Sunday, July 31

Review: The Hard Count by Ginger Scott

Title: The Hard Count
By: Ginger Scott
My Copy: Ebook from Author
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.

West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.

I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.

In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.

When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.

If I had a touchdown dance, I would do one right now after reading The Hard Count.  My first book by Ginger Scott and dare I say that I might be addicted to her; I know that I am addicted to Nico.

This book gave me such a Friday Night Lights feel, which is super amazing because I loved Friday Night Lights.  And while the top story is about the love for football and the pressure to win, the underlying story proves to be so much more.  This book isn’t about showing up to the game, defeating the opponents, and going home with a “W.”  It deals with the pressure for each player and coaches to always perform the best.  Told by the character Reagan, you find yourself immersed in a story about adversity, judgment, acceptance, brotherhood, hard work, and love with a description so keen that you feel like you are living their world right along with the characters. 

I would have to say that Reagan and Nico are by far the best young adult characters that I have read in a while.  Each brilliant within their own rights, each with a strong head on their shoulders, each steady and true to themselves and their family, and each determine to make the most out of life.  These two characters brought a wonderful hatred at first, an amazing friendship, and a beautiful love.  If you don’t believe me, check out the quote below:

“Just don’t ever stop looking at me,” he says, scooting closer, his knees touching my leg, his hand bringing my face to his.  Nico’s nose brushes against mine, and my eyes fall shut, my lips parting, almost reaching for him.

                  “Look at me like you expect more.  Look at me like it isn’t going to be easy.” Nico breathes the words against my lips, pausing when his bottom lip connects with my top, the faintness of the touch so much better than any other real kiss I’ve had.  “Make me earn it,” he says, pausing again to take my top lip between both of his.  “I’ll earn it.  I’ll never stop trying to earn it…to earn you.”

Review: The Matchmaker's Replacement by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: The Matchmaker's Replacement
By: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Wingmen Inc. #2
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

Wingman rule number two: never reveal how much you want them.

Lex hates Gabi. Gabi hates Lex. But, hey, at least the hate is mutual, right? All Lex has to do is survive the next few weeks training Gabi in all the ways of Wingmen Inc. and then he can be done with her. But now that they have to work together, the sexual tension and fighting is off the charts. He isn’t sure if he wants to strangle her or throw her against the nearest sturdy table and have his way with her.

But Gabi has a secret, something she’s keeping from not just her best friend but her nemesis too. Lines are blurred as Lex becomes less the villain she’s always painted him to be…and starts turning into something more. Gabi has always hated the way she’s been just a little bit attracted to him—no computer-science major should have that nice of a body or look that good in glasses—but “Lex Luthor” is an evil womanizer. He’s dangerous. Gabi should stay far, far away.

Then again, she’s always wanted a little danger.

This is my first Rachel Van Dyken book (but not the blogs first RVD book. Jackie loves her Elite series.) and it is definitely not going to be my last.  Actually, my next book of hers will be the first in this series and then I will continue on the RVD way.

Yes, I loved this book.  I love the “I hate you so much that I will make your life miserable every second of every day but secretly inside I love you to the moon and back” kind of stories.  Lex and Gabi are relentless in their fighting and pure hatred for one another.  Not a day goes by where Lex isn’t sending Gabi to the brink of tears but it changes when he starts noticing some differences and then suddenly the villain Lex starts turning into a superhero.

Both Lex and Gabi were brilliant characters.  Every page kept me curious in how this was all going to play out.  While Lex was the typical wealthy player, his character had much more depth.  His dedication to his friend, his company, and to Gabi (even when he hated her) is everything you need in the male lead and more.  Gabi rocked so hard and was such a delight to read.   She is the newest member of Wingmans, Inc. and finds herself working closely to her childhood crush Lex, however not all the time they spend together is fluffy and sweet. In fact, most of it is smack talk and evil doings.  But when Lex finds out something is going on with Gabi that she is not sharing with anyone, the smack talk and evil doings lessen and a whole lot of different feelings increase.

I found this book a very easy and sexy read and now I am addicted to this series.

Wednesday, July 27

Review: Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Title: Steadfast
By: Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #2
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

I need to admit that after finishing Bittersweet, I really didn’t want to read Jude’s story.  I thought he was an interesting character but I didn’t seem to think that much could come out of him and his past but I was SO WRONG! Not even a few pages in, I was hooked.  Jude’s backstory, his love for Sophie, the tragic way they parted, and now his arrival back in his home town had me more riveted than Griff and Audrey’s story. 

I don’t know if I can even express how much I loved this story.  If you just take Jude and break him down, he is the strongest character I have ever read about.  How he grew up with an alcoholic father and the horrible decisions that he made sent him to jail but in the end, it made him such a great person.  Even while battling his craving for drugs, Jude comes home to a town where he knows that he is not wanted because he has nowhere else to go.  He never blames others for his actions because he knows he made the first mistake of taking drugs and hiding his addiction.  Day in and day out he suffers quietly all while longing for Sophie but knowing that he is no longer worthy of her, that being with her would make it painful for the both of them.  And Sophie is just as strong, after the accident and loss of her brother, she lets go of her dreams and stays at home to take care of her mother.  But fate throws them together and things get electric!  This story isn’t just about Jude being reintroduced into society after serving his time and living with the consequences of his actions, it’s so much more.  I don’t want to say anything else because I want you to live it like I did while reading about these two beautiful characters.

Just go read it!

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Title: Bittersweet
By: Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #1
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Bowen wrote a wonderful romantic story that involves a sassy female lead and a burly but lovable male lead that left me sighing multiple times throughout the book.  Something about her writing allowed me to picture every scene described in the book.  I knew what the Shipley’s farm looked like, their house and occupants, and the beloved apple orchard.  And not only did I picture everything but I felt everything.  I felt the growing love between Griffin and Audrey, I felt the love that Griff had for his family and the want to provide for them, and I also felt the intense worry and burden that Griff carried on his shoulder to support his family and workers.  This book really was written and laid out to engulf into the Shipley’s life and make you want to stay there.

I want to say that Griff felt like 100% to me and I mean this in the sense of I could see him being a real man, living on the east coast, working on his family’s farm, and trying his hardest not to fall in love with a girl who has big dreams.  Plus, he is insanely hot.  However. Audrey felt a little forced for me.  I love a girl with big dreams and the sass and will to back it up but every once and a while I wanted her to really stand up for herself in many different aspects of her life, basically her job and her mother.  It just seemed like she came in the Shipley’s lives and left the destruction of a tornado at times.  But in the end…wait, I can’t tell you that part.

I am excited to read the rest of the Shipley’s’ crew’s stories.  I just know that Zach’s story is going to blow my socks off and hopefully Jude’s story will as well.