The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

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“The woman who felt everything leaned in closer to the man who felt nothing at all. For a split second in time, I felt a little of her pain while she encountered my coldness, and neither one of us seemed to mind.” 

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Wow.

Can I just end this review at that because “WOW”.

Brittainy, you never fail to amaze me and pull my emotions out of me. It says a lot because I’ve been reading NA and contemporary and romance for so long that sometimes, all these plot twists, all these characters just get lost in a blur but you, YOU managed to craft story after story about friendship and honest to goodness love.

I cannot stress how important it is for me to feel connected to the characters because I’m that kind of reader who cannot fully appreciate a book despite superb writing and editing if I cannot really connect to any of the characters in any way. I don’t need to go through what the characters go through to have that relatability factor. I just need to really understand them and be one with them and I guess that’s a gift that not all authors can possess.

The author’s writing has amazed me since the first book from her that I have read and she continues to wow me book after book. This story is fresh and pure. It’s not the love story of a hot guy and gorgeous female who fell in love at first glance then proceeded to having intense, steamy sex. This story is beyond that. It’s a story of souls finding their way to each other. It’s a story of loyalty, family and diversity. It’s about acceptance and love and acknowledging what your heart is trying to tell you.

What’s amazing is that the storyline is not at all new. I feel like the strength of this novel lies on how much depth and humanity was seen and felt from our characters. The author was able to create different personalities without going overboard. We have seen how they were at the start of the story and witnessed their growth as the story goes on. And I’m not just talking about our main characters, Graham and Lucille. I felt equally invested in our side characters and I could definitely see myself reading spin offs based on them. I mean, seriously, it has become quite a trend already and Brittainy doing it would just be fantastic given how well written and developed her characters are. 

In a short period of time, Brittainy C. Cherry and her stories really grew on me. And you know what, Maktub.

Stars - 5


Review Headings -  Blurb

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

 

 

The Silent Waters by Brittainy C. Cherry

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“The world keeps spinning because your heartbeats exist”

*Better late than never review*

This book is one big story comprised of little moments sewn together. Brittainy Cherry is fast becoming one of my favorite authors given that this is only my second read from her.The Silent Waters.jpg

When you read a story and it touches your soul, you WILL know.

This is one of those stories wherein I have absolutely no clue as to how things will play out. I fell in love with Maggie and Brooks as kids and even more as they grew. I admire how Cherry’s plots are unlike any other, how she digs in deeper and really finds that connection to her readers.

She creates characters which are not perfect. She creates characters you can relate to, characters who are flawed that you will sometimes find bits and pieces of yourself in them. 

She reinvents flaws and make them strengths and to date, I have to say that creating characters who seem real to me will always be one of her greatest strength as an author.

It also seems like friendship and family are dominant themes in her stories. This one in particular spans years and it started during our main characters’ childhood to being young adults to adulthood. I love how the story evolved, how the characters grew and I felt myself growing with them. I can’t say a lot about the story without giving much away. What’s important for you to know is that this is superbly written, thoughtfully structured with the minor characters providing great support to the main characters. How all the characters grew and matured with time is just exceptional. Each one affects the other and the main strength of this story is in the depth of our characters. 

Books like this is one of the reasons I read – to feel, to think and to learn to appreciate even the tiniest moments. 

4.5 STARS!

Stars - 5


Review Headings -  Blurb

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

 

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

“Sometimes distance was easier than acting, or explaining.”

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I didn’t realize that I was reading a novella until I was done with it. Initially, I was having mixed emotions since I am not a huge fan of instalove. But for a quick read, it was …… okay.

This is a charming short story about Makenna and Caden and one fateful day trapped in the elevator. With only each other and the darkness keeping them company, they started opening up to each other, breaking down barriers bit by bit. This is a very fast, and I emphasize on FAST, strangers to lovers type of story.

Commercial: Am I the only one who thought of The Voice while reading this?

To those of you unfamiliar with The Voice, it is an international reality television singing competition   wherein the blind auditions have the judges/coaches facing away from the artists. With this, they will only be judging them based on their voices alone.

The HID plot is a lot like that. Trapped in a pitch black elevator, without any idea when they will be let out, Makenna and Caden had to lean onto each other for support. It was a sweet survival mode as they traded stories, backgrounds and even food and water. They found companionship and attraction in a very unlikely situation.

Personally, I found the story to be cute and fun but truly unrealistic. I was detached from the main characters from start to finish. I mean, I could understand some of the things that happened in the elevator but the rest that followed felt a bit too much. It’s entertaining at best but the insta-lust meter is just blaring. I felt like majority of the story was more on sexual and less on plot and emotions.

The writing is okay though I was a bit distracted with the sudden shifts in POV. I would suddenly get lost as to whose voice I was already reading but I quickly recovered. If you’re looking to pass time, a bit bored maybe or if you’re looking for a quick steamy fix – then this one might do.

Heads up: I am still curious as to what happens to them and their relationship (seeing as they professed love right away. Um okay.) as they discover more about each other, see each other in the light of day and tackle more day to day dilemmas without the bubble of an elevator. With that said, I am definitely not closing my doors on the next book.

2.5 STARS

Stars - 3

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The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

“No soulmate leaves the world alone; they always take a piece of their other half along with them.”

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I’m just feeling a bit salty as to why no one has shoved this down my throat before. I keep seeing so many positive reviews for The Silent Waters and it triggered me to look this author up and just get the Elements series. I dove into this blind and wow, this woman can write!

Emotionally, she was able to push all the right buttons. There is so much truth in this story, so much power and realness. I felt a strong pull towards the main characters IMMEDIATELY. As much as I don’t like instalove, that’s exactly how I felt with them.

The two main characters, Tristan and Elizabeth, are two broken souls. Devastated by tragedy, they both chose their own ways to cope. My heart goes out to both of them. This book is a twist after another after another.

The book is mostly in Elizabeth’s voice and I find myself craving to see more of Tristan’s thoughts. I will not rehash the story or the plot but this story is just powerful and addicting to read. You would not want to put it down. I was moved by the changes in Tristan’s persona – how he went from a doting husband and father to a complete antisocial, shutting himself from everyone. Everything he did was with purpose. Some may not understand his actions or how he chose to cope but that is the beauty if this story, it rings true. Each one of us may know a Tristan in real life. This teaches us not to judge prematurely and to have a more accepting heart towards people who choose to be different.

Elizabeth, on the other hand is a beautiful and resilient character. She does not see it often, but she is strong. She’s one of those main characters that you would wish exist in real life just to pick a few life pointers from them.

This book is a quick read but the way it was written is beautiful. It has heart and soul and you will just feel. It’s one of those books that will take you along the story and be one with the characters. If you’re ready to be consumed and to hurt (a bit), go read this story NOW!

Stars - 5

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Sugar Rush by Sawyer Bennett

“He was a new life.
A fresh start.
A possibility I thought I’d never have.
But right now, he’s the man who just broke me.”

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WOW this is just… WOW!!! I have no words because I am drafting this review merely 5 minutes after I finished the book (October 8, 2:26 AM MNL time) and my emotions are still all over the place.

Everything I felt missing on the first book, everything I felt was overly done were all balanced out in this second book. Looking back, perhaps the first book was plotted that way to prepare for this second one. I don’t know, I’m just assuming but it feels like Sugar Daddy was an appetizer to an even bigger and better meal AKA Sugar Rush.

The book picked up where Sugar Daddy left off and given the painful ending of Sugar Daddy, us readers could only hope for a more positive start to Sugar Rush. And we got that. I, for one, felt particularly satisfied by how this second book started.

Sela and Beck are more dynamic than ever. Relationship wise, they are now focused on being entirely honest with each other – no secrets to keep, no holds barred. I love the noticeable growth in their relationship from just being physically attuned to each other to being emotionally attached as well. I loved and enjoyed Sela more in this second book. I felt like she was really becoming better and without the burden of keeping anything from Beck, she became more focused and consistent.

Beck, on the other hand, is amazing as usual. His loyalty and devotion to Sela is just swoon worthy. This time, with everything laid on the table, we’ve seen just how much he appreciated Sela and not just in the bed but as a person, a friend, a partner. Danggg lucky woman!!

The plot became tricky when family ties, friendships and pasts best forgotten played roles in the turn of events. I love how this book, though still contains sex scenes that are beyond steamy, focused more on the plot and big reveals. This has revelations upon revelations and it’s just so addicting to read.

My heart rate started speeding up at roughly 78% and it was intensity filled from there. I was literally holding my breath and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

I mentioned that I liked Sela better in this book than the first right?? At about 88%, I was willing to take everything back. I wanted to just pull her hair, keep her from doing what I feel was an idiotic move and just lock her up in their room. Seriously, why do main characters tend to do something stupid all the time?

However, this “stupid move” of Sela’s is what brought everything out in the open. It was twisted and shocking and I freaking loved every minute of it!! I was at the height of my emotions when the second book ended at a cliff hanger. Bummer? I know. I felt so cheated. I wanted more!! I feel like I was just getting to the yummiest part of a burger when it was suddenly snatched from me. Yes, the author warned that there will be a cliffhanger but I JUST WASN’T PREPARED FOR THAT.

DAMN, I NEEDED THE THIRD BOOK YESTERDAY.

5 SUGAR STARS!

Stars - 5

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Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett

“Innocent and fresh. Two words that should never be used to describe the dark and damaged woman I’ve become.”

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Yet again, I am impressed by another new to me author. I would like to thank Pearl of PAGES OF PEARL for giving this book a chance and from her Goodreads status updates, I got intrigued and curiosity got the better of me.

This is the story of Sela who was brutally drugged and gang raped when she was younger by the now rich and famous Jonathon Townsend or JT. Sela closed off over the years after her rape and was determined that the only thing that can give her back her peace of mind is by getting revenge. On her way to the path of retribution, she came across, Beck, JT’s business partner and childhood friend. From there, Sela began an unexpected ride of steam, lies, and attraction.

I found this story very entertaining and such an easy read. For starters, I like the idea of the Sugar Bowl, a dating site used to match men and women. It kind of feels like the Super Bowl. While the Super Bowl is the gathering of football greatness, Sugar Bowl, on the other hand is the gathering of the richest and most prominent men and the most delectable females.

I was initially intrigued because of the revenge premise since Sela wanted to find her abusers and have her vengeance. She was repeating her mantra, over and over and over.

Infiltrate. Murder. Repeat, she said.

Focus on JT, she said.

Find her other rapists, she said.

What she has accomplished so far? None. Except getting a super hot boyfriend/live in partner/Sugar Daddy who is super sweet and gives her all the O’s she has missed out on. 

I feel like the goal of revenge has been an initial priority which has been placed in the back burner. She has been damaged over the years because of what was done to her and then she meets one hot, swoon worthy Beck and she got easily sidetracked. I mean, I can’t blame her but she was so motivated during the start like her sanity was depending on it. Then one guy, one guy came along and her determination wavered. There was actually a point where she was thinking of giving up her chance to avenge herself in favor of having a real and more honest relationship with Beck. Until things happened which pushed her to do something that would really tear her and Beck apart.  

Sela, although a bit lacking in character development is still a likable character. She is strong and honest (except with Beck), true to herself and a real survivor. Beck on the other hand is perfection delivered to us hot off the oven. Need I say more?

This book is fun to read, engaging at best and heartfelt for most. It has a lot of potential, a lot of other points to explore like more on JT’s backstory (Why is he such a crude maniac in the first place?), Beck’s background and his big issue with lying (Is there a story behind that or just basic human nature to despise lies?), Sela and her drive to get revenge. With all these, I was just a teeny, tiny bit perplexed that most scenes ended up in the bedroom. I need more of the story and a little less sex.  

I found this author’s writing to be clean and direct. Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this and could not believe that heck of a cliffhanger. The most powerful part in my opinion is that last 10% which was spectacularly done. I am definitely getting the second book.

3.5 STARS!

Stars - 4

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This Isn’t Over, Baby (War & Peace #3) by K. Webster

“Some nightmares simply won’t die. Some nightmares will haunt you until your last breath.”

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I was truly hesitant to even start this book because I wasn’t sure I have the mental wellness to dive into Gabe’s twisted head. But that’s it – I was expecting to meet Gabe’s crazy mind but I was given so much more. SO MUCH MORE. I wasn’t expecting it and I wasn’t even expecting to survive it.

It takes so much courage and talent to create a book of villainous antics and somehow make the readers want to read that book. I actually wanted to stop at Book 2 but my nosey self once again won. Damn curiosity! I wanted to know what happened because Book 2’s ending was just too cliffy for my taste. I did a buddy read with Bea – and one word of advice, you would really need someone there for you as you vent and rant about the events of this book. You will curse, you will cringe, you would wish to shut your mind off.

This book is seriously, mind blowingly crazy stuff. This is mad! This is completely insane!!!!

This third story features Gabe’s past and what made him that way, what caused him to act the way he does yada yada. I understand. I get it. I may have sympathized but I’m still not feeling any Gabe love. I may have forgiven him a little but he is a total and complete nut job. I just can’t find myself investing on his character. Then of course, there’s his line that even villains need love. Oh man, you will not be prepared for who Gabe’s love interest in this story is. That woman just topped Gabe’s psycho level on so many marks. Her character was totally unexpected and her portrayal of such role just shook me. I felt the urge to DNF this book so many times but there’s this tugging feeling that I HAVE TO FINISH and see what happens. Gabe and his lady love are so far gone, there’s no reasoning with them, no way to make them see logic.

I have devoured dark books in the past but this one — man, this is a bit too much, totally extreme. Like why in the world would a daughter who was loved, cared for, adored and given the world turn into a complete evil, psycho murderess.  It’s just mind boggling.

I’ve been rooting for War and Bay since Book 1. I’ve longed for closure and happiness for these 2 but sadly IT’S STILL NOT HAPPENING. I know. I know. I’m not usually demanding of HEAs. But these two – they, at least need to have PEACE OF MIND for God’s sake! Sixteen years later and they’re still mentally and emotionally distraught.

Writing wise, this story is amazing. How in the world can K. Webster finish this without going mad?! I need to know! Her writing is direct, definitive and just mentally addicting. The images she stored in my head will forever be there. Sadly though, I’m not totally crazy with the direction the story has taken, feeling like we could do without this third book and basically my character disinterest on Gabe and his lady love.

But that’s just me. Feel free to see for yourself. But again, BE READY!!Stars - 3

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Veiled by Karina Halle

“The past doesn’t define us. It’s what we do here and now, today, that does. This world was built on second chances.”

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It actually took me quite a long time to finish this book and not because it didn’t pull my interest but more so because it pulled me in so much that I always had to take a step back. I work nights and during idle times, I would always grab my Kindle and do some reading. However, I wasn’t able to do that with Veiled. Go read if you would like to know why sudden knocks started to scare the living daylights out of me and why I had to ensure that the closet is tightly shut all the damn time.

Truthfully, this is only the second book I have read from Karina and I am not stopping here. Her writing is beautiful and though this book gave me the creeps, I had no urge to put it down. This is an addicting feast of creepy delight and both Ada and Jay are characters I would love to read about again. And again. And again.

“When you wake up from a nightmare, the reality comforts you. When you wake up from the best dream ever, reality is a burden, a slap-in-the-face reminder that you could feel this, you could have this, but you don’t and you won’t.”

I assume all Experiment in Terror fans have already fallen in love with these characters before but since I am just meeting them for the first time, I have to say that I am extremely pleased with how they seem to be formed. I can tell that a lot of time was spent in developing these characters, how they were born and given life from the author’s imagination. This book gave me the creeps – even during daytime. It’s worse than watching a horror film because I have to read very specific details, my mind brings them to life and my imagination gets the best of me. The terror this book gave me is haunting but I read and read and just couldn’t get enough of it.

“Fear gives people their humanity. Fear of loss. I fear nothing.”

Story wise – I have to say that I am pleased that though there was steam, chemistry and obvious attraction between the two characters – there was no need to max up the sex just to make the chemistry known. The beauty of the attraction between the two main characters is the sexual tension building up despite the horrors surrounding them.

I adore Ada. I do not now know how much exposure she had during the EIT series but this girl is on fire. She’s been through so much – emotionally and mentally – but you do not see her breaking down. She has moments of weakness but you do not see her whining and falling apart. She is dealing with the loss of her mother, doubting her sanity, fearing for her safety and accepting the abandonment of a friend but her game face is always on.  Her character amazed me. Her strength inspired me. Attagirl!

“I feel like each day is leading me down a dark path I might not be able to come back from.”

Then we have Jay. All you readers who love a good mysterious character will definitely love Jay. He is protective, honest to goodness swoon-worthy and a combination of good with a dark past.

Together, these two characters embark on a journey of nightmares, demons, evils and temptations. Through the darkness, they found light in each other. Through the storm, they found peace in one another.

“Sometimes the darkness is our friend.”

This paranormal is just perfection for new Halle readers such as myself. I am simply in awe at how this story wrapped up, how the nitty gritty of the story was told in a compelling fashion.

Superb writing. Gripping storyline. Interesting characters. All these plus all the spooks and thrills and you got yourself one irresistible read coming up.

Stars - 4

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Epic Lies by Trudy Stiles

Epic Lies

The appeal of Trudy Stiles and her stories is that she can create fiction and make you so invested in her work so much so that it feels real and nonfiction. There are a lot of books out there and while I have enjoyed most I have read, there, at the back of your mind is always the reminder that everything is unreal. Trudy and her writing, on the other hand appeals to that inner you and reading her stories is always effortless and highly enjoyable.

If you are looking for douchebaggery and alpha males, you are in the wrong place. But if you would like to immerse yourself in something that’s painful and raw, yet beautiful and sincere – then this is for you. Trudy taps into emotions, on that most basic, raw, human emotions and plays with them. She weaves words that are not complicated, never overwhelming but emotionally engulfing and thought provoking. You will think. You cannot avoid it. You will float to that place wherein you put yourself in her characters’ place and ask “What if”, “How” and “How come?”.

Just like the first book, Epic Sins, the main protagonists in Epic Lies are both lovable and relatable, inspiring even. Dax is not the typical rock star. We rarely read about rock stars like Dax these days and he is the perfect match to Giselle’s independence.  She is not someone who is begging for attention. She is her own character albeit the bad things from her past. And it is, it definitely is a delight to be sucked in a story without the hope for the characters to grow and change. Dax and Giselle are already emotionally mature. They both have baggage, they have an unknown shared history and both have loved and lost. But like grown adults, they face reality head on with thinking heads and guiding hearts. No whiny characters for you here my dear. No immaturity needing guidance. Here are two people who both went through something brutal but chose to be better persons and decided to take a shot at fate.

Pick this up, thank me later.

All truths, no lies.

4 star rating

FOUR NO LIES STARS!

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So Much More by Kim Holden

“I think love is instinct driven, with the heart ruling over mind. It can’t be defined. I’ll just know it when I feel it, because it will be so bone-jarringly beautiful.”

Review - So Much More

Review Headings - Thoughts and Feels

Forget perfection.

Forget the ideal.

And don’t even try to compare this to either Bright Side or Gus because this novel is an entirely different premise altogether.

So Much More has a storyline so intricately done that you can feel the raw human emotions crawling out from the pages of the story. The story is told from three different POVs; three different insights, three different thoughts, three different personalities. This is so much more than your typical love story, it’s a life story that tackled friendship, love, honesty, divorce and parenthood. What is constant in Kim’s books is that you just digest her words. No questions asked. She lays it out there and I take it. I have no other choice but to absorb. Given, I was anxious when the story started. It took me a few chapters before I can really follow. But when the story flowed, damn did it flow. True, I didn’t shed any Bright Side tears while reading this but the emotions I felt were just as strong.

“And my heart shatters for the second time today. It’s blown apart into so many pieces, the shrapnel spread so far and wide, I know what remains will never fit back together again. Puzzles don’t work when you only have half of the pieces. Same goes for hearts.”

Review Headings - Characters

Amidst the sea of alpha males, rock stars, billionaires and bad boys, Kim designed the perfect male lead in this story; a husband and a father. And one with Multiple Sclerosis. There were multiple parts of the book when I wish I can just reach out to Seamus and just console him, not romantically, but just to be his friend. The love and goodness radiating out of him, despite what life handed him was solid and unyielding. He is goodness. He is positivity. He is pure but at the same time, you can see all his broken parts poking out.

“Every day when I wake up, I remind myself that the present is possibility, and the past is a lesson.”

Now, only a really talented author can turn my hate towards a character into like and admiration. Only someone who writes with true grace can make me appreciate the supposed villain in the story. (And was it just me, but Miranda reminded me of Leah from Tarryn’s Love Me with Lies?) I wanted her to be redeemed. I was rooting for her change. I was anticipating her growth. And what Kim did with her character was truly inspiring and beautiful.

“I didn’t know people could hug your soul with their soul.”

Lastly, there’s Faith and I know that she’s supposed to be the lost, beautiful soul in the story but I somehow lacked that connection with her. Yes, she is a likeable character and I enjoyed reading about her and knowing her thoughts from her POV. Her heart is beautiful, her intentions are always pure and fair and honest. But somehow, I ended the book just liking her. I was drawn to her but without the emotional attachment I felt for Miranda. Hmmm. Guess what that says about me then.

“Authenticity is rare. Either people don’t know who they are, or they’re afraid to share themselves with the world”

Review Headings -  To Recommend

I highly recommend this to everyone and anyone especially if you’re looking for a read that’s low on steam, high on love and with an overwhelming web of emotions. Fear not, I do not see any ugly cry scenarios in this book but I can assure you that you will FEEL. If you want to put your highlighter to use, this is for you. This could be a real life story with the struggles of regular people and families not only focusing on the normal and beautiful but more on the broken and redeemable.

4 star rating

FOUR “WE” STARS!!

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