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What I Read: June 2015

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Continuing on the theme of “not enough hours in my day” for the month of June, I didn’t read very many books. But the ones I did read were fantastic. Between the kids out of school and wanting to go to the pool every day, to the 2 new puppies that have taken over my life, to the World Cup games on almost every day….well, reading took a backseat this month. I also branched out and read some different genres this month- mystery and humor/non-fiction. I just needed a change! So instead of breaking down the books into 5 & 4 star ratings I’m just going to share the books I read and what I thought about them.

1. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner– Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life. When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace. Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices.  Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

I loved this book. I’ve always been a fan of Lisa Gardner and this book lived up to my expectations. I did not see the ending coming until I was almost there so that’s a huge plus for me! I enjoyed figuring out all the pieces and seeing the different characters interact. I highly recommend this one! 

2. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner– My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t. Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero. I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist. Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says. My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t. Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead. This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

This is another Lisa Gardner book from the same Tessa Leoni series as the first book on my list this month. I enjoyed this one too, although I did figure out the ending quicker in this one. I enjoyed seeing the same characters and watching their relationship progress. I will definitely continue reading this series. 

3. One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James– A hope-filled soon-to-be bride makes a discovery about her fiance that rocks her world and provokes a maelstrom of decisions and self-discovery. Tara Faulkner has dreamed of her wedding and the life she and her fiance Seth will share in their hometown of Savannah . . . and by all accounts, it should be a charmed one. But when she discovers three weeks before the wedding that Seth is seriously addicted to pornography, Tara’s dreams are shattered. She must decide whether she will stand by Seth, but she also must let go of the dream she shaped for herself and discover a real vision for her life–and where it will come from. With all else falling apart, Tara encounters an unexpected–and unlikely–group of women mentors. They help her peel back the layers of shaming secrets and begin to clearly see the real issues of her generation. In the end, she’s able to make a decision based on God’s vision–not her own.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first. The first few chapters I felt like the main character, Tara, was overreacting to the big “discovery”. But as the book went on I began to see her side and understand why she reacted the way she did. And as the story progressed it turned out that she was right. I enjoyed the story line and how the author resolved the conflict. This was more literary fiction than romance and it was a nice change. 

4. The Consequences of Revenge by Rachel Van Dyken– After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no. Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling? 

This book was hysterical. I absolutely adored the first book in the series and this book was just as good and just as funny. It had all the same characters from the first book and a lot of the story and humor won’t make sense if you don’t read the first book so definitely read them in order. I laughed out loud so many times that Matt kindly asked me to stop reading it in bed because I was keeping him awake. 

5. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle– “There is really no better indicator you’re a mother than acquiring the ability to catch throw-up in a plastic bag, disinfect your hands, and immediately ask your friend to pass the beef jerky as you put on another Taylor Swift song and act as if nothing has happened.” This is the type of insight Melanie Shankle offers in this quirky memoir of motherhood. Written in the familiar, stream-of-consciousness style of her blog, Big Mama, Sparkly Green Earrings is a heartwarming and hilarious look at motherhood from someone who is still trying to figure it all out. Filled with personal stories—from the decision to become a mother to the heartbreak of miscarriage and ultimately, to the joy of raising a baby and living to tell about it—Sparkly Green Earrings will make you feel like you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. A must-read for anyone who’s ever had a child or even thought about it. 

If you aren’t reading her blog, Big Mama, then you are totally missing out. Melanie Shankle is hysterical and down to earth and so much fun to read. She draws you in like you are her personal friend and she keeps you entertained. I love her. And I loved this book. This was another one that I couldn’t read in bed because my laughter was shaking the whole bed when Matt was sleeping. I snorted out loud with laughter more than once. I highly recommend this book and her blog!

6. Holding Strong by Lori Foster– Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him.

I loved this book so much. I’m a sucker for MMA books and this one was fantastic. I loved the main characters and I really loved the secondary characters. This is book 2 in the series which I didn’t realize until after I started reading it. I bought book 1 and can’t wait to read it. Book 3 comes out in August. All the books are standalone stories but revolve around the same cast of secondary characters. 

**There’s still time to enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Jockey.com! All the details are right HERE!

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What I Read: May 2015

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I had a super busy month during May and I didn’t get to read as much as I normally do but the books I did get to read were great! I’d rather read 10 fantastic 4 and 5 star books all month than 30 just okay books. As a reminder, I’m sharing my 5 Star and 4 Star Favorites every month this year. 

5 Stars = I loved it and it has an honored spot on my all-time favorite, will read again, list

4 Stars = I really really liked it but I won’t read it again

May 5 Star Reads:

1.Bound by Hatred by Cora Reilly– When Gianna watched her sister Aria getting married to a man she barely knew, she promised herself she wouldn’t let the same thing happen to her. Matteo – The Blade – Vitiello set his eyes on Gianna the moment he saw her on his brother Luca’s wedding, and Rocco Scuderi is more than willing to give his daughter to him, but Gianna has no intention of marrying for any other reason than love. A few months before the wedding, Gianna escapes her bodyguards and runs away. She has enough money to flee to Europe and begin a new life. But staying undetected when the mob is searching for her is a challenge that takes everything, especially as one of their best hunters and assassins is after her: Matteo Vitiello. After six months on the run, Gianna finally settles into a tentative routine in Munich, but then Matteo and a couple of her father’s soldiers find her with another man. Despite her pleads they kill her boyfriend, and Gianna is forced to marry Matteo. Her emotions alternating between guilt over having dragged an innocent into her world and hatred toward Matteo, Gianna is determined to make life hell for her husband. But Matteo is a master at mind games and their struggle for power soon turns into hate-fueled nights of passion. 

I loved this book. It’s book 3 in a trilogy and while each story is a standalone you will enjoy the stories so much more if you read them in order as they all connect. I love mafia books. I don’t know why but I just really enjoy them. Highly recommend this series!

2. 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. 

Continuing with my love of mafia books, here is another one. You do need to read the first book, Carter Reed, prior to reading this one or it won’t make alot of sense. This book was so good- maybe not as fantastic as the first one but pretty dang close. Definitely a series I highly recommend. 

3. Broken by Cynthia Eden– Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he’s rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer. When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe. As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it’s clear he hasn’t forgotten her.

Next to the mafia books my other favorites are military heroes, probably because I have so many military men in my family. That makes me sound like I have daddy issues, which I assure you is not the case. Ha! This book was a romantic suspense with some good mystery in it. I’m gravitating a lot towards the mystery stories lately instead of straight romance so I enjoyed this one a lot. The second in the series is out now and on my TBR list and the third book is due to be released in October. 

4. Hour Of Need by Melinda Leigh– While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders. Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment. But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.

Another romantic suspense/mystery book that was great. I enjoyed the mystery in this one even though I did figure out the bad guy before the end. It was still a great read with solid characters and a great supporting cast. It is a standalone but there will be other books revolving around other characters from this story. 

5. When I’m Gone by Abbi Glines– I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different? 

I love the Rosemary Beach series and this one was a great addition. You don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this one but you will love the story so much more if you know all the characters first. Beware- this is a slight cliffhanger ending but it does end happily for now so it’s not too bad. 

May 4 Star Reads:

1. The Liar by Nora Roberts– Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed. Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning.

I haven’t read a Nora Roberts book in quite awhile but this one peaked my interest. It was a good story. I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened in the book- it was pretty predictable but the characters made the book for me. I liked them. 

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins– Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Everyone kept recommending this book to me so I reserved it from the library. It was another mystery/suspense but without the romance. The main character was highly unlikeable to me for most of the book- I just didn’t like her. She was a drunk and a whiner. But in the end I felt sorry for her more than I disliked her. I will say that my dislike of her actually enhanced my enjoyment of the story so not sure what that says about me. Ha! I did guess correctly about how it would end about half way through the story but it was still a good book. 

Did you read anything good this month? I’m joining in with Carpool Book Club!

CPC1

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What I Read: April 2015

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 I read a lot of great books this month. I made a serious dent in my TBR List and discovered a few new favorites! As a reminder, I’m sharing my 5 Star and 4 Star Favorites every month this year. 

5 Stars = I loved it and it has an honored spot on my all-time favorite, will read again, list

4 Stars = I really really liked it but I won’t read it again

 

April 5 Star Reads:

1. Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane– Ava has watched her parents, Caleb and Maggie, live the perfect fairy tale, the perfect love story, played out in front of her eyes her entire life. Her family is love, life, and happiness. The Jacobsons are everything a family should be and Ava is loved and well taken care of. But the one thing that’s missing from her life is the one thing she’s waited for every day, the one thing her kind knows will make them complete, the one thing they thought was gone and lost forever. Her significant. Seth has lived with the Watsons his entire life. They’re the only family he knows, but he knows that there are things they keep from him. He knows that they lie and they do unspeakable evil, things from when he was a child that he can barely remember that cling to the edges of his memory. He barely remembers his real mother and all he knows is what he’s told. He doesn’t know what to trust. He wants to believe that the Watsons love and care for him, have his best interest at heart, but isn’t so sure of that anymore when he finally—after a lifetime of waiting for her—meets his soulmate, and the Watson’s first act is to try to take her away from him. The Virtuoso worlds collide, hearts are exposed, humans are endangered, and the lives of Seth and Ava are changed forever. They’ll have to love without judgment or reservation, they’ll have to be wise and accepting beyond their years, they’ll have to forgive for things before they’ve even happened, they’ll have to trust without seeing, have faith without knowing, and they’ll have to light their own way in the dark when everyone else is blind to show them the way. And more than anything else…they’ll fight like hell to keep each other.

I adore this series. It’s one my favorites. It mixes the paranormal with the soul mate theory and I love it. This book was fantastic and so worth the wait for it to be published. I highly recommend this whole series and you really do need to read it in order to understand the whole story. 

2. Silent Love by Casey Clipper– Former Navy SEAL Sean Millen has been perfectly fine with his bachelorhood until recently, when he realizes he’s unhappy with his single status. Unfortunately, his playboy reputation doesn’t offer him the type of woman that could fulfill his days and nights as well as settle into the specific life he envisions. Four years ago, Beth Connors’ world was entirely altered. Beth spends her days trying to remain invisible in order to avoid unwanted attention. Each night she sheds grief-filled tears over the former life she once led but will never be able to regain. When Beth literally runs into him. Doctor Sean Millen. A force of nature. A rock. A reputable heartbreaker, who takes an immediate interest in her, there’s no place for her to hide. But Beth’s natural instinct to push Sean away to save herself and him from the difficult task of adjusting their lives to her shortcomings is always front and center. Yet, Beth secretly longs for love. Is she strong enough to tear down the walls of her self-imposed prison? Sean finds himself falling for a woman who is determined to reject his every advance and deny their surprisingly deep connection. Can Sean push past Beth’s concrete walls that she refuses to destroy? Or will Beth’s shocking revelation of her past prevent them from finding the love they both deserve? Or will a tragic accident pull Sean and Beth apart permanently?

This book was fantastic. I loved it. The main characters were awesome and the supporting characters were equally great. This series is a spin off of a previous series but I don’t think you need to read that one in order to enjoy this one. 

3. Unexpected Love by Casey Clipper– Ryan Millen. Notorious playboy. Forever a bachelor. Never one to settle. Loves his one-night-stands. Ryan has loved his single status without any desire to settle down into a permanent relationship. Why would he? To be in a relationship requires work and sacrifice. Why go through all that trouble to make himself miserable just to make a woman happy? Lynn is struggling to get by day-to-day. Thirty-two years old, she can’t find a job in a saturated market. She can no longer afford to pay the bills with her minimum wage job after her ex dumped her while she’d been in middle of nursing school. He walked out on her to “find himself.” Now she finds herself on her brother’s doorstep, begging for a place to stay so maybe she can find a way to crawl out of the hole she’s been swallowed by. Embarrassed by her situation, she vows never to become dependant on a man again. Ryan’s world is turned upside down when one of his one-nighters throws a wrench into his perfect single life. He loses himself not knowing how to handle a situation he never wanted. His life spins out of control, about to lose his job and his mind. An opportunity crosses Lynn’s path that she’d never considered. An opportunity to possibly gain financial independence. An opportunity her brother warns her not to take. An opportunity she can’t refuse. Will Ryan’s new world destroy him or can he accept it and move forward with a chance for a life he’d never planned, but if he embraces could open up his heart for an unexpected surprise. Can Lynn save Ryan from himself? Can Lynn allow herself to open up to Ryan and trust again? What happens when they push against the natural draw they have towards one another? And what happens when Ryan’s one-nighter reappears, set out for revenge?

This is book 2 in the series from the book above this one. I just love this series. I did find myself wanting to smack the heck out of Ryan quite a bit but he redeemed himself in the end. I loved Lynn, she was fabulous and didn’t take any of Ryan’s crap! I highly recommend this series.

4. Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright– It happens whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller: a crackle of sexual awareness that’s intoxicating…and deeply annoying. Marcus is a pack enforcer who oozes power, but Roni is lethal in her own right—nothing like the flirty females who flock around him. Even still, his possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg. No matter how aloof and unfazed Roni acts, Marcus can tell she wants him. When a brutal attack by a jackal pack forces them to work together, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marcus to chip away at her defenses—until he falls into his own trap, completely unprepared for the intensity of their connection. Roni is the only one who’s ever seen past his shifter charm and discovered the man hiding beneath it. And for Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.

This is another one of my favorite series. This author is an automatic buy for me. I love wolf shifter books and this series is amazing. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this addition to the series. Roni is a real ass-kicker, which is a trait that I love in a female lead. And Marcus is strong enough to let her be strong too. Love that! You need to read this series!

5. Try With Me by Elyssa Patrick– There is nothing happily ever after about my life. I work four jobs just to keep us going. What I don’t need to deal with? Jamie McAlister. Yeah. Him. Blond, tall, gorgeous. I had a crush on him throughout high school, but he never knew I existed. I don’t even think he knows my name. I was too shy to say a word to him. It seems that everywhere I go, he’s there. And now? He’s kissed me—a lot. And those hot kisses have led to even hotter nights. I’m falling for him, head over heels. But I don’t know how to fit Jamie into my life. I only know I need him. Which means I have to try for something I never thought was possible. I have to fight for him and a forever kind of love.

This is book 3 in a series and it’s great. This book had me sniffling at some of the hard scenes and swooning at some of the emotional ones. I don’t think you have to read the first two books in the series to read this one but you will probably enjoy this one more if you read the other two first. 

6. Firewall by DiAnn Mills– After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naivete just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

This book was a page turner for me. I felt the emotions of the main character, Taryn, as she uncovered just how crazy her life had become. The male lead character was strong and committed and perfect for Taryn. I enjoyed uncovering the mystery in the book and didn’t see the twist coming, which always make for a great read!

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.

This is hands down my favorite book of April. It was pee in my pants, laugh so hard I snort, wake up my husband in the middle of the night with my laughing, funny. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. It was hilarious from the first scene to the last scene. This book has found a home on my Top 20 Favorites of all time list. Read it!

April 4 Star Reads:

1. The Affair by Colette Freedman– After eighteen years of marriage, Kathy Walker has settled into a pattern of comfortable routines—ferrying her two teenagers between soccer practice and piano lessons, running a film production business with her husband, Robert, and taking care of the beautiful Boston home they share. Then one day, Kathy discovers a suspicious number on her husband’s phone. Six years before, Kathy accused Robert of infidelity—a charge he vehemently denied—and almost destroyed their marriage in the process.
Now Kathy must decide whether to follow her suspicions at the risk of losing everything, or trust the man with whom she’s entwined her past, present, and future. As she grapples with that choice, she is confronted with surprising truths not just about her relationship, but about her friends, family, and her own motivations.

I almost didn’t read this book because I’m not a fan of infidelity in romance books. But I took a chance on this one and I’m glad I did. It was really a great story that is told from the viewpoint of the wife, the cheating husband, and the mistress. It gave a real inside look at an affair and how it all comes to a head. 

2. The Consequences by Colette Freedman– The end of an affair may be only the beginning. . .Over the course of one tumultuous Christmas Eve, Kathy Walker confirmed her suspicions about her husband’s affair, confronted his mistress, Stephanie, and saved her marriage. She and Robert have eighteen years, two teenagers, and a film production business between them–plus a bond that Kathy has no intention of giving up on. Yet though Robert is contrite, Kathy can’t quite silence her doubts. While Robert reels from his wife’s ultimatum and his mistress’s rejection, Stephanie makes a discovery: she’s pregnant. Her resolve to stay away from Robert wavers now that they could make a real family together. And in the days that follow, Stephanie, Robert, and Kathy must each reckon with the intricate realities of desire, the repercussions of betrayal, and the secrets that, once revealed, ripple through lives and relationships in thoroughly unexpected ways.

This is the sequel to The Affair and it was even better than the first one. Again, it’s told from all three viewpoints and with the added pressure of an unexpected pregnancy. I have to say- the ending made this whole book for me. I loved it. 

3. The Good Sister by Leanne Davis– Lindsey Bains Johanson has spent her entire life practicing the art of denial. She was always the obedient, perfect daughter of General Travis Bains, until she learned of the atrocities he committed against her own sister. Now, free of her father, she has become the perfect wife. A lifetime of training has enabled her to keep quiet about anything and everything, including the monster her husband becomes behind closed doors. Circumstances allow her to take an unprecedented vacation, which she uses to visit her sister in Washington State, clear across the country from her home in Arlington, Virginia. Free of her husband’s presence, she starts to step out of the confines he keeps her shackled in. With the help of veterinarian, Noah Clark, she learns that she doesn’t have to be so good or obedient. But she also knows that the woman she is becoming is someone her husband will never allow her to be. When her husband eventually comes for her, she goes home, without telling anyone the secret she has kept at the expense of her mind and body. But this time… things go too far; and only then does Noah discover what she has hidden for years. But Lindsey knows that nothing will stop her husband from destroying her, no matter how long it takes.

Book one in this series was a hard but great read for me. This one was no different. It made me feel all the feelings. There are graphic scenes of both rape and domestic violence in this story so if those are triggers for you then you might want to skip this read. 

4. You Were Mine by Abbi Glines– In the eyes of the wealthy playboys who frequent Kerrington Country Club in Rosemary Beach, Tripp Newark is a hero. Under pressure from his parents to become a lawyer and lead a conservative, upper-class life, Tripp disappeared from town five years ago to travel the world, forfeiting the opportunity to inherit millions. Yet few know what he was really running from…Bethy Lowry was unraveling long before her boyfriend drowned in a riptide trying to save her after she’d had one too many drinks–again. A trailer park kid working as a cart girl among the wealthy patrons of Kerrington Country Club, Bethy has always been impressionable. But five years ago, before she earned her reputation as a hard-drinking, easy girl, she had spent a single summer with Tripp Newark that changed her life forever.

I have read every book in this series and I have been waiting for this one. I knew there was more to the story of Tripp and Bethy and I’m so happy to read their full story finally. 

5. Fighting Envy by Jennifer Miller– Some people get a tattoo – a piece of art that enhances or reveals something about them that they like. Other people, like me, are branded by something – actions or words. “No one will ever love you, Rowan, you’re not worthy.” Those are the words that created my blemish, my scar, my mark upon my soul. They were words whispered by the woman who should have loved me most. But in the darkest moment of my life, one where I stood abandoned and alone, one man proved to me that she was wrong. When I desperately needed someone, MMA fighter Jackson Stone crashed into my life. He wasn’t the one who should have been there, but he was exactly the person I needed He believed that only fools live in the past. He showed me that a real relationship is full of dreams, faith, trust and passion. He taught me that love is worth fighting for – even when it’s unexpected and more of a collision of hearts and souls. He proved that the wrong man at the right moment can heal everything.

I loved this book. My heart just broke for Rowan and she made me feel all the awful things that happened to her. I love Jackson, he was perfect for her. I love MMA books and this one was fantastic. 

I had a great month with great books. The whole family was sick so there was a lot of time spent lying around reading while trying to get better. I know May is going to be another amazing month because so many of my favorite authors released books in the last 2 weeks with more to come! 

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5 New Books I Can’t Wait To Read

 

As you can see, I’m taking a little break from my normal Friday What I Wear post series. Honestly I’ve just not been feeling it lately and I’ve been wearing cargo pants and t-shirts while everyone in the house has been sick. I’ll get back to it soon but in the meantime I wanted to share some new books that I’m really excited to read. I’ve been waiting on some of these for months!

Bound by Hatred by Cora Reilly

When Gianna watched her sister Aria getting married to a man she barely knew, she promised herself she wouldn’t let the same thing happen to her. Matteo – The Blade – Vitiello set his eyes on Gianna the moment he saw her on his brother Luca’s wedding, and Rocco Scuderi is more than willing to give his daughter to him, but Gianna has no intention of marrying for any other reason than love. A few months before the wedding, Gianna escapes her bodyguards and runs away. She has enough money to flee to Europe and begin a new life. But staying undetected when the mob is searching for her is a challenge that takes everything, especially as one of their best hunters and assassins is after her: Matteo Vitiello. After six months on the run, Gianna finally settles into a tentative routine in Munich, but then Matteo and a couple of her father’s soldiers find her with another man. Despite her pleads they kill her boyfriend, and Gianna is forced to marry Matteo. Her emotions alternating between guilt over having dragged an innocent into her world and hatred toward Matteo, Gianna is determined to make life hell for her husband. But Matteo is a master at mind games and their struggle for power soon turns into hate-fueled nights of passion. 

I have been waiting so impatiently for this book to come out. I devoured the first two books in the series and could not wait for this one! The series is about a mafia family and arranged marriages and that pretty much combines two of my favorite things in a book! I highly recommend this series. 

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. 

I loved book one- Carter Reed. It is one of my all-time favorite reads and I have re-read it probably 10 times. It’s another mafia book, which clearly I have a weakness for. Book one is on super sale right now so if you haven’t read it- grab it now!

Full Circle by Laramie Briscoe

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Now? The baby carriage. Garrett and Hannah Thompson have a lot going on. They have a baby on the way, Garrett’s on tour, and Hannah’s enjoying being a wife and a soon-to-be mother. But with them nothing is ever easy. Paparazzi still want the inside scoop, Jared and Shell still have issues, and there’s still her pesky record company that they have to deal with. Luckily for them, all that’s ever mattered is that they love each other. The other stuff is always secondary—except when it isn’t, and it’s thrust to the forefront of their lives. Life is never easy, especially for those who live it in the public eye. Sometimes they have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and let it all come full circle. 

This is book 3 of one of my most favorite series! I absolutely adore everything about it. The series revolves around a country singer and a rock singer who fall in love. It’s just amazing. If you haven’t read the rest of the series you can get Book 1, Book 1.5, and Book 2 in a box set right now for only 0.99!

Double Dare by R.L. Mathewson

Marybeth still couldn’t believe that she’d survived this long with a friend like Darrin, but somehow she’d managed to beat the odds and not give in to temptation and smother him with a pillow while he slept. Of course some days were more difficult than others… For twenty years he’s been biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his move and now that it was here… He couldn’t seem to stop screwing up. 

I really love this series. It’s hilarious and fun and I just can’t get enough of it. The rest of the series are each standalone books but according to the author this book needs to be read after the previous book. If you haven’t read The Game Plan then you get both that book and this one in a bundle for a great price. 

Taken by Dee Henderson

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long…Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time. When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her. If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

I love pretty much everything that Dee Henderson writes. Her O’Malley series and Uncommon Heroes series are two of my most favorite series ever! I cannot wait to read this one. It’s not exactly a bargain price book but her books are well worth the money to me. 

So those are the top 5 books on my TBR list right now. All of them were released this last week and I’m seriously having trouble deciding which one to read first. I might just have to flip a coin!

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What I Read: March 2015

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 I read a lot of great books this month. I made a serious dent in my TBR List and discovered a few new favorites! As a reminder, I’m sharing my 5 Star and 4 Star Favorites every month this year. 

5 Stars = I loved it and it has an honored spot on my all-time favorite, will read again, list

4 Stars = I really really liked it but I won’t read it again

 

March 5 Star Reads:

1. Rock Hard by Nalini Singh– Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred. And what he wants is Charlotte Baird. Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom. If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

This book was so good. SO GOOD. I loved it. I loved the relationship between the 2 main characters and I loved that Charlotte was a survivor who overcame something awful to be a strong confident woman! I have not yet read book 1 in the series but it’s on my list. This book can be read as a standalone.

2. 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?

I’m not a big fan of politics so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book but it turned out to be amazing and one of my favorites. I loved that the main character, Lucia, was not alone Mexican-American but was also a curvy, full figured, athletic woman. I really wanted to smack her family around but they did add a whole lot to the story. I highly recommend this one!

3. American Savages by JJ McAvoy– Betrayed. Melody is nowhere to be found, Liam is in jail, and the Callahan family is cracking, just as Avian Doers, the FBI Director and puppet master behind their downfall, planned. But just because they’re down doesn’t mean they’re out. To fight back, Liam and Melody will have to put everything on the line. The kid gloves are coming off, and no one is getting out alive. Nothing will compare to the reign of terror that is about to envelope the entire country. First they were Ruthless, now they are pure Savages. The end is here, and no one is safe…

This is book 3 in the Ruthless People series and you absolutely need to read the first 2 books before starting this one. This is one of my favorite series of all time and this book was fantastic! It’s the end of the trilogy and JJ McAvoy did not disappoint. I love Mob/Mafia books and this one gives you all the guts, gore, and mafia politics with some serious hot sexy times thrown in too. I’m a total sucker for a strong female lead character and Melody is my hero for the head of a crime family! I’m so sad this series is over! If you haven’t started this series yet you need to! Book ONE and Book TWO! Go. NOW!

March 4 Star Reads:

1. Ricochet by Jessica Wilde– Fear. It’s the last thing I remembered. I was afraid. Afraid to fight, afraid to run… afraid to breathe. Then, everything had gone dark. As if life was finally hearing my pleas, my cries to end the torment. To end the fear. But even in the dark, I still felt it. I always felt it. My life had been a ricochet of one event leading to the next. Bouncing back and forth from good to bad. Happiness to despair. Hope to fear. My name is Arianna West. I’m stronger now. Steady. Alive. I can find a way to survive on my own. I can see what is coming for me. I can channel my fear into strength. Except… I didn’t see Jack. And Jack changed everything.

I will warn you- this book is about domestic violence and it’s not shy on the details. If this is a trigger for you then you might want to skip this book. It was gritty and raw and real and I could feel all the feelings while reading it. Any book that can make me feel like that is a 5 Star read for sure. I loved the relationship between the main character and her brother and then between her and Jack. It was amazing to watch her find her own strength. I highly recommend this one. 

2. When You Make It Home by Claire Ashby– Meg Michaels, a bookstore owner, has already walked away from two cheating exes. She’s learned her lesson and has her mind set on success—until she gets knocked up. Embarrassed and unwilling to discuss her situation with friends and family, she wears layers to hide the pregnancy. When Meg gets sick at a party, she’s mortified. Even worse, Theo Taylor, the guest of honor, discovers her secret. Theo, an Army medic wounded in the war, agrees not to reveal her condition, and the two forge a bond of friendship that blossoms into love. Theo is soon filling all of Meg’s late-night cravings—and not just the pregnancy-induced ones. But can their love overcome all the obstacles that stand between them and creating a happy family?

I enjoyed this book a lot. The only reason it wasn’t a 5 star read for me was due to the main character’s twin brother. He was awful and I could not stand him. He was manipulative and mean. But Meg and Theo were fantastic characters and I enjoyed their story a lot. 

3. The Design by R.S. Grey– Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm. She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend. For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around. But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday. After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was almost as good as the first in the series, The Duet, but not quite. Still great and still funny but there were a few things I didn’t care for but I don’t want to spoil the book so I won’t tell you exactly what. I loved seeing the characters from The Duet in this story. 

4. Hard to Love by Kendall Ryan– Cade takes cares of his sick younger sister by doing what he does best–cage fighting and starring in adult movies, his newest harebrained moneymaking scheme designed to pay for his sister’s growing medical bills. But when his latest gig finds him admitted to the ER sporting an erection from hell, thanks to the little pill given to him by the director, he can’t get the pretty little nurse who treated him out of his head, even though he knows she’s so far out of his league it should be illegal. Tired of being pigeonholed as the sweet, innocent one, hardworking nursing student Alexa has been looking for ways to break out of her Goody Two-shoes image. When her friend suggests the outlandish idea of losing her virginity to the sexy and sure-to-be-skilled porn star, Alexa is mortified. But then when Cade refuses her proposition, she finds herself pissed off and embarrassed. When she tracks him down to give him a piece of her mind, she isn’t prepared for what she finds. Watching him care for his little sister tugs at her heart, and suddenly it’s no longer just about losing her virginity, but about helping Cade. Because Lord help her, she might actually be falling for a porn star…

Honestly I wasn’t sure I would like this one. I mean, really- a porn star as a main character? Not quite what I look for in a male main character but it worked in this case. The book was good and I’ll definitely read the next in the series. 

5. Unspoken by Dee Henderson– Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history. The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She’s changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life. She’s never said a word–to the cops, to her doctors, to family–about those four years. A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn’t find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years. Bryce Bishop doesn’t know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather’s estate–and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor–she’s decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she’s willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She’s not giving him much of an opening to work with. Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter.

Dee Henderson is one of my favorite authors. Her O’Malley series and Uncommon Heroes series are 2 of my all-time favorites that I re-read at least once a year. This book was different. Not bad, but different. There was really no romance at all and the mystery was a little weak. I enjoyed seeing old characters from another book but I would have liked to see more romance between the main characters. She’s still a favorite author and I’ll still read anything she writes. 

Did you read anything good this month?

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