however; Kyle’s death left a gaping hole in the hearts and lives of his parents and his older brother Colton, and ultimately broke the will of the girl he loved.

The story you never imagined…

Becca de Rosa is Nell’s best friend. When Kyle died, Nell was so devastated that no one could reach her, not even her best friend Becca. As she tries to help Nell through her grief, Becca’s own life is thrust into turmoil, and everything she knows is changed.

Jason Dorsey asked Nell out the week after her sixteenth birthday, but that date never happened. Instead, he ended up going out with Nell’s best friend, Becca. He had no way of knowing, then, how that one date would send him on a life-long journey with Becca. He had no way of knowing the tragedies and triumphs he would experience, or that in Becca, he might find the love of a lifetime.

The heartache you’ll never forget.

Review:  The issues I had with the first book in this series are only amplified in this book.  This is a YA into NA book, not an adult romance, no matter the more explicit nature and parts.  And yes, I’m calling it YA because we are dealing with 15 to 16 year olds for a large chunk of the book.  First of all, my library has yet again failed in the labeling and tagging and didn’t have either of those genres noted when, at bare minimum it should have had a NA tag.  I did sort of know what I was getting into since I read the first book, but I still wasn’t expecting it to lean so heavily into the YA/NA for so much of the book.

I have to say that yet again, I do not enjoy reading about mid to late teen first time sex.  It is so far from interesting to plow through the layers of awkward.  Where the first book we only had that for about a 1/3 of the book, this one was well over the half way point before our characters began to mature.  Even then, we were still focused on mostly late teen years so the expected maturing to full adults didn’t really happen until the last maybe 10 to 20% of the book.

Also with book one, we were dealing with some pretty darn heavy emotional drama for almost all of the book.  That allowed me to look past the lower maturity level because the rest was really pretty intense.  In this one, there were definite points where that was the case, but they were fewer with a lot of not so interesting in between.  Taking my general dislike for the YA/NA bent of the story out of the way, the less than emotionally dramatic points in this book just didn’t have much of anything going on which left this as really an okay story and there weren’t enough of those stronger points to overcome that.  It also didn’t help that a huge chunk of those better points were points that we’d already hit in book one so they weren’t really new and had lost a lot of the impact.

It is a struggle to rate this because the genre is just so not my thing and that seriously colors how I feel about this.  I do think that it is well written for what it is and should get the notice for that, but overall, I’m just not much of a fan.  I liked the first book quite a bit better than this one.  After this, though, I most likely won’t read the next one just because I am not a fan of the genre.



Confess: Colleen Hoover

ConfessAuthor: Colleen Hoover
Book Name: Confess
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

Review:  I hadn’t even made it beyond the prologue, wasn’t at even 3% yet and I already had enough tears going that I could hardly read the words.  This is a pretty emotionally intense book, though it does let up enough to not leave you feeling constantly torn up.

The only reason I didn’t rate this higher was because I really kind of needed more at the end.  It just felt unfinished.  Sure, there is an awful lot that a reader can assume, but I prefer things to be tied up a bit more than this rather than left open, so I was just a bit frustrated by that.  More so because this is a new adult book and the point in our characters’ lives is kind of unsettled anyway and not getting some idea as to how that resolves irritated me.

The story itself, outside of the lack of full resolution (which other than my personal preference wasn’t a bad thing), was beautifully written.  It is probably because I was enjoying both Owen and Auburn’s characters so much that I wasn’t thrilled with the end. I wanted the chance to get to know them more.

Falling Into You: The Falling, Book 1

Falling Into YouAuthor: Jasinda Wilder
Book Name: Falling Into You
Series: The Falling
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Erotic/New Adult
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way. Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.

Colton didn’t teach me how to live. He didn’t heal the pain. He didn’t make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.

Nell Hawthorne is in love with her life-long best friend, Kyle Calloway. Things are great, and they’re in love, young, full of promise. Then Kyle dies in a tragic accident and Nell is forever changed. She meets Kyle’s older brother Colton at the funeral, and there’s a spark, but it’s wrong and they both know it. The moment passes, and they both move on with life. A couple years later, they meet again in New York City, and Colton realizes that Nell has never really gotten over Kyle’s death, and seems to be harboring a deeply rooted pain, something like guilt, perhaps. He knows he shouldn’t get involved, but he can’t help himself. Trust doesn’t come easily for either of them, and they both have demons, Colton especially. Together, they learn the purpose of pain and the meaning of healing, and the importance of forgiveness.

Review:  The first 1/3 of this book focuses on Kyle and Nell’s  relationship, which really kind of falls more into the young adult genre in the beginning.  I came close to putting it down as I’m really not much of a fan of books that fall into that age range with their characters.  I’m really glad I stuck with it though, because this really isn’t a YA book at all.

This book has all the things that I really love in a great romance, solid characters that are not perfect but work through and with their imperfections, a relationship where both side are equal and balance each other out and support each other.  I absolutely fell in love with Colton.  He is this guy who has been through hell, but is has this great big compassionate heart.  Nell is just as messed up and caring.  I love that they don’t expect to fix each other or that the other person should fix them.  They care about each other as they come, scars and ghosts and all.  It is beautiful.

The only reason this didn’t the full 5 star rating for me was because, even though it was necessary to understand the rest of the story and Nell’s background, I wasn’t a fan of the early part of the book.  As a 40 something adult, I outgrew the thought that bumbling, awkward, first time teen sex was cute and interesting a long time ago and I really don’t want to read about it.  I loved the rest of the story, but I could have done with a whole lot less of giggly teeny bopper parts.


Scarred: J. S. Cooper

ScarredAuthor: J. S. Cooper
Book Name: Scarred
Series: *
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Garbage


Blurb:  Everyone in Jonesville thought that Bryce Evans had the perfect life in High School: he was the Mayor’s son, the quarterback for the football team, the boyfriend of the head cheerleader and had a 4.1 GPA. His acceptance to Notre Dame came as a surprise to no-one. However when he chose to enlist in the marines instead everyone was shocked.

Lexi Lord was the quiet girl in school and kept to her small group of eccentric friends. She had no connection to any of the popular kids except for one incident on Prom Night when her path crossed with Bryce’s. When Bryce enlisted, Lexi was the only one that wasn’t disappointed and decided to send him anonymous letters as a way to feel connected to him. She stopped after a year because she felt there was nowhere for their relationship to go.

Fast-forward four years and Bryce is back in Jonesville and once again he and Lexi cross paths. Only he’s no longer the seemingly perfect man and Lexi’s no longer the quiet girl. This time their relationship is quite different but both of them have secrets from the past and friends that threaten to ruin their chance at happiness together.

Review: It takes a combination of a lot of factors for me to rate a book this low because it is such a harsh rating and one that I hate to hand out, but it is obviously there for a reason.  Unfortunately, this book hit on all of the reasons why I have this rating as an option.

This isn’t so much a new adult genre book, not because the characters don’t fit the physical age range for that genre, but because they mentally, emotionally and behaviorally are more pre-teen/junior high than people that should be in their 20s.  Lexi comes across as though she has a pop-star crush and is so utterly naive.  Bryce is an arrogant SOB and there is no way, the way this is written, that he comes across as a former Marine.  He is more like a spoiled child than anything else.  Every one of the secondary characters are just as bad, even the parents.

The story was decent and still had potential for about the first 1/3 of the book.  Things started to be less interesting after that but just dropped into ridiculous at about 70% when everything just got totally stupid.  Bryce sleeping with Lexi’s best friend.  The best friend thinking it was okay to do that and that they were suddenly in a relationship.  Bryce thinking it was okay to not share that and still go after and have sex with Lexi.  Lexi being totally okay and still loving Bryce after finding out she had been set up to be raped.  And every single other character with the exception of maybe Luke being horrible people that are just painfully ignorant.  Again, more junior high drama than what you’d expect from adults.  It didn’t help that every single early adult character is still living at home with their parents.  Really?  Even the supposed genius, money making machine Luke.  It makes no plausible, realistic sense.

If this were just about a not so well written story, this wouldn’t have gotten such a low rating.  It was so much more than that.  There were contradictory issues with character histories (Lexi having no clue who her dad was in one chapter and then in another chapter she not only new him but had met him in the past) and way too many serious editing mistakes.  It was bad enough to see some either mistyped words or completely wrong words in places but then there were also quite a few sentences or paragraphs that seemed like there were huge holes and were missing all the important parts.  Conversations would be going on and a character would have a response that made zero sense with regards to the previous sentence or paragraph so it was obvious something got deleted along the way and not fixed.  I’ve seen worse, but this was still pretty bad.

Yes, I did finish this, but that was because this was kind of like watching a train wreck.  You know it is going to be bad but you just can’t look away.  So glad this wasn’t something that I spent money on.

Scratch: Rhonda Helms

ScratchAuthor: Rhonda Helms
Book Name: Scratch
Series: *
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Good


Blurb:  The most painful scars are the ones you never see.

In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that’s the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she’s reserved, practical–all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she’s put up. Like Casey, he’s a senior. In every other way, he’s her opposite.

Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can’t fathom, he’s intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that’s messy and unpredictable. He doesn’t know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach–or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.

Review:  Usually I’m a bit iffy on the new adult genre books, especially if it is a new author, but the blurb on this pulled me in.  I did expect this to be a bit darker, but it really fell more on to the sweet side than the dark.

Really, I was enjoying this quite a bit until the last little part when we get what really amounts to an epiphany moment or set of moments and all is mostly good.  After the amount of time and grief involved, you just don’t have a moment and suddenly you let it all go.  It is a process, one that is admittedly different for each person, but still a process.

I think I would have done much better with this if the letting go and opening up and been a gradual release throughout the book.  The letting go isn’t 100% roses and all is good in the world, but it is close enough to have made me like this just a little less than I had before I got to the end.

All in all, this is a sweet story.

As Long As You Love Me: Ann Aguirre

As Long As You Love MeAuthor: Ann Aguirre
Book Name: As Long As You Love Me
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons–missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He’s the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever–until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

Review:  I really struggled to get into this one as I just wasn’t much of a fan of the characters.  Rob bugged me the most as he is like this kicked puppy that will love on anyone for a pat on the head.  It isn’t adorable, it is kind of sad.

Lauren is messed up, but is also the absolute perfect person.  I so didn’t by the cat fight into insta BFFs with Rob’s ex.  Lauren should be submitted for sainthood she is so perfect outside of her anxiety issues.  Again, that isn’t adorable or cute or funny or aww inspiring.

I’m all for broken characters that fight through their issues to become better people, but the way this was played out, that scenario just didn’t seem all that genuine to me.  So, not much of a fan on this one.


Best Kind of Broken: Finding Fate, Book 1

Best Kind of BrokenAuthor: Chelsea Fine
Book Name: Best Kind of Broken
Series: Finding Fate
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Pixie Marshall wishes every day she could turn back time and fix the past. But she can’t. And the damage is done. She’s hoping that a summer of free room and board working with her aunt at the Willow Inn will help her forget. Except there’s a problem: the resident handyman is none other than Levi Andrews. The handsome quarterback was once her friend-and maybe more-until everything changed in a life-shattering instant. She was hoping to avoid him, possibly forever. Now he’s right down the hall and stirring up feelings Pixie thought she’d long buried . . .

Levi can’t believe he’s living with the one person who holds all his painful memories. More than anything he wants to make things right, but a simple “sorry” won’t suffice-not when the tragedy that scarred them was his fault. Levi knows Pixie’s better off without him, but every part of him screams to touch her, protect her, wrap her in his arms, and kiss away the pain. Yet even though she’s so close, Pixie’s heart seems more unreachable than ever. Seeing those stunning green eyes again has made one thing perfectly clear-he can’t live without her.

Review:  Funny. Sad. Sweet. Heartbreaking. Warm. Tragic. Beautiful.

This book just kind of takes you everywhere and pulls it all out of you.  One of the best romances I’ve read in a really long time.  Especially a new adult romance (which is typically not my favorite anyway).

I don’t rave about books, even ones I like.  I nitpick and point out even the little things that bugged me no matter how much I liked it or how well written.  This book?  It deserves raves.

The characters were amazingly done.  Both twisted and broken, but still so full of sweet and love.  They tug on your emotions on every level.  Even more rare for me, I fell in love with them both right away, even before I knew a tiny fraction of their story.  And that story… holy cow, did Ms. Fine get it all so very right.  I went from laughing at their antics to being on the verge of tears for them as more of them gets revealed.

This is just a beautifully written story that is going to stick with me for a very long time.