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18467599From Goodreads: Photographer Sierra Stratton views the world through a lens all her own. She has an uncanny sense about people, something that often causes her trouble. When she meets the sexy and brooding Evan Dorsey, her intuition tells her he’s suffering, and she wants to be the one to help him.

Evan isn’t open to help from anyone, however. His focus is on his Major League career and making himself as marketable as possible for his upcoming free agency. He plans to ride out the season in Atlanta and then sign with another team, away from the painful memories that haunt him.

Someone’s eager to send him on his way, too. Between anonymous threats and equipment sabotage, it’s clear he’s earned himself an enemy along the way. To him, it’s one more sign that he’s right to move on.

But Sierra threatens his conviction. Her contagious smile proves hard to resist, as does her kiss. She tempts him in ways he never anticipated, making him question his plans for the first time. If he’s not careful, she might just convince him that he’s meant for her.

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Raine Thomas has quickly become one of my top authors to read.  If it has her name on it, I’m definitely going to pick it up, especially after being blown away by both this novel and her previous NA release, For Everly.  Set in the same world of major league baseball, both Meant For Her and For Everly unite America’s favorite pastime with angsty men, exceptional women, a bit of mystery, and much intrigue in order to create breath taking, amazing reads.

While both novels are technically stand alones, Meant For Her takes place a few months after the conclusion of For Everly, following a completely different set of characters but also looking in on Everly and Cole, uniting the couples in friendship.  I loved this because, after reading For Everly, I wasn’t ready to give up one of my favorite couples of all time, and it was great to see them in the background of this novel as Sierra and Evan took the lead and stole my heart.

Sierra is an amazing woman, and I love the splash of photography that Thomas adds into the mix, showing scenes through the lens of the camera and really painting an amazing portrait within this novel.  Though Evan struggles to commit, Sierra’s understanding and love captures his heart, and her unwavering stance made me love her from the get-go.  Evan has his moments when it’s easy to love him, but he also struggles with the recent loss of his mother and, unwilling to allow himself to feel this type of loss again, he pushes everyone away.  At times, I really understood where Evan was coming from, and at others, I wanted to slap him in the face, yet Sierra never gives up on Evan and, though rebuffed time and time again, she ultimately breaks down his hard barriers.

I loved the relationship between Sierra and Evan in this novel, and I enjoyed the aspect of baseball as well.  Though not a huge fan of the game, Thomas includes just enough that it’s intriguing but not overwhelming as most of the novel revolves around the relationships of the characters, and the threats against Evan as a newcomer to Atlanta.  The mystery and intrigue arises here as Evan shrugs off the threats, ignoring Sierra’s intuition and, ultimately, putting himself and those he loves in great peril.  Overall, the truth of the matter is somewhat of a shock because Thomas points in another direction from the start, which is another reason that I really enjoyed this novel.  It’s a beautiful read, one I highly recommend, and once you finish, be sure to go back and read For Everly if you haven’t already.  You won’t be disappointed! Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FXJ87TO
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/meant-for-her-raine-thomas/1117164890
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/meant-for-her-1
iBooks: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781939453075

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18467599-meant-for-her

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Raine ThomasAuthor Bio:

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of a series of YA fantasy/romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the Firstborn trilogy. She is also the author of the bestselling New Adult Contemporary Romance, For Everly, and the much-anticipated spin-off, Meant for Her.

She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer’s Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing, or glued to social media, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Ways readers can connect with Raine:
Twitter (http://twitter/Raine_Thomas)
Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas)
Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5053436.Raine_Thomas)
Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/raine_thomas/)
Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/raine-thomas/53/111/bb3)
Website (http://rainethomas.com)
Blog (http://RaineThomas.com/blog/)

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12731861From Goodreads: 16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

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I really thought I was going to dislike this novel because, for a majority of it, I found the pacing to be slow, and Grace drove me absolutely insane. Grace cannot make a good decision to save her life, and I mean that quite literally. I yelled at her the entire book, and because I felt that not much was happening in terms of plot aside from treks through the trees, I was really thinking that this was going to be a two star review at the most. And this, dear readers, is why I always finish my books, because around 60% the novel really picked up; the mystery became extremely intriguing!  I suddenly couldn’t decide who was good and who wasn’t, and then my interest piqued to the point that I couldn’t put it down, instead reading far into the night.  In other words, read it.

I never did come around to liking Grace—I found her decisions to be stupid, childish, and mortifying all the way to the very end. While I understand she’s going through a lot, and that she’s highly independent, she constantly pushes everyone away from her and instead decides to put all her trust into a stranger she meets in the woods, the very place her father disappeared.  Ignoring the glaring holes in Mo’s story, she trusts him completely, even though he’s a 17 year-old college student living in the wild, unbeknownst to anyone, to study rocks, a revelation that should put Grace on edge.  It doesn’t, though it did put me on edge enough for the both of us, so I guess that evens it out a little bit.

Mo is a mystery, and as the pieces begin to click together, and Grace continually choose the wrong path (a path that constantly puts her life in danger and sends her back into the very woods where she knows deranged animal murderers reside), I have to at least admire her gumption, even though I’m not really a fan of hers in the least.  She definitely doesn’t allow anyone else’s thoughts or words to influence her decisions, and she’s hell bent on finding her father.  As the only person still convinced he’s alive, she has her work cut out for her, especially as the police and her own mother seem to thwart her at every turn.  So, it makes sense she doesn’t trust the people of her town, but at 16 I would expect just a little more common sense.  I mean, the fact that she constantly stumbles on evidence to back her claims, but fails to ever take a picture with her phone drove me batty…

My biggest issue with the novel, aside from Grace’s awful decisions, is the timing and occasional holes that crop up in the story. For instance, in a gun battle between two people, it doesn’t make sense to me that there’s time for other characters to stop running away, turn around, and have a conversation with the person who was just shot.  For starters, what about the person who shot the character?  They’re still in the picture, but for some reason, do nothing… I probably just confused you… it’s like when you watch a movie and right at the climax the bad guy stops and divulges his entire plan, giving the good guys more than enough time to hatch a plan and save themselves.  Does that make more sense?  Well, basically, there just seemed to be too many instances where everything was hitting the fan in the novel and yet Grace had time to stop and talk to people and try to figure out what to do next when bullets are flying all around her, and that made the story a little less believable for me.

But, Grace’s characterization and plot holes aside, the mystery of her father’s disappearance was great once the story began to pick up, and the end kicked me in the gut. Reader beware, Johannes doesn’t believe in happy endings, that’s for sure, and I found myself sitting in my room at 3am freaking out as the major climax of the story comes into play, killing off a number of characters, which was the last thing I expected to happen, to be honest.  And I cried I good bit then too, so I suggest you have tissues somewhere on the premises as your get closer to the ending.  But, to juxtapose the bloody end of some characters, there is a small shred of hope, even after all the tragedy, that makes me yearn for the sequel because, as much as I really dislike Grace, I really am invested in this story and the remaining characters.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

All Night Reads had been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.



16006117From Goodreads: Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

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This novel was phenomenal!  I was enraptured from the very beginning, watching Taylor walk into the depths of a violent gang to pass on the mark, noting her vast courage and fortitude as she attempted to trap a killer.  With her “them or me” mentality, drilled into her from a young age, Taylor runs the gauntlet of danger throughout this entire novel trying to stave off the Darkness, keeping it at bay one murdered soul at a time.

Enter Justin and his teenage followers: the popular crowd who enjoy nothing more than to plague Taylor at every turn.  They don’t know about the Darkness; they don’t know Taylor sees the dead, or that the murdered’s touch is the reason she wears gloves, hoping to cover the ever deepening black mark death leaves on her hand.  All the populars know is that she’s different.  And “different” in high school terms means the end of all social acceptance.  The brunt of their spiteful attacks and malicious slurs tend to fall on deaf ears, however, as Taylor is a strong female lead; she’s more interested in saving her soul than fitting in.  And I loved this about her.  She’s not afraid to assert herself or speak up against her tormentors, though it never brings about much good.  Yet when faced with the death of the most popular of her tormentors, Justin, Taylor has to do more than fight back—she must fit in in order to figure out the truth before it’s too late, before the Darkness comes for her.

The fact that her scientist father doesn’t believe anything Taylor says about her curse, chalking it all up to a disease he’s intent on curing, only adds another barrier that she must overcome in order to continue roaming the streets in search of murderers, attempting to keep away the Darkness and also convince her father she’s not crazy.  I can’t imagine being in her situation and having a parent disregard my words and insist on extracting my blood in attempts to heal me, but Taylor bares it quite well, following in her deceased mother’s footsteps, so it seems.  Now, there’s a story that’s highly intriguing!  Learning all about Taylor’s family curse, passed down from her mother’s side, was fascinating.  I loved the glimpses and stories we’re given as Taylor reads from her mother’s book, the one that explains how it all began and sets the stage for the upcoming fight with the Darkness that readers know is bound to come.

This novel is unlike anything I’ve read before, and  I loved the sleuthing Taylor undertakes, as well as learning the truth about Justin, the V Club, and watching Taylor risk her life in order to impede the Darkness. It’s very well written, and as I said before, I just adore Taylor and her inner strength.  Regardless of all the obstacles set before her, she diligently tries to do what is right and protect others.  Justin grew on me too, though I really hated him in the beginning, even though his side-kick James is actually the more threatening of Taylor’s tormenting group, made all the more sinister by the revelation of the V Club.

The whole idea of the V Club was fascinating, and it made me think of all those underground clubs that are rumored to have been in hiding for centuries, which only adds to the fun of it all.  Of course, V Club seems a lot more sinister than the underground clubs I’ve heard of (but then again, I wouldn’t really know because I’m not privy to their societies and all they do), and it was awesome watching Taylor attempt to infiltrate.  Likewise, we eventually learn more about the Darkness and, in this case, it’s interest in the V Club, which filled me with trepidation as we get an up-close and personal view of what lies beyond—which then begs the question, if all the murderers are sucked into the Darkness, what, exactly, are all these evil murderers going to be used for in the future?  Because… the Darkness is not hell, as one might assume.  So, what is it?  Five stars.

5 stars

Angry Robot and Strange Chemistry have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this awesome novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on August 6, 2013.



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