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Give and Take (The Thorne Brothers #2) by Lee Kilraine – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Give and Take (The Thorne Brothers, #2)Give and Take by Lee Kilraine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Give and Take is a contemporary romance novel and the second instalment in The Thorne Brothers series. This story follows baby brother, Wyatt, and his involvement in the brother’s construction company. I love a series I can really sink my teeth into, and with a whole family of brother to get to know, this series has me super excited. Much like the first instalment (which I strongly recommend you read!), Give and Take is a beautifully romantic read that had me hooked from the very beginning. As we approach the end of the 2018, I can safely say that Wyatt and Rhia are in the running for one of my favourite couples of the year!

Wyatt Thorne is not your stereotypical romantic ‘hero’. He has very visible flaws, some of which most people would find incredibly annoying. He’s particular, meticulous and rigid to his routine. He’s obsessed with his work and quiet to the point of painfully so at times. So why did I feel such a draw to him? Wyatt had my attention almost immediately and I think I finally understand the appeal of the ‘strong and silent’ type. He is the perfect mix of driven, cute and a little frustrating and I just love him, perhaps even more than I loved his brother in Give it Up. But Wyatt isn’t the only love interest in this book. Rhia is his complete opposite and so perfect for him. She had me laughing out loud with some of her crazy antics, including her brief employment as a clown, and the relationship between her and Wyatt was so entertaining to read. I loved their back-and-forth banter and the sudden moments of passion and steaminess; they complimented each other beautifully. They are one of those couples that you just connect with and I have been left wanting to know more about them!

As with the first book, Give and Take explores some difficult issues. The Thorne brothers have been through a lot and their childhood is truly devastating. Seeing their shared past through Wyatt’s eyes was interesting, as he had been so young when everything happened to them. His brothers made it their job to protect him, and so we find Wyatt feeling a tremendous amount of guilt towards everything they have sacrificed for him. I love the strong family bond they have and it just has me more excited to find out more about each of the brothers.

Give and Take is a fantastic instalment in what is shaping up to be a fantastic series. The character development is exceptional and the plotlines are addictive. I have the next instalment on pre-order and am anxiously waiting its arrival. If you aren’t already convinced, I recommend you jump into this series immediately!

Review by @ashleighw

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Credence Woods by Alexandria Sure – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Credence WoodsCredence Woods by Alexandria Sure
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Credence Woods is a standalone novel that follows Kennedy Hewson as she struggles to accept, and feel comfortable with, the person she has become. This story is all about self-discovery, acceptance and love, things which all of us should spend more time reflecting on. This can easily be a one-sitting read, it was for me, and is one of those reads that really grabs you. I really enjoyed Credence Woods and can’t wait to recommend it to others!

My favourite thing about this book is Kennedy. As far as leading ladies go, she has so many of the qualities that I love to read. She’s strong, fierce and independent but also has her own insecurities, which makes her so relatable. What woman hasn’t worried about their appearance at some point in their life? Having this connection and similarity with Kennedy immediately made me like her and want to know more about her story. And what an introduction we had to her life! I will admit, at first I really didn’t know where this story was going to go! A grimy club in Tennessee is not what I was expecting, and nor was Kennedy’s choice of activity! So then we saw her back in professional work mode, things became addictive; I had to know what kind of person she was. This book had so many surprises, I couldn’t stop myself from binging on it and finishing it all in one go.

Aside from Kennedy, there are some really wonderful supporting characters in Credence Woods. From Max, one of my new favourite American men, to Hank, I loved the characters Kennedy finds herself surrounded by. They are just as addicted as she is and I thank the author for taking the time to develop them so much.

Credence Woods was a fun, uplifting and romantic read that I enjoyed from start to finish. From the wonderful characters to unpredictable plot, I can definitely recommend this read to others. I’m excited to read more of this author’s work!

Review by @ashleighw

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Self Love by T L Clark – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Self LoveSelf Love by T.L. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Self Love is a standalone romance novel that follows Molly as she learns to love herself and who she is. Written in first person, the author chooses to have Molly speak directly to the audience, which really helped build a relationship with the character. This book had me laughing out loud at moments and was really fun to read. If you need to indulge in a little self-love yourself, this is a must read!

Molly is such a relatable character. She is struggling with various different issues, all of which are real concerns for real-life women of her age. What woman hasn’t worried about her weight, career or relationship status? Molly is real, which is what makes her so loveable. Seeing her character develop of the course of Self Love was fun and stirred a lot of different emotions in me. The narrative is so brilliantly written, especially the way Molly interacts with the reader. There are some hilarious moments in this book and I found myself giggling multiple times throughout Molly’s story. But this book is also packed full of some heart-wrenching emotional moments. Molly has been through a lot and is still dealing with some issues that were hard to read about. The author handled these brilliantly and with so much respect; this is what kept me reading! I also loved that this book was set in the UK. A home-grown romance is always something I’m looking for!

This is also one of those reads that makes you think and reflect. While Molly is trying to love herself, I found myself thinking about my own issues and how similar they were to Molly’s. Ultimately, this was an uplifting and inspiring read and one that I know ill stay with me for a while. Self Love is definitely a read I will be recommending to others!

 

Review by @ashleighw

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Summer Fling by Tarrah Anders – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Summer FlingSummer Fling by Tarrah Anders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Fling is a standalone contemporary romance novel that will leave you longing for a summer romance. Set in the most beautiful of small towns, this story follows Emma and Royce as they both take the plunge and venture into a new chapter of their life. This is one of those books that immediately hooks you and I can safely say I will be recommending this one to friends. If you need a summer read to help escape the cold winter days that are soon to come, Summer Fling is for you!

Emma has one rule when it comes to dating; no tourists. After her heart was broken by an out-of-towner years before, she’s sworn off men who are only visiting for the summer. So when she meets Royce, she accepts that their one night stand will be just that, nothing more than one night of amazing passion. When Royce reveals his plans to stay in town, Emma struggles to accept this despite the bold gestures he makes to show her that he’s series. I loved seeing their relationship evolve over time and see Emma start to trust people again. Her and Royce have such a natural and instant chemistry, it’s infectious to read. Surprisingly, I found myself super attracted to Royce after finding out he was a veterinarian, which is something I didn’t know about myself! Together they are such a fun couple and make for such an enjoyable, easy read.

One of my favourite parts of Summer Fling were the cute messages Royce started sending to Emma. I am a real suck for any kind of romantic gesture, regardless of how unique, bold or crazy they are. I loved this, and found myself anticipating the next note, but things really got interest when the past comes back to haunt Emma. This really shakes things up and I found myself super worried for the couple. The author did a fantastic job of building the tension and drama, keeping my glued to the sofa while I waited to see how things would turn out.

This book perfectly hit my end-of-summer-blues spot. Summer Fling is fun, romantic and passionate, making it the perfect easy-read for those of you who are desperate for your romance fix. I loved both the characters and the plot equally and I must admit, I’m hoping for future stories involving Willie, Effie, Cyrus and Jackson! This was my first read of this author and I am super excited to explore more of their work.

Review by @ashleighw

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Georgia Pine (Southern Promises #3) by K.G. Fletcher – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Georgia Pine (Southern Promises #3)Georgia Pine by K.G. Fletcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Georgia Pine is the third instalment in the contemporary romance series, Southern Promises. I had high expectations after reading the first two books in the series, but this was so much better than I ever imagined. After the first two chapters I found I was completely hooked and could not put this book down. As a result, I had a wonderfully lazy Saturday afternoon with Jessica and Tim and am feeling thoroughly satisfied!

This book completely surpassed all of my expectations for it. I was expecting an easy-reading romance story but what I got was so much more. I knew pretty early-on that I was going to like the story, but after my first 45 minutes of reading, I realised this was a story I was going to love. I connected with absolutely everything; the character, the story, the writing. So I settled down with a cup of tea and a blanket and threw myself in for a couple of cosy hours reading.

Jessica and Tim have become one of my favourite couples of 2018. I like they both individually and as a couple, which is not always the case for me; I tend to like one character more than the other! They are both such strong characters, in different ways, and I think this is why I like them so much and formed such a strong connection with them. Jessica hasn’t let her recent relationship woes affect her and instead, has thrown even more into raising her four girls. As far as child characters go, these are the best I’ve seen written in a long time. They were believable and likeable, whereas so often young characters can become annoying and whiny. Reading the scenes where Tim interacted with them were some of my favourite, and made him even more attractive! Tim has his own demons, but he doesn’t let these come between his relationship with Jessica. I love how in control he is but also that he can show his more sensitive and vulnerable side. Together, these two make a pretty formidable pair!

As well as the exciting plot, dangerous ending and brilliant leading characters, Georgia Pine also has some fantastic supporting stars. As I’ve already said, the children in this book are wonderful. Equally as interesting is Jessica’s best friend Elizabeth, who had me laughing out loud with her crazy questions about Jessica’s new relationship with Tim. It was also fun to read about Jessica’s parents, whom I was not a fan of at the start of this read!

If not already clear, I absolutely loved this book. It is my favourite in the series so far and it has me super excited for whatever might come next. I already want to do a re-read of the whole series, but especially Georgia Pine. I know I will be recommending this to friends, so if you haven’t already considered it, I’d encourage you to buy this book now!

Review by @ashleighw

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Player (What Happens on Campus #1) by M. L. Sparrow – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

PlayerPlayer by M.L. Sparrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first instalment of the What Happens on Campus series, Player is a new adult sports romance that hits all the right spots. Set in a Texan college, this book had everything I was hoping for and more. I cannot recommend it enough and have already downloaded the next book to read!

Full disclosure, I love a sports romance. Literally any sport and I’m obsessed with whatever book it is, especially if our leading man happens to play American football; even better if he’s the quarterback! As an English girl, like our leading lady Chloe, this allows me to escape into all of my fantasies. Basically, I’ve decided that I am Chloe and her story is now my own. I love this character and everything about her. Having suffered a traumatic event just a few years earlier, she is still learning how to cope with her new life. I love the mix of vulnerability and independence that she has and how despite everything, she has still found the strength to continue with her dreams. I not only want to be her, I want to be her friend, too. What more could you want in leading lady?!

Chloe has something else I want, too: Parker’s attention. What a dream of a man. Yes, he is a bit of a player, but what girl doesn’t love a bit of confidence? He’s a confident, cheeky athlete who also wears a hat (yes, I’m a sucker for this), so he’s basically my own personal version of heaven. While his timing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, I really loved his and Chloe’s relationship. I won’t ruin the whole story for you, prepare yourself for some emotional moments!

On top of everything else that is perfect about this book, I loved the cast of supporting characters that supported Chloe and Parker. Riley is a particularly interesting character and I can’t wait to find out more about her past in the next book in the series, Flirt. This was a truly brilliant read and I’m about to throw myself straight into the next one!

Review by @ashleighw

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Last Train Home (Home #1) by Megan Nugen Isbell – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Last Train Home (Home, #1)Last Train Home by Megan Nugen Isbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last Train Home is the first book in the Home series by Megan Nugen Isbell. Written in first person, we follow Riley’s story as she’s forced to move across the country to her Mum’s hometown. While set in high school, this book is filled with more than just your typical teenage drama. I was hooked after the very first chapter and know I have found a new series to fall in love with!

Riley Regas has spent her entire seventeen-years on the planet in her beloved Boston. So when her mother announces they are packing up and moving to Carver, Kansas, Riley is less than impressed. She’s only visited her mother’s hometown a handful of times before and she has no desire to spend her senior year surrounded by country folk. Despite a rocky start, and a run-in with Queen Bee Adrianne, Riley starts to find her feet. Then she meets Alex Bettencourt. While Adrianna teasing only seems to get worse because of this, Riley finds herself drawn to the gorgeous guy with the brown eyes that make her melt. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she could be happy her, but that’s exactly how Alex has made her feel. But her new friends are sceptical, with Jesse Baylor warning Riley about Alex’s character. She struggles to find a balance between her friends and Alex and then the unthinkable happens. One decision changes everything and Riley finds herself unable to cope with what she’s done. So she makes another decision: one that will risk her losing everything she’s come to love.

I love myself a young-adult read, especially one with a bit of romance! At seventeen-years-old, the characters in this book are slowly creeping into the new-adult genre, and this just makes them all the more interesting to read about. During a pivotal time in her life, we meet Riley. She’s lived a good life, so being told she’s moving from big-city Boston to middle-of-nowhere Carver, she is furious with her mother. This is a theme that runs throughout the book, and while it might seem like Riley comes across as whinging and bratty (yes, I admit I did think this at points!) it’s integral to the overarching plot of the book. And that isn’t the only problem Riley has to deal with. No one likes starting a new school, especially not for their senior year. So Riley’s reaction to this was perfect, made even more so by that immediate run in with Adrianna. Wow, what a piece of work that girl is! Luckily, she’s saved by Holly, meaning we are introduced to the most wonderful group of friends! I love these guys, as their lunchtime scenes were always comical and fun.

But who am I kidding? You want to know about the boys in Riley’s life. Alex or Jesse? Jesse or Alex? What a choice. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know the answer is easy. But don’t worry, no spoilers here. Intiial impressions of both guys are good, so I’ll let you read and make you own mind up. I’d like to say though, I was firmly on * someone’s * side from the moment we met him!

Upon finishing this book, what have I done? Jumped straight into the next one of course! So expect a review for that soon; yes, I really have read that much already! I have completely fallen in love with this series and I know you will too. So, what are you waiting for? Read this book now!

Review by @ashleighw

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Tell Me Something (Something #1) by Aubrey Bondurant – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Tell Me Something (Something, #1)Tell Me Something by Aubrey Bondurant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tell Me Something is the first book in the Something series by Aubrey Bondurant. Written in first person, we follow Haylee’s story as she takes a new job as Josh Singer’s assistant. This was my first read of the author’s work and I would definitely recommend it to others.

Twenty-two year old Haylee Holloway has experienced more than her fair share of grief in her short life. Moving to LA for a fresh start, she takes an assistant job to help save money so she can fulfil her dream of going to Law school. The last thing she expects is to step in at a work photo shoot, as the model, in front of the owner of the company she works for. Josh Singer is private, intense, hard to read and completely captivating. His smouldering eyes and sexy voice has Haylee hooked from the moment she meets him. Knowing her dream, her makes her an offer; work for him to save enough money for school. Haylee’s answer is easy, but one thing isn’t: how does she spend so much time with her hot boss and keep her hands off him? Frustrated with the mixed signals Josh is giving her, Haylee finally makes a decision. Blurring professional boundaries may not be a good idea, but they say it’s only temporary. But will either of them accept that maybe things were never supposed to end?

This book brings together a whole range of different factors from across the romance genre. It packs a real emotional punch in places, while creating some really hot and passionate scenes, too. That was not was I was expecting when I started Tell Me Something (although I can’t tell you what I was expecting!), and it was a welcome surprise. I loved the whole premise of the story, as I felt a over-done subject (‘it’s only a temporary arrangement’ kind of thing) got a complete overhaul in this version. The emotion the story drew out (I was not expecting it to be so heart-breaking in places!) was not only varied but extreme; one minute I was laughing, the next I was shouting at the book. I love rollercoaster reads, and this is definitely one of those. To see how things turn out, you’ll have to read it yourself, but I don’t think you will disappointed with Haylee and Josh’s outcome!

Speaking of the two lead characters, I have to say how much I enjoyed reading about them. It was immediately obvious what a strong, independent and ambitious woman Haylee was, and I absolutely love this. This is just how I liked my female leads, so I knew I would fall in love with her (and I did!). Although she had faced some tragedy, she had picked herself up and moved on, which I admire and only adds to her believability and realness. As for Josh, what a complex character! At times, I had no idea what was happening with him and this made me so angry; like Haylee, I just wanted to shout at him. But over the course of the story, I began to like him more and more as we found out more about his past and background, explaining why he is the way he is. I loved the scenes they shared together, and often found myself reading faster so I could get to their next interaction!

Overall, Tell Me Something is a really great read. I love the unique plot, complex characters and the wonderful way the author writes. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series and will definitely be recommending this to my friends!

Review by @ashleighw

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Rush (The Boys of RDA #1) by Megan Matthews – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

Rush (The Boys of RDA, #1)Rush by Megan Matthews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rush is the first in the ‘Boys of RDA’ series by Megan Matthews. Written in first person, we see the story from Aspen’s POV, which I felt really enabled me to connect with her character. This was my first read of this author’s work and I absolutely loved it!

After completing grad school, Aspen is starting a new chapter of her life in San Francisco. She has a new job, new apartment and a solid life-plan; she thinks she has everything under control. A control is exactly what comes with the lease on her new home, along with a list of ridiculous rules she has to follow. Alongside this, her best friend requires support through a nasty break-up, all while sticking to her plan of having no new relationships for the first year in this new city. Everything seems do-able, apart from the last past. Why can’t she seem to control her feelings every time her new neighbour is around? Hot, smart and always around when she needs someone, Finn is like her own personal hero. With a geeky-yet-hot-as-hell style, this video-gamer is not included in Aspen’s life-plan. But while he seems to get more perfect by the day, can Aspen trust he is who he says he is? Or is Finn playing her, just like he plays one of his games?

I’ll go right ahead and say it: I LOVED THIS BOOK. I only stopped reading this book for sleep, and that was because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I really could not get enough of Aspen, Finn and their relationship. Aspen is one of my favourite I have read this year. She is a strong, independent female lead and I just adore reading these characters. She also had a really interesting backstory and her relationship with her brother, Ben, was one of the highlights of the story for me. Her relationship with her friends was also something that stood out, as so often with romance novels the girl is so in love with her hero, she forgets all about her friends! Yes, I know this happens in real life too, but I just hate to think of people doing this! Aspen was not one of these people, and that only added to her likeability. She felt real, believable and someone I desperately want to be friends with (if we ignore that fact that she doesn’t actually exist).

And I think her character was balanced perfectly with Finn’s. My favourite thing about him? He is not your stereotypical hot-guy hero. He is a video-game playing, computer obsessed geek; and I love this (I realise I love a lot things about Rush). He is totally not what you expect from a romance-story, and this makes the book so unique. While it makes me sad that this is so unusual (I want more geeky heroes!), it’s also what makes Rush so special and enjoyable to read.

Along with these fantastic and well-written characters (supporting ones like Ben, Marissa and Trey included), the story has a brilliant plot; there are some shocking revelations, so be prepared! I also want to do a special shout-out to Jake the driver, as I think he is a majorly underestimated character; I want more Jake! Overall, I really cannot recommend Rush enough. I will definitely be reading the rest of the Boys of RDA series, and urge others to read them too. Thanks to the author for such a fun read!

Review by @ashleighw

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An Unexpected Home (Cedarville #1) by Bree Kraemer – Review by Ashleigh Whitwell

An Unexpected Home (Cedarville #1)An Unexpected Home by Bree Kraemer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An Unexpected Home is the first book in the Cedarville series by Bree Kraemer. Written in third person, each chapter alternates between the story’s main characters, Leah and Brandon, giving the reader a well-developed and in-depth novel.

The story follows Leah as she moves in with her best friends, Carly and Melanie, to start her new life in Cedarville. Leaving behind her traumatic past is what Leah hopes to do, after her father and uncle’s lies destroyed her life in New York.; trying to convince people that she didn’t know they were stealing their client’s money is proving to be impossible. What Leah didn’t expect to find in Cedarville was Brandon, especially not half-naked and answering the door of her new home. Unable to deny her attraction toward him, Leah makes a bold move, only to be shot down. Realising what a mistake he had made, Brandon seeks out Leah and quickly the two form an intense bond. But their relationship is threatened by someone from Leah’s past; someone who is set on getting revenge. And the timing couldn’t be worse. Leah, Carly and Melanie are getting ready for the opening of their dance school, while her friends are having their own battles with boys. Cedarville felt like Leah’s perfect home, but are Brandon and her friends enough to keep her safe from her past?

Leah and Brandon have so much chemistry, which is evident from their first meeting. Although their relationship is intense and moves really fast, they are so perfect together and I loved that they got together so soon. This allows us to see more of their relationship, how it develops over the course of the story and how strong their bond is when they are faced with difficult situations. The friendship between Leah, Carly and Melanie is one all girls dream of, and reading their interactions was so much fun. Leah has to rely on them for support during her dramatic ordeal, but they are struggling with their own problems in their personal and professional life.

This book covers a variety of different issues, but all are executed really well. From the serious ones, to the more fun, Bree Kraemer has created a really coherent and enjoyable story. I loved the time that was spent on creating such wonderful relationships between the characters, and any reader would struggle not to find themselves completely involved in their lives. Knowing there will be more in this series stops me from being upset that this one is over! This was my first read of Bree Kraemer’s work, but it definitely won’t be my last.

Review  by @ashleighw

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