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Single Sundays: Touching Down by Nicole Williams

Single Sundays: Touching Down by Nicole Williams

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Touching Down (from Goodreads):

The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.

Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.

They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance, Sports
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 8, 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Nicole Williams is the author who first introduced me to the world of New Adult romance and I’ve repaid the favour by picking up any book I can of hers…with mixed results. But I was hoping her Adult romance in Touching Down would break the funk I’d been having with her titles when I randomly picked it up to read for my Tackling the TBR 2019 Challenge.

The Concept:

The heart of this story is a second chance romance which is usually fine and dandy with me. But this one just had too many logistical pot-holes to have me fully on board. The reasons for the separation; the choices Ryan has made over the years and some other things had me going “really, that’s how this all plays out?”. Everything seemed like it was played out to an extreme and it just made it all seem unnecessary.

The Plot:

I think I was two chapters in when I figured out all the major twists that were going to happen. Nothing surprised me about the drama except the reason for the separation.

There are some extenuating circumstances that come to light and instead of enhancing the story, I actually think they dampened it. Nothing really gets elaborated on and we just gloss over those opportunities for character growth or plot developments.

The Characters:

I thought Ryan was an idiot–I didn’t understand a single choice she made in the last 7 years with the exception of one. Grant was so stereotypical and boring I forgot he was there half the time.

The Romance:

I always say this in second chance romances that I review but you have to show my why these two people should reunite after all this time. And this novel did not do that. I’m not sure why these two even loved each other besides proximity and shared tough experiences.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

I really wanted to like this but I just wasn’t overly impressed with this story.

Read if You Like: second chance romances, football stars
Avoid if You: want a strong romance novel

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Fresh Fridays: Tainted Love by K B Nelson

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Tainted Love Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Faithless (from Goodreads):
She’s a stripper. He’s a preacher. Her name is Faith and he’s been faithless since the day she went away.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know it’d end like this.
From the beginning, it could only go one way, and straight to hell it did.
My past reads like a film stuck on repeat; fall in in love, get heart broke, and then run. Just fucking run.

And run I did.
Straight back to that place I swore I’d never return.
Straight back to that place where my broken heart lies buried deep within one man’s chest.

Noah Parker was my first love. He was my only love.
The only boy that could ever make me feel alive.
The only boy who ever truly broke my heart.
The only boy who could possibly save me from myself.

But Noah isn’t a boy anymore…

breakdown

Series: Tainted Love
Author: K B Nelson
# of Books: 2 (Faithless, Blind Sided)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Blind Sided, will be published in March 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Suspense, Second Chance
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 23, 2016 – ongoing

was originally a 3 part serial that was rewritten and complied into the new edition.

Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed K B Nelson’s Bad Reputation and so I joined her mailing list to be notified of when she had new releases and review copies available. Now, Faithless isn’t exactly new. It was originally published as a 3 part serial starting in December 2014. This publication is the same story but features different scenes, a different ending and puts everything together to be a part of this new series.

I love forbidden love stories and the idea that a preacher and a stripper had some passionate romance? Colour me curious! I also loved that it was pitched with a darker theme–another trope I am a sucker for.

What I Liked:

–It wasn’t afraid to go places–

I like books that take risks with their characters and events. Nelson has no issue making this story as dark and tragic as it could possibly be, making the story completely unpredictable at times.

–The Suspense and Mystery–

I didn’t know that this was going to be a suspense novel so it took me for surprise when that’s what it turned out to be. But it really added something to this story that made me want to keep reading. The suspense plot here is so dark and twisty that it kept my attention and made the book very unpredictable.

The mystery of putting together the past was also really intriguing. I liked having the flashbacks to the past mixed with current events. It kept the story building and added more depth to the characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was more Suspense than Romance–

While I enjoyed the suspense elements, at the same time, I thought I was going to be reading more of a contemporary, second chance romance that focused on the forbidden passions between a preacher and his high school sweat heart–not the events that happen when these two reunite after years apart.

It’s more of a suspense novel that has events that occur because these two people reunite; rather than a second chance romance with a minor suspense plot. If that makes any sense.

–The “spiritual” moments–

I feel like this heading is a bit misleading because it implies that there is a lot of moments about God and/or religious faith but that isn’t what I am getting at. (For the record, this book wasn’t preachy at all about faith or the like). I’m just talking about a plot device that was used and that I wasn’t the biggest fan of it even though I understand why it was used. (I would elaborate further but I think it’s a bit of a spoiler). It just added a cheesy element to the story that I would have preferred not to have had.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is a great set-up in Faithless for what the story in Blind Sided is going to be and now that I know what to expect from this series, I’m looking forward to seeing the path Nelson takes us on with this new one.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Faithless 3.5/5 | Blind Sided TBP

overall

If you enjoy stories like Leah Raeder’s Black Iris or even stories by M Leighton, this is a fantastic series for you to start! I think people who want lighter romance will not enjoy this nor will those who want more romance than suspense. Definitely a unique series that has me very intrigued to see what will happen next!

Read if You Like: suspense, non-traditional romances, dark stories
Avoid if You: want more romance/sexual tension

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Single Sundays: Third Degree by Julie Cross

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Third Degree (from Goodreads):
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

Review:

I really wanted to read this book–I’m not sure why because I’ve never read anything by Julie Cross (though Tempest has been sitting on my eReader for quite a while now…). When I give it a good thought I think it’s because the heroine is actually an intelligent girl with an interest in science–not a liberal arts degree. I want to be clear that I have no issue with people pursuing liberal arts degrees (I myself have a minor in English Literature) but my first love is Science (specifically health care) and as a reader, it’s a rare opportunity for me to read about a heroine who is interested in the same subject I am within the New Adult genre 🙂

However, I was a little disappointed when I met Izzy; though I think that is the point. The best way I can describe her is as the female Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory: extremely book smart but socially awkward. And that is the whole reason why we get the plot we do–because she can’t relate to people (and therefore has an awful bedside manner) she can’t continue with her medical practice.

So it took me a while to get used to her character but she really did grow on me as I read. I loved seeing her grow as a person throughout the whole novel. This story was just as much a romance as it was a coming of age novel but the balance between the two is perfect.

I also loved the tone this book took regarding mental illness. There is so much stigma about it when there really shouldn’t be. (FYI: World Mental Health Day is this coming Friday, October 10th! Make sure you wear purple to support mental health!). I loved the respectful way Julie Cross handled it in her writing as well as the physical medical conditions discussed in this book.

Conclusion:

This book has a more serious tone to it, but it was a lot of fun to read. Very well done. If you enjoy coming of age stories with a dash of romance, this is a good one for you to get!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Probably

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Medical Conditions
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person
Similar Reads: One & Only by Viv Daniels (Canton Series #1); Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken (Ruin Trilogy #1) and Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Just One Day Series #1)

Series Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book book4 book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Pushing the Limits (from Goodreads):
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
# of Books: 5 (Reading Order Here)

There are 3 novellas.

Book Order: Connected*

The exception is #1.5 Breaking the Rules which is a direct sequel to Pushing the Limits (#1)

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Drama, Mental Health, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

thoughts

I’m actually slightly embarrassed that it has taken me this long to write a review on this series. I totally thought I already had so I was shocked after I finished reading Crash Into You that I didn’t have to just update a previous blog post, rather I had to create one!

I read Pushing the Limits approximately one year ago. Although it had been out for a while it had just captured my attention one day at the library and I decided to pick it up. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but after reading it I’m glad it wasn’t because I enjoyed it way more than I expected and it was so much better than I had hoped.

Young Adult or New Adult?

This series is one of those that straddles the New Adult — Young Adult line. Because they are in high school, I would tend to classify it as Young Adult but the subject mature is very mature and so are the characters so I don’t have a problem calling it New Adult (Katie McGarry classifies it as Young Adult however with Breaking the Rules as more New Adult). There is also a lot of mature subject matter that gives these books a dark edge to them — but it done extremely well and so beautifully.

My Review:

Pushing the Limits was probably one of the darker Young Adult/New Adult reads I had read up until that point in time. It deals a lot more with mental illness than other books but does so in a mature and respectful way. Echo and Noah are a great pair (as are all the characters in the next few books) and I loved watching them fall in love. I also really liked their personal development throughout the story. The rest of the cast of characters was great as well and I was excited to see them in the next few installments.

If you are like me, you will think it is pretty obvious who the next book will be about so I was shocked when I read the synopsis for Dare You To. SO DON’T READ THE SYNOPSIS FOR DARE YOU TO UNTIL YOU FINISH PUSHING THE LIMITS! At first, I wasn’t a fan of the idea but as soon as I read the book, I changed my tune. The female lead was a hard character for me to like but I really grew to like her as I read her story and I loved her match. I enjoyed reading Dare You To way more than Pushing the Limits and I really liked Pushing the Limits so that says something. I think it was because Dare You To wasn’t as emotionally dark as Pushing the Limits was.

Don’t be intimidated by the longer page length. You will see that they are quite long–over 300 pages, but when you read them they don’t feel long enough 😛 No, I joke, they are the perfect length and I find that you get so into the story that the pages just fly by.

Case and point, Crash Into You. I simply devoured the book because it was so much fun to read. I absolutely loved Rachel–she is definitely my favourite heroine yet in the series. She had some great comments early on in the book that made me laugh out loud and I loved her story. Her match is perfect for her and I loved watching them connect. Her family is also an interesting cast of characters and I’m glad to see that the 4th book will feature one of her brothers (and is it so greedy of me that I want another one focused on her brothers before I even read it?). It’s a tough call if I like this book more than Dare You To so I am going to call it a tie.

The Novella–Crossing the Line:

I did read the novella, Crossing the Line before I read Dare You To. You can essentially read Crossing the Line anytime, but probably after Pushing the Limits is the best time. It will be published in print with the Take Me On book when it is released. I wish it was a full blown novel because I loved the story but I felt like I got enough out of the novella so I wasn’t disappointed.

updates

–October 30, 2014– Book #4: Take Me On

Words cannot describe how excited I was to read Take Me On. I checked my hold at the library every week since it became available and impatiently waited for my cue. Of course it never fails that I had a butt load of books to read before I could read it; and then I had to read it in the middle of midterms (sorry midterms, but you had to wait). Take Me On was everything I wanted it to be and more. I had so much fun reading about these characters and I loved their stories. Frankly, I couldn’t get enough so fans of Crash into You will be super happy with this book.

–January 4, 2015– Book #1.5: Breaking the Rules

I originally thought Breaking the Rules was a novella so I was shocked when I got my copy and saw it was a full length novel. In the end, I’m glad it was a novel because I feel like I have more closure with Echo and Noah. Unlike Pushing the Limits, this one seemed a lot more realistic to me. I think a lot of people who had relationships in high school can understand the mindset of these characters as they struggle to define their relationship before they start college. I thought it was really well done and fans will be extremely satisfied, but I wish I had read it right after reading Pushing the Limits just for the sake of continuity.

–September 15, 2019– Book #3.5: Breaking the Rules

If anyone can pack some punch into an 84 page novella, Katie McGarry is the author to do it. This novella perfectly echoes the Pushing the Limits tone. I loved the romance, I loved the themes and I really loved how it highlights a real life charity and the impact it can have on a person.

Recommended Reading Order:

My recommended reading order for the series: Pushing the Limits, Breaking the Rules, Crossing the Line, Dare you To, Crash into Me, Take on Me, Chasing Impossible. You can read Red at Night at anytime.

Series Rating: 5/5

overall

If you enjoy stories where the romance is about finding someone who understands you for who you are, you’ll love these books. The romance is blended perfectly with character growth and the plots move quickly despite the book lengths. It’s a mature albeit dark story line so half the time you forget you are reading about high school students.

similarreads
More than This by Jay McLean (More Series #1)
Hooked by Liz Fichera (Hooked #1)

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