Tag Archives: romance

Cover Reveal and 10 Fun Facts About The Last July!

With the upcoming release of my very first novel, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about The Last July as it went from it’s very rough first draft to the final edit. Today is also my birthday, and for my birthday, I’d like to share my cover reveal with my blog followers! This has been a long time coming!

  • The Last July was originally in two different POV’s, Penelope and Sampson’s.
  • In the first few drafts, TLJ was a story about a romance between a camper and counselor. It wasn’t until the final two drafts that Penelope was almost 18 and Sampson was slightly younger.
  • The very first draft of TLJ was written in the Spring of 2014 during Camp NaNoWriMo, I didn’t go to finish it until April 2016 when it was only 31k words. It still wasn’t finished! So it pretty much took me three to four years to write this novel, I just took many breaks. Too many breaks.
  • Some of the camp activities in the novel are my favorite things that I did at camp when I was younger. Swimming, hiking, capture the flag, even the mashed potato mohawks!
  • Camp Arthur is based off of the camp I attended as a kid/teen in Ohio, but is set in Tennessee because it’s one of my favorite places to vacation.
  • I’ve hiked Abrams Falls (twice) and it’s a very tough trail! But the waterfall is so worth it!
  • I wrote about five different final chapters, never sure of how I wanted Sampson and Penelope’s story to end. I finally went to my husband to give me their ending. Yay for having a husband who is also an author!
  • In one of the many drafts, Penelope’s friend, Jenny was supposed to be a camper who suffered an awful fate of a bee sting. I quickly realized that was a bit too morbid, I was watching Game of Thrones at the time.
  • TLJ is a stand alone, but I do plan on writing in the world of Camp Arthur again one day.
  • The authors that I got some inspiration from over the years were Sarah Dessen and Katie Cotugno. I love their contemporary summer romances! Hopefully, one day I can inspire someone the way they inspired me!

 

I also made a blog post for the songs that inspired some scenes in the novel, find that one here. And a sneak peak that can be found here.

The Last July is set to come out very soon, fingers crossed. Follow the blog for updates on the release, deals, and pre-order!

This is an exclusive blog post that I won’t be sharing to any of my other social media platforms! So you guys get to be the first to hear the news!

Guys, now I’m starting to feel like an author!

Here’s the cover! Tada!

received_10212052203755287

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Cover Reveal and 10 Fun Facts About The Last July!

With the upcoming release of my very first novel, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about The Last July as it went from it’s very rough first draft to the final edit. Today is also my birthday, and for my birthday, I’d like to share my cover reveal with my blog followers! This has been a long time coming!

  • The Last July was originally in two different POV’s, Penelope and Sampson’s.
  • In the first few drafts, TLJ was a story about a romance between a camper and counselor. It wasn’t until the final two drafts that Penelope was almost 18 and Sampson was slightly younger.
  • The very first draft of TLJ was written in the Spring of 2014 during Camp NaNoWriMo, I didn’t go to finish it until April 2016 when it was only 31k words. It still wasn’t finished! So it pretty much took me three to four years to write this novel, I just took many breaks. Too many breaks.
  • Some of the camp activities in the novel are my favorite things that I did at camp when I was younger. Swimming, hiking, capture the flag, even the mashed potato mohawks!
  • Camp Arthur is based off of the camp I attended as a kid/teen in Ohio, but is set in Tennessee because it’s one of my favorite places to vacation.
  • I’ve hiked Abrams Falls (twice) and it’s a very tough trail! But the waterfall is so worth it!
  • I wrote about five different final chapters, never sure of how I wanted Sampson and Penelope’s story to end. I finally went to my husband to give me their ending. Yay for having a husband who is also an author!
  • In one of the many drafts, Penelope’s friend, Jenny was supposed to be a camper who suffered an awful fate of a bee sting. I quickly realized that was a bit too morbid, I was watching Game of Thrones at the time.
  • TLJ is a stand alone, but I do plan on writing in the world of Camp Arthur again one day.
  • The authors that I got some inspiration from over the years were Sarah Dessen and Katie Cotugno. I love their contemporary summer romances! Hopefully, one day I can inspire someone the way they inspired me!

 

I also made a blog post for the songs that inspired some scenes in the novel, find that one here. And a sneak peak that can be found here.

The Last July is set to come out very soon, fingers crossed. Follow the blog for updates on the release, deals, and pre-order!

This is an exclusive blog post that I won’t be sharing to any of my other social media platforms! So you guys get to be the first to hear the news!

Guys, now I’m starting to feel like an author!

Here’s the cover! Tada!

received_10212052203755287

Trust by Kylie Scott Book Review

Title: Trust34776338

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Young/New Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.




 

I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Lately, I haven’t been breezing through books, but this one, I did! From the very first chapter, I was drawn in and couldn’t put the novel down. That being said, it wasn’t great writing either. It wasn’t beautifully written like the latest Sarah Dessen and it wasn’t ‘life-changing’, but it was very interesting and I’ll give it a ‘okay’ rating for that.

This wasn’t an insta-romance either, which was surprisingly pleasant since I love that troupe. It was more so, ‘insta-crush’. Edie and John go through a traumatic event together, but they don’t immediately want to date. John tries to protect her from his bad boy image, worried people will judge her for being associated with an ex-drug dealer.

I kind of got tired of hearing about the weight of our main character. In my eyes, she wasn’t fat, I couldn’t tell if she was huge or just a little chubby. I don’t think the weight of our character matters much unless it’s part of the plot like in Dumplin’. I feel like in order to make her weight a bigger deal, more people should have been picking on her for that.

The constant underage partying was also an issue for me. I get high schoolers party on occasion, but it felt like that was all Edie and her friends did. Constant underage drinking, sex, ect… I would classify this book as new adult, rather than young adult, because of these topics.

I loved John in the robbery scene, but he fell short after that. During the robbery, John was so kind and social, but after that, we just got grunt responses from him. He seemed to act like Edie was pesky to him. I know John was going through a lot with his brother, and the robbery, but he changed a lot from the guy he was at the gas station.

I’m  also pretty sure Kylie Scott might be a pen name… possibly Kevin/Hedwig from Split has written this book, with all the etceteras in the beginning….

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Overall, I did like the book, but I felt like it had a lot of issues that still needed to be worked out. I plan on reading more from Kylie Scott in the next few months. Always willing to give an author a second shot!

 

Book Review: Bad Penny by Staci Hart

Title: Bad Penny35109577

Author: Staci Hart

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Nothing good comes after the third date.

Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.




 

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the norm and ready a fun and easy romance novel. This did just that for me. This book pulls you in with its wit from the very first chapter title, literally, I laughed out loud when I saw it. Penny is an all around happy, independent woman who knows what she wants in life, that is, until she meets Bodie. I’m so used to the tame, girl next door type going after the bad boy in these types of novels, so it was cool to see a badass tatted girl in a novel getting involved with the nerdy gamer (who is also chiseled beyond belief). I admit, I saw the cover and that’s what pulled me in, I don’t think I even looked at the synopsis.

With alternating chapters, we get to see both POV’s, which I loved because we got to know that Bodie wasn’t just using Penny like she was using him in the beginning.

If you’re not a fan of ‘insta-romance’, this book isn’t for you because the romance starts off within the first two chapters. There’s no build up at all. If you’re looking for erotica, this book also isn’t for you. The sexual scenes in this novel were very tame in nature, but they did exist.

I rated this lower than my normal reviews only because there wasn’t enough conflict to keep me involved and concerned for the characters. And when there was conflict, it was rather annoying and self-inflicted.

Would love to see a second book in Veronica’s perspective. Who is she dating?!

The ending was perfect, but I feel like the characters (or at least Penny) didn’t act their age throughout the entirety of the novel.

 

What are your favorite adult romance novels? Looking to fill up my kindle with some reads similar to this.

 

 

Book Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Title: Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3)30738170

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.




 

Book three of the Thunder Road series was possibly my favorite. I feel like books 1 and 2 set book three up perfectly. I wasn’t so sure that I would enjoy reading from Violet and Chevy’s perspectives but I think they were the best. This one also starts out with way more action than the first two. That’s what I really loved about it.

We see Violet on occasion going against the MC because of her father’s death, during her few scenes in the first two, but finally getting in her head and watching how strong she is was incredible.

Most reviews on GoodReads seem to agree with me on the fact that they weren’t sure they were going to enjoy a book with Violet as the main character but they all ended up enjoying it. I honestly found myself noticing more motorcycles and wanting to be a part of that world while I was reading this book.

Spoilers Ahead

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It did leave me with some questions though, like what Chevy’s mom thought about him going to see his half brother and possibly not becoming a member of the MC when he turns 18. I figured her reaction should have been a big deal.

I also wondered what happened with Addison. I thought this was supposed to be the final book, but McGarry seems to set it up well for another one featuring Addison, Breanna’s friend from the second book. We’ve heard about her troubling home life many times and even hear it mentioned that someone in the MC has their eyes on her.

Please let there be another book!!

Author Interview: Khardine Gray

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  1. How did you get into writing?

    My earliest memory of writing was when I was about 11 years old. I loved reading books like Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. I remembered thinking on one occasion that I wished one of the stories had ended differently. Then it occurred to me that I could try to create my own stories.

That was my light bulb moment and there hasn’t been a day that passed since I didn’t write something. Even if it was for ten minutes.

I have stacks of handwritten books from my childhood and teenage imagination that I plan to revisit one day. In 2015 I thought about trying to get published, so I sent off my manuscript and was completely shocked when it was accepted. My life has changed immensely since then.

2. How can authors develop an emotional connection between their readers and their characters?

I think it’s important to build that connection with my readers. I do newsletters each week so that I can keep in touch. In those I always let my readers know how much I appreciate them and how I love to hear from them. I try to find topics that they like to discuss and encourage them to connect . My husband pointed out once that I’m supposed write for my readers. If I don’t then it would be better to just imagine up my stories in my head and not bother to write them down. He was right. My readers are like gold dust to me and they inspire me to continue doing what I love the most. 51XAYNG4eAL._SY346_

In regards to my characters, I think of them as pieces of my imagination I’ve given life to. They are very much a part of me and are a result of everything I’ve experienced internally, and externally in the world around me.

The same way I love my readers, I love my characters and I do everything to make my characters as real as possible so that emotional connection can be made. I spend a lot of time creating my characters and I go as far as listing down everything about them. That way I know exactly what they would do in different situations. How they feel, what they would say, what effect different things and people would have on them.

My aim is to create memorable characters so that my readers will never forget them. 

  1. What’s the best summer beach read? If you could take that book anywhere in the world, where would you go to read it?

I like Susan Elizabeth Phillips. My favorite book by her is Natural Born Charmer. I’d read that on the beach for sure and I’d love to read it on one of the amazing beaches on Okinawa Island, Japan. I’d be right at home reading there. It’s truly beautiful and has that scenic landscape worthy of a screen saver.

  1. What makes romance your genre of choice? Are any of your characters based on personal experiences?

    I love writing about love and falling in love. I’m one of those people who values love and it fascinates me to create characters who have this intense magical feeling that draws them together.

         I think I identify a lot with my characters in I Only Have Eyes For You. grey 3

        Of all my books that’s probably the one where I’ve mingled a few of my personal experiences with the fiction world I created. I guess I am a lot like my heroine, Savannah too. We love shopping, pizza, our family and friends.

Savannah made this big life change that would allow her to follow her dreams and not just do things because she was good at it. She wanted to do something that made her happy, something that truly represented her. I feel that I did this with my decision to be an author.

 I am good at a lot of things and I have a great academic background, but I felt that I reached a stage in my life where it was time to do what made me happiest. Savannah travelled to Japan and things took off for her from there. I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and that’s when things changed for me.

5. There can sometimes be a bit of stigma surrounding romance readers and writers. Have you ever had any negative experiences resulting from your profession as a romance writer?

I haven’t really had much negativity I think it’s because I tend to share what I do with those who I know will be interested. There was someone though who once said to me that writing romance will never be a stable career. I knew different because I know authors who make six figures a month. gray 1

Aside from that I tend to not worry about what others think of me. I’m definitely in my element when I write and writing romance is a craft that comes from within. I write from my soul, knowing that gives me the strength to deflect any negativity that may come my way.

 

For more from Khardine Gray, check out her website.

Book Review: Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker

Title: Mann Cakes51efs1nWV2L__SY346_

Author: Mysti Parker

Genre: Romance

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

Twin brothers and Air Force vets, Tanner and Garrett Mann, return from deployment to find their thriving business burned to the ground. Time for Plan B: Move back to their hometown of Beach Pointe to start over.

But that means running into Paige and Morgan Baxter –gorgeous, curvy, and owners of Two Sisters Cupcakes.

There’s an old diner for sale across town, Garrett’s a great cook, and Tanner has an idea. They’ll make savory cupcakes that men would like. We’re talking bacon and Cheez Whiz. Even better? They’ll call it Mann Cakes. Problem is, they end up attracting an unexpected crowd.

Paige is furious. Every man in her life has left her behind, including Tanner. She’s sacrificed everything for her shop. She won’t lose it over some egotistical ex-boyfriend, even if he does have an Air Force-chiseled body. Her younger sister, Morgan, isn’t helping matters. She’s been gaga over Garrett since high school.

To hell with that. If it’s a fight Tanner wants, it’s a fight he’ll get. But how much is Paige willing to risk to win a cupcake war?




 

Set in a small Kentucky community, Mann Cakes is opening its doors in the hopes of giving the Beach Pointe men some savory cupcake options. However, the women end up being the ones with more than sweet tooth’s, wanting selfies with the Mann brothers instead of making cupcake purchases and also taking away some of the Baxter girls business. Garrett and Tanner man have history with the Baxter ladies though, Tanner dated Paige and then left, breaking her heart so with their return, she’s ready to take Mann Cakes down. Meanwhile, Morgan and Garrett start something they wish happened when they were younger.

Mann Cakes is a cute and sweet (pun intended) romance with a hint of a thrill. Though there’s drama in the relationships, it’s all innocent and fun. The romance is strong in this one with many swoon worthy moments and not too many erotic scenes which is refreshing. So if you’re wanting to take a break from your normal smutty romance, this book is for you. There were only a handful of ‘sexy’ scenes with strong descriptions.

I wish there had been more to the thrill part of this. The Mann brothers original business had been burned to the ground, Tanner’s car had been vandalized and then the big catastrophe at the end. I feel like the Mann brothers should have been way more concerned about someone out there that was out to get them.

I didn’t give this novel a perfect score because I wanted more tension, information on the possible threat and I think it should have only been in Tanner and Paige’s POV’s. Maybe Mysti could have made a follow up in Garrett and Morgan’s POV.

With summer vacations coming up, this is a great read for lounging by the pool. And if you’re addicted to sweets like me, your mouth will be salivating from the cover and reading about cupcakes all day.

May Wrap Up & June TBR

 

May Wrap Up

Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

If you love fantasy and you’re looking for an up and coming author, you need to check this book out. It’s great for people who are trying to get into reading the fantasy genre and lovers of fantasy already. Check out my review here.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Huge fan of Katie Cotugno’s writing! Sadly, this one fell short for me but it was devoured in about a week because I love her writing so much. If you’re going to read any of her books, my top recommendation is 99 Days. Review coming on my blog June 9th.

June TBR

I want June to be a decent reading month and I think I can manage 4-5 books. I don’t have Camp NaNo until July, so I plan on reading my heart out!

 

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry- The second book in the Thunder Road series. I meant to finish this one in May but I didn’t feel like reading because I was sick for about a week and a half.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry- The third book in the Thunder Road series! I’m just going to finish the series this month because I know they’re fun and easy reads.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen- New Release from Sarah Dessen! This comes out June 6th, and I’m pumped up for this one!

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- My husband was at a book signing in April and he brought me home a copy of this from one of his author friends. She managed to sell out of this book! So cool!

Into the Deep by Samantha Young- This one was recommended to me by a friend and I decided to give the series a shot considering they take place in Ireland. I recently got my DNA test results back and found out I’m 24% Irish, so now I’m kind of obsessed with anything related to my ‘home country’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pucked by Helena Hunting Book Review

 

Title: Pucked (#1)24504274

Author: Helena Hunting

Genre: Romance/Comedy/New Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.




 

Me and my friend really wanted to do a buddy read and after going to a local hockey game, we decided this would be a fun read. She’s breezed through the first three books, while I just finished the first. I must say, this book did hold my attention the entire time. There were never any boring parts, it was pretty fast pace but not in the ‘insta-love’ sense.

This isn’t your typical adult romance, it’s aimed toward the new adult crowd but not the ones looking for sappy romance. Violet is a tomboy-ish type of girl, and she’s not afraid to admit she pleasures herself, after all, that’s where we first meet her. While she’s ‘jilling off’.

You don’t need to be a hockey fan (though hockey is my favorite sport) or even know anything about hockey to enjoy this book. It had just enough of the sport involved. You get to see Alex and Violet’s POV, and I really ended up loving them, though Alex was my favorite. Violet was a little too blunt about sexual endeavors for my taste.

I was planning on giving this book 4 stars, but it fell short in the epilogue (Alex’s POV) because I felt like the ending was rushed and forced. It should have ended on the final chapter and then picked up in book four (which I plan on reading next, I’m skipping two and three because they’re from different characters). The final part of this book was very cringeworthy, and made me feel really uncomfortable, though it was a happy ending. No cliffhanger at all.

What I loved the most about these books was the characters weren’t perfect. Alex, though sweet and romantic, had his flaws and made mistakes and Violet seemed like a girl who knew she wasn’t perfect but didn’t care anyway. She also didn’t want to need a man, but still accepted the love anyway.

If you’re looking for a cooky, romantic, sex-filled, funny story, this book is definitely for you! Looking forward to reading Forever Pucked (I bought it before I even finished this one)!

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Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken Book Review

Title: Cheater31319454

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Genre: New Adult Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love




 

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, all a different girl in Lucas Thorn’s bed, except for Sunday, that’s God’s day.

Lucas Thorn is embracing his mistakes, by doing exactly what everyone expects of a cheater, to keep cheating. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Right?

This novel was written in alternating point of views but my issue with that is the characters voices were not distinctive enough. I couldn’t really bring myself to love Avery, but I did sympathize with Lucas, surprise! At times, I could see why he was in love with Avery. Mostly in his flashbacks of when they grew up together, but the Avery that just kept being a total bitch to him (no matter if he deserved it) I couldn’t stand her. Lucas knew that he messed up with her sister, he even tells us when the story begins, that we’ll hate him.

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I would say this book is Fifty Shades of Grey (set in Seattle with a rich bachelor and a poor girl) meets John Tucker Must Die (the cheating and want for payback). Which, you would think would make for a fantastic novel but it sadly fell short in my opinion. This story does set itself up pretty well for the sequel (Cheater’s Regrets), and I just might read that.

I couldn’t stand Lucas’ mother though, she was way over the top and not in a good way! If her character would have been toned down a bit, I would have loved it more. Would have been fantastic to see more of Avery’s family also. The only time we see them is when Kayla’s crying (get over it) and Brooke’s trying to shove her tongue down someone else’s boyfriends throat (you’re the bad guy in this).

john-tucker

I was pleased with how Van Dyken managed to wrap things up in the end, but I was still expecting a un-perfect ending since they keep repeating ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ and Lucas saying we’ll hate him no matter what. If I hated anyone it was his mother and Avery’s sister, Brooke.