Review: Breaking the Rules (The Breaking Series, #1) by Nicole Sturgill

This is the first story in the 'Breaking' Series. Elizabeth has always been more at home breaking steers and branding cattle than in the house cooking and cleaning but her father is pushing her to settle down and get married to the man of his choosing.

But what happens when she falls in love with a man who is completely off limits? Brody Atkinson isn't looking for love and he certainly isn't looking for any more life and death struggles but that's exactly what he finds when he meets Elizabeth McCready and the two of them uncover a plot to steal her ranch.

I first read this story when Nicole was uploading it, a chapter each day on Wattpad. It wasn't the the first story I read by her and it certainly wouldn't be the last. With my blog taking up so much time this last year, I haven't had much chance to read a lot on Wattpad, but her stories I follow with each upload. I am very proud of her on getting published.

By now she has about fifty completed works on that site and the Breaking Series is definitely one of my favourites. Breaking The Rules though is not the best of the series, in my opinion. I have had the chance to read the others and with each book it gets better and better.

Do not get me wrong Breaking The Rules is still very good. There are not a lot of historical romance novels that can catch my interest. Often they are filled with clich├ęs and do not feel authentic. This is not the case here. Sometimes it is little things like using western slang and old phrases to give it a more realistic touch, that sets it apart from other historical novels.

Elizabeth isn't your typical woman from the 1800's. Instead of always wearing dresses and worrying about finding a suitable match, she likes to wear trousers, work on the farm and marriage is the last thing on her mind. Unfortunately she will need to get married if she wants to keep that farm. Her dad has gotten very sick and his last wish is to see her happy and taken care of. Elizabeth is convinced she doesn't need a man to help her run the farm, she's practically been doing that on her own for the last couple of years.

Unfortunately her dad is very stubborn about it. If she doesn't marry, the farm will go to someone else. Elizabeth is also not allowed to choose just anybody to marry, her dad has already picked out Grant for her. A classy business man from Virginia, with ambitions in politics. Anything but a match made in heaven these two.

Seeing no other option, Elizabeth agrees. Before that can actually happen though, she is kidnapped along with the new ranch hand Brody. It seems someone does not want to see her get married or rather they want that farm.

Being stuck with Brody turns out pretty good really. Elizabeth is always talking about needing no man, but when two are about to kill her, she is glad when Brody comes to the rescue. Now all they need to do is get back to the farm. With no food, water or horse, it will be a long walk and plenty of time for these two to get to know each other very well.

From the moment Brody arrived on the farm, the tension between him and the boss lady have been intense and that only grows on their travel. Before you know it sparks are flying all around. Though a happy ending is not that easy for these two. Just when you think this is it, you realise there is another hundred pages, so things are about to go down.

Definitely a story with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you flipping the pages. The romance between Brody and Elizabeth went a little fast for my liking, but these two are so perfect for each other. They are both so stubborn and independent, constantly bickering and making up. There is this funny side to Brody that I did not expect and it is just charming. The overall ending is pretty predictable, but plenty happens in between to keep it very interesting. I think Nicole Sturgill did a wonderful job with this one. 

I can not wait for the rest of the series to come out so I can reread them!

3.5 stars
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Music Monday (Mar. 31)

Music Monday is a weekly book meme. Everyone can join in, you just have to do the following:
  • Choose a book or a scene from a book.
  • Choose a song that fits said book or scene.
  • Tell us why you paired them together.
  • Don't forget to share the title and author.
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!

In the book Only The Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin, Milcah wants that lyric tattooed on her arm to prove it's not only the good ones who die young. Milcah has cancer and believes she is going to die. She wants that tattoo because it reminds her of herself, an I told you so for at her wake. Very morbid, I know. In case she doesn't die of the cancer and gets to grow old, it still has the same purpose and even proves her point.

If you don't have a blog and want to participate just share your links to the book and song in the comments.

Sunday Post (Mar. 24 - 30)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Weekly Recap

(Review, Excerpt & Giveaway) Broken Skies by Theresa Kay (4.5 stars)

(Review) Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (2 stars)

(Review & Giveaway) Only The Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin (3 stars)

(Review & Giveaway) The Romeo Club by Rebekah L. Purdy (3 stars)


(Saturday Series) Misbehaving by Abbi Glines (4 stars



Next week
*Note: Some posts may change*

Music Monday with Billy Joel and K.K. Hendin
(Review) Breaking The Rules by Nicole Sturgill 

(Review) Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Waiting On Wednesday
(Blitz) Falling By Design by Valia Lind

(Review) John Dreamer by Elise Celine

(Blitz) The Opposite Of Nothing by Shari Slade

(Saturday Series) Bad For You by Abbi Glines 

(Review) Kissing The Maid Of Honor by Robin Bielman


New on my TBR


Broken Skies was my favourite read this week. Such a great YA fantasy story :)

Only two more day 'till I have my hands on Bad For You!!!

Don't forget, there are still plenty of giveaways you can enter, so many book goodies to win :)

Review: Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

He stole her lipstick…and her heart.

Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.

When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

It took me a while before I figured out what Liam's secret was. Let's just say I did not expect it and I applaud the author's bravery to write about such a subject. I absolutely can not tell you what it is, because that would spoil it all. Stacey has done a wonderful job writing a heartfelt story about a not so traditional boy in a relationship with a not so ordinary girl.

The way Dani handles the whole thing is pretty amazing. I think I would start freaking out a bit, but the way she accepts him, all of him is just wonderful.

It was hard for me to connect with Liam. He always kept people at a certain distance and I also felt that as a reader. Later on in the story I understood it better, but then it seemed to be to late.

I really liked the relationship between these two. There was plenty of humour in the story and Dani definitely had me cracking up a couple of times.

The whole twist/secret in the story is very unique and refreshing. It was definitely an eye opener, but it was also a subject that I am absolutely not familiar with so it wasn't easy to get into.

Crossing is very unique and refreshing. A story about accepting, not only one and other, but also yourself and overcoming fears to give love a chance.

The Author
Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, FOUND, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business - a collection of essays,CROSSING, and multiple short stories.

She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she's not foolin' anybody.

Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her two young children.

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Saturday Series: Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6) by Abbi Glines

An unexpected affair leads to mind-blowing harmony in this Sea Breeze novel from New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Jason is sick of living in his rock star brother’s shadow. So when he ships off to Sea Breeze, Alabama, he’s looking for a much deserved escape and a chance to blow off some envious steam. Falling for the local bad girl was definitely not the plan. But as the new duo enjoys some naughty fun in the Alabama sun, Jason learns that even though Jax is the musician in the family, he’s not the only brother who can rock someone’s world.

I need to start off by saying that I did not expected Jess to get her own story. We saw her passing by in the previous books and she didn't make a great impression. Usually she was drunk, desperate and hitting on other girls' men. In my book that does not make her worthy, but like always Abbi knows how to spin a story.

While she behaves a bit unexpected at times, I would not consider her a "bad girl". Just like Low, Cage and Preston, she did not have the best upbringing. Her single mom works as a stripper, though I do not think Jess ever came anything short. She actually has a good relationship with her mom, it's more what other people think of the whole situation. Her entire life her mom has been saying to her that with her looks she can get any man that she wants, when in reality Jess pretty much was ready to settle down with the lowest of men.

After her on and off relationship of years finally really breaks, Jess might realise she can get better and deserves better. Though a brother of a rockstar was not what she was expecting. Jason is everything her ex-boyfriend is not. The attraction is obvious and they might even handle on that, but Jess knows it could never be more than a fling. She is somehow convinced Jason is out of her league, so she'll take what she get.

Now we have also seen Jason appearing in the previous books and he always made a good impression on me. He seemed like such a nice and proper guy, so I did not see his dirty side coming at all. The things that come out of that boy's mouth will make you blush. Like Jess he knows they can never want more than a fling. Though Jason just has no idea in general what he wants, besides not being a politician. So when things get more serious between them choices will need to be made and honestly both are dragging their legs about it.

Jess and Jason are probably one of the most unlikely couples, though really you can not sell them short. There is this other softer and caring side of Jess that I really liked. While Jason's confidence and dirty mouth were very fun to see in action. The overall plot line was not very original and there was actually less drama here than in the previous books. Still the characters totally made up for it. 

Krit gets pushed more forward in this book and we get to read his story next week. I always thought he was a fun character, but also here we already get to know more about him. He's not just a sexy rockstar, he's also very caring and loyal. I wish it was next week already.

Sea Breeze - Reading order and purchase links



The Author

Since publishing her first novel Breathe in May of 2011, Abbi has also released The New York Times bestselling Seabreeze Series which includes Breathe, Because of Low, While It Lasts, Just For Now and Sometimes It Last, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless. New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers. Last but not least her most popular series to date, Rosemary Beach which includes The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Forever Too Far, Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection.

When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.
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Review: Harp's Song by Cassie Shine

In just a few months Harp Evans will be officially coming of age and graduating from high school. She will be free from the mother that never wanted her, the house that never felt like home, and the disappointment of the last seventeen years. What she doesn’t know is that her mother has been holding onto a secret that has the potential to derail her dreams and destroy her already faulty sense of self. 

A self-proclaimed recluse, Harp spends most of her time practicing the cello, in the hopes of earning a full scholarship that will grant her freedom, but will also send her away from her best friend Connor Williams, who is becoming more than just a friend. 

As revelations are made, will Harp still feel the same way about leaving everyone that cares about her behind? Or will she continue to pursue the life she’s been dreaming of for as long as she can remember?

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

In the beginning it seems that the focus of the story will be on Harp and Connor and whatever is developing between them. We get a few glimpses on how they became friends and the importance of Conner in Harp's life, which hasn't been easy. Ever since she could remember her mom loathed her. Harp had to take care of herself since a very young age and she has made sure she can avoid her mom as often as possible. Whenever they are in the same room, her mom would just beat on her down verbally.

Like I said, it all starts with this blossoming romance between Harp and Connor, then suddenly the focus gets shifted on Harp and her mom. This shift was a bit confusing to me and most of what happened so far did not seem that relevant to the rest of the story anymore. Harp's mom reveals some very dark secrets and Harp does not know how to deal with that knowledge. She starts withdrawing from the people who care most about her and retreat inside her head.

I did not fully understand some of the decisions Harp made after her mother's revelations. Instead of bringing the people she cares about most, she keeps them at bay and has this little rebel fase. With the focus mostly on that, it seems suddenly Connor is no longer in the picture. He is still there, but more on the background. Knowing he has always been there for her, done everything for her, I would have expected more from him.

The revelations from her mother are big shockers and I could understand that it really isn't easy. She just needs some time to process it all, but her aim is still to get out of the house and go to college. That never wavers and I like that determination Harp often shows. It was an interesting story and a pretty fast read. I would liked to have seen more of Connor, but the focus was more on Harp's personal struggles. The way Harp looks at things change and she needs to learn that the things we go through do not define us.

The Author
Cassie Shine released her debut young adult novel, Harp's Song in November 2013, finally finishing the short story she started in her college creative writing class … many, many moons ago. She has always been an avid reader and lover of music (yes, she was in the high school marching band). While she has a weak spot for all things teeny bopper especially boy bands, she also loves classical, country, rock and well, pretty much everything.

After living in St. Louis for more than ten years, she and her husband packed up a U-Haul and headed west. They currently live in Orange County, CA with their furry kids Finnegan and Molly.

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Review & Giveaway: The Romeo Club by Rebekah L. Purdy

What happens when you agree to help your brother “de-nerdify” so he can catch the attention of the popular Chloe Anders, and to everyone's surprise, he actually lands her?

And what if his equally geeky friends come running with girl wish lists of their own, offering money for your services?

Well, if you’re sixteen-year-old, Delyla Denson, then you start The Romeo Club. A secret club where she’ll teach these guys how talk, act, and be cool around girls. It’s a win-win situation.

She’ll get enough money for the awesome prom dress she’s had her eye on, and the guys, well, they’ll get dates and maybe learn how to do something other than beat the next level on their video games.

There are only two problems with this plan. One, her quarterback/track star boyfriend is getting jealous of how much time she’s spending away from him and decides to try and figure out what’s going on. And two, Delyla is kind of falling for her brother’s BFF, Trey who she’s been hanging out with a lot more. And who thanks to her help, has caught the attention of the beautiful, perfect, and popular, Portia Rickard. With Portia and Trey heating up, Delyla realizes that maybe the person she’s meant to be with has been in front of her all this time.

But falling for Trey means she’ll have to take drastic measures including sabotage, with a capital S.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

It all starts pretty fast. Within the first two chapters Delyla has denerdified her brother, got him that date and is setting up The Romeo Club for his friends. Delyla is not particularly a specialist, but she knows enough that she can help these nerds. The RC is a success, the boys are gaining confidence, better clothes and before you know it they are actually talking to girls.

Spending so much time with these guys, Delyla is having some conflicting emotions. While she has this popular jock boyfriend, she can not help but see her childhood friend Trey in this new light. Which is a bit too little too late, because he is now interested in the ever so perfect Portia. So certainly plenty of high school drama to go around.

The concept of the Romeo Club, was certainly endearing and just plain fun. You can really see that light bulb in Delyla's head slowly starting to glow when it comes to her feelings about Trey. They have these sweet moments, which make you root for a happy ending.

When Delyla finally realises she has feelings for Trey, she sets out on sabotaging his relationship with Portia. I can not agree with what she did there and it was very selfish. So she could have definitely handled that better.

Then there is also the neighbours' dog, no real clue to what his purpose was in this story. It added some funny moments when he stole stuff from the neighbours and Delyla got blamed for it, but other than that it did not feel necessary.

My overall feeling of this book was that it could easily be a teen Disney movie. So while the characters are juniors and seniors, it felt aimed at a younger audience. The starting romance between two long-time friends is not the most original, though fans of that will love this book. The Romeo club is a fun, fast, geeky read.

The Author
I was born and raised in Michigan (just look for the giant mitten on the map—it’ll likely throw a snowball at you). I spent most of my time in Michigan, but while in the army got to call KS, SC, MO, and CA home for awhile as well.

As a kid my family moved around a lot. Try spending both your freshman and senior years at new schools (yeah, loads of fun). I could’ve changed my name to “new girl”.

I love writing for teens because those are the years I remember falling in love with most of my favorite books. Some of the authors I couldn’t put down were L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Richie Tankersley Cusick, Joan Lowery Nixon, Lois Duncan, amongst several others.

My husband and I have a large family. There are six kids total! So we have LOTS of fun on vacations (although hours on the road, cooped up in the Expedition is kind of stressful—although we pass the time with MAD LIBS and hoping no one gets carsick).

Connect with Rebekah L. Purdy:

1 ebook of The Romeo Club & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)

Review & Giveaway: Only The Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin

The first year of college is supposed to be about parties, parties, and getting the hell out of Texas. Instead, Milcah Daniels is spending her eighteenth year in and out of Houston's hospitals. Her hair is falling out, they’ve cut off her boobs, and if she makes it to nineteen, she’ll consider it a personal miracle.

Breast cancer really has a way of messing with a girl’s social calendar.

When Milcah’s temporarily discharged from the hospital, she’s determined to get a tattoo for every medical procedure she’s had. Her quest leads her to Skin Stories, a new tattoo parlor a block from her apartment. And to it’s infuriatingly sexy artist, Callum Scott.

Callum is everything Milcah wants, and everything she shouldn’t have now. A new relationship when the official prognosis is one to five years is a terrible idea. But Callum doesn’t know about the breast cancer, and Milcah’s not running to tell him.

But when the doctor says things are actually looking positive, her entire life turns upside down. How is she supposed to start living again when she’s finally learned to accept her death?

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Milcah was only eighteen years old when she found a lump in her breast. After ignoring it for half a year, the doctors confirm her worst fear, she has breast cancer. Which to Milcah sounds like they are saying she will die. Now she is constantly living the days with the thought that it might be her last one. Undergoing the chemo and eventually a double vasectomy, Milcah has become very bitter, angry and depressed.

Sick and tired of the whole cancer things, she feels the need to turn it somehow into something positive. That is where she gets the idea for getting a tattoo and that is how she meets Callum. He is a tattoo artist and apparently also her neighbour. While Milcah can not deny the attraction she feels for him, she tries to keep him at arms length. The last things she needs right now is to get involved with someone, when she doesn't even know if she'll make it to her nineteenth birthday.

When you read the blurb you know it's not going to be a light fluffy read, on the contrary. Only The Good Die Young plays very much on your emotions. Milcah's thoughts are often very depressing and negative. It is executed so well you get sucked into that same emotional state as the character, leaving you feel drained. Still those thoughts and her struggle are very real and that is what makes it so easy to connect with the character.

Milcah often uses sarcasm and wit to divert from that path of total despair, still halfway through the book her negative attitude becomes too much. I had hoped that the romance between her and Callum could uplift the story a bit, but somehow it got even more darker. Callum made an effort to turn her thoughts positive, to keep looking at life as something good, but one little thing and Milcah is going down again.

I would have thought that an eighteen-year-old had more will to live than Milcah did. There were often times I wanted to yell at her for being so negative and to live her life to the fullest. It is understandable that this isn't easy, but I can not agree with some of the choices she made. Instead of leaning on other people, she wanted to do this on her own.

Overall it was certainly an interesting book, though quite depressive. It doesn't leave you very happy, but I could appreciate the honesty and reality of the story. I wouldn't have minded to've seen more passionate romance between Milcah and Callum though. Only The Good Die Young is a pretty fast and unique read.

The Author
KK Hendin's real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she'll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate.

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