Review & Excerpt: Kiss And Break Up by Ella Fields

KISS AND BREAK UP
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: March 8, 2019

Dashiell Thane wasn’t a nice guy.

He was an abrasive, demanding, conniving, intolerable brat.

Yet somehow, we’d been best friends our whole lives.

Until our senior year when I finally decided to dip my toes into the dating pool.

 

All it took was one kiss for jealousy, lies, and betrayal to sweep in and propel us heart first into dizzying, hostile depths.

 

You’re not supposed to kiss your best friend.

You’re definitely not supposed to kiss your best friend while you’re dating someone else.

And the absolute worst thing you could do is fall for your best friend.

Unless, of course, you want to ruin everything.

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I fell to the bed just as a thump hit the exterior of the house, and Dash launched himself through the window.“Can you ever land gracefully?” Or you know, use the front door. For as long as we’d lived here, he’d snuck in. At first, it was due to being unsure whether my mom would still want us hanging out, but it didn’t take her long to figure out what he was doing.

She didn’t care. When I’d shaken like a mouse cornered in a kitchen, she’d smiled and told me she’d never stop us from being friends. Yet the window always remained unlocked.

Dash kicked off his boots, and they hit the aging floor with two bangs. “I’m all man, baby. Not a fucking cat.”

Hearing him say that reminded me of why he was here. I sprang to my feet, hurtling out into the hall and into the bathroom.

“What are you doing?”

Too busy gargling mouthwash, I didn’t answer and spat it into the sink as he appeared in the weathered mirror behind me.

“Seriously?” he asked. “You burp in my face after eating garlic pizza, so this is just fucking dumb.”

“You burped in my face first.” I put the cap back on the bottle, not meeting his gaze. I couldn’t. I headed back inside the safety of my room.

But I had to wonder, as I heard Dash gargling mouthwash too, if it would be considered safe again after this. Would this ruin everything by making it awkward?

“Dash,” I said, wringing my hands as I paced the floor of my room. “We probably shouldn’t be doing this. What if––”

“What if it’s awesome and you fall madly in love with me? Well, we already know I don’t do commitment.”

A tiny laugh skittered out. “No, what if it gets awkward? I don’t want anything to change.”

He took me by the shoulders in the middle of my rainbow knitted rug and leveled me with his vibrant eyes. “We’ve done some pretty awkward shit, so what’s a little mouth to mouth going to change?”

I nodded, exhaling slowly, then I frowned. “Why are you doing this? I mean, I know why I want to, but you? What do you even get out of it?”

He grinned. “You might be my best friend, but I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to stick my tongue down your throat.” He tipped a muscled shoulder. “Let’s just say you’ll be killing that curiosity.”

“You’ve always wondered?”

“I’ve got eyes, Freckles. And I don’t need my glasses to appreciate the sight of something beautiful.”

I blinked. “Wow. That was actually really swe––”

“Shut your inexperienced mouth and kiss me.”

I was still laughing when he grabbed my face, and then I squeaked as the world changed color, and his lips lowered over mine.

My heart became a trumpet, blaring in my ears at the first touch of his lips.

I pulled away, startled and still laughing. “Oh, my God.”

Dash’s hands were warm on my face. “That good? They barely even touched.”

“No,” I choked out, pushing his hands away. “It’s just … a little weird.”

“Weird?” His brows scrunched. “We’ve barely even begun.”

I blew out a shaky breath, unable to look at him as my hands flapped at my sides. I stared at his white shirt, looking at where the cotton met his tanned skin. “I don’t know, Dash.”

“Wanna try again?”

I looked at him then, at the eager glint in his blue eyes. “It’s not weird for you?”

He chewed his bottom lip which was a little fatter than the top. And it’d just been touching mine. Oh, how crazy. “Maybe a smidgen. I can just picture Margot Robbie, and I’ll be good.”

I froze. “Margot Robbie?”

He gestured to my hair. “The blonde hair helps.”

“Jesus.” I swiped my hands down my face. “This is dumb. Let’s just forget it.”

He stood there a moment, glancing around my room. “Why don’t you imagine someone? That guy from the Thor movie. You like him.”

“Chris Hemsworth?”

“Yeah. Imagine him.” Then he grinned, waggling his brows. “Pucker up, baby.”

“You didn’t just say that.” I laughed, plopping down on the edge of my bed.

“Whatever. Are we trying again or what?”

The thought of Byron and that mischievous twinkle in his green eyes, the way he’d wasted no time moving in to kiss me … yeah. I needed to do this.

“Okay.” I shook out my hands, bouncing a little on the bed. “Okay, let’s do this.”

Dash’s lips thinned. “This isn’t a cross meet. We’re only swapping germs.”

“You just had to say that, didn’t you?” My pep had officially vanished.

Dash tugged me off the bed. “Close your eyes and relax.”

I tried, but I was as stiff as a board when his mouth met mine again. He tasted like spearmint and cigarettes, but his hands were gentle as one held my chin and the other glided through my hair to the back of my head. Slowly, with the soft press of his lips on mine and the gentle exploration of their shape, my limbs loosened.

“Open,” he whispered, his voice threaded, rougher.

I did, expecting the invasion of his tongue, but the velvet feel of it only traced the inner edges of my mouth.

Out of all the things I’d expected to feel when he’d suggested this crazy idea, it wasn’t relaxed, and it certainly wasn’t the buzzing sensation currently warming my insides.

“This isn’t so bad,” I said when he pulled back, my voice a low exhalation.

“Good. Now repeat the same to me.” My eyes were about to spring open, but he growled. “Keep them closed. Don’t think, just do and feel.”

Drawing in a quick breath through my nose, I found his stubble-coated cheeks with my hands and lifted myself on my toes. I tried to do the same thing he did to me, but my tongue plunged deeper, meeting the warm softness of his. I licked it, stroking cautiously until I heard him hum, the sound vibrating up his throat and causing our lips to mash together.

His hands became firmer around my head, his tongue greedier, sweeping inside my mouth before my teeth found purchase on his plump bottom lip, and pulled.

He groaned, and it had me staggering back, my heart racing and my breath an unsteady, embarrassing sound.

Dash swallowed, then cleared his throat as he shifted on his feet. His eyes met mine, and I looked away, down to where my mint green toes were curling over the abrasive fabric of my rug.

Awkward. This was so awkward, and I prayed we hadn’t just made a huge mistake.

“So that’s how it’s done.” He grabbed the TV remote and plopped onto my bed. “Got any popcorn?”

I shook my head. “Wait, that’s um, it?”

He started flicking through Netflix. “Well, yeah. Not much else to it. We can practice again before your date if you want, but I’m fucking starving, and we need to re-watch the last season of GoT before the new one is out.”

“Oh, yeah,” I said, remembering I’d promised him that weeks ago. Hungry myself, I stepped outside, then scowled at him from the doorway. “Don’t put your socks near my pillow.”

He grumbled but shifted and moved over to the other side of the bed.

Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Yours, but apparently, it’s taking some time for you to get the memo.”

If you follow my reviews, then it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for angst. So then it really should be no surprise that I am obsessed with all things Ella Fields. The woman can write angst like no one’s business, and she’s not afraid to go there. She’s not afraid to write raw, unapologetically real, and truly broken characters and make her readers fall head over heels in love with them each and every time!

So when I saw she’s coming out with a brand new NA romance, I jumped on it like a sugar addict at a cake factory. Yes I know that’s not a phrase, but just go with me here.

The queen of angst strikes again with Kiss and Break Up and she knocked it straight out of the park! She hit the home run of angst! I’m talking teenage angst overload here, people!!! And. It. Was. Delicious.

Dash and Peggy have known each other since they were in diapers. And they’ve been best friends since Dash essentially decided it so and practically bullied Peggy into it. She’s never had a choice in the matter, but it’s not like she minds. The guy may be rude, crude, and completely tone deaf when it comes to proprietary, but he’s her best friend. Through thick and thin. And their senior year of high school definitely brings a change in their comfortable dynamic.

Peggy is a bit of a late bloomer. But with her braces off and a new haircut, suddenly she begins to see her own appeal. And with that appeal, she wants to experience dating like all girls her age have already done. But when a cute boy asks her out, she realizes that her inexperience is a crutch that she needs to get rid off. And in comes her knight in tarnished armor, Dash, with an offer she can’t refuse; practice with him.

Now, suddenly, the lines get blurred. Years of friendship begin to get lost behind repressed feelings, unexpected connections, and a bit of unrequited love. In a word? ANGST!!! All of the sweet, delicious angst.

Dash is a character that you will love to hate and hate to love. He’s far from perfect and he makes plenty of mistakes. As hard as you want to hate him for the decisions he makes sometimes, you also can’t help but fall for him anyway. Peggy was the perfect balance for him. She accepts him in all his imperfect glory, but she also doesn’t take any of his shit. I loved the dynamic of the guy pining after the girl who takes a while to truly understand her feelings for him. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

There’s several secondary characters that are introduced, that I’m practically salivating for a book for. The set up for their books is utterly delicious. I have zero chill with getting my grubby little hands on their stories.

As for this one? I DEVOURED it. I’m talking binge read, people! Binge. Read. I loved every maddening, frustrating, and emotional page of it. I couldn’t set it down for even a second. It was infuriating and completely unputdownable. It was everything I’ve come to expect from the immensely talented Emma Fields, and so much more! A huge rec for all my fellow angst lovers! My one quibble was I wished for a little more development and character fleshing out. I didn’t have an issue connecting with either Dash or Peggy, but I did feel like I was getting to know them on more of a surface level rather than a true deep dive.

 

Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.

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Review: Bloodstained Beauty by Ella Fields

BLOODSTAINED BEAUTY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: November 6, 2018

Fresh out of college and headed straight for my dream job, I didn’t think things could get any better.
Then I met my dream man.

In an instant, my happy ever after had begun.
The life I’d stumbled into was beautiful, and the man I loved was perfect.
But perfection comes at a cost, and I’d slumbered through all the alarms.

Then I met my nightmare.
The man whose bright eyes held untamed darkness.
The man who disarmed me with his peculiar behavior.
The man whose cold, merciless hands shook me awake.
In an instant, questions started to dismantle my happy ever after.

But whoever said the truth would set you free was wrong.
It wasn’t going to repair the cracks in my naive heart.
It wasn’t going to caress my face with comforting hands and reassure me it was all just a dream.
No, the truth shoved me down a rabbit hole, and I landed in the lair of a real-life monster.

AMAZON

Fairy tales, those perfect happy endings, were indeed for suckers. Suckers who could very well wind up dead.

I’m going to keep it real with you all here and admit that I didn’t even bother to read the blurb before adding this book for two very simple reasons:
1. It’s Ella Fields. She writes it, I read it.
2. That cover. Don’t you judge me either! Tell me you didn’t want to lick it when you saw it. TELL ME!

But I digress as usual.

This book? Nothing like what I expected. It was like a dark and gritty take on Beauty and The Beast. It sucked me in with the prologue and kept me riveted to the pages until the end. I was on the edge of my seat with every twist and turn. You only thing you know what’s happening when the author takes a sudden u-turn and everything you thought you knew is left in ashes.

Benevolent tenderness oozed from his heart even as blood and violence tainted his soul.

This story truly breaks the mold to the typical romance formula. It’s nothing like I expected and it owned me from beginning to finish. I’m used to the fact that Ella Fields will always bring me out of my comfort zone as a reader, and she definitely didn’t disappoint here.

While I’d love to tell you exactly what this book is about, I’d be doing you a disservice. You need to experience this story blind. And that’s exactly what you’ll do; you’ll experience it. That blurb is vague and for good reason. That’s precisely how my review will be, too.

Jemima is a heroine that’s unique in her own right. She’s a little naive and a tender heart. She hasn’t really experienced heartbreak, deceit, or betrayal in her young age. But then a chance encounter tilts her entire world on it’s axis. You know the pivotal moment that comes with her choices, because you experience it with the prologue. But instead of putting you at ease because you know what’s coming, it does the exact opposite. The story lulls you into a false sense of security, as you wait for that other shoe to drop. You think you know how and when it happens, but you really don’t.

As for the other main character, or the anti-hero really? I’m not going to tell you much. But what I will say is that he’s one of the most magnetic and intense characters and you know next to nothing about him for the majority of the story. I was salivating for just the tiniest hint into the back void that is him. And this man is dark. There’s not much gray there, trust me.

Bloodstained Beauty was one deliciously gritty read. If you’re looking for a read that’s as unique as it is riveting, this is a must read!

#DGRFave & Review: Pretty Venom by Ella Fields

PRETTY VENOM
Series: Gray Springs University #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: August 3rd, 2018

Callum Welsh perfected the art of hating me when we were two kids who believed we’d be forced into marriage.

He thought I wanted it, but my only wish had been for him to leave me alone.

Then one afternoon, he stole my first kiss.

Despite all he’d done, everything changed after that.

As the years passed, our hearts thawed, and he no longer hated me.

In fact, he loved me enough to make me his wife.

Until I ruined everything with one stupid mistake.

That hatred returned in the form of cruel words and even crueler deeds.

But we weren’t kids anymore.

I could handle his brand of venom.

He would be mine again, even if it cost me the remains of my heart.

Warning: contains cheating and an anti-hero who might make you throw your kindle.

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
AMAZON

If someone has control over your heart, the worst thing you could do was make an enemy out of them. And like a fool, I had.

OH MY GOD! THIS BOOK.
I.
Can’t.
DEAL.

First of all, that warning is no joke. I wanted to cry, yell, rip my hair out, and throw my kindle at the wall. This book wrung every emotion out of me, most of all all consuming rage. So much rage. Like ALL OF THE RAGE. But it was also all consuming. This book took over my entire existence for the hours that it took me to devour it, completely unable to put it down for even a second. I’m a sucker for some devastating angst, and if the blurb didn’t lure me into reading my first Ella Fields book, that warning ultimately did the job.

His brand of assholery had a ricochet effect. Affecting other things in my life, piece by little piece.

The story takes a delicious turn from enemies to lovers and back again in this ulcer inducing romance, and this reader couldn’t get enough of it. Heartburn and bald spots and all.

You smell like peaches.” “And you smell like an asshole.

Renee and Callum have history going back to their early teens. They first meet when they’re in high school and their back and forth antagonism starts. Callum resents the fact that their parents are essentially planning their marriage already. And he takes special exception to Renee, by serving her to a daily dose of his special brand of douchebaggery. Renee is no wallflower, and she’s not shy about giving as hard as she gets. Their connection is tumultuous and antagonistic, with a heavy undecurrent of chemistry that they’re both too young to fully grasp and understand when they first meet. But then as the years pass, and their push and pull continues, it eventually begins to morph into something else. When Callum stops hiding how he truly feels behind cruel words and deeds, he goes after Renee with a completely different motivation, and a relationship blooms.

Being kids when they first get together, life doesn’t really prepare them for the obstacles they’ll face when they go off to college together. Then one mistake driven by hurt and anger changes everything.


I couldn’t do this, yet, at the same time, I couldn’t see a way out of this. Falling in love changed you bit by bit in a way you didn’t realize until that love had left you suffocating in the remaining pieces of who you once were. If this was what I had to live with, what I had to endure … I was afraid it’d kill me slowly. 

And this is where the angst really starts. Callum’s brand of punishment and cruelty truly takes a turn from painful to downright eviscerating. The man puts Renee through hell. Every move, word, and look is calculated for maximum pain. That warning is no lie, because the things he does makes you want to peel your skin off and throw it at him. But at the same time, knowing what he’s going through in his head, you get where the anger is coming from. You hate him for what he does, but you understand why he’s doing it. It’s a special sort of hell, because as much as it hurts, it’s also absolutely riveting.

If you make someone your world, do not complain when the ground crumbles beneath your feet.

Pretty Venom was an all consuming sort of story. It’s the sort of book that takes over your entire world when you read it. It’s gut wrenching, emotionally annihilating, and rip your hair out sort of angsty. Ella Fields is clearly a master of her craft, because she delivers two characters that are far from perfect, yet somehow relatable. They both make mistakes, and as much as you want to judge them for it, you simply can’t. You’re much too wrapped up in their pain to do anything else. It’s no lie that there’s a thin love between love and hate, and this book takes you through both extremes and then back again.

My enemy, my ally, my best friend. She was love in its rawest form. Everything I needed wrapped in one multilayered bow. One that I refused to let unravel ever again.

It was utterly delicious and I binged on it like the angst addict that I am. Ella Fields just went straight to my auto-buy list, no blurb required. This is an author that’s not afraid to write about the ugly side of human emotion, and Pretty Venom was certainly that. This book owned me and I’m seriously kicking myself for only reading this author now. I plan on rectifying my mistake immediately by reading the rest of the series.

Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.

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