A Fine Mess by Breanna Hughes

Harper Foley’s life is a manageable mess. When you first meet her you find out that both of her parents were tragically killed in a car accident a few years prior. This life changing incident sent her, as a young adult, on a trajectory of change. First, Harper becomes the guardian to her sister Emily, who happens to be a seventeen-year-old with a serious drug problem. Emily runs away from home, and Harper spends years searching for her to no avail. Second, at the time of her parent’s death Harper is engaged to a nice guy named Finn. They have been together years, in Finn’s mind, they were blissfully happy, to Harper something quintessential was missing. So, Harper breaks in off one week before the big “I do” moment. Ouch! Third, well… let’s get to that in a minute.

Harper, a college graduate, spends her days working at a bookstore. Her career is unfulfilling to her. She spends all of her other time devoted to her music. This singer/songwriter is trying to break out in LA’s music scene, and she does okay playing at local bars and coffeehouses. You feel a sense of sadness and despair as you read Harper’s story, but for quite awhile I wasn’t sure where we were headed with her.

So Finn is still an integral part of the story as well. He is seeking therapy because he cannot get over Harper. She has wrecked his heart but he takes any sign from her, even a simple phone call as a chance to win her back.

Then you have Kiley. Kiley, Haper’s ride-or-die best friend, is a drop dead gorgeous tornado. She blows in and out of guy’s bedrooms like there’s no tomorrow. To say there is a revolving door would be an understatement. A product of an unloving home, Kiley uses sex as a way to forget. This is fine and dandy, do what you want, but every action has consequences.

What consequences, you ask? Well it takes a while to get to this point, for a long time I was somewhat as lost as you are right now. So big reveal, Harper has a thing for her BFF. Harper, lets no one in on the big secret. Not even a hint that she might be looking at girls in a different way. She internalizes everything and lets Kiley’s promiscuity eat away at her.

My thoughts on this one are a mixed bag. First off, I liked Haper and Kiley, and I wanted to know more about them. I was invested in those two characters. With that being said, the hooking up with random guys, and this is for both ladies, detracted from the overall love story. There were a few parts, I was left shaking my head at why would you do this! Also, I needed more from Kiley’s point of view. I felt myself wanting to get in her headspace and see why she acted and at the times reacted the way she did. I wanted more on why she used sex with random men to hide her true feelings and how that made her feel afterwards. If as the reader I could have tapped into her angst level, it would have made me feel more towards her and overall the book. Kiley’s character need more fleshing out, because she was a really, really intriguing part of the book.

Second, I really did not want to read about Finn, his story and his pseudo-romance with his therapist was distracting. I found myself trying to skip these sections to get back to the leading ladies. I didn’t know what Finn brought to the table storywise other than he’s really nice and not over Harper. I wanted more on the main characters and less history on the sub-characters, Emily was fine, Finn and the therapist, not so much.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it does have some typos/grammar errors but I was able to move easily past them. It was not a problem in the slightest for me, but you can probably read my reviews and kill a red pen with my missed commas.  With all that being said, Breanne Hughes is a talented writer. Her story, while it had a lot of moving pieces was formed well and held my attention to the end. Overall a good read, and an author I would not hesitate to read again.

3.25 out of 5 stars

    • Publisher: Triplicity Publishing, LLC

To Purchase:A Fine Mess

A Fine Mess by [Hughes, Breanna]

Blind Side of the Moon by Blayne Cooper

Blayne Cooper is an amazing writer. Her books are so good! Her latest book, Blind Side of the Moon, I literally bought without even reading what the plot was about. I didn’t need to, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this book would be amazing. I was absolutely right, it was!

Samantha Blackwell is a high school junior that has recurring dreams that she knows are important. She just doesn’t know why or what she’s supposed to do with what she has seen. As the dreams begin to get more frequent and more detailed she learns through her mind’s eye that her dreams are about a classmate being stalked. She knows without a doubt she has to help, but she doesn’t know who she can get anyone to believe her.

Jane Hutchens is from one of the most prominent families in town. She feels like an outsider in her perfect little family. Her siblings, the twins, are the most popular kids in school. Jane is lucky if anyone even looks her way. Super smart Jane spends most of her time in a book. So when Samantha drops a bomb on her about being stalked she balks at the outrageousness of the situation. that is until the notes and text messages become so frequent and intense that she just can’t ignore the danger lurking.

So the premise of the book is a stalker on the loose and Samantha, who can at times foretell the future befriends Jane to help catch the madman before he hurts her. Oh, but it’s so much more than that. This book has amazing characters who have depth and soul. While they are young these two are also mighty. Both, Jane and Sam are so well developed and you really get to know their emotions. These are strong young women that you cannot help but love and root for.

While Blind Side of the Moon is a mystery filled with twists it also has a romance that is every bit the mystery’s equal. The love story is so sweet, it pulls at your heart strings time and time again. While the two characters are young, they are both wise in so many ways. The ending is left open a bit, so I hope that we will see more of this dynamic duo.

A Big 5 stars!

  • Publisher: Bella Books

Blind Side of the Moon
by Blayne Cooper

To Purchase: Blind Side of the Moon

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One in the Hand by Caitlin Drake

Birdy Cartwright is a graphic designer for a small printing press. Birdy is fun, easy going, artistic, kind and recently engaged. When the book starts we are introduced to Birdy’s engagement as she is being chastised by her childhood best friend, Saul. You see everyone hates Brooke, Birdy’s new fiance.

Brooke Winters is uber-successful, super attractive and is used to getting her way. Birdy is another piece of the pie she’s determined to get. After waiting years for Birdy to pop the question, Brooke grabs the bull by the horns and takes charge, even though she knows that Birdie has always wanted to do the honors. Once her plan for a fall wedding has been set, let the steamrolling begin.

Sydney Ramos is a newbie to Portland by way of Austin. Planning to just stop in a visit an old college softball teammate as she headed to Seattle she fell in love with the city and its ambiance. Deciding to stay, she gets a job as a screen printer at Birdy’s shop. Hello, new employee! What she didn’t expect to happen was to meet the girl of her dreams, too bad she’s engaged.

So this love triangle is a hot mess. Birdie’s set to marry Brooke, but she doesn’t expect to have those little tingly feelings for her new smoking hot co-worker. So like a moth to a flame she finds a multitude of ways to hang out with Sydney. Does she feel guilty, well yeah, but Birdy and Sydney just can’t help the flirting and longing glances. Sydney is determined to fight for Birdy’s heart, figuring she is pretty much fair game till the white dress and the long aisle. Oh, the tangled wed of emotions.

If you have read Rainbow Cedar by Gerri Hill, you know a love triangle can work to set up an interesting premise, where the couple that walks aways isn’t hated by the reader. This is kind like that but with one major problem. Brooke is set up to be kind of a jerk but you don’t know is she is truly a b**ch with a capital B till the end. Birdie while totally into Sydney, she isn’t 100% over Brooke, yes she’s going through the motions of the wedding but she still loves her. That’s where it gets difficult. Sydney is playing a dangerous game, and you feel for her cause she can’t help herself, you kinda want to slap Birdie in the back of the head and maybe kick her in the shin for dragging Syd along. You also want Syd to get a clue and stop letting her heart get stepped on. Birdie keeps saying no she can’t leave Brooke and what they have but then goes right back to the come-hither looks to Miss Ramos. The vast majority of the book is Birdie being an engaged woman, and she wasn’t trying to get out of it, she was just trying to get over Sydney. When all three characters are at the engagement party and Syd has to watch both Birdie and Brooke make declarations of love to one another, I was pretty much just hoping for Sydney to just bust out her Nike’s run. Save yourself, girl, this is not worth it. Then around the 90% mark, Brooke makes a massive mistake, the straw that broke the camel’s back if you will, and that part while I was glad to see it finally come, I just couldn’t buy that someone so calculating as Brooke was, would ever be so forthcoming.

Technically I thought this was a well-written book. I liked Birdie and Sydney, I just wished the author would have villanized Brooke much earlier and given Birdie a backbone. There needed to be more heart-wrenching emotion from Birdie to really sell her dilemma. You almost got to the point where you wished her demise for being a jellyfish. For this being Caitlin Drake’s first book, I thought she did a dang good job, and I would absolutely read her next one.

3 out of 5 stars

One in the Hand
by Caitlin Drake
Link: http://a.co/7aVNFwX

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Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee

Communication is key to any relationship, am I right? Whether you are friends, family or lovers, open dialogue is vital to building and maintaining a healthy, solid foundation. In romance books, a common trope is miscommunication/no communication between the two leading ladies. I think this is a delicate balancing act if you too heavy handed, it just leads to the reader’s frustration and basically a lot of eye rolling. Create angst and tension, but don’t make it so unrealistic that it just becomes ridiculous. So how is Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee, well, let’s just say lots and lots of eye rolling took place during my read.

Michael is a highly revered sculptor that is on the precipice of really landing major contracts. While her art has become wildly popular, her personal life is has intensified up to almost painful levels. She is desperately in love with her childhood best friend, Jess. Unwilling to chance their friendship, for love, Michael buries her feelings and turns to binge drinking when Jess is approached by any would-be suitors.

Jess, is your girl next door type, a sweet, thoughtful elementary teacher who literally everyone adores. Jess feelings for Michael, come about after a night out celebrating a mutual acquaintances birthday. Her feelings become pronounced and she begins to reach out to Michael in a multitude of ways, showing her interest and affection for the artist. Michael has the incite of a door knob and sees none of this, much to Jess’s dismay.

EYE ROLLS like a mo fo! Frustration, frustration and more frustration. The lack of even basic communication between the characters was astounding. You have two emotionally stunted protagonists, one way more than the other mind you, and it became hard to give a damn whether these two find their way to happy ever after. Basically, Jess needed to give Michael a high five, wish her the best and run for the hills.

2.25 out of 5 stars

Capturing Jessica
by Jane Hardee
Link: http://a.co/dS1W1nA

 

Game Time (Girls of Summer #2) by Kate Christie

Okay, so did you read Training Ground yet? If not, stop here, go read it already. You do not want to read this one without the back story.

Game Time doesn’t pick off where we left Jamie and Emma. No, we fast forward ten years to 2013 and find them on opposites sides of Earth. Jamie is playing for the women’s division or Arsenal Ladies Football Club in London. Like many Americans, Jamie has chosen to cross the pond for a chance to keep playing the game she lives for.

Emma has achieved the pinnacle of success, she is a starter for the national team, multiple Olympic medals, and endorsement deals with major sponsors. Emma lives her life in the public eye, easily recognizable. Jamie, on the other hand, is still striving for her chance to be called up to play for her country. While Emma has achieved most of her professional life’s goals, she has started to see, that her life also has a major void. She wants what so many of her peers has found, that special person. She knows what true love feels like, she just hasn’t found it with anyone else.

Fate and bad luck have literally kept them apart all this time. Just when Jamie has had her chance to play on the national level disaster strikes. First a torn ACL, the second a broken ankle, and with every injury, she must go back, recoup and begin her quest again. With dogged determination, she never gives up, and she keeps striving for her lifetime goal. Jamie has the heart of a lion, and you just can’t help but root for her success. Finally, she gets the call. Jamie has been picked for a two-week residency camp in an off-year as the national team begins to find who the 21 players will be that represent the USWNT in 2015 in the pursuit to win the World Cup. Guess who else will be at camp, yup, Emma Blakely. These former best friends will spend 14 days in close proximity, and it’s time to move forward.

While Training Ground was painful to some extent, Game Time starts the rebuilding. Accepting that life, missteps, and personal mistakes all took a toll on their relationship, Emma and Jamie can find a way to be what they were first, friends. The foundation is there and with work and communication, these two find their way back to each other. Oh, guess what’s still there, yup chemistry, sizzle!

What I loved about this book is there isn’t any contrived drama. These two ladies have a lot on their plate as it is. The stressors of being a professional athlete, staying on top of your game, making one of the most select teams in the world are enough right. You will be 100% invested in the journey of these two leading ladies. My heart just about burst when they find their way back to each other, and have their chance at true love. Now I just need the third book ASAP.

4.25 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Second Growth Books

Game Time: Book Two of Girls of Summer
by Kate Christie
Link: http://a.co/2tIzRH0

Game Time: Book Two of Girls of Summer by [Christie, Kate]

Four Steps by Wendy Hudson

The prologue of this book grabs you and will send a shock of terror through you. All I could think was on my goodness that was absolutely, one-hundred percent, terrifying. The first chapter is a glimpse of everyone’s worst nightmare coming true. Grabbed your attention, right? Well, that is how this book goes, it grabs you and then tells you the story of Alex Ryan and Lori Hunter.

Lori Hunter is an interpreter for parliament in Westminster. Her day job of constantly and repetitively conversing with people makes her crave solitude in her downtime.  This is what drives her to drive hours outside of the London to climb mountains like Scotland’s Maoile Lunndaidh. Lori loves her career but finds life lacking in most other areas. Her family is scattered and barely speaks, and her relationship of eight years with Andrew is crumbling at an alarming rate.  She finds herself making decisions to change her course and on that very day she runs smack dab into Alex Ryan.

Alex Ryan came to Maoile Lunndaidh to climb that mountain but to also remind herself that her relationship’s end did not ruin her passion for this place. Rachel may have introduced her to the place, but Alex would make her own memories here too. Alex spends most of her days alone, working from home on her family’s farm as a computer analyst for a variety of police organizations. Alex is charismatic and fun but also guarded, and for good reason. Her past is tragic.

These two have instant chemistry, which they both acknowledge and decide to become friends. They build their relationship between phone calls and texts, touching base daily because this person, who they met on the side of a mountain, has become important.  All of that is happening, but you know there is a sinister plot happening as well. EEK! I wish I could tell you more but you need to read the book.  These two crush on each other and when things just begin to go their way, a mad man’s vengeance turns everyone’s life upside down.

A romance with a side of a thriller is what Four Steps is. Overall, I enjoyed this book so much. There were a few chapters I thought were bogged down with too many new character introductions, but that won’t change the overall awesomeness of the book. A really good book by Wendy Hudson!

4 out of 5 stars

I was given this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylvapublishing.com

Four Steps
by Wendy Hudson
Link: https://amzn.com/B01KIDGB7Y

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Just My Luck by Andrea Bramhall

In the past couple of months, I have been voraciously reading Andrea Bramhall’s books. I read Ladyfish a few years back and liked it but it didn’t rock my world. Nightingale, Clean Slate and Collide-O-Scope now those are total world rockers. Needless to say, I am hooked on her stories now. So when Ylva sent me her newest book Just My Luck, I was super excited for whatever world Bramhall would take me to and immerse me in.

So what did I think you ask? Well, I never would have expected a romantic comedy. You heard me, a ROMANTIC COMEDY from Ms. Bramhall! Whattt! I am here to tell you this is one good story. Just My Luck is full of gregarious, zany characters who you just cannot help but love.

Our main character is Genna Collins. Genna is a twenty-four-year-old logistics worker who has a heart of gold. Genna takes time out of her week you teach reading to dyslexic teens and adults. She also helps raise her niece, Rosie, who has Down’s Syndrome. She offers assistance and unconditional support to both the child and her mother, Abi. Rosie’s dad is nothing more than a drunken loser, so Genna has stepped into the role as a second parent to Rosie. Total nice gal here! Genna, has a girlfriend of a few year’s but her heart belongs to another. Guess who, Rosie’s drop dead gorgeous mother, that’s who. Genna muddles on with her not-so-fulfilling relationship because she believes that Abi is out of her league and 100% in the friend zone.

Abi is also completely head over heels in love with Genna, but fear stops her from ever letting her true feelings loose. She believes her age, fourteen years Genna’s senior, is too great an obstacle to overcome. Genna’s friendship means more to her than taking a risk on love. Oh the drama that will ensue!

While Branhall’s other novels have serious plots, murder, kidnapping … this book is just more fun. These characters talk to you, the reader, and it took me a few chapters to get into it, once I did I was hooked on them. I loved being in their headspace, feeling their struggles right along with them. Genna is a doll, and it was refreshing to read a character who had issues that were like an average person. She is a little too pudgy in her mind, so self-conscious, but absolutely sexy curvaceousness to Abi. This book is all about good fun with great characters. The best part is you will laugh and giggle at Genna and her antics repeatedly. My only complaint, I wish the ending would have lasted another chapter or two.

4 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

Just My Luck
by Andrea Bramhall
Link: https://amzn.com/3955337022

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