Review: Where I Belong (The Debt #2) by Molly O’Keefe

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Author: Molly O’Keefe
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 182 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE

It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive.

But I sacrificed it all for Beth.

I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it – as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her.

I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it.

She always was.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART

We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music.

I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide.

Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most.

But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons.

Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

I loved this book. This is more or less a conclusion to Beth and Tommy’s story, but not the end of the teens who lived in St. Jude’s Home for Court-Placed Juveniles. We remember how Lost Without You ended? Like, edge-of-your-seat CLIFFHANGER? Where I Belong recaps that ending a little at the beginning of this story and expands on Beth and Tommy’s scenes. I was a ball of anxiety reading this, but soon, the story moves on and we get to see what comes next for these two characters (and Pest, Tommy’s adorable dog).

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Review: Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen

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Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: March 21, 2017 (re-release)
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 276 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

This book was previously released under the title, In Front of God & Everyone.

Okay, guys. I just have a weird obsession with learning about cults and just the psychology of it all. It’s just really fascinating to me even though I feel terrible for people who were born and raised in them with no knowledge of a life outside of them. Josh and Caleb have lived their entire life in Paradise, a Compound out in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming where men take multiple wives, women are forced to wear dresses, and boys deemed unfit get kicked out of the only place they’ve ever known.

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Review: Hold Me Down (Carolina Girls #1) by Sara Taylor Woods

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Author: Sara Taylor Woods
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 380 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Talia Benson has always been independent, unafraid to go after what she wants, regardless of setback, injury, or failure. But between her father’s conditional tuition payments and her mother’s nagging concern over her emotional state, Talia’s suffocating.

So when Talia meets doctoral student Sean Poole, she can’t figure out why she wants him to control her. Why she wants him to boss her around. Why she wants him to hurt her.

Talia learns the hard way that not all control is created equal, and sometimes submitting is the most empowering thing in the world.

There are many great parts to this book, but I’m not sure I can say that I like this book as a whole. The main characters, Talia and Sean, are electric and have ridiculous chemistry together. I love Talia and I love Sean. But boy, most of the secondary characters are the absolute worst. I also don’t think I’m a fan of these types of stories, even though I recognize that they’re important stories for people to read? I’m not talking about the BDSM D/s relationship aspect, but I just don’t like all the invalidation and gaslighting by the other characters towards the MC? It was infuriating and exhausting to read the entire last half of this book. I get that there are people who aren’t going to understand the relationship Talia and Sean have, but do I really want to read about it? Some people might and want to experience that journey with the characters, and that’s awesome. This book is for you. But, as it is, this kind of story just really isn’t my thing.

Trigger warning: This book contains depictions and talk about cutting.

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ARC Review: Abroad (Abroad #1) by Liz Jacobs

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Author: Liz Jacobs
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 372 pages
Subgenre: NA, LGBTQIA
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Nick Melnikov doesn’t know where he belongs. He was just a kid when his Russian-Jewish family immigrated to Michigan. Now he’s in London for university, overwhelmed by unexpected memories. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, Nick doesn’t expect to fall in so quickly with a tight-knit group of students from his college, and it’s both exhilarating and scary. Hanging out with them is a roller coaster of serious awkward and incredible longing, especially when the most intimidating of the group, Dex, looks his way.

Dex Cartwell knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn’t give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He is absolutely, one-hundred-percent, totally in control of his life. Apart, maybe, from the stress of his family’s abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. And worrying about his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. And the persistent broken heart he’s been nursing for a while . . .

When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued. Countless late-night conversations only sharpen their attraction. But the last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret, and the last thing Dex needs is another heartache. Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is. Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?

Make sure to join all the following tour hosts on Instagram starting Wednesday, June 28 for a chance to win a paperback or one of two e-books!!! Open internationally. Full details can be found on the author’s website.

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Have you ever wondered what a story would look like if every character was a precious cinnamon roll? Because look no further, Abroad has it covered! This is a exceptional debut novel that is a coming-of-age story with a whole cast of characters. And after reading this, I just kind of want all their stories? But this book is primarily focused on Nick, Dex, and a character the blurb doesn’t mention – Izzy. Nickolay “Nick” Melnikov is Russian-Jewish and he and his family immigrated to the United States from Russia when he was ten. His life has always been about making himself fit in and not stick out for being different. He is on his way to study abroad in London as we start the story and we join him as he learns to embrace the new school year in a new country, alone.

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Blog Tour + Review: Oversight (The Community #2) by Santino Hassell

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Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 242 pages
Subgenre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.

Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

Make sure to join all the following tour hosts on Instagram starting Thursday, June 29 for a chance to win a paperback set of INSIGHT and OVERSIGHT!!! Open internationally. Full details can be found on Santino’s website.

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I would highly recommend reading Insight first, which I reviewed here, before reading Oversight. The pairings are different for each book, but the plots are definite cliffhangers and the story continues on from book one. These are not standalone novels. That being said, Oversight is full of mystery and the suspense is so intricutly drawn out in this book. This book is sexy and I loved the two leads here, Holden and Sixtus. I loved Nate and Trent from book one (and honestly wouldn’t have minded the entire series focused on them), but Holden and Sixtus are adorable and sexy together even with an intensely dark storyline.

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Review: Lost Without You (The Debt #1) by Molly O’Keefe

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Author: Molly O’Keefe
Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 262 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID

Tommy

Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe.

I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer.

When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything.

Except seeing Beth again.

LOVE IS NEVER FREE

Beth

No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too.

I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone.

I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well.

And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car.

Being kidnapped.

And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us.

*makes a strangled screaming noise* A cliffhanger. This ended in a cliffhanger, y’all. I mean, this book and the sequel are only being published a week apart, but I’m DYING for book two already and at the time of this writing…that’s a day away. Everyone needs to go read this. Like, immediately. This book is so good that I feel like I cannot possibly put all my feelings into words? But I will try. This story contains both The Debt prequel novella and the continuation of Tommy and Beth’s story. And my god, is this book killer. It’s not necessary to read before diving into this book, but this story does contain characters who were in the Bad Boy Romance series (starting first with Bad Neighbor, and then Baby, Come Back).

But Tommy never told me what he wished, and I knew I was part of whatever it was. Just like he was part of all my wishes that I could never say out loud.

The beginning of this book starts off with the characters in their teen years. Is this book YA? The beginning (the prequel) definitely could be, but the last bit of this book certainly is not. So, be warned? We have a diverse cast of characters who are foster children living at St. Jude’s Home for Court-Placed Juveniles.  This group of teens are Beth, Tommy, Simon, Carissa, and Rosa. St. Jude’s, also known to the characters as St. Joke’s, is an awful place where the teens have learned to communicate in near silence and hidden notes, and look the other way when The Pastor and the Wife decide to punish one of them for doing something they don’t like.

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Review: Old School Discipline by Misha Horne

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Author: Misha Horne
Publication Date: April 23, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 365 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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I never planned on continuing my pointless education. But then I got arrested. Again. Hey, if those laptops weren’t meant to be stolen, they should have been locked up better.

Somehow, my latest stunt and lousy attitude landed me in Redwood Academy. An exclusive university where they’re supposed to turn screw ups like me into upstanding citizens. Or some crap like that. But, okay, fine. Some lame private college still sounded better than jail. It’s not like I’m footing the bill.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, let me name a few. The dean’s got it out for me, because I might have broken a fairly big rule on day one. Gotta make an impression, right? The troublemaking twink across the hall is obsessed with me, and his overprotective boyfriend doesn’t like that very much. What can I say? It’s hard looking this damn good.

And then, there’s my roommate.

Bax is a complete psychopath. An obnoxious, dominating bastard, with a vicious sneer and massive biceps, and a past no one will talk about. I hate him like hell. Except when I don’t. When he uses those strong hands to punish me in ways I’ve never dreamed of, hate is the last thing on my mind.

Oh, did I forget to mention the spanking? See, Redwood’s all about the old school discipline. And, apparently, so am I. Because getting bent over and spanked by my roommate is pushing buttons I never knew I had.

Any normal person would be planning a jailbreak, I guess. Believe me, I’m tempted. But I’m starting to think I might actually belong here. Even worse, that I might want to belong. To Bax. And that’s definitely a problem.

This is one of those books that I just don’t really know how to rate. It’s not a book that you can take and critique with absolutely seriousness, because it is a fun story? If I delve too deeply into this book, then it wouldn’t be the light-hearted, sexy book that it is. Old School Discipline is a story with a premise that is 100% ridiculous, but the book is a quick and addicting read and I really enjoyed it. So, I’m going to give this book four stars.

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