The Goal Book Review

thegoalTitle: The Goal
Series: Off Campus #4
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Genre: New Adult – Romance
Pages: 350
Format: Purchased eBook

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

This review is for a companion novel, but there could be some spoilers ahead.

I love this series so much. As my first foray into New Adult, I am not disappointed.

This last book in the Off Campus companion series followed Tucker and Sabrina, a hockey player and a very serious law student. When the two make eye contact from across the room one day, they are instantly attracted to each other in a very serious way, and boy did the heat turn up.

When this story first started I knew what was going to happen eventually because it was mentioned at the end of The Score, so I knew what to expect in one sense, but I didn’t expect to be so interested in both of the characters and their lives separately and together.

Sabrina James is very serious and driven in anything she does. Her stubbornness often causes her to wipe herself out, but she wants to succeed so much and to get into the school of her dreams: Harvard. She’s working two jobs, going to school full time, and studying her butt off to achieve these dreams. I found that her resilience was very refreshing and I liked seeing someone so committed, but even I was like, “You’ve gotta relax a little, bro.” I found that sometimes she was very high strung, but I think a lot of that had to do with anxiety and how she dealt with it in her own terms.

Of course, then when John Tucker showed up, a lot of that changed.

Tuck is a very charming, smart, caring Southern gentleman and I loved him. I thought he was very mature compared to the last three guys in this series, but he was also just as horny as the others. I loved that he tried very hard to pursue Sabrina – and that he even realized he was going into “stranger danger” territory at one point and backed down a bit. But after that his pursuit wasn’t pushy, but it was something that I could definitely see happening in real life. I thought that the way he strived to be a businessman and achieve his dream was also just as awesome as Sabrina’s wish.

And then The Thing happened, and oh man, I needed to know what the two were going to do in the situation.

And this is where I’m going to drop some spoilers because I need to air a few things that bugged me and also excited me:

  • When Sabrina found out she was pregnant, she was scared, and I don’t blame her at all in her given situation. She had a craptastic home life, she was under a lot of stress, and she didn’t know what to do in the situation, but when she told her friends and her friends suggested abortion and almost tried to push it on her, I felt myself getting very annoyed because it’s not their body, therefore not their decision. I was just ruffled that it was mentioned so casually, like it was the one and only option, until a few paragraphs later they were going to totally support her. It just felt off and weird.
  • I’m glad she went through with it and everything, but I wished that we could have seen a bit more? I mean there were a lot of big instances like finding out the gender and the birth (which was hilarious), but I just wished for a little more.
  • I was like, “Sabrina, stop being so damn stubborn and worrying and just tell the guy you love him!” I wished it had happened sooner than the last 3% of the book. But I’m still glad it happened.
  • That girl is so resilient! Taking care of a baby through Harvard? That’s amazing.
  • I love her and Tuck together, I really do. They balance each other out and I think that they meshed well together.
  • I was creeped out by Ray the whole time, and I wasn’t super fond of Sabrina’s Nana, and then Tuck’s mom, though coming from a place of love, was just cruel the way she approached Sabrina about everything. But hey, it happens, and I know that.

There are plenty of sexytimes that happen in this book just like the rest of them, but I think there’s a lot more dirty talk during the act than in the previous books, but I could be wrong. Either way, it was very good.

Overall I felt that this book wasn’t the best in the series, but I’m glad Sabrina’s and Tuck’s relationship was still explored because there was just a lot there and so much developed and came from it.

I rate this book 4/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’ve read the rest of the Off Campus series.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books Outside Our Comfort Zone

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. This week’s topic is about the books that we’ve read outside of our comfort zone, or what we usually read. So the types of books I usually read are fantasy – adult and YA – and YA contemporaries. Those are the main types of books in which I read, and of course there are subgenres within those that fall out of what I normally do, but here I’m going to talk about a few books I’ve read (and some I haven’t finished) that fall out of my comfort zone.

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

This YA sci-fi book is very popular with a lot of people, and I thought it was okay at best. I really wanted to get into it because I love the idea of mixing sci-fi with fairytale retellings, but this first book just didn’t really do it for me, but I did still enjoy it. I do enjoy reading sci-fi books, but I don’t do it often and I want to change that.

4. Saga by Brian K Vaughan

sagavol1

This comic book series definitely falls out of my comfort zone because even though I’m a manga fanatic, I’ve never read a comic book series before. I may have dabbled here and there on them before, but this is the only comic book series that I’ve actually invested myself in – and I love it! Comics are very similar to manga in that they tell a story through pictures, but they’re very different because they’re generally smaller volumes, bright, colorful art throughout, and all of the art styles differ in some way. Not to say that manga isn’t the same, but the color aspect is definitely different.

3. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

myladyjane

Now I do enjoy reading historical fiction novels and period pieces, but I’ve never read a YA historical comedy retelling. It’s a mouthful, but it was such a fun book! I felt like the authors did a wonderful job not only retelling the story of Lady Jane, the nine day queen, and then incorporating their own twists and magical elements to the mix. It made for a fascinating, wonderful story about awkward teens in the 1600s.

2. The Deal by Elle Kennedy

thedeal

I’ve never read a New Adult story before, and as this series was my first in that genre, I’m really glad to have picked it up. Sure, it’s got a lot (A LOT) of sex, but it also has a story around it and I felt like I was becoming very invested in the characters. I haven’t really heard much about the NA genre except that it’s college aged kids, lots of sex, and drama. I mean, that does kind of sum it up, but I’m sure that there is more out there that’s different and explores more. This series definitely made me interested to read more in the NA genre.

1 . Asylum by Madeleine Roux

asylum

It’s a horror novel. I hate horror. I haven’t finished reading this book, but I started it a while ago for a readathon and I just… I can’t. I want to finish it, I do, but horror is just not something I’m comfortable with watching or reading (unless I’m in a weird mood). The thing is, I’m really interested to see what happens in the book but the pacing and story are creepy, and then the pictures inside it? Forget, I can’t.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What kinds of books fall out of your comfort zone? Have you read any that fall into mine? What kinds of books do you want to explore that you don’t normally read? What’s stopping you?

The Score Book Review

thescoreTitle: The Score
Series: Off Campus #3
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 361
Format: Purchased eBook

He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

This is the third novel in this companion series and it was just as sexy, fun, and addicting as the last two.

In this novel we get a more in depth view from Allie and Dean, the two best friends to Hannah and Garrett, and I thought that it was fun to see into their world and lives and how they act together as they get to know one another more. I knew that there would be lots of sex in this book, but wow, I think this one had the most out of all of the books in this series thus far. It also had its own share of drama just like the others.

Allie is very much a go getter when it comes to her focus in life. She wants to become an actress and either work in film and TV shows, or on the stage. She had never really considered the stage before until recently when she played a part in a show, and though that is one of her primary focuses in her life, she is also very much attached to relationships that she has. So after recently breaking up with her boyfriend, Sean, she knows that she can’t take him back because he would just be holding her back since he practically forbid her from chasing her dreams. I’m glad she didn’t end up taking him back because that would have been a very toxic relationship. But I think the way it was handled was a genuine reaction upon a break up with the conflicting emotions, the lingering feelings, and the knowledge that it won’t work out if she were to go back.

She also cares very deeply for her father, who has multiple sclerosis, and wants to take care of him as much as possible, even though he’s in New York. During her fling with Dean, I could see how much she not only cared about being with him (and boy was it hot and heavy a lot of times), but that she was grateful to him that he was willing to help in whatever way possible.

Which brings me to Dean, who was a major playboy because it started out hot and heavy with him in the beginning. But as time passed and the fling with Allie started to happen, I started to get a better sense of who Dean was and that there was more that what was on the surface. Yes, his family has money and the name of their family can get them places, but I loved his carefree attitude and that he rarely, if ever, relied on his family’s name to get him whatever he wanted. He was still a sex fiend, that’s for sure, but I think what was most enjoyable about it was how much careful attention he gave to Allie during those times. As their fling progressed into something more serious, it became clearer of his feelings toward her and how he was willing to do anything for her.

That’s not to say he didn’t have his faults because there as a major one that happened in the book that caused his whole world to shatter and for him to practically be a walking zombie for a while. He turned to drugs and alcohol during this time and though it was something that irked me, it was realistic because people deal with grief in many different ways. But, overall, I really enjoyed his character. I loved when he was teaching the kids of the Hurricanes hockey team, as well as a little girl, Dakota, how to skate. It was clear where his heart was, even if he didn’t realize it, and I thought it was kind of sweet.

As I said, this book is nothing short of steam and drama because oh my, I was fanning myself in almost every other chapter. Seriously.

There was a lot of chemistry from the start, and though Allie was adamant that she doesn’t like casual sex, and it turned into a fling, turned into a relationship, I thought that it was realistic and well done. Dean and Allie were less “opposites attract,” and more like they completed the other. I loved that they each turned to the other during difficult times when they otherwise would have turned to their friends (because hello, developing feelings here!), and even though they’d bicker and had a strenuous time at one point, neither forced the other to do anything they didn’t want to do, which I thought was key.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book just like the rest of this series. It was fast paced and well done, and though I could have done without the drugs and so much sex (there was more in this book that the other two, I noticed), I did highly enjoy it.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

The Mistake Book Review

themistakeTitle: The Mistake
Series: Off Campus #2
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: New Adult – Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 297
Format: Purchased eBook

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hookups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat, and she plans on driving him wild.

This second story in the Off Campus series was fun, sexy, funny, dramatic, and so, so awesome. I really enjoyed it more than the first, and I really liked the first book.

Since this is a companion series, there isn’t much in way of spoilers, but there are different characters that are focused on and introduced in this book, but they were all just as dynamic as the last group of characters.

We have Logan, who makes a reappearance in this book as one of the main characters. He’s Garrett’s best friend and another player on the hockey team at Briar. As such, he’s quite the player and he has sex with a lot of different girls to fill a void in himself – which he does realize toward the beginning of the story. I absolutely loved his character to pieces. He’s sarcastic, but sincere (or tries to be) and I think he really shined when he met Grace. I love how much he cares about his family and is willing to sacrifice his own happiness and future to help out when he can because of the situation at home. There isn’t as much animosity between him and his father as there was between Garrett and his father in the last book, but there was still a bit of drama unfolding there due to situations out of Logan’s control. I will say, though, that I loved the way he treated Grace and how they really melded well together. Also, he’s wicked funny, which made him brighter in my eyes as a character.

Then we have Grace, who is a freshman at the beginning of the book and turns to a sophomore about a third of the way through. She’s quiet and hard pressed to mix and mingle with others, but she tries her best with her friend, Romona, and that’s when she ends up meeting Logan. I thought that her character was very level headed and grounded in reality, but she still had a bit of fire in her when the time called for it. She had me smiling and reminding me a lot of myself in ways, which was very much appreciated as a reader. I thought that she handled situations well given what some of the ones she was thrown into were, and I also like how she is very creative in coming up with challenges for Logan to complete in order to gain her trust back. Clever girl.

As far as the story went, I really enjoyed this one. It was steamy almost right from the get go, which was a bit of a surprise, but when the mistake happened, oh man. I could see where Logan blew it big time, and frankly, I don’t blame Grace for being to put off by him. This plot centered around him trying to fix what Logan broke and realizing what he wanted, craved, and, frankly, needed in his life. But it also centered around Grace finding herself and understanding that she doesn’t have to bow to anyone’s will simply because they want her to – she’s her own person who can make her own decisions and stick to them.

I thought that the way they were written was very well done and that they bounced off of each other wonderfully. I loved the tension between them, the hot romance, as well as the dating aspect. I also enjoyed the family bits thrown in there and how there was some give and take toward the end on that aspect. It wasn’t just a steamy romance, but a little bit more, and I think it was done well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was well paced, steamy, funny, and not so much centered around hockey as the last one, but was still present, and it focused more on relationships of different kinds: romantic, friendships, and family relations. It was very enjoyable and it definitely made me excited to continue this companion series.

I rated it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

A Court of Mist and Fury Book Review

acourtofmistandfuryTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: New Adult – Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 624
Format: Purchased Hardcover

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

As this is a sequel, there may be spoilers!

Guys. I just. I have so many wonderful, incredible emotions from this book. It was heart-pounding, beautiful, rage-inducing, sorrowful, funny, and just plain incredible. I loved this book to the moon and back and I am so incredibly happy that I read it.

This sequel was much more of a New Adult read than a Young Adult read because of the sexy times that happened on multiple occasions in this story, so keep that in mind when reading this. Apart from that, I thought that the story itself was levels above the first book, and I like the first book. The story and characters in this one, though, were all so much more… alive and entrancing and it made me yearn for so much more from this world and to learn as much as possible about each new character and who they are and their story.

The plot of this book focused a lot more around Feyre’s time in the Night Court with Rhysand, and how at first she hated and resented it, but over time it was an escape, a way for her to be free from what was happening in the Spring Court, and it also focused heavily on her powers and what she gained from being Made into a High Fae. The plot also centered around the threat from the King of Hybern, the Cauldron and why it’s so dangerous, and a magical book called the Book of Breathings. It was all interwoven exceptionally well and I did’t feel like any part of it was really rushed or anything because the way the ending was written definitely left a lot to be discovered and developed in the next book – which I need in my hands ASAP, by the way.

Feyre grew exponentially on me throughout this book because she FOUGHT for herself and she FOUGHT for her rights as a human being – simple rights that were being denied her and OH MAN. It was glorious. She stood her ground when she wasn’t shattering, and she was given the freedom she so deserved when she was in the Night Court. I am so proud of her for sticking up for herself. She did go through a long series of depression at the beginning of the story, which was very much to be expected given the circumstances that had happened, but also the toxic situation she was in. But as the story continued and she learned how to use her powers, learned how to fight and regain strength, learned how to trust in others again – I saw her grow and change and it was just lovely. She used her mind tactically, but she also used her heart. I think using both, for a main character, is extremely important and Feyre did an excellent job of both.

Now Rhysand. Oh. My. God. Rhysand. I didn’t really like him in the first book. I was kind of really iffy about him and his motives. But now? I love him to pieces. He was so… normal in this book that I didn’t really know what to expect. The mask he had to wear when he was around certain groups, compared to who he was in front of his comrades and others – it was the difference between light and day. But I think the thing I loved most about him was that he NEVER forced Feyre to do anything she didn’t want to. He always left the choice for her to do something if she wanted to or not. I loved that he flirted with her and bantered with her, and I love how he looked after her. His magic is astounding, for sure, too. He loves his people, his Inner Circle, Feyre… I am so glad he was so well developed in this book because he deserved every second of that spotlight that was shining on him.

Tamilin, I want to gouge his eyes out with a spoon. Slowly. He pissed me off so much in this book I was ready to jump into the pages and tear him apart. He was controlling and WAY too overprotective of Feyre. It was actually kind of crazy that he didn’t really seem to care that she was suffering so much at the beginning and then he’d apologize for his behavior… it was a vicious, toxic cycle and I’m glad she got away when she did before she married him.

And then we met Morrigan (Mor), Cassian, Azriel, and Amren. Rhysand’s Inner Circle. I love them all. I don’t know how Maas did it, but she made it so you could connect to the characters and fall in love with each of them.

  • Mor is the third in command and has a sarcastic kind of personality where she’ll easily banter with others, but she makes friends almost everywhere she goes. And she’s not afraid to kick ass, either.
  • Cassian is an arrogant Illyrian fighter and he is probably my favorite of the Circle. He’s funny and likes getting into trouble, I swear. But he’s fiercely loyal and I love that.
  • Azriel is extremely mysterious, and he’s a Shadowsinger, able to communicate with shadows around him. He’s very quiet, but he’s a fierce Warrior.
  • Amren is also mysterious, but for entirely different reasons. She’s sharp tongued, highly intelligent, and mean. I like her.

Throughout all of this, though, there are friendships forged, lessons to be learned, moments of peace, and, most importantly, love. And when the romance came about in this book and then THE THING happened? I nearly died of swoons and feels and happiness and I was glowing right along with  Feyre. Oh man. It was beautiful, guys, truly.

There’s also lies and deceit from some people that you would least expect it from and I wanted to punch something I was shaking with so much rage. There’s trials and so many risky things that Feyre, Rhys, and the others go through that I just had to keep flipping the page to find out more.

And the sexy times. Ooooooh man, the sexy times. They were very steamy, descriptive, and I needed a fan. I don’t think it really distracted or took away from the story because of certain things that happened around it.

AND THEN. Just when you thought everything was going to turn out fine? THAT ENDING. THAT TWIST. I’m pissed and sad for various reasons, BUT I am also very, very anxious to see what happens in the last book. I need it. Now.

Overall, this was an extremely solid sequel in my opinion and I absolutely, 100% recommend it.

I rate this book 6/5 stars.

No? Okay.

I rate it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.