Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

forbidden

PLEASE NOTE: This book deals with the topic of incest and as such may be difficult for some readers.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives and the way they understand each other so completely has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: A love this devastating has no happy ending.

Forbidden is the type of book that it takes balls to write and extraordinary skill to write well. When I first heard the hype surrounding the book I kind of shrugged it off, but my interest was piqued due to the topic. Once I picked up this book though, nothing else mattered, it had all of my attention.

Forbidden is the story of the Whitely family, a family in a situation that too many families face. However, one thing is different, Lochlan and Maya even knowing the possible consequences are in love. The dynamic between the siblings and the situation they are in, it all makes you feel for them.

The entire book is these two teenagers giving everything they have to make sure that their younger siblings have a roof over their head, food in their tummies, and all the things they could need to have as good a life as possible. They deal with all the many facets of parenthood, forgoing their own lives essentially to be the protectors, a role that someone had to step into for their mother. That may not sound like much, but on top of that, Lochlan and Maya are dealing with a whole other beast. Love, for each other.

They know it’s wrong, and they know that there are a thousand horrible things that could happen to the family if anyone found out, but in the end they care for each other and need the support of one another. Then, boom, the end of this book is smacking you in the face and there are FEELS and TEARS. I think I sobbed into this book for a straight 15 to 20 minutes. It was ridiculous. But it was also powerful and it stuck with me and I couldn’t process it or even talk about it for days, because there are no words.

This book is amazing, but so is Tabitha Suzuma. She takes on the topic of this book, heavy duty as it is, and weaves an amazing, unputdownable story. This one could have gone either way, but she brought an eloquence to the table that I haven’t seen in some time. I truly believe that she was brave as all hell to write this story and I am so glad she did. Absolutely pick it up, I know I’ll be looking for more from this author! 5/5 Stars!

ALSO, PLEASE make yourself available for discussion for the young reader in your life who picks this one up!

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Book Review: Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh

bengalsquestSynopsis from Goodreads:

He was a shadow, ever shifting and insinuating, able to blend in everywhere and anywhere. The elusive ideal conceived and created by the Genetics Council, he went by just as many names as he had identities—the last one being Gideon.

Now calling himself Graeme, he hides in plain sight, terrifyingly close to his goal. A rogue Bengal Breed, he has loyalties to no one but himself. And he has a need for vengeance that surges hot and swift through his veins.

Graeme plans to exact an extreme and ruthless vendetta against those who wronged him—Breed and human alike. All will suffer his wrath: those who created him, those who pretended to love him, and those who betrayed him.

That includes the one at the center of it all: a seductive, enigmatic woman helpless against the man whose desire is just as desperate as his need to destroy.

And he’s on her scent…

Bengal’s Quest is the latest installment in Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, and let me tell you, this book had quite a bit to live up to. The building of Gideon’s story has been a major arc in the previous four or five books I’d say if not more, so there was a lot of expectation for me going into this one. That said, I really wasn’t let down.

Gideon is a hell of a character to say the least. He’s one of those ones who has his fingers dipped into so many pies that it’s hard to keep up with at times. He’s insane and he knows it and really just could care less. A lot of the time he’s running on pure instinct and cunning and I really like that about him – even when it makes him do crazy shit. That said, his crazy level is taken down a bit for this book which I thought to be an interesting move on Leigh’s part. Then again, it kind of makes sense.

Cat on the other hand is whole other bag of tricks. We knew that something was coming where she was concerned. In particular because of how what she went through relates to others in the series. Realistically, it wasn’t all that surprising what was revealed of her backstory, but I do believe that it complimented this particular match. And that’s all I can really say without spoiling anything.

I do have to admit that I expected this book to be so much longer. I was surprised at how short it was when I opened the box. However after reading it, I feel like the length of the story was perfect. Too much longer really could have just dragged a lot out whereas she managed to keep it a pretty fast moving story as is. And, though there is one editing snafu in Bengal’s Quest (a minor one), I have noticed a step up in the editing of these last couple of books which makes me a happy Hannah.

While I did really enjoy this book, I do have one complaint. With the buildup of Gideon’s story from the previous few books it was almost like Leigh was preparing us for the shit to hit the fan in one way or another. Instead of getting that like I thought I would she managed to kind of twist it into something else entirely. It’s very indicative of her ability to manipulate the story to speak – not unlike some of her characters – but I was kind of bummed that there wasn’t the massive confrontation I was expecting.

All in all, Leigh has managed to deliver another action packed book in the Breeds series. I was quite surprised how well this arc was executed seeing as it has had so much work put into it to this point and had really created expectations. Plus, major points for some winged breed action! It’s definitely not a good starting point to the series, but if you’ve made it this far, I’d say keep reading. 4/5 Stars.

Book Review: Rule Breaker by Lora Leigh

rulebreakerSynopsis from Goodreads:

Lion Breed, Rule Breaker had just a few rules he didn’t break. Not for anything. Not for anyone.

#1. Never have sex with a woman outside his own subspecies, especially a human woman.

#2. Never, at any time, accept a mission concerning a female when Jonas Wyatt stinks of a lie.

#3. Run don’t walk, skip or stumble. Run, hell for leather away from any female, human or breed, when his desire for her appears, in any way, to have so much as a single sign of Mating Heat.

Now, the woman believes he’s mated, is too helpless, to fun loving and too full of life to ever be able to protect herself, let alone aide him in protecting her.

If the damned animal inside him insisted on a mate, then why pick the woman it did? One that could be struck out at, at any time?

But, what he suspected was a mating, may not be. No swollen glands? No heat? Just his animal instincts rioting, pacing, irritated whenever he’s away from her.

Okay, he could handle that.

What ensues is a fiery affair that breaks all the rules of mating heat and will eventually endanger his mate with the very rules designed to protect the breeds when Jonas learns she’s possibly been working against them.

Rule Breaker is the 29th book in Lora Leigh’s Breed series. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, especially considering that it’s the twenty-ninth book in the series. I don’t find myself burning out on this series very often like I would with others which is probably why I’m constantly marathoning it or re-reading random books from it.

Leigh continues her standard hard-assed men and super tough female characters in this book. Rule Breaker is one of the more intriguing characters in the series in my mind simply because he’s so against finding his mate which is so different from the rest of the characters in the series. That said, the way his relationship with Gypsy unfolds is interesting enough – Leigh definitely threw a couple curveballs into that one. Gypsy herself is intriguing because of the part she plays in this shadowy underground world Leigh has created in the last couple of books. As a character she is really good at making herself appear a certain way while really being something else entirely.

All that being said, Leigh has very obviously created a formula for these books. You don’t get to number 29 without that. Certain things are going to be expected to happen in a Breed novel. There’s going to be romance, there’s lots of sex, hell is going to break loose and I know that going in. Yet, Leigh is still throwing around little plot twists like nobody’s business and that combined with my being invested in these characters keeps me reading them.

There is just something about this series, and I am not sure that I know what it is, but I am so emotionally involved with the characters – the breeds in particular – that I cannot not read these books. I have put a lot of time into reading this series and I want to know where it’s going to end up. I CAN’T be the only one waiting for Cassie’s book… AMIRITE?

 

On a side note, if you haven’t read any of the series and want to try a book out, I wouldn’t start here. So much happens throughout this series, because while each book is its own set of characters, there is a huge overall arc as well as smaller story arcs that it is frustrating to not know what has happened previously. It’s definitely a read in order kind of series. 4/5 Stars.

 

Book Review: Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

recklesslyroyalSynopsis from Goodreads:

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .
When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

Recklessly Royal is the second installment in Nichole Chase’s Royal trilogy and I have to say, I’m loving it. Whereas I had some struggles at the beginning of the first book, there was none of that with the second book. This was just a fun read from cover to cover.

This book shines the spotlight on Princess Catherine the sister of Alex from book one and David who is a friend of Samantha’s, also from book one. I loved these two characters together simply because of how different they are and the background that they bring to the relationship. Together the two really complement each other, and even though things get rough, they don’t let anything get in their way. There’s no real drama to get in the way of enjoying the romance, so to speak.

The story itself is straightforward. It’s very much a contemporary romance, and while the author tried to throw a curveball in the story, it ended up being insanely predictable. That said, my enjoyment of the overall story wasn’t affected by it. I just sort of went with it and then gave a fist pump when I was able to move on past the ‘revelation.’

Bottom line, Recklessly Royal was another win from Nichole Chase. It was a quick, fun, and fairly brainless read which is just what I wanted while I was on vacation. I’m looking forward to the last installment of the trilogy. 4/5 Stars.

Royal trilogy:

1. Suddenly Royal
2. Recklessly Royal
3. Reluctantly Royal

Book Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

suddenlyroyalSynopsis from Goodreads:

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.
Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.
While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

Suddenly Royal is a contemporary romance reminiscent of The Princess Diaries. I will admit that in the beginning of the book I struggled because it felt TOO much like someone just really wanted to write a new adult or “grown-up version” of The Princess Diaries. However, once I got through a few chapters I was able to block out my worries and just enjoy the book. What really helped make that happen were the characters.

The last thing Samantha expected when she went to dinner with someone she believed to be a royal benefactor was to be told that she herself was royal. But, that’s exactly what happened. Now she has to decide whether she wants to accept the title, or continue to live the life she is used too. I loved how she handled everything and the fact that we would get reminders throughout the story that even though she’s talking all the changes quite well, she’s still kind of winging it. Alex, on the other hand knows well and good what his lifestyle entails, yet Samantha still seems to knock him on his ass at times and it’s fun to read if I might say so myself.

Suddenly Royal is a really great contemporary romance that takes us from one end of the spectrum of fame to the other. I very much enjoyed the read. Also, I really love how the author worked the bird specialties of the characters into the story. It’s a very real concern worked into an otherwise fun, fictional read, so I feel it’s worth mentioning.

All in all, once I got past my issues at the beginning I was able to just read and enjoy this book. It really ran the gamut of emotions and sucked me in. Things were a bit predictable but I still wanted to keep reading to be sure that things ended up how I wanted.  I very much plan on continuing the series. 4/5 stars.

Royal trilogy:

1. Suddenly Royal
2. Recklessly Royal
3. Reluctantly Royal

Mini Reviews: Tempted by His Best Friend & The Fantasy

I’m here today with a couple of mini-reviews for novellas I’ve read recently, so lets get to it!

Tempted by His Best Friend by Cari Quinn

temptedbyhisbestfriendFrom Goodreads:

Real identity optional… Kindergarten teachers aren’t known for breaking the rules, but Steph is ready to go undercover—and get under the covers—to work her magic on her best friend, Landon. Sexy costume necessary, multiple orgasms crucial, real identity optional.

Entangled’s Brazen line is a go-to for me when I’m looking for a quick and fun read and I’m happy to say that Tempted by His Best Friend didn’t let me down.

This is a novella that features characters that were amazingly fleshed out considering the length of the story. I felt like I was getting a peak into this established relationship and I wasn’t lost or wondering about anything, I was just able to enjoy all the ups and downs as it turns into a whole new kind of relationship. It also didn’t hurt one bit that it featured one of my favorite romance tropes.

All in all, Tempted by His Best Friend was a very fun read. The story moved along quickly and it did not lack for steamy moments. If you like a quick erotic romance, this one is worth a read. 4/5 stars.

The Fantasy (A Desperate Man #1) by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

thefantasyFrom Goodreads:

Fantasies – we all have them.
For some it’s their dream job; others want the wedding, the 2.5 kids, the white picket fence.
My fantasies are a bit more…depraved.
Dark and sinful, they have destroyed relationships and my livelihood, yet I still submit to them like a slave.
Sex.
For most, it’s a natural expression of love, caring, or lust.
But there are those of us who can’t stop once we’ve had a taste.
Those of us who don’t want to.
And the shame of that never-ending cycle will eat us alive…
My name is Evan James, and I am a sex addict.

The Fantasy is a book that I recently came across from this list and I was incredibly curious. So, like any good book worm, I got my hands on a copy right away and read my little heart out. While it wasn’t quite what I expected, even having read the synopsis, I still very much enjoyed the read.

I love the hard-edged, gritty feel that this novella has. It reminded me a lot of when I read Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners books. There was none of the flowery language or ridiculous descriptions that we so often see in romance and erotica and I just loved the change of feeling that this novella gave off. Add to that Evan’s character, this struggle he has with himself and the feel of the harsh reality he’s living due to his sex addiction and you’ve got a great read.

Bottom line, this is a great erotic novella with a very different feel than a lot of the stuff that is out there. It kept my attention from start to finish, I don’t think I looked up once while reading. I am eagerly awaiting news of a second installment and definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something a bit different. 4/5 stars.

 

Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

alienatedSynopsis from Goodreads:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

I was craving something alien-y, so I decided to pick up Alienated, which I’ve been staring at longingly for some time but just never got around to picking up, and man am I happy I finally read it. This book was everything that I was looking for when I picked it up, it was fun, there were aliens, there was a little romance, and it was an enjoyable and super quick read.

I have to say I really loved the main characters Cara and Aelyx, faults and all. Cara, even though she sometimes let herself get caught up in drama, was was tough, intelligent, independent, and took no crap. Those are the things I look for in female characters, especially in young adult and teen literature. Aelyx on the other hand was a bit rough around the edges, but I loved seeing him grow past his prejudices throughout the story. He did have some great lines throughout the book though, harsh or not.

The only drawback for me in this book was that I felt like there was too much focus on the drama at times. I would have much preferred a deeper look at some of the goings on of the story as opposed to all the teenage folly.

Bottom line, Alienated wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn good read. From page one it caught my attention. It was fun and easy to read and enjoy (obviously as I read it in one sitting) and I would definitely recommend it. 4/5 Stars.

Alienated series:

1. Alienated
1.5. Until Midnight
2. Invaded (Release Date: 2/3/15)