Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills ~ Review & Teaser (@ilsamaddenmills)

Ilsa Madden-Mills is an author I like to pick up whenever she releases something new. She's amazing at creating a fascinating world with interesting characters that I want to get to know.
Dear Ava
Title: Dear Ava
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published: February 1st 2020

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WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.

The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world--until they destroyed me.

The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.

Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?

Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .

Dear Ava,
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That's stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.

It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.
I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I've missed you cheering at my football games.
I've missed the smell of your hair.

And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.

Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.

I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up Dear Ava, but I was certainly unprepared for the shattering opening chapter. My heart broke for Ava, but the more I read the stronger she became and I was proud of the woman she turned into. It wasn't always easy, but she fought her demons and with the help of some good friends she was able to walk with her head held high.

I loved meeting Knox, and seeing the impact that he had in Ava's life. He was a strong character beneath his scars, and had suffered so much loss as well. He was strong and willing to do all he could for those he loved. He had an amazing bond with his twin and they both looked out for one another. His good friend Chance was Ava's ex and I could see these three boys would do anything to get to the bottom of Ava's problems.

This was such a good read from start to finish. I liked meeting Ava's friends, Piper and Wyatt, knowing they would do anything for Ava. Knox, Dane and Chance were all amazing characters too, and I hope we get to see more of them. The storyline was pretty good—most of the time—there were a few moments that didn't make a lot of sense, and could have been smoothed out a little bit, but overall it was a good read.
These are little glimpses into the world and the writing style of Dear Ava...

“Steel yourself,” I whisper. “Beyond these doors lie hellhounds and vampires.” I smirk. If only they really were. I’d pull out a stake and end them like Buffy. Sadly, they are only human, and I cannot stab them.

Kindle Page 13

I want her.
I fucking do.
But you can’t take a beautiful, soft flower and crush it under your cleats, not when she’s halfway to broken already.

Kindle Page 156

Ilsa Madden-MillsWall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's best known for her angsty, yet funny, New Adult college romances. 

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She's also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. 

Other reviews featuring Ilsa Madden-Mills
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The Hook Up series
English series
Briarcrest Academy series
Very Wicked Things #2 
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Credence by Penelope Douglas ~ Review & Teaser (@PenDouglas)

I was so excited when I stumbled across Credence while because Penelope Douglas I love to read! I noticed that it's no longer on Kindle Unlimited, so I'm so glad I got to read it when I did. I love a read that maybe a little twisted, and this read had all that and more!
Title: Credence
Author: Penelope Douglas
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published: January 13th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

Three of them, one of her, and a remote cabin in the woods. Let the hot, winter nights ensue...

Tiernan de Haas doesn't care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she's grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents' fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She's always been alone, hasn't she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father's stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore.

As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he...

He's going to keep her.

This book blew me away! It was intense, it played with my emotions and kept me hooked to that final page. I didn’t want to put it down once I started, watching Teirnan’s world upside down. Life as she knew it was over and she decided that she needs space to learn about herself, even if it was with her fathers stepbrother and his two sons.

My heart broke for Teirnan, especially realising how isolated she was in her family. Her parents were very absorbed about one another. Seeing her with Jake, Kaleb and Noah was exciting, as her personality starts to surface and she learned to engage with them.

I liked the way they pushed her out of her comfort zone, and she was willing to pull her weight and earn her way. There were many hot and heavy moments throughout this read, and they may not be for everyone. Me personally, I enjoyed those taboo moments and craved to see where they lead.

Every time I pick up a read by Penelope Douglas, I know she is going to pull me into one amazing and twisted read! She creates characters that you want to know more about and a world that you feel like you are in! I cannot wait to see what she brings us next!

It was hard for Teirnan to start over with people she hardly knew, but I was happy that she was able to form a connection early on.

“Do you want the WiFi?” Jake asks me.
The reminder that I can stay connected here makes me pause for a moment.
But if I refuse it, he’ll wonder why. “Sure,” I answer.
“It’s under Cobra Kai.” I shoot a look up at him. Cute.
Searching the available networks, I find Cobra Kai is the only one that pops up.
He’s quiet for a moment and then says, “A man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves…”
I stop myself before I can shake my head and type in “No Mercy.” It connects within seconds.
Jake comes to my side and glances down. When he sees I got the password correct, he nods, impressed. “You can stay.”

Kindle Page 25

Penelope DouglasPenelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author living in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter. When she's not writing, you'll find her cleaning or trolling the IMDb message boards, arguing with other Star Wars fanatics. Her books include the Fall Away series (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Aflame). Please look for her recent standalones, Corrupt and Misconduct. Available now. 

Other reviews featuring Penelope Douglas
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The Other Side by Kim Holden~ Review & Teaser (#KimHolden #TheOtherSide)

I've been in a reading funk for a while now, which really sucks because I've had 2 weeks off work and no read mind blowing reads. When hunting for that next read I stumbled across The Other Side, and I am so glad I picked it up! It really touched my soul... you need to pick this one up!
The Other Side
Title: The Other Side
Author: Kim Holden
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published: June 5th 2019

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

Denver, Colorado

There are two sides to every story.
The surface reality that’s presented to the world.
And then there’s the other side.
The real one.
The one that matters.

Seventeen-year-old, self-proclaimed asshole, Toby Page, is alone.
No friends.
No family.
He trades maintenance work in exchange for room and board.
Every day he fights demons no one else can see.
Every day he wants to give up.
But he can’t.
Not yet.

When Alice Eliot moves in downstairs, she offers Toby some light in his dark world.
At a crossroads and barely hanging on, it’s hard to have perspective.
It’s difficult to see your own worth when you’re the villain in your story.
Luckily for Toby, Alice brings things out in him that no one else ever has.

As the two sides of Toby’s story are revealed, and the full reality comes into view, truth is gained.
Improbable alliances prove that kindness is fundamentally human.
Unlikely heroes emerge.

The question is, Will it all be enough to save him?

What a mind blowing read this one! The writing was amazing and the emotion poured from the pages really moved me. I really didn't think how deep this book could take me, and as each little piece of the story was unravelled, the more my heart ached. Each character had their own demons or issues, but the way they all wove together, was amazing!

Toby was such a sad character, and I could see he was his own worst enemy. His was a stickler for routine, and I could see he worked hard at school and at home. He didn't have much, and even where he was living made me sad for him. He was such a kind soul and always saw the best in people, despite how they would treat him.

I liked the change in Toby when he met Alice. There was a connection between them that he couldn't ignore and he was continuously drawn to her. She made him feel things, like happiness and longing, which he hadn't felt in a long time. He had a plan though and I could see the direction it was heading and my heart was truly breaking for this lost young man.

Honestly, this book pulled so much emotion out of me, and there were numerous times that I shed tears. I just wanted someone to step in for Toby and show that they cared for him too. He didn't realise the amount of support that he could get from the people around him. Kim Holden sure knows how to weave a tale that can leave and impact on your soul, and I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time to come.

I have a few teasers today, they were all moments that made my heart ache for Toby... 😥

Her hands shift from my stomach and slide around to hug me under my shirt. “Every kiss eventually ends. The memory of them doesn’t. I’ll still feel that one when I’m ninety,” she whispers so Cliff can’t hear, because the bastard is still watching us.
Hugging her back, I agree inwardly, The memory of them doesn’t...

Kindle Page 128

“Some people aren’t worth fighting for, Toby. You’re not one of them. There are people we meet in this life who anchor us. They reassure us with their presence. They bring us comfort simply by being. They love by osmosis, radiating it out and diffusing it in effortlessly. Quietly, they walk among us, treading lightly but providing stability and influence because it’s second nature. The thing that’s so special about these people is that they don’t even know they’re doing it.”
Tears are streaming again as I involuntarily gasp for the air my body is demanding to feed the torrent. I immediately bury my face in the forearms of my sweatshirt to muffle my breakdown.
“That’s you, Toby. That’s you. You’re worth fighting for.” Her voice cracks before she adds, “You have no fucking idea how much I wish you realized it and started fighting for yourself.”

Kindle Page 239

I’m eighteen years old and this is the first cake I’ve ever had that was mine, name written on it or not. We never had birthday cakes growing up. We never celebrated milestones. We never did a lot of things and it was okay because that’s just how it was.
But this cake is mine.

Kindle Page 318

Kim HoldenSome of my favorite things: Reading (YA or New Adult), writing (especially on a productive day), the two coolest guys on the planet (my husband and son), my bicycle (hand built by my husband), Facebook (it’s an addiction at this point), iced coffee (hazelnut from McDonalds), and music (LOVE Sunset Sons, the 1975, Dredg, the xx, Balance and Composure, Teenage Bottlerocket, Manchester Orchestra, and 30 Seconds to Mars).

I also love dreaming. Big. Writing a few years ago was an elusive dream until I grabbed a hold of it with both hands and refused to let go. Keep chasing YOUR dreams

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