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Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Final Fight by JB Salsbury Review!!

"Wherever you are will always be home to me."-JB Salsbury, The Final Fight


When life brings you the perfect person at the worst possible time...

On a weekend visit to Las Vegas to visit his brother, Marine Braeden Daniels meets a woman who challenges him in ways he can't deny. The best part is she wants what he wants.

No strongs. No feelings. Just fun.

AJ is a Las Vegas performer who is finally living her dream. Growing up poor, she's determined to succeed at any cost. No one will stand in her way- not even a hot Marine who breezes into her life all confidence and a cocky smile. 

A few stolen weekends and neither can deny the feelings quickly growing between them. But the obstacles that keep them apart become more devastating when the Marine Corps calls Braeden away for a six-month deployment.

It's only six months.

What could possibly happen?


I'm incredibly grateful for receiving an ARC for this book in exchange for an honest review. This won't be your typical review. It won't go through the development of the characters (though the characters are incredibly well-developed). It won't be a detailed summary of what happens in this story (though there will be parts of the story line). This review will be about the overwhelming feelings I had while reading this book and why I think you need to read it, but not just this book- the whole series. So, without further ado... 

You guys. <-- Channeling my inner Busy Phillips --> This is the LAST BOOK in The Fighting Series and I can't even tell you how devastated I am by this series ending.

JB is one of my absolute favorite authors and each book in this amazing series has been incredible. I'm seriously in mourning that it has come to an end. Luckily, I know that JB has a passion for her readers and knows how much her words have impacted them, so my guess is she'll remind us of our favorite rough around the edges, but incredibly lovable characters some time again in the (hopefully near) future. As you go through this series, it focuses on different fighters (hinted by the title of the series: The Fighting Series). Each fighter becomes my new favorite while I'm reading that book, their story is so impactful. JB has a way of truly making a reader feel that they are in her fictional world with the characters she's created and they are our friends, our family. While my favorite has bounced around and around, ultimately I have to make my claim on Rex (Fighting to Forget)- there's just something about him that breaks my heart and sews it back together all in one sitting. Tied very closely to Rex is Blake Daniels. My blog partner and I would have to come to blows with each other about Blake if my love for Rex wasn't so strong ;) However, we have both completely become smitten with the other Daniels brother, Braeden. <--- Yes, now comes the time that I wrap my endless love letter to JB back around to the current book I'm reviewing! ---> I have been waiting for Braeden Daniels' book ever since his character was first introduced early on in the series. JB gave us maybe a paragraph to introduce Braeden, but I was already intrigued and needed to know more. JB did not disappoint when she gave Braeden his turn. 

Braeden's story is one that touches close to home for me in multiple ways. I'm a family therapist so I like to read about and observe family dynamics. The Daniels family has plenty. More than that though, my personal life has been affected by the military and I have a huge interest and passion for our service members. There were so many parts in The Final Fight that I imagine are so relevant for many people/couples who've gone through deployments as well as everything leading up to their separation. As hinted at in the blurb, there are some real challenges that both Braeden and AJ have to face in their story. The battle that Braeden has to fight is a lot less physical than some of the other battles of the other characters in the series, but that doesn't mean it wasn't just as difficult to get through if not a heck of a lot worse. There was one particular scene in this book that got me, right in the feels, more than any other part of this story. The funny thing is, it wasn't between Braeden and AJ. It was between Braeden and his brother, Blake and it's good. JB, those words- keep writing words like this. 

"When I look in your eyes and no longer recognize my brother in there, I will not stand by and let you slip away."

My gaze drops back to the sink, and tears build behind my eyelashes. "I'm fucking lost, bro." 

"Nope. You're not." He puts both hands on my shoulders. "I will die before I let you go, you hear me? You'll be back. You'll be fighting for this shit too, but until you're there, until you get your fight back, I'm fighting for you." 

That, my friends, is just one small example of how well JB writes love. This example is a brotherly love, familial love, but it's a love that can transcend any type of typical circumstance- it's that love for one another, that love where another person can see someone lost and struggling and reaches out to help, refuses to give up on them, even when they are ready to give up on themselves, that can show someone the true meaning of love. There are so many examples of love in this story. Braeden has so many who come around him in his time of struggle. 

AJ is one of them. Braeden and AJ knew from the beginning there was something special between them. A chemistry that neither of them had experienced before. Their story is long and hard and passionate and real. There are highs and lows, but throughout the entire story, you (as the reader) are pulling for them. There are times I want to reach through the book and shake AJ. There are also times I want to reach through the book and shake Braeden. There are multiple times I want to reach through the book and hug them both and tell them to keep going. Keep fighting. Keep loving. 

There are parts of this book that you'll love, parts that you'll hate, and parts that you hate that you love. You'll feel conflicted on multiple occasions. You'll feel the hurt and pain they feel beyond measure. You'll see the sparks fly when the passion is high. You'll feel hope and love beyond all measures. I hope you read this book. I hope you read this series. I hope it reminds you of all the feels. 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bleed the Water Red by R.L. Griffin Review and Release Day!!

"Truth reaches through your walls and grabs your heart squeezing the life out of you. Truth suffocates you with a pillow while you sleep. Lies help us deny the truth that we don't want to see."-R.L. Griffin, Bleed the Water Red

Bleed the Water Red
Release Date: March 23, 2017

When Kate Tennison returns to the low country of South Carolina it's with her tail tucked between her legs. She doesn't want to be there and face the love of her life, who's now married with a child. Distance has not broken the spell of fear that surrounds why she ran from her home in the first place. 

Her story is a tragic one. 

Mom in rehab.

Father dead.

Career annihilated. 

When we run from something looking back over our shoulder, we miss the scars on our arms that now hold us.

Can the magic of the water heal her wounded heart or does something dangerous lurk underneath the perfect features of the new man she's decided to take a chance on? 

Amazon CA:

About R.L. Griffin:

R.L. resides in the Atlanta area with some cool dudes: her husband, son and two crazy dogs. She was born and raised in the South. She attended Georgia Southern University and moved to Washington, D.C. to intern in the United States Senate during the impeachment trial. Falling in love with the city, she went to law school at American University, Washington College of Law. By A Thread is R.L.'s second book, but is the first in a series that got her back into writing after a ten year hiatus. She writes anything from romantic suspense to psychological thriller to romantic comedy. One of the things that readers always say is they never know what kind of story they will get from R.L. 

I was lucky enough to be picked to receive an ARC of Bleed the Water Red in exchange for an honest review. I am ever so happy to oblige!

Oh, RL Griffin. You've done it to me again. Talk about a book hangover. I read from 55% until the very bitter/sweet end all in one sitting. The first half of the book I think I actually read in maybe all of two sittings. All this to say, Bleed the Water Red kept me... enthralled. I was completely bought into this book based on the cover and prologue alone. I remember when the author posted the cover reveal  of this book and I remember my immediate thought was it was "hauntingly beautiful." After reading this book, I cannot think of a more perfect cover to go along with the content of the book itself. My initial reaction to the cover perfectly correlates with the feelings I had while reading this book. I was on the edge of my figurative seat throughout every single chapter. 

I kept waiting for it. I waited and waited for the epic turn I knew the story was going to take. All the while, falling more and more in love with Kate as the story progressed. 


STOP HERE if you are the type of person who hates ANY HINT of SPOILERS. I don't think I give much more away than the book description and what you could surmise from the prologue, but if you're squeamish- don't continue! Just trust my recommendation that you need to read this book!!


Have you met Kate? If not, she is amazing. She is in fact a "goddess, a glorious female warrior!" Kate has had to deal with more than most should in her short lifetime. She tragically lost her father after a childhood and adolescence of learning that he may not have been the best role model for her life. Her mother has all but given up and has completely checked out on her. Her first love destroyed her and left her feeling alone, vulnerable, and betrayed. Not to mention, she's had one failed career and had to move home into a house that reminds her more often that not about bad times rather than the good ones. Her biggest positive in her life right now is her friendships. Who wouldn't want to have a Poppy and Austin as your best friends?! They seem like people I would want to have in my tribe. She's also got enough money from the shady dealings of her father that she can use as she wishes (within reason, under the watchful eye of her lawyer/ex, Gent). She has a home with 20 acres outside of Charleston and then totally restores what sounds to be an amazing, picturesque place right on top of the waves at Edisto. 

**Sidenote-- if you have never been to the Charleston, SC area and the subsequent beautiful little beach towns close by, you MUST go. It's breathtaking and such a beautiful part of our southern culture. 

Through all of the trials and tribulations Kate has faced though, she perseveres. She is a fighter, a warrior, through and through. She is selfless and selfish, but in the best way. She wants to help and take care of others, but she also desperately wants someone to take care of her. She will try to avoid the fall, she will try to prevent hitting the ground when she's dropped, but you can be sure she will pull herself up time and time again. If anyone deserves happiness, it's Kate. Below is one of my favorite quotes when describing Kate's warrior spirit: 

"Life is a constant fight, a fight to the death. It's a gut punch followed by a roundhouse kick over and over. We all stand in the ring with black eyes, broken teeth and blood pouring out of rips and tears in our flesh."- RL Griffin

That's probably enough gushing about my love affair with Kate. The last thing I'll add is that I really appreciate a strong female character. RL Griffin never lets me down in this. The end of this book, though tragic, truly shows how much of a warrior Kate really is. 

Let's change topics and talk about Bash. Bash seems to have it all as well. His whole life is... well put together. That is the best way I can think to describe him. Bash has a put together persona of someone who is charming, beautiful, kind, but also unremarkable and doesn't do or say anything out of the ordinary that may make him stand out. In many ways, especially at the beginning, it seems that he tries to make himself seem ordinary like a regular Joe. I think this is so he can fly under the radar unsuspected and not draw any undue attention to himself. He is mysterious and dark, but seemingly romantic and dedicated. Throughout this book, I warred with myself at times on knowing that it wasn't going to end well, but wanting to take the love and compassion he gave to Layla at face value. 

Please take note of my reference to Layla. Layla and Kate are the same person in the literal sense, but also completely different people in personality. Ella Rae is more the true Kate to me, and Layla is the persona she puts on to most people, including Bash. 

Anyway, I'm not going to talk much about Bash because honestly... I don't like him. Read the book. Let me know your thoughts ;) I will say, throughout most of the book the **stalker alert** button kept going off in my head.

In good news, there was another male character that I had great hopes for-- Gent. He was also mysterious throughout the book, but in a bit of a different way. Kate can't seem to get over Gent. He was the great first love of her life, as well as the major heart break of her soul. She's never really been able to recover and move on and throughout this book, Gent showed me his feelings weren't altogether different than Kate's. The initial attraction between Layla and Bash is that they could share in their history of tragedy. As Bleed the Water Red goes on, it's obvious that Gent is also able to relate in that way. 

Let's not forget the true hero of this book though... BLUE! Oh my lanta- I fell in love with this dog!! I want him! I actually have my own version of Blue. I love how fiercely protective he is, how loyal, but also how loving. Blue sounds like the perfect dog and I love a pit mix. They usually have the most love to give if love is given to them in return. I especially love that RL always seems to have such an awesome four-legged fur child in her stories <3 

I don't want to go into too much detail about the book overall because I don't want to completely spoil it for you so I'm going to wrap it up here. However, can we PLEASE talk about the easter egg of names at the end of this book?! Millie and Billy, oh my! :) Thank you for the reminder of our loved ones in BaT, Mrs. Griffin.  Please note you may have inspired a re-read of that series due to this little nugget! I kept wanting to be wrong, I kept wanting Bash to turn out to be George, but I was so sorely mistaken. If you haven't read By A Thread, I suggest you check it out right AFTER you read the awesomeness that is #BleedTheWaterRed !! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Running Mate by Katie Ashley Review!!

"I didn't do it just because of the contract. I did it because you ******* consumed me. I only had eyes for you, and I always will." - Katie Ashley, Running Mate

I received a free ARC of Running Mate in exchange for an honest review. I was so happy to provide my feedback because I loved this book! 

I was a little weary to read the book originally because I've been burnt out on politics after our own very long, very dramatic presidential election lately. 

However, there is GOOD NEWS! This book was even better than expected and didn't trigger any of the stressful feelings from the US' most recent election! It didn't go in to all of the political issues or give flashbacks of the ridiculous debates we watched this past year. What it did give us what a bit of a behind the scenes story from a marketing perspective on how to get the vote! It was really neat to follow not just one political candidate through this process, but the whole political family and their different roles/relationships. Obviously, this is a work of fiction but it definitely made me think about very real political families we've watched grace Pennsylvania Avenue in the past. I felt that Katie did a great job with character development for both the main and secondary characters and made me fall in love with the whole Callahan family. 

Barrett "Bear" Callahan was the star of the show in this book for me. At first, he's the guy you hate to love. He's arrogant, he's crass, a womanizer, and definitely rough around the edges. He doesn't believe in love and can't even fathom the possibility of marriage in his future. I would call him a bit of a commitment-phobe, but that's not really true. He just never met anyone worth settling down for, until Addison came into his life.

It by no means was love at first sight between Addison and Barrett, though! From their first introduction and especially their first 48 hours together, the tension was thick. They fought and bickered constantly and both knew from a very early start in their relationship exactly what buttons to push on the other to get a reaction. While others worried that the two would be able to keep up appearances, I knew early on that their constant fighting was more a battle of sexual tension above anything else. Of course, neither Barrett or Addison were ready to admit that until about 70% of the way into the book!

My only complaint for this story was that it took the two main characters over half of the book to realize how they really feel, even on a personal level! I could see it developing from the very beginning and I think it was implied throughout the story that they were feeling things for one another, but I was ready for them to really be together sooner rather than later! I guess my ultimate issue is that I just wanted more of Addison and Barrett! :) I really liked Addison as well but her reaction to Barrett bearing his heart at the end of the book turned me off a little bit. I know that she was hurt by her past (homegirl, we all get the trust issues after a cheater) but I expected her to expect more of Barrett and to know that he didn't go into his feelings for her lightly. When he gave us this line...

"How can you possibly be a missionary's daughter and not believe in the power of redemption?"

I swooned and gave a fist bump to Barrett in my mind!

I was just ready to see Addison get swept away by her happy romance (she so deserves it) and not fight it tooth and nail. However, once she realized what she had and how he really felt, the end of the story was epic! I loved the way Katie Ashley wrapped up the story. Go you Callahan boys!! <3

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wrecked by JB Salsbury Cover Reveal!!

Who can't wait for JB's newest book, Wrecked, to come out??? These two gals from GA are ready and waiting!! 

For now, we are LOVING this cover but you have to scroll to the bottom to see the perfection! Perfectly on par with all JB's other gorgeous covers 💋

We're loving these teasers, too! 


When you can’t trust yourself, how can you ask anyone else to?

It’s been months since Aden Colt left the Army, and still the memories haunt him. When he moved into a boat off the California coast, he thought he’d found the perfect place to escape life. 

Then Sawyer shows up, and turns his simple life upside down. 

Beautiful and sophisticated, she seems out of place in this laidback beach town. Something is pushing her to experience everything she can—including Aden. But as much as he wants her, starting a relationship with Sawyer puts them both at risk. For Aden, the past doesn’t stay there; it shows up unexpectedly, uncontrollably, and doesn’t care whose life it wrecks.

Hope you love it as much as we do.... <3 <3 <3