ARC Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston


This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Release Date: November 15, 2016

* I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *

Book Description:

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.


Kelli’s Review:

The River Point Boys – a group of five rich kids – go hunting one morning. And the nightmare of all nightmares (and every parent’s worst fear) happens. Only four come back alive. One boy is dead. And it seems like one of the others did it. Was it a horrible accident? Or was it something more sinister?

This Is Our Story is told from two points of view. One is Kate, a senior who interns with the DA office. The other? The guilty party. The two are woven together perfectly, so much so, that I couldn’t really figure out WHO had done it. Mixed in are interviews by police of the boys and other kids that had been at the party the night before the event. Because for as close as the River Point Boys were, it seemed things were breaking apart. And with all this info I’d lean towards one boy, then switch, then switch again until I’d run through all the remaining boys several times. I thought maybe it was someone else and the anonymous voice was being used to throw us off. But I can’t lie, I didn’t guess the who by the end – nor did I guess the reason.

I really liked the characters. All are well fleshed out and complex. And in a book that features this many characters, it should be hard to do. Somehow, Elston knocked it out of the park. I really felt I could differentiate between the River Point Boys quite well.

The author also manages to toss a romance in there. I know this shouldn’t seem important, but it is. It’s pretty difficult to incorporate into a book of this type, but it worked so well. And it’s so brilliantly done that I didn’t even SEE IT COMING! I loved that I still had mixed feelings due to the events surrounding the two. Their text message exchanges added even MORE to the story.

This Is Our Story is easily one of my favorite books this year. I loved the elements of mystery and suspense. I loved the romance. I loved everything.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5


Waiting on Wednesday: Literally by Lucy Keating


Literally by Lucy Keating

Release Date: March 22, 2017

Book Description:

A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

Why Aren’t You Reading This?


Release Date: February 24, 2015

Book Description:

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. .

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


Kelli’s Review:

A shade of brilliance.

It has been a long time since I’ve loved a book filled with magic. I’ve let this sit unread on my Kindle for over a year, and believe me, I’m kicking myself for that now.

I am now making it my mission to read all of VE Schwab’s books immediately.

I’ve been let down by fantasy lately, so I think that’s part of the reason I left this one alone for so long. But this was amazing in more ways than I can tell you. The writing, plot, the magical world, and especially the characters all had me reeling.

Our story is set in London – and multiple Londons, parallel universe-type stuff. I could try to explain it here, but Kell does a better job in the book. Just know that it’s not confusing in any way and is unique amongst today’s fantasy world.

Speaking of Kell… goodness, I loved him! So much. He’s the good guy, but he also has some shades of grey inside him. I loved that he wasn’t just 100% perfect, because no one is. His added magical abilities made him special and part of the Royal Family in his home, ‘Red London.’ There is only one other person in the world with his abilities, so to say he’s rare and special is an understatement. And though he’s revered and loved, he still feels alone since he’s not quite part of the family.

We meet Lila Bard and I have to say that she may be my favorite fantasy heroine ever. That’s a ballsy statement, I know. But she has balls of steel and then some. She’s tough as nails, ready for adventure, and looking for something more. I adored her from the second she was introduced. Her wit, humor, and all-around badassery won me over. And she only continued to impress me as the story went on.

The action is fast-paced and there were many moments when I wanted to scream or throw my Kindle to the ground. The villains are wonderfully written, so be prepared to feel the hate in your bones. The last 20% or so really take off, and my heart was pounding as I waited for resolution. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kell and company in A Gathering of Shadows.

If you love books centered on magic, I urge to give this a try. This is the best start to a fantasy series I’ve read in a long time.

Kelli’s Rating: 5/5


Release Blitz: The Complete Explosive Series by Tessa Teevan



The Complete Explosive series by Tessa Teevan

Release Date: October 18, 2016

For the first time ever, all five stories in the Explosive series have been packaged into one hot box set and will only be available for a limited time. Pre-Order for just 99 cents! The price will increase on release day, so don’t miss out on the sale!

Fall in love with the entire gang in the Explosive series! Each standalone romance contains saucy heroines, sexy heroes, and a whole lot of love between the pages. Enjoy five incredible stories whose pages are loaded with passionate love, burning desire, and a whole lot of steam! Second chance romance, friends with benefits, surprise pregnancy, marriage of convenience, and laugh out loud friends to lovers, what more could you want?

Ignite (Book 1):
Alexa Sullivan-Tate, a young widow, and Jace McAllister, her first love, reconnect in this passionate second-chance romance. But when love has slipped through your fingertips before, how can you trust it will once again remain? They loved and lost before, but can they dispel the ghosts of the past and discover a new future?

Incinerate (Book 2):
Sparks fly and tempers flare when Charlie Davenport, a feisty brunette, crosses paths with wounded warrior, Knox Wellington. Their chemistry is undeniable, but the chip on his shoulder threatens to destroy any hope of him wooing the sweet, southern volunteer send to help with his rehabilitation. Head butts, patience is tested, and flames of passion ignite as they dance around their mutual attraction, both jaded from broken pasts. Will they finally be able to get over the pain of the past or will their relationship be reduced to ashes before it can actually begin?

Inflame (Book 3):
For sexy soldier Kale Montgomery and sweet, sassy schoolteacher Lucy Dawson, love was never in the cards. Their relationship, though unconventional, is mutually beneficial. One fateful night changes their lives forever in ways they could never imagine, giving them the push to admit that maybe, just maybe, they want more than they let on. Will Kale and Lucy realize what they’ve been waiting for is each other, or will the whirlwind of their romance cause the passion to burn out too quickly, causing it all to go up in smoke?

Intoxicate (Book 4):
Kalli Montgomery never expected to propose to Xavier Cruz, even though she’s been in love with the sexy, single father for as long as she can remember. He never expected to accept, but when circumstance threatens to take his daughter from him, he’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means marrying a woman he doesn’t love. This marriage of convenience has one rule: absolutely no falling in love. Easier said than done. Throw together a girl who believes rules are meant to be broken, and a man whose entire career revolves around following orders, you get a recipe for disaster. What could possibly go wrong?

Fusion (Book 5):
Where do babies come from? The question every parent dreads hearing has finally fallen from the lips of six-year-old Ava Banks, the curious, precocious daughter of high school sweethearts, Jeremy and Sierra. Normally blunt as can be, they find themselves struggling to find the right words to answer her. So instead, they rewind sixteen years to that one fateful day where a game of Seven Minutes in Heaven inevitably led to life-long romance filled with laughter, love, and many, many mishaps along the way.

Falling in love with your best friend? It’s the most incredible thing in the world. As long as it lasts. When the world comes crashing down around you, can even the strongest relationship withstand great tragedy?

Excerpt from Ignite, book one:

Pressing his face into my hair, he whispers, “I never thought I’d be lucky enough to hold you in my arms again, so it’s going to kill me to watch you walk away onto that plane. I know I said this before, but life happened and got in the way.” Then he draws himself back so he can look at me. His hand lifts my chin, and his eyes lock with mine. “I will come back for you, Alexa. Nothing will keep me away this time. I promise you, the moment I’m back in the States, you’ll be the first to know, and I’ll be in Cincinnati the minute I’m able.”

I swallow hard as the tears threaten to spill out onto my face. He runs his thumb across my cheek as one lone tear escapes my eye.

“I believe you. And I’m in the same boat. Never in a million years did I expect the weekend to turn out this way. My heart hasn’t felt this happy in so long. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but…I’m willing to find out.”

“I’ll be back before you know it. And hey, we have technology to keep us occupied. I’ll be blowing up your e-mail so often you’ll get sick of me,” he jokes, causing me to smile.

I hear the final boarding call for my flight, so Jace walks me back over to the gate. He sweeps me up in his arms, pressing me firmly against him and planting a hot, searing kiss on my lips. His tongue briefly enters my mouth and tangles with mine. Then he reluctantly steps back.

Hesitantly, I leave his arms and approach the gate before handing my ticket over. I’m about to head through the door when I hear him call my name. So I turn around and take in the sight of him one last time.

“You’ll always be my home run.”


Purchase Links:






About the Author:

Tessa is a twenty-something book junkie who’s obsessed with sports and cycling. She’s been married to her own book boyfriend for nearly ten years whose traits often show up in her books. If she’s not writing or looking through tons of photos of hot men, all in the name of research, then you can probably find her curled up with my Kindle, ignoring the rest of the world. She loves my sports almost as much as she loves her books. Her other obsessions include red wine, hot men, country music, and all things Grace Potter.

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Release Blitz: Tonic by Staci Hart



Tonic by Staci Hart

Release Date: October 13, 2016

Book Description:

Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.

Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.

Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.

Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.

The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.

Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.


Kelli’s Review:

Staci Hart has quickly become a favorite, go-to author for me. I love the ease with which she writes. Her characters are all unique, and her pairings are nothing short of perfection. I was so hyped to read Tonic and once again, she’s nailed it.

Joel has always been a minor background character since he’s been a part of Patrick’s life. (If you haven’t read the Bad Habits series, go do that!) I never really knew much about him other than that he’d helped Patrick when he needed it most. So he was already likable. And then Tonic happened. I think he’s probably second to only Cooper in regards to the men of Staci’s brain. He’s loyal. He’s genuine. He’s honest. These are all qualities we love and respect. And when they’re wrapped in a hot, tattooed, bearded package, well, they’re even better. I just really couldn’t find fault with Joel. Even when he was being a nasty prick. I felt for him because of his past. Because he was such a stand-up guy.

And Annika… I really enjoyed her character. She was hardworking, intelligent, and independent. She seemed more like the typical, easygoing girl as opposed to an affected Hollywood type. She was real and down-to-Earth under her hardened exterior. Or maybe that was all Joel’s doing.

As individuals, one would think they were too different to make sense. Thankfully, opposites attract and their chemistry was off-the-charts! From the moment they met it was just a matter of when. And when it happens, it’s hot. And there is a lot of sex here!

I enjoyed the premise of a reality show in a tattoo shop. It made the angst more realistic in that both had more at stake than just their hearts. Would it all catch up to them? Could they defeat the odds? Tonic is perfectly paced. There are no moments of waiting for things to happen – things are happening at all times and the drama is always present. It’s really just a matter of waiting for it all to fall apart. Which, as evil as it sounds, is one of my favorite parts in romance books. I crave that moment when your heart drops. I live for the moments of reconciliation. Will you get that here? I can’t say! Just know that Staci has once again crafted another gem.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5


Blush Factor: 4






About the Author:


Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.

From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics.

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