The Date from Hell (Not Your Average Hot Guy: Book 2) by Gwenda Bond

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: April 5th, 2022

Series: Not Your Average Hot Guy

Not Your Average Hot Guy—Book 1 (review here)

The Date from Hell—Book 2

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, New Adult, Contemporary

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

“The apocalyptic beach read that everyone needs.” – Alix E. Harrow, Hugo Award-winning author on Not Your Average Hot Guy

In The Date from Hell, the sequel to Not Your Average Hot Guy, New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond brings the journey of Callie, Luke, and their friends to a wonderful close. This is another laugh-out-loud, action-packed romantic adventure you won’t want to miss.

After saving the world and stopping the apocalypse, Callie and Luke are looking forward to a quiet, romantic weekend together. When you’re human and dating the Prince of Hell, quiet moments are hard to come by. But their romantic weekend in Hell takes a turn when Lucifer tasks Callie and Luke with chasing a wayward soul around the world. If they can prove it’s possible to redeem a soul, Lucifer will allow the two of them to make some changes in Hell.

But this wayward soul, Sean, doesn’t have any interest in being redeemed. Instead, now that he’s back on Earth, he’s decided to take a leaf out of Callie and Luke’s book and wants to find the Holy Grail. Now Callie, Luke, and their friends—and enemies—must race Sean around the globe on a Grail quest and bring peace between Heaven and Hell before they can finally (maybe) get around to that date.


First Line:

I stand on my tiptoes to slide a book with a thick black spine adorned with golden skulls – Being the Rules of the Kingdom of Hell, Vol 99 – back into its place on the shelf.

The Date from hell by gwenda bond

When I finished Not Your Average Hot Guy, I immediately wanted to read the next book in the series. That is how much I loved Callie and Luke’s relationship. I kept checking Gwenda Bond’s Goodreads and when I saw that The Date From Hell had its own Goodreads page, I prayed to the book gods that I got an ARC of this book. My prayer was answered when SMP contacted me about reading/reviewing The Date From Hell. I was so excited about reading this book. And, I am happy to report that this book more than lived up to my expectations.

The Date From Hell takes place a couple of months after the events of Not Your Average Hot Guy. Callie, Luke, and her family are almost at the end of rebuilding the escape room business destroyed by the events in book 1. Callie has also wanted to change one of Hell’s rules regarding people who commit morally gray crimes and end up in Hell. Satan surprisingly agrees when she brings that up but gives her a 3-day quest to redeem a soul of his choice. If she succeeds, he will allow the changes. But if she doesn’t, she will have to forfeit something. But, dealing with Satan is always tricky, and he wasn’t exactly honest about who the soul was and if it even wanted to be redeemed. As secrets come to light, soon Luke and Callie are fighting for more than a single soul. What is that secret that they discovered? And is it worth risking everything (including their lives) to go through with the quest?

The Date from Hell is book 2 in the Not Your Average Hot Guy series. While you could read this as a standalone book, I highly suggest reading book one first. That way, you could understand the backstories referenced in this one. If you don’t want to read the book, then I suggest reading the reviews for a quick overlook.

I loved Callie in this book. She continued to be this badass who wasn’t afraid to go toe to toe with Satan. She had no filter, which was generally hilarious but sometimes got her into trouble. The only thing I did fault her for was that she was almost too stubborn, and she seemed to like poking Soraya the Rude all the time. I loved seeing how passionate she was about redeeming those souls she felt got the short end of the stick by being stuck in Hell.

I loved that the author chose to go the route she did with Luke. While I loved Luke, I felt that he was afraid to get seriously involved with Callie from book one. The part of the book where Luke was human was huge because his feelings were more real to me. He did come across as overprotective at times, but I wasn’t surprised. His character had some tremendous growth to it throughout the book.

I couldn’t understand why the author had so much focus on Sean until the middle of the book. Then a giant lightbulb went on over my head. I got a little grumpy with Satan at that point too. That was one of the many times after the middle of the book that I got cranky with him.

The storyline with the quest to redeem Sean’s soul that morphed into a quest to find the Holy Grail was interesting. I enjoyed seeing The Guardian’s city (even if I did think that people were bloodthirsty). I also loved how the author introduced Guinevere and Arthur and how they were involved in that quest. It was an exciting way to do that part of the quest, and I loved it.

The storyline with Callie wanting to change some of the laws in Hell had a fascinating twist. I was astonished when it went the way it did and felt I should have seen it coming. But it was perfect and very fitting for Callie!!

Callie and Luke’s romance was one of the sweetest that I have read. I loved that the author took it slow with them, that there was no Instalove. Instead, their relationship was allowed to progress naturally. That alone made this book enjoyable to read for me.

There is sex in The Date from Hell, but it isn’t graphic. And, surprisingly (well, to me at least), it is Callie and Luke’s first time after dating for months.

The end of The Date from Hell was interesting. I liked the twist that the author put in there with Callie. It did make sense, but at the time, I was internally screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?????

I am looking forward to reading book three and seeing where all the different relationships are and if that twist is working.

I would recommend The Date from Hell to anyone over 16. There is mild language, violence, and sexual situations/scenes.

Losing Kyler (The Kennedy Boys: Book 2) by Siobhan Davis

Losing Kyler: A High School Bully Romance (The Kennedy Boys Book 2) by [Davis, Siobhan]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: March 27th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, New Adult

Series: The Kennedy Boys

Finding Kyler—Book 1 (Review Here)

Losing Kyler—Book 2

Keeping Kyler—Book 3

The Irish Getaway—Book 3.5

Loving Kalvin—Book 4

Saving Brad—Book 5

Seducing Kaden—Book 6

Forgiving Keven—Book 7 (Review Here)

Summer in Nantucket—Book 7.5

Releasing Keanu—Book 8 (Review Here)

Adoring Keaton—Book 9 (expected publication date: September 2020)

Reforming Kent—Book 10 (expected publication date: ?? )

Where you can find Losing Kyler: Amazon

Book Synopsis:

Condemned to repeat the sins of the past…

Faye thought losing her parents was the most devastating thing to happen to her, but she was wrong. Her uncle’s scandalous revelation has sent her into a tailspin, leaving her questioning her entire existence.

Everything she believed is built on a lie.

And the one person she shares a passionate, soul-deep connection with can’t be there for her.

Faye and Ky can’t be together. It’s forbidden. Though they are determined to avoid replicating their parents’ mistakes, caving to their feelings is as tempting as the apple in the Garden of Eden.

Ky had sworn off girls until Faye bulldozed her way into his life. Now, she’s his whole world, and their forced separation is crushing him. Once his manipulative ex resurfaces—hell-bent on ruining the Kennedys—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones including turning his back on the one person he can’t live without.

Then tragedy strikes and all bets are off.

But is it too late?

When Faye needs him and he isn’t there for her, guilt and hurt threaten to obliterate their love. As they start to rebuild their fractured hearts, another sordid family secret is uncovered, and Faye worries Ky may be lost to her forever.

But can you truly lose someone if they don’t want to be found?

Please note this series is only recommended to readers age 17+ due to mature content and themes.


First Line:

The room spins.

Losing Kyler by Siobhan Davis

My Review:

Losing Kyler is the 2nd book in The Kennedy Boys series. This book is not for teenagers. Again, loud so people in the back can hear, THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR TEENAGERS. There are mature themes in this book that I wouldn’t be comfortable letting anyone under the age of 21 read. I wasn’t comfortably reading some of the things that went on in this book, and I am 42. Also, this cannot be read as a stand alone book.

The plotline for Losing Kyler is fast-paced and well written. There were a few times where I got overwhelmed with what was going on (there was a lot), but that was just me. The flow of the book was terrific too. There were no dropped characters or storylines.

The plotline with Faye, James, Alex, and Kyler was wonderfully written. I can’t say what I would have done if that bombshell was dropped on me. I want to think that I would have acted like Faye did when she found out. But the truth is, I would have had a nervous breakdown.

I thought Alex and James were incredibly selfish during that plotline. There were more than a few scenes where I wanted to smack one or both of them upside the head. They were the main reason why their kids were rebelling out. I wanted to reach through my Kindle, shake them, and tell them to start acting like parents and the teenagers they aren’t.

The plotline with Kyler, Faye, Brad, and Addison was full of drama. The drama between the 4 of them was almost too much. But it was a ton of fun to read. I loved reading Faye and Addison’s interactions. I kept thinking “Meow” every time they were together.

I did wonder what dirt Addison had on Kyler. I mean, he was adamant that he wanted nothing to do with her towards the end of Finding Kyler. Then to hook back up with her? I wasn’t surprised at what it was. I also wasn’t amazed at her role in everything that happened in the book. I am so waiting for her to get hers!!

The storyline with Kal and the rape trial broke my heart and, later on in the book, enraged me. I didn’t understand why Lana accused him of rape. But when specific details came to light, I understood. All I have to say is what goes around comes around.

The sexual attraction and tension between Kyler and Faye were terrific. Even though they had to keep their hands off each other, there was a lot of sexual tension. I had to put down my Kindle and fan myself. When they finally did have sexual contact, holy moly was it intense.

The end of Losing Kyler is a cliffhanger. I am not a big fan of cliffhangers. But in this case, it worked. I want to know what happens next. I want to know if Kyler and Faye will have their happily ever after.


I would give Losing Kyler an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Losing Kyler. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Finding Kyler (The Kennedy Boys: Book 1) by Siobhan Davis

Finding Kyler: A High School Bully Romance (The Kennedy Boys Book 1) by [Davis, Siobhan]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: January 9th 2017

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Series: The Kennedy Boys

Finding Kyler—Book 1

Losing Kyler—Book 2

Keeping Kyler—Book 3

The Irish Getaway—Book 3.5

Loving Kalvin—Book 4

Saving Brad—Book 5

Seducing Kaden—Book 6

Forgiving Keven-–Book 7 (Review Here)

Summer in Nantucket—Book 7.5

Releasing Keanu—Book 8

Adoring Keaton—Book 9

Reforming Kent—Book 10

Where you can find Finding Kyler: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Bookbub

Book Synopsis:

Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

Will I enjoy this book?
Full of scandal, dysfunctional families, teen soap-opera-style angst and drama, secrets and lies, mean girls and catfights, lust and love, book one in the unputdownable Kennedy Boys series will have you flipping the pages’ way beyond bedtime! Only suitable for readers aged seventeen and older due to mature content and language. Please note this book contains a forbidden love theme featuring first cousins and a cliff hanger. It is not a standalone read.

Books in this Series
Finding Kyler
Losing Kyler
Keeping Kyler
The Irish Getaway – optional short novel

KENNEDY BOYS STANDALONE NOVELS
Loving Kalvin- friends-to-lovers second chance romance
Saving Brad – enemies-to-lovers romance
Seducing Kaden – second chance/forbidden romance
Forgiving Keven – second chance romance

The three Kyler books must be read together. Thereafter, every book in the series will focus on a single Kennedy boy and his love interest, and they will be standalone titles with an HEA and no cliffhanger. 


First Line:

“You can’t be serious?”

Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis

My Review:

I was thrilled when I saw that Siobhan was allowing her readers to catch up on the Kennedy boys series. I was intrigued by the brothers when I was reading Forgiving Keven and when they made an appearance in The Rydeville Elite series. So, I jumped on it, and I am glad that I did. The relationships that made zero sense to me in Forgiving Keven were introduced and somewhat explained.

Finding Kyler had a fast-moving plotline. From the minute, Faye realized that she had American relatives, it zipped along. The flow of the book was fantastic also.

I want to mention, because the author had a foreword about it, that there is a lot of Irish slang in the book, which I expected because the author is from Ireland herself. What I didn’t expect (and what I loved) was that she thoughtfully included a glossary at the end of the book. I was familiar with most of the slang in the book, but I was still taken by surprise by some of the things Faye said.

There was a small bit of ick factor when it came to Faye and Kyler’s relationship with them being 1st cousins. The author chose to play that up instead of letting it slide. Faye was continually reminding herself that her attraction to Kyler was wrong. When people found out about them, their reactions went from happy to disgusted to unhappy. But, putting the ick factor aside, I did enjoy their love story.

Faye walked into a mess when she arrived at the Kennedy household. Let’s say that the Kennedy’s put the fun in dysfunctional. I did feel a little bad for her because she was treated like crap. Kaden, Keven, Keanu, and Kent chose to ignore her. Kalvin kept hitting on her. Kyler ignored her, but at the same time, couldn’t stop watching her. The only decent person in the house was Keaton. Alex seemed nice, but she was never around. James, well, he had issues. Many, many issues. That made for a toxic environment.

Like I mentioned above, there was an ick factor with Kyler and Faye relationship. But, as I also said, I didn’t let that color their romance. In a way, it was sweet. Faye tried so hard not to fall for him. She did everything in her power to stop her feelings. She even went as far as to enroll in another school to stay away from him. It still happened, and it was delicious to read.

The end of Finding Kyler was a big drama fest. There was a huge twist that was revealed that I didn’t see coming. It is not often when a book shocks me, and this book did. With that twist came the cliffhanger, which I didn’t like. But, at the same time, it made me need to read the next book.


I would give Finding Kyler** an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Finding Kyler. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

**I know that Finding Kyler is a YA/NA marketed book. But, considering everything that went on in the book, I feel more comfortable giving it an Adult rating.

The Lost and the Scarred (Kingston City Limits: Book 1) by T. Marie Alexander

The Lost and the Scarred (Kingston City Limits Book 1) by [Alexander, T. Marie]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of Publication: September 16th, 2019

Series: Kingston City Limits

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, New Adult

The Lost and the Scarred—Book 1

Where you can find The Lost and the Scarred: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

ROX
When I was six, Wran Belmont found me buried in snow and gave me a place to live.

He became my best friend.

When I was fifteen, I gave him all of me—only for him to abandon me.

Now, he’s back and expecting the lost, scarred girl he’s left behind. I’m not that girl anymore. And while I may still have secrets, it will not be as easy for him to retrieve them this time around.

WRAN
When I was eleven, my father lost his job and became a pathetic excuse for a father. A few months later I found Roxanna Raine buried in snow, barely hanging on to life.

Her father was the reason mine was an alcoholic, and I thought about letting her freeze to death.

One look in her eyes and she became my kryptonite. I swore I would get my revenge, though, even if it was on the fair-skinned beauty.

When I was nineteen, I left Rox without an explanation—broken-hearted and even more lost.

Now, I’m back and I’ll do anything to make up for the stolen time.


First Line:

“I’m taking her!”

The Lost and the Scarred by T. Marie Alexander

My Review:

I was excited about reading The Lost and the Scarred. I have become a massive fan of dark romances. The blurb promised that this was going to be a juicy one. And it was. I couldn’t read this book fast enough.

The plotline that highlighted Wran and Rox’s dysfunctional relationship was dark. Oh so dark and I loved it.

The plotline with Rox and Harley was interesting. It took me a while to realize what happened. I understood why Rox insisted on keeping her visits to Harley a secret. Wran would have blown a gasket.

The plotline with Rox and her father was heartbreaking. The author was cautious not to reveal too much about her years with him. I did guess at what happened to Rox after her mother’s death. There have been very few times where I wished that I could morph into a book and bring all holy hell to a character. This was one of them.

The romance between Rox and Wran didn’t seem real to me. Mainly because of how Wran acted. He was an immature, jealous idiot with an anger management problem and he took it out on Rox. So, yeah, the romance didn’t spark for me.

Josh drove me nuts. He had the power to keep Wran away from Rox. He was the freaking sheriff!! Instead, he talked and talked but didn’t do anything about it. He let Wran have his man tantrums all over the place. He even got assaulted by Wran at the police station. Which made me go “WTF.”

Cade was another person who drove me nuts in the book. He held back who he was to Rox. He went out of his way to piss Wran off. But, he did come through in the end.

The end of The Lost and the Scarred ticked me off. I didn’t agree with what Lynn did at all. Also, it was a cliffhanger. And if you have been reading my blog long enough, then you know how I feel about cliffhangers. I do need to read book 2.


I would give The Lost and the Scarred an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Lost and the Scarred. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Touch of Smoke by Karissa Laurel

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

5 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of publication: February 8th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

Where you can find Touch of Smoke: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.


My Review:

Touch of Smoke was a fantastic read. I don’t give 5-star reviews easily. A book has to capture my attention and keep it. I have to form a connection with both the male and female lead. Touch of Smoke hit all those and then some.

Touch of Smoke has a dual plotline. One takes place in the past and the other in the present. Usually, I don’t like that type of plotlines. In my experience, this type of plotlines generally gets me confused. Which in turns makes me lose interest in the book. In this case, though, the author was obvious when she was switching from the past to the present/the present to the past. She also did not give away what happened in the past. There were hints, but nothing prepared me for what happened. She also did a fantastic job of merging the two storylines mid-book. It was flawless.

The main plotline of Touch of Smoke centers around Erika (or Rikki), Owen and what happened that night her best friend, Mina, was killed. Rikki came back to town to face her demons, which meant that she had to face Owen and his role in what happened that night. When an ancient evil arrives in Evansville, Rikki needs to make a choice. Will she trust Owen and help him? Or will Rikki stand aside and let that evil destroy him? If she does help him, what will be the price that she pays?

I loved Rikki. She was a tough cookie. She was also the hardest working character that I have come across in a while. This woman worked two jobs while going to a community college. She was an EMT, and she worked in stable, cleaning stalls. I did think she was silly for pushing Owen away. I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. Her actions at the end of the book were amazing. And selfless.

I fell in love with Owen every time he showed up in the book. Who wouldn’t? He was an Army veteran who fell head over heels with Rikki. I loved that he didn’t push her into doing anything that she didn’t want to do. He let her set the bar for their relationship. He did have his secrets, though. I liked how the author revealed them.

The romance angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific. I loved seeing Owen and Rikki’s relationship evolve. It wasn’t Instalove (far from it). The author chose to have Owen and Rikki date and go from there. The scene where Rikki decides to throw caution to the wind was poignant. Mainly because of what happened a few days (at least I think it was a few days) later.

The fantasy angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific also. I liked how the author took the jinn myth and made it her own. I had no issue believing that jinns weren’t like Genie from Aladdin. Instead, they were out for themselves. The story that Owen tells about the boy, the ring and the jinn explains everything.

The end of Touch of Smoke broke my freaking hearts into little bits. Like I mentioned above, what Rikki did was selfless. I was ugly crying in the chapter after that. Of course, I liked how the author had Owen explain everything to Rikki in a story, including what he did after. But still. Ugly Crying. In the middle of the day. Enough said!!


I would give Touch of Smoke an Older Teen rating. There is sex (nothing graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Touch of Smoke. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Friends with Benefits (Beta Brothers: Book 2) by Hazel Kelly

Friends with Benefits: A Steamy College Romance (Beta Brothers #2) by [Kelly, Hazel]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: August 8th, 2018

Genre: Romance, New Adult

Series: Beta Brothers

My Best Friend’s Ex—Book 1

Friends with Benefits—Book 2

Where to find Friends with Benefits: Amazon

Synopsis:

Carter’s been crazy about Nina since the first time he saw her emerald eyes, but his fratastic reputation landed him in the friend zone before he even had a chance to say, “How you doin’?”

So when Nina suggests they become friends with benefits, he can’t believe his luck. 

After all, once he’s gotten in her pants, winning her heart should be easy… right?

**This is a full-length, standalone romance novel with no cliffhanger, no cheating, and a heart-swelling HEA. 


My review:

I am guilty of judging this book before I even read it. I thought this book was going to be all sex and minimal plot. The blurb and the cover didn’t add much to the opinion I formed. Then I read the book. I gotta tell y’all, I was surprised and pleased!! I love it when a book turns out to be the exact opposite of what I thought it was going to be.

I enjoy it when I read a romance where the main characters have some sort of friendship of sorts. Nina and Carter know each other through their best friends, who are dating. Their relationship was friendly for months before they hooked up. Their friendship made their transition into FB’s pretty easy.

Nina and Carter’s sexual relationship was hot. I did laugh when she was amazed by the size of Carter’s package. I would have had the same thoughts. I also liked that the sexual tension and attraction didn’t fade as I read the book. The author did a fantastic job of keeping it hot until the end of the book. 95% of the romances I read have the sex scene fizzle out after the first time.

I liked Nina and I agreed with Sadie after reading the first couple of chapters. She needed a FB. I understood why she didn’t want a relationship. If I had been treated that way by my exes, I would have the same feelings. I also understood why she had rules when she instigated to FB arrangement with Carter. She did kind of annoy me at points in the book. She got jealous way to easy. She was willing to believe that Carter was seeing other people besides her. She was too stubborn to see that Carter cared about her. Why else would he have brought her dinner (with cheesecake!!) on Valentines Day?

I loved Carter. He was perfect for Nina. I liked how he took things slow with her. He had feelings for before she approached him to be her FB. It was like Christmas and his birthday rolled into one when that happened. When they broke up, even though he instigated it, he was as hurt as she was. I loved seeing a guy who was in touch enough with his feelings to admit that.

The book ended on a positive note. I liked that everything was resolved. I liked that future plans were made. I can’t wait to see Nina and Carter in other books. I can’t wait to see how their relationship progressed.


I would give Friends with Benefits an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is some mild violence. There are triggers. They would be alcoholism. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Friends with Benefits. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Friends with Benefits.

All opinions stated in this review of Friends with Benefits are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Storyteller’s Throne by Jocelyn Bates

The Storyteller's Throne

2 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Storyteller’s Throne: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Grace was born a storyteller with a beautifully brilliant mind. Trauma twisted her reality into a tale of darkness. Now, at eighteen, Grace has found herself on the shores of a shadow world created to heal a generation. A world whose purpose is to release our emotions from the bonds of youth.

But she is not alone. It’s a world inhabited by others, those working on their own hearts and one other like herself. An amazing and yet afflicted empath and musician by the name of Kai that Grace feels inexplicably drawn to.

Will she be able to handle the suppressed memories of her youth? Accept the vulnerability necessary to explore her own heart and that of another? Fulfill the true purpose it seems she is destined to serve?

Come along with Grace as she learns to uncover her past, harness her gift, open her heart to love and embrace her future.


My review:

I was intrigued when I read the blurb for The Storyteller’s Throne. A woman, scarred by traumatic events that happened in her life, finds herself in a world that can help her heal. It caught my interest. I wanted to know how this world would help her heal. I also wanted to know who Kai was and why Grace had such a connection to him. So I decided to read the book. For the most part, I liked the book. But it was the direction the book took towards the end that made me go “WTH” and give it the rating I did.

Grace’s story disturbed me. She was raped by someone when she was 6 years old. I didn’t like having to read about a 6-year-old being raped. I understood why the author chose to have Grace react the way she did to the rape. Her unresolved feelings led her down a road of self-harm. But once she got into the Shadow Lands, she was forced to face and accept what she went through. But, then her story took a turn that I didn’t expect. Her romance with Kai wasn’t expected as was her traveling into the future. I will get into that later in the review. I couldn’t connect with her.

I felt bad for Kai. His story was different from Grace’s but it was also similar. Kai didn’t speak. He could speak but chose not too. He chose to speak through his music. His entire life, he had been compared to his older brothers and fell short. Falling into addiction, Kai ends up in The Shadow Lands the same time as Grace. I would have loved it if the author kept his character on that path. Instead, he went down a path where he fell in love with Grace. It almost seemed like an obsessive love, to be honest. He was more relatable to than Grace but I still didn’t have a connection.

I would have been fine with the book if it hadn’t gone into an anti-medication rant. Then Grace went into the future. There the adults were medicating themselves and the kids to keep them easy to manage. But the minute that mental health medication was blamed for the kids being zombies, I went “Oh no. This book didn’t go there.” That affected my rating.

Also, I didn’t like that there was Instalove. Instalove is fine in some books but in this one, no. I couldn’t with this book. I also couldn’t deal with Grace and Kai having sex. While I understand that it was healing, it didn’t do it for me.

The end of The Storyteller’s Throne confused me. I am not going to get into it but there were several situations that made me go “What!!” and “How on earth did she not know that?” and “Well, chaos didn’t happen, so now what“. None of the storylines were wrapped up. Which either was an oversight or the author is planning a book 2. I was left unsatisfied with the ending.


I gave The Storyteller’s Throne a 2-star rating. I could not connect with any of the characters. I would have been OK with the book if it hadn’t turned into an anti-medication rant. And there was Instalove.

I would give The Storyteller’s Throne an Older Teen rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is mild language. There are triggers. There are child rape, self-harm, and drug use. Also, there is a strong anti-medication for mental illness in the last half of the book. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would not reread The Storyteller’s Throne. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Storyteller’s Throne.

All opinions stated in this review of The Storyteller’s Throne are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read The Storyteller’s Throne?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy: Book 1) by Mikayla Elliot

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association, Member’s’ Titles

Date of publication: July 31st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult

Where you can find Snow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Black Ice Trilogy

Snow – Book 1

Blizzard – Book 2

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind and discovering a past she cannot escape.

My review:

When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be a vampire Snow White type of book. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. If I paid more attention to the blurb, I would have seen that.  Oh well.

I don’t understand how Snow was labeled as a young adult novel. Neva, the main character, was married. If I were to guess at her age, I would put her in her early to mid-’20s. I thought that his book was better suited for the NA genre than YA. But that’s me. Someone else could have a different take on it. Which is a wonderful thing about writing reviews. No one’s opinions are wrong. Unless you didn’t read the book and give your opinion, then I don’t pay attention to those reviews.

I liked the plot of Snow. I thought that it was original. Neva is brought into the vampire world when her life was almost taken in an attack. She is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that will leave everyone reeling. Can Neva bring Zachariah to his knees and save the vampire lineage? Or will she become a pawn in an ancient war?

I liked Neva but I found her whiny for most of the book. Yes, she had a terrible shock when she was turned. It would have been a huge shock for anyone. Even after Thedryk explained why she was turned and who she was, she still whined about it. She didn’t understand the danger she was in. For an adult, she didn’t act like one. I did like that she wised up during the last half of the book. Seeing what happened to her family shocked her into wising up.

I didn’t think that Zachariah wasn’t that bad of a guy for most of the book. Yes, he didn’t like Neva and yes, he was only with Eliza because he cared about the power. The author showed a 100% different side to him when he was interacting with his adopted daughter. He cared for them. I honestly don’t think that he is going to be as bad as he was made out to be. I do think it is awful what he did in the last half of the book. But it didn’t go with what the author showed. I wonder if there is more to his story and if it will be revealed in book 2.

I loved what the author did with the vampires in this book. While these vampires need human blood, they don’t need it that often. They can eat regular food but it doesn’t do anything for them. Not everyone can be turned into a vampire, though. The author explained that people can be turned into vampires have a special aura. The vampires can see it but can only turn if they have permission from the Council. If someone is turned who doesn’t have the special aura, they become something out of a nightmare. The author also had the vampires have a special gift. Some are stronger than others but everyone has it.

There is even a science fiction angle of Snow. There is a vampire that can open portals into different dimensions. It is explained more thoroughly in the book. I found it fascinating and wished that it has been added sooner in the book.

The end of Snow was action packed and moved very fast. What happened to Zachariah, he deserved it. But it was the end of the book that made me go what. First with the introduction of a famous fictional character. Then it was who was introduced in the very last pages of the book. It is that revelation that makes me excited to read the next book in the series.

What I liked about Snow:

A) How the vampires were portrayed

B) Neva’s storyline

C) The science fiction angle

What I disliked about Snow:

A) Neva. She was a whine bag for most of the book

B) Zachariah. I was on the fence with him for most of the book. But the ending events turned me

C) What happened to Neva’s family

I would give Snow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language.

I would reread Snow. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Snow.

All opinions stated in this review of Snow are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Begin Again (Again: Book 1) by Mona Kasten

Begin Again (Again, #1)

4 stars

Publisher: be-ebooks

Date of publication: November 14th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, New Adult

Number of pages: 278

POV: 1st person

Series: Again

Begin Again – Book 1

Where you can find Begin Again: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

He makes the rules. She breaks them all.

A new start. It’s the only thing keeping Allie Harper going when she packs up her life and moves across the country to Woodshill, Oregon. She’s about to start college, desperate to leave the ghosts of her past behind her. Even if that means never talking to her parents again.

Now the hard part – finding an apartment before classes start. Just when it seems she’ll have to live out of her car, Allie visits one more place. It’s beautiful. With one exception: can she stand being roommates with campus bad boy Kaden White? Sure, Kaden is sexy with his tattoos and careless attitude, but he’s also an arrogant jerk. With nowhere else to go, Allie moves in.

The first thing Kaden does is make a set of rules. Either Allie obeys, or she’s out:

1. Don’t talk about your girl problems.
2. Keep your mouth shut if I bring someone home.
3. We will NEVER hook up.

Easy enough, thinks Allie. Who would want to get involved with a brute like Kaden? But the more she gets to know him, the more she sees beyond his gruff facade. He, too, is harboring some painful secrets. For Kaden and Allie, it gets harder and harder to ignore the sparks between them. And the lines between the rules start to blur-

Begin Again is a beautiful romance that shows us just how possible it is to start over. To find freedom in heartbreak and love in the most unlikely places.

Trigger Warning: rape, sexual abuse, talk of suicide

Continue reading “Begin Again (Again: Book 1) by Mona Kasten”

Aaru (The Aaru Cycle: Book 1) by David Meredith

Aaru (The Aaru Cycle Book 1) by [Meredith, David]

Title: Aaru

Author: David Meredith

Publisher: Unknown

Date of publication: July 9th, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 295

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Aaru Cycle

Aaru – Book 1

Where you can find Aaru: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…” 
-Friedrich Nietzsche 

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. 

She is sixteen years old. 

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive supercomputer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokesmodel. 

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. 
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed. 

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Aaru (The Aaru Cycle: Book 1) by David Meredith”