Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel Cleeton

I started the Wild Aces series on a whim. For some reason I don’t read a ton of military. Honestly I’m not sure why because I love the idea/ concept of them and I have generally loved the ones I have read. Maybe I don’t read a lot of them because they don’t stand out to me? I’m really not sure.  But when I came across the description for Fly With Me and the library happened to have a copy I figured it was meant to be so I started the series and once again I wasn’t disappointed. Did I love all 3 books equally? No. But I really did enjoy all three of them as a whole story putting all the pieces together.

 

Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonFly with Me by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley
on May 3rd 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon, Goodreads

From the author of the Capital Confessions Novels comes the first in the steamy Wild Aces Romance series.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

I am a sucker for a Vegas weekend/one night stand story. I don’t know why, but I love them (especially if there is a drunken marriage, not this book, but in general). So Fly With Me was destined to rate high with me and it did. There was just something about Noah and Jordan’s story and their chemistry. You felt it right away and it never went away. I think about I loved about them the most was how adult they were about everything. They really talked things through and didn’t just fly off the handle. More romance books could use that. But really I loved their story and I loved how it all unfolded in the end.

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Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonInto the Blue by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.

Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.

Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

I wasn’t as in love with Into the Blue as I was with Fly With Me. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was fun and a good read, but I wasn’t as in love with Eric and Becca’s story. I loved Eric and his story. I loved how he was affected so much by something that happened in Fly With Me. It was Becca that I struggled with. There was something about her that just didn’t make me love her. I did love them together because I do love a good second chance, rekindled relationship story, but something was just a tad off. Still more than just liked it, but I think I just wanted more.

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Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonOn Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley Books
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

On Broken Wings was the book I wanted to read most in the Wild Aces series. As soon as I met Easy in Fly With Me and saw the chemistry he had with Dani I wanted to see their story. I knew it wouldn’t be simple based on circumstances, but I really wanted to see what was there for them. On Broken Wings did exactly that and more. I was pretty much an emotional wreck the whole book and I have never been happier. Just thinking about Dani and Easy and their relationship makes me smile and breaks my heart. It was everything I wanted their story to be and so much more. Truthfully I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but this was by far my favorite of the series.

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Review: 738 Days – Stacey Kade

Review: 738 Days – Stacey Kade738 Days by Stacey Kade
Published by Forge Books
on June 7th 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When you read the back of the book for 738 Days you’ll immediately think…I know this story. You’ll think about Elizabeth Smart and about those three girls in Ohio. But the truth of the matter is you don’t know it at all. 738 Days is about what happens after  a girl that has been kidnapped and held for 2 years is free and has to live normally. The story we ‘know’ is what happens in the immediate aftermath, what the media tells us, but Kade uses 738 Days to tell us so much more and does it fantastically.

The book is about Amanda Grace who was held captive for 738 days and finally saved. The only thing that helped her get through that time was a poster on the wall of Chase Henry. Now two years later Amanda is stuck in a dark place of anxiety and fear and panic apt hat she is aching to get out of. Enter Chase Henry who lost everything he had in Hollywood to bad decisions and arrogance. He’s trying to get it all back but he needs Amanda to help him. When these two collide they realize they may be more alike than the expected and a bind is formed that neither one saw coming. But it’s hard to change and let things go and over a short period of time both Chase and Amanda have to learn this and figure out just what it is they both want out of life.

What I loved so much about this book was that it told the story of Amanda after the media had essentially gone away. It told how she struggled day in and day out to get out of her self imposed prison in her mind. It showed how her family didn’t know how to feel or react. How her sister was mad at her but didn’t feel she could be mad at her so it made her even angrier. That’s the stuff you never get to hear when the new sensationalizes a story like Amanda’s. That part of the story felt inventive and different and it was done really well.

I also really just loved Amanda and Chase. They had such chemistry from the first moment they met. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it and say it doesn’t all go down fast, but even though it did it all felt natural and not forced. I was routing for both of these characters as individuals and as a team almost from the get go. They were so different yet so similar you couldn’t help but want them to figure it out. Plus they just made me smile in a lot of the parts, especially Chase and his actions.

Seriously, I loved this book. Even with a small minor complaint I can’t even bring myself to talk about it. It was just a really strong story of survival and finding strength to take 2nd, and 3rd, and even 4th chances and not to give up. Stacey Kade endeared Chase and Amanda to me and I think it will be the same for all of you.

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Review: Summer Skin – Kirsty Eager

Review: Summer Skin – Kirsty EagerSummer Skin by Kirsty Eagar
Published by Allen & Unwin
on February 1st 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads

Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don't mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig - sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they're at their most vulnerable?

It's all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy's stuff. Just your typical love story.

I’m not going to mince words here. I honestly don’t know how I felt about Summer Skin. I do know that I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. There were parts of this book that I smiled and laughed at and enjoyed. But there were parts that I didn’t like and parts that I didn’t quite understand. It was a mixed bag for me and I’m not sure why that is. I don’t know if it was the POV it was written in, if something was lost in translation (it’s and Australian book), or if I just didn’t connect with the story and the characters.

What I can tell you is that I liked some of the back and forth with Jess and Mitch. When they were just talking and being snarky that was some of my favorite parts. I also liked when they were sweet to one another. But I struggled with the in between with the two of them. And I struggled a lot with Jess as a person. I never really got a sense of who she was and I hated her generalization of people. That really bugged me. She was judgmental of a whole group of people because of some bad eggs. That didn’t fly with me at all (not to mention one scene early in the book that made me feel icky). I get where she was coming from because when a friend is hurt our backs go up, but I didn’t understand her entirely.

I guess when it comes down to it I didn’t click with this book as much as I hoped which made me sad because I loved the author’s other book I read. Something just felt off when I was reading it, like we didn’t mesh. But like I said I didn’t hate it either. What I can tell you is that many others have loved it so I suggest giving it a try and deciding on your own if it is a book for you.

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Review: Come Back to Me – Mila Gray

Review: Come Back to Me – Mila GrayCome Back to Me by Mila Gray
Published by Simon Pulse
on December 8th 2015
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Amazon, Goodreads

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…
Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

A friend had mentioned Come Back to Me as something that might interest me. After doing so research I agreed. The description is totally a me book. I am 100% a sucker for the girl falling for her brother’s best friend. It is one of my favorite troupes as it can cause so much tension but when it is right it is right. I was also really intrigued by the military aspect as that adds something else to the story since being enlisted is a huge commitment. Basically I had really high hopes for Come Back to Me, and Mila Gray delivered.

Come Back to Me is about Jessa and Kit, two people that have grown-up in each other’s orbit. Kit has been friends with Jessa’s brother for a long time and Jessa has been crushing on him ever since. But they have managed to not cross that line. That is until Kit is home on leave from the military for the month and they can no longer deny that attraction. Soon the two are in a whirlwind romance even knowing it will all end as soon as Kit has to go back. Jessa plans to wait for him until the unthinkable happens and everyone involved has to figure out what is important and just want they could stand to lose.

I have to say that the romance was very quickly paced. I figured it would be because of Jessa and Kit’s history and the month time table, but some of it went a little too fast for me as I love a good slow burn when you can feel the chemistry. That aside I loved how Come Back to Me was one of those books that started in the middle and then worked back to the beginning so you kind of knew what was going to happen without much of it being given away. That was pretty genius.

I liked the setting of this story a lot. For the beginning you get the typical home life kind of set up. Dates, lounging at home, the inside of apartments. And in the second half you get the war and military part which I am always fascinated by when reading. Gray did a good job of setting this up and showing the different lives Kit and Jessa were living and how that effected their mid space and lives.

Honestly I liked Kit a little more than Jessa. I don’t know if Jessa felt young or what it was but there was something lacking from her that I found in Kit. He had an air of experience to him that made him the more enjoyable of the two. Jessa made some bad decisions, as did Kit, but I understood Kit’s more over Jessa. With that said, I loved the two of them together better than apart. They had a great chemistry that felt organic. I did not like Jessa’s dad at all. He was probably the part that bugged me most about the whole book.

I really enjoyed Come Back to Me. It was a quick read and was interesting and kept my attention the whole time. I should have listened to my gut and not read the epilogue but I’m just pretending I didn’t. All in all this was a great book about love and friendship and responsibility and making the right choices and guilt. I look forward to reading the companion.

*I read the UK version of this book.

 

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Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. Gaughen

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenScarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published by Walker Childrens
on February 14th 2012
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more - making this a fight worth dying for.

Review

I read Scarlet a while ago. I had had it on my TBR shelf for a long time, signed no less, but had never gotten to it. After being strongly urged to do it I did and I really liked it. I had trouble with the dialect originally. It is written in a way that is slightly hard to get comfortable with until you don’t even notice it as the book progresses. I guess what I liked best about Scarlet was actually Scarlet herself. She was such a strong female lead in a men’s world that you can’t help but like her. I didn’t always like her choices and her actions, but I knew what she was trying to do. And I loved her relationship with Rob. The end kind of broke me and although this wasn’t my favorite of the series it made me want to read book 2.

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Childrens
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

Review

Lady Thief took me a while to read and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to see what would happen to Rob, Scarlet, John, Much and the townspeople. It was because I was told the ending was a doozy and you would need Lion Heart almost immediately after completion. So I waited and waited and waited. And then I read it and loved it. It was a completely different book than Scarlet. Scarlet was almost this new character in Lady Thief and I loved seeing this layer of her. She had to deal with consequences for something she had done in Scarlet and it opened her eyes to a life she didn’t know what hers, nor did she really want. I loved seeing how things changed between her and Rob and how those changes affected what she did or the choices she made. I also liked knowing more about Scarlet’s background. And that ending! Oh that ending!

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

Lion Heart was by far my favorite of the 3 book series. As the plot progressed I thought Gaughen’s story got better and better and culminated in a book that felt pretty perfect, not only as a series ender, but as an exclamation on a great set of books. This book terrified me to read. After what happened in both Scarlet and Lady Thief I was legit afraid what would happen to the people I had grown to know and love. I had a pit in my stomach the whole time and for good reason. But Annie did an excellent job with Lion Heart. She tied up things that needed to be tied up and left some stuff open as it takes on a different historical context. It was utterly fantastic. It crushed my soul but I also loved every minute.

final

In conclusion the series was fantastic. Scarlet was a character that you don’t think has many layers when you meet her and then her story grows and you see she is very complicated and that there is more to her. Each book in the story changes her in some way and it makes her a better person even when it is a hardship or something truly awful that happens to her. And Rob, he and Scarlet together are unstoppable. What am I saying? This is a series you don’t want to miss.

Oh and that dialect that I had trouble with in that beginning? I was speaking it to a friend in the end. It gets into your pores and makes the story authentic feeling.

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