Review: No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur

Book Title: No Such Thing
Author: A.M. Arthur
Release Date: February 17th, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: NA/LGBT/Romance
Series: Book 1
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links:  AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent’s reputation, he’s lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he’s back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss’s hot brother.

Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he’s still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister’s diner awakens desires he’d long ago given up on.

The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he’s scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro’s past forces them to confront their feelings in the present…

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
When I read the synopsis, I just knew I had to read this book. Like Jamie I spent years of my life in and out of the hospital.Like Jamie I dealt with poor health due to my heart problems. Unlike Jamie I haven’t needed a transplant (knock on wood) Being ill with a chronic illness causes you to grow up fast in some ways but you are basically assured an immature social life.I related to Jamie big time in this book. He sought comfort in his books and school much like I did.

Jamie didn’t know how to suddenly emerge into the dating world because he had spent so much of his teenage years, sick and lacking the energy to do much. I know that feeling. I also know the feeling of feeling like everyone is lightyears ahead of you in personal milestones. Marriage, kids, owning a home etc.

Jamie wasn’t out to anyone except for his sister Shannon, who I loved. She was a total sweetheart but she also was willing to open up a can of whoop-ass on whoever hurt or even threatened to hurt her baby brother. Fiercely protective she was.

That’s why I was happy to see how she warmed up to Alessandro. From the beginning the attraction between Jamie & Alessandro was evident. Shannon herself noticed how her brother and her new employee looked at each other but aside from inquiring about how they were doing as a couple, she stayed out of it.

Oh Alessandro, I loved that you returned to help your former foster mom out. His devotion to family was so nice to see. His former foster father had recently died, so Alessandro was back to help Eunice and her two foster kids Tony & Molly.Tony needed a stable male influence around as he was easily swayed by older and cooler kids.Molly was a little shyer but she was a sweetheart underneath all of her fears.

This book was weird as I loved the relationship between Alessandro and Jamie but through a decent chunk of the book it was straight up erotica. Now I don’t mind erotica at all but I think that there was too much of it and it detracted from the story arcs for Jamie & Alessandro. 

Jamie’s arc was his growing confidence and his refusal to stay in the closet any longer. He also allowed himself to believe that he was worthy of love and that the vertical scar that ran down his chest as a mark of how far he had come. Alessandro’s arc was learning to allow someone into his heart and allowing him to lean on Jamie as he faced demons from his past.

At about 70% through it I was getting frustrated with the sexy scenes. But then something happened that totally turned the book around for me. It was at this point that I shed tears. I was heartbroken for Jamie and Alessandro and scared for them both throughout the rest of the book.
I am really conflicted on what to rate this book. I don’t think removing two whole stars is okay just because of the excess sex scenes, but I don’t know. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes. Did I enjoy the book outside of the sex scenes? Yes. I wouldn’t continue the series if it was a 3 star rating because a three star rating means (to me) that I am indifferent on the book. But I’m not. indifferent. So I’ll give this book 4 stars. I am excited to see where the series goes next.

Review: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott

Book Title: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: YA/SciFi
Series: Book 1 in Fire & Flood series
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own. 
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Disclaimer: I received this print ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
What would you do for someone you love, who was suffering? That’s the question that Tella Holloway is forced to face when she receives an anonymous box one night. Her answer is quick, she would do anything for her brother who’s suffering from an unknown illness. Doctor after doctor have tried to help him but no one knows what’s ailing Cody Holloway. 

So when Tella learns that the prize for winning this thing, is The Cure, she knows that she must compete.Even if she’s never even heard of The Brimstone Bleed before.Even if she has no idea what to expect. She knows that Cody would do it for her in a heartbeat. Tella is bright, intelligent and devoted to her family no matter what kinds of things await her. 

There were so many themes in this book, but the one that stuck out to me the most is loyalty.One could also make the argument for family being the main theme, but loyalty was an even bigger one. Not just loyalty among human allies, but loyalty from Pandoras to humans.

I’m obsessed with Pandora’s.First, you find them as eggs in a room, even before you reach the first stage of the competition. You have no clue what these eggs hold or even if they’ll hatch. So you take a gamble and hope that it pays off. I have never wanted anything like this in my life. I WISH Pandora’s were real. That would be so darn awesome. 
I really liked the supporting characters: Harper,Caroline, Olivia and of course Guy. Oh my goodness, Guy was mysterious, intriguing and just SO swoon-worthy. Initially, he kind of gave me the creeps, but I eventually warmed up to him just like he warmed up to Tella.

I am so excited to see what the next book holds for all of these characters.This book will be getting a full five stars and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.