Review: Closer

Review: CloserCloser: A Stage Dive Novella by Kylie Scott
Series: Stage Dive #4.6
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated on September 24, 2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 107
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I really enjoyed this one with opposites attract. The story was tense with the stalker on the loose, but it also increased the tension between these two as they are stuck together. I loved Mae and Ziggy!

THE STORY: Mae Cooper, plus-sized model, ends up with a bodyguard when she receives a threatening package from a stalker. Ziggy Thayer considers himself a consummate professional until he finds that Mae shatters his non-plussed demeanor.

OPINION: I adored Mae. Sometimes reading one character’s thoughts can be too much, but I loved the quirky way she thought and how positive she was about her curvy self. Because we are reading Mae’s thoughts, it is a little difficult to get to know Ziggy, but his actions are clear. But I ended up absolutely loving the quiet steady man. They are a great match with the differences in their personalities.

The story is a sexy little treat. The pacing of the story worked really well. The characters get to spend a condensed amount of time together because of the stalker threat and so there is definite heat between these two. The sex scene was romantic and sexy and really funny. I thought it was a perfect culmination of these two.

As a fan of the Stage Dive series, I love the chance to get to reacquaint myself with some favorites while getting to meet those around them.

I also really loved that we get to see the Stage Dive crew with some updates on everyone and, of course, I loved seeing Mal.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella and it is told from Mae’s point of view in the first person.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CLOSER is book 4.6 of the Stage Dive series. Although appearances are made by characters in the Stage Dive series, the romance here is self-contained and it is not necessary to have read any other book in the series. This book operates as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Repeat

Review: RepeatRepeat by Kylie Scott
Published by Independently Published on January 17, 2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 302
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a fresh, sexy and emotionally compelling story of a woman who has to find out who she wants to be in the face of a past she can’t remember but surrounded by people who can’t forget. Everything about this story feels different and new.

THE STORY: Clementine Jones wakes from an attack with no memory of herself. Starting again and trying to discover who she was leads her to Ed Larsen, the man she broke up with a month before. Now Clem has to build a new life for herself and finds herself attracted to the man where the past that stands firmly between them and yet is hidden from her.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book. The brain injury/amnesia story seemed too far fetched when I read the blurb, but this book really takes the storyline seriously and it works really well. The story is told solely from Clem’s point of view which means that the reader is kept in the dark about much of the past and that works really well too. It keeps the reader as uncertain and questioning as Clem is.

This book ends up an interesting combination of a second chance book and a woman dealing with a man’s past as Ed was hurt by Clem in the past. This combination makes the journey these two take compelling and different. Clem is getting a clean slate in her own mind but can’t escape the past that it all around her. I loved seeing her navigate all the relationships from her prior life.

Ed is adorable. Although he has been hurt, his caring nature is clear every step of this book. I really loved how these two build a different and better relationship. One based on communication and understanding.

Sexy and fresh. This is a quick read that I really enjoyed and will certainly read again.

WORTH MENTIONING: I think I want to read more about the supporting characters in this book specifically Ed’s brothers.

CONNECTED BOOKS: REPEAT is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Strong

Review: StrongStrong (Stage Dive #4.5; 1001 Dark Nights #88) by Kylie Scott
on September 25, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: Nothing to dislike about this story, but it is pretty unremarkable. The best parts of the story are the humorous scenes with the existing Stage Dive characters. A nice add on for fans, but I wouldn’t recommend it for new readers.

THE STORY: Sam Knowles, the head of security for Stage Dive, has had his eye on Martha Nicholson for years. When Martha returns to help her brother and his wife with caring for their son, Sam begins to make his move. Martha, who has been a troublemaker and who doesn’t intend to get involved with the quiet and determined Sam, nevertheless can’t help but be attracted him.

OPINION: I enjoyed this story, but I didn’t think it had much depth to it. Much of my enjoyment came from the appearances by the Stage Dive band and their wives. I can always enjoy seeing Mal again! But all the depth to the story (Martha confronting her misdeeds) comes from the prior books. I enjoyed the story and would definitely read it as an add on to the Stage Dive series, but I don’t think it stands on its own. Sam and Martha don’t have much depth to their story. Therefore, I put this as a good read that really depends upon the prior series to make it worth reading.

WORTH  MENTIONING: I don’t believe the official blurb is an accurate depiction of the story here. Sam doesn’t have any reservations about the relationship and indeed spends most of the story chasing Martha.

CONNECTED BOOKS: STRONG is book 4.5 of the Stage Dive series. The romance in this book is self contained and can be read independent of the series. The assumption of knowledge, however, makes me recommend this only as part of the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Chaser

Review: ChaserChaser (Dive Bar, #3) by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #3
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 17, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 270
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable story about a man who meets the right woman and it changes his whole life. I enjoyed the story which is told in the first person from Eric’s point of view and how his whole world changes warmed my heart.

THE STORY: Something is just not right with Eric Collins. He’s feeling unsettled and when he meets newcomer Jean, his no commitment, single swinging lifestyle doesn’t call to him as much as spending time with the very pregnant single mom who ends up being his neighbor. But the friendship that develops between the two is constantly challenged by Eric’s attraction to Jean.

OPINION: This book’s slow and steady romance was wonderful. We get to see Eric actually changing as the book progresses. The events occur over months and Eric finds himself becoming the man that Jean needs. Getting to see exclusively Eric’s point of view allowed me to have sympathy for a guy who seemed shallow and immature in the prior books of the series. The book is sweet and made me smile as Jean and Eric got to know one another.

I was most impressed that this book made me really like Eric by the end. I truly believed that he had changed as the book progressed and a guy who I worried would be a lousy hero ends up being a man willing to love a woman and her child.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a special appearance and update that will please fans of Kylie Scott’s other books.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CHASER is the third book in the Dive Bar series. The romance here is self-contained and can be read as a standalone, but there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Trust

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: TrustTrust by Kylie Scott
Published by Kylie Scott on July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Incredibly engaging story that doesn’t let up from the first page. I loved that this book felt so real with all the traumas and difficulties of young love and teenage relationships. Edie and John are so sweet and yet their relationship feels authentic even with the incredible drama which moves the plot of this story.

THE STORY:  A robbery threatens the life of seventeen year old high school senior Edie Millen.  Saved by the actions of John Cole, Edie finds her world turned upside down as she tries cope with the traumatic events of the robbery.  Edie becomes more wild, wanting to try things for the first time in response to her near death experience.  Leaving her private girls school, Edie comes to the local public high school and finds new friends and John Cole.  John and Edie become friends and then things become weird between them as John’s offer to help Edie lose her virginity results in emotional turmoil between them.

OPINION:  This is a book that grabs the reader from the first page as there is no wait for the action to begin.  The scene is raw and scary and emotional. Seeing the events through Edie’s eyes made the fear more immediate and thus more enthralling.  This book may take place among high school students but it is raw and frightening and doesn’t pull its punches. It is also violent in parts.

Edie is the heart and center of this book.  And I loved her. She is intelligent, snarky, overweight and insecure, and funny. Even thirty years her senior, I could identify with her character and I had great empathy for her.  As she struggles with both the normal crises of high school — boys, classes and bullies — she also is dealing with the aftermath of the robbery and that changes her whole perspective on life.  And makes her a risk taker when she wasn’t one before. Sometimes I find depictions of teenage girls annoying but here she is perfectly balanced in that age of becoming an adult but still making silly choices.  And that was one thing I really liked.  Both John and Edie are changed by their experience and in that shared experience the two are able to talk through their choices.

John ends up being an incredibly sweet guy. He wants to protect Edie, but he is also willing to allow her to fight her own battles. It was also interesting to see how the robbery changed John’s life as well since he has similar but also different battles as result.  While we do not get John’s point of view during this book, Edie and John talk enough that his perspective is adequately represented in this book.

I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Edie and John. Their relationship evolves over time and I thought the entire progression was well done.  I also liked the complications about sex between these two. There are no sugar sweet glasses in this book.  While Edie and John are sweet together, there is also something raw and real about them.

I didn’t think I would like this book when I first approached it, but it ended up being really good and I only wish I knew more about what happens between Edie and John in the future.

WORTH MENTIONING:  TRUST is a young adult novel with characters ages seventeen and eighteen in high school.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TRUST is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Twist

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: TwistTwist by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #2
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A wonderful quirky romance between two flawed humans.  Kylie Scott never disappoints in making her characters feel real and honest and TWIST is no exception.  Loved the characters!

THE STORY:  Joe Collins has always been the good brother.  When his younger brother Eric wants to sign up for an online dating service, Joe helps him but ends up connecting with one of his brother’s matches.  Under the identity of his brother, Joe corresponds with Alex Parks for months until Alex decides to surprise Eric on his birthday.

OPINION:  Twist features such wonderful characters that I loved every moment of the book.  Joe is a genuine good guy who makes the “mistake” of adopting his brother’s persona to email a woman who catches his interest.  I liked how Joe falls into doing something that is completely against his nature — but the truth is that it might have been the right thing to do ultimately.

Joe is so wonderful a man. A bartender, a builder, someone who has done his best even when taken advantage of by those he cares for.  He cares for Alex even when she is angry with him and takes on so much onto himself for everyone around him.  I liked how considerate he is and how he is able to accept all of Alex’s neuroses with equanimity.

Alex is a woman of incredible contradictions — as are we all.  Talented as a graphic artist, she has trouble with social interactions.  Her fears make her veer away from the possibility of being hurt.  She has meaningless sexual relationships as a way of placing distance between herself and others. Joe challenges her at every turn.

I especially liked in this book how Joe and Alex have a funny and sweet relationship that becomes incredibly hot and intense.  How can you not love a guy who takes care of a woman who is at her absolute worst. Joe works to help Alex become the best she can be which means challenging herself.  Joe needs help as well.  These two nicely balance one another.

This book was almost a 5 star book, but the end of the book has a crisis which disrupts Joe to an incredible extent.  Both Alex and Joe relapse into their comfort zones a bit.  That causes a problem in their relationship which is resolved too quickly and easily for my tastes.  Too much of a serious situation is resolved off stage for me.  Even with that caveat, I loved this book and recommend it.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Mal!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TWIST is the second book in the Dive Bar series.  The book can be read as a standalone although a lot of characters appear in the prior book so you might enjoy it more knowing more about the interrelationships.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Dirty

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: DirtyDirty (Dive Bar, #1) by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #1
on April 19th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Warm, Emotional Romance with Humor and a Great Cast of Characters

“We’d both had dreams go lopsided.”

FINAL DECISION:  Funny and emotional kick off to Scott’s new series centered around a location — Dive Bar – with characters who come together at a crossroads in their lives and unexpectedly find a new path forward together.

THE STORY:  Lydia Green is having a terrible day.  It is her wedding day and she gets a video of her groom making out with his best friend — and best man.  Fleeing from her wedding, Lydia ends up crying and soaked in her wedding dress in the shower of Vaughan Hewson.  This encounter is complicated by the fact that they have never met before, Lydia has broken into his house, and Vaughan is naked.  Vaughan and Lydia begin a friendship that day as both has been shaken up by life.  Vaughan is a musician whose group has just broken up, he is broke and confronting the death of his parents.  As Lydia and Vaughan put the pieces back together, they may find out that they are building something together they didn’t expect.

OPINION:  I’ve read all of Kylie Scott’s books and I think this one may have the most romantic hero ever.  Vaughan has lines that just made me sigh with adoration.  There is a scene where the Vaughan and Lydia are lying together in bed with their pinkies linked together.  This scene is so incredibly moving and so quiet and gentle.  I normally like the intensely emotional books with large dramatic scenes. This scene and others in the book were so gently beautiful that it stuck with me.  I read the book a week ago, have read several books in between and yet that scene sticks with me.

The main characters in this book are really likeable.  (There are secondary characters that I didn’t like as much, but I look forward to seeing their development). Vaughan is sweet and definitely sexy (oh la la, the opening meeting between Lydia and Vaughan).  He is also a good man who never plays games with Lydia.  Caring and protective but no wimp, Vaughan helps Lydia without taking over her life.  I simply adored him.

Lydia is a woman who wants to belong.  Her disaster with her fiance forces her to confront this need and push past it.  A plus sized woman, she has a poor self-image of herself.  Through her work at Dive Bar and her relationship with Vaughan, Lydia finds a strength and resilience that she always had but didn’t see in herself.  After the hysterical flight from her marriage, Lydia shows maturity and strength. I liked her in all her quirky nature.

This book also sets up conflicts and storylines that I expect will be explored in future books in the series.  Lydia and Vaughan’s relationship is straightforward compared to what is coming up — I can’t wait!

WORTH MENTIONING: Kylie Scott has a marvelous ability to create a whole community of characters who have complicated relationships, difficult lives, real affection for one another, and sometimes great pain between them.  The characters in and surround Dive Bar (who hopefully will be getting stories of their own in this series) are a group worth cheering for.  BTW: Stage Door fans get a little treat in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DIRTY is the first book in the Dive Bar series.  This series is a very lightly connected spin-off of the Stage Door series, but you don’t need to read that series to enjoy this one.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars