Professed by Nicola Rendell

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“Dulce pomum quum abest custos. Forbidden fruit is sweetest.”

So, I read this book broken up into three parts for three days. Day one: five stars, I loved it. Day two; three stars, I still enjoyed it. Day three: one star, it was super annoying and read so very fake. Like, this book made me feel a whirlwind of emotions, but I just wish the feelings from day one stayed throughout.

Professed starts out with a secret sex club at Yale University (I promise, no Rory Gilmore jokes.) This book switches points of view between Naomi, a junior at Yale, and Ben, the newest Master at Yale. But hidden behind masks, and entering an underground sex party, ben and Naomi meet and soon realize they want nothing more than to leave this party together.

And leave the party they do. And guys, the first couple sex scenes in this book? They are super hot. Like, I loved them a lot. And when we find out that Ben is the newest professor to teach at Yale, it only amplifies the forbiddenness to make it feel more enticing. I only wish the rest of the book would have kept up. But very quickly this turns into an angst filled, unbelievable, love story about why these two people can’t be together.

“That happens twice a week, three beautiful hours of my life every week, I sit there and listen to the man I am hopelessly, helplessly, stupidly in love with.”

The worst part of the story? The completely unbelievable dean at Yale that had nothing more important to worry about than these two hooking up. Like, I could not. Between him barging into Ben’s home, to him waiting outside just waiting for one of them to step a toe out of line, I just couldn’t handle it. It felt like something out of a cartoon!

And once Ben and Naomi start to be forced to go off campus, and have these romantic rendezvous, I just lost interest. I much preferred the hot, meet up, animalistic urges over the unbelievable angst and love. And once I found out why there was a sharpie on the cover of this book? Lord, help me. Some Sharpies contain xylene, which can be super harmful to your body, especially if it gets into your blood stream. Let’s… not romanticize this, thanks.

But basically, this just got too convoluted for me to enjoy. And I know half of you are probably like, “Melanie, it’s a new adult sexy time book, what were you expecting?” But I promise, the first few chapters were so addicting, it just set the bar way too high. Overall, this ended up just being a big letdown, because the start was so damn strong! But if you’re looking for a quick, sexy, angsty read, this will probably do the trick. Just, don’t let the start skyrocket your expectations like I did.

Content Warnings: student and teacher relationship, medication abuse, underage drinking, detailing of a very bad boating accident (and medical treatment) in the past, abuse, and grey area consent.


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This is the April pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie and Chelsea host! ❤

❤ And you can get this ebook for FREE on Amazon US currently!

Top Ten Tuesday | Frequently Used Words in Titles

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

This prompt was kind of hard to do, and I’m not even entirely sure that I’m doing it right! But this was my attempt from looking at my bookshelves and seeing frequently used words that stood out to me! Also, this is the type of post that when you see your friend’s posts you’re going to be like, “oh my gosh, how did I forget that one?” But without further ado, here are the ten words I chose:

QUEEN
– The Forest Queen (Mechanica 0.5) by Betsy Cornwell
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

BONE
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
Shadow and Bone (The Grishaverse #1) by Leigh Bardugo
The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

NIGHT
Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Marked (House of Night #1) by P.C. Cast
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
A Torch Against the Night (Ember Quartet #2) by Sabaa Tahir

GAME
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin
The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

PRINCESS
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare
Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

KINGDOM
– Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes
– Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
– Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas
– The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin
– To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

ASSASSIN
– Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb
– The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
– Assassin’s Heart (Assassin’s Heart #1) by Sarah Ahiers
– Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #1) by R.J. Barker
– The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

HEART
– Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
– Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron #1) by Ashley Poston
– The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead
– The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
– The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

KING
– Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1) by Nicholas Eames
– The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings #3) by J.R.R. Tolkien
– Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie
– The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
– Kings Rising (Captive Prince, #3) by C.S. Pacat 

GIRL
– Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
– Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
– The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
– Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross #2) by James Patterson
– The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Okay, I hope you all enjoyed! And hopefully I created some semblance of sense with the words I picked! I tried to pick books I’ve read, but that’s not the case with some of these! But I still hope you all liked, and please feel free to link me to your posts! I’d love to see your choices! Happy reading, loves!

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Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

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“If you’re not careful you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.”

This book was equal parts haunting and beautiful. The writing feels so lush and magical and is absolutely transportive. The story was so expertly and intelligently crafted. Seriously, this entire book feels like a work of art. But for some reason, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Instead of it feeling like a treat to read, I really had to force myself to focus. I still really recommend this, and I think so many of my friends would enjoy, but for some reason I could never truly be immersed and in turn I could never fully fall in love.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found surrounds three young girls in Ireland who find a book that can help them reclaim things that they have lost.

And this tale is split into three different points of view, where we get to see how these girl’s stories intertwine:
Olive – A young girl who wakes up in a barn after a night of partying. And she soon realizes that things all over town are coming up missing. Some more dear than others.
Hazel – A young girl who ran away with her brother and best friend and are currently living in an abandoned house. Also, my fav.
Laurel – A young girl whose diary pages have gone missing, and her and her friends are willing to do anything to get them back, including casting an unknown spell.

But there are so many side characters, too. Rose is everything. Ivy is a gem. Rowan is amazing. Jude’s scenes were my favorite. Holly, Ash, and Mags were great! Hell, I was even in love with Olive’s dad for Pete’s sake! This book has a full and great cast of characters. And I also loved the representation so much. I mean, we follow an indigenous lesbian, a hearing impaired bisexual girl, and another bisexual girl that is dealing with trauma (TW/CW: talk of past rape and bullying). Like, what a blessing. And we get to see some of these w/w romances on page even. My heart is still so full.

My absolute favorite part of this book (which makes me want to give this book all the stars in the universe) was the entire page of 228 where this author abolished the pedestal we put girls “needing” to keep their virginity on. Like, I wish I could get this single page into everyone in the world’s hands. I wish I could go back in time and give a younger version of myself that page. So powerful, so important, and so worth the purchase and reading of this book for that page alone. Praise/bless Moïra Fowley-Doyle! Thank you.

And the last 20% of this book is honestly perfection. Spellbook of the Lost and Found has one of the best twists I’ve ever read in my entire life. I was dumbfounded and left in so much awe.

“Be careful what you wish for; not all lost things should be found.”

Overall, this is a book I won’t forget anytime soon. And I know a three star rating probably seems low for how hard I just gushed, but this is the highest three star rating I’ve ever given. The prose is beautiful, the atmosphere is haunting, the characters leave you wanting so much more, and the story is so phenomenally told. If you’re looking for something gorgeous and unique, please pick this one up.


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Buddy read with Julie, Jules, Amy, Chelsea, Lourdes, & Tiffany! ❤

And this book is extra special to me, because I received it at The Goodreads Power User Summit last fall! *heart eyes forever* Thank you, Goodreads, I love you! ❤

Long Shot: A HOOPS Novel (Hoops #1) by Kennedy Ryan

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First and foremost, I really want to emphasize that this is a book about abuse and what it is like to be in a very dangerous and abusive relationship. MAJOR trigger and content warnings for a lot of graphic rape, stalking, being trapped, and a lot of very graphic physical, emotional, and mental abuse. This read is not easy or light, but it very importantly talks about taking back your own body after someone has been forcefully taking it for so long. Also, if you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.

“I spoke because maybe there’s some girl like me. Young. Vulnerable. Naïve. Flattered by his attention. Maybe she thinks his jealousy means he loves her more or that it’s cute. Does she realize that slowly, surely, she’s being cut off from her friends? Isolated from her family? Being molded into something she’s not? Into what he wants her to be?”

This book also puts on display how difficult it can be to leave an abusive relationship. We live in a world where people never want to believe a woman’s word, on top of the hundreds of other factors that come into play when someone is trying to leave their abuser. The author put in a lot of research and interviewed a lot of survivors, social workers, and women’s shelters and it shows on the pages. This book feels so real. But again, this is a book about reclaiming your body and your mind from your abuser. And if you are in the right mindset, I very much recommend this read.

“Strength. Dignity. Courage. All these things belong to you. Take them back. Your soul is yours. Your heart is yours. Your body is yours. Yours to keep and yours to share.”

Long Shot is a basketball, sort of second chance romance that starts with one night at a bar that changes two people’s lives forever. It is the night before August’s big college final game, and Iris is a basketball fanatic that came to the bar to catch her beloved Lakers play. August was just looking to blow off some steam, but he wasn’t planning on meeting someone who he would never forget. The chemistry is instant and so damn good. I truly believed that these two characters were real and were soulmates and it was a damn treat to be inside their heads.

This is also an ownvoices for the two black main characters that the points of view shift between. Actually, both August and Iris are biracial (white and black) and this book always holds an important discussion about growing up biracial and never feeling like you belong to either half of yourself.

Also, this book talks about Hurricane Katrina and how so many families were broken apart and forced to flee New Orleans, and become refuges in their own country. I’m telling you all, Kennedy Ryan packed this beautiful romance novel with some important topics and discussions that so many writers wouldn’t dare bring up. She’s made a fan for life.

But after having an amazing night just baring their souls to one another in a bar, Iris confesses that she has a boyfriend, so their relationship can go no further than friendship. And August is a standup guy and understands, until he realizes the next night at his game that Iris is dating his childhood nemesis.

From there we get to see how Iris and August’s lives go on different paths; him in the NBA and her with her abuser, but somehow their paths always connect back to one another. And the abuse I prefaced this review with? It starts out suddenly, with Iris being told what to wear, then telling Iris how her future should go, to eventually trapping Iris into something that changes her life forever. Again, this is a hard book to read, but I promise it is so rewarding.

“The heart speaks in whispers, but sometimes by the time we listen, it’s too late. I learned that the hardest way. And maybe that girl can change her course before it’s too late.”

The romance in this book is so damn swoon-worthy. August West is a God among men, and Iris is one of the strongest protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about, and August is so deserving of her. And not only is the romance perfect and the sex amazing, Iris and August’s friendship is always on display and seeing it grow into something more was something more beautiful that I have words for.

“I’ll never take this for granted. Not his kindness, when I’ve known cruelty all too well. Not his tenderness, when I’ve been handled roughly in the past. Not his love, when I’ve been possessed and owned and mistreated.”

And this book is just a love letter to why it is so important to surround yourself with people who have your back and will always unconditionally love you. The love between Iris and her cousin, Lotus, was so important to me. And seeing Iris reconnect with her grandmother was also one of my favorite moments in the book. Yet, again, this book showcases the important of found family and how important it is to cut out toxic family members from your life, because blood is just that; blood, and nothing more.

This is a real and raw novel, and I know a lot of people won’t be able to read it because it is so triggering, but I also think this book has so much power to heal abuse victims. I will be forever thankful for Kennedy Ryan for creating this masterpiece and using her voice for so much good. And for somehow writing this novel that will evoke every emotion out of you, but will leave you believing in love again. If you are in the right mindset, and are looking for a good romance, I completely recommend Long Shot, and I anticipate it making many people’s best of 2018 lists. And I can’t wait to see if we get a story about Lotus. *crosses fingers forever* And girls? Make sure you always get a partner that always plays you at the five.


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I loved this interview from Steph so much that I knew I had to finally pick something up by Kennedy Ryan!

The Cookie Book Tag

The Rules:


Chocolate Chip: A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed (interpret classic how you want, it can be a classic written 100 years ago or 20 years ago)

I have been so bad about reading classics lately, but I always say that my all-time favorite is Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. This was my second favorite book all through high school, and it really shaped the writing style I still love to this day. You can feel the cold in your bones when you read this book, the messages completely will gut you, and the writing is so lyrical and beautiful and has so many meanings. Okay, I might need to reread this sooner than I thought.


Thin Mints: A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ AND/OR a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read (your source(s) of a book being hyped can be from anywhere)

You all, please don’t hate me. I swear, it is my book reviewer shame that I have never touched a book by Cassandra Clare. Everyone tells me how much I would love her new series, so hopefully this will be the year I finally start with City of Bones! Do you guys think I will like it?


Shortbread: An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

If Holly Black ever comes onto my blog, and sees how I answer her for every question like this… I’ll probably be just a little embarrassed, let’s be real. But Holly Black is forever and always my fae queen, that shaped me into the reader I am today and is the reason I can’t get enough of all things fantasy. She will always be the author I can’t get enough of!


Samoas/ Caramel DeLites: An Emotional Rollercoaster (this cookie was hard … so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you)

Circe by Madeline Miller made me feel more happiness than any book has in a long while. I still can’t imagine anything dethroning this book as my favorite book of 2018. All the feels, but all the love and happiness, too.


Oreos: A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

The UK version of Uprooted by Naomi Novik is actually my second favorite cover of all time. Sadly, I didn’t love the story as much, but I still can’t believe the beauty of this cover. Also, have you seen the Spinning Silver UK cover, yet? It’s perfection, too.


Tagalongs / Peanut Butter Patties: A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected (good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid! I went into this book expecting a cute romance with some LGBTQIAP+ elements, but what I got was my soul reflected back at me. This is such a masterpiece. I still can’t believe something so perfectly written and crafted is in the world.


Snickerdoodles: A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

No matter how hard JK Rowling is trying to ruin my childhood, I will never stop reading Harry Potter. Ever. These books are so much of my identity, I’ll never be able to go a year without rereading at least one.


The Three Friends I Tag:
Avery
Michaela
Sophie

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Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

“…the last time I saw my brother was five years ago. Lying dead in the snow.”

Sky in the Deep is a debut, standalone, young adult fantasy novel that stars two different Viking clans. But this is a story about betrayal, then survival, then a choice. You all, I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was unique, well written, and has some amazing characters.

Our main protagonist, Eelyn, has lived the last five years mourning her brother’s death. Every five years, the two rival Viking clans battle for no reason other than blind hatred. And five years ago, Eelyn had to watch him fall off a cliff and was forced to leave him dying below. But this book starts out five years later, with a brand new battle, yet Eelyn sees her brother, Iri, before her very eyes.

The two rival Viking clans:
Aska – Worship the god Sigr, water and the sea, and Eelyn’s clan where her father is the leader.
Riki – Worship the god Thora, mountains and fire, and the side that Iri is currently fighting for.

Eelyn doesn’t even know how to process what she is seeing, especially being on the opposite side of the battlefield with her presumed dead brother, who was once her fighting partner. And her hesitation costs her, because she ends up captured by a Riki, who spares her life for some unknown reason.

“I’d abandoned my clansmen on the battlefield to chase after the brother who didn’t even want me.”

Then we get to follow Eelyn becoming a slave for the people who she has vowed to always kill. But slowly, she starts to realize that maybe the Aska and Riki have more in common than anyone would ever think, including a common enemy, the Herja, that will eliminate them all the same way they killed Eelyn’s mother.

I will say that I thought this read a little older on the young adult scale. I mean, yeah, the main character is totally seventeen-years-old, but her brother is five years older and the story does star him, too, even if we don’t get his point of view. A lot of dark things happen in this book, and the author doesn’t shy away from the violence. And rape threats are used a lot during this story. Like, a lot a lot, so just know that going in. And content/trigger warnings for loss of a loved one, violence, murder, gore, sexual assault(s), physical abuse, slavery, talk of suicide, and war themes.

And even though this is a brutal book, the romance is so damn sweet. I mean, it’s a slow burn without question, but enemies to lovers will forever be my favorite. But seeing it happen to a nice guy, too? It was really sweet and I really enjoyed it. I might even go as far to say that the romance in this book was my favorite element of the entire story.

“I remembered the way he looked, lying with eyes staring into the sky that day I’d left him in the trench in Aurvanger. The broken boy bleeding in the snow beside my brother. I wondered if the gods had a plan then.”

I also love the sibling relationship between Eelyn and Iri. In general, I’m always a sucker for books about siblings who unconditionally love each other, but this story had such a unique twist and dynamic, I absolutely loved unfolding the mystery behind what happened five years ago.

My heart was also truly stolen by Halvard and his relationship with Eelyn in this book. Like, best character and the most amazing little cinnamon roll ever. There is such a strong emphasis on found family in this book, and I was so here for it. Truly, these 350 pages carry a beautiful and important message about how life is about surrounding yourself with people who love and accept you, regardless of what blood runs in your veins.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one. I wish the rape threats weren’t so abundant, but besides that I feel like this is a really solid story that is action packed and truly captivating. I never wanted to put this book down, and each time I picked it up I felt absolutely teleported into this world. Also, I kind of have a soft spot for girls that wield axes. I really enjoyed it, and I cannot wait to see what Adrienne Young does next!


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Playlist of songs that inspired this story!

Buddy read with Jules, at JA Ironside, Lilly at Lair of Books, & Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤

 

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

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“Whatever the birthday girl wants”

Friends, I really wanted to love this, and I still enjoyed it! Penelope Douglas is the queen of writing enemies to lovers. I am obsessed with Corrupt, Bully, and Punk 57! So, when I heard she was releasing a new taboo standalone, I knew I couldn’t resist one-click buying! But… dare I say? This book wasn’t taboo enough for me. It read just like a normal romance, where the characters have a big age difference.

Jordan is a nineteen-year-old girl who comes from a very abusive home. Her mother left her, her father remarried a not so great person, and they live in a very bad neighborhood. She is also dealing with the loss of one of her best friends, but her and her other best friend decided to move out together and start a relationship. Jordan is going to college, working at a local bar, and she is pretty much the only responsible one in her relationship, because her boyfriend, Cole, just got them kicked out of their home.

But the night before that happens, Cole doesn’t pick Jordan up from work late night like he’s supposed to. So, she decided to catch a late movie screening of an old 80’s horror movie, and she bumps into a guy who finally makes one of her days feel good. Oh, and it’s her birthday. After a great time connecting with this guy, they soon part ways because she has a boyfriend she is committed to. But they soon realize he is committed to her boyfriend as well, because it is his son. *dun dun dun*

And since Cole just got them kicked out of their residence, the only solution is to obviously move in with his dad, who she just accidently shared an amazing movie night with! You all, the Lord is testing me! But for real, this actually has a really good romance that I was completely invested in.

I mean, yeah, this is a story about a girl falling for the dad of her boyfriend, but it never really feels angsty. Her boyfriend is a disgusting jerk for 99% of this book. He not only lies to her, disrespects her, and hangs out with her abusive ex that puts her in uncomfortable situations, but he’s also never there for her. And in turn, this book never feels like an angsty love triangle where a dad and son are fighting for the same girl; you root for the dad 100% of the time. And even though the angst is for sure there, this is such a damn slow burn romance.

“Turns out my dream girl belongs to the one person it would kill me to hurt.”

And let me put a big emphasis on the fact that Jordan is only nineteen-years-old and Cole’s father, Pike, is thirty-eight. On top of the fact they are both now living in his house rent free. Plus, Jordan has a really shitty home life and feels like she has nowhere to go. I could write an entire review on the power imbalance between these two love interests. So, please never think I’m ignoring this. I just rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment. But I’m never making excuses for any of the content in this book.

Content Warnings: abandonment, talk of physical abuse, underage drinking, death of a friend, and cheating.

I will say that Jordan is a very strong character and does have a lot of agency. She never read like a young adult and she never felt childish. The best part of this romance is that she always stuck up for herself to Pike. And she honestly always put her self and self-worth first.

“I should thank you, actually. I’ve been trying for years, it seems, to be the kind of woman I admire, and all of a sudden I feel like I am that woman now. I know I’m worth it. You’re just not.”

I also really loved Jordan’s sister in this. I am a big sucker for sibling relationships and Cam and Jordan’s unconditional love was a treat to read. Cam never felt shame for her work, and always let people know that she wasn’t doing anything she didn’t want to do. I don’t know, I just really liked her character. I also loved that Cam was a single mom, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Penelope Douglas gives us a book about her in the future.

But as I said above, this is an erotic romance, so I suppose I should talk about the sex in this book. I, personally, always love Penelope Douglas’s writing and her sex scenes always feels like a gift from above. Consent was something that was always stressed in this book too, so I really enjoyed that considering the not “normal” relationship. There is also a scene in this with mud that hit kind of close to home for me, so I really liked that. I just really loved the chemistry between these two characters, and I may complain that this wasn’t taboo enough for me, but the sex was really damn well done.

Okay, on to the biggest thing I didn’t like, which is something that’s just personal to me: this book really stresses having kids before you’re “too old” and I really hated every time it was emphasized. Since Pike is 38, he is very sensitive about having more kids, because he’s always wanted more, but like, it’s 2018, more and more people are starting to have kids in their 30s. I know that I will not be having kids in my 20s, so maybe that’s why it rubbed me the wrong way. But I still had hope that this wouldn’t turn into a “everyone should get married young and have kids in their twenties” type story. And I honestly probably would have given this book four stars if the epilogue was not included in this book. Again, maybe this is just me, but I almost felt shamed for choose to live my life for me in my twenties, and like, I’m not about to have an erotic romance novel make me feel bad about myself or my body that will be completely capable to bear children in my 30s.

Also, I will say that I really disliked how this book kind of makes it seem like joining the military fixes your problems. Like, I obviously support our troops, and my dad is a retired marine, but I hate when books portray “bad boys” who are sex obsessed, womanizing, partiers and then instantly fixes all their issues by joining a branch of the military. I know a lot of bad dudes that have joined the military and came back to my home town, and guess what? They are still bad dudes, just with worse haircuts.

And, in turn, I kind of didn’t like how this book displayed people who work at strip clubs. I mean, it wasn’t anything blatantly offensive, but it for sure hinted at, “you can do better than showing dudes your body” and it was annoying. Again, let me scream from the rooftops: It is 2018, please stop shaming sex workers. Okay, thanks, bye.

But overall, I still really enjoyed this one. I read it in two sittings and couldn’t put it down. Penelope Douglas is a super talented author, and even though I think I like her hate to love romances a little more than her standard romances, I still completely devour her books. Her writing is phenomenal, her characters are also so captivating, and she always comes up with unique elements that make me want to read everything she writes!


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Buddy read with Paloma, Kayla, Julie, Amy, & Destiny! ❤