Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Perfect Mistake by Kelly Siskind

Title: My Perfect Mistake (Over the Top #1)
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: Forever Yours
Release Date: April 5, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
What happens in Aspen
is definitely not staying in Aspen…

A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass…and war is declared.

Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real…if they don’t kill each other first.

I read Kelly Siskind’s debut earlier this year and it convinced me that this was an author whose books I would love. When I got the chance to read Siskind’s upcoming book, My Perfect Mistake, I jumped on it and I absolutely was not disappointed.

This weekend in Aspen was supposed to be all about Shay spending some quality time with her two best friends and move on from years stuck in a toxic relationship. It was supposed to be all about letting go of the past and getting her groove back. What it wasn’t supposed to be about? Getting in a fight with a gorgeous skier and hooking up with him a few hours later. Kolton doesn’t understand how he and Shay keep ending up naked together when they can’t seem to go more than two minutes without getting the other angry. But even after the weekend is over, he can’t seem to stop thinking about her. When circumstances puts brings them together again, neither one of them can deny that there’s something bigger happening between them. But can Shay and Kolton stop arguing long enough to see that what’s right in front of them could be the real thing?

Earlier this year, I read and loved Kelly Siskind’s debut New Adult, Chasing Crazy, and it definitely got me interested in reading more of her books. So when I saw that her upcoming contemporary romance My Perfect Mistake, was up on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it and clicked “request.” Once I started reading, I got hooked right from the beginning of the story. I mean, the story starts with a girl throwing her bra into a tree from a ski lift. How can a story not hook you when it starts off that way? But My Perfect Mistake did more than just hook me, it get me interested in the story the whole way through. Even though My Perfect Mistake is at its core a romance, I loved the way that Kelly Siskind also showed all different kinds of relationship. There were the friendships between Shay and her two best friends, and the one between Kolton and his two friends. There were all the different relationships that involved Kolton’s son, Jackson. But the most important relationship in this story was obviously the romance between Shay and Kolton. And honestly? I loved that romance. The loved the way it started, I loved the way it grew and developed. It just felt right and realistic. And obviously it didn’t hurt that I also loved Shay and Kolton.

Did I mention that this book starts with Shay throwing her bra into a tree from a sky lift? Then it should really go without saying that I loved her right away. I mean, she certainly grabbed my attention. More than that, she kept it. Iloved seeing Shay get back her confidence and find herself again after spending so many years in a relationship that got her down. In a way, it was really empowering to watch her taking her life back, even if she still had plenty of insecurities. And those insecurities definitely came out around Kolton. And I can hardly blame her because what girl wouldn’t feel insecure around Kolton? That’s because Kolton was pretty freaking fantastic. Sure, he had his own set of issues, just like everyone else, but that mean he wasn’t a genuinely good man. Because he totally was. And he was the perfect man for Shay. Plus he was adorable with his son and that wins him all the points in my books. Which brings me to Jackson, Kolton’s son, who absolutely stole the show for me. And made it so the number one thing I learned while reading My Perfect Mistake is not to let a curious and word-obsessed seven-year-old anywhere near an urban dictionary. That is unless you actually want him to ask highly inappropriate questions, loudly, in very public settings. But it was amusing to read about for sure.

I loved reading Kelly Siskind’s My Perfect Mistake. It was such a fun contemporary romance and I couldn’t seem to get enough of these characters. Lucky for me, there’s two more books coming and I couldn’t be more excited to read them.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Do-Over by L.E. Bross

Title: The Do-Over
Author: L.E. Bross
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
L.E. Bross’s contemporary romance debut is a fun and sexy tale of unlikely lovers struggling to leave the past where it belongs—behind them—and embrace a bright future.

Melanie McAllister’s brand new copy of Home Improvement for Dummies doesn’t even begin to cover the DIY advice she really needs: how to put the pieces of her life back together. Her cheating ex-husband’s insider trading scandal destroyed her family’s multi-million dollar company and left Mel with nothing but the run-down oceanfront cottage she inherited from her parents. Biscay Beach, Maine, seems as good a place to start over as any.

Hot-as-hell carpenter Eli Stuart understands new beginnings. Once a rising star in the art world, the former sculptor has been secretly carving out a new existence in the small coastal town ever since the sheen on his old life turned to rust. He’s willing to bet the feisty brunette in need of major home repairs has never lifted a tool heavier than a nail file—until Mel is racing the clock to make her ramshackle home fit for winter and, facing a near-empty bank account, decides she can do it all herself.

So Eli offers Mel a deal: if she helps him with the renovations, he’ll cut the bill in half. Soon Mel and her damned home improvement book are driving Eli mad with an explosive urge to return to his studio and fire up his torch once more. His new work is crude and raw, and before long, he can’t keep his hands off Mel, either. But a muse from his past could ruin it all for the second time—if Eli and Mel can’t let go of who they used to be and trust their hearts with a do-over.

I discovered L.E. Bross late last year when I first came across her Second Chances NA duology. I stumbled on the first book, immediately read it, loved it and went looking for more by this author. And much like I loved her two NA stories, I had a fantastic time reading her contemporary romance debut, The Do-Over

Melanie McAllister is ready to get her life back on track after her cheating ex-husband got charged with insider trading and lost all of their money. The only thing standing between her and going back to New York to get her life back is her parents’ long forgotten cottage in Biscay Beach, Maine. To get her life back on track, Mel needs to renovate and sell the cottage. The only problem with that is she has limited funds and no clue where to even start. That’s where Eli comes in. But as Eli starts doing the work, Mel quickly realizes she won’t be able to afford everything that needs to be done. So Eli offers her a deal: she helps him with all the renovations and he’s going to but the cost in half. But in between arguing about how to best do these home improvements, Eli and Mel starts building more than just the cottage. 

Even though I’ve always loved reading love stories, until the last couple of years most of the ones I read were YA. Then I fell down the NA rabbit hole which meant I had even more options when it came to reading love stories. And then reading all that NA led to me giving contemporary romance more of a chance than I had in the past. And so far, most of the contemporary romance books I’ve read are ones written by authors who’ve also written NA books I’ve read. And that’s how I ended up reading L.E. Bross’s The Do-Over. When I read the description, I strongly suspected that this would be a fun story. I mean, a woman who knows nothing about home renovations helping her contractor do the repairs on her place? There were bound to be some amusing moments. And there were plenty. The Do-Over had me smiling so much while I was reading. But as I’m finding is often the case when I’m reading some of these contemporary romances, I was happy to see that the story went beyond just the surface of the romance. Sure, it was a fun and relatively light romance. But because of who the characters were, this story went deeper than I thought it would.

Seeing as I’m single and have never been married nor have I ever had any high-powered job, I didn’t think I would find myself relating to Mel in any way. But the more I read, the more I realized that, yes, Mel was recently-divorced and used to have a high position in the finance sector. But that’s not all she was. Mel was also trying to understand who she was outside of the way everyone else saw her. And that’s something that’s hard to do and it’s something that Mel struggled with. And I could definitely understand and relate to that, and that’s got me invested in Mel’s story. And then there was Eli. Apparently, I have a thing for guys who can do things with their hands (not *those* kinds of things, get your mind out of the gutter). But for real, I loved Eli. I loved his patience with Mel even when I knew he was getting exasperated with her. He was a genuinely good person and he was just what Mel needed, even though she wouldn’t admit it. And they just worked together. Even if they didn’t always see it. 

I really enjoyed L.E. Bross’s The Do-Over. It was a fun contemporary romance that had me smiling the whole time I was reading. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blog Tour - Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry + Excerpt

Title: Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a tow out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life. 

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules. 

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

Katie McGarry is without a doubt one of my favourite authors and her books are all among my favourites. Every time I get my hands on a new Katie McGarry book, I can’t help but drop everything to read it. That’s what I did with Walk the Edge and I loved every moment of it.

Breanna has always been the reliable one, the daughter her parents could always count on to take care of her younger siblings now that all her older ones have left home. But she doesn’t just want to be the smart and reliable girl anymore. She wants to stop being invisible and finally be herself. She just never expected that doing so would bring Razor, one of the members of the local motorcycle club, into her life. Razor has always been all about the Reign of Terror motorcycle club. They’ve been there for him since his mother’s death and he would do anything for the club. But when he finds out new information about the night his mother died, Razor starts to doubt everything he’s been told by the people he calls family. The one person who can help him is Breanna, the girl who’s become the victim of a cyberbully because of a picture of the two of them together. Razor will help Breanna with her blackmailing bully if in return she helps him crack the mystery around his mother’s death. But while looking for answers, Razor and Breanna discover they need each other for more than they ever thought.

It’s no secret that Katie McGarry is one of my favourite authors and, as such, has written some of my all-time favourite books. She is, after all, the person who created Isaiah Walker. But that’s not the point right now. The point is that Katie McGarry writes some fantastic stories that are both gripping and captivating and that take you on an emotional ride. For me, there’s nothing quite like diving head first into a new Katie McGarry story. Even though every story is different, I just know going in that this is going to become a favourite. That I won’t be able to stop reading until I’m all the way through, no matter how much I might want to slow down to make the story last longer. That’s exactly how I felt with Walk the Edge. I wanted to read the story so badly, I wanted to know what would happen to these characters I came to love, but I also didn’t want the story to end. I got caught up in this story, flipping the pages (well, technically, clicking the “next page” button) until I had made it the whole way through. And there was so much that I loved about this story.  I loved all the different family dynamics, whether it was Breanna’s actual blood family or Razor’s motorcycle club family. How those family dynamics played in to the greater story. And as with any book written by Katie McGarry, the romance just worked and I bought into it right away. It wasn’t exactly hard to root for Breanna and Razor. And it really wasn’t hard to love them.

Before I even read a single word of Walk the Edge I already wanted to know more about Razor. The whole time I was reading Nowhere But Here last year, I wanted to know more about Razor. There was just something about him that caught my attention. He intrigued me and I just knew that there was a whole lot more to him than what everyone seemed to think. And I was so right. Razor is officially right up there with Isaiah when it comes to my favourite Katie McGarry boys. I loved how much he cared, sometimes to the point of extreme stubbornness. I loved his fierce protectiveness of the people he cared about, his determination to do whatever it took to keep those people safe. And I love who he was and how he was with Breanna. Breanna was such an interesting characters. I was so fascinated by the way her brain worked and the way it affected her life, especially when it came to her family life. So many times while I was reading I wanted to yell at Breanna’s family for the way they treated her. All she wanted was for someone to be there for her as opposed to being the person who’s always there for everyone else or has to wait in line behind all her siblings. So I loved that Breanna got to be herself with Razor and that Razor understood her in a way other people didn’t. They were perfect for each other and I loved reading their story. I only wish I could have kept reading their story forever.

Once again, Katie McGarry blew me away with Walk the Edge. This book is most definitely a new favourite even if it has left me absolutely desperate for more. And I cannot even begin to explain how much I am looking forward to reading Violet and Chevy’s story in the third Thunder Road book.


     Her face is white against her raven hair. Ghost white. I’d bet my left ball she hasn’t breathed since I spoke. Her hand is outstretched toward the busted cell on the ground, but her wide hazel eyes are cemented on me. I turn my head and I’m greeted by the amused faces of my brothers from the Reign of Terror who stand next to their bikes in the parking lot. They’ll be harassing me on this for weeks. Fuck me for trying to be chivalrous.
     “You okay?” It’s a variation of the question I asked a few seconds ago, but this one she seems to understand as her body trembles to life.
     “Um…” she stutters. We’ve been at the same schools since elementary age, otherwise I’d wonder if she was a foreign exchange student with limited English. “I only have twenty dollars.”
     The muscles in the back of my neck tense. “I’m not going to jack you for your money.” 
     She quits breathing again.
     “Nice to know your current bank account status,” I bit. “But I asked you if you were okay.”
     Color returns to her cheeks as I pin her with my gaze. She accused me of trying to rob her. I know it, she knows it, and she’s now informed I’m not the asshole in this scenario.
     “Yes,” she finally answers. “I’m okay. I mean no…I mean…I broke my phone.”
     She did and that sucks for her.
     Her eyes flicker between me and the phone like she wants to retrieve it, yet she’s too paralyzed. Saving us from his torture, I swipe the pieces of the cell and lean against the wall.
     The distance between us relaxes and that gulp of air was audible as she tucks herself tight in the corner fattest from me. This reaction isn’t new. I’ve seen it since I was a child whenever my father or anyone from the Terror entered a room full of civilians. To everyone outside of the club, we’re the evil motorcycle gang bent on blowing the house down.
     People and their hellish nightmare folklore involving us piss me off. I don’t know why I told the guys to give me a minute. I’m late for plans I made with Chevy and some girls, plus I’m on call in case the board chooses to meet sooner rather than later to discuss Detective Jake Barlow.
     But something about how this chick appeared alone and frightened messed me up. It reminded me…The thought stalls and the emotional speed bump causes a flash of pain in my chest. Screw it, her expression reminded me of Mom the last time I saw her—the night she died.
     My mom. I shake my head to expel her ghost. One visit from one bastard trying to use me and I’m being haunted by a past I can’t change. That’s what the detective was salivating over—to use me for info on the club. He’s one of too many who believes our club is the devil’s prodigy.
     What he doesn’t see is that we’re a family—the type of family that comes when called. Obviously not like this girl’s family.
     “Is it yes or no?” It’s damn difficult to shove the battery in now that the frame is bent.
     “Yes or no what?” her long black hair sweeps past her shoulders. She has the type of hair that would have to be pulled up if she rode on the back of my bike. Gotta admit, I like her hair, especially how it shines under the lights of the school’s overhang.
     “If you’re okay.” I survey the mostly empty area to prove a point. “If we leave, you’ll be alone, and I don’t care of that. There’s some real psychos out there.”

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

Title: This Is Where the World Ends
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
A heart-wrenching novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world from Amy Zhang, the critically acclaimed Indies Introduce and Indie Next author of Falling Into Place.

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friends is colored with doubt.

Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang masterfully reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in an astonishing second novel that will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver and Jay Asher. 

With some authors, you just know when you pick up their books that you’re about to read an emotional and heart-wrenching story. But knowing that is what makes you want to read their books. That’s how I feel about Amy Zhang. And her latest, This Is Where the World Ends, was the emotional and heartbreaking read I knew it would be.

Even though no one knows it, Janie and Micah have been best friends since elementary school. They’ve always been Janie and Micah. Micah and Janie. They’re everything the other is not and together they have the perfect friendship. When Micah wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how he got there and discovers that Janie has disappeared, he becomes desperate to find out what happened to his best friend. But the more he finds out, the more he questions everything he thought he knew about Janie and their friendship. 

Amy Zhang wrote one of my favourite books of 2014, Falling Into Place, and I’ve been looking forward to reading more from this young author ever since. As you might have guessed, I was definitely excited about reading her latest, This Is Where the World Ends. But I also know that Amy Zhang’s books tend to be ones that are from light and easy to read. They deal with subject matter that we often would rather not think about even though we should be thinking and talking about those subjects. The way Amy Zhang handles these topics is what makes her stories such powerful and captivating reads. On the surface, This Is Where the World Ends may not look like the story it ends up being. In fact, based on the synopsis alone, I couldn’t have guessed that it was going to be the story I read. But that’s a good thing. Had I known going in everything this story had going on, it wouldn’t have packed the same punch. As a reader, I wouldn’t have gone on the same journey while reading the story. I’m realizing now, as I’m writing this, that it’s actually really hard to talk about This Is Where the World Ends without revealing everything. Because though this might not be some action-packed story filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns, it’s one that shouldn’t be spoiled. If you knew beforehand what was to come, it wouldn’t be the emotional read this was for me. And for this story to be as powerful as it can be, it needs to be an emotional read.

At its core, This Is Where the World Ends is a story about friendship. The kind of friendship that is messy, complicated and far from perfect. A friendship that is based on shared secrets, midnight adventures and inside jokes. It might have been flawed and imperfect, but this friendship worked for Micah and Janie. Even if they were the only ones that understood it, there was a bond that connected them and that bond between the two of them really came through in the story. In the way they were always aware of each other when they weren’t close, in the way they were able to communicate with just one look, the way they always though about how their actions would appear to the other. All these little things added up to show the strength of the connection between Micah and Janie. Even if their friendship was at times a complete mess, it jumped off the page while I was reading.  It’s what made so many aspects of this story so heartbreaking and made it so the story packed such an emotional punch. 

Amy Zhang’s This Is Where the World Ends was a heartbreaking story about imperfect and all consuming friendships. This was a beautifully written and emotional story that left me completely heartbroken.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

I need your recommendations!

If you've been paying attention to what I've been reading lately (which honestly, I doubt that many of you have) then you may have noticed that I've been reading a whole lot more romance than YA lately. I blame new adult for that. A few years ago, I jumped on board the NA train and I still have yet to jump off. But reading all this NA has also led to me reading more romance in general. 

And I'm loving it. Which is why I need some help.

I've come to the conclusion that contemporary romance is what I love (which really shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me), and as much as I want to read more, there's just so much out there that I'm not entirely sure where to start. So far, the only romance books I've read are by authors who have also written NA books (think people like Megan Erickson, Lia Riley, Kelly Siskind, etc). But I want to expand my horizons. 

If you read contemporary romance give me ALL your recommendations. I have a few books on my shelves that I'm excited about checking out but I want more to choose from (because I don't have enough books on my TBR yet). I have a particular fondness for sports romance, anything that involves music, friends to lovers, second chance romance and sibling's best friend are my favourite tropes. 

So if you have any recommendations that fit that, give them to me and I will happily go check out the books!

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler

Title: Right of First Refusal (Radleigh University #2)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
On the lacrosse field, Cait Johannssen gets what she wants. Off the field is another story. Because what she wants is the school’s hot new basketball student-coach, Lawrence Mason, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart in sports camp two years earlier. 

But it’s Cait’s new roommate who’s got him.

Cait and Mase agree it’s best to keep their past a secret, but she doesn’t expect him to completely ignore their history…or how much it’ll hurt when he does. So when a friend on the basketball team asks her to pose as his girlfriend for a night, Cait can’t turn down the opportunity for distraction. (Okay, and a little spite.) But what starts as an evening of fun turns into a fake relationship with more lies than the usually drama-free Cait can handle, and it’s only keeping her from the one truth that’s nagged at her for years: Why did Mase cut her out of his life to begin with?

And is it really too late to get him back?

Dahlia Adler’s Last Will and Testament was one of my favourite books of 2014 and today is still one of my all-time favourite books. I have basically been dying for more Radleigh University books since the moment I finished it. So when Right of First Refusal landed on my Kindle, I dropped everything to read it right away. And of course, I loved it.

When it comes to lacrosse, Cait knows exactly who she is and what she wants. And she knows exactly what to do to get it. Her personal life is a whole other story. Especially when she meets her new roommate and discovers that said roommate’s boyfriend is the boy she fell in love with and who broke her heart at sports camp years earlier. And apparently Cait’s not as over it as she thought. Yeah, that’s not awkward at all. What started out as Cait looking for a distraction from all the drama in her life, somehow turns into pretending to be a friend’s girlfriend and navigating a complicated web of lies. But no matter how much she tries to put him out her mind and move on, Cait soon realizes that she’s not over Mase and she’s ready to get him back.

I was so beyond excited when I woke up on Tuesday and Right of First Refusal was on my Kindle. I feel like I have been waiting for this book for forever and I was so freaking excited to finally be able to read it. So of course I jumped in right away. Well, as much as I could considering I was working that day. But any moment I wasn’t working, I was reading Right of First Refusal. And needless to say that I absolutely ADORED this book. I mean, it’s written by one of my go-to authors, it has a strong sports theme, it’s a second chance romance, and there’s awesome female friendship. What is there not to love about all that? For real, though, this story was fantastic for so many reasons and I could go on all day about how much I loved it. The thing Dahlia Adler does best is write all kinds of relationships that feel completely real. And there were so many great ones in this story. There was the friendships between Cait, Lizzie and Frankie that made me wish I could be part of their trio (which I guess would make us a foursome, but I digress). The camaraderie between Cait and all her teammates on the lacrosse team. The complicated dynamics of Cait’s relationship with her father as he’s starting a new part of his life. Cait’s tricky relationship with her new roommate. Even Cait’s relationship with lacrosse, the sport that got her through the toughest parts of her life. All those relationship felt so real and complex, and the way they were all woven together added so much to the story. But the most important of all was the whole “you-were-my-first-love-until-you-broke-my-heart-and-now-you’re-my-new-roommate’s-boyfriend” situation between Cait and Mase. To say it was complicated would be an understatement. But it made for a compelling read, that’s for sure.

Let me just start off by saying (well, repeating, actually) that I want to be best friends with Cait, Lizzie and Frankie. Their friendship and their love for each other completely leaps off the page and makes me want so badly to be a part of it. On the surface, the three of them don’t really look like they have much in common, but that doesn’t really matter to them and that’s what makes their friendship so great. They love each other and are always ready to be there for each other, no questions asked and without judgement. At its core, Right of First Refusal may be a romance, but Dahlia Adler does a fantastic job also making this a story about friendship. Speaking of the romance, it was also pretty freaking great. I’m a sucker for any kind of second chance romance and that’s exactly what I got here. It was interesting seeing Cait work through everything as she was trying to figure out her feelings about Mase while also coming to terms with who she was herself. Her confusion over her feelings felt real and made her story that much more of a compelling read. And I could more than understand why she wanted to be with Mase because she made him sound pretty great. I loved getting to see the different sides of his personality, the way he would go from being hard and closed-off to the way he would be with the kids he coached basketball. It’s really no wonder that Cait fell for him. Twice. I mean, I had totally fallen for him by the time I got to the end of the story. Which speaking of the end of the story, can I just have Frankie and Samara’s story now? Because I really, absolutely cannot wait to read it in Out on Good Behavior.

If you made it through this ramble-y mess, I love you. Almost, but not quite as much I loved Dahlia Adler’s Right of First Refusal. I could keep going on all day about everything I loved about this story. But I won’t. Go read it and find out for yourself just how awesome it is. While you do that, I’ll be right here counting down the days until I can read Out on Good Behavior.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series Re-Release

If you love historical fiction, you'll want to pay attention. Today Fiona Paul's phenomenal Venom, the first book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, is being re-released as Venomous Kiss. If you're a fan of historical fiction and haven't yet checked out this series, you need to do so now! It has the perfect mix of romance and intrigue and will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time you're reading!

Keep reading to find out more about the books in the Secret of the Eternal Rose series and its author, Fiona Paul!

Title: Venomous Kiss (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: The Studio
Release Date: March 17, 2016
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, and a handsome, wealthy fiancé—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman, she’s drawn into the dangerous and tempting world of secret societies, courtesans, killers, and a mysterious street artist named Falco, who could be the most dangerous temptation of them all.

Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, but his habit of getting into trouble could destroy the perfect life Cassandra has built. Will she find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Formerly published as Venom, Fiona Paul’s first installment of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose is perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly’s These Shallow Graves and Libba Brayès A Great and Terrible Beauty.

About the author
Fiona Paul lives in St. Louis, MO where she managed to pursued fancy universities to award her degrees in psychology and nursing. Between her studies, she traveled around five continents and spent time living in Thailand and South Korea (which is probably why she finds the idea of wearing shoes in the house a little weird).

In additional to writing, Fiona is somewhat obsessive about coffee, music, and adventure sports. Her future goals include swimming with great white sharks and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order. For updates about Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, follow Fiona on Twitter @fionawritesYA.

Be sure to check out the free prequel story and be on the lookout for books two and three in April and May!

Title: Disastrous Desire (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #0.5)
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: The Studio
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford one. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure—but the world she has immersed herself in is more dangerous than she believes.

Donate miss this short story prequel set in the thrilling world of Fiona Paul’s Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. This few story also includes four chapters of Venomous Kiss, the first book in a romantic series tinged with true love and heartbreaking betrayal.

Title: Poisonous Touch (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2)
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: The Studio
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon / B&N / Chapters
In the second installment of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca has his own share of secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos.

So begins her journey to Florence to prove Luca’s innocence. In the city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirées and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose, Cassandra also finds Falco, who is working for the Oder’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Nothing is as it seems in this seductive mystery, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

Formerly published as Belladonna, Fiona Paul’s romantic series is perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly’s These Shallow Graves and Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Title: Dangerous Heart (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #3)
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: The Studio
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Cassandra Caravello and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they pursue the only evidence that could save them, their worlds—and their romance—are torn apart by spiteful friends and murderous enemies.

When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order’s twisted plot, Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom…but this time, Luca has a shocking scheme of his own.

From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, clever courtesans and vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and decide where her heart lies, once and for all.

Formerly published as Starling, this romantic mystery is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and Jennifer Donnelly’s These Shallow Graves.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Built by Jay Crownover

Title: Built (Saints of Denver #1)
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The first in the new SAINTS OF DENVER series from NYT bestselling author of the MARKED MEN series, Jay Crownover.

Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior—and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

I am a huge Jay Crownover books. Every book of hers I get my hands on I absolutely devour. When I first heard about her new Saints of Denver series I was extremely excited. And Built, the first book, absolutely did not disappoint me. 

Sayer Cole has always been told that she’s cold. That’s how she’s been taught to be. She doesn’t let anyone in and doesn’t show anyone any weakness. But Sayer is tired of always being closed off, of never letting anyone get close to her. But she just doesn’t understand how anyone could be interested in someone as upright as she is. Zeb Fuller wants to get past Sayer’s defences, if only she would let him. But as much as he wants to get close to her, Zeb isn’t sure he’s the right person for someone as elegant and sophisticated as Sayer. Just when he thinks he might be making progress with Sayer, something from Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and Sayer is the one person who can help him. Even though they’ve put their personal feelings aside while handling everything else happening in their lives, Zeb and Sayer can’t deny that there’s something so much bigger happening between them.

Even though I haven’t reviewed it, I absolutely love Jay Crownover’s MARKED MEN series. (If you’re curious, I haven’t reviewed them because I binge read the entire thing in a week and didn’t really know what to do with myself after I finished.) But the moment I finished Asa, the last book, I immediately needed more and I couldn’t wait to jump in to the SAINTS OF DENVER series. Too bad for me, that wasn’t going to be happening for another four months. But the moment my copy of Built showed up in my mailbox I dropped everything to read it ( and this is where I would like to take a moment to apologize to my family who was visiting me and who I proceeded to ignore that evening in favor of reading Built). And guys, this book. I could go on for days about my love for Built. I loved it so much it might even be my new favourite Jay Crownover book. I don’t even know how to explain why I loved this book so much or what it was about Built that got to me so much. Well that’s not entirely true. There is one particular aspect of the story that gets me every single time it pops up in a book and I guess that totally had a lot to do with my love for Built. But also Sayer and Zeb because you just can’t not love them.

I had been curious about Sayer since I first found out about her while reading Rowdy. Though that books was definitely Rowdy and Salem’s story, Sayer was pretty prominent and I just wanted to find out more about her. But then I started reading Built, and the more I read about her, the more frustrated I got with her and how she constantly kept trying to push Zeb away. Because why in the world would anyone want to push Zeb away. Like, WHY? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the reason I was getting so frustrated with Sayer was because I could relate to her so much and I understood why she was doing what she was doing. Once I figured that out, I loved her. And as I’ve already hinted at, I’m basically in love with Zeb. And I didn’t really expect that, to be completely honest. I mean, I love all of Jay Crownover’s boys. In fact they’re some of my favourites when it comes to boys in books. But Zeb was gruff and rough around the edges and completely unexpected in the best way possible. By the end of Built, he had completely stolen my heart. And I feel like I should say something about Hyde but I don’t want to reveal too much and risk spoiling some of the best moments in this book. But I will say this: prepare to have him completely melt your heart.

I love Jay Crownover’s stories, there’s just no way I could ever deny that. And Built? It might just be my favourite one. And if nothing else, it has got me more than excited about what’s to come in the rest of the Saints of Denver series.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Title: He Will Be My Ruin
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming na antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was fairly within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation…

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

Over the last three years, K.A. Tucker has become one of my absolute auto-buy authors. I don’t need to know what the book is about, I will buy it and I will read it. And I can guarantee I will love it every time. Her latest romantic suspense, He Will Be My Ruin, was no different.

If you asked anyone, they would have told you that Celine Gonzalez had everything she wanted. But appearances can be deceiving. Everyone, the police included, believes that Celine killed herself. Everyone except for Maggie Sparkes, her best friend since childhood. Maggie believes there was something more going on with Celine. The friend she knew just wouldn’t kill herself. As she packs up Celine’s apartment, Maggie discovers a lock box containing more questions than answers. In it, she finds a picture of a man Celine was in love with, a man she knew nothing about. Maggie knows something’s not quite right about everything that happened. And the more she digs for answers about her friend’s death, the more she’s putting herself at risk.

I have read and loved all the books in both the Ten Tiny Breaths and the Burying Water series. You might even go so far as to say that K.A. Tucker is one of my all-time favourite authors (spoiler alert: she totally is). So I was definitely excited about He Will Be My Ruin. I pretty much read it the moment I got my hands on it. And I will say this: it’s definitely different from K.A. Tucker’s previous books, but it didn’t stop me from loving it just as much as the ones that came before. Here’s the thing, reading all of K.A. Tucker’s other books, I’ve gotten used to romance and lots of it, so I kept expecting that with He Will Be My Ruin even though it was romantic suspense. Though romance was definitely present in the story (hello sexy rooftop garden with a hammock scene!), it wasn’t the main focus of the story. The focus of the story would have been that whole mystery, thriller part of things. Yeah, that. And to say that He Will Be My Ruin kept me guessing would be a major understatement. I typically pride myself on being able to figure out mysteries before everything is laid out in front of me. I credit that ability to excessive watching of crime shows and police procedurals. But this time, I didn’t see it coming. Like at all. I kept thinking I had what happened to Celine figured out, but then I would be given another piece of information and things just didn’t fit anymore. I literally needed everything laid out in front of me before I finally understood it all. And that’s because there were so many layers to the mystery and it just made the story that much more engaging. So yeah, He Will Be My Ruin may not have had as much romance as I’m used to with K.A. Tucker, but it had one hell of a suspense story.

I loved reading the bulk of this story from Maggie’s perspective because it meant I was finding things out at the same time as she did. Not only that, but her connection to everything made everything that much more intense. She was desperate for answers about what happened to her best friend, and her determination to get answers really spoke to how much she cared about Celine. She just didn’t want to accept that her friend committed suicide and she was ready to do just about anything to prove it, even putting herself in danger. And put herself in danger, she definitely did. Though she didn’t realize it. And that’s because, like me, Maggie was a little confused about who she could trust. And I can’t really blame her because every time I thought I could trust either Grady or Jace, something would happen to make me doubt their trustworthiness. And then I would start trusting them again. And so it went for pretty much the whole book. I’ve said it already, but I honestly couldn’t figure out who the bad guy was supposed to be or if either one of them was even a bad guy to begin with. It drove me absolutely crazy, but in the best way possible.

K.A. Tucker completely blew me away with He Will Be My Ruin. This story had so many layers and kept me guessing until the very end. And even then, I wasn’t sure I had everything right. If you love a good romantic suspense, then you need to get your hands on this books ASAP.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Out of Frame by Megan Erickson

Title: Out of Frame (In Focus #3)
Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J.R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight--or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J.R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J.R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J.R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he’s bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams.

If you know me, then you probably know of my love for Megan Erickson and her books. Every single one I’ve read, I’ve absolutely loved. Every time I hear about a new book from this author, my excitement levels sky-rocket. And as excited as I was about Out of Frame, I loved it even more.

Quinn has always been shy and has never been one to take chances, preferring to stay in the shadow of his best friend. That’s until they set sail on a spring break cruise featuring the members of the reality TV show Trip League. Even though he would never admit it to his best friend, Quinn is fascinated by J.R. Butler, one of the cast members. And now is his chance to find out more about him. Too bad for him, J.R. is straight. Or so everyone thinks. J.R. didn’t think it was a big deal when he signed the contract that said he had to play straight. But now he’s tired of hiding half of himself. And when Quinn catches his eye on board the ship, J.R. can’t help but want to explore the side of his sexuality he’s been hiding. With Quinn, J.R. wants see where things could go. But being with Quinn would mean risking his career, and that’s assuming Quinn is willing to stand in the spotlight for the first time in his life.  

I have yet to meet a Megan Erickson book that I haven’t loved, and her In Focus series is one of my absolute favourites. I have loved every single one I’ve read and I start flailing excitedly every time I am able to get my hands on a new one. I just can’t help myself. I mean, Trust the Focus and Focus On Me were some of my favourite books of 2015 and already Out of Frame is close to the top of my list of favourite books I’ve read this year (so far). There’s just something about those Megan Erickson romances. They get me every single time. And it was no different with Out of Frame. Even though it didn’t quite pack the emotional punch as the first two books in this series (at least for me), I still got completely caught up in this story. I would sneak in a few pages on my phone, every time I had a chance while at the same time never wanting this story to end. I wanted to keep reading about Quinn and J.R. and see what kind of trouble they were going to get up to next on the cruise ship. Despite everything that was happening around them, they were just fun to read about. And I loved seeing their relationship develop. It took them both by surprise, but it was sweet and heartwarming and just made me so freaking happy to read about. And like is often the case with Megan Erickson’s books, what made me absolutely love Out of Frame was J.R. and Quinn.

It really should go without saying that I loved J.R. and Quinn. You can’t really love this story without loving them. Quinn was just trying to be comfortable with himself and stop hiding all the time. But at the same time he was struggling with actually doing what he wanted as opposed to what was expected of him or what he thought other people thought he should do. There were so many times while I was reading that I wanted to tell him to just go for it and stop overthinking everything, but at the same time I totally understood where he was coming from because I can be the exact same way. But when he started going for it? I was all in favour of that, especially when it involved going for it with J.R. And I felt for J.R. So much. He just wanted to be himself but he fully believed he couldn’t because of the contract he was under. Seeing the pain this caused him hurt me, too. I was more than happy to see him decide to say screw it and spend time with Quinn. These two boys just needed each other, whether they realized it or not. And seeing them together just made me so freaking happy. And as always, I was more than happy to be getting glimpses of the boys from the other books. I will never tire of reading about this group of guys.

I wasn’t surprised at all when I found myself loving Megan Erickson’s Out of Frame. How could I not? One of my favourite authors writing a book in one of my favourite series. It’s a no brainer, really. If you love romance, in particular m/m romance, and haven’t read any of the books in the In Focus series, you are seriously missing out. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Title: Flirting with Fame (Flirting with Fame #1)
Author: Samantha Joyce
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in her own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author--a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity--and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

I love randomly discovering books. It’s not exactly something that happens to me a lot anymore considering how plugged in to the book world I am. So I was really excited when I happened upon Samantha Joyce’s Flirting With Fame and I’m even more excited to say that I loved reading this story.

To the outside world, Elise Jameson is just the shy, deaf girl who has never really felt comfortable in her own skin. But what the outside world doesn’t know is that Elise is also Aubrey Lynch, author of the successful Viking Moon series. Even with three bestsellers under her belt, Elise has stayed out of the public eye. It’s not hard to do when you’ve given your editor the picture of a complete stranger to be put in the book as your author picture. But now that her books are being made into a TV show and that TV show is being filmed in her hometown, Elise is having a full-blown panic attack. The solution she comes to? Finding the girl in the picture she used all those years ago. Lucky for Elise, Veronica Wilde is more than happy to pretend to be her on the TV set. It doesn’t hurt that Veronica has been taking the credit for the books all along. Now Elise is playing assistant to the girl pretending to be her. And it would be great if not for the fact that she’s finally ready to come clean about who she really is. But how can she do that without destroying the few meaningful relationships she has in her life?

Not going to lie. I honestly hadn’t heard of Samantha Joyce’s Flirting With Fame until I came across the book on NetGalley. It kind of feels like that’s been a bit of a theme for books with me lately. But it’s worked out pretty well so far. Anyways. When I first read the description for Flirting With Fame, I was intrigued by the story—the idea that someone would pay someone else to be them because they were afraid to tell the truth about using a fake picture. Plus, I’m a sucker for any kind of story that goes behind the scenes of the TV or movie world. I just can’t seem to get enough of them. So really, Flirting With Fame pretty much had everything I look for in a story. And it was a fun story, but also one that went a little deeper than I initially thought it was going to go. I loved the way the story dealt with Elise’s insecurities, how it tacked the fact that the main character is deaf (which is definitely linked to her insecurities). And the romance was absolutely adorable, and even unexpected in some ways. It was just the kind of story that puts a smile on my face while I read it.

As much as I loved Elise while I was reading, there were so many times when I wanted to smack some sense into the girl. But at the same time I could understand a lot of her insecurities. If I was her, I would definitely be afraid of coming clean after so many years of hiding and basically lying about who I was to the public. And things pretty much spiralled from there. It was like she just couldn’t get herself out of the cycle of lying she found herself in. At the end of the day, all I really wanted for Elise was to be happy with herself and who she was and her life. And if that life happened to include Gavin, then that was just a total bonus. Honestly? Gavin took me by surprise. Even though I had read the synopsis it didn’t really occur to me that he would be Elise’s love interest until it was happening right in front of me. At first I kinda thought that it was going to be about Elise and Clint but in hindsight, I was totally off the mark with that one. Elise and Gavin made much more sense. Which brings me back to Gavin himself. I kind of expected him to be a bit of a jerk or at least come across that way since that seems to e the stereotype when it comes to actors in books. But Gavin was just a genuinely good guy and the more I found out about him, the more I liked him. And he and Elise together were just perfect. They were perfect for each other and I just wanted them to be happy together.

Samantha Joyce’s Flirting With Fame was a fun story that took me completely by surprise. I love discovering new books and this is one that I am happy to have discovered. And I will most definitely be checking out Samantha Joyce’s future books.

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