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What I Read: February 2016


I was so overwhelmed with trying to put my master bathroom back together again this month that I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to but I did find a few favorites. I only bought one of these books this month, the rest were either borrows from the library or from my TBR list.

1- Defenseless by Corinne Michaels– My life is a secret. His life is dangerous. We’re both stubborn, calculating, and controlling. Mark Dixon doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He doesn’t know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart. But I know I’m defenseless against him, and in the end, he’ll force me to surrender.

I enjoyed this book. A SEAL and a CIA agent…right up my alley. It was fast paced and the characters were developed well. It was a solid 4 star read for me. I’m not sure why it wasn’t a 5 star read. I think maybe I wanted more development in the main characters relationship. And for a CIA agent she seemed a little naive. But it was a good book and I will read more in the series if it continues. 

2- Indecent Proposal by Molly O’Keefe– With his chiseled jaw and his thick blond hair, Harrison Montgomery was born to lead. Four generations of Montgomery men have served the state of Georgia and now he’s next in line. Harrison, though, is driven to right wrongs: namely to clean up the political mess left by his father’s greed and corruption. But Harrison must first win his congressional bid, and nothing can get in his way—not even an angel who served him whiskey and gave him a shoulder to lean on and a body to love for a night. Problem is, she’s pregnant. Scandal is brewing and there is only one solution: marriage. Damage control? Ryan Kaminski can’t believe that a cold, calculating political animal now inhabits the body of the emotionally vulnerable stranger who’d given her the most unforgettable night of her life. Really, she doesn’t want anything from Harrison, except to be left alone to have her baby in peace. But Ryan is broke, jobless, and essentially blackmailed by Harrison’s desperate family to accept this crazy marriage deal. For two years, she will have to act the role of caring, supportive wife. But what is Ryan supposed to do when she realizes that, deep in her heart, she’s falling in love.

I loved this book. I’m a huge fan of the arranged marriage and marriage of convenience story lines so this book was my kind of story. I loved the angst and the conflict. I really liked the main characters. I liked that Ryan wasn’t a weak simpering woman. She was strong and didn’t take any crap. Definitely a 5 Star read. 

3. Darkest Before Dawn by Maya Banks– The enigmatic Hancock has been both opponent and ally to the KGI teams for as long as they’ve known him. Always working a deep game, Hancock’s true allegiance has never been apparent, but one thing is for certain—he never lets anything get in the way of duty. But now, his absolute belief in the primacy of his ultimate goal is challenged by a captive he’s been ordered to guard, no matter how much she suffers in her prison. She’s the only woman who’s ever managed to penetrate the rigid walls surrounding his icy heart, but will he allow his perplexing feelings for the beautiful victim to destroy a mission he’s spent years working to complete or will he be forced to sacrifice her for “the greater good.

This is book 10 in the KGI series. I’ve only read 2 of the other books and I wasn’t lost at all so I think this one definitely stands alone. Although I am going to read the rest of them because I liked the characters. I loved this book. I wasn’t sure going into it that I was going to love it because it seems very un-romance like to have the male lead willing to sacrifice the female lead for any reason. But it worked in the story. You have to read it to see how and why. 

4. The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton– Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game. For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara’s not interested in getting to know football’s most notorious playboy any better. As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara’s life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick’s latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn’t intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.

I’ve read a couple of the other books in the Play by Play series and really enjoyed them. This is book 1 and I figured I should read it too. I liked this book. It was a solid 4 star read for me. There was a lot of smexy time and it did detract from the story a little bit, which is why it wasn’t a 5 star read. Still a solid book and worth the read.

5. Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb– Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head. Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.  As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

I just adore the In Death series. This is book 42 and I’ve read every one of them, some of them I’ve read multiple times. They are just THAT good. It’s one of those series where you just feel like you know the characters and you really care about them. If you haven’t yet started this series, what are you waiting for? Go. NOW! 


What I Read: January 2016


This year I have committed to reading as many books off of my TBR lists as I can. Yes, I said TBR lists. It’s ridiculous how many unread books are on my kindle. I have a problem. I’m a book hoarder. So instead of buying every book that catches my eye, I’m concentrating on finding those hidden gems already on my Kindle. All of the books I read this month are books that came straight from one of my TBR lists. 

January Reads:

1- Life Support by Candace Calvert: Nurse Lauren Barclay put her life on hold to keep a watchful eye on her troubled sister. It’s why she’s back in Houston. But that means confronting the brooding physician assistant who caused painful turmoil in her family–and left Lauren with memories her heart can’t forgive.PA and single parent Elijah Landry is no stranger to stormy relationships, including one with his father, who is threatening him with a restraining order. It won’t stop Eli from protecting his disabled brother–or from making peace with Lauren. He wants that and so much more.But as Lauren and Eli draw closer, a powerful hurricane roars toward Houston. Survival instincts take priority and everything changes. Can hope weather the storm?

I liked this book. It’s a Christian Fiction book so it was very clean but it didn’t center totally on religion. The story was good but it lacked action. I thought the hurricane storyline would have some action but it was more drama driven. Still a good read though. 

2- Her Vigilant SEAL by Caitlyn O’Leary: Sophia Anderson takes care of everyone but herself. She will stop at nothing to keep her family safe. When she goes searching for her runaway little brother in a bad part of town, she becomes the one in need of rescue. Navy SEAL, Mason Gault, faced many dangers while in the line of duty. No matter how bad a mission has gone, he finds solace in three things: His family, friends and the waves of the Pacific. When he hears a woman’s screams for help, he charges in to save her without a second thought. Sophia is burdened with scars from her past. Mason understands that empowering her spirit is just as important as protecting her well-being. As their love and passion soars, so do threats against her. Can Mason continue to be the compassionate white knight that she needs, while ensuring her safety?

This was actually my first 5 star read of 2016. I really enjoyed this book. Plenty of action, plenty of steamy, plenty of hot SEALs. The storyline was fast paced and the characters were interesting. The MC, Sophia, was hard-headed, stubborn, and strong. I liked her a lot. She wasn’t a weak, silly, girly girl who waited around to be saved. Definitely worth the read. This is book 1 in a series but no cliffhanger ending.

3- Her Loyal SEAL by Caitlyn O’Leary: Lydia Hidalgo is still defiant as she and her family are sentenced to death at the hands of the Mexican drug cartel. Not knowing if she will survive, her one request is that her sister will be cared for. Clint Archer and his team mates will stop at nothing to rescue Lydia and her family from their captors. Having to carry this brave woman for five days through the jungle creates a bond that he cannot resist. The closer they get to civilization, the slimmer Lydia’s chance of survival becomes. The Midnight Delta SEAL team work desperately to get her the help she needs, while Clint finds himself losing his heart more each day.

This is book 2 in the same SEAL series. It was a good story with action and a strong female lead. I liked this book but I loved book 1 more. I would definitely recommend reading book 1 first because the story overlaps. I’ll read book 3 when it comes out even though this one wasn’t my favorite. 

4- Talon by Carian Cole: The concept was scary but exciting… Marry a total stranger. Live together for six months. Journal everything. (Feelings. Fights. All of it.) After six months, we each get $50K in trade for our journals, whether we stay married or not. But the goal is to commit to the experience and see if the relationship experts could put together the perfect matches. I have never been lucky in love. This was my chance to find my soulmate. I couldn’t wait to meet the man the experts felt was perfect for me. My hopes were immediately dashed when I saw him at the altar. I married my worst nightmare. Right?!

And this was my second 5 star read of the year. This book is number 4 in a series but I have not read the others and this one definitely stands alone. I loved this book. I love watching shows like Arranged, Married at First Sight, and Married by Mom & Dad. I think they’re fascinating and this book is the print version of those shows. It was so good! 

5- Bury the Hatchet by Catherine Gayle: He was poised to be an elite goalie for a contending team. Hunter Fielding has long since proven himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. The problem? His former team had another (slightly better) backstop. They left Hunter out to dry, the upstart Tulsa Thunderbirds claimed him in the expansion draft, and he made a few stupid comments about backasswards Oklahomans. Now the T-Birds say the only way he can redeem himself is to make nice for the media with some local goody two shoes who’s made some mistakes of her own. Oklahoma’s sweetheart could do no wrong until she could do no right. Tallulah Belle Roth was the reigning Miss Oklahoma USA until a night of out-of-control drinking, a naked foray in a hot tub with very bad boy, and a bunch of lowlights on TMZ. Now she’s been stripped of her crown and is facing the censure of the same people who made her out to be Little Miss Perfect. Tallie won’t ever get her title back, but her life is another matter—and the only way the public will allow her to do that is if she presents herself as happily settled with someone else under Oklahoma’s eye. The marriage is to be in name only—one year of sickeningly-sweet lovey-dovey PDA, all to get their detractors to bury the hatchet. Those kisses and tender moments for the cameras take an emotional toll, though. Can in name only be enough?

And this was my third 5 star read of January. Holy cow! This book was so good. It’s the first in a new series by Catherine Gayle and it centers around hockey. Again, the arranged marriage storyline is one I enjoy so this book was right up my alley. I loved all the different dynamics and relationships in this story. I will definitely be reading the other books in the series. 

6- The Best Goodbye by Abbi Glines: The look on Rose’s face had screamed that she was hiding something. Hell, she’d practically run away from me. There was something to that. I knew there was…After ten years in the employ of a mysterious crime boss, River “Captain” Kipling is ready to leave his sordid past—and his cover occupation as an upscale restaurateur—behind him. The only thing standing in the way of his “retirement” is his commitment to launch a new restaurant in the resort town of Rosemary Beach. With his sister, Blaire, nearby, Captain can delay his dream of running a humble bar on the waterfront, but the unwanted attentions of his head server, Elle, have him itching to get out. Until he notices Rose Henderson, the new server at the restaurant. All he knows about the pretty redhead with the cute glasses is that she’s a hardworking single mom from Oklahoma. But there’s something overly familiar about her laugh…something strange about the way she looks at Captain.

This is book 12 in the Rosemary Beach series and while each book is a standalone it helps to read them in order so you know the characters. I enjoyed this book but it’s definitely not my favorite in the series. I had a hard time connecting to the characters and I didn’t love the storyline. Still a good book but not one I would read again. 

Pretty amazing that I ended up with 3 five star reads in January and all of them came from my TBR lists! That tells me I definitely need to get those books read before I buy new ones. So I’m staying the course- read the books on my TBR lists and only buy new books from my must-read authors. Bonus- think of all the money I’ll save!


10 Nonfiction Books On My 2016 Reading List


It’s no secret that I read a lot, right? Most of the books I read are fiction- I love romance, romantic suspense, mystery, contemporary fiction, chick lit….I love them all. But I also love to mix it up with some non-fiction books too. I have an abundance of them saved on my Kindle just waiting for me to get to them. This year I want to make a point to read at least 10 of them, if not more. These are the top 10 non-fiction books that I already own that I want to read this year. It’s a mix of funny, inspirational, parenting…

1- Carry on, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton– Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Momastery.com. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

2- I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert– Once upon a time you and your partner had a perfect life: dinners out, weekend mornings cuddling in bed, brunch with friends. Then you gave birth to a poop machine (or two). Now, it’s all about the pediatrician, breast pumps, princess dresses, and minivans. And discovering that your pride and joy is actually a little A-hole. When your son wakes you up at 3:00 A.M. because he wants to watch Caillou, he’s an a-hole. When your daughter outlines every corner of your living room with a purple crayon, she’s an a-hole. When your rug rats purposely paint the kitchen ceiling with their smoothies, they’re a-holes. At times like these, it’s only natural to want to kill them (or yourself). But it’s against the law (and there’s the suicide hotline). Plus, there’s that whole loving them more than anything in the whole world thing. In I Heart My Little A-Holes, Karen Alpert shares hilarious stories, lists, and deep thoughts on the joys and horrors of raising children. Accompanied by cheery illustrations and photos I Heart My Little A-Holes will make you laugh so hard you’ll wish you were wearing a diaper.

3- Sh*tty Mom by Karen Moline– Sh*tty Mom is the ultimate parenting guide, written by four moms who have seen it all. As hilarious as it is universal, each chapter presents a common parenting scenario with advice on how to get through it in the easiest and most efficient way possible. With chapters such as How to Sleep Until 9 A.M. Every Weekend and When Seeing an Infant Triggers a Mental Illness That Makes You Want to Have Another Baby, as well as a Sh*tty Mom quiz, this is a must-have, laugh-out-loud funny book for the sh*tty parent in all of us.

4- Ketchup is a Vegetable by Robin O’Bryant– If you don’t have anything nice to say about motherhood, then… read this book. Robin O’Bryant offers a no holds barred look at the day to day life of being a mother to three, running a household and the everyday monotony of parenting. It’s not always pretty but it’s real. Whether she’s stuffing cabbage in her bra… dealing with defiant yet determined daughters… yelling at the F.B.I… or explaining the birds and the bees to her preschooler… you’re sure to find dozens of humorous and relatable situations. From the creator of Robin’s Chicks, one of the South’s most popular blogs on motherhood, misunderstandings and musings, comes a collection of essays that will not only make you laugh and cry, but realize that you’re not alone in your journey.
Sit back and relax, pour yourself some “mommy juice,” throw a fresh diaper on your baby and deadbolt the bedroom door to keep your kids out… because once you start reading you’ll be too busy wiping away tears of laughter to wipe anybody’s butt.

5- Moms who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper– Attention all potty-mouthed, cheap-wine-drinking mothers: Prepare to meet your match. Any bad thought you’ve had about your kids, Nicole Knepper has had worse. Much worse. It’s not that she doesn’t love her kids. It’s that she understands what a mind-f*?% it can be to try to civilize those wild little beasts. Based on her hugely popular Facebook page, “Moms Who Drink and Swear,” this book reveals why family dinners are like herpes, how to avoid smashing toys that are being fought over, and the joy of hearing that your son has murdered his imaginary friend. As Nicole rants and raves about caring for children (without crushing their souls), family togetherness (without too many tears), the saving grace of girlfriends (and vodka), and love and marriage (and all the baggage that goes with them), she gets to the heart of what every exasperated mom is thinking, just much funnier.  

6- People I Want To Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann– Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

7- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson– When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

8- Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle– There is nothing as precious in life as a friend who knows you and loves you in spite of yourself. Yet over the last couple of decades, we’ve substituted the joy of real friendship with cheap imitations. We settle for “community” on Facebook and Twitter and a series of text messages that allow us to communicate with someone without the commitment. We like each other’s beautifully filtered photos on Instagram and delude ourselves into believing we have a community. But real friendship requires effort. It’s showing up, laughing loud, and crying hard. It’s forgiving and loving and giving the benefit of the doubt. It’s making a casserole, doing a carpool pickup, and making sure she knows those cute shoes are 50 percent off. Written in the same comedic style as the New York Times bestsellers Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room, Nobody’s Cuter than You is a laugh-out-loud look at the special bond that exists between friends and a poignant celebration of all the extraordinary people God had the good sense to bring into our lives at exactly the right moments. From the friendships we develop over a lifetime to the ones that wounded us and the ones that taught us to love better, Melanie Shankle reveals the influence our friends have on who we were, who we are, and who we will become. And on a day when our jeans feel too tight, our chins have decided to embrace hormone-related acne reminiscent of our teen years, and our kids have tested the limits of our sanity, they are the ones who will look at us and say, “Nobody’s cuter than you!”

9- A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson– There’s nothing quite like family—for good or bad. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do the people sleeping right down the hall, it’s easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There’s even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time’s-a-wastin’, we need to be careful that we don’t take our people—and their stories—for granted. Whether it’s a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

10- Ever After by Vicki Courtney– Most every woman dreams about having a family and a building a home. We grow up on a steady diet of fairytales and chick flicks that drive our dreams . . . and leave us with a sugarcoated version of reality. We want it all: the prince, the kiss, the proposal, the ring, the castle, and eventually, the kids in smocked rompers playing cheerfully on the perfectly manicured lawn. Our hopes and dreams are pinned on the world’s version of happily-ever-after. The problem is, the fairytales and chick flicks end where real life begins. We never see that follow-up scene where the prince and princess argue at 3 a.m. over who will get up with the colicky newborn. Or the princess reluctantly returns to work to help pay the bills and feels the stress of juggling work and family. And you certainly won’t see that part where the princess moves her last child into the dorm and realizes the bulk of her identity has been based on being a mother. The truth is, marriage and motherhood are hard. Few of us are prepared to handle the balancing act of being a good wife and a good mother, without one or the other getting the short end of the stick. No matter how much we give or how hard we try, we never quite feel like it’s enough. And heaven help us, we always imagine every one else is doing a much better job. In Ever After, best-selling author Vicki Courtney addresses the realities of marriage and motherhood, the difficulties and the blessings. It offers women a behind the scenes glimpse of what a fairytale really looks like on the average day for the average wife and mom. Poignant, funny, and even cathartic, Vicki shares mistakes made, lessons learned, and memories to keep. Most of all, she reflects the hope and promise that God meets us in the middle wherever we are in the journey.


My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2015

I read a whole lot of great books in 2015 and definitely found some favorites! I didn’t read as many books in 2015 but I think I read a lot of really good ones- quality over quantity is always good! I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites into a list.


1- The Price of Love by Laramie Briscoe– Harmony and Reaper thought life would be easier once they sealed the deal. Stage personas put to the side, settling into marriage should have allowed them to be Hannah and Garrett to the world at large. Boy, were they ever wrong! Pressure from record companies, fans, and the people surrounding them put their brand-new union under the strain of the entertainment machine. Long nights apart, quick meetings in hotel rooms, and new faces on the music scene were not what either of them thought they would have to contend with. When love is strong, emotions go haywire, and frustration is at an all-time high, everyone’s true colors are revealed. Hannah and Garrett have a decision to make – is fame worth the price of love?

This is book 2 in the series and it was as amazing as book 1. I highly recommend this series. There are 4 books and 1 novella. I’ve read books 1 & 2 and the 1.5 novella. I have books 3 & 4 waiting for me on my Kindle!

2- Night Hush by Leslie Jones– When Army Intelligence officer Heather Langstrom’s military convoy is ambushed and she’s taken prisoner, she knows she’ll need all her strength and courage to survive, escape her captors, and report the whispers of unrest brewing in the Middle East. Delta Force Captain Jace Reed isn’t one to throw caution to the wind, but when his team stumbles upon beaten and weak Heather fleeing the terrorist training camp they’ve been dispatched to destroy, he’ll risk everything to get her to safety. Once back on base, they learn her convoy’s ambush was no accident … she’d been targeted. As the evidence of an impending attack mounts, Jace and Heather uncover a deadly terrorist plot that could kill hundreds of civilians. But Jace’s protective instincts and Heather’s fierce independence put them at constant odds. And as they close in on the extremists, they must learn to trust one another in order to save innocent lives … even if it means sacrificing their own.

This book was so good. Book 2 is out now and I have it on my Kindle so I’ll be starting it soon. I love military books and this one did not disappoint.

3- The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson– Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief. Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her? Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days. When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again. As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

Oh this book. It made me feel all the feels and I even shed a tear or two. It was wonderfully written and realistic. It also featured a mom in the middle of a hectic life, raising kids, and managing a house. I could relate to her, and I could see myself in her reactions. 

4- Bound by Honor by Cora Reilly– Born into one of the leading Mob families in Chicago, Aria Scuderi struggles to find her own path in a world where no choices are given. Aria was only fifteen when her parents betrothed her to Luca – The Vice – Vitiello, the oldest son of the head of the New York Cosa Nostra to ensure peace between the two families. Now at eighteen, the day Aria has been dreading for years is looming dangerously: her wedding to Luca. Aria is terrified of marrying a man she hardly knows, especially someone like Luca who got his nickname ‘the Vice’ for crushing a man’s throat with his bare hands. Luca might be one of the most sought after men in New York thanks to his good looks, wealth and predator-like charisma that radiates power, but the society girls throwing themselves at him don’t know what Aria does: that the bad boy aura isn’t just a game; blood and death lurk beneath Luca’s striking gray eyes and arrogant smile. In her world a handsome exterior often hides the monster within; a monster who can just as easily kill as kiss you. The only way to escape the marriage to Luca would be to run away and leave everything she’s ever known behind but Aria can’t bear the thought of never seeing her family again. Despite her fear, she decides to go through with the marriage; Aria has grown up among predators like Luca and knows that even most cold-hearted bastards have a heart and she has every intention of working her way into Luca’s.

I adore this book. Actually I adore the entire series. I have a serious love affair with mafia stories when they’re done well and this series is done well. I’ve read the first 3 books in the series and they were all fabulous. I still need to read book 4 and book 5 should be released soon. 

5- Fire Down Below by Debra Anastasia– Dove Glitch is embarrassed about everything above her knees and below her belly button. When she has to fill a delicate, embarrassing prescription the last thing she needs is a sexy-as-hell (and brand spanking new) pharmacist behind the counter. Johnson Fitzwell’s first day of his dream career also happens to coincide with the exact moment Dove needs her feminine meds filled. His glorious voice is way too loud–as in, he should be counting down the hits with Ryan Seacrest kind of loud. Thanks to Johnson’s handsome face and gorgeous jaw line, Dove dives headlong into her waking nightmare and asks for a vagina-scented cream. How could she not fall for him? Dove’s only active goal now is to get Johnson to kiss her right on the lips. Either set. However, his horrible girlfriend is one of many obstacles preventing her from making that fantasy a reality. When Dove defends Johnson in the most unhygienic, unconventionally gross way in the middle of a crowded restaurant, their tender, slightly tantric relationship is off to a galloping, farting start. Each print copy of this book will be dipped in holy water by my mom, and glared at by my father as he purses his lips. Neither will help. So, drop your pants and turn to the left and cough. I hope you’re not allergic to latex, because it’s time to fill your prescription. Anally.

If you like raunchy, laugh out loud books that will alternately make you giggle and blush then this is the book for you. I laughed so hard while reading this one. And book 2 was just released so I can’t wait to dive into that one!

6- Blocked by Jennifer Lane– College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. ¡Híjole! Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her. Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President. When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?

This book was really good. It doesn’t kill you with political stuff but it’s really interesting to see the premise played out in the pages. There’s enough politics to make it interesting and enough romance to keep it enjoyable. I enjoyed it a lot. Book 2 was just released so I’ll be reading it soon. 

7- The Consequences of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken– My name is Milo Caro and I have a confession to make. I’ve been in love with Colton Mathews since I was five. He should have known that sharing a cookie with a sugar obsessed little monster would do the trick–it sealed his fate. So really, the fact that he’s sporting a black eye, a limp, almost got ran over by a car, and was nearly responsible for another person’s death? Right. HIs fault. Not mine. I made a pact with myself–this weekend would be different. I’d come home for my brothers wedding, smile, and Colton would naturally melt into my arms, we’d get married have five kids, live in a house by the river, and get a dog named scratch (clearly I’ve thought this through). What really happened? I punched my brother in the face, Colton kissed me and apologized, I lied about having a boyfriend, oh and everyone wants to meet the mystery man. They say laughter always comes before insanity–ha, ha. All I wanted was my brother’s best friend…instead I’m sitting in prison. Let this be a lesson to you all…life rarely happens the way you want it to. Damn cookie.

Oh my gosh- this book is hysterically funny. When a book makes me laugh so hard that the whole bed is shaking and my poor husband wakes up- that’s a funny book! Book 2 was just as good and I cannot wait for book 3!

8- Carter Reed 2 by Tijan– Carter bought his way out of the mafia to protect Emma, but when an old ghost returns to the Mauricio Family, a chain of events starts that can harm everyone. While Carter must decide to return to the Mauricio Family or not, a face that is oddly familiar to Emma comes into her life. She’s given the chance to discover more about her family while tension between the rivaling Mauricio and Bertal Family comes to a head in an explosive way. The truce is officially off, and when the two worlds collide, Carter’s decision is made. He didn’t start this war, but he will end it. He will do anything to protect Emma. 

This is book 2 and it was every bit as good as book 1. I love this series. It’s another mafia book and it’s exceptional! If you haven’t read anything by Tijan then you need to. This series and her Fallen Crest series are 2 of my absolute favorites. 

9- Burn by Suzanne Wright– Part of a small demon lair in North Las Vegas, tattooist Harper Wallis lives a pretty simple life. That changes overnight when she discovers that her psychic mate, or ‘anchor’, is a guy who’s rumored to be the most powerful demon in existence. Compelling, full of secrets and armed with raw sexuality, Knox Thorne is determined to claim her as his anchor, creating a psychic bond that will prevent their inner demons from ever turning rogue. The billionaire also wants Harper in his bed. She’s not so sure she wants either of those things. No one seems to know what breed of demon Knox is, only that he’s more dangerous than anything she’s ever before encountered. But he refuses to walk away. And when an unknown danger starts closing in on Harper, it seems that Knox is the only one who can keep her safe. As Prime of his Las Vegas lair and a successful businessman, Knox Thorne is used to being in control. He’s also used to people fearing and obeying him. Harper does neither, which unexpectedly amuses him. Unpredictable, elusive, and complex, she draws Knox and his inner demon like nothing ever has. Knox is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Harper. He’ll have her, and he’ll keep her safe from the threat that looms over her. Because Knox protects what’s his. He won’t allow anyone to take her from him. Even if it will mean letting the demon inside him rise and wreak the havoc it was created to make.

I’m not normally big on demon books but this author is one of my favorites so I gave the book a try. And it ended up being one of my favorites of the whole year. The story is fantastic! I cannot wait until book 2 is released. 

10- Letters to Love by Soraya Lane– When her sister Lila and brother-in-law Gray are killed in a tragic accident, Bella is named as guardian to her two young nephews. Then she discovers that she’s expected to co-parent with Gray’s best friend, and grief turns to shock. Noah has always driven her crazy, and Bella’s sure the arrogant, handsome Navy SEAL is the last person she wants to share a life with. Just as it seems they’ll never see eye to eye, letters from Lila start to arrive—letters she wrote in case they ever ended up in this situation. And so the reluctant couple follows her instructions, spending ever more time together as part of their unexpected, unconventional family. Forced into an impossible situation, will these letters from the past bring them together?

Another book that made me feel all the feels. It was so good. Watching the 2 main characters navigate through their own grief while trying to raise their nephews was both touching and painful. I love books that can make me feel the emotions of the characters and this one definitely did that. 

Reading is one of the great joys in my life and I cannot wait to find out what my favorite books will be in 2016. 


What I Read: November 2015


A lot of November was spent planning Thanksgiving and prepping to host Thanksgiving so there wasn’t a lot of free time left for me to curl up with a good book on my Kindle but I carved out some time…mostly while waiting for boys to be done at basketball practice. I pulled out some oldies that I had forgotten about and then found again when I started organizing my Kindle and they turned out to be some of my favorites this month!

1- Letters to Love by Soraya Lane– When her sister Lila and brother-in-law Gray are killed in a tragic accident, Bella is named as guardian to her two young nephews. Then she discovers that she’s expected to co-parent with Gray’s best friend, and grief turns to shock. Noah has always driven her crazy, and Bella’s sure the arrogant, handsome Navy SEAL is the last person she wants to share a life with. Just as it seems they’ll never see eye to eye, letters from Lila start to arrive—letters she wrote in case they ever ended up in this situation. And so the reluctant couple follows her instructions, spending ever more time together as part of their unexpected, unconventional family. Forced into an impossible situation, will these letters from the past bring them together? Life as We Know It meets P.S. I Love You in this heartwarming story of loss, grief, family and love.

Oh this book. It made me feel all the feels. I was totally sucked in and read this book in mere hours because I literally just could not stop. It’s been a long time since a book pulled me in like that. I highly recommend this one!

2- Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson– In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.” FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

I loved everything about this book. I was alternately alarmed and relieved at how much I found myself nodding along with everything as I read. Relieved that someone understood my level of crazy and alarmed at the obvious level of my crazy. I laughed out loud while reading and woke up Matt more than once because I was laughing so hard while reading in the middle of the night that the bed was shaking.

3- Resisting Temptation by K.C. Lynn– Faith ~ 
Cade Walker is like no man I’ve ever met before. He’s cynical, brooding, mysterious and, most of all, damaged. He’s a man who declares he’s broken, and one who detests the two very things I live for most: God and love. Yet, I’ve still fallen completely in love with him because I also see the good, something that no one else ever has. I see a man who is strong, silent, honorable and beautiful. He’s a man who is now scarred just as badly on the outside of his body as he is on the inside, all because of me. One who endured severe torture in order to save me from what would be the worst thing I will ever experience in my entire life. He is a man I call my dark angel, one who will have my heart until the end of time, even if I can never have his. Cade ~ At fifteen years old I lost the only person that ever mattered to me, and the day I lost my little sister in the most vile way was the exact moment I stopped living and only existed. That’s until ten years later, when I walked into an open field in Iraq to hear the most incredible voice I would ever hear in my life. One that rooted me to my spot, and ended up belonging to the most beautiful woman in the world. The only woman to ever make me feel something again, something that I thought was dead inside of me. And no matter how badly I wanted to keep her, I knew I couldn’t. Not with what I have lurking inside of me. It’s something I’ve always kept hidden. That is, until the day I unleashed it on the people who dared to hurt her. It was the one thing that gave me the strength to save us, but it was also the one thing that would remind me of why I could never have her. Now two years later, the one girl I never thought I would ever see again, the one I have spent my days and nights craving like an addict, walks back into my life unexpectedly, giving us both the shock of our lives. And when the time comes that she needs me again, I no longer resist. Before I know it, I’m pulled into a life I thought I could never have, one that scares the shit out of me but it’s one I’m realizing I want. There is just one problem. One very big problem… She lives for the very thing I loathe, and the one thing that killed my sister… God.

This is book 3 in the Men of Honor series and every single book has been fantastic. This is one I found in the depths of my Kindle that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read yet! I might have let out a little squeal when I found it! I think this one was my favorite story of the 3 books- it was amazing and we got the answers behind some of the questions from the first 2 books. 

4- The Best Medicine by Elizabeth Hayley– Lauren Hastings is finally ready to enter the real world. At twenty-six, she’s about to get her master’s in psychology, and she’s well on her way to beginning the career of her dreams—until she suffers public humiliation and has to endure something she thought she’d never have to deal with again: a part-time job. A gig at Trinity Hospital isn’t exactly Lauren’s definition of a good time, but Dr. Scott Jacobs quickly changes her mind. He’s straight-up gorgeous, and he always gets what he wants. And that includes Lauren. It’s an ideal arrangement for both of them. No strings. Just fun—at least at first. But feelings quickly begin to run deeper than either Lauren or Scott is willing to admit, causing issues neither of them want to confront. After all, who wants to risk the perfect relationship on something as terrifying, as messy, and as unpredictable as love?

I loved this book. The main character, Lauren, was hilarious and strong and I loved her spunk. The interactions between Lauren and Scott were so funny and I thought they were a really good match for each other. Scott drove me nuts with his stupid rules though and I wanted to smack him until the end! I can’t wait for the next in the series but this book is a standalone so go read it!

5- Jet by Jay Crownover– With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire. Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships. Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

And yet another book that I rediscovered on my Kindle. I read book one a long time ago and loved it. So when I found books 2-6 still on my Kindle I was so excited. Book 2 was just as great as the first book. I loved it. I love that the series follows the same group of characters but focuses on a different couple in each book. 

6- Rome by Jay Crownover– Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer. Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever.

This book 3 in the series and it was so good. Cora is one of my favorite characters from the series so I was really excited to read her story. It was great! And Rome was a favorite from book 1 so seeing the 2 of them together was like icing on the cake. 

7- Nash by Jay Crownover– Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down… and now he’s trying to do it again. Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense. When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

This is book 4 in the series and just as great. I can’t say it enough- I love seeing all the characters in each book. It gives me the warm fuzzies to see the characters from previous books so happy. Nash and Saint were great together. Saint really tugged at my heartstrings and I was glad when they overcame the last hurdle to being happy. I can’t wait to read the last 2 books in December.