Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of 2015

With the year coming to an end in less than a week, I figured now was a great time to share some of my favourite books of 2015. Let me just say that, as always, narrowing down this list was HARD. To give you an idea, I've read 179 books so far this year and so many of those were books that I absolutely loved. Somehow, I managed to get that list down to 20 (well, 23 technically). Much like last year, A LOT of contemporary (of any "age category") this year, so much so that I've barely read from other genres. Like there's only one book on this list that isn't contemporary. Or two, depending on how you qualify one of them. And I guess, maybe a third when you go down to the Honourable Mentions. The point is, that's actually pretty representative of my reading for 2015. But I digress. So, in no particular order, here are my favourites from this year.

Emilie's Favourite Books of 2015

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider - Robyn Schneider quickly became a favourite author after I read her debut a couple of years ago, and Extraordinary Means only solidified the fact that I will read anything she writes. This story was beautiful and heartbreaking and had me in tears by the end. But it was so completely worth it.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot - If I had to just pick one author as an absolute favourite, Meg Cabot would definitely top that list. I have been reading her books, the Princess Diaries series in particular, for half of my life. Royal Wedding was absolute perfection and so much more than I hoped for. I couldn't have asked for a better ending for Mia and Michael (even if I still totally want more books about them).

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally - Miranda Kenneally is a favourite and I have yet to read one of her books and not love it. It was exactly the same with Jesse's Girl. I loved all the nods to eighty's music and the glimpses of characters from other books. And Maya and Jesse were pretty great, too, I guess.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick - I had been wanting to read Tim's story from the moment that I finished My Life Next Door. So The Boy Most Likely To was pretty much my dream book. And I didn't want it to ever end. This book exceeded any expectations I may have had and succeeded in making me love Tim even more than I thought I could.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry - Katie McGarry is another favourite and I have yet to not love any of her books. I was curious about what this new series would be like and Nowhere But Here ended up becoming one of my favourite books by this author. 

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray - A recent read, Come Back to Me took me completely by surprise. I hadn't heard much about it until I read it and I found myself absolutely loving it. This story left me so many conflicting emotions but it just worked. And I loved it. 

Play On by Michelle Smith - Another book that took me completely by surprise. I didn't know much about Play On before reading it and I didn't expect the story to affect me as much as it did. This was a book that I read in the span of an afternoon and that left me in a puddle of my own tears. 

99 Days by Katie Cotugno - 99 Days was a very polarizing book. People either loved it or hated it. And I found myself solidly on the side of people who loved it. I had loved Katie Cotugno's debut and I loved this one just as much. Not always an easy story to read, but one I loved just the same.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - So I'm cheating because I totally included this as an "Honourable Mention" last year, but I reread it this year so it totally counts (also, this is my list and I can do what I want). I loved absolutely everything about The Start of Me and You and I can't help but want someone like Max in my life.

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler - I actually read both books in this duology this year and Under the Lights easily became a favourite. I loved this story so much, both for the romance and for the friendships. I would have been happy to just keep on reading about Vanessa and Josh and Brianna forever. 

Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn - I actually loved all three books in Caisey Quinn's trilogy, but I think that Loving Dallas was my favourite one out of all of them. There was just something about Dallas and Robyn's story and their second chance at romance.

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy - On their own, Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy both became favourite authors for me. So it was impossible for me not to love a book written by both of them. And Him was just absolute perfection. This m/m romance is quite possibly the sweetest romance I've read all year, and one of the sweetest I've ever read, period.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover - Colleen Hoover is one of my go-to when it comes to romance. And I thought I knew which of her books was my favourite. But then November 9 came along and replaced it. I didn't expect this story to hit me the way it did and I loved it, regardless of what it did to my heart.

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson - I'm pretty sure that Trust the Focus is one of the first m/m romance that I read. And because of that it will always be a favourite. But also because it's just a beautiful story about love and friendship. And it's in fierce competition with Him for my favourite romance of the year.

Truth & Temptation by Riley Edgewood - I love Riley Edgewood and her books. This could have just as easily been Surf & Surrender, but something about Teagan's story in Truth & Temptation did it for me. I had high expectations about this story and it more than surpassed them.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan - Like a number of other books on this list, this is one that took me completely by surprise. I so did not expect to love The Royal We as much as I did and once I read it, I just couldn't shut up about it. And I'm still waiting for the book all about Freddie.

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini - It's no secret that I absolutely love Josephine Angelini and her books. I loved Firewalker and what it did for the story that started in Trial by Fire. And I'm both scared and excited to see how it's al going to come together in the final book.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen - If I had to put my all time favourite authors in a list, Sarah Dessen would be at the top with Meg Cabot. Saint Anything was different and darker than her other books but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - People wouldn't shut up about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for a very good reason. This is quite possibly one of the most adorable stories I have ever read and just thinking about it puts a goofy smile on my face and fills my heart with all the feelings.

All Played Out by Cora Carmack - I love Cora Carmack and her books, especially her Rusk University series. Of the three that are out so far, All Played Out is absolutely my favourite. I loved Torres and Nell and would happily keep reading books about them if Cora writes them.

Honourable Mentions

(Because they didn't come out in 2015 or aren't out yet)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
 - If I'm not mistaken, Jellicoe Road was the first book I read in 2015 after having been told repeatedly by my friend Ciara that I needed to read it. And she was right, I totally needed to read this book. Even though I didn't know what to do with my feelings when I finished reading, I still absolutely loved this story.

Remembrance by Meg Cabot - I was lucky enough to be able to read Remembrance, the upcoming seventh book in the Mediator series, early and it was perfection. I am loving that Meg Cabot is revisiting some of her older series and writing new stories set in the those worlds. As long as she keeps writing them, I will keep reading them.

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn - Firsts is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it's an important book. It might not have always been the easiest story to read, but it's one that I totally loved.

Have you read any books on this list? Were any your favourites?

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Blog Tour - With Every Breath by Lia Riley + Giveaway

Title: With Every Breath
Author: Lia Riley
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher/Wordsmith Publicity
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Abuja lures the most determined climbers. It’s also the last spot a “play-it-safe girl” like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she’ll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever is takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine…even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it’s up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can’t resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn’t enough. 

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expected—love.

Lia Riley has easily become one of my go-to authors when it comes to NA and contemporary romance. I always get really excited when I find out that she has a new book coming out, and I jump right into reading it the first chance I get. And it was no different with her latest, With Every Breath.

Auden Woods is determined to put her journalism degree to good use and land her dream job at an adventure magazine. The only problem is that Auden isn’t exactly the adventure and outdoors type. She’s someone who plays it safe and because of severe asthma, has never gone too far from home. But now, Auden is determined to wander out of her comfort zone, traveling to Patagonia on her own to talk to climbers getting ready to climb La Aguja. When the trip doesn’t go quite as planned, Auden crosses paths with Rhys MacAskill, a Scottish mountaineer who sees this climb as his redemption after his last climb cost him his brother. Rhys will stop at nothing to be the first to reach the summit of La Aguja. But what he didn’t anticipate, was Auden barging in to his life and making him rethink everything he thought he knew. Both were looking for something in Patagonia, but what they didn’t expect to find there was love.

In the past year, Lia Riley has totally become one of my go-to authors when it comes to romance and NA books. I mean, between October 2014 and now I’ve read seven books and two novellas written by her. So it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when I say that I was excited when she first announced her latest, With Every Breath. Not only is this book NA romance, but it also involves travel and it basically had my name written all over it. So basically, I was in when it comes to With Every Breath. And for me, Lia Riley once again delivered. I got sucked into the story, I connected with the characters and I just wanted to keep reading. In fact, I might have stayed up way past my bedtime to read even though I had to be at work the next morning. But as tired as I was the next day, I didn’t regret my decision to just keep reading until the end. And, not gonna lie, With Every Breath totally made me want to go hiking in Patagonia. Never really thought about it before reading this book, but now this is a thing that I want to do. So be warned, this book may give you a slight (or major) case of wanderlust. With Every Breath simply reaffirmed that I will read just about anything that Lia Riley writes because her stories just suck me in and usually result in me falling a little bit in love with fictional characters (but really, that’s not exactly anything new).

When I first started reading, it didn’t take too long for me to connect with Auden. Much like her, I very much tend to be someone who plays it safe, not necessarily doing all that much to go out of my comfort zone. So I definitely understood that side of Auden’s personality, and I even admired her for actually going out on this trip to hike by herself in Patagonia. As much as With Every Breath made me want to go hike in Patagonia, I don’t think I would actually decide to do so on a whim and just take off and go for it the way Auden did. Though if I had someone like Rhys with me, I might reconsider. Because, holy brooding, hot, Scottish guy. Rhys MacAskill is gruff and surly and not exactly the most welcoming or warmest of person. But when you crack his shell, he is something else entirely. And I hardly blame Auden for falling for him as fast as she did. Because I’m not sure I would have put up much resistance if I had been in her shoes. But for real though, I more than liked Rhys, even if sometimes I kinda wanted to (lovingly) hit him in the back of the head for being a stubborn idiot. But at the end of the day, I liked what they brought out in each other and enjoyed reading their story and seeing them come together.

After having read With Every Breath, I can say that Lia Riley will continue to be one of my go-to authors for all things NA and romance. Just like with all her other stories, I got sucked into this one and I loved the characters. And as a bonus, it gave me a major case of wanderlust.


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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Whatever It Takes by L.E. Bross

Title: Whatever It Takes (Second Chances #2)
Author: L.E. Bross
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: December 14, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Tess is burdened with a responsibility she’s not quite sure she can handle, and Ryan is determined to save her from it—if she ever stops pushing him away—in this sexy follow up to Right Where You Are, the first new adult novel in the captivating Second Chances series.

Tess is a lot of things. Strong. Independent. Determined. Completely overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being her little brother’s caretaker. But she can handle it. She has to. Because there’s no way in hell she’s letting anyone else raise Noah.

Ryan’s happy with a life on cruise control. He has no intention of tying himself down. That road only leads to heartbreak, a lesson he learned the hard way when he was fifteen. So why can’t he stay away from the one woman who broke his heart?

Tess knows exactly why Ryan keeps popping up right when she needs the most help: He’s got a hero complex big enough to save Cinderella. But Tess isn’t that girl, and she refuses to let him be part of her life. Not even when Noah takes a liking to him. Not even when they kind of, maybe, hook up.

Not even when she starts to fall for him…

A few weeks ago, I discovered L.E. Bross’s first New Adult novel and I was hooked. And I wanted more. So when I saw that a companion to that first novel was available? I couldn’t click fast enough. And I might have loved Whatever It Takes even more than I did that first book.

Tess never saw her life going the way its going. But she couldn’t imagine herself doing anything but taking care of her little brother. And she won’t let anyone take that little boy away from her. When push comes to shove, she would do anything for Noah. But she’s determined to do it on her own. When she crosses paths with Ryan, the boy she loved when she was fifteen, she knows he would do anything he could to help her. It’s just who Ryan is. Tess just doesn’t know if she could take losing him again. Ryan is happy with the way his life is, but when he sees Tess again, he can’t seem stay away no matter how much he knows that he should. The first time they were together, things didn’t work out. Are Tess and Ryan willing to do whatever it takes this time around?

A few weeks back, I stumbled upon L.E. Bross’s Right Where You Are, and fell a little bit in love with the story and the characters. When I found out that there was going to be companion novel, I was excited. And when I found out how soon that companion novel was going to be available, I became even more excited. So when I got my hands on Whatever It Takes, I had no choice but to start reading it right away. I had been curious about Ryan while reading the first book and I was looking forward to reading his story. And his story didn’t disappoint me. I am a sucker for second chance romances, and this one was exactly what I had hoped it would be. I loved every minute of this story. It made me smile, it warmed my heart, and it broke my heart a little as well. Despite everything that goes on, it was just the kind of feel good story that I love.

I was curious about Ryan pretty much from the moment that I met him Right Where You Are. So Whatever It Takes being all about him? Yeah, I was all over that. And the more I got to know him, the more I fell for him. He was the sweetest most caring person. And this guy also had the biggest hero complex I’ve seen in a long time. But it worked for him. And made me love him that much more. And just as much as I loved Ryan, I loved Tess. I loved how independent she was and how she was determined to take car of herself and her little brother. Granted there were times when I wanted to tell her that she should take up Ryan on his offer to help because there was nothing he wanted more than to help her. But that didn’t stop me from loving her. The person who really stole the show was Noah, Tess’s little brother. He was adorable and pretty much put a smile on my face every time he spoke. And him and Ryan together? My heart just melted. And I’m clearly a sucker for books with little kids in them.

If it wasn’t obvious, I loved L.E. Bross’s Whatever It Takes. It was the second chance romance story that I needed and one that I want to recommend to everyone I know who loves New Adult and romance.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

Title: Dirty Deeds (Mechanics of Love #3)
Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Alex Dawn is saying no to men. No to bad relationships, disappointments, and smooth-talkers. Focusing on her family and her job at Payton and Sons Automotive keeps her mind occupied and her heart content. She doesn’t really miss a man’s touch, until one night, a man shows up with the body of a god and a voice from her dirtiest dreams.

L.M. Spencer is only in Tory, Maryland, to scope out the town as a possible site for one of his company’s hotels. The British businessman didn’t expect his car to break down or to find the hottest little American he’s ever seen holding a tire iron, piercing him with bright blue eyes.

They agree to one hot nigh, one dirty deed to burn out the chemistry between them. But rom their first kiss, Alex can’t stop saying yes to this man. And when Spencer’s company threatens everything she cares about, they must make the choice to stand together or apart.

In the last year, I’ve read seven books by Megan Erickson and each one has been just as good as the last. Every time I see that she has a new book coming out, I become extremely excited and start counting down the days until I’ll have it in my hands. And it was no different with Dirty Deeds.

Alex has decided that she’s just going to stay away from men from now on. Other than the ones she works with, and who happen to be taken, Alex is happy live a life without men. Especially if it saves her from heartbreak and disappointment. She’s happy to just focus on her family. But when Spencer shows up at the garage where she works, Alex thinks that one night with him couldn’t possibly hurt anything. After one night, she’ll just go back to avoiding men. But one night with Spencer is not what Alex expected. After spending one night with her, Spencer can’t get Alex out of his mind. He should be looking forward to leaving the small town of Tory, Maryland to return to New York, but instead he can’t stop thinking about the hot mechanic. They can’t stay away from each other. But soon enough, the reason for Spencer’s stay in Tory might be what will tear them apart.

In the year and a half since Megan Erickson’s first book came out, she has quickly become one of my go-to authors when it comes to romance. To put it into perspective, I’ve read seven she’s written in the past year. SEVEN. And I never get tired of them. There’s just so much about her books that I love. And in the last little while I haven’t been able to get enough of her Mechanics of Love series. Every time I start reading one, I pretty much read it in one sitting. I get sucked into the story and don’t want to stop reading until I’m done. It was no different with Dirty Deeds. I loved this story. I fell in love with Alex and Spencer and I loved reading their story. The whole time I was reading I either had a goofy smile on my face or I was worrying about what parts of this story was going to do to my heart. But at the end of the day, this story made me really happy. But it was also a little bittersweet because I don’t want this series to end. I would be happy reading about the Payton and Sons family forever. Because I have a MAJOR soft spot for everyone in this series.

I loved Alex pretty much from the moment she first walked into Payton and Sons in the first book in the series. So I was excited about reading her story. Especially after everything I found out about her while reading Dirty Talk. There was just so much about Alex that I was curious about, and I wanted so much for her to get her own happy ending. Because she more than deserved it. And I’m happy that she got that happy ending with Spencer. Because Spencer was so not what he looked like. I mean, sure he was a successful businessman, but that’s not all he was. Once you scratched the surface a little, you realized that he had a whole lot more in common with Alex than I would have originally thought. So yeah, Alex and Spencer were a really good match and seeing them together totally put a big smile on my face. And as with any book in a series like this one, I loved being able to see all the characters I’ve loved in the other books make an appearance. Pretty much any time Violet made an appearance, my heart melted a little…especially if it involved her interacting with Brent. And even though Dirty Deeds is the last planned book int his series, I’m still holding out hope for more books, especially one that would be about about Delilah and Davis.

Needless to say that I absolutely loved Megan Erickson’s Dirty Deeds. I’ve loved the Mechanics of Love series and this book has only solidified my love. And I can’t help but hope that there will be more books in this series. Though if I’m being honest, I’ll read just about anything Megan Erickson writes.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Blog Tour - Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson + Giveaway!

Title: Dirty Deeds (Mechanics of Love #3)
Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Buy the Book: HarperCollins / Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Google Play
Alex dawn is saying no to men. No to bad relationships, disappointments, and smooth-talkers. Focusing on her family and her job at Payton and Sons Automotive keeps her mind occupied and her heart content. She doesn’t really miss a man’s touch, until one night, one shows up with the body of a god and a voice from her dirtiest dreams.

L.M. Spencer is only in Tory, Maryland, to scope out the town as a possible site for one of his company’s hotels. The British businessman didn’t expect his car to break down or to find the hottest little American he’s ever seen holding a tire iron, piercing him with bright blue eyes.

They agree to one hot night, one dirty deed to burn out the chemistry between them. But from their first kiss, Alex can’t stop saying yes to this man. And when Spencer’s company threatens everything she cares about, they must make the choice to stand together or apart.


    Alex Dawn growled as she tightened the hubcap with the tire iron and thought, for the fifth time, that she should have gone home an hour ago.
    But that meant going home to an empty house, which she didn’t think she’d hate but had learned to her supreme horror that she did, in fact, hate living alone.
    She’d never lived alone, not ever. First she’d lived with her mom and sister, and then…him…and then again with Ivy and her daughter, Violet. She liked living with Ivy and V, but now they had moved in with Ivy’s boyfriend, so Alex was alone. In that apartment that used to be filled with Ivy’s clothes and Violet’s coloring books.
    Alex banged the tool on the rubber of the tire. The thunk was comforting. She did it again, and again, wondering why she was doing this, but couldn’t deny it felt good as hell to get some anger out. Because that’s all she seemed to have lately. Anger. Anger at him and at her life and anger at the fact that she couldn’t seem to be fucking happy.
    It was a shitty cycle.
    Therapy was helping, a little, but it dredged up old wounds she’d tried to bury for so long. She hated being unhappy. But the more she dwelled on it, the less happy seemed to be within reach. She did like her job, though, so that was something. Working at Payton and Sons Automotive as a mechanic was more home than that empty apartment.
    Her phone rang, and she glanced at the caller ID before tucking her phone in between her ear and should. “Hey.”
    “What’re you doing?” Ivy’s voice was soothing.
    “Working,” Alex answered.
    There was a pause, as if Ivy was checking the time. “You’re still at work.”
    “Tell her to go the fuck home!” yelled a male voice in the background. Brent Payton. Ivy’s boyfriend and Alex’a coworker.
    “Stop swearing,” Ivy muttered, but there was no heat to her words.
    Alex smiled. “Tell him I’d stop working if I didn’t have to pick up his slack.”
    There was a rustle on the phone and then Brent’s voice was clear. “Seriously, why are you still there?”
    Alex shrugged, even though she knew no one could see her. “Why dod you care? I’m getting stuff done so you have less to do tomorrow.” It was Friday and Alex was off the next day, but Brent was on the Saturday shift. 
    “Alex.” Brent sighed. “Go home.”
    Where was home? she wanted to ask. But instead she traced an oil spot on the concrete with her boot. “Yeah, okay. Just so you know, this Jeep here—“
    “I’ve been drinking. Leave me a fucking note.”
    Alex rolled her eyes. “Fine. Take care of my sister for me.”
    “Always do.”
    Alex was about to hang up when Ivy’s voice cam back on the line. There was a giggle, and Alex was happy for her sister at the same time a pang of envy sliced into her heart. “Alex?”
    “Want to come over or something?”
    “Nah, that’s okay. You guys have a nice family night or whatever.”
    “Alex, you’re family too.”
    She was, but Ivy was starting a new family, a nice, perfect nuclear family, and there wasn’t room in that house for a clingy sister. “I know, but I”m cool. Gonna go home and crash.” She’d been reading Ivy’s romance books she’d left behind too.
    “Okay, but if you change your mind…”
    “Thanks, honey, but I’m fine.”
    Ivy sighed. “ ‘K, love you.”
    “Love you too.”
    Alex shoved her phone back into her pocket and glanced around the garage. She really should go home. The sun was setting, patenting the fall sky in streaks of pink and orange. Hooking her thumbs in her pockets, she walked to the front of the garage,leaned agains the side of the open bay, and gazed at the sky and the Friday night traffic on Main Street in Tory, Maryland.
    She tapped the tire iron against her jean-clad thigh, enjoying the breeze on her heated skin and through the thin fabric of her tank top.
    Her nerves were jittery, and sometimes she still had the urge to run. To flee. To be far away from him and her past as best as she could. But if she’d learned anything since she moved to Tory, it was that she couldn’t keep running. So she stayed here, where Ivy found the love of her life and where Alex had a good job and could see her niece grow.
    She’d given up hope long ago she’d get the diary tale that seemed to happen for everyone else. And that was okay. She’d hardened and carried a chip on her shoulder that was like an old friend now.
    She was about to turn around and close up shop when the sound of a rattling exhaust caught her attention. She turned her head to see a red Mercedes—the source of the sound—making its way down the street. The car turned into the parking lot of Payton and Sons and Alex waiting as it parked in front of her and the driver turned off the engine, which thankfully killed the noise.
    Alex glanced at her watch. It was after seven now. Technically the shop closed an hour ago, but she waited for the driver to get out of the car, because it wasn’t like she was in a hurry.
    The door opened. A man’s black dress hoe planted on the ground of the parking lot, attached to a gray-panted leg. That leg just…kept going. The man had to be tall as hell, and when he emerged from the car, Alex swallowed. Yes, he was tall. Very tall, probably close to six-four. He wore a gray suit with a white shirt that was unbuttoned at the top and a dark blue tie, loosened so the knot hung off to one side. He slammed the car door shut with a little bit of anger, and Alex jolted at the sound and the force, her body stiffening.
    She hated herself a little at her knee-jerk reaction to a big man who was angry.
She squared her shoulders and gripped the tire iron, watching the tall man with dark hair glare at his car with his hands on his lean hips, broad shoulders rising and falling with a heavy sigh.
He speared his fingers through his hair and turned to Alex, opening his mouth to say something but stopping abruptly at the sight of her. He blinked.
    She blinked back.
    He was about ten feet away, and even from here she could see the brilliant blue of his eyes, the long dark lashes framing them. The little bit of silver peppering his hair at his temple.
    He was gorgeous in a clean-cut, serious businessman way. The effortlessly wavy hair, the square jaw, the lips that threatened to open any minute and spit out such words like merger and acquisitions and accounts payable. He looked like he didn’t smile, but scowled from under a heavy brow.
    The type of man who’d always looked down his nose at all the Dawn women. Called them easy and white trash under his breath. Yeah, she was judging, but her defence was to judge first. Better to size up who she was dealing with quick than be caught off guard.
    Basically, Mercedes Man was the fact opposite of Alex’s type.
    She placed the tire iron she was holding and crossed her arms over her chest. With a raised eyebrow, she said, “Having some trouble?”
    He blinked again, his hand frozen in his hair. Then he dropped it at his side, the other still on his hip. “Bloody car.”
     It was Alex’s turn to be surprised. The guy was British. She’d never met anyone who was British, and she really only heard British accents on TV shows like Game of Thrones and Spartacus, when all the actors had these vague European accents to appear exotic. She grew up in Indiana. Not a hotbed of diversity.
    “You guys really say ‘bloody’? Like that’s actually a thing?” she asked—and immediately clamped her hand over her mouth, because the man’s dark eyebrows dipped in a scowl, which still did nothing to lessen his attractiveness.
    “Do you Americans really say ‘eye-haw’?” he shot back at her, the last word morphing into what Alex assumed was an attempt at a southern accent.
    “You’re officially said that word more than I have in my whole life,” she answered drily.
    He paused, like he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or glare. In the end, he went with a glare, along with a muttered, “Well, then, I’ll be sure not to blurt that out at random times.”
    “That might be a good rule.” She took a step forward and jerked her chin in the direction of his car.     “Need some help?”
    “Your bloody roads,” he said. “Can’t go a hundred meters without hitting a pothole, and it’s done a number on my car.” His eyes took in a sweep of the shop. Alex tried not to look at it through this man’s eyes. Everything about him, from his clothes to his car, was sleek and clean and put together. The shop behind her was an older building, with a few—okay, several—cosmetic issues. It smelled like grease, oil, gas, and rubber, and she loved every fucking inch of Payton and Sons. So this guy could sneer at it all he wanted. It was home to her. When that arresting blue gaze returned to hers, his eyes were unreadable. “Can you service a Mercedes?”
    Oh, for fuck’s sake. “Uh, yeah, we can service a Mercedes.”
    He didn’t flinch at her dry tone or her looks-could-kill laser eyes. The man was made of steel. “I see. Well, then, can you look at it, or do I need to speak to a manager.”
    She kinda wanted to punch the guy. “No.”
    He stared. “No…you can’t look at it, or no, I don’t need to speak to a manager?”
    “Neither.” She gestured toward the unlit sign in the window of the office. “We’re closed.” Maybe she would have stayed open if anyone but this guy had pulled into the parking lot.
    He sighed and ran his hands over his face and up into his hair, tugging on the dark strands before dropping his arms to his sides. “Fuck,” he muttered, turning his glare back onto the car. 
    She stuck her hands in her pockets. “Look, I’ll make sure the guys coming in tomorrow look at it, but that’s all I can promise.”
    After a silent thirty seconds, he nodded. “That’ll have to do then.”
    She took a step forward. “I’m Alex, by the way.”
    His gaze dipped down her body for one minute before locking eyes with her. “Spencer.”
    That name. So British and posh and everything Alex wasn’t. “Do you need a ride somewhere?” She should just make him figure it out on his own since he was kind of a jerk, but she could always use some karma points. And it wasn’t like Tory had a taxi service.
    “I’m at the Tory Inn.”
    “I know where that is. I can give you a ride, if you want.”
    He studied her again, and she wondered what he thought of her. She was dirty after a long day at work, but she always wore a full face of makeup and red lipstick. He had hated it, but she didn’t wear it for him.
    “Okay, yes,” Spencer said with a nod, his tone brusque. “I’d like that. Thank you.” His last two words were tacked on, like an afterthought.
    Don’t hurt yourself thanking me. “I’m going to close up the shop, so you can get your things and I’ll meet you at my truck.” She pointed to her old Ford in the corner of the lot. His eyes followed her finger, and then he gave a short nod.
    “Give me ten,” she said.
    It really only took her five minutes to close up the shop, but she needed some time to gain her bearings. She could feel his judgment of her and her workplace on her skin like ants. She wanted to get home and shower and forget about this uppity Brit. Why had she offered hm a ride home? Stupid, stupid Alex.
    Also, why did he have to be hot?
    When she approached her truck, he was standing by the passenger door, head bent, a lock of dark hair falling onto his forehead as he tapped away at his phone. As her footsteps approached, he looked up. he held a fancy-looking bag, the strap crossed over his chest.
    “That all you have?” she asked.
    He nodded and his head swivelled as he looked p and down Main Street. He sighed, and for the first time since she’d met him, his severed face softened. “Look, I’m sorry. I’ve had a site day, and I was an arse. Can I buy you dinner or a drink to make up for it?”
    Alex hesitated. No, no, just say no. But he was looking at her with a somewhat eager expression, and she was starving. A free mea. While looking at hot guy. Hopefully he kept his mouth shut. “There’s a little place down the street, serves burgers and beer.”
    As they got into the truck and she put on her seat belt, she said, “But you don’t have to pay—”
    “Please, Alex.”
    She tried not to think about how she liked the way he said her name, drawing out the first syllable and emphasizing the x. “Sure, okay,” she said as she baked out of the parking lot, glancing at him as she did.
    He smiled them. A smile that transformed his surly face into…something gorgeous. Spectacular. Like he belonged in some period film with a cravat, sipping champagne. She tried not to think about how his smile made her feel, even as the warmth spread down to her toes. He was just a hot guy, and she’d been around hot dudes before. Hell, she worked with some. So why couldn’t she quit perving on this one? Especially because he’d already shown he could be an asshole. God, was that who she was? A woman who was doomed to always want to bone jerks?
    Spencer’s name was probably something like Spencer Addington IV, and he probably had a distant relative of royalty. Surely, his family played polo or cricket or whatever they did over there in Britain.
    Either way, despite the way his eyes lingered on her lips and the way his long tapped fingers rested on his thigh, he wasn’t her type. 
    Hell, she didn’t have a type anymore.
    Being alone was lonely, but at least it was safe.

About the Author
Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Praise for Megan Erickson

“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
—Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author

“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
—Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author 

“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
—Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author 


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Friday, December 4, 2015

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Title: Did I Mention I Love You? (DIMILY #1)
Author: Estelle Maskame
Publisher: Sourcebooks FIRE
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand and celebrities—what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn’t seen in three year, a stepmonster and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He’s got angry green eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pull her into their world of rule-breaking, partying and pier-hanging.

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t…

Did I Mention I Love You? is the addictive first book in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame’s DIMILY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak and forbidden romance.

There are always those books you see floating around the Internet and you know about them without really knowing much about them. That’s kind of how I felt about Estelle Maskame’s Did I Mention I Love You? and I was curious enough to want to read it. And it ended up being a story I enjoyed.

Normally Eden Munro would be looking forward to spending the summer in Santa Monica, especially if it means escaping the drama at home. But a summer in Santa Monica means spending the summer with her dad, the dad she hasn’t seen in three years after he walked out on her and her mom. But it’s not just with her dad. It’s also with her new stepmom and three new stepbrothers. Not exactly what Eden had planned for her summer. When she gets to Santa Monica, Eden quickly gets taken in to a group of friends, one that includes Tyler, the stepbrother she can’t stand and who she’s constantly fighting with. Eden becomes determined to understand what makes Tyler so angry all the time, what makes him tick. But the more Eden finds out about Tyler, the more time she spends with him, she realizes that she’s doing a lot more than just figuring him out. She might even be falling for him…and since he’s her stepbrother, that’s a whole lot of complicated.

For the last few months, I’ve been seeing Estelle Maskame’s Did I Mention I Love You? kind of floating around the Internet. I vaguely knew about it, that it was another book that had started out on Wattpad. But I didn’t really know what the story was about, other than it was a contemporary romance. And really, that’s kind of all I need to know about a story to make me want to read it. So I went in to Did I Mention I Love You? with a completely open mind. And I’m willing to admit that at first I wasn’t sure how to feel about this story. It took a while for me to click with Eden, which made it hard for me to get into the story. And I don’t think I never fully got into the story until close to the end. But that didn’t stop me from compulsively reading it. I just had to keep going. I couldn’t stop. Where the story kind of lost me was on the romance. Let me preface this by saying that I have no issue with stories that involve stepsiblings getting together if they haven’t grown up together. But I had trouble getting invested in this relationship despite wanting it to happen. I just had complicated feelings about the romance. And having read the description for the sequel, I’m afraid that it’s going to keep up in the next book.

As I’ve already mentioned, it took me a while to click with Eden. For the first part of the book, I just felt like she complained about everything. She came across as judgemental, which in itself is not a problem, but it felt like she as judging and complaining about what the girls she was hanging out with were doing without ever really saying anything about why she didn’t like it. Eventually that went away and I was able to enjoy Eden as a character. And I was intrigued by Tyler. Much like Eden, I wanted to know what made him tick, what made him so angry all the time. And I loved when his softer, more vulnerable side came out. That one particular scene with him at the end of the book? My heart pretty much cracked. I just wished I could have seen more of that Tyler and less of the constantly angry and pissed off one I saw for a good chunk of the book. I can only hope that the softer, more open Tyler is the one that’s going to be in the sequel.

Though I didn’t agree with everything in Estelle Maskame’s Did I Mention I Love You? I still really enjoyed reading this story. And even though I might be a little apprehensive about it, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens between Tyler and Eden in Did I Mention I Need You?

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blog Tour - Come Back to Me by Mila Gray + Giveaway

Title: Come Back to Me
Author: Mila Gray
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / B&N / Indigo
In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave an dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…

Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

There is nothing I love more than being taken by surprise by books. Being as plugged in to the book world as I am, it means that this happens less ad less. Though it had been on my radar on and off for some time, Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me still managed to completely surprise me.

Jessa has had a crush on Kit, her brother Riley’s best friend, for longer than she cares to admit. She just never thought that Kit might feel the same way about her. When he and Riley are home on leave from the Marines, Kit finds that he can no longer keep fighting his feelings for Jessa. Both of them know that getting involved with each other is a bad idea, but neither Jessa nor Kit is strong enough to resist. Though they didn’t plan on it, their relationship quickly becomes more than the fling they expected it to be. When Kit has to ship out once again, the last thing they want is to say goodbye. But Kit promises to come home and Jessa will be there waiting for him. When a Marine Chaplain shows up at her door three months later, Jessa’s heart breaks. Will she get the news that her boyfriend or her brother isn’t going to be coming home?

Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me had been on my radar on and off for quite some time before I actually read it. I sort of had a general idea of what it was about, but didn’t really know much beyond the vague understanding I had. But when I started reading, I knew right away that this was absolutely going to be my kind of story, filled with romance and heartbreak. It took no time at all for me to get completely sucked in and the way the story was told made it so I didn’t want to stop. Right from the start, I knew that someone had died. But I didn’t know who. so the whole time, there was this big thing looming over the story. And it only made me want to read more because I wanted to know who had died. Riley or Kit? Jessa’s brother or Jessa’s boyfriend? And knowing that one of them was dead, just made reading the story that much more emotional. I didn’t want either one of them to die, but I knew one of them wouldn’t make it to the end of the story. So really, it should go without saying that tears were definitely shed while I was reading. I mean, how could I possibly not cry? Because by the end, I cared so much about everyone in this story. For me, it was impossible not to.

I fell hard for Jessa and Kit. I loved who they were as individuals and I loved who they were together. I loved how Jessa came out of her shell around Kit, how she wasn’t afraid to be who she really was. She didn’t have to worry about pretending to be someone she wasn’t, she didn’t have to tone down who she was out of fear. And Kit? I was pretty much charmed by him from the moment he entered the story and I fell pretty hard for him not that long after that. On the outside, he just looked like this tough Marine. But really, he was the sweetest, most romantic guy there is. Every time he didn’t something sweet or romantic for Jessa, my heart just melted a little. It could’t be helped.  And they were just so freaking adorable and perfect together. Seeing everything they went through, my heart broke a little (okay, a lot) and I couldn’t even think about what would happen if he was the one who didn’t make it back home. And though I may not have seen much of him, I also couldn’t bear the thought of Riley, Jessa’s older brother and Kit’s best friend. Just because I knew that either Kit or Riley wouldn’t make it out alive, didn’t mean I didn’t hope against hope that they were both going to live. And I won’t say who makes it and who doesn’t, but I will say that it was heartbreaking.

Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me took me completely by surprise and I found myself loving this story. It was touching, it was romantic, it was adorable and it was heartbreaking. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

About the Author
Mila Gray is the pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila, The Sound, Fated and Out of Control.

Originally from London, she has lived in Bali for the last four years with her husband and daughter. 

As well as writing young adult fiction under the name Sarah Alderson and adult fiction under the name Mila Gray, she also writes screenplays. 

Find Mila Gray online:


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