Temptation (The Hunted, #1)

Temptation (The Hunted, #1)Temptation (The Hunted, #1) by Ivy Smoak
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 353
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three-stars

This book gives new meaning to the phrase “Hot for teacher”

I was really torn with rating this book. Even while writing this review, I’m torn. I enjoyed this book and it proved to be a fast read. I have also read some of the later books in the series and finally got the chance to read the book which started the series. I can see where the Author has grown as a writer. For me this was fun, escapism reading.

Penny is a nineteen-year-old college student who bumps into a man in a coffee shop. Her coffee spills on her and he offers her his sweater to wear as an apology. She accepts while noticing how good looking the man is. What could have been an innocent encounter turns serious when she shows up for her first class and is shocked to see that the man who gave her his sweater is her professor, James Hunter. Lust and longing enter stage left…

They have instantaneous lust and longing for each other which is complicated by him being her professor and also because of a fellow student who wants to be more than friends with Penny as well. Both throw caution to the wind and enter into a relationship.

Forbidden romance full of angst, secrets, and false assumptions. Some of the characters are immature and I wanted to take and shake them. I wasn’t a big fan of her roommate and at times, Penny’s immaturity was annoying. At times, I wondered what a twenty-seven-year-old professor who once had his own company would see in her. Having read some of the later books, I can say that she does mature and shows growth in later books. Plus, he is her professor…. I kept thinking of all the legal, ethical and moral issues that would come into play of a professor becoming involved intimately/romantically with a student. I would imagine that all universities would frown down upon that and have strict rules/code of conduct guidelines. But getting that out of my mind, I did enjoy learning how the Penny and James I met in latter books, met in this book. This is definitely not your mother’s harlequin romance! There are some hot scenes so if you don’t like sex scenes in your romance books this wont be for you. If you are willing to overlook the issues surrounding the forbidden romance, you might just enjoy these characters and their story.

So even with some of the issues I had with the book, I enjoyed it. It was a fast-steamy read.

three-stars

Missing Pieces

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Ivy Smoak
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 381
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three-half-stars

Hailey and Tyler meet by chance when Tyler exits the freeway in hopes of finding a gas station. He decides to stop for a drink at a bar where Hailey is working behind the counter. Both have things in their life that are troubling them. Tyler is leaving NYC and heading to California in hopes of starting over and doing something great. Hailey has learned some troubling news and wants to head to California in hopes of helping a loved one.

Hailey decides to take a chance and invites herself on Tyler’s drive to California. Tyler has no idea why Hailey wants to go to California but decides to let her come along. Both are intrigued by the other and both had fun flirting at the bar. Both feel the chemistry between them, but both are set on achieving their goal of getting to California. Both characters leave out bits and pieces of information about their lives, hence the title Missing pieces.

This proved to be a fast read with like-able characters who are prone to jumping to conclusions and not being entirely forthcoming with the other person. Both characters are like-able and both have some growing up to do. At times I wanted to pull Hailey aside and tell her to stop and just listen. She tended to jump to conclusions, act impulsively and create arguments that the couple did not need to have. If she would have just stopped and listened, heard Tyler out, then things would have gone much smoother for the couple. Having said that, her character is twenty-two years old and did not have a lot of life experience, so it is understandable how she lacked some emotional maturity. But she was always willing to right a wrong after she realized that there was more to the story than she originally thought.

As the characters go on their physical journey, each are also on their own personal journeys as well. Both are dealing with their own individual pain. Both learn to open up, to work on their communication skills, to trust themselves and each other, both learn to let go of past pain and guilt. They also learn to forgive others and themselves. The book is also about the missing pieces in their lives and how they both fill a piece in the other’s life. I also liked that even though each character had issues, they supported each other without asking the other to change or compromise who they were as a person.

This was a fast and enjoyable read. This book touches on love, loss, abandonment, cancer, romance, staring over, rejection and falling in love. Perfect for end of summer/pool/beach reading.

I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

three-half-stars

Carved in Ice

Carved in IceCarved in Ice (Made of Steel Series Book 3) by Ivy Smoak
Published by Ivy Smoak on July 12th 2018
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four-stars

Carved in Ice is the final book in the Made of Steel Trilogy. If you have not read the first two books in the series (Made of Steel, Forged in Flames), I highly recommend reading them first. Don’t read this book as a stand-alone novel as there is so much information given in the previous two books. Plus, the previous two books are awesome, and the backstory and information given in the first two books is pivotal to enjoying this book. Each book builds upon the previous book and it is exciting to find out what happens next, especially when a cliffhanger is involved. Plus, you will enjoy this book even more as you will finally learn if Summer/Sadie gets the answers she is looking for. But she is not the only character in this book/series, throughout the trilogy, the reader is introduced to several characters -characters who the reader will come to care about and root for. It is enjoyable as a reader, to learn where the story takes their characters.

A brief history:

Summer was just a child when tragedy stuck and life as she knew it came to an end. She had to leave her childhood home and her best friend, MIles, to go live with her grandmother. Unfortunately, her Grandmother passed away and Summer bounced from home to home until she was “placed” with the sadistic, Don. Finally, she is given a new chance at life and moves to the city to attend college with a new name and new identity. There she sees her childhood best friend and makes several other friends as well including the vigilante “V” who pops up to save the day when there is trouble.

There will be plenty of trouble throughout all three of the books in the series. Carved in Ice shows Summer/Sadie picking up the pieces after the cliffhanger at the end of book two (Forged in Flames). In this book, Summer/Sadie and her group of friends are still trying to keep safe all the while trying to stop Don from doing further damage to her life.

As with book two, the reader does need to suspend some disbelief and just sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds. As the conclusion of the trilogy, Summer/Sadie gets many answers to her questions as does the reader. One burning question has always been “who is V?” All I can say is I KNEW IT! But if you do not know what I am talking about, again, pick up book one and begin the series and start there. This trilogy has been full of suspense, mystery, romance, intrigue, and has a super hero type element. This book series is very riveting and binge worthy. It is easy to pick up any book in the series and finish it in one day. I was hooked from book one and wanted to know where Smoak would take her characters next. As with the previous two books in the series, there is no down time in this book. Things happen fast, and the action keeps coming.

This was a sexy fun series that also dealt with some heavy/serious issues. I enjoyed how unique this series felt. Many times, I read a book and it reminds me of other books I have read. I did not get this feeling with this book at all. It felt very original and well thought out. Again, there is a lot of action and the plot moves quickly.

I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

four-stars

Forged in Flames

Forged in FlamesForged in Flames (Made of Steel #2) by Ivy Smoak
on January 1st 1970
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four-stars

Forged in Flames is the second book in the Made of Steel series. I highly recommend reading this first book in the series, Made of Steel, prior to starting this one. In Made of Steel, the reader learns about Summer/Sadie’s sad past, the death of her parents, the death of her grandmother and being torn from her best friend, Miles. She is bounced from foster home to foster home until she lands in the home of the sadist Don.

This book begins right after the cliffhanger of Made of Steel. Summer/Sadie still does not know who she can trust and who is out to get her. Is she safe? Will she ever be safe? Will she ever know the truth about her past so that she can find happiness in her future? Plus, who is the Vigilante a.k.a “V”? I have my theories!

As she begins to get some answers, she also finds she has even more questions. She still does not know the identity of the vigilante, but she does learn about Eli in this book. She still yearns for Miles and the reader gets to see some of their interactions – which by the way – left me wanting more. Fingers crossed for this in the next book!

The action and intrigue continue in this book. As with the first book, I was sucked into this story from the very beginning. Smoak has written a captivating cast of characters each with his/her own quirks and personalities. Some I rooted for and some who I booed and hissed at. There are never any down moments in this book, even when Summer/Sadie is thinking things over in her head, there is always something happening. Seriously, when do these people sleep? Hence all the dark circles under the eyes, no doubt!

Summer/Sadie is a character who has suffered immensely in her life, so it is easy to understand how she can bounce back and forth between the male leads. She has HUGE trust issues and constantly doubts herself and others in her life. Again, who wouldn’t? I hope to see more growth and self-reliance from her in book three. The reader is left with another cliffhanger in this book. There is a book 3, so I think it is safe to assume that a lot of questions from the first two books will be answered along with the unveiling of “V”.

This series has a little bit of everything. There is romance with some steamy scenes, danger, mystery, suspense, engaging dialogue, and angst. The reader does need to suspend some disbelief with this book, but if you know that going in, you will be able to just sit back and fully enjoy the book. For instance, the character of Liza seems to have remarkable hacking skills, but she is also able to lift fingerprints and take blood for analysis. Plus, V seems to be loaded as he has a computer/voice activated controlled apartment with a safe room. He will remind the readers of the character from Arrow. But as I said, suspend some disbelief and dive into this book as it is riveting and entertaining.

Another solid book by Smoak! I, along with Summer and the rest of the gang, anxiously wait for my questions to be answered in the next book!

I received a copy of this book form the Author in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and options in this review are my own.

four-stars

Made of Steel

Made of SteelMade of Steel (Made of Steel #1) by Ivy Smoak
on January 1st 1970
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four-stars

Summer Brooks had a happy life living with her parents and spending time with her next-door neighbor and best friend, Miles. She loved spending time with Miles in his tree house gazing up at the stars. They had a special bond and loved each other. Then one night everything changed in Summer’s life. She had to move and leave Miles (and her old self) behind.

Those years were not kind to Summer. Those years were torture and finally she is given the chance for a new life with a new name and appearance. She now goes by the name of Sadie and is going to college in a new city full of people who do not know her or her sad past. That is until one day she has a blast from her past and learns that someone from her past is nearby. But he won’t recognize her as she has changed. She won’t let him get close. That chapter of her life has been closed, hasn’t it?

If starting over isn’t stressful enough, there seems to be a vigilante in the city who is fighting crime and has an interest in Sadie. Why? Who is he? Who can she trust? Is everyone in this book who they claim to be? When you believe there is no one you can trust, how do you learn to trust again? As Sadie begins to become even more worried about who she can trust, so did I! Characters seem genuine and likable but then bit by bit they begin to change and leave Sadie, and the reader, confused and concerned about their motivations and intentions. Whew!

This was a riveting fast read! It’s a curl-up-on-the-couch with a blanket type of book. It’s exciting, it has some romance, it’s sad, it’s shocking, it evokes emotion, it has mystery, and keeps Sadie, and the reader, guessing. Initially the vigilante reminded me of spider man (with the whole partially removing the mask to kiss scene) and then I read the Author’s note where she mentioned “the Flash” and wanting a superhero-ish vibe to this book. It all makes sense!

I really enjoyed this book! It was well-written and nicely paced. There are no dull moments or down time in this book. Ivy Smoak excels at the plot twist and having shocking moments you did not see coming! There was one part of the book where a character shocked me completely and she pulled it off brilliantly. As I mentioned, this book has a little bit of everything, so I think most people will enjoy it.

Sure, you will have to suspend some disbelief in this book i.e. the vigilante always seems to know where Sadie is at any given time to save her. But, I really don’t mind suspending disbelief as the book is captivating and sucked me right in. I was caught up in the story and then *BAM* there is the cliffhanger which is brilliantly played as it left me wanting more. There is more to this story, and I can’t wait to read the next book!

I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

four-stars

The Light to My Darkness

The Light to My DarknessFoundation (The Hunted #5) by Ivy Smoak
Published by Amazon Digital Services on January 1st 1970
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four-stars

The light to My Darkness is book five in the Hunted series but read very well as a standalone book for me!

Penny and James are expecting their second child and they both think they know the gender of their baby. They have a fun back and forth with each other. Penny believes she is having a boy. James believes they are having a girl. They have a three-year-old daughter and on the surface, things seem to be going great for this family.

Penny has been turned down by several publishers and is feeling insecure about her chances for success. She wants to make a name for herself and to be a successful writer. She wants to do this on her own, even though her husband could help her in this arena. She is also dealing with a health issue which she is experiencing during her pregnancy.

The book did start off slowly for me as I got to know these characters and the people in their lives. Then as Penny began to experience more and more health issues/symptoms the book began to pick up. The couples concern and frustrations over her symptoms felt very real and understandable. The book is mostly Penny but then toward the later parts of the book, the reader is given James POV which I really enjoyed and appreciated.

Then *BAM* something happens in this book that left me with my mouth hanging open and there is a cliffhanger….I imagine readers of this series will need to have their tissues on hand. That ending…UGH! It will leave many gutted and wanting to know what happens next.

This is my second Ivy Smoak book and I love how she manages to turn the tables and leave me asking “what the hell just happened?” because I did not see THAT coming! There is a twist and as I mentioned a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wanting more.

I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

The Truth in My Lies

The Truth in My LiesThe Truth in My Lies by Ivy Smoak
on January 1st 1970
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four-stars

Holy Crap! I was not expecting that!

Adeline Bell is a 30-year-old suburban housewife who looks forward to her morning runs. Her husband keeps her on a tight leash and is not allowed out of the house very often. Thursdays are her favorite days of the week – that is when she sees “him”, the hot guy he mows lawns. She was never supposed to talk to him, just admire him as she ran by, but then she tripped and fell….

Ben is the young man who mows lawns in the neighborhood. He has seen Adeline running by for weeks and then one day, while staring at him, she tripped and fell. He helped her up and took care of her. Intrigued by her beauty and sarcasm, he wanted to know more….

WOWZA! I LOVE when I read a book completely surprises me! I thought I had this book figured out and then there was a plot twist, I thought okay now I know where this book is heading, then, you guessed it, another plot twist. Ivy Smoak pulled off a lot of twists and turns in this suspense/thriller! I will say it again, I love when a book surprises me!

I found this book to be a well written thriller that kept me turning the pages. I was captivated and had to know what was going to happen. The first part of the book was interesting and grabbed me, but the more I read and the more revelations that came to light, the more I had to know! This book was a thrilling ride full of lies, secrets, and revelations.

If you love suspense/thrillers, this is the book for you! Seriously, read this book!

Whew!

I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review! Honestly, I thought this book was fantastic!

four-stars