Posted in Family, Romance, Suspense

Too Close – Elizabeth Krall

17379064Synopsis

What rules would you break for the one you love? What lies would you tell?

Three weeks before their wedding day, Nicola and Greg discover that they may have the same mother.
They met when Greg joined the San Francisco newspaper where Nicola is the travel editor. After six months, eager to start a life together and raise a family, they decide to marry.
When Nicola finally meets his family in Seattle, and mentions the circumstances of her adoption, Greg’s horrified mother is forced to reveal the shameful secret she has kept for 36 years.
As they struggle to deal with her revelation, their relationship is challenged and strained. If his mother’s suspicions are true, they will be forced into a devastating choice: break all of society’s rules and fight for their love, or break their hearts and give each other up.
It will be the greatest test their newfound love has faced – and their love may not survive.

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My Review

What would you do if the love of your life could somehow be related to you?

Nicola and Greg meet at work. Nicola, after being burnt by her ex-boyfriend, who was also a colleague, has sworn off dating colleagues since then. But then she meets Greg and he proves to her that he would never hurt her and bit by bit he breaks down that wall and they end up falling fast for one another, becoming engaged after just six months.

Three weeks before the wedding and a trip to meet Greg’s family in Seattle, Nicola mentions her circumstances of being adopted after showing a family photo to Greg’s mother. In turn, Greg’s mother Mona is forced to confess and reveal a shameful moment that happened to her 36 years ago; a secret she has kept hidden from everyone. She had a baby and left it, just like the story Nicola told them.

After the revelation, Greg and Nicola’s relationship changes. They both struggle with the fact they could be half-brother and sister, but they try to put it at the back of their mind until the DNA results come back. But it’s harder to forget this situation and it challenges them both. What will happen if they are related? Will they break up and never see each other again or will they break society’s rules and run away together, some place where no one will ever know their secret?

Their love is being tested to the limit and will all these ‘what ifs’ in the way, will their love survive this terrible ordeal?

I came across Too Close on accident really. I was just looking for some books to download on Amazon and this book sprang to my attention. Clicking on it to see what it was about, I knew I had to read it. I had never read a book about a couple maybe being related but from the start I was completely hooked. I wanted to know how the realization that they could be related came to light and how it was dealt with as really, it is such a delicate and emotional issue to deal with but I felt Ms. Krall wrote this book spectacularly. She dealt with the issue in a seriousness matter but also in a way to kind of bring a light release to the issue.

She had me feeling every emotion all the characters’ felt, especially Greg, Nicola, Mona – Greg’s mother and Gwen – Nicola’s adoptive mother. I could see everyone’s side during the waiting for the results, especially both Greg and Nicola’s constant arguments over the whole ‘sibling’ thing because they both had very different views on what to do over it. I was on edge until the DNA results were shown because I just had to know the outcome. I had come to love Greg and Nicola and I hated that it could be over before it truly began for them. I love it when books evoke a whole load of emotions from me because you know it’s a great book when that happens!

As the synopsis mentions, Greg and Nicola meet at a bar one night where everyone from work goes to on a Friday. They seem to really get on and there is an obvious attraction for both of them but Max, a work colleague, tells Greg that Nicola doesn’t go out with work colleagues since her ex-boyfriend cheated on her throughout their relationship with her boss. Greg is determined to make her change her mind about her rule and starts off little, asking her out just as friends. Nicola knows this isn’t true, that it is a date, but somehow she doesn’t seem to care. She likes Greg and after a few more dates, it seems the rule is broken.

They fall for each other fast. Spending nearly every day together and one night, after being together for 6 months, they talk about children and getting married, which leads to them becoming engaged. Although it seems rushed, you can really see the chemistry and the love the both of them have for one another and when you know you’ve found the one, why would you wait? Love has no time limit.

Nicola’s parents and siblings really like Greg, so when it’s her turn to meet Greg’s parents, three weeks before the wedding, shes really nervous. She gets on well with his parents and his sister but when she tells the story of her adoption that is when everything goes pear shaped and secrets from Mona’s past  are about to come to the surface and are set to test their relationship and love for one another. Could Greg and Nicola really be brother and sister?

It was so heartbreaking to think that they could be half-brother and sister. It tore my heart apart that Nicola and Greg loved each other so when this revitalisation came to light, it was so hard to watch them both struggle over what to do about that information and how to handle it. Greg seemed to adjust to it, trying to push it to the back of his mind. This was HIS Nicola, and no way could they be related, it just couldn’t be. But Nicola had a hard time dealing with it. She had never wanted to meet her real mother and knowing that the love of her life could be her brother and knowing Mona could be her mother just didn’t feel right to her at all. It was all she could think about.

Greg tried so hard to get her to forget that they could be related. He’d tell her that it’s ‘just me, it’s just us’ and he would do anything for her. For them to spend two weeks not knowing what the results of the DNA test would be was completely harrowing and gripping to read.

Greg has strong religious beliefs and so he knows that incest is a sin. Whereas Nicola isn’t religious and she wants to fight for their relationship if they are related. They fight a lot over this; religion being a main factor over the fights. I also though Greg was being hypercritical over the whole incest fight they had. It seemed he was okay being with Nicola knowing they could be related the past two weeks but when she tells him that there could be a way they could stay together if the results came back positive, he just went off the rails about how incest is a sin.

To love someone so much and find out you may be related, it’s got to be heartbreaking and emotional and such a tough situation to go through. I really understood the way they were acting; biting at one another with their ‘what if’s’ but also needing to be with one another, to support each other throughout the turmoil until they got the results back. I could never imagine myself in this situation, let alone think about what I would do if I was in this position.

I could really feel the emotions pouring from Nicola and Greg. To be put in this position, then having to wait for the results would cause havoc and uncertainty for anyone who goes through results like this or any other results.

You really do root for them not to be brother and sister though, because they truly are meant to be. They have both been badly hurt in the past and to finally meet and fall in love in such a short amount of time seemed like the right thing for them. They loved each other dearly and it’s clear to see they would do anything for one another. Greg fought from the start to breaking down Nicola’s barriers and thank god he was the one to break her rule. It was clear there was an instant attraction between them that going fast was just something that happened and it felt right.

I really don’t want to tell you what happened at the end with the results and I don’t want to write about the end and whether I enjoyed it or not because that would spoil the outcome. Let’s just say I cried at the results and leave it like that.

There are a few scenes I loved reading but I have to say the ‘bondage’ scene at the hotel. That made me completely giggle when I read it because they are both just so comfortable together, they both kind of take the piss out of BDSM, with Greg telling Nicola she would be a rubbish sex slave. I could definitely imagine that scene playing out in my mind, at how at ease they were together and how they could just laugh at the toys in the box that Greg’s sister sent them. It was nice that they could just forget about the situation they were in, even if it was just for a couple of hours. Where they could just be together and not worry about anything.

Gosh, you really do go through the emotions reading Too Close but I am so glad I found this book and got the chance to read it. It was great to see how this situation affected the families and friends they both had and their input and advice into their situation. Each character had something different to input and I loved the friends that Greg and Nicola had, they were with them from the start, supporting them.

Elizabeth Krall has written an amazing book in Too Close and I insist that you all read it!! It is different from other books I read, as I have yet to read a book like this, but boy am I glad. It’s a page turner. It’s about love, a struggle, a journey but most of all fighting for love. I definitely recommend this book to you all!

 

 

 

Posted in New Adult

If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1) – Courtney Cole

17032328Synopsis

24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
Seriously.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.

But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
Wrong.

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he’s working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?

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My Review

Pax is a 24 year old ‘fuck-up’. He’s a bad boy with a bad attitude to match but he’s got his reasons for acting like an asshole all the time.

When he was seven, his mother died, and it’s left Pax with a hole in his heart and guilt that he doesn’t know where it has come from. Due to his mother’s death, his dad uprooted them away from his childhood home and as the years have gone on, he and his dad have many issues that they just haven’t sorted out and since trying to be the perfect son and getting nothing back from his dad, Pax slipped, slipped so far that he began to use drugs, alcohol and girls to deal with his past.

But there is still an emptiness that fills his heart, no matter how hard to tries to pretend it’s not there.

Then he meets Mila and shes like this breath of fresh air. She softens his heart. He knows deep down the line he’s going to hurt her, but he’s going to try his damn hardest not to because he needs her.

But when the memories of his mother’s death resurface, Mila is there for him when the guilt becomes too much, but he’s retreated back into his asshole state, as it’s the only way he knows how to survive. Will Mila stay around or will it be too much for her to cope?

HOLY MOLY! I freaking loved If You Stay and I was so glad that I downloaded it. I had seen the hype around this book on Twitter and knew I had to get my hands on it. I love the whole bad boy/good girl love affair and I was totally indulged in the story right from the beginning. It was totally a bold move to open the book that way, but by hell it caught my attention (I read it on the train, my eyes were wide open and I was hoping no one was watching me) and from then on, I was hooked right until the very end.

If You Stay has so much packed into the plot that it’s hard not to feel for the story and all the characters involved. It’s not a story I have ever read before and I salute Courtney Cole for it. It’s got a raw feeling to it, with how both Mila and Pax go on about their lives before they meet. Pax is rough around the edges, whereas Mila sees everything in the world through her artist mind, seeing colours and beauty where there is none. I think that is why these two were so perfect for one another. They blended both of their different colours together and created a new one, just for them.

I loved Pax. He was fucked-up yes, but at the start, with how he handled life – well it was the only way he knew how. How to get through his day. His void was alcohol and drugs and when his life was in danger, it took that moment to make him see just how close he was to death and how he needed to do something because next time he really could be dead. And that’s how Mila fits in. When he was with Mila, it was like he had a new lease of life. He didn’t want to be the old him; he wanted to change for the better, for himself and to prove he’s not a fuck-up like everyone thinks of him. Mila was his ray of sunshine. The one person he could rely on and make him feels things he hadn’t for a long time.

Mila was a great character. She worked hard, she ran a successful business, she helped out at her parent’s restaurant and she really did see the best in everyone but she was closed off. She didn’t want her heart to be broken like it was when her parents died. But then there was something about Pax that she never really felt with any other guy. Mila wants to take that risk with Pax, even though she’s on guard with her heart, but Pax tries so hard for her and you can really see how easy it is for them both for fall for each other.

I really enjoyed the dual narratives. They really divulged into their fears, their feelings and their emotions; not just about themselves but about each other too. It was great to read their progress during their relationship from both Pax and Mila and of course, how deep they both fell for each other, through their struggles and the drama that surrounded them.

I loved their story, their journey to becoming the people they ended up being together. Mila helps Pax with his childhood memories that have enclosed and forgotten for years and even though their relationship struggled as Pax was hurting and didn’t know how to handle it, Mila never gave up on him, wanting to help him through the pain.

There are so many scenes that I absolutely loved reading about, but the one that had me giggling and really wanting to do is the naked painting. You could feel the emotions pouring off the characters and through the kindle over this scene and it was hot as hell.

So readers, if you like bad boys with a past, good girls who fall for said bad boy, a road to recovery, deep, dark secrets of the past and of course, scenes of a sexual nature then download your copy now and get reading If You Stay. I guarantee you will fall in love with this book too!

Posted in Alexis Lauren, Romance, YA

Under Her Skin – Alexis Lauren

Synopsis

Marlo LaPointe is there to take care of her brother and his band mates, even the one that annoys her the most. Marlo and Tobias never got along. But when he turns into her Knight in Shining Armor more than once, she starts seeing him in a different light. What happens when then? She follows the band Pleasure Pointe as they are starting out and becoming a success.

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My Review

I have a secret. I love reading about bands and romance concerning the members – as you can see from Backstage Pass and Hard Rock (so far) and this book didn’t disappoint.

We start off with Marlo – known as Lola to her friends. She is her brother’s band PA and is very close to him, seeing as their parents didn’t care for them at all. Marlo gets along with everyone in the band apart from Tobias – the lead singer.
They seem to rub off on each other and argue whenever they are in the company of each other.

Being a 24 year old, she was a bit childish over her stance on Tobias, but hearing him having sex – as the playboy of the band that he is – would have wound me up too but one night where something traumatic nearly happens to Marlo and with her boyfriend – now ex- standing there not doing anything, Tobias sees red and jumps in to help her.

Throughout her downward depression, Tobias is there for Marlo, which is a turn of events and hes there every step of the way, making sure she gets back to her old self.

To make sure she does, he acts like a dick in front of her and that gets her spark back.

During the book, their relationship progresses and Tobias cant understand his feelings for Marlo – hes attracted to her but hes never had a committed relationship before and Marlo begins to have feelings for him too.

They spend time together, still sleep in each other’s bed and kiss quite a bit, but I don’t think he fully gets to grips with his feelings until Marlo ends up in hospital and she has to spend two weeks away from him, where they both end up missing each other.

Tobias and Marlo get together and it was nice to see him changing from a playboy to being a one woman man. Although there is drama along the way for the couple and for certain members of the band – Marlo’s brother Dusty included, you could see the love that Tobias had for Marlo and vice versa and the ending was very nice to read.

I recommend this book for all you out there.