Book Haul: 02

Sometimes it's just impossible to ignore those emails from Book Outlet. Maybe one book catches your eye so you go to the website and start browsing. And it seems silly to place an order for just a book or two. I mean, you need to order enough to justify the shipping charges, right? And before you know it your cart has almost a dozen books in it but it's okay because... look at those prices, right? A $15 trade paperback for $3.99? Yes please and thank you!

This is my first haul in ages that doesn't have a single YA book. I've been reading lots of new adult lately so that's what I gravitated to. Also, everything here is a contemporary. No dystopian, no fantasy, no paranormal... just lots of contemporary new adult romance. 

Misunderstandings by Tiffany King - I'm looking forward to starting the Woodfalls Girls series. I already have No Attachments so finding the second book at Book Outlet was a real coup. On a side note, I met Tiffany about a year ago at a signing for Tracey Garvis Graves and she was so,so sweet. 

Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino - I have read so many phenomenal reviews of her books. Sweet Things and this one, in particular.

Clipped Wings and Inked Armour by Helena Hunting - This series was on my radar but I was going to pass on it, unsure if it was for me. Then I saw some reviews by trusted sources and I was sold. 

A Song for Us by Teresa Mummert - I have yet to start the series but I own the first two books and when I saw the third for only $2.99... sold!

Before Jamaica Lane and Fall From India Place by Samantha Young - So am I the only one who has not yet read Samantha Young? I feel like I'm late to the party but I hear great things.

Collide and Pulse by Gail McHugh - Very excited to start this series! It has crazy high ratings on GoodReads.

Sempre: Redemption by J.M. Darhower - Like with A Song for Us, I purchased this second book in a series I haven't started yet because it was such a great price. I've heard that Sempre and Sempre: Redemption are pretty dark and gritty so I'm intrigued.

So have you read any of these? If so, let me know how you liked them! What have you hauled lately? And are there any other Book Outlet junkies... I can't be the only one. ;) Tell me about it in the comments below! 

Review: Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

I wanted to love Doon. I really, really did. It seemed to offer so many elements that typically makes a book a winner for me: time travel, romance, Scottish setting, strong female friendship. (Plus a seriously gorgeous cover.) I was totally excited about Doon as soon as I saw several BookTubers talking about it and I was ready to fall in love. Unfortunately... not so much.

Doon is the story of two best friends, Veronica and Mackenna, who travel to Scotland to spend the summer after their high school graduation. Through some rather unclear/sketchy magic (rings? spells? a calling?) the girls cross the Brig O' Doon and are transported into another realm. The kingdom of Doon is quite the contradiction: a medieval feel, courtly manners, no electricity, but there's also modern plumbing, a pizzeria and sushi. Ahem. Once there, Veronica sees the boy she has been having visions of, Jamie, who happens to be the Crown Prince of Doon. Mackenna, naturally, is quite taken with Jamie's brother Duncan. The girls are met with suspicion and initially accused of being in league with the witch who has long plagued Doon's existence. And there begins their time in Doon.

My issues with Doon became apparent quickly with an overused trope that I am well and truly tired of. Each girl describes the other as drop-dead gorgeous but neither sees it in herself. (Yawn. I'm so over beautiful girls who are completely unaware of their beauty.) Likewise, the two love interests, both princes (of course) are devastatingly attractive. I know this because we are told repeatedly. Veronica was pleasant enough but her lovesick demeanor became puzzling in the face of Jamie's apparent indifference. But I would take her somewhat lackluster personality over Mackenna any day. I found Mackenna abrasive from the very beginning. Once in Doon it was even worse. Her flippant attitude when faced with a strange land, different customs, not to mention an accusation of witchcraft seemed completely out of place. Instead of laying low, trying to allay the people's fears, and basically make nice during her time there, Mackenna smarted off at every opportunity and generally made every situation worse. As a theater buff, she constantly tossed around phrases like "Holy Hammerstein" and "Sweet Baby Sondheim." It was just plain silly and became annoying quickly. Besides her devotion to her friend, she simply was not a likable character.

I was anxious to immerse myself in the plot and get to understand the history of Doon and the magic surrounding it. It was not to be. And that was ultimately my greatest disappointment. There was so much promise and so much that could have been done but the plot was seriously lightweight. There was never any real sense of urgency or danger conveyed. Any scene that could have had real intensity was wrapped up quickly and easily. Squeaky clean romance was the focus and plot and character development took a backseat. I was just left wanting more.

To be so romance-focused, Doon is very much on the sweet/clean teen side. There is nothing beyond a few kisses. I've seen a couple reviews that refer to Doon as Christian YA fiction and if that's the case it would certainly explain the oh-so-chaste romance.

With the lightweight plot and the my-prince-has-come romance, Doon seems suited for the younger end of the YA audience. I imagine 13 year old girls will enjoy the pseudo-magical land and the sweet/swoony romance aspect. But I really wanted more and unfortunately Doon didn't fully deliver.

Review: Thrive (Addicted series #2.5)

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

I'm going to love Lily how I want to love her. 
Overwhelmingly, uncompromisingly. 
Look away if you have to. – Loren Hale

I am such a fan of this series. I remember reading the first book, Addicted To You, a year or more ago and getting that delicious feeling that I had just stumbled upon something wonderful. Each book has drawn me in deeper and made me love these characters more. I don't know what I'll do when the final book is released and it's time to say goodbye. (Don't think about, don't think about it, don't think about it...)

Thrive encompasses a two and a half year time period that has already been covered with Kiss the Sky and Hothouse Flower. But here the focus is back on Lily and Lo and what they were experiencing during that time. The POV alternates between them and I loved having the story told that way. I have such a soft spot for these two damaged souls. Being in their heads and experiencing their pain is hard at times but it just makes my empathy for them that much stronger.

People make mistakes every day, some small and some big, 
but I just wonder when I’ll stop making them. Or is this 
lifelong thing? Do we all just wander through life, 
fucking up and trying to put ourselves back together 
only to continue on again? – Lily Calloway 

While we have already read about the filming of Princesses of Philly and its aftermath, and we've read about Paris riot, and the allegations against Lo's father, nothing here felt like a rehash. Those events were previously seen through the eyes of Connor and Rose and Ryke and Daisy. And while Lily and Lo were present we only got the perspective of others as to what they were going through. Here we get it straight from Lily and Lo. What they hid from the others, how they coped... or didn't, and how the events impacted them and their continued struggle for recovery.

We're going to have our happy ending. 
It's just going to take us a while to get there.

I loved Lily's strength here. She and Lo have long been there for one another and Lo is her rock. But there are times here where it is Lily's strength that carries them. She is there for Lo during his darkest times (Lo: "I don't want to be the weak one." Lily: "You won't be. Not for long.") and I just wanted to cheer for this sweet, awkward, lovable girl who has come so far.

She still has that delicate round face, the gangly arms and legs. 
She's adorable. In every sense of the word. 
And she's all mine to take care of. - Loren Hale

Krista and Becca Ritchie have created an amazing cast of characters with such depth and they continue to grow and evolve with each book. I love their banter and their bickering, their fierce loyalty to one another and the way they quickly close ranks when any of them is dealt a blow. We should all be so lucky to have family and friends like these.

The only thing left to say is: if you haven't already started this amazing series, what are you waiting for? :)


Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will's.

More Will Cooper? Yes, please! I loved that Point of Retreat (the second book in the Slammed trilogy) was told from Will's POV so getting more of that in This Girl was wonderful. This Girl picks up right where Point of Retreat left off. As Lake and Will reminisce about the evolution of their relationship, Lake asks Will to share his memories. "What was it like the first time you saw me?" "Tell me about our first date." And it's in this way that we get Will's side of the story - his point of view of the events from Slammed.

It was a treat to get inside Will's head for so many of the events that took place in Slammed. We were only privy to Lake's view and her perspective so finding out what Will was thinking and going through was fantastic. There were so many times in Slammed that his reactions made me wonder how he was feeling or what he was really thinking. And here it was. It was obviously in Slammed how much he struggled with his feelings for Lake but here it was like it was multiplied tenfold. Will didn't just struggle with his feelings for Lake. He agonized. He was tormented. It made my heart swell how first and foremost in his mind was what was best for Lake. And when he wavered, when he faltered, and his love and desire for this girl overwhelmed him and he felt as though he had crossed a line, oh how he tortured himself over it. It broke my heart for him time and time again.

God, what I wouldn't give to be able to hold her right now. 
If I could just take all of this away from her, I would.

I was concerned at first that the narrative would feel repetitive - a rehash of Slammed - but it wasn't at all. Will's perspective brought a fresh take to it all. The scene in the school hallway when he saw Lake there... I could feel it all over again. When he found Javi kissing Lake... his conversations with Julia... his reaction when Lake performed her slam... it was all here. And I loved it. So many times in Slammed when I felt like Will was handling the situation so much better than Lake, I was proven wrong here. So wrong. Will was honorable and had integrity but that was truly put to the test when faced with his love for Lake. I thought I couldn't possibly love Will Cooper any more than I did. I was wrong.

And that epilogue. Oh, my heart! That did me in and the happy tears were flowing. It simply could not have ended better.

This Girl is a not-to-be-missed ending to the Slammed trilogy. I loved every minute of it... even when it was breaking my heart. Hats off - yet again - to Colleen Hoover for her amazing ability to create a story and characters that stand out from the crowd and make me love them fiercely.

"You want to know my sweet?" I ask her.
She nods.
I kiss her on the forehead. 
"You. Always you."

Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Crushed is a new adult/contemporary romance that has it all: well-developed characters that I cared about, a story that pulled me right in, many laugh out loud lines, steamy moments, and it packed an emotional wallop that I didn't expect.

Michael fled his privileged life in New York after a failed attempt to win the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately she was also his best friend’s girlfriend and now he’s lost them both. Added to his heartache is the revelation that the man he’s always called Dad is not his biological father. Searching for answers, Michael flees to an upscale community in Texas with plans to confront his father, using whatever methods necessary. This includes getting close to Kristin Bellamy, the young woman dating Michael’s half-brother, Devon.

Chloe is Kristin’s sassy, curvy sister. And she’s also been in love with Devon since they were childhood friends. She’s stood by as her sister and Devon have dated the last six years, always overshadowed by Kristin and knowing that Devon will never view her as more than a friend. But when Michael offers to help her get the guy, Chloe jumps at the chance. But as she gets closer to Michael and starts to make changes, will she want the guy who finally notices her… or the guy who saw her all along?

I absolutely loved Chloe and found myself wishing this smart, sparkling girl was my friend. Despite the fact that she often felt eclipsed by her sister’s outward perfection (size 2, shiny, straight hair, pretty face), that didn't stop Chloe from being outgoing and funny and compassionate. She rarely failed to speak her mind and I loved her sarcasm and quick wit. She also didn't stand on the sidelines and wallow. This girl was willing fight for what – and for whom – she wanted.

Michael held been dealt some emotional blows that rocked him to the core and left him feeling alone and without an anchor. No connection to those around him. Taking the job as the club tennis pro/personal trainer was a far cry from his previous life in New York but it gave him access to those he needed to get to his biological father. But he never counted on Chloe, with her unruly curls and her determination to be his friend despite his efforts to close himself off from everyone. Michael could be so gruff and so abrupt but I still felt for him and it broke my heart how he felt so unworthy of love and incapable of giving it in return.

The unlikely friendship that formed between Chloe and Michael was just a joy to read. Michael could be as closed off as he wanted but he was no match for Chloe’s dogged determination to be his friend. Their banter was truly laugh out loud funny and felt so genuine, never forced. I loved watching as they both grew and changed over the summer and began to question their initial goals and motivations.

My only quibble is the reunion of sorts that came near the end that seemed a little too good to be true and might have stretched believability just a bit. But I was so invested in the characters and the story by that point that I was willing to go with it and just enjoy.

There were so many elements of Crushed that I enjoyed: the character development (which was so well done), the slow, simmering burn of the romance, the humor, the secondary characters and the back story. This is one that I highly recommend and I will definitely be reading more by Lauren Layne.

Crushed is a companion novel to Broken but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

*ARC provided by NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Review: Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Sometimes two people have to fall apart to realize 
how much they need to fall back together.

I might have done my heart permanent damage by reading Slammed and Point of Retreat back to back. I really should have had a buffer book (or three) in between. As it is, my emotions are mess and my little feelings have been trampled upon beyond recognition. Basically, your typical Colleen Hoover aftermath.

I *love* that Point of Retreat was told from Will's POV. I wasn't aware of the switch in POV (from Slammed) before starting the book and it was such a happy surprise. I loved being in Will's head, getting his perspective, seeing Lake through his eyes. I love getting the guy's POV in general (Breakable by Tammara Webber sent me over the moon, but I digress) and from a character that I was already in love with - Will Cooper! - was even better. One of my favorite things about Will is that he is so open and so generous with his love. Once he's committed, he doesn't hold back. His love for Lake was extraordinary and he showed it.

"I love you because of you.
Because of
about you."

Lake has taken on a lot at a young age (as has Will) and seems to have adjusted well. But I found myself frustrated with her at times. I felt she was unnecessarily hard on Will here. Will was plainly head over heels in love with her, consistently put her happiness first, and yet she doubted his feelings? As my mother would say, she was just borrowing trouble. Maybe it was due to her youth. Maybe it was because Will was her first serious relationship. Maybe she was still bogged down in grief and not thinking clearly. But I did find myself frustrated with her doubts and the way she pushed Will away. I wanted her to be joyful in what they had, recognize how rare it was, and cling to it with both hands!

"Love is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Unfortunately, it's also one of the hardest things
in the world to hold on to, and one of the 
easiest things to throw away."

There were so many elements in Point of Retreat that struck a chord and meant so much. The jar of stars from Julia that always seemed so timely and relevant, Gavin and Eddie, the suck and sweet game, the addition of secondary characters Kiersten and Sherry, Will's slam poetry (and the slams from some surprising sources!), Will's determination not to leave Lake's side... so many things that proved yet again Colleen Hoover's amazing ability to make me FEEL.

This is the first by Colleen Hoover not to get a 5-star rating from me, but I just didn't connect as completely as I did with Slammed. For that, and for my frustration with Lake at times, I shaved a half-star. But Point of Retreat was still a phenomenal story with heart and emotion and with characters I have come to love. Highly recommended!

Note: Point of Retreat is *not* a stand-alone novel. It is book two in a trilogy and should be read after Slammed.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Wanted To Start Yesterday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey.
Click HERE for a complete list of participants.

So many books, so little time... it's the lament of book lover's everywhere. There's always a big stack or a long list of books on my TBR, but these are the ones I want to read, like, yesterday. :)

Find at: GoodReads | Amazon

Speaking of yesterday, this one was actually just released yesterday. Abbi's Rosemary Beach series is like book crack to me. I devour them quickly and then wait anxiously for the next one. This will be happening SOON.

Find at: GoodReads | Amazon

It's no secret that CoHo is my favorite author. Her books break my heart 
every time (in the very best way) and I keep coming back for more.  However, 
I just read two of her books back to back (Slammed and Point of Retreat) and 
my heart just can't another right now. I'll need a few buffer books before 
diving into Confess. :)

Find at: GoodReads | Amazon

I read Ten Tiny Breaths last year and was *blown away.* It was so much more than I was expecting. So I'm dying to continue on with the companion novels.

Find at: GoodReads | Amazon

The Bronze Horseman is my favorite book ever. You'd think that I would 
have immediately read the other books in the trilogy. Makes sense, right? 
Well, it's been a year since I read TBH and I still can't bring myself to pick 
up Tatiana and Alexander. I'm enjoying the anticipation too much. It's all 
right there waiting for me... and I adore that feeling. No one said my 
reasoning had to make sense, right? ;-)

Find at: GoodReads

This last one is so new that it doesn't even have a cover yet. Jennifer L. Armentrout just last week announced an upcoming book tied to the Lux series that will be told from Daemon's POV. Color me excited! Oblivion is still in work and will not be released until December. But I need it yesterday!

So what books do you want to start yesterday? I'd love to hear!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters You Wish You Could Check In With

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 

Wow, I love today's Top Ten Tuesday theme! There have been many, many books that ended with me still wanting more of the characters I'd grown so attached to. Or characters that I have found myself thinking about long after I'd read the book. Wondering how they were, what had become of them, were they doing okay. As if they were really out there somewhere continuing on after that last page of the book! :)

It's going to be hard to narrow it down to ten, but here's my list:

Tate and Miles (Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover) - Yes, Colleen was good enough to add an epilogue that fast forwarded a bit and we saw this couple down the road a bit but I would still love more. I realize there couldn't really be another story without conflict of some sort, but I'd love to see into their lives now.

Eleanor and Park (Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell) - The book ended rather abruptly (seems to be a trademark of Rowell) and was pretty open-ended. I'd like to think I know that Eleanor and Park ended up together but I'd love to have a sequel from Rowell herself with more, more, more.

Bettina (The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor) - I really need to know that Bettina (Beta) is okay. 

Daemon and Katy (the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout) - Yes, the final book ended the series very well. And, yes, Jennifer has been great about providing a few snippets on her website. But I'll never get enough of these characters or their amazing chemistry.

Rachel (Crash Into You by Katie McGarry) - Rachel was mentioned often in McGarry's Take Me On but I'd really love to flash forward a year or two and know that Rachel is doing well. (Hard to phrase this one without spoilers! LOL)

Anna and Bennett (Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone) - I'd love to check in on these two and find out how their very unconventional relationship was working!

Tana (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black) - Never have I wished for a sequel as much as I do for this book. I'm dying to know what became of Tana. I mean, come on! Did she or didn't she? Ack!

Lou (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes) - Here's one where I'll actually get my wish! I just recently saw that Moyes has a sequel planned so I'll get to revisit Lou and see how she's doing.

Travis (Something Like Normal by Trish Doller) - Travis returned from Afghanistan facing a host of issues (PTSD, grief, his parent's splitting up). I was satisfied with the book's ending but I'd still like to check in on Travis.

Anna and T.J. (On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves) - Yes, the ending was totally satisfying but this couple stayed with me for long, long after I finished the book. I'd love to be able to check back in with Anna and T.J. and see their lives now.

What characters would you like to revisit and check back in with?

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Answer: 317 pages of perfection
Question: What is Slammed by Colleen Hoover?

It's no secret that I adore Colleen Hoover. She's my favorite author. She manages to create realistic characters in believable situations while drawing you in and making you FEEL. These characters joys and heartaches become your own. I don't know *how* she does it, but Colleen Hoover does it like none other.

I've had the Slammed trilogy for quite a while but have put off reading it for a variety of reasons. 1) I've been savoring the fact that there were THREE CoHo books on my shelf just waiting for me to open the covers and step inside. THREE. That's a good, good feeling, people. 2) I knew flying through this series would be three FEWER CoHo books for me to read. I'm catching up to her quickly and soon I'll be waiting on her to publish more. Not good. 3) I knew I needed to be ready for Slammed. There's no getting out of a Colleen Hoover novel with your emotions intact and untouched. So I had to be ready to dive in and accept all that was coming.

Slammed is one of those books that seem almost impossible to review because I feel like my words are inadequate. Like instead of an actual review I should just spew a bunch of semi-coherent, half-formed words on the page and then say, "See what I mean?"

"So keep your ocean. I'll take the Lake."

Lake is still grieving the loss of her father when she and her mom and younger brother move from Texas to Michigan. Within minutes of arriving at her new home she meets neighbor Will and there is an instant connection. But don't cue the violins just yet. Lake and Will's relationship is not typical. It has obstacles that stop things before they ever really start. Watching as Lake tries to navigate some kind of friendship/relationship with Will made my heart ache. All the while she is grappling with a new school, new friends, and the discovery of a secret that changes everything yet again.

I loved Lake. She was a mature 18 year old but realistic enough to have moments of giggling at inappropriate moments with best fried Eddie like the teenager she was. I appreciated the portrayal of her family especially the fierce love she has for her little brother Kel and the completely believable, sometimes taciturn, relationship with her mother. She questioned, she worried, she risked, she made assumptions - I believed in Lake completely and wanted so much for her. 

Will Cooper was a character with so much under the surface. A 21 year old young man with staggering responsibilities and losses of his own. Despite it all he was not closed off or bitter; he was open and warm and friendly and kind. But with Lake he found himself in an untenable situation. But even with circumstances being what they were, he was there for Lake. He was her sounding board, he held her when she cried, and he did his best to give advice and impart wisdom because he was so able to see Lake's situation from the other side. Will selflessly showed Lake wasn't she wasn't able to see on her own. It was impossible not to fall in love with Will Cooper.

It's hard to believe this was Colleen's first novel. While Maybe Someday and Ugly Love may have upped the ante, there's nothing lacking in Slammed. I loved the characters and their development, I loved the secondary characters, I loved the inclusion of the Avett Brothers lyrics (music obviously being a passion of Colleen's and a theme that she likes to employ), I loved the humor and the heartache (yes, CoHo even makes me thankful for the hiccuping sobs her story evoked), and I loved watching Lake and Will find their way. My favorite thing about Slammed (and any Colleen Hoover novel) - there may be a happy ending but it never comes easy. There are messy situations and hurt feelings and real life and tears and impossible obstacles along the way. A happy ending is not delivered on a silver platter; it's hard-fought and hard-won.

"How do you do it? How do you not fall in love with him?"

"I don't not fall in love with him. I don't not fall in love with him a lot."

Review: Just a Little Flirt by Renita Pizzitola

Find at: GoodReads | Amazon

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Just a Little Crush (Crush #1) last year (read review here) and enjoyed it so much that I jumped at the chance to also read an ARC of Just a Little Flirt (Crush #2). I'm so glad I did because I loved it every bit as much as the first book, if not more.

Too much time spent partying and hooking up with guys has left Fallon close to flunking out of college. But she's taking her summer internship in the pediatric ward of a hospital seriously and is determined to turn things around. She even bets a friend that she can make it through the six week internship without sleeping with anyone at work.

That was before she ran into (literally) Cade, who volunteers with his therapy dog, Scout, and spends time with the kids at the hospital. He's the hottest guy Fallon has ever seen and just happens to also be sweet and funny and genuinely interested in Fallon. But guys like Cade don't go for girls like Fallon, right?

A history of one-night stands since arriving at college left Fallon with quite a reputation. She's a party girl who isn't shy about her escapades. But an opportunity to be hired on as a staff member following her internship has Fallon determined to put her reputation to rest and be taken seriously. There was so much more to Fallon than just partying and random hook-ups. As I learned more about her background and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, she became easier to understand and much more relatable. She was determined not to get burned again and thought she knew the best way to avoid it. True love and happily ever after might be for other people but not her.

I loved watching the relationship develop between Fallon and Cade. It was a slow burn, but with plenty of heat! Fallon was determined to not fall into her same pattern and not do anything to jeopardize her internship (plus win that bet). But her attraction to Cade was undeniable and, to her great surprise, it was more than that. Cade was fun and sexy and kind and considerate. But good guys like Cade just didn't get involved with girls like Fallon. Despite Fallon's doubts, Cade's attention doesn't wane and she finds herself more and more attracted to this guy... and not just to his looks.

Fallon was so determined that she didn't deserve a guy like Cade and I loved how Cade ever so patiently showed Fallon how he saw her. And that was my favorite thing about Cade - his patience and his willingness to give Fallon the time she needed to open herself to a relationship with him. Sweet and sexy, funny and understanding... Cade might be the best book boyfriend ever.

Despite the almost-instant attraction between these two, there was no insta-love and their relationship took time to build. Watching as they slowly got to know each other was a joy. I loved their banter and Pizzitola has an amazing gift with dialogue and humor. There were several laugh out loud moments which doesn't happen often for me.

Confession time: If I know in advance that an animal plays any significant role in a book chances are I'm going to pass on it. I'm just not an "animal/pet person" and don't typically enjoy books where animals/pets are featured. I even cringed a little when I first read that Cade was a therapy dog handler. But what a surprise it was to find that I loved what Scout added to the story. Not only did I not mind in the case but I warmed to Scout and I even got a bit emotional at one particular scene. The fact that I was able to overcome my initial bias and actually enjoy this aspect of the story is something that I credit completely to Pizzitola's writing.

There were so many times when I caught myself smiling as I read this book. It quite literally put a smile on my face. And that's what I loved most about this book. Pizzitola's creation of two characters that I was totally invested in, truly pulling for, and who just made me happy. This is only my second book by Renita Pizzitola but I already feel that I'll be reading anything she writes from now on.

Just a Little Flirt is the second book in the Crush series but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Note: ARC kindly provided by NetGalley and Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.



Renita Pizzitola is the author of New Adult contemporary romance and Young Adult fantasy. When not writing, she can be found feeding her caramel macchiato addiction and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Find her at:

Twitter: @renitapizzitola