Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Sweetness (The Sweetest Thing, Book 1) by Sierra Hill

Title:Sweetness (The Sweetest Thing, Book 1)
Author:Sierra Hill
PublisherCreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date:July 2016
Publisher's DescriptionI’m the girl from the school of hard knocks.
Nothing has ever come easy for me. So forgive me if I’m a bit reluctant about Kincaid Griffin – born-with-a-silver-spoon in his mouth, conceited college hoops player. A guy who could get any girl he wants, and yet, is suddenly everywhere I am trying to woo me. The more I protest, the more persistent he becomes.
I’m a lucky bastard.
Let’s face it. As a college athlete, I don’t chase girls – they come to me. I’m as arrogant and cocky as they come, getting nearly everything I want, whenever I want. But there is nothing sweeter than a girl who plays hard to get. And Ainsley Locker is so full of confidence that she knocks me off my feet from the moment I meet her. She’s a challenge. And I like challenges. So I go full-court press to win her over. But when a stupid mistake turns viral, slam dunking all over my life in a media frenzy, my spot on the team may be in jeopardy, along with my shot at winning the girl.
My rating:**


Checking out this book’s sample didn’t make me feel the need to read it immediately, so I left it on my Kindle for a bit. I’ve been on a fantasy kick lately, so I thought that maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this. When I came back to it a month or so later, I found myself more interested in the character and so decided to buy the book. Unfortunately, this author’s writing just didn’t work for me. She was all over the place in terms of tenses, but I could have looked past that if I’d found anything in this story to hold my interest. Cade was a one-dimensional d-bag, and aside from being a big, cute jock, nothing about him seemed particularly special. Poor Ainsley had had a rough life, and seemed way too busy to put up with his self-involved, rich jock nonsense. I just couldn’t bring myself to stick around long enough to witness the lowering of her standards that would make Cade seem like her dream man.

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Undone by Shannon Richard

Title:Tell Me When
Author:Shannon Richard
PublisherForever Yours
Publication Date:July 2, 2013
Publisher's DescriptionThings Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:

Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called "buck urine"
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King

After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn't easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who's interested in much more than Paige's car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?
My rating:***.5


This is a great book for anybody who is a fan of fish out of water stories.

Paige is a sympathetic protagonist who learns that first impressions in a small town can pay dividends for a very long time. I’m not a big fan of small town romances that feature humble, salt of the earth people who are direct foils to the evil, selfish, shallow city idiots who sling around their big city rudeness before being driving back to their dens of iniquity. I like small towns. I like cities. I don’t like any book that relies only on stereotypes to depict the citizens of either type of area.

While some of the supporting cast in this book were more caricatures than characters, I still enjoyed this story. It was interesting to watch Paige feel her way around life in Florida, and overcome the lingering wounds left by her last relationship.  Brendan was a great guy, and even though he was interested in her all along, the way that he took care of Paige wasn’t a ploy to get in her pants. I appreciated how much effort he put into helping her build a life.

Ms. Richard did an excellent job of building emotion. Her funny scenes were really funny, and the sad ones hit me right in the feels. This book was a great start to the series, and I look forward to reading the next one.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt

Title:Tell Me When
Author:Stina Lindenblatt
PublisherCarina Press
Publication Date:January 20, 2013
Publisher's DescriptionAmber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.

She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.

But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.

When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.
My rating:***.5


I really enjoyed this book. Amber and Marcus come with the traumatic back stories that are almost de rigeur in this genre, but they were both more than the things they’d suffered. Ms. Lindenblatt did a great job creating convincing characters who were more than the sum of their tragedies. The way that they interacted made me believe that each was integral to the other’s healing process, and even Marcus’ wounded manwhore thing worked for me.

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Nothing Left to Lose by Kirsty Moseley

Title:Nothing Left to Lose
Author:Kirsty Moseley
Publication Date:November 5, 2013
Publisher's DescriptionAnnabelle Spencer’s life is every girl’s dream. She has wonderful parents, great friends, and of course the perfect boyfriend, Jack Roberts. That all changes on her sixteenth birthday when her life comes crashing down around her. Her dream night turns into a nightmare when Jack is murdered right in front of her, and she’s kidnapped by his murderer, Carter Thomas, a big time drug and arms dealer.

After five months of being with Carter, she’s found, but the experience has totally changed her. She’s no longer the happy-go-lucky girl that everyone used to know and love; she’s now cold, hard and suffers from night terrors. It appears that Carter broke not only her body, but her spirit too. A shadow of her former self, her slogan for life is now: ‘If you don’t care about anything, then you have nothing to lose’.

Carter is currently serving time for the murder of Jack, a conviction that Anna helped secure. But his retrial is coming up because some key evidence appears to have been tampered with. Unbeknown to Anna, death threats are being received by her father, the Senator. It appears that Carter is still interested in Anna and will stop at nothing to get her back.

Ashton Taylor is brought in to protect her. He’s a newly qualified SWAT agent, a bright spark, the agency’s new golden boy. He is assigned undercover, posing as her boyfriend. His job is to help her through college and keep her safe until the end of the trial in eight months’ time.

For three years she has been the broken, damaged girl, refusing to feel emotion or pain, but can Ashton help her rebuild her life and finally deal with the grief of losing her childhood sweetheart? Will he be the one to make her see that life is, in fact, worth living and that not all men will hurt her?

All the while, the shadow of the trial looms over the both of them, taunting them, reminding them that it isn’t over yet. After all, Carter Thomas will stop at nothing to be reunited with his ‘Princess’.

Due to heavy subject matter and sexual content, this book is recommended for ages 17+
My rating:***


This is one for the feelings, not so much for the head. There were a lot of thing in this book that didn’t make sense logistically, but I did enjoy the story itself. Annabelle was a sympathetic protagonist, and although her transformation seemed a little too much like magic, it was nice to see such a damaged character allow herself to heal. Ashton really tugged at my heartstrings with his earnest attempts to understand Mia, and his patience with her. Annabelle’s parents annoyed me quite a bit and I wanted to shake them, but I don’t have much patience for overbearing people, even when their intentions are good.

I wasn’t expecting a detailed description of what close protection is like or anything, but let’s be realistic: the child of a front-running presidential candidate has NO privacy. The entire world would have known what had happened to Annabelle, or at least that she had somehow disappeared for a while immediately following the murder of her boyfriend. She would have been watched like a hawk in the months leading up to her father’s election, and even if she wasn’t on the campaign trail with him, she would not have been able to live anonymously.

A large percentage of the dialog sounded British, which makes sense, given that the author is British. Why must all new adult books be set in the United States? Why couldn’t Annabelle’s story have taken place somewhere else? So much dialog/setting weirdness distracted me from the story.

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Before You Break by Christina Lee

Title:Before You Break
Author:Christina Lee
Publication Date:February 18, 2014
Publisher's DescriptionA sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

*A companion novel to ALL OF YOU
My rating:***.5


I liked the dynamic between Ella and Quinn. I felt really bad for Quinn with regard to his relationship with his family, and liked that Ella had a stable and loving family; sometimes it feels like a real drag to read a book where everybody’s home life is awful. While I did feel that Quinn’s self-loathing was at times really hard to read without rolling my eyes, I had to remember that 1) the character is pretty young and 2) without a good support network, it’s understandable that he could feel that he had to bear such a huge burden by himself.

I liked that Ella had such a good head on her shoulders. She wasn’t rash, and I applauded how fair she tried to be in every situation. I was worried that the identity thing was going to be a major to-do in this book, but I liked how Ms. Lee handled it. It didn’t feel that things were unnecessarily melodramatic in this book, and my eyes didn’t get the “that’s ridiculous” workout. This is definitely a cut above the $.99 new adult novels that populate online booksellers these days, and I recommend it to fans of the genre. I didn’t read the other book in this series prior to reading Before You Break, but I’m definitely going to buy it at some point in the future.

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