Monday, September 26, 2016

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never topped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

Every book I read by Colleen Hoover becomes a favourite. There’s no way around it. But even then, whenever I pick up a new one I can’t help but be afraid it won’t live up to the expectations I have. But every time those expectations are more than surpassed. And it was no different with It Ends With Us.

I am a big lover of all of Colleen Hoover’s books. The way she writes and tells stories always manages to both break my heart and give me hope in love. Reading the synopsis for It Ends With Us I thought I was going to be in for a the usual Colleen Hoover story. But as I found out more about the book and more reviews started popping up, I realized that this story was going to be completely different from the rest. If you’re picking up It Ends With Us expecting a typical romance, you’ll be disappointed because that’s not all what this is. Yes, there’s a romance element since much of the book is about how Lily fell in love with Ryle in the present and how she fell in love with Atlas when she was a teenager. And, yes, at first it does read like a typical romance but very quickly there are hints that things are not going to go the way you think they will. Instead of a love story between a boy and a girl, it’s a story about a girl loving herself and putting herself instead of her relationship first, no matter how hard that was to do. And that’s where the power of the story is: it shows the reader that no matter how strong you think you are, those hard decisions are always going to be hard and that your happily ever after may not look the way you thought it would. 

It Ends With Us is very much Lily’s story, whether that’s her story with Ryle in the present or her story with Atlas in the past. But more than being about her relationship with either guy, it’s about her choosing herself over either guy. There were so many times where I struggled with reading Lily’s story. And I mean that in a good way because it wasn’t an easy story to read. As much as I knew she deserved better than someone like Ryle, someone who had the potential to physically hurt her, I could see how she was struggling to put herself first and protect herself because of her feelings for him. While reading, I understood her struggle and I understood how even the strongest of people can end up in situations like the one Lily finds herself in. And much like Lily, despite everything, there were moments when I really like Ryle, moments when I wanted to believe that his anger was just a one off thing and that it wouldn’t happen again. As for Atlas, for a long time I wasn’t sure what I thought of him. And I think that had to do in large part with how I felt about Ryle. I didn’t want to be disappointed by both men in this story, I wanted one of them to be good for Lily. And after everything, I couldn’t help but doubt that Atlas could be that for her. And I was more than happy to be proved wrong. 

With It Ends With Us Colleen Hoover wrote a powerful and heartbreaking story that needed to be told. It wasn’t easy to read, in fact there were times when it was painful, but that’s what made this story so great. It broke my heart, but it also gave me hope.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cover Reveal - Three Simple Words by AJ Pine

Stud alert! I am so excited to share with you the first look at the sexy cover for Three Simple Words by AJ Pine. The highly anticipated third book of The Kingston Ale House standalone series releases 10.17.16.

Title: Three Simple Words (Kingston Ale House #3)
Author: A.J. Pine
Publisher: Entangled Select
Release Date: October 17, 2016
She’s holding out for a happily ever after.

I know where to find my happily ever after—between the pages of a romance novel. It’s why I sell books, why I blog about them, and why I’ll never get disappointed by love.

So what if my bother’s best friend from high school is now a bestselling author? Or that he just blew back into town on a Harley, filling out a pair of jeans like her never did before? Or that he’s agreed to do a signing at my bookstore on such short notice? Because despite all his adoring female fans, I kind of hated his book.

That last time I saw Annie Denning, she was a senior in high school, three years older than me and way out of my league. Now I’m her last minute date to a wedding, and what started as a night of pure fun has turned into something more real than either of us anticipated.

Annie is my muse. When I’m with her, my writer’s block fades away, and the words finally flow.

The only problem? She wants the fairy tale—her very own happily ever after—and anyone who’s read my book knows the truth. I just don’t believe they exist.

About AJ Pine
AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, the books she writes have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes). And a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. You’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago ‘burbs. AJ Pine is the author of the If Only series, the Only You series, and the current Kingston Ale House series.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blog Tour - Just Friends by Monica Murphy

Title: Just Friends (Friends #1)
Author: Monica Murphy
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Source: ARC from Publicist
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before. 

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

Though I've only been reading her books for a year (and I still have a lot of catching up to do), Monica Murphy has quickly become one of my go-to authors. Every time I hear she has a new book coming out, it automatically gets added to my TBR. Though her latest, Just Friends, left me wanting in some ways it was still a story I enjoyed reading.

When I first heard about Just Friends over the summer, I was seriously intrigued. I'm all about friendship stories, especially ones where the friendships don't seem to be all that healthy. So if the description was anything to go by, that's exactly what Just Friends was going to be. And it most definitely was. I can't quite remember the last time I read about a friendship as dysfunctional as the one between Liv, Em and Dustin. In fact, I would actually go so far as to say that Liv and Em's friendship was downright toxic. What I couldn't quite figure out was the why. For so much of the book I wished I could be reading part of the story from Em's perspective as opposed to just Liv's because I wanted to know why she was acting the way she was and doing the things she did. I wanted to believe there was more going on with her than her just being a "mean girl" for the sake of it. So much of Just Friends revolved around what was going on between Em and Liv and I just wish I could have gotten deeper into what that was...fingers crossed that gets explored in the sequel. Em and Liv's friendship aside, I loved seeing all the different relationship dynamics at play in the book, even if sometimes some of those relationships (or the motivations behind them) had me scratching my head a little. I'll be curious to see how everything plays out in the sequel because when Just Friends ended everything was pretty much all up in the air and I was left with a lot more questions than I got answers.

Though it didn't quite meet all my expectations, I still really enjoyed reading Monica Murphy's Just Friends and I look forward to reading the sequel. Mostly I just want answers to all the questions 

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Stay Until We Break by Mercy Brown

Title: Stay Until We Break (Hub City #2)
Author: Mercy Brown
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
What happens on the road stays on the road in the latest New Adult novel from the author of Loud Is How I Love You.

Twenty-one-year-old Sonia Grant, a business major, has big plans for a career in the music industry. So when she's offered the job of manager for her best friend's band, she jumps at the chance for some real life experience. When her number one crush, bassist Cole McCormack, jumps her the first night on tour, she hopes she's in for three weeks of some hot backstage action, too. But Cole turns out to have more up his sleeve than she or anyone realized.

Nobody knows that Cole is on the road to party like a rock star one last time before quitting his dream to take a more practical job and settle down. What he hadn't planned was to fall in love with a girl he believes is out of his league. Will Cole play out the rock star fantasy he thinks Sonia wants from him, or tell her the truth and take the chance that she'll either break his heart or make an even bigger dream come true?

Mercy Brown’s debut, Loud Is How I Love You, has to be among my favourite books from this year. There was something about the story that worked for and that got me majorly excited about what was to come from this new author. So Stay Until We Break? I loved it just as much as the first one.

I would like to officially nominate Stay Until We Break for best opening of a book ever. Seriously. Go read the opening paragraph of this story and tell me you don’t want to read the rest of the story immediately. That it doesn’t immediately make you fall in love with Sonia. Or that it doesn’t make you laugh all while nodding your head in a agreement. Because I totally did all of those things just after reading one paragraph. If I didn’t already know I was going to love this story. That paragraph alone would have sold me on it. It was just that great an opening. But moving on to the rest of the story which, spoiler alert, I also absolutely loved. Much like with the first book in this series, Loud Is How I Love You, I got completely sucked in to Stay Until We Break. There’s just something about reading about this particular group of people as they go about trying to make it in the music scene of the 90s that works for me. I just didn’t want the story to end because I just wanted to keep spending time with these people. And the romance you might be wondering? It’s hot. Like, REALLY hot. And I loved every single page of it. I couldn’t get enough of Sonia and Cole and their tour romance.

I adored Sonia and Cole (if you hadn’t figured that out already). I seriously loved them and I would have been perfectly happy to keep reading about them forever. I loved the sort of push and pull that was always there between them, the way neither one of them seemed to think that they were what the other wanted, needed, or deserved when in reality they were pretty much perfect for each other. Granted there were plenty of bumps along the road while they were figuring that out, but I loved seeing it all happen and feeling like I was part of what was going on between them. Besides Cole and Sonia, and this is something I also mentioned in my review of Loud Is How I Love You, what I love the most about these stories is all the other relationships outside of the romance. There’s such a fantastic bond between all the members of band that makes for fantastic friendships. And though I might be repeating myself (no “might” about it, I am totally repeating myself) I want to be best friends with all the people in Stay Until We Break, I want to go on crazy tour adventures with them. But for now, I would just settle for more books about them. 

Mercy Brown’s Stay Until We Break was absolutely fantastic. I loved every single page of this story and couldn’t help but want more. And I’m definitely hoping more is coming in the form of a book all about Joey. Because I would most definitely read that.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Title: Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklynn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

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 het 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…

It's no secret that over the last two years Sarina Bowen has absolutely become one of my favourite and go-to authors when it comes to romance. I've read and loved every book she's written and I'm always looking forward to the next one. Her latest, Rookie Move, was just as fantastic as all the others and I loved every moment of it.

Though it's the start of a new series, I loved Rookie Move because it sort of brought me back to the world of Sarina Bowen's Ivy Years series. That series is one of my favourite romance series and I was so happy when this spin-off was announced. I knew there were more stories to be told about some of the hockey players I met in that original series and I was happy that Leo Trevi's story was the one I got. Especially his and Georgia's story. Because from the moment I heard about their past through DJ in The Fifteenth Minute, I knew that was a second chance romance waiting to happen and second chance romances just happen to be some of my favourites. And this one hit all the right notes for me. I got sucked in right from the start, wanting to see how things would play out once Leo realized that his ex-girlfriend was his new team's PR person and his new coach just happened to be said ex-girlfriend's father. Who seriously has it in for him. I mean, how could things not get interesting when that's your starting point? And from that starting point, it just kept getting better. And as is usually the case for me, the reason I loved this story as much as I did (besides the whole second chance romance thing) was the characters.

I know I'm repeating myself, but I had been curious about Leo and Georgia since they were first mentioned in the final Ivy Years book. I knew there was more to Leo than being the big man hockey player on campus and I was so right. I loved getting to know him better in Rookie Move, getting to see who he really was and how he still carried the past with him, especially where Georgia was concerned. It sucked seeing him struggle with that past, but at the same time he had to work through it in order to be able to find his way with Georgia. It sucked, but it was necessary. And that's also true for Georgia. Because Leo was so tied to that one event from their past, she had to find a way to separate him from that event and be able to be with him without constantly remembering the past. And I loved that they were able to move past it all because Georgia and Leo just made sense together, no matter how much they both tried to deny it at various times. Georgia and Leo were great, don't get me wrong, but what I love about Sarina Bowen's books is that the secondary characters always feel completely fleshed out. And in this particular case, it means I'm already excited by the idea of reading O'Doul's story in Hard Hitter and that I might be holding out hope for a story about Silas. And I wouldn't say no to glimpses of Leo and Georgia here and there. Just saying.

In case it wasn't clear, I really loved Sarina Bowen's Rookie Move. It was the perfect start to what promises to be an exciting new series. I can't wait to see where Sarina Bowen goes next with the members of the Brooklyn Bruisers, but I already know I'm pretty sure I'll love it all.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Mini Reviews - Paper Princess & Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Title: Paper Princess (The Royals #3)
Author: Erin Watt
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep school, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her slightly mother, struggling to make ends meet an believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

I can't quite remember the last time I read a book that was as addicting as Erin Watt's Paper Princess. There was just something about this book that kept me turning pages almost faster than I could read them. Which worked out nicely for me because it made the flight I was on go by way faster since I was so caught up in the book. And that's because there was just so much going on in this story. What at first glance felt like it could be a new take on Cinderella (I mean, the main character's name is Ella) ended up being something else completely. And, to be honest, I don't know quite how to put that something else into words other than to say that it was completely addicting. And kind of twisted. Because the Royal family? They give the word "dysfunctional" a whole new meaning. With every new piece of information Ella uncovered about her new family she was able to realize just how screwed up the whole family was. But at the same time, the more dysfunctional I realized they were, the more I found myself caring about them. And I don't quite know what that says about me. 

But slowly but surely, the more I read, the more I found myself caring about not just Ella but also about Reed, Easton and the twins. Which considering how I felt about them at the start of the book, was a complete and total surprise. Reed was the biggest surprise of all. I fully expected to completely hate him, but by the time I reached the end of the book I kinda maybe didn't hate him? And Easton? I would read entire books about Easton because if anyone in Paper Princess stole my heart, surprisingly it was him. But that's besides the point. The point is that Paper Princess was a seriously addicting read. Fair warning though, if you choose to read Paper Princess make sure you have Broken Prince on hand because you're going to desperately want to read it when you finish the first one. Trust me.

Title: Broken Prince (The Royals #2)
Author: Erin Watt
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

If I thought that Paper Princess was addicting, it was nothing compared to Broken Prince. The only reason I even put the book down while reading was because I couldn't keep my eyes open and just had to get sleep (stupid jet lag). It was just that addicting. And quite possibly even more twisted than the first book and that is saying something. What I loved about Broken Prince was getting to be in Reed's head. For so much of the first book (the entire first book, really), I couldn't figure him out and truth be told I thought he was pretty much the biggest asshole and didn't get what Ella could possibly see in him. But that changed pretty quickly in Broken Prince. Getting to read part of the story from his perspective allowed me to see that maybe he wasn't the complete ass I thought he was. It doesn't excuse all of his horrible behaviour, but at least now I understand where some of that behaviour was coming from. And it allowed me to see what Ella saw in him. And speaking of Ella, I loved seeing her come into her own in Broken Prince. I feel like I got to see another side of her and it made me love her that much more. As for the other Royals, I'm still waiting for a book all about Easton (desperately so) and I am weirdly fascinated by the twins, Sawyer and Sebastian. Like I want to know how they work but I also don't want to know. And I don't want to say too much about it so as not to spoil things. 

There was just so much going on in this story. The ending of Paper Princess was definitely a huge part of this story and it's still not resolved by the time Broken Prince ends. And more mysteries get thrown in the mix and by the time I finished reading I had so many theories about what was going on that I couldn't keep all of them straight. Oh, and I desperately needed the final book. If you thought Paper Princess ended on a cliffhanger, wait until you get to the end of Broken Prince. Even though it's not that far away, the wait for Twisted Palace is going to feel like it lasts forever.

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