Review: Ghosted by J.M. Darhower

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Author: J.M. Darhower
Publication Date: August 23, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 450 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

He’s a troubled young actor, Hollywood’s newest heartthrob, struggling with fame as the star of the latest superhero franchise. Through scandal after scandal, addiction on top of addiction, a flurry of paparazzi hunt him as he fights to conquer his demons.

She’s a single mother, assistant manager at a grocery store, existing in monotony with her five-year-old daughter. Every day when she goes to work, lurid tabloids surround her, the face of a notorious bad boy haunting her from their covers.

A man and a woman, living vastly different lives, but that wasn’t always the case. Once, they were just a boy and a girl who bonded over comic books and fell in love unexpectedly.

When Kennedy Garfield met Jonathan Cunningham back in high school, she knew he had all the makings of a tragic hero. With stars in his eyes, and her heart on her sleeve, the pair ran away together to follow their dreams.

But dreams, sometimes, turn into nightmares.

Now, years later, the only thing they share is a daughter—one who has no idea her father plays her favorite superhero. But Jonathan is desperate to make amends, and at the top of his list is the woman who gave up everything for him and the little girl he hasn’t yet met.

I was skeptical about whether or not I would like this story. This is a new-to-me author, and I tend to stay away from super hyped books. But this book deserves all the hype. It’s a bit longer than your average romance book, but I came to love the story. It’s character-driven, and I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the split past/present chapters. I’ve read this formatting in a few books now, and I really like it in contemporary novels. It never fails to be a sucker punch in the feels. Which is exactly what Ghosted is. Ghosted is told in split present-day first-person alternating chapters between the two lead characters – Kennedy and Jonathan – and second-person chapters detailing their past. These second-person chapters were slow-going at first, where I was wondering what exactly was happening, but I got super into them once I realized where the story was going.

This is a second-chance romance between Kennedy Garfield and Jonathan Cunningham. Kennedy transferred to a prep school and met the wild son to the Speaker of the House. Jonathan longed to be an actor, but his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps. Jonathan was every bit the bad boy teenager when he was in school. And then he fell in love with Kennedy. Their love was a grand one, full of young hope and young, optimistic dreams.

Some years later, the start of the present-day part of the book, we meet Kennedy, a woman making a living as a supermarket manager, and a single mother to a five-year-old little girl named Madeline, or Maddie for short. Jonathan is the Hollywood star, reinvented as Johnny Cunning, and the star of a superhero franchise based off a comic series named Breezeo. But most of the time Kennedy knew him as Johnny Cunning, he was drunk. Or high. And after a recent incident that left him injured, he’s back home in Bennett Landing sober, and wanting a chance to reconnect with Kennedy and the daughter he’s never known.

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ARC Review: Blood Guard (Mission #1) by Megan Erickson

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Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 182 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change mydestiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

This was a fun book to read. This book starts out with Tendra, a human girl, returning to her job at a bar shortly after her mother passed away. Tendra has always been on the move with her mother, never staying in one place too long. And she’s a fighter. She knows how to defend herself and fight back, if necessary. One night, she meets Athan, a too-serious vampire who declares himself her protector and says that her blood is what could save all humanity.

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ARC Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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Author: Adam Silvera
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 384 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

I feel like I should have expected this. The title, the book description, the fact that the last two Adam Silvera books have made me sad, this is no different. This story is so raw, and it makes no secret what’s coming at the end, but the journey is still a heartfelt one about two teenage boys who get their Death-Cast calls too soon.

This story is about Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio and how to choose to spend their End Day. What this means is that a company known as Death-Cast makes calls between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m. to people who will die before the day is out. Everyone handles the calls different, and there are businesses and “perks”, if you will, for how people choose to spend their End Day.

I wasted all those yesterdays and am completely out of tomorrows.

Mateo Torrez is a gay Puerto-Rican who has been living on his own ever since his dad landed in a coma two weeks previous. He’s a bit of an introvert and spends his time looking up how others spend their End Days, fearful and anxious of the day he’ll get the call. Rufus Emeterio is a bisexual Cuban-American and gets his call when he’s out with his friends, beating up on his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend. In any other time, Mateo and Rufus might seem like polar opposites, but wanting to be near other people on their End Day brings them together for a day that’s full of life like they’ve never lived before.

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ARC Review: Deacon (Gideon’s Riders #2) by Kit Rocha

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Author: Kit Rocha
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 268 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Ana has trained most of her life to achieve one goal: to prove that anything men can do, she can do better. Now she’s Sector One’s first female Rider, and being the best is the only way to ensure she won’t be its last. Distractions aren’t allowed–especially not her painful attraction to the reserved but demanding leader whose stern, grumpy demeanor has already gotten into her head.

Deacon has spent the last twenty years trying to atone for his past, but the blood he spilled as a mercenary and assassin will never wash away entirely. If his riders knew the extent of his sins, he’d lose their trust and respect. It’s easier to keep them all at arm’s length, especially Ana. But his newest recruit’s stubbornness is starting to crack his defenses.

And their sparring matches are driving him wild.

The passion sparking between them can’t be denied, but neither can the vengeance barreling toward Deacon. When his old squad comes back to punish him for his betrayal, Ana and the Riders are squarely in the line of fire. The only way to save his people may be to make the ultimate sacrifice.

But first, he has to convince Ana not to follow him straight into hell.

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I finished reading Ashwin, and this book did not disappoint! This is the second book in the Gideon’s Riders series and it is full of action-packed fighting and a heartbreaking romance at the center of it all. This is a spin-off series to the Beyond series, and while there’s no need to read the other series first,  I would still highly recommend it, if only to get a full understanding of what it was like for the characters before the war. Gideon’s Riders is a name for a group of highly trained fighters who have sworn their lives to Sector One. It’s a position that’s full of prestige, and the knowing that one day, their picture will hang on the wall like the many who died before them. In this story, the focus is on the leader of Riders, Deacon, and the sole female Rider, Ana.

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Review: Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC #1) by K.A. Merikan

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Author: K.A. Merikan
Publication Date: April 29, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 360 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling involving time-travel, motorcycle clubs, and a deal with the devil. For the most part, the story was pretty good despite some problematic aspects, but the last 20% of the story completely threw me for a loop. I think it had more to do with the writing in the last half of this book was rather different from the first half and that’s what ultimately turned me off from the story, even when I was so close to the end of the book.

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#ARCAugust/August Wrap-Up

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I am absolutely awful at wrap-up posts, but here’s another go at it! Remember this post where I had such lofty goals at reading ARCs this month? Well, I did wind up reading a few ARCs, just not many I actually planned on reading this month. Click on the link to read my review! There’s a few a squeezed in at the end of the month, so the reviews aren’t written yet, but will be soon!

Let me know what books you’ve read this past month and what you guys are looking forward to in September!

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Release Day Blitz + Giveaways + Review: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) by Anyta Sunday

scorpiohatesvirgo

Author: Anyta Sunday
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 245 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Amazon | CreateSpace |  Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

* ~* ~* ~*

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs. It can be read as a standalone.

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EXCERPT

Cal rocked up to his Jeep all business-casual, in form-fitting jeans, polished leather shoes and matching brown satchel, and a dark jacket that covered a beige T-shirt.

“You got a meeting or something?” Percy asked, slipping his sunglasses on.

Cal opened the passenger door and looked at him over the roof. “No.”

Sunlight did very striking things to Cal’s hair. Made it look positively copper. Not as red as his cheeks were getting, though.

A cheerful cry startled Percy and he ripped his gaze away from Cal. Crystal was waving at them from her opened kitchen window.

“Good morning,” she called.

After another restless night, he could hardly call it good, but . . . “Morning.”

She leaned further out the window, her dressing gown gaping a little too much down the front. “Are you out for the day?”

“A couple of hours. Taking Callaghan here to work, then nipping past the Home Depot.” To get the home ready to market, he needed to spruce up the place. Paint the living room and bathroom, put in a new vanity, replace the door handles of the kitchen cupboards, change the faucets and showerhead and put in a new toilet seat.

“You at the Home Depot?” Cal murmured. “Sure you’d even know what to buy?”

Percy gestured for him to get in the car. “High time I get you to work.”

As he slipped into the driver’s seat, Crystal called out after them. “Good to see water and earth spending time together!”

Over his sunglasses that had slipped down his nose, Percy looked at Cal. “See, this is why we’ll always be nemeses.”

Cal hitched his brow, and Percy turned the ignition and peeled out from the curb.

“Together we’re mud.”

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