Review: Combust (Electric #4) by E.L. Todd

Title: Combust
Author:  E.L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 10/11/16
Length:  280 Pages
Series:  Electric #4

Overview

Now that Volt and I are together, my life is complete. When I first met him, he wasn’t what I was looking for.

Harsh. Argumentative. And unavailable.

But now, he’s everything I ever could have dreamed of. 

My parents have met him, and of course they love him. But now my best friend since childhood needs to meet the man I’m going to marry.

I just hope she loves him as much as I do.

My Thoughts

This has been an interesting ride watching everyone self destruct but i’m glad that we’ve finally made it to the end of the journey. There are so many ways that this story could have gone, and every day we saw another angle of each and while i enjoyed it, i still have whiplash.

We are still trying to sort out how Volt and Taylor can make things work. They clearly have so much against them, allowing themselves to be their worst enemies, letting other things come in the way of what they want, but they some how manage to make it work, until they don’t. We’re spending a lot of time in this story watching them finally find their happy place. They have a routine and a rhythm that works and a path that looks at the future in a way that they could only hope. Work is better for Taylor and Volt is content in what he’s chosen as his path.

We see Taylor get closer with Volt’s parents, we see Volt really grow this impressive strong relationship with Clay – the teen that he’s tutoring, but we know that the other shoe is going to drop and when it does, it’ll be bad.

Right around Christmas, Clay comes to stay at Volt’s house since his place isn’t safe and that triggers so many things. it shows us that Clay isn’t. safe where he is and that we know that while a promise was made to keep Clay out of the orphanage, it’s likely not going to happen now. The bond that was developed throughout the last 2 books will be lost since we know that Clay will never forgive Volt.

While that’s happening, Taylor finally manages to arrange for Volt and Sara to meet and when they realize who the other is, well, that sends us into the most dramatic tailspin yet. Volt had just bought a ring for. Taylor and then gets the shock of his life when Sara tells Taylor that she has to choose between love and friendship and makes it impossible to choose Volt. She lies to Taylor to make sure she gets her way and that destroys everything good between Volt and Taylor.

Every time i think that there’s going to be a happy ending, i quickly realize that maybe not all stories are supposed to end up like that. Clay is miserable in an orphanage, with no hope of freedom or college. Volt and Taylor are torn apart again with Sara getting her way and lies are all that seem to matter now. The only good thing that’s happening these days is the relationship between Natalie and Jared. They seem pretty content with no drama (at least for now). So, that leave Derek, the friend who wants a girl but can’t seem to find the right one. I hope he gets his own spin off since he’s such a great guy. On that note – off to the next book to read. Enjoy!

Review: Charge (Electric #1) by E. L. Todd

Title: Charge
Author:  E.L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 10/11/16
Length:  150 Pages
Series:  Electric #1

Overview

White-hot, blinding, and dangerous. That’s exactly what Volt is. He’s electric. The first time I met him, my body reacted. It coiled, sizzled, and sparked. I knew I wanted him because he was the first man to make me feel dead and alive at the exact same time. But within a short conversation, I knew he was unattainable. Unavailable. Now we’re just friends. But will we stay friends?

My Thoughts

The summary here doesn’t do the story justice but that’s ok. I got this first installment as an aedd on to the last EL Todd that i read so that was a nice treat. I think that’s how i got into the last series as well? Anyway, we have an ‘electric’ story here about another group of friends that has a semblance of romance mixed into their crew.

We start this story in the past – with Volt our leading guy who’s on the verge of proposing to the love of his life only to walk into a bar to meet his buddies to find her kissing her ex boyfriend. that changes his entire trajectory, and instead of being an open and friendly guy, he’s turned into a manwhore who wants nothing to do with love and romance at all.

We then meet Taylor – new to NYC as she’s taken a teaching job in a new city – we know that she’s from Washington and at times makes it sound like she wants to go back but can’t for some reason (i’d love to find out why to be honest) and the only person she knows is Sara – her best friend from growing up, who’s nursing a broken heart because she’s the girl that Volt was going to propose to and things got messed up. Clearly there’s more to that story since she doesn’t know why he broke up with her which means that whatever it was that Volt saw, wasn’t the truth. The interesting thing here is that we know that Volt is his middle name, and that Sara’s boyfriend was Muriel, but clearly they are one and the same. I can’t wait to see what happens when these girls realize that this guy is the same.

Anyway – throughout this introduction to the series, we watch Taylor try to get her footing in the NYC dating landscape only to get her heartbroken quickly by one guy, slip into another relationship with another guy who seems to be great, and have this amazing best friend friendship with Volt – after meeting him, being attracted buy realizing that they are not right for each other in theory.

Volt on the other hand, we watch him evolve a bit in this story. He’s still closed off to love and romance, but we also get to see how he opens to Taylor until she pushes too hard and the walls go up again. He realizes too late that he’s got feelings for her and that’s where the rollercoaster really resides.

On top of these two, we have Natalie, a girl who’s also a teacher with Taylor who introduces her to a gang of friends. Natalie has this crush on Jared, a boy in their circle and he doesn’t see her like that so we get to watch her pine for him for the bulk of this story. It’s only after Taylor gets her to go out and she meets a guy that she’s into that we see Jared start to feel different about things.

Then there’s Derek, Volts best friend and while he seems like he’s just coasting along but i’m sure that we’ll get to see his story deepen soon.

We are left in this story with Taylor on the verge of losing her job because she’s not finding her footing as a new teacher, Volt has encountered a troubled child that makes him worry and the chemistry between Taylor and Volt changes their dynamic on every page. Add to that the insanity of Natalie and Jared and Derek and well, it all makes for a great story. I’m getting ready to dive into the next book now and can’t wait to see what’s next. Enjoy!

Review: 218 First Hugs (First #3) by E. L. Todd

Title: 218 First Hugs
Author:  E.L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 10/10/17
Length:  292 Pages
Series:  First #3

Overview

He won’t let me date anyone because he’s the biggest cockblock in the world.

He still calls me his wife even though I don’t remember our wedding day.

He said he’ll never give up on me. Not now. Not ever.

Somehow, I forgave him for what he did in the past. But I’m not sure if I can do it again.

But he’s not giving me much choice.

My Thoughts

This summary makes you think that we’re still fairly focused on Bree and Cypress, but this time around we actually get to see a lot more about from Amelia/Ace and even Blade. Their stories really propel this third installment forward, giving us a glimpse into what’s going on in everyone else’s lives.

Bree and Cypress of course continue to be a focus, watching what happened at the end of the last book cause struggles in this book. I have to give Cypress a lot of credit for how much he still stays with Bree even with how she plays with his heart and emotions. Every time he starts to make progress she goes back into her head and messes with him some more. He makes progress, gets Bree into the sense of dating and being a married couple and all of a sudden, her insecurities come up when he sees Vanessa, the woman that Cypress cheated on her with all those years ago and that makes her run. Add to that she learns that Cypress kissed someone (or someone kissed him) after her accident and that causes her to run again, making it impossible for them to be together.

If that roller coaster wasn’t enough, we get to watch Amelia play games. (frankly i like her but not so much here). Evan, her ex-husband finds a way to eke back into her life and into her family, and in a moment of weakness when Amy feels bad for herself because Ace walked away from her, she sleeps with Evan and that muddies the water. Evan thinks that he’s going to have a chance to get back with Amelia, and she even believes that it could be possible. Ace being the amazing guy that he is, he walks away – he doesn’t want to get his heart broken and he doesn’t want to force a family to split so he’s miserable but he also knows that it could be worse.

What happens here is that Amelia is forced to make a decision that will leave someone destroyed, and they go bachelorette style where she has to date both Evan and Ace to help make her choice. I don’t care for this frankly – i think that she’s not being fair to either but who am i to say anything right?

Then there’s Blade. The guy that we don’t know much about since we don’t even really get to see too much of his personality in other books, but at least this is his chance. We finally watch him get smitten with someone, a girl name Celeste who owns a bakery in Carmel, who’s French, sexy, independent and yet only spends some of the year in the US because she’s got family friends and a business in Paris as well. Oh yea and a boyfriend. So you an imagine the mess that this creates when Blade falls for her, realizes that she’s likely going to go back to Paris and then learns that she’s with someone else. He walks away after putting an ultimatum out there and what results is a very sad. Blade.

Where we end this trilogy is a place where we have hope and want to have hope for these friend and we want to see love and romance win out. I don’t know if that’s possible but i think that we can all hope for the silver lining. It seems like it could happen until an accident happens AGAIN and causes another head injury and puts us potentially back to where we started.

You need to read this one to see where this roller coaster lets us off because it’s a wild ride and there isn’t a moment to breathe before another loop comes along. Enjoy!

Review: 400 First Kisses (First #1) by E. L. Todd

Title: 400 First Kisses
Author:  E.L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 9/13/17
Length:  270 Pages
Series:  First #1

Overview

The man I hate lives next door.

He must have just moved in, even though I never saw the moving truck.

He’s just as arrogant as I remember, mowing the lawn without a shirt and grinning like an idiot. When he catches me staring at him through the window, he winks.

So cocky.

He flirts with me like he never broke my heart.

And then he tells me something I just can’t believe.

We’re married.

My Thoughts

The title should have given the impression that this was going to be like 50 First Dates, but i sadly didn’t pick up on that at first. It took me about 2 chapters to get into realizing this and then it all made sense. What we have here is a story that actually breaks my heart. We have Bree – our main character who we come to learn was hit by a car about 18 months prior and every day resets for her. She’s not able to remember anything that happens from the day prior and iit’s the same thing everyday, although some days are good and some are not.

She has the love and support of her sister Amelia, her friends Blade and Ace (great names huh?) and her sexy neighbor Cypress – who we quickly learn is her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and…..her husband. It’s a dynamic that’s more painful than you can imagine for sooo many different reasons.

Every day, when Bree sees him, all she remembers is the day that she walked in on him cheating on her. What she doesn’t remember is how he fought to win her back and how he succeeded and they had the kind of love you only read about or see in movies. They were happy and then the accident happened and they weren’t. Cypress on the other hand is SO devoted to her that he moved next store, suffers through the replay of every day because he’s beyond in love with her. he needs her in order to survive and it makes you really want to love him.

When Bree falls and hits her head, things change in an instant. She’s able to remember past one day – she’s able to reengage with the world and she’s able to get her life back. the problem though is that even with her friends and family telling her how happy she was in her marriage, she can’t get past her last memory. She doesn’t remember at all that he won her back and that he’s a changed man, and it seems like it’s a losing battle. We spend the entirety of this book watching him do his best work to get another shot with her.

There’s also as secondary story in here – with Amelia at the center. She’s Bree’s sister, she’s divorced and she has two young girls. She’s also got a crush on Ace that’s making their friendship complicated. We watch these two dance around each other, we watch Ace truly be the amazing guy that we want for her, and for her girls, but we also watch him tell her that he’s not ready to settle down. So it’s really a roller coaster of small wins and big losses with them.

Where we net out in the end of this fist book is a place where we have no answers. We don’t know which couples will be together and we don’t know the factors that will get them to a better place all around. It’s so sad to watch since there’s more struggle than moments of happiness in this one. I can’t wait to see what the next installment brings for us. On that note – ENJOY!

Review: Believe (Ray #7) by E.L. Todd

Title: Believe
Author:  E. L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 7/25/17
Length:  172 Pages
Series:  Ray #7

Overview

Austen and I could never have something real.

She’s still hung up on her ex. I’m still in love with Rae.So we’ll just stay friends.But I miss her all the time. When I’m lying next to someone else, I wonder if she misses me too. 

Does she?

My Thoughts

Throughout the first six books, i really started to like Ryker. There’s a quality about him that makes you want to root for him as he’s finally grown up, realized that he wants something more out of life and actually uses his mistakes as a way to be a better person.

Watching Rae fall in love with Zeke and choose him, that’s too much for him and he returns to New York – to the life that he had there before his father called him back to run the company. The change of scenery is necessary – it’s vital for his survival and we get to watch how that plays out.

In this seventh and final installment of the series (i think), we get to see Ryker nurse his broken heart – know that he’s only going to have so much of himself to give someone, but surprise himself at the same time when there’s someone that brings him back to life.

Enter Austen – the sister of one of his best friends – and this is a road that Ryker’s gone down before and he knows that the pain of losing his friendship with Rex was enough, he doesn’t want to have the same thing happen here. Austen though is like no one that he’s ever met before. She’s clearly had her heart broken as well and she has so many walls up that it seems as though they could be a match. their emotions are closed off with no chance of being something more, until that chance happens.

We get to watch how their flirtation turns into something more, and then evolves into a friendship and a relationship that they both can’t live without. We have nothing but the most positive visions here, and then all of a sudden, the man that broke Austen’s heart comes back and wants another try. A real shot to be what he was to her before he betrayed her.

This is where the roller coaster takes us, watching Austen be torn between the past and the present. Watching Ryker realize that he’s losing something that matters MORE than Rae did (shocker) and getting to see all of our favs from the past books come to Ryker’s aid as good friends typically do.

This is a whirlwind of emotions in this seventh book, yet i think that it gives us the closure to the story that we’ve all been craving. Enjoy!

Review: Victor (Ray #5) by E. L. Todd)

Title: Victor
Author:  E. L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 4/4/17
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Ray #5

Overview

Ryker finally told me what happened all those months ago. He explained his distance, his coldness. Now everything makes sense. I’ve been with Zeke for a long time now, and everything is exactly how I want it to be.I adore him.No, I love him. But there’s a warning deep in my gut. Zeke is acting differently, and Ryker isn’t the same either.It’s the calm before the storm.I can feel it.

My Thoughts

This summary actually ties a bit better to what we get in this fifth installment of the series. Everyone seems to be in a better place – we see the couples finding their footing, that is until there are slips and those slips are fairly significant.

I’ll start with Rex and Kayden since they are the easiest. We know that they are finally in a good place with each other and given that they aren’t the main characters of this saga, we can expect that they will continue to have smooth sailing ahead. We see things grown and continue on a good path and what that means is that we get to see Rex as the caring and protective brother rather than the ass who really has no frame of reference to anything outside of himself. He’s now a person and even a person that we like. Kayden continues to be the grounding force here and she’s a powerful and strong woman that’s great for this friendship circle.

Then there’s Jessie – she’s still got her player ways, but she’s now got the conquest of Tobias as an option. He’s into her and she’s into the idea of him so that means that we don’t have to worry about her being the third or fifth wheel anymore.

Now onto Rae – and Zeke – and Ryker. This is a love triangle that’s a mess. Just when we think that things are going well, the floor falls out beneath them. Rae wants to maintain her loving relationship with Zeke and has no reason to worry about what she does, until Zeke gets out of his mind jealous and that turns ugly. All Rae wants to do is be the best friend, girlfriend etc. for everyone and that in her head isn’t doing something wrong. When Ryker needs to talk to her, to let her in a bit and share why he was the way he was, that’s the breakthrough that she’s been looking for the entire time that she’s known him, but she even tells him that it’s too late. The issue here though is that Zeke sees the conversation but doesn’t hear it and thinks the worst and as a result, he throws away the best thing that happened to him – pushing Rae so far away that the idea of reconciliation is impossible.

The bulk of this story is watching Rae figure out what she can live with since she can’t live with what Zeke did. We see her fall apart and we see Zeke hit rock bottom. We see Ryker there to pick up the pieces in a way that Rae needs – proving to us that he’s really a good guy even when we only want to think the worst of him from previous installments. We know his intentions aren’t pure but he’s what Rae needs and that’s honorable.

Just when we think they are all at their lowest lows, we see a ray of light shine down in the form of forgiveness and then it all crashes and burns again.

This is probably the most extreme roller coaster yet for this group of friends, and i don’t know if they will ever be the same for it. Friends are forced to choose sides, trust is broken, games are played and those never net out well for anyone. You definitely need to read on to find out what happens and what may come next. Enjoy!

Review: Bad Boy (Ray #2) by E. L. Todd

Title: Bad Boy
Author:  E. L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 1/3/17
Length:  165 Pages
Series:  Ray #2

Overview

Ryker and I aren’t exactly perfect.

But I was falling for him—and falling hard.

Every kiss. Every Touch. Every embrace.

Just made me realize this wasn’t a fling. It wasn’t even a relationship.

It was so much more.

I just hoped Rex was wrong about Ryker. Because I didn’t have the heart to listen to him say those terrible three words.

Told you so.

My Thoughts

This story continues on the path that we all expect. Rae and Ryker are getting closer and it seems like they could be in it for the long haul. As most couples tend to do, they don’t talk much about their feelings and about the future, but if you stop to think about it, it’s only been a few months, so why should they right? Instead, they enjoy what they have, and Rae keeps her thoughts to herself. until she doesn’t.

In this second book, we also get to see a bit of the supporting cast get their time to shine. Rae and Zeke have helped Rex remodel his bowling alley so he’s got his swagger back (and some income) and that’s what was missing from his ability to be a great guy (we think).

Then if you think back, Zeke was going to tell Rae how he felt and then chose not to when she started things with Ryker. Well, now he’s met a girl named Rochelle and they seem to be perfect for each other. They are deep into their feelings, they express things in a way that Rae and Ryker don’t, and everyone seems to love her. (except Rex). Remember that he’s the one that knew how Zeke felt about his sister and to change his tune so quick, well he’s not buying it.

And then onto Rex. We saw the beginning of an interesting. thing with him and Kayden in the last book – awkwardness from her and feelings that no one else picked up on (except Ryiker). She takes things into her own hands in this second book in the form of tricking him into being her ‘teacher’ by saying she doesn’t know how to attract or keep a guy, and we all know that this can’t go anywhere but in the WRONG direction.

So, throughout this second installment, we get to see a roller coaster of things happen. GREAT relationships continue, new ones start, things get dicey and then things crash and burn. Hearts are broken and i can’t wait to see how this plays out since we all know how it will end. Enjoy!

Review: Ray of Light (Ray #1) by E.L. Todd

Title: Ray of Light
Author:  E. L. Todd
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 1/1/17
Length:  172 Pages
Series:  Ray #1

Overview

My brother is an idiot. He won the lottery and invested all of his money in a run-down bowling alley. Since he’s barely making it, he moved in with me.
Great.
Having him around the house isn’t the worst thing in the world, but he does make a mess like nobody’s business. My friends Zeke, Jessie, and Kayden keep me sane but there’s only so much they can do.
And it’s definitely not the worst thing in the world when his old friend, Ryker, moves to town.
The second I lay eyes on him, I’m hot under the collar. He makes my body burn in longing and freeze in desperation at the exact same time. When he talks, I don’t listen to anything he says because I’m staring at that hard jaw and those kissable lips like I already own them.
But he’s a bed hopper. A playboy. A heartbreaker.
I’m all down for some hot, sweaty, yummy sex even if it doesn’t have a fairy tale ending. I’ve been down that road before. I know the drill. But with Ryker, it’s different.
Because I know I’ll fall in love with him.
For now, I’ll steer clear of him and keep my hands to myself. It can’t be that hard, right?
Or can it?

My Thoughts

I was looking for something new to read and i decided to click on the details tab of one of my books in my nook app to see what was recommended. That’s how i found this one, and i’m on the fence about how i feel.

We have a sweet story about a group of friends that find themselves at a point in their lives when they’re all grown up, there may be feelings for some that are either unrequited or unknown, and there’s great sexual tension amongst quite a few.

We start off with our leading lady Rae – she’s a scientist by day and a great friend and sister by night. We quickly learn that her older brother lives with her because he has no money – after investing his lottery winning into a bowling alley that needs more help than he can afford. We quickly learn though that there’s more to their story than just a nice sister letting her brother crash. We get their family history in the form of learning that their mother killed herself when Rae was 15, and her brother Rex who was 18 took guardianship over her and became brother and father.

Rae meets a hot guy one day while running with her dog and when she doesn’t take him up on his offer to just go home with him right then, she thinks that the connection is over. Little does she know that he’s going to be in her life in a far more complicated way.

Enter Ryker. Not only is he the hot stranger, he’s high school friends of Rex and their friend Zeke, and he’s also…….the son of the man who owns the company that Rae works for, and therefore her new boss. Well, before she learned that last bit, she crossed paths with Ryker a few more times to know that the attraction is real, and despite her brother’s pleading for her to stay away from Ryker, she scratches that itch and then things get interesting.

So there’s that one romance situation going on and it’s entertaining to watch how that plays out. Then there’s another prong to this triangle in the form of Zeke and his crush on Rae. He’s just about decided to admit it all to Rae when she tells him about her and Ryker and basically crushes his soul.

That’s not enough though. Rae has two friends who are part of their crew, Jessie and Kayden. Jessie is gorgeous and can get any guy she wants, yet she wants Ryker. Oops! Then there’s Kayden whom we learn is also fairly smoking hot, and also has a crush on Rex, but no one else realizes this.

So you can imagine the entertainment that a reader can get watching all this play out. What i’ll say is that this is a book that didn’t take much brain power for me, which was nice given that i’m exhausted from work these past two weeks, but it was also a bit immature for what my taste tends to be. The ‘kinky scenes’ weren’t really deep enough and felt more like college kids hooking up than grown ups. That doesn’t ruin the story, just a different layer of ‘heat and passion’ than i’m used to.

So we’re left off in a point in this story where there’s nothing dramatic really happening. Things are changing for everyone, and there are decisions that have to be made, but there’s nothing that feels like a cliff. You can read the next book or not is basically the sense, and while that’s good (since i mean – we all know i’ll read book 2), i feel like it’s not mandatory to do right this second. So….i guess i can say that i’d love to see if anyone else has read this and has an opinion. and if you haven’t read it, do so and let me know thoughts. Enjoy!