Review : Two Roads by L.M. Augustine

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I’ve been staring at the screen for twenty minutes trying to decide where to begin. It is hard to formulate into words just how amazing this book is. There was no violence, no unnecessary drama, just pure, raw emotion.

~ There once was a girl

                She lived in bliss

                She loved simple things: poetry, scrap pages, people who listen

                Her parents were perfect, but they deemed her a waste

                And then she had no one

Two Roads is the story of the love/hate relationship between Cali and Logan. After the death of her brother a few years earlier, she is no longer living, just merely surviving. She shuts out everyone around her, living a purely superficial life. She has an unhealthy relationship with her father, and the only emotion she exhibits is directed negatively towards Logan.  He placates her, and gives it back just as much.

~ I don’t mind being called a bitch. Being a bitch means I’m strong. Being a bitch means I’m surviving, and sometimes that’s all I can do: I survive.

It has been said that there is a thin line between love and hate, and in the case of Logan and Cali, this statement has never been truer. Here is a little secret though: their hatred is all a lie. A cover up for their real emotions.  What neither or them realize or will admit is that all this pent up anger and aggression is just their true feelings manifesting itself.

~ Everything else fades away, and it’s just him I front of me right now, him and me in our own little world.

                And I love it.

                And I hate it.

                And I don’t understand it for one second.

This book is going to spark some real emotions in you! Each chapter begins with Cali’s poetry. It is true, it is raw, and it is heart wrenching. Cali does a lot of growing up in this book, and she comes to a lot of realizations along the way. She spends the majority of her time placing blame for something on everyone else around her, including the person staring back in the mirror. That is the thing about a selfish act though. There is no one to blame but the one person you can’t blame. How do you blame someone who can’t defend themselves? What would be the point?

~ Sometimes saying nothing

                is easier than facing the truth

Rather than accept the situation for what it is, and accept that sometimes you don’t always get answers to what you want to know, Cali just hates everything. Everyone is against her, everything is fake, and she is the worst of them all, besides Logan. When Cali finally lets her walls down, that is when things really start to happen. You can only fight someone for so long before you break free. There are no harder truths to face that the ones staring right back at you. It is hard to see what is right in front of you, so you spend all your time running away from it.

~ I know like I know that I will wake up in the morning or that the moon will return again tomorrow night, that what I’m feeling for Logan Waters is real.

Logan is such an old soul. Cali’s brother was his best friend growing up, and together, they were the Three Muskateers. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, but at the same time hides them very well. Or maybe we just weren’t looking hard enough. All he has ever wanted was the love of someone special, and to be able to win back her trust. Like Cali, he is filled with guilt, again, over something that was out of his control.

~ And that’s the thing about love: no matter how hard you search, no matter how hard you run, sometimes, just sometimes, true love is right in front of you all along.

I just loved everything about this book. I could read it over and over again. This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but they have made a fan for life!  After reading this book, you will walk away feeling renewed. Renewed in the human spirit, renewed in life, and renewed in love.

~ You know, when you really think about it, sometimes love is like poetry. It doesn’t always make sense, and it sure as hell isn’t ever simple, but it’s always there, and it’s in the individual to find it.

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Review : Stay With Me (With Me #1) by Elyssa Patrick

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I received a free copy through a New Adult Goodreads group in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been eyeing this book for a few months now. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I do. A strong cover grabs me, and I will often add it to my TBR without even reading the synopsis. 

This is the story of Hailey Bloom. Haley has been in the entertainment industry since before she could even walk. She’s been owned by the world, and never done anything for herself. At eighteen, she decided she wants out of that world, and drops out of sight to attend college in Vermont. She is so unsure of herself, and doubt cloud her vision at every turn. Wanting a night out, she attends a party and she runs into Caleb Fox.

His tongue slides against me, tasting, seeking. He’s all I know, all I want to know, and I want him to know me in every possible way.

Attraction is instant between these two, but Hailey is convinced Caleb only wants her for one thing. She is treading on thing water already where her self esteem is concerned, and she isn’t sure she can take much more. 

Words are easy; it’s action that’s always harder. It’s actually doing it and believing it.

Along with Caleb, we are introduced to his sister Meghan, as well as his roommates. This book is the first in a series, so I am anticipating future books starring the roommates. In Meghan, Hailey finds the best friend she has always yearned for. 

Tomorrow. The tomorrow after that. All the future tomorrows. There is a lot to look forward to.

Ya’ll, this man is so…..just….whew. The words that come out of his mouth. He is trying everything in his power to win her over. She is so worried that everything in her past is going to ruin anything in her future.

I don’t even think of what I’m doing. I don’t see, and with not seeing, I can’t see if it’s wrong or not, and maybe nothing would be wrong with it anyway. Maybe there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with creating.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and the words flow effortlessly. I cannot wait for the future installments in this series!

I love you may be only three words…three syllables, but those three words are the most powerful, precious ones in the world. And the most freeing. 

Review : My Unexpected Forever (Beaumont #2) by Heidi McLaughlin

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Back in January, I fell in love with a little book called Forever My Girl. Josie and Liam stole my heart and ran away with it like no other. I didn’t think any future books from Heidi could top it. Then came the second book in the Beaumont series, My Unexpected Forever. With this book comes the introduction of Harrison and Quinn. Let me warn you from the get go ladies, hold on to your ovaries!

~ I don’t want her to know she has me by the balls and can string me along like a puppet.

We pick up a few months from where Forever My Girl left off. Katelyn has become the band’s manager, and they, along with all the kids, are preparing to go on tour together. Elle and Peyton, Katelyn’s daughters, are still reeling from the death of their father Mason. Ellie clings to Harrison, and Peyton wants nothing to do with anyone. I am telling you, watching children grieve will just shatter your heart. In the midst of all this, Katelyn is playing a cat and mouse game with Harrison. She likes him, but doesn’t want to give in to her feelings because she believes she can only ever love her husband.  In the meantime, Harrison (im)patiently waits.

~ I’d pass out if I were allowed to see it. I’d die if I were allowed to touch it.

Harrison is the drummer of the band, but I really think he missed his calling as a poet. The things that come out of this man’s mouth, or rather he states internally, will leave you in a puddle of swoon. There is such a sweet side to this man, and we haven’t even gotten into his role as a father! What you may not know, besides being a phenomenal drummer, and a man with a heart of gold, is that Harrison is a single father. He was blindsided with this role, but from the beginning has handled it like a pro. He and his son Quinn have a relationship that would make anyone jealous. Quinn is wise beyond his seven years, and handles situations better than most adults. They are more than father and son, they are best friends.

~ I could live a day without water if I was granted the permission to just stare at her.

From the start of the book, we know how Harrison feels about Katelyn. What we don’t know is how or even if, anything will progress between them. Katelyn is so hesitant, so concerned with what everyone will think about her moving on. At the same time, she feels as if she is cheating on her deceased husband. He is all she has ever known, all she ever wanted. In an instant, without warning, he was ripped away from her, leaving Katelyn to raise two small children alone. She doesn’t know how to reconcile that her husband, the love of her life, her protector and best friend, is no longer in her life. To compound on all this, Peyton was a total daddy’s girl and has completely pulled away from everyone.

~ I think your tattoos tell a story, maybe she should learn to read.  I lean back and study my son. You’re right, maybe we can teach her.

The conversations between Harrison and each of the kids are my favorite parts of the book. He speaks to them as equals and not just as children. The love he showers unconditional on Elle and Peyton will set your heart on fire. There are so many different facets to Harrison, and with each layer uncovered you fall in love with the man more and more. So much so that even though you sympathize with what Katelyn is dealing with, you just want to slap her upside the head!

 

~ Because I want you to see me for who I am on the inside and not the out. It’s my security.

What I love about this series is that there is no unnecessary drama. There is nothing farfetched, and these are all real life situations, dealt with like most people do. Death, love, career, raising kids alone, blended families, life after tragedy. These are all issues that everyone, at some point in their life, deals with in one way or another. Heidi approaches these with a realism and truth that allows you to believe you are there in the story with them all. It is not hard to envision yourself living in Beaumont, and I would love to take up residence there.

~ Her body is the one drumbeat I can’t master, but I’ll never give up trying.

To tell you how everything ends would be a major disservice to you the reader, as well as those of us who have already been on the journey with Harrison and Katelyn.  I will say that this book is full of love, forgiveness, growth, friendship, and most importantly, family. Trust me, you will WANT to take this journey with Harrison and Katelyn. He is a not a man you will soon forget! I would highly recommend this series to everyone, and am so pleased to know that there are more books coming. Each book in the series is a continuation of the prior one, and should be read in order, but the main characters’ story wraps up at the end of them. I am waiting on baited breath for the next book, and this will surely be a series I return to in the future to read again.

Review : Nocturne by Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles

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Let me start off my saying that I feel like I got to watch this book grow. I have had the privilege of being in Andrea and Charles’ Facebook groups for the past 6 months and have witnessed the melding of minds. It is a beautiful thing! I stumbled across these authors at the beginning of the year, and completely devoured each of their books. Although I’m sure it isn’t the case, their writing just translates as effortless. That is the best way I can think to describe it. Whether they are writing separately, or together, you become aware quickly that this is literary genius. You are there in the story, right alongside the characters, living in their world. You are taken for a ride, your heart a little dented, and if you are lucky, put back together again.

~ You think music is this heartless engineering construct made of nothing but notes and rhythms pasted together by architects. It is not. Music is communications. It’s emotion. It’s passion and love and hate and expression.

In their first joint venture, Andrea and Charles tell the story of Savannah and Gregory. Savannah is a musical protégé, entering into her first year at a prestigious music conservatory. Gregory, a few years her senior, is a professor at the school, as well as a cello protégé himself.  Right off the bat, Gregory see something special in Savannah’s talent, though he would never admit it.

~ Music gave life beauty. Music spoke the language of the human spirit for all to hear and understand.

Savannah understand quite proficiently how powerful music is. How it is imbedded in every fiber of your being. She doesn’t view it as science, more so fluidity. She challenges Gregory at every turn, and as you will see throughout the book, he is a stubborn arse.

~ He was living music and didn’t even know it. Tragic.

What I love about Savannah is that she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. She calls him on everything, and stands up for what she believes in. She may not know what she wants yet, or how she is going to get there, but she believes in herself.

~ I wanted her. Savannah Marshall was dangerous.

~ I knew, I was in love with him. And it was a horrible mistake.

We are treated to dual POV’s in this book, and I LOVE it! It is very refreshing to know what is going on in the minds of both characters. And even though you are laced with that information, you still have so many questions and frustrations with them. They love each other. That is all that matters. Right?

~ I knew if I didn’t blink then the tears couldn’t fall, and he couldn’t watch my heart breaking all the way down my cheeks. But, we all have to blink sometimes.

Life isn’t always so black and white, cut and dry. Love throws us curveballs, but sometimes we throw them ourselves. Gregory is truly his own worst enemy. Will he finally wake up and trust his heart?

~I was lost to her in that moment, and I never wanted to find my way out of that hole.

 This story was truly phenomenal! I went into it with high expectations because I love these authors so much, and I most definitely was NOT disappointed. This is a story you will want to go back and read over time. It flows and ebbs and there is never a dull moment. There are strong relationships, friendships, loves, losses, grief, and bouts of happiness. But these two authors have wrapped it all in one place. I cannot wait to see what comes next from them!

Review : Everything I’ve Never Had by Lynetta Halat

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I had the distinct honor of receiving an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Not only was I honored to receive this ARC, it is my first ever! So to say I was excited is an understatement. I fell in love with Lynetta’s writings a few months ago when I randomly came upon a little book called Every Rose. I hadn’t heard much about it, but after reading the synopsis, knew it would be something special. I was NOT disappointed, and it was a story that stuck with me for MANY months. So much so that I recommended it to everyone I could think of. After reading this, I quickly went to her Goodreads page, to see if she had any other books I could read. Upon learning of Everything I’ve Never Had, I anxiously awaited its release.

Within the first few pages, you are drawn into the devastatingly angsty world of Celeste and Adrian. Right out of the gate, we get a little taste of things to come with these two. Or rather, I should say, things we hope are to come.

That kiss…that kiss was exceptional, and I’ll never forget it. As I stand here and as long as I love, it was the best I’ve ever had, the best I could ever have.

Adrian is the cousin of Celeste’s deceased husband. Celeste and Adrian both come from a very “complicated” family. That is the nicest term I can think of to describe the Heberts. And that is being generous. Celeste is in a place in her life where she thinks she is finally ready to move on, but not sure what to do. Adrian has been a constant in the lives of her and her three boys for the past few years. Never taking it further than friendship, the lines are quickly becoming gray.  Adrian’s devotion to her and the boys never falters though. He is her rock, her light, her ……….future?

Sometimes we forget to appreciate the things that truly matter because our vision is so clouded by all of the mundane.

There are many obstacles standing in the way of this could be power couple, though none can compete with the obstacles they set up for themselves. Celeste wants to know what passion feels like. What it would be like to be truly devoured by another. Too frightened to defy her family and to break down her own boundaries, she hides behind her insecurities.

“Our past might have been rocky, but I think our future’s inevitable.”

Just when you think the story is going to go one direction, Lynetta throws you a curveball and you are playing a completely different ball game. I found this book so refreshing in that Celeste fights for what she wants. With everything life has thrown at her, she doesn’t give up. She isn’t broken, she isn’t helpless, and she can save herself. She fights for what she wants, and she fights for her man! The love between her and her sons will warm your heart. The love between her sons and Adrian; your heart will simply combust.

“I might shatter into a million pieces,” he grinds out but drops my hands. “I’ll put you back together again,“ I promise.

Oh, the feels I was surrounded with in this story! Every little thing I learned about Adrian just made me love him that much more. Here was a man who has always felt on the outside of a very large family. Whether warranted or not, he has never felt wanted. He has only ever been honorable, and stayed on the right side of the law, but even that isn’t good enough. Enter a woman who feels bound by family obligations, just wanting someone to truly love her for her. Their hearts are continuously at war with themselves and each other.

“Strength isn’t the ability to feel strong, Celeste. It’s the ability to overcome weakness.”

Celeste is the perfectly written heroine; strong, independent, and self sufficient. She has a close knit group of girlfriends, and they are all in different places in their lives. Their friendship for each other shines through and through in this book. I love a strong friendship “almost” as much as I love a good love story. The bond between these women is very apparent, and they continually push each other.

Always at the forefront is the budding suspense of Celeste and Adrian. Will they? Won’t they? Well, you will just have to read to find out. One thing is certain for the both of them, and clearly rings true. They may not know they have been searching for everything they’ve never had, but when you stop looking, life has a way of delivering exactly what you need. Sometimes that is the love of a lifetime, sometimes it is the strength that you never knew you had, and sometimes, if you are lucky, it is both.

“He said he didn’t even exist without you. That he was an empty vessel and that you filled him and owned him until he didn’t know where he ended and you began.”

In my mind, one song personifies how I feel about this book, and the love shown between these two characters.  Safetysuit’s Never Stop (Wedding version). Everything I’ve Never Had is a definite MUST read, and one that I will certainly read again. Highly recommend!

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