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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: February 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

 

February 5 Star Reads:

1. Again For The First Time by Raven St. Pierre– “Marry me” were the last words Luke thought he’d say to a perfect stranger. Then again, Lissette never dreamed she’d actually say “yes”. But she did…The odds are against them from the start of their less than conventional marriage, but the couple quickly realizes that their newfound love is absolutely worth the risk.

I was really interested by the premise of this story. I wanted to see how it worked and how it would end. I was totally engrossed in watching the two main characters try to create a relationship when they were strangers. The supporting secondary cast of characters were fantastic and added a lot to the storyline. I will definitely read more books in the series as they are released. 

2. Shatter by Erin McCarthy– Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again. While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child. With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole.

This is the 4th book in the True Believers series but I have not read the other 3. The back story was easy to follow and I didn’t feel lost in the story line. I enjoyed the relationship between the 2 main characters. Warning: this book does include graphic description of a miscarriage so if that’s a trigger for you then you might want to skip this one. It made my heart ache for the main character and I was rooting for their relationship. There was a lot of story packed into this one book with multiple storylines going on at one time but it’s done so well that you don’t feel confused or overwhelmed. 

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 my heart. This book tugged on heartstrings I didn’t even know I had. I could feel the grief practically jumping off the pages in the first few chapters of the book. Being a mom of 5 kids it was really easy for me to project myself into the main characters life and feel her grief. I loved everything about this book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

4. Want Me by Cynthia Eden– Sophie Sarantos has a weakness for dangerous men. She doesn’t like safe lovers—she likes men with a wild, rough edge. But Sophie may have attracted a lover who is too dangerous, even for her. Someone is stalking Sophie, slipping into her home, watching her day and night. The stranger seems to know all of Sophie’s darkest secrets, secrets that should never be revealed. Out of options, Sophie turns to ex-solider Lex Jensen for protection. Lex is part owner of VJS Protection, Inc., and Sophie hires him as her bodyguard. She thinks Lex is one of the “good guys” out there, but she couldn’t be more wrong. Lex has his own secrets. Dark, deadly secrets. And as his feelings for Sophie grow, Lex knows that he is going to have to stop pretending to be a gentleman and, instead, he’ll have to show Sophie who he really is. A man trained to kill. A man too used to evil. A man who will take any risk…as long as he can claim Sophie. Because there is one thing that Lex wants in this world…one person he desires above all others…Sophie. And no one will hurt her, not on his watch. 

I love a good suspense story with some romance thrown in and this book did not disappoint. It’s book 2 in the Dark Obsession series and it’s as good as the first one. The main characters were stubborn and hot and had some great chemistry. The storyline was tight and moved along at a fast pace. I can’t wait to read the third book- all 3 books in this series are standalones with continuing characters. 

5. Intoxicate by Tessa Teevan– Marry me. Two words Kalli Montgomery never expected to say out loud to Xavier Cruz, even though she’s been in love with the sexy, single father for as long as she can remember. Unfortunately, she hasn’t just been friend-zoned for the past ten years. No, even worse, he’s treated her like a little sister, no matter how hard she tried to prove she could be so much more. When she agrees to spend the summer as the caregiver for his daughter, Lily, she knows it’s her last chance to finally make him take notice. As unexpected circumstances threaten to disrupt his home life, Xavier’s desperate to keep his family together. He’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means marrying a woman he doesn’t love. For Xavier and Lily, Kalli will do just about anything, even at the risk of getting her heart broken in the process. Little does she know, sometimes love isn’t quite as unrequited as one may think. Xavier sees her-he always has. And the vow he made all those years ago never to go there with his best friend’s little sister is wavering, and it’s wavering fast. When they come up with a plan that leads to wedding bells, it’s a no brainer. This marriage of convenience has one rule: absolutely no falling in loveEasier said than done. Throw together a girl who believes rules are meant to be broken, and a man whose whole career revolves around following orders and you get a recipe for disaster. What could possibly go wrong?

I have loved every book in this series- this is book 4. They are all fantastic and the stories flow right into one another but they are all standalones. I am a sucker for marriage of convenience stories and this one was great! You don’t necessarily have to read them in order but I would recommend it- you’ll get so much more out of the stories if you read them in order.

6. Laces and Lace by Toni Aleo– Nine years ago, things were perfect. Lacey and Karson had found their happily ever after in each other…or so they thought. How do two people who were meant to be move on from that once-in-a-lifetime love? Lacey has a strength inside her that comes alive with the things she’s most passionate about. She’s a fighter, a survivor, and has everything she’s ever wanted but the one thing that matters most—love. Karson is doing the one thing he loves most—playing hockey for the Assassins, yet he knows regret. He knows his life has been missing the one thing he walked away from so many years ago—Lacey. Nine years later, and neither has been able to succeed in moving on from what was, what could have been, and who each of their hearts still beats for. When a chance encounter during a fateful night has their paths crossing again, will the tether still attaching their souls allow them to face the past, present, and a possible future? Can two people with fate on their side find a way back to each other? Overcome all the obstacles in their way to finally live life together to the fullest?  Or will they let those around them and the circumstances they face, along with questions and doubt, ruin a second chance at the life they both deserve? 

I’m a huge fan of Toni Aleo’s Assassins series. I love hockey and I love sports themed romance books. This one was great because it combined a heart-wrenching story of breast cancer with a sports theme. Toni Aleo created a couple of characters in this book that I wanted to nut punch which just added to the angst I felt while reading. You don’t have to read the series in order but I recommend it!

7. Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb– Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She – with her billionaire husband – is getting accustomed to being an object of attention, of gossip, of speculation. But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her again and again. An aggressive defense attorney who’s sparred with Eve in the courtroom is the first victim, but she isn’t the last. The messages left for Eve at the crime scenes chill her and turn her stomach. It doesn’t get much more personal than this – and Eve refuses to hand the investigation over to anyone else. With a murderer reading meaning into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate – and dangerous – psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall.

I love every single book that J.D. Robb writes in her In Death series. They are just all-time favorites and I will read every single one again and again. If you’ve never read this series, start immediately with Book 1. You will not be disappointed. 

8. 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’m a huge lover of Mafia romance books. I recently found this series and was hooked immediately. This book was great. I loved the premise of the girl forced into a marriage with the head of a mafia family- I know, so totally un-PC of me. But it was a great book. I loved the main characters and how they learned to relate to each other while still navigating the mafia world they had to live within. 

9. Bound By Duty by Cora Reilly– Dante – The Boss – Cavallaro’s wife died four years ago. On the verge of becoming the youngest head in the history of the Chicago mafia, Dante needs a new wife and Valentina was chosen for the role. Valentina lost her husband, too, but her first marriage had always been for show. When she was eighteen, she agreed to marry Antonio in order to hide the truth: that he was gay and in love with an outsider. Even after his death, she kept his secret, not only to preserve the honor of a dead man, but also to protect herself. But now that she’s about to marry Dante, her castle of lies threatens to crash. Dante is only thirty-six but already feared and respected in the Familia, and he’s notorious for always getting what he wants. Valentina is terrified the wedding night will reveal her secret, but her worries prove unfounded when Dante shows her the cold shoulder. Soon her fear is replaced by confusion and indignation. Valentina is tired of being ignored. She’s determined to get Dante’s attention and desire, even if she can’t get his heart that still belongs to his dead wife.

This is book 2 in the series from above. It was as good as book 2 and maybe even a little more angsty than book 1. I loved it. I absolutely cannot wait until book 3 is released!

10. 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.
 

I will warn you up front, friends. If you are a stick in the mud, don’t like potty humor, or are a prude then you should walk away from this book immediately. Fortunately I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy so I found this book hysterically, laugh out loud, funny. I did, in fact, laugh out loud through a great majority of this book. If you are expecting a deep well of literary prose that will make you contemplate the meaning of life then this is not the book for you. There’s a lot of crass humor, unbelievable but humorous incidents, and penis talk. In other words- I loved it!

February 4 Star Reads:

1. The Untouchables by J.J. McAvoy– Everything Melody Callahan has ever been told about her past is a lie. Her father lied. Her husband lied. But like all secrets…they come out. Not only is her mother, Aviela, alive but she won’t stop until she tears down everything Liam and Melody have spent the past year building. With a new target on their back and the media now focused on their family as the Presidential election approaches, Liam and Melody must fight on two battlefronts. Melody is torn between being in love with Liam and wanting to kill him for lying to her. Being in love and showing love are two different things in her world. Liam wants to do anything to protect his family even if that means hurting the people he loves. Family is everything… but what happens when they’re out for your blood? Everything they have been through is nothing compared to what is coming…

This is book 2 in the Ruthless People series. Book 1 was better but this one was still good. Book 1 had a whole lot of action while book 2 was mostly story. I did enjoy seeing the progression of the marriage of the 2 main characters. I hated that the book ended on a cliffhanger and I’m anxiously waiting for book 3 to released in a few weeks!

2. Rock Him by Rachel Cross– Asher Lowe, rock god, notorious womanizer and rebellious son of ruthless billionaire Sterling Lowe, has spent two decades building Spade into the most successful rock band of the era and living down to his father’s expectations. His antics on and off stage are the stuff of fantasy and legend. Fiercely independent Maddy Anderson doesn’t back down from a challenge, even when it hurts. She’s spent ten years dealing with chronic illness and is succeeding on her own terms, just a semester away from finishing her degree and starting her lifelong dream of a career in education. When tragedy strikes, Asher’s life is torn apart. He hires Maddy to care for his dead sister’s child, and discovers he has a lot to learn about love and commitment. She makes him want to be the kind of man who can care for them both. But can this rock star make the leap from sexy front man to family man or will their bright future be sacrificed to the past? 

I really enjoyed the heroine in this story. She suffers from RA, which I have personal experience with, and I loved reading about how she overcame her struggles. The relationship she formed with the little girl in the story was heart warming. The hero in the story was kind of iffy for me- he’s what kept the story from being a 5 star read. I still recommend this book!

3. The Hooker and the Hermit by L.H. Cosway– Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much. Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite. When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together. What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is? 

Another sports book! This one was really funny. I enjoyed the main heroine so much- she was hilarious and a total socially awkward introvert. I can relate. I enjoyed reading about her coming out of her shell and embracing new adventures. 

4. Lights To My Siren by Lani Lynn Vale– Sebastian had one rule. No women on the back of his bike. Period. The one time he broke that rule, he killed the woman that was carrying his child. Then comes Baylee Roberts. She makes Sebastian want to break every single rule he’d ever implemented. Hell, but she even makes him consider that dreaded H word. A helmet. Baylee Roberts innocently walked into her bathroom never expecting that she’d find a man in there. It is her bathroom after all, and she lives alone. From the instant he placed his hat on her head to protect her from the sun, Baylee’s mind becomes filled with thoughts of a certain biker. She really shouldn’t go there. There’s no telling what kind of dangerous things he does for The Dixie Wardens MC. Nothing is ever as easy as it should be. Their relationship’s one of them. Baylee’s brother is a cop. Baylee’s father is a cop. Which inevitably means that Baylee’s going to have certain hang-ups about being with a man like himself. Sebastian has a lot on his plate with his busy job as a firefighter, a single father, and the vice president of The Dixie Wardens MC. Not enough, though, to keep him away from Baylee. When a series of arsons rattle their hometown and puts Sebastian’s life on the line, Baylee finally realizes the only fire Sebastian can’t put out is the one inside her heart.

I love MC books when they are done right. I hate the ones that are full of domestic abuse and demeaning women. I gave this series a chance on a whim and I really enjoyed the first in the series. The heroine was strong and knew her own mind- she wasn’t going to be a doormat for anyone! I will definitely read the other books in this series. 

Did anyone read anything really great this month that I should put on my TBR list? If so, let me know!

**Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card right HERE!

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What I Read: January 2015

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I’m going to switch up how I do my monthly book posts this year. I read so many good books last year and I only featured a fraction of them in my monthly book posts. I want to be able to share more of them with you guys. Last year I only shared my 5 star, absolute favorite, will read again books. This year I want to share some of the others too- the 4 stars that were really good and ones a lot of you will probably enjoy too but don’t necessarily make it into my all-time favorites list. I’ll separate the books into star ratings so you’ll know which ones are my favorites.

Just so you have a frame of reference, this is the scale I use when rating the books I share here on the blog and on Goodreads:

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

3 Stars = I liked it but there were issues with the story for me personally (ie- not connecting with characters, etc)

I won’t be sharing any 2 or 1 star books on the blog because what’s the point. Obviously I won’t be recommending them so why share? If you want to see all the books I’m reading in 2015 you can follow along on Goodreads with me. 

5 Stars Reads:

1. One Day at a Time by Laramie Briscoe– Reaper and Harmony are finally off the road and ready to just be Garrett and Hannah. Excitement turns into fear when they start to learn more about each other. Gone is the glitz and glamour of hotel rooms and living on the road. Now it’s real-life, and they have to learn how to deal with one another on a day-to-day basis. Will they be able to withstand the pressure, or will they fold under the weight of the public machine? They know the only thing they can do is take it one day at a time.

This is book 1.5 in the Rockin’ Country series and you do need to read book one first. Book One, Only the Beginning, was on my 5 Star list from last year so I highly recommend this series. It’s about a country star and a rock star who start a relationship and the books are so good. This one is a novella that leads into book 2, which you’ll see below. 

2. 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 Rockin’ Country series and you do need to read both book 1 and book 1.5 before this one. As I stated above, this is one of my favorite series ever. I love it and I’m anxiously waiting for the next book in the series….there better be another book. 

3. Silver Thaw by Catherine Anderson– After years of living in fear of her husband, Amanda Banning has left him and moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, for a fresh start. But she’s having a tough time providing for herself and her six-year-old daughter. Writing her secret yearnings on slips of paper and sending them into the wind helps her cling to the hope that things will get better…and that she can find happiness again. Jeb Sterling has no idea that the handwritten messages he finds scattered across his land are the first hints that his life is about to change. Nor does he understand why he feels so compelled to help Amanda Banning and her daughter when a cold snap leaves them temporarily homeless. Maybe he’s inspired by Amanda’s courage or perhaps by her beautiful brown eyes. Either way, the man who once renounced love suddenly finds himself willing to do anything for the pair. Amanda seems to have given up on her dreams, but Jeb refuses to quit until he makes her every wish come true…

Catherine Anderson has been a favorite author of mine for at least 15 years and this book is one of her best, in my opinion. Drama, suspense, love….it has them all. 

4. Razorblade Kisses by R.L. Griffin– Her name is Emery Shaw…Emily Sanders…Emma Simpson…Ericka Smith. Her family was well off, she ran. They looked for her, she hid. They found her, she ran again. Tragedy strikes, she gets even.The fact is, she doesn’t know who she is, she tried to run, to hide and make a life for herself, but that backfired. No one knows her except her best friend Rachel, if that’s even an adequate word for what they are to each other. Rachel helps her build a life for herself below the radar, which is fine until the unthinkable happens knocking Em out of her unfeeling cocoon. When her house of cards comes tumbling down she runs again, until the one person who can change her mind finds her. 

I can’t say too much about this book because you really need to go into it blind so you can have the full experience. But I will tell you that I stayed up until 3am to finish it and that rarely happens. I could not put it down and I was more than satisfied when it was over. 

5. Once Loved by Cecy Robson– Every memory Lety Tres Santos has from her childhood comes with a scar—some emotional, some physical. Her father is an abusive drug addict, and her mother enables his destructive behavior. College offers Lety a fresh start . . . until her father finds a way to ruin that, too. Now, after losing her scholarship to kick off junior year, Lety must somehow stay in school, pay tuition, and turn a deaf ear to the whispers that follow her. And she intends to do it all without Brody Quaid’s help. Brody is a lacrosse star, a 4.0 student—and as a freshman, he fell hard for the beautiful and spirited Lety. But their relationship crashed and burned because he couldn’t break through the walls she’s put up around her heart. With Lety hurting more than ever, Brody strives to win her back and make her believe in real love and true partnership. That will mean opening up secrets locked away in his own past—and trusting someone more than he’s ever dared. Lety knows how painful it can be to depend on the wrong man. She also knows how much Brody wants to do this the right way. But it takes more than sizzling desire to move on and build a future together.

This is book 2 in the Shattered Past series. The main characters, Lety and Brody, story starts in book 1. You don’t have to read book 1 to enjoy this one but I recommend it so you understand the background of the characters. Book one, Once Perfect, was a 5 star read for me last year. This book was really good and I loved the relationship between the characters.

6. 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.

It’s no secret that I come from a military family and I really enjoy books based around the military…when they’re done right. And this one was done right. It was a great storyline and full of action plus romance. The characters were believable and easy to like. I can’t wait for book 2!

7. Playing it Kale by Keary Taylor– It was one of the scariest things I’d ever done: walking out on stage, opening my mouth, and singing for everyone at that wedding to hear. Because I’m awkward. I always mess things up, I forget my lyrics, and guaranteed, I’ll do something weird. I’m a nerd, a lab assistant. Not a pop star. But that night, I met someone who changed my life forever. Kale McCain. World-famous model, ladies’ man, not a flaw to him. And the most unexpected thing happened—sparks flew. Everything about Kale is smooth: his attitude, his voice, his body… He is my polar opposite. But somehow, him—me, we work. Then there was the video he made. Us together, me singing, him grinning like I was the sun, moon, and stars. And my simple life exploded. Suddenly, the world has a new celebrity couple to obsess about. We’ve barely started a relationship. Now there’s all this pressure. When our once seemingly perfect life gets shaken, will we come out stronger, or will what everyone has been saying about us—that this is too quick, too serious, and that we’re too young for this to be real—come to truth? I’m Whitney Ford, and from the second Kale McCain walked into my life, I knew it would never be the same.

I’m a sucker for a celebrity romance. This one was really good. It is book 4 in a series but I haven’t read the other books so this one can be read as a standalone. I’m definitely going to read the first 3 now though because this one was so good. 

4 Star Reads:

1. In Bloom by Katie Delahanty– My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free. I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it’s all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all.

This is another celebrity romance and it was good. I enjoyed the characters and the story line and I will read book 2. 

2. 39 & Holding by M.R. Joseph– My name is Greer Walker. Mom of two. Friend. Daughter. Dance instructor. And, let’s not forget—a woman scorned. For the twenty years my husband and I were together, I gave him my soul, my life, my everything. What did I get in return? Heart break, crows feet, stretch marks, and a slew of insecurities. You see, my douchebag ex-husband of fourteen years dumped me for a twenty-five year-old, real-life Barbie Doll with a large repertoire of medical enhancements. He crushed my heart. His affair destroyed me. There were signs—lots of them—but I didn’t see what was right in front of me. Or maybe, I didn’t want to. Somewhere along the line, things changed. With my eyes wide open, I vowed to never go through that kind of heartache again. I don’t need someone to make me feel special or beautiful, or sexually charged. Hell, I can take care of that part on my own if you know what I mean. It’s been twenty years since I last dated. I have resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be alone. But…There’s always a but. And with age comes wisdom. Like I said, I had come to grips with the fact that I’d always be alone…until gorgeous, dominant, and sexy Nick Costa walked into my life—or rather drove right into it—and made me feel all sorts of things that this woman right here has no business feeling. He has me asking myself questions that I never thought I’d hear myself ask. Can I allow someone into my life again? Can I risk being hurt? Can Nick deal with all the insecurities the fallout of my marriage produced? I am thirty-nine, for crying out loud. Can I start all over again? Can I let go of the past and possibly move on with my future? Could Nick Costa be my future? 

This book was hysterical. I laughed a lot while reading this one. The only reason it didn’t make the 5 star list is because I won’t read it again. What made it so great was the anticipation of what was going to happen so it’s not really a re-read for me. But I still highly recommend it!

3. Winter by Frankie Rose– Avery Bresllin took a leap of faith when she changed her name. As Avery Patterson, she is no longer the daughter of a serial killer. No longer the girl who was bullied and abused through high school. A fresh name and a fresh start at Columbia University means Avery can leave all that behind. There’s only one thing marring her dream of a clean slate. Luke Reid has a lot going for him: sex appeal, badass tattoos and insane musical talent. Despite his guitar skills, his calling in life has always been to serve and protect. A NYPD cop by day, singer in rock band D.M.F by night, from the outside Luke seems like he’s got it made. But falling for a girl whose father was accused of deeply sinister acts—a man whom Luke shared a devastating history with, himself—only serves to complicated things. Pieces of a puzzle…. Four symbols, four methods of destruction. A trade. Borrowed wings. Dark secrets that threaten to destroy.

I really enjoyed the suspense in this book. The romance was really secondary to the suspense plot, which worked for me in this book. It didn’t make the 5 star rating just because it’s not one I will read again now that I know the ending but I will definitely read book 2. 

4. Love Lonely by William C. Cole– When an injury forced David into an early retirement from his professional hockey career, he accepted a position to oversee the operations of his father-in-law’s thoroughbred horseracing division. David’s wife Sandy is referred to as one of the most influential and beautiful women in the world. However, her official role as the family’s philanthropist requires an exhaustive amount of time away from home. Upon her return from a recent trip, Sandy took notice of her husband’s attraction to his assistant trainer Renée, instantly recognizing the magnetism between them. Renée is a petite young French girl who is suddenly given the opportunity to work closely with David soon after the head trainer is forced to resign. Now traveling companions, with each passing day, the sexual tension between the two intensifies. Sandy knows all too well that she is on the verge of losing her husband. Will she be able to alter her existing secretive lifestyle to save him? Or is it too late.

I enjoyed this book a lot but there were a few things that bugged me. I can’t go into detail or it would ruin the story. I didn’t like the way a few things were handled within the story and the reactions to certain aspects were not totally realistic. But I will read book 2. 

5. Call Sign Karma by Jamie Rae– Distraught over the loss of her brother in a fighter jet accident, Tinklee Pinkerton decides to follow in his footsteps and prove the tragedy wasn’t his fault. But when she’s chosen as the first woman to fly the Air Force’s F-35, her plan for a life that revolves around work is thrown off course by a handsome, mysterious stranger…Thanks to Locke’s seductive British accent, sweet nature, and one too many beers, Tink is soon inspired to throw caution to the wind and herself into his arms. She thinks maybe love can heal after all—until she discovers Locke is her superior officer. Tink has no problem risking her life in the air, but with everything on the line, is she brave enough to risk her heart on the ground?

This is another military based book. It was good and I enjoyed it but it’s not a re-read for me now that I know the ending.

6. Mayhem by Jamie Shaw– When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus. On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He’s soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn’t recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious “Peach” he met at his concert. During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can’t help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam’s rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She’d just end up hurt … again. Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she’s fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

This is another rockstar book and it was really good. It did require me to suspend reality for parts of it, which is why it wasn’t a 5 star read for me. But I will read the other books in the series. 

I hope that gave you a few new books to add to your TBR lists! I already know February is going to be a great reading month for me because of some of the great books that are coming out, including the newest J.D. Robb book!

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