Friday, February 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen + Giveaway

I'm so excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for Sarina Bowen's Rookie Move today. Rookie Move is the first book is Sarina Bowen's upcoming Brooklyn Bruisers series, a spinoff of her Ivy Years series and I couldn't be more excited about it. I've read and loved all five books in the Ivy Years series, so Rookie Move? I am all over that. And if you've read the last book in that series, The Fifteenth Minute, then you might already recognize some of the names in the Rookie Move description. 

But that's enough rambling from me. If you want to see the cover or are interested in winning one of Sarina Bowen's books and naming a character in the next Brooklyn Bruisers book, then just keep scrolling!

Title: Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Google
In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast…

“Romantic ad hilarious, Rookie Move will hook you from page one. Nobody does hockey like Sarina Bowen.”—Elle Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of the Off Campus series.

Want to win a paperback of your choice of one of Sarina Bowen's books? Want to name one of Leo's teammates in the second Brooklyn Bruisers book? Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Outside the Lines by Lisa Desrochers

Title: Outside the Lines (On the Run #1)
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
As the oldest son of a Chicago crime lord, Robert Delgado always knew how dangerous life could be. With his mother dead and his father in prison, he’s taking charge of his family’s safety—putting himself and his siblings in witness protection to hide out in a backwater Florida town.

Fourth grade teacher Adri Wilson is worried about the new boy in her class. Sherm is quiet and evasive, especially when he’s around his even cagier older brother. Adri can’t help her attraction to Rob, or the urge to help both of them in whatever way she can.

But the Delgados have enemies on two sides of the mob—their father’s former crew and the rival family he helped take down. It’s only a matter of time before someone finds them. And it Rob isn’t careful, Adri could end up in the crossfire…

There is nothing I love more than rediscovering authors I had sort of forgotten about. With so many books coming out all the time, it can be difficult to keep track of which author’s books are coming out when. But reading Outside the Lines has reminded me that I love reading Lisa Desrochers's stories.

Rob Delgado is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. After a hit man breaks in to his family's home in Chicago, Rob rounds up his siblings and places himself and his family in the witness protection program. But Rob wants revenge and he wants to take back what is his. What Rob didn't count on was Adri Wilson, his younger brother's teacher and the one thing he can't have: a distraction. Adri is determined to find out what is going on with Sherm and his older brother Rob, and to find a way to help them. But the more she finds out, the more Adri wonders what the brothers are involved in. And despite everything she knows, Adri can't seem to fight her growing attraction to Rob. Rob knows better than to get involved with Adri, especially when so many people want him down. But letting Adri in might be the one thing that can save him.

I discovered Lisa Desrochers as an author when I first started blogging almost six years ago. At the time, the first book in her Personal Demons had just come out and I got completely hooked on the series. To this day, that trilogy remains one of my favourites and is always one I refer to when I want to give someone an example of a love triangle done right. But between when the final Personal Demons book came out and now, I hadn’t read anything by her. Even her A Little Too Far NA series. So when I heard about Outside the Lines, I knew it was time to rectify the situation. Even if this wasn’t a book by an author whose previous work I had loved, I would have been intrigued by the mafia concept alone. There’s just something about books where everything isn’t black and white when that always manages to pull me in. And that’s definitely what happened with Outside the Lines. Once I started reading, I was pulled in the story and wanted to find out what had made it so Rob and his family had to enter Witness Protection, whether they were truly safe away from everything that caused them to go on the run, and, especially, how Adri would fit into it all. And for most of the book, the story kept me guessing in more than one way. And even by the end, I still don’t have all the answers I was hoping to get which makes me excited about reading the sequel, Over the Line.

Morally ambiguous characters are always fun to read about, which is what made Rob so interesting to me. Here was this guy who cared deeply about his family and would do anything to keep them safe. Except what he sometimes chose to do in order to keep them safe didn’t always fall on the good side of the law. So often while I was reading, I was torn when it came to Rob and his behaviour. I could tell that his heart was in the right place but at the same time, it felt like he was making just about the stupidest decisions he could possibly be making. But the reasoning behind those decisions was perfectly in line with everything he’d known in his life. It made me want to smack him sometimes. But also, I have to have some respect for someone who’s so fiercely determined to protect his family, even at the cost of his own happiness. And that’s where Adri comes in. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Adri at first because she just came across as so innocent. Even though that was true to some extent, the more I read I also discovered that there was a lot more than that to Adri. As innocent as she might have been, she wasn’t afraid to go for what she wanted and there was very little that could change her mind once it was made up. In a way, she and Rob balanced each other out: where he always saw the worse in people and situations, she would see the best. So the two of them together just really worked and it made me want to root for them.

Outside the Lines reminded me of why I love reading Lisa Desrochers's books. It was a sexy story with just the right amount of intrigue and action. And I can't wait to see what's going to happen next to the Delgado family in Over the Line.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Title: Us (Him #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Source: ARC from Publicist
Buy the Book: Amazon
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but heinous he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven life begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly.

Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen’s HIM was one of my favourite books of 2015 and is one of my all-time favourites. I could honestly read about Wes and Jamie forever. So reading a second book all about them? I was in heaven. And after reading US, I can now say that I love these two boys even more than I did before.

Ryan Wesley has everything he’s always wanted: a fantastic rookie NHL season and Jamie, hist best friend and the boy he’s been in love with for years. But the outside world doesn’t know that Jamie is his boyfriend, not just his roommate. To protect his first season in the NHL, Wes and Jamie are keeping their relationship hidden. And hiding is taking its toll on Jamie. Jamie has never been ashamed of who he is and wants nothing more than to be with Wes. And if being with Wes means continuing to hide their relationship until the end of the season, Jamie will do it. When one of Wes’s teammates moves into their building, everything starts to slowly unravel. Will Jamie and Wes be able to find their way through the mess together?

I’m always a little worried when it comes to romance novels and sequels. Especially when the couple got their Happily Ever After (or Happily For Now) at the end of the first book. As much as I want to read about my favourite couples forever, any good story is going to involve some kind of conflict and in romance that conflict inevitably ends up being within the couple. I just don’t like it when couples I love in a book are in trouble. I just want them to be together and happy forever. But this other part of me just wants to read about my favourite couples all the time so I get excited when I hear about sequels. When Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen announced that they were writing a sequel to HIM, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to go back to reading about Jamie and Wes, even though I didn’t want anything to happen to them. But I trusted that Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen wouldn’t be writing this story if they didn’t feel like it was worth telling. And having now read US, I can say that this story was total perfection. It showed that even when you get your happily ever after, it’s not always perfect and that there are growing pains along the way. Because that’s just the way that life is and it’s something that Wes and Jamie had to learn together. And I loved seeing these two find their way and fight for each other once again. It was just so great to back to these characters and this story. Even when things weren’t quite going the way I wanted them to go, I was smiling the whole time I was reading. I just couldn’t help it, it’s just the effect that Wes and Jamie have on me. 

When I read HIM last year, I fell completely in love with Jamie and Wes. I absolutely ADORE these two boys. After reading US, that’s even more true. Reading US, I got to see another side of them. Where in HIM they were falling for each other, in US it was about the day to day of their relationship. I loved seeing them that way, even if it wasn’t always easy for them, what with having to keep their relationship hidden from Wes’s team. It hurt my heart to see them struggle, at times it downright broke my heart to see their pain. It hurt to see both of them struggle with the situation and not knowing what to do about it. You could tell that Wes felt horrible because Jamie wasn’t happy, but he was at a complete loss for how to make him feel better. And Jamie didn’t want to to bring Wes down with the fact that he felt miserable which only made him feel worse. I just wanted them to find a way back to being themselves because they’re at their best when they’re together. And now I would like to take a moment to talk about Wes’s teammate Blake. Here’s the thing, at first I really thought I wasn’t going to like Blake and that he would end up screwing everything up. But then he kept popping up and being his ridiculous self and I couldn’t help but laugh at his antics. By the end of the book? I was completely charmed by Blake and now I totally want him to have his own book. Preferably one that also involves Jamie’s sister Jess. Because reasons. Read US and I’m sure you’ll understand and agree with me. 

US was complete perfection. I am so glad that Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen decided to write this chapter of Wes and Jamie’s story. I can only hope that these two authors continue to collaborate because I will read anything and everything they write. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy

Title: Never Tear Us Apart
Author: Monica Murphy 
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Perfect for readers of Colleen Hoover, Jay Crownover, and K.A. Tucker, the first novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy kicks off an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.

Crazy how eight years can disappear in an instant. One look at Katie Watts, and I’m a fifteen-year-old again—the one who risked everything to save a terrified girl from her twisted kidnapper. She’s a grown-p now—beautiful, quiet, composed—and telling her story to the world. A story that involves me in more ways than you can imagine. She used to call me her guardian angel. Sure, I risked my life, but she was worth dying for.

I need to make contact with her. Just to ensure that she’s safe.

Somehow we reconnect. we become friends…but I want more. I want to make her mine. And she wants me too. Does she know who I am? Has she figured me out? Not yet. But she will. In the meantime, I need to make sure that whatever hold that animal had on her is gone.

So, yeah, I’m stealing these moments with her. Savoring them. Knowing, dreading, that she’ll soon find out who I really am. And everything will fall apart. All because of that twisted, perverted monster sitting on death row. Her kidnapper. A convicted serial killer. 

My father.

I love my fun and happy romance stories. In fact, they tend to be my favourite. But sometimes, I like it when things are darker, when I have complicated feelings about the romance. And that’s exactly what happened with Monica Murphy’s Never Tear Us Apart.

For the past eight years Katherine Watts has been trying to move on with her life. She believes doing this TV interview about her kidnapping, and her rescue by her kidnapper’s son, eight years earlier is going to be the first step to putting her past behind her. But after the interview, Katherine is still uncomfortable going out in public, she still prefers staying home. And she is still afraid of men. Except when she meets Ethan after he chases away purse thieves. With Ethan, Katherine fills instantly safe. She can’t explain it, but she knows she wants to spend time with him. And Katherine isn’t the only one to feel that connection. Ethan knows exactly who Katherine is. He’s known her for years. And though he knows exactly who she is, Katherine doesn’t recognize him. Ethan knows he needs to tell Katherine the truth, but telling Katherine the truth will only hurt her. And even after all these years, the last thing he wants to do is hurt her.

In the past year, I’ve read a lot of Monica Murphy’s books. If I’m counting and remembering things right, I think I’ve read about six. And when I say in the past year, it’s actually more like the past 8 months or so. So I guess you could say that I like her books. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even need to know what one of her books is about, I just want to read it based on the fact that Monica Murphy wrote it. Which brings me to Never Tear Us Apart. I thought I knew what it was about. But I was wrong. It wasn’t until I picked up the book after having it for a couple weeks that I realized how dark and potentially twisted it was going to be. Once I realized that, Never Tear Us Apart pretty much jumped to the top of my TBR. And the story was as dark and twisted as the description had led me to believe it would be. I mean, this is the story of a girl who was abducted and raped when she was 12 before being saved by her abductor’s son, and now 8 years later, she reconnects with said son but doesn’t recognize him. Except that he knows exactly who she is. Like I said, twisted. And dark. But oh so good. It was a different kind of story and a different kind of romance, but it worked. And I need the sequel because I have to know how this will all come together.

With Never Tear Us Apart, you kind of get four characters for the price of two. What I mean by that is that you get Katie in the past and Katie in the present, and the same goes for Ethan. It was interesting to see the ways they had changed over time, to see the ways they had been affected by the same event. And to see the way that they are still thinking about what happened, about each other even though, at the start of the story, they don’t know what happened to the other in the years since the trial. And then there was the romance. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a romance. And about my feelings about said romance. To say it’s complicated is putting it mildly. I really like the idea of Ethan and Katie together, especially when I’m reading things from Katie’s perspective. It was like she came alive again when she was around Ethan, she was able to be herself and she was comfortable around him. And I wanted that for Katie, more than anything. But then the story would switch over to Ethan’s perspective and then I wasn’t so sure about their relationship anymore. I wanted them to be together but Etna needed to man up and come clean and tell her who he really was. But then I kind of also understood why he wasn’t telling her and he felt horrible for not telling her. And did I mention that I had complicated feelings about this romance and that I was conflicted about my own feelings? 

What does it say about me that I loved how dark and twisted Monica Murphy’s Never Tear Us Apart was? Because I truly did. Despite all my complicated feelings, I loved this story and I desperately need to know what’s going to happen in Never Let You Go

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Getting Him Back by K.A. Mitchell

Title: Getting Him Back (Ethan & Wyatt #1)
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
An unexpected fresh start leads to an unlikely-but-absolutely-perfect pairing in this male/male new-adult novel from bestselling gay romance author K.A. Mitchell.

Ethan may have followed his high school sweetheart to college only to get dumped his first day there, but he’s not going to let that stop him from exploring all his new life has to offer. Sex-only hookups, his photography, new friends a campus-wide game of zombies vs humans all help keep his mind off his broken heart and move him toward building a new, better life without his ex.

And then there’s Wyatt. Mysterious, grouchy--hot. And possibly not gay. But Ethan’s not going to let that stand in the way of figuring out what makes Wyatt tick. New college goal? Get Wyatt into bed and into Ethan’s life. 

Step one: arrange a “tutoring” date. Step two: “accidentally” bump into Wyatt as often as possible. Step three: explore the sexy body under that ever-present hoodie. And when their friendship deepens into something neither of them expect, convince Wyatt he’s not just a pity fling or a one-time hookup, but that Ethan is in it for the long haul.

Discovering new romance authors is always fun, especially when it also means reading a great book in the process. Before reading Getting Him Back, I had never heard of or read anything by K.A. Mitchell. But now? I’m definitely going to be reading more of her books.

Ethan thought he knew what the next four years of his life were going to be. He had it all planned out. But when he shows up on campus, the boyfriend he followed to college dumps him on the spot. Ethan is absolutely heartbroken, but his new friends aren’t willing to let him wallow in self-pity. But while trying to find a way to get Blake back, Ethan is always running into Wyatt. And the more he sees Wyatt, the more Ethan wants to find out about him. But if he really wants Wyatt, Ethan is is going to have to prove to him that he’s in this for more than just a hook-up. 

Apparently, I’ve been on an m/m romance kick lately. It’s nothing new for me, I’ve been reading m/m for a while. But in the past week alone, I’ve read three and I’m about to start another one. But as much as I enjoy reading these books, I tend to always go back to the same authors so I’m always a little excited when I come across an author I haven’t read before. So when I saw K.A. Mitchell’s Getting Him Back on NetGalley, I clicked request. I mean, it’s m/m NA romance, which I am apparently all about, so how could I not request it? After having read it, I can say that Getting Him Back was a fun and enjoyable read. Granted, because of the title and the way things seemed to be going in the beginning, I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go. For a while, I actually thought it was going to be about Ethan getting back with the high school boyfriend he followed to college. I mean, the book is called Getting Him Back, so that would fit. But then the description said something else and the more I read the less I wanted Ethan to go back to that guy because he wasn’t exactly the greatest person. Wyatt was a much better choice. But that confusion aside, I really enjoyed this story and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next part of Ethan and Wyatt’s story. 

Ethan was a fun character to read about and it was fun to read this story from his perspectives. He was just so comfortable with who he was, or at least that’s the way he came across. But then the more I read, the more I realized that maybe he wasn’t quite as comfortable as he initially appeared. And that probably had a lot to do with the fact that he always saw himself and his future as it related to Blake, the high school boyfriend he followed to college. So I liked seeing Ethan figure out who he was outside of Blake’s boyfriend. And I liked that person a lot. Especially once he stopped focusing so much on getting back with Blake because Blake wasn’t a very nice person. And I honestly was kind of confused as to why Ethan wanted him back when he could have Wyatt instead. And as much as I liked Wyatt, I feel like there’s still so much about him that I want to know. I feel like I only really got a small glimpse of him in Getting Him Back and I’m excited to get to know more about him in the sequel. 

I definitely enjoyed reading K.A. Mitchell’s Getting Him Back. It was a fun story with the kind of romance that I loved. And it introduced me to characters that I look forward to getting to know better in future books. 

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Series Review - Chasing the Dream by Elizabeth Briggs

Title: More Than Exes (Chasing the Dream #0.5)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 26, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
He wants to win. She wants to win him back.

Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.

Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be al little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.


Kyle and his band are competing in a Battle of the Bands that could lead to their band getting their big break. It would all be great. Except their bassist doesn't show and Kyle only has a few hours to track her down before the band goes onstage. And the person who helps him? Alexis, the girl who broke his heart before leaving town. But maybe while looking for the band's bassist, Kyle and Alexis will find their second chance at being together.


So I actually read More Than Exes after I read More Than Music, so I kinda already knew that Kyle and Alexis had gotten together. But that didn't stop me from enjoying More Than Exes. I still really liked seeing how it all happened. How these two people found their way back to one another over the course of one crazy night. And it was great finding out more about two people that had been around in More Than Music but weren't the focus of the story. While reading More Than Music, I was curious about Kyle. It just felt like there was a lot more to him than what I got from Maddie's perspective. So getting to see his story was great. And, honestly, I would have even read a full length book about Kyle and Alexis. Or maybe just another novella to check in on how they're doing. Yeah, I would totally read another novella about them. 

Title: More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They can’t resist each other, but their secret romance might tear their band apart…

Classical musician Maddie Taylor secretly dreams of a louder life, but geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition. 

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.


Maddie Taylor is ready to spend her summer interning for the LA Philharmonic and preparing her applications for grad school. But when Jared Cross walks in on her playing his guitar he doesn't yell at her. Instead, he shows up the next day and offers her a spot on the band as they audition for a slot on The Sound, a reality TV competition. Before Maddie knows what's happening, she's a full-fledged member of Villain Complex and things are heating up between her and Jared. Jared is willing to do whatever it takes to help the band win the competition, but is Maddie willing to sacrifice her heart to help him get there? 


I'll be honest and say straight off the bat that More Than Music had sat unread on my Kindle for a lot longer than I care to admit. And honestly? I don't really know why I didn't read it sooner. Because once I started reading More Than Music, I didn't stop. And then I spent the rest of that week reading the other books in the series. I was hooked. I absolutely loved reading Maddie's story. I got sucked into and I wanted to spend all my time with these characters. Based on that, it should go without saying that I loved Maddie. I loved her passion for music, the way she put her all into it. Though sometimes I questioned why she kept going back to Jared, but that had more to do with Jared than with Maddie herself. Because while I loved Jared, there were plenty of times when I wanted to slap some sense into him. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one and that his bandmates felt the same way at times. But I can't really speak for them. At the end of the day, I loved how it all came together and if nothing else, More Than Music made me want to pick up the rest of Elizabeth Briggs's books.

Title: More Than Comics (Chasing the Dream #2)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They’re friends online—but can they be more in real life?

Writer Tara McFadden has been friends with artist and drummer Hector Fernandez for years, long before his band became famous on reality TV—yet they’ve never met in person. They finally have a chance to connect offline when they’re both sent to Comic-Con to promote the graphic novel they collaborated on.

Hector’s secret been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember, and once they meet, she sees him in a new light. All the years of longing lead to an incredible night of passion after one of his concerts, but neither is sure if their online relationship can translate into a real life romance—or if this will ruin their friendship forever.

Over four crazy days at Comic-Con, Hector and Tara must decide if they want a future together. But when their story seems to be over, it’s up to Hector’s entire band to make sure he and Tara get their happy ending.


Hector and Tara have known each other for years, but in all that time working together, they've never met in person. But when their publisher sends them both to Comic-Con, neither one knows what's going to happen when they take their relationship offline. Though he's never told anyone, Hector has been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember. Before seeing him in person, Tara had never thought of Hector in a romantic way. But over the course of fours crazy days, Hector and Tara are going to have to decide whether or not they can get their happily ever after.


I have recently come to the conclusion that I am a sucker for books where relationships start online before being taken offline. There's just something about them that does it for me. I don't really know how else to say it or explain it. So Tara and Hector's story in More Than Comics? I totally loved it. I loved that even though the two of them had never met in person, they had all this history, they knew so much about each other without necessarily realizing it. Well, Hector totally knew how he felt about Tara. Tara, on the other, took a little longer to figure things out. And I loved seeing her work her way through her feelings, both about Hector and about her own life after college. Though he may have been pretty sure about his feelings, there were still plenty of times when I wanted to tell Hector to get over himself. Because, at times, he seriously needed to do that. Outside of Hector and Tara, I loved getting to see the other members of Villain Complex again, and I loved learning more about Maddie's two best friends. Because it all just made me even more excited about the books to come in this series. 

Title: More Than Fashion (Chasing the Dream #3)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They’re enemies who will do anything to win…including each other.

When Julie Hong wins a spot on a fashion design reality TV show, she celebrates by picking up a hot English guy in a hotel bar. But too many drinks leads to a night of embarrassment and a major hangover, and wow is she glad she’ll never see him again. Until the show starts, and he’s on it too.

Julie quickly realizes she’s out of her league among the other designers, and Gavin Bennett, with his cocky grin and sexy accent, is her biggest competition. Julie can’t decide if she wants to kiss him or kill him. Or both.

After she’s almost kicked off, Julie convinces Gavin to pretend they’re sleeping together for the camera. They ploy works, but as they get closer to the show’s finale their fake relationship starts to become too real. But only one of them can win the show—and they might both end up heartbroken.


Julie has always loved fashion, but she never thought she could make it her career. When she gets invited to be on a fashion design reality TV show, she puts her life on hold to try her hand at her dream. Julie is determined to win and she's not going to let anything stand in her way. She's not there to make friends, or fall in love. But a near-elimination forces her to reconsider her strategy and ask help from Gavin: her biggest competition and the guy she made a fool of herself with before the competition started. But how much of what is happening between them is for the cameras and how much is real?


Like the first book in the series, More Than Fashion was set in the world of reality television. Where the first one focused on music, this one, as the title suggests, was all about fashion. As someone who doesn't watch much reality TV, much less reality TV that revolves around fashion, it was definitely interesting to read a story set in that world. Add in a good dose of romance, and I was completely hooked. In fact, out of all the books in the Chasing the Dream series, I think More Than Fashion may be my favourite. I loved reading Julie's story and I loved seeing her relationship with Gavin develop. Even when Julie didn't want anything to do with Gavin, I was rooting for them. I couldn't help myself. I just wanted them to be together and to be happy. And can I just take a moment to talk about Gavin? Because I need to do that. Actually, I could probably talk about Gavin all day long, but I won't put you through that. All that to say that I loved Gavin. I loved how much he cared, how he was a genuinely good guy despite what Julie was determined to believe. I just loved him. Plain and simple. And Julie, too, obviously. Now go read More Than Fashion so you can fall in love with them, too.

Title: More Than Once (Chasing the Dream #4)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 30, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
She’s trying to be good. He loves it when she’s bad.

Andrew West is done being the nice guy. After a marriage proposal gone wrong, he’s started over in a new city and he’s never risking his heart again.

Becca Collins is done being the bad girl. After quitting the band she played bass for, she’s going to prove to her family that she’s really changed.

When Becca’s dumped by her boyfriend and fired from her job on Christmas Eve, all seems lost, until she runs into a former one night stand—Andrew. To impress her parents, Becca convinces him to pretend to be her perfect boyfriend for their holiday dinner.

After Andrew shows Becca he’s all bad boy in the bedroom, neither wants to pretend anymore. But when Becca’s invited to rejoin her band for a show and Andrew’s forced to face his ex, they both wonder if they’re ready to take a leap again—or if they’re doomed to fail in life and love a second time.


Andrew and Becca spent one night together months ago before going their separate ways. Both said they would call the other but neither one did. That is until a chance meeting on Christmas Eve where Becca asks Andrew to join her family for dinner and pretend to be her boyfriend. Though hesitant, Andrew agrees. But as the night goes on, and he realizes he wants more than just another night with Becca, Andrew wonders how they can do that with all the lies they'e been telling. But even once the lies are cleared up, both Andrew and Becca have things in their past they have to deal with before they can take a chance on love with each other.


One of my favourite tropes in romance is second chances. And to me, More Than Once felt like a second chance romance, just not in the way you might think. Before the events of this book, Andrew and Becca have only spent one night together, so it's not like they're each other's great lost love or anything. But they're both looking for second chances, in life and in romance. So it was interesting to read their story, to see them both try to figure out their lives while trying to maybe build a relationship with each other at the same time. And let me just say that it didn't take long at all for me to start rooting for Becca and Andrew. Even though I didn't quite approve of the lies Becca was forcing on Andrew at first. But once they got over that, I was all about Becca and Andrew and I wanted them to be together because they deserved it. And I loved seeing the process they went through to get there. With Becca in particular, it was really interesting to see her growth from More Than Exes to this point. Even though, at heart, she was still the same person, by the end of More Than Once she was most definitely a better version of that person. And Andrew was just all kinds of adorable and made me smile a lot. So like Becca, I had a lot of trouble resisting him. I mean, you can always use one more book boyfriend, right?


I am completely hooked on Elizabeth Briggs's Chasing the Dream series. I mean, I read all the books in the span of a week, so that should clearly tell you something. I loved these books and these characters and I loved the way all these stories are connected to one another. And I can't wait for the next instalment because, well, I really need Carla's story in my life. If you love romance and haven't picked up any of these books yet, you should really consider doing so.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Title: Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1)
Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Source: ARC from Author
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&NKobo
I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions. 

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Strong Signal was a complete surprise in so many ways. It was that book that I absolutely didn’t expect. I loved this story, and I loved this romance, and I loved these two men. There was nothing about Strong Signal that I didn’t adore.

Garrett Reid is counting down the days until the end of his deployment. Until he can go back to Pennsylvania and leave everything about the army behind him. To pass the time until he can go back home, Garrett spends all his free time playing video games. But when someone attacks him in the game, Garrett is determined to find out who that person is and give them a piece of his mind. That’s when Garrett finds Kai Bannon’s Twitch channel. Kai spends his days streaming video of himself playing video games, making money from subscriptions and donations. Despite his appreciation for his subscribers and viewers, Kai has always kept a certain degree of separation between himself and his online following. But when Garrett reaches out to him, something compels Kai to respond. Neither one expected a few emails and instant messages to grow into a relationship. But what’s going to happen when they’re no longer on opposite sides of the world? What happens when they take their online relationship offline?

When one of your favourite romance authors has a new book coming out, you get excited. That’s just how it works. Even if that book was co-written with an author whose books you’ve never read before. And after reading Strong Signal, I will definitely go pick up some of Santino Hassell’s other books. And I’ll obviously also be not so patiently waiting for Megan Erickson’s next book. But back to Strong Signal. Here’s the thing: I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect when I first started reading the book. I mean, I love all of Megan Erickson’s books, especially her m/m romances, but I wasn’t sure how that was going to work with another author involved. But my worries were absolutely unnecessary. From the moment I started reading, I just couldn’t put the book down. I couldn’t stop reading. Work that day was basically spent counting down until the moment I could dive back in and see what was happening with Kai and Garrett. That day pretty much felt like it would never end. But when it did? I dove head first back into Strong Signal and didn’t come back up until I was done with the book. Even if I didn’t want to be done. Because I would have gladly kept reading about these two guys forever. I ADORED this romance. It was unexpected and I loved the way that romance played out. It was unexpected, it was touching, it was heartbreaking and it was heartwarming all at once. I don’t think I possibly could have loved Garrett and Kai any more than I did.

Who knew that a gruff military man and a professional gamer could capture my heart the way they did? I honestly did not expect to love Kai and Garrett as much as I did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expected to dislike or hate them. I just didn’t think I would fall for them as hard as I did. Because I totally fell hard for them. I loved seeing their relationship develop. I loved seeing their initial online interactions, the way that they opened up to each other in a way they didn’t think they could open up to another person. I loved seeing their excitement over finding someone they could really talk to. I loved seeing their hesitation about going forward with this relationship. I just loved the way these two people who on paper were complete opposites work so absolutely perfectly together. As weird as it sounds to say, I loved seeing them struggle because it made them stronger when they came through it. Bottom line, I loved Garrett and Kai. Together and as individuals. One of the things I loved most about Strong Signal and its two protagonists is the realistic depiction of anxiety it offers. Not just the way it affects the person who suffers from the disorder, but how it affects all those around that person. It was something that both Kai and Garrett had to deal with and at the end of the day, their struggles with it just made them stronger. And have I mentioned that I loved them?

You should all do yourselves a favour and read Strong Signal when it comes out. Prepare to fall completely in love with this story and these characters because there’s no way that’s not going to happen. In the meantime, I’ll just be counting down the days until I can read Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s next collaboration.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Loud Is How I Love You by Mercy Brown

Title: Loud Is How I Love You (Hub City #1)
Author: Mercy Brown
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
One girl’s heart gets rocked to the core in the first novel in this sexy New Adult series.

Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ’90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rules of the band: Don’t sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.

When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime?

I am totally guilty of judging books by their covers. Let’s be honest, it’s something we pretty much all do. Sometimes, a pretty cover ends up leading to a disappointing story. But with Mercy Brown’s Loud Is How I Love You, the story was even better than the cover.

Emmylou knows that getting your band noticed is hard. Especially when you’re just far enough from the big city to compete. But she’s determined to make it. And wheat’s going help her and her band make it? Following some simple rules, the most important being to not sleep with one of her bandmates. But that’s easier said than done. Especially since Emmy can’t stop thinking about the one night she spent with Travis, her band’s guitarist, and her best friend. All Emmy wants is for things to go back to normal, especially with the band’s big shot at getting noticed is within their grasp. But Emmy doesn’t know what normal is anymore. She just knows she wants the band to succeed and she doesn’t want to lose Travis. She just has to find a way to make both work. But that’s easier said than done.

I first found out about Mercy Brown’s Loud Is How I Love You when the cover was revealed. And I totally judged the book by its cover because I knew I wanted to read this book before I even read the description. Then I read the description and it confirmed that I wanted to read this book. Then I kind of forgot about it...until the last couple of weeks when people started talking about it again and it reminded me that I wanted to read this book. And then I read it and, guys, I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved this book. I loved reading about this band trying to figure things out in the mid-1990s in New Jersey. I loved the romance in this story. I just loved the story in Loud Is How I Love You so freaking much. And, honestly, I don’t really know how to put that love into words. Just know that if you love music, if you love romance, if you just love good stories then this is a book you need to read. Just the fact that it’s set in the 90s indie rock scene should really be enough to get you to pick up this book. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia?

I’m pretty sure the reason I loved Loud Is How I Love You as much as I did is because of the characters. No joke, I wanted to be best friends will all the members of Starts on the Floor. Beyond being a band, they were just this awesome group of friends and they seemed like they always had such a great time together. So many times while I was reading, I was just cracking up at their interactions and conversations with one another and it just made me want to be friends with these people even more. But most of all, I just really want to be friends with Emmy. I loved the way her brain works. The way she would have these inner monologues that would go on tangents that didn’t really seem to make sense but they actually did. Maybe that’s because that’s how my own brain has a tendency to work. But at the end of the day I loved her. And then there was Travis. Who, obviously, I loved. Did I mention that I loved basically everyone in this book? But back to Travis. He was pretty freaking fantastic. As much as I loved Emmy, at one point I wanted to yell at her to get over herself and stop pushing Travis away. But it all worked out and I was happy.

In case it wasn’t clear, I loved Mercy Brown’s Loud Is How I Love You. I loved the romance, I loved the friendship, I loved the music, and I loved the 90s throwback. And I can’t wait to read more about this band and their friends in Stay Until We Break.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Series Review - Reluctant Hearts by Brighton Walsh

Title: Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening then commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…


Cade wasn't looking for anything or anyone when he first came across Winter at the bar where she's a waitress. But after helping her with a handsy customer he can't stop thinking about her. And he's determined to find out more about her, to get to know her. Except that Winter is not looking for a hero. She's only has a couple months of school left before she can finally make something of her life. But Cade isn't ready to let her go that easily. And the more he pushes, the more Winter starts to open up, even if she doesn't want to.


I somehow missed the memo about Brighton Walsh’s Caged in Winter when it first came out. Like I don’t even know what I was doing that I missed it. And even then, I only found out it existed after randomly coming across Tessa Ever After, wanting to read it,  and then realizing that it was the second in the series. All that to say that I have since (obviously) rectified the situation and read Caged in Winter. Which opened the door to some binge-reading of the other books in this series once I got my hands on them. But about Caged in Winter itself. I loved Cade and Winter. Sure, there were plenty of times when I wanted to slap them both in the back of the head and tell them to pull it together and stop being idiots, but I really did like them. A lot. I sped through their story, rooting for them every step of the way despite my sometimes momentary frustrations with them. But they made it through and I loved them all the more for it. And as much as I loved them together, it should be said that Cade and Winter were also pretty awesome individually. Even if it sometimes drove me a little crazy, I loved and respected Winter’s desire to do everything on her own. And Cade? My heart melted a little bit anytime he interacted with his niece. There is just nothing more adorable than a big tattooed guy having a tea party with his four-year-old niece. And obviously reading Caged in Winter made it clear that I needed to read the rest of the books in this series. 

Title: Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Gifted
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else…Something Jason’s no sure he’s ready for.


Even though she's just twenty-two, Tessa knows a lot about life. It's what happens when you get pregnant and have  daughter at seventeen. Now, she's ready to settle down and find someone who'll be there for her and Haley. But the person who steps up is the last one she expected. When his best friend asked him to look out for his sister, Jason never thought it would be anything more than checking in on Tessa and Haley once in a while. But the more time he spends with Tessa, the more he finds himself wanting to be there for her and her daughter. He just has to prove to her that he isn't the party boy she's known him as her whole life. 


I apparently love books that involve children. So really, reading Tessa Ever After was a no-brainer for me. And Haley, the child in this particular story, is adorable. Add to that Jason and Tessa and well I couldn’t possibly not love this book. I always love romances between people who’ve known each other their whole lives. I love seeing that friendship turn into something more. And I loved seeing that happen for Jason and Tessa, even though neither one of them expected things to go that way. And Tessa and Jason were just fun to see together because of all that shared history they had. Granted that shared history sometimes made it so both of them were hesitant to get involved in anything romantic with each other. But still. I loved it. And much like Cade with Haley was adorable, seeing Jason step up and take care of that little girl completely melted my heart. And Cade's reaction to hist best friend and sister getting together? I was laughing. And I should probably mention that I loved Tessa, right? Because I did. If I had had a kid at seventeen, I can only hope I would have my life as together as Tessa does. Also, I want to be friends with her because she's pretty awesome. And I just know we would have a blast hanging out together. With Haley, too, of course. 

Title: Paige in Progress (Reluctant Hearts #3)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Bright Publishing
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
She wanted a one-night stand…and then he moved in next door.

Paige Bennett is more than content with her life and what she does—and does not—have in it. She’s got a supportive family, a great apartment, and the best friend a girl could ask for; so what if her relationships expire faster than a carton of milk? After a disastrous detour courtesy of poor judgement in the boyfriend department, her plan is back on track and her dream job is finally within her grasp. Nothing can make her lose focus now. Well, nothing except the one-night stand she had with her best friend’s surrogate brother. The one-night stand she can’t stop thinking about.

Adam Reid has always been reliable…the responsible son, the loyal friend, the steady boyfriend. Two years ago, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is well on his way to making a name for himself at an accounting firm in Denver—a far cry from working as a helper in the Mom and Pop store his parents own in Michigan. But when said store starts failing, he’s the only on who can step in and help. So reliable Adam does what he always does and comes to the rescue.

Paige thought Adam was a safe bet because he lives halfway across the country. But then suddenly he’s moving back to their town, and then into her apartment building, and soon he’s worming his way right into her life. If she’s not careful, he might sneak his way into her heart, too…


When she hooked up with him all those months ago, Paige thought Adam would be the perfect one-night stand. After all, he lives halfway across the country. What she didn't count on was being unable to stop thinking about him. And him unexpectedly showing up in town and moving in to the apartment across the hall from her. But even though she can't stop thinking about him, Paige isn't looking for a relationship. Adam, hasn't stopped thinking about Paige either. And he's determined to spend more time with her. If only he could convince her that relationships aren't as bad as she believes they are. But then, what happens when Adam has to leave town again?


I have a lot of book boyfriends, let’s not kid ourselves here. And I often say that I wouldn’t mind if a guy from a book existed in real life. But never has that been more true than with Adam in Paige in Progress. I have come to the conclusion that Adam is pretty much my dream guy. Seriously. Every time I thought he couldn’t get more perfect, something new would happen and I would fall for Adam a little harder. Also, I want to be Paige’s new best friend. Well, actually her’s and Tessa’s new best friend. I just know we would have a lot of fun together. Because I loved Paige something fierce. I just loved her attitude and the way she didn’t take crap from anyone. And how she and Adam were together? When she wasn’t having a mini breakdown about the idea of being in a relationship, that is. That’s the kind of relationship I want with someone. There was just so much that I loved about Paige in Progress and of the three books in this series, I think it might just be my favourite. Probably (definitely) because of Adam (but Cade and Jason are great, too). All that to say that I absolutely loved reading this book.


If you love New Adult romance and haven't yet picked up Brighton Walsh's Reluctant Hearts series, what are you waiting for? Believe me when I say that you need to read these books, like yesterday. And don't even think about trying to fight me for Adam because I've already called dibs.

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