Monday, December 15, 2014

Addicted For Now (Addicted #2) ~ Krista & Becca Ritchie

Addicted for Now (Addicted, #2)Addicted for Now by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

6 This-Series-Just-Keeps-Getting-Better Stars!!

This is the 3rd book (including #1.5 Ricochet) in what has quickly become my very favorite series! I can't even begin to express just how much I adore the way K&B write. They write with passion and love for these characters. They bring them to life so completely that they feel like living, breathing friends of mine that i have known forever. Which probably explains why I have found it VERY difficult to read anything else while making way through this series. Talk about having a book hangover!

This  book picks up right after the end of Ricochet, with Lily and Lo attempting to live somewhat normal lives in the midst of battling their addictions (Lo to Alcohol, and Lily to sex). Just when things seem to be getting back on track for the couple, Lily begins receiving messages from someone threatening to go to the press about her addiction - thereby humiliating her friends and family.

Normally I would probably expect a plot like this to have an overload of unnessasry angst involved. But, while there is definitely tension and drama resulting from LiLo trying to figure out who's behind the threats...nothing is ever overdone or unnecessary in this series. One of the main things i absolutely LOVE about this series, and about K&B's writing style in particular, is the unwavering love and devotion among the characters. When they are faced with obstacles, they continue to battle through them together. Instead of pushing each other away.

These books aren't just about one or two people. All six of the main characters feel real and important to the overall storyline. Their friendships are sometimes hard and they push each other's buttons, but they truly are a close-knit, if more than a little dysfunctional, family. The issues they deal with are completely believable and nothing is glossed over. Lily and Lo struggle with their addictions every day, and they stumble more than once. Which only makes them more human. But through all the ups and downs, their support and love for each other never falters.

I know my reviews for these books probably sound like nothing but fangirl gushing. But, honestly....I AM a K&B fangirl, and I make no apologies for it. It has been a long time since i have found a series of books that I felt such a connection to. I am beyond grateful to be experiencing these stories now and look forward to supporting these wonderful ladies in the future.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

This is Falling ~ Ginger Scott

This is Falling (Falling, #1)This is Falling by Ginger Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 Stars

Damn. This book had such potential. And, going by the other reviews I have read, I am definitely in the minority when it comes to this one, many ways, while it had some good moments, this book ended up being too sappy for me.

Rowe has been homeschooled for the last 2 years due to a traumatic event involving the loss of her best friend and boyfriend. She decides to try and come out of her self imposed exile by moving away to go to college, where she meets Nate, a sweet, hopelessly romantic guy who falls for her pretty much instantly.

I have never been a huge fan of insta-love. I much prefer when two characters actually get to know each other before deciding that they are head over heels for the other person. I also don't like needless angst. Something that this book had in spades. While i could understand the heroine's reluctance to get close to Nate, I felt like that aspect of the storyline dragged and just inserted angst where it wasn't needed. For a while it seemed like there was just a constant stream of misunderstandings between the two leads....a plot device that has always seemed like filler to me.

The writing itself was good. And i really enjoyed the dynamic between Nate and his older brother Ty. Plus, there were several swoon-worthy moments involving Nate...a character that while at times came off as overly sappy, i truly did like. He knows instantaneously that he likes Rowe and wants to be with her, but is willing to give her time to deal with the issues she is obviously going through. He's a total sweetheart and I see why Rowe always ended up finding it hard to resist him. Rowe on the other hand was harder for me to warm up to. I understand some of her motivations for how she acted, but...and i know this is going to sound harsh....but sometimes she came off as whiny to me. This is i think where the book suffers the most. The way the author handles that tragedy. I know this wasn't supposed to be the story of Rowe and her high school life with her best friend and boyfriend. But, both Josh and Betsy were never fleshed out enough for me as a reader to care about them. And quite frankly, Rowe hardly mentions the girl who was supposed to be her best friend, and the clearest picture we get of her high school sweetheart, comes from a letter that NATE writes at the end of the book.  Which was a problem for me in being able to both care about, and relate to Rowe as a character.

Speaking of which, The letter that Nate wrote was beautiful, and it did make me get a wee bit teary eyed. It was probably my favorite part of the entire book. I also liked the over the top ending. It was sweet, romantic and felt like the HEA ending to a big budget Hollywood movie.

This book had it's ups and downs. But overall it was a sweet, if slightly bumpy ride for me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wicked ~ Jennifer Armentrout

Wicked (A Wicked Saga, #1)Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2 Underwhelming Stars.

To be completely honest, I don't have the best track record with PNR books over the last few years. Add to the fact that I am not a fan of stories involving the Fae, and I guess you could say I was doomed to not be impressed by this book. And unfortunately that turned out to be the case with Wicked

Ivy is a college student living in New Orleans. She also happens to work for a group called "The Order", who's job is to hunt down Otherworldly bad guys - in this case, the Faerie Folk. One day she's attacked by someone who seems especially badass, and whom she believes was an of the seemingly unkillable (but supposedly extinct) members of the Fae. Her co-workers think she's a bit loopy, or at the very least got hit on the head too hard. Everyone it seems except the Hot New Guy, Ren. Who confesses he works in a super-secret section of The Order, specializing in hunting down the Ancients.

The writing itself was okay. And there were certain things I really enjoyed about the story. I am a huge fan of snarky sarcasm, so I loved most of the banter, especially between Ivy & Tink. Speaking of that smartass little Brownie that lives in Ivy's apartment, Tink was hands down my favorite park of the book. He actually reminded me a little bit of Jenks from The Hallows series by Kim Harrison. Jenks, incidentally, was my favorite part of that series as well. I guess I just have a thing for sarcastic, hot, little dudes.

Moving on....I also enjoyed some of the relationship between Ivy and Ren.
A typical YA leading man is part badass, part sappy romantic, and part frustrating asshat. Ren is not really an asshat, but is a bit too over the top in the "Oh-My-God-You're-So-Beautiful-I-Will-Die-If-I-Don't-Have-You" kind of way. I like a guy who is openly romantic, but Ren pushed it a bit too far.

The storyline involving the hunt for The Ancients, just didn't hold my interest. I found myself skimming a lot of the book in order to get to the sarcastic banter, or to the scenes with Tink. The supposed 'twists' weren't surprising at all in my opinion, and kind of felt like the author took the easy way out and just gave us a cliched and very predictable 'first book in a series' cliffhanger. As a reader, i am constantly frustrated by authors who feel the need to leave their readers hanging. Do they actually think that if the person reading the book enjoyed it - and if there was some kind of resolution to the first part of the story - that the reader wouldn't continue with the series? Leaving us with a cliffhanger isn't the solution. In all honesty, instead of feeling satisfied and happy about a book i just read, most cliffhangers make me angry that i invested all this time in a story, only to be told 'Hey, sorry about this, but i need to make sure you're going to read my next let's leave everything up in the air AND/OR rip the hero/heroine apart for the sake of drama AND/OR set up a potentially life or death situation AND/OR just throw in some unnecessary angst to make the story arc longer and more frustrating for the readers. I really am sorry. But, don't forget to buy the next 6 books in the series!"

That little rant wasn't really directed at this particular author. But i guess reading this book reminded me how much cliffhangers and needless angst bothers me.

While i enjoyed certain aspects of the book...I guess the lesson i learned is that I am just not the audience for PNR YA. I need to stop getting sucked in by Cover Lust and hype. It never ends well.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ricochet (Addicted 1.5) ~ Krista & Becca Ritchie

Ricochet (Addicted, #1.5)Ricochet by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5+ I Love Lily & Lo Stars!

One of the best things about the Addicted series....besides the fact that it's probably the best written and emotionally fulfilling series out there right the fact that K&B always give us a healthy dose of our favorite characters with each new release. There are no 50 page novellas to fill in the gap between regular books in the series. So, even though this is listed as book 1.5 in the series, it's a full length story. And I for one, couldn't be happier.

Ricochet focuses on Lily as she tries to cope with the absence of Lo, while he battles his alcohol addiction in rehab. Lily is of course, battling her own demons, and is struggling with the idea of staying committed and faithful to Lo while he's away. Which means no sex for 90 days. A tall order for a sex addict who has is without her support system for the very first time.

Going into this book, i was curious how K&B would handle Lily and Lo being apart, because one of the best parts of the first book, Addicted to You was the intense dynamic between them. But, if anything, this book solidified the reader's understanding of LiLo's unbreakable bond. These two people love each other enough to be strong for each other. To battle their demons separately in order to be stronger when they come back together.

This book is really where we start to get to know Rose and Connor....(my personal two favorite characters in the series). On the surface, Rose seems like an Ice Queen, but in reality she is fiercely loyal and devoted to those she loves. The way she loves and supports Lily, and makes it her mission to understand her sister's addiction...without question or why Rose will always be the true backbone and hero of this entire series in my opinion. And then we have Connor (whom i will spend a GREAT deal of time drooling over in my reviews of later books in the series). He's an outsider to the group, but even though he appears to be arrogant and self-centered...okay, maybe he IS those things...but underneath it all, he is also fiercely loyal to those he cares about. In Lo, Connor finds his first true friend, and in Rose he finds a partner in crime.

Other reviewers have commented on this, but this book had some of the sexiest scenes that didn't involve two people being in the same room with each other. Let's just say Skype can be your friend.

When Lily and Lo finally do reunite, it is handled in a completely believable and realistic way. Yes, there are awkward moments, which is to be expected when one person has been off in rehab learning a completely new way to live. And yes, Lily does wonder if Lo will want to be with her now that he is on the road to recovery. Will he consider her too damaged, or a risk to his sobriety? Other authors may have decided to pile on the angst...separate the two characters...make them (and the reader) suffer through endless pages of them being miserable apart. But not in K&B's world. They know that they best, really the only, way that both Lily and Lo can hope to succeed in fighting their demons, is by doing so together. And i freaking love that.

I heart and soul of Lily & Lo's story, is their unwavering devotion to each other. And that is one of the many....many....reasons I love this series.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Addicted To You ~ Krista & Becca Ritchie

Addicted to You (Addicted, #1)Addicted to You by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a perfect example of a how everyone and their uncle recommends a series of books to me, but I keep putting off reading them for various reasons. And then when i finally do pick up the first book and dive into it...i want to kick my own ass for waiting so long.

I honestly don't know what say that hasn't already been said about these books and these incredible authors. Simply put, this is my new favorite series. Period.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when i began the series. Something angst filled and over the top dramatic, maybe? And while there is more than their fair share of both drama and angst here, the Addicted series is just

much more than that. The world that K&B have created here is just absolutely beautiful. And passionate. And emotional. And so many other adjectives that have probably been used repeatedly by other reviews in a much better way. All i can tell anyone reading this is that this story, and these characters touched me in a way that hasn't happened in far too long.

Lily and Lo are such damaged souls, and both are suffering from addictions that are spiraling out of control (she is addicted to sex, and he is addicted to alcohol). They have been best friends since they were small children, and all they know is each other. While they both come from wealthy, dysfunctional families, their family dynamic differs in that while Lily has 3 loving sisters (who she continually shuts out of her life), the only kind of love and support (co-depented and enabling as it may be) that Lo receives is from Lily. His father is a "functioning" alcoholic and emotionally abusive, and his mother has never been in the picture. Lily and Lo cling to each other like a mutual life support system and while I absolutely adore the devotion the two have for each other...the fact that they shut everyone else out of their lives, can't help but feed into their addictions.

I'm not going to lie. As i got deeper into Lily and Lo's story, it was hard to see them in so much pain, and being so destructive. But, I love the fact that K&B didn't sugarcoat their struggles at all. Did they make mistakes? Hell yeah, and often. Did they push and pull each other to the breaking point and beyond? Absolutely. But in the end, it only served to make their bond even stronger and prove that soul mates really do exist (at least in fiction).

Probably my favorite aspect of this entire series is that  the focus is not just on one or two characters. This series truly is an ensemble piece. While this book is definitely Lily & Lo's story, the series has six main characters and all of them are equally important and fully brought to life.

Probably my favorite scene in the entire book, was the ending. That scene between Lily & Lo....broke my heart in a million pieces, but also filled me with such love and understanding for these characters that have come to feel like living, breathing people to me. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking scene....done impeccably well. And while bittersweet, was the perfect way to end the first chapter of LiLo's story.

As corny as this will probably sound, it's very fitting that this series is called Addicted. Because these books have taken over my life over the last month. I am currently reading (and loving)  Hothouse Flower, and while i keep telling myself i need to try and space out the books to make them last longer, i am finding it impossible to read anything else. I will pick up something else, and find myself thinking about these characters, and wanting to get back into their world. In the space of a couple weeks I have turned into a massively unapologetic K&B fangirl. And i have no plans on looking back now.