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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In June

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I read less books in June because most of my time was spent at the pool with the kids. But not having to get up early in the mornings plus kids who like to sleep in past 9:30am means I had quite a few very late nights reading books. Have I mentioned how much I really love summer? Because I do. 

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1. Obsession by Lisa Clark O’Neill– Trauma surgeon Justin Wellington is accustomed to handling gunshot wounds… just not over his Cobb salad. When a lunch date with his best friend, the woman with whom he’s quietly and desperately in love – homicide detective Kathleen Murphy – becomes the scene of a drive-by shooting, Justin’s surgical skills are called upon to save the life of a young waitress. His heroism that day sets into motion a chain of events that brings him to the attention of a dangerous and disturbed individual, threatening his career, his own life and the lives of those he holds dear. Obsession: Because sometimes what we think is love is really only madness.

 I really enjoyed every page of this book. This is book 5 in the Southern Comfort series. I’ve read 3 of the others and they are all great. I wish I’d read them in order though so I do recommend doing that. This book combined 2 things I love- friends turning into lovers, and romantic suspense. It was a definite favorite.

 2. Cut Too Deep by K.J. Bell– A woman traumatized by her past, beaten, battered, and unwilling to trust. A man held captive by his greatest failure, lost, and self-destructive. Letters that unexpectedly bind them together. Is their bond strong enough to survive each other? As a web of deceit is revealed, will they be able to determine what’s real, and what’s worth fighting for? Or will they crumble under the weight of secrets that cut too deep? Can Miller forgive himself and move beyond his fear of failing the one he loves? Can Hadley accept the love she desperately wants but doesn’t believe she deserves?

 This book stayed with me for a couple of days after I read it. Reading what Hadley went through and seeing the way Miller helped her overcome it and stand strong made this a really emotional read for me. Definitely on my favorites shelf.

 3. Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston– Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise. That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge.

 I love shifter books. But I’ve never read one quite like this. I’ve never read a shifter book about a Honey Badger. And I loved it. This book is part of a series but I haven’t read the others in the series yet. This book is hysterically funny. I found myself laughing out loud a lot while reading. There’s some drama but it’s all wrapped up with a funny bow. 

 4. Infinity + One by Amy Harmon– When two unlikely allies become two unwitting outlaws, will two unforgettable lovers defy unbeatable odds? Bonnie Rae Shelby is a superstar. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s impossibly famous. And Bonnie Rae Shelby wants to die. Finn Clyde is a nobody. He’s broken. He’s brilliant. He’s impossibly cynical. And all he wants is a chance at life. One girl. One boy. An act of compassion. A bizarre set of circumstances. And a choice – turn your head and walk away, or reach out your hand and risk it all?  With that choice, the clock starts ticking on a man with a past and a girl who can’t face the future, counting down the seconds in an adventure riddled with heartbreak and humor, misunderstanding and revelation. With the world against them, two very different people take a journey that will not only change their lives, but may cost them their lives as well. Infinity + One is a tale of shooting stars and fame and fortune, of gilded cages and iron bars, of finding a friend behind a stranger’s face, and discovering love in the oddest of places.

 This book is so unlike any other rock star book that I’ve read before. It kept my interest and I had to know what happened. I loved the relationship that developed between the 2 main characters and I loved the obstacles they had to overcome in order to be together. 

 5. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry– The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind. Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

 This is book 3 in a series. I’ve read all 3 and I do recommend reading them in order because the characters from the first 2 books play a role in this book. You’ll get more out of the book if you understand the background of the characters. I loved the man character, Rachel. She tried so hard to be someone she wasn’t to please her family. I could just feel her anxiety pouring off the pages while I read. The relationship between her and Isaiah was powerful and I loved reading it develop. 

 6. Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis– Co-owner of the town’s only kennel, Lilah Young has lived in Sunshine, Idaho, all her life. Pilot-for-hire Brady Miller is just passing through. But he soon has Lilah abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire. It’s Brady’s nature to resist being tied down, but there’s something about Lilah and her menagerie that keeps him coming back for more.

 The blurb of this book didn’t really tell me much but I love Jill Shalvis so I knew I’d love this book. I had it on hold at the library for my Kindle for awhile and finally was able to read it. I loved it so much that I immediately read the other 3 books in the series. They are all 5 star reads for me in June. The characters from book one continue throughout the series and each book deals with a different couple so it’s like reading about one big happy family. I highly recommend this series if you like some laughter with your romance.

 I have a bunch of great books on hold at the library including the new J.D. Robb and Janet Evanovich books. Hopefully they will come available in July. Plus there are some great books releasing this month that I’m excited about!

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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In May

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I read a ton of great books in May. I had a hard time narrowing it down to my favorites. There’s a whole bunch of great ones releasing in June too but I expect my reading to slow down since I’ll be at the pool every day soaking up the sun. 

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1. Bender by Stacy Borel– All Keegan wanted was a roommate who was quiet, minded their own business, and paid for part of the rent. Instead, she got Camden Brooks. Camden, with his sinful body, sharp tongue, and the inability to stay out of Keegan’s personal space, couldn’t seem to curb his interest in the new girl who wouldn’t put up with his domineering ways. Feelings were running rampant, sexual tension was thick, and both were struggling to let go of control. To some people, getting a roommate simply meant living with another person. But to both Camden and Keegan it was a curveball that neither was prepared to swing at. 

 Oh how I loved this book. It may be one of my all-time favorites. I loved that the main character, Keegan, was not the stereotypical size 0 twig girl. She was a real size girl with real insecurities. Camden came off as a real ass for the first part of the book and I was anxious to see him redeem himself. And never fear- he did! Highly recommend!

 2. Take a Chance by Abbi Glines– When Harlow Manning’s rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan’s room in nothing but his boxer briefs.Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He’d known about Nan’s reputation, but still he couldn’t resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow’s eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?

 I adore the whole Rosemary Beach series. It’s one of my favorites and this book is a spin-off continuation of that series. I love to see all the characters from the previous books in the new stories. It makes them so much better, in my opinion. I loved this book. It is a cliffhanger ending, which normally I hate and avoid like the plague, but I cannot resist an Abbi Glines book. I can’t wait for the next book to come out in September!

 3. Unbreakable by Rebecca Shea– Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together. Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her. But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal. Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

 Oh this book. I was feeling all the feels while reading this one. My heart was in the pit of my stomach as I read. I had very strong opinions of how I wanted the story to end. Not giving any spoilers- you have to read this one and feel it like I did. 

 4. Sweet Temptation by K.C. Lynn– “If you could go back and change one moment in your life what would it be?” I expect him to say the week the three of them were held prisoner, but what he says next is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. “It would be to find you sooner, because I would have never let anyone hurt you.” And that was the moment I gave Sawyer Evans my whole heart.

 This is book 2 in the Men of Honor series and I loved it as much as I loved the first book. Who doesn’t love hot, tattooed, alpha military guys? The chemistry between the main characters, Sawyer and Gracie, is out of this world. Seriously. You’ll need a fan to read this book. I loved seeing all the same group of characters from the first book. I highly recommend this one but you definitely should read book one first. 

 5. Sweet Addictions by Jessica Daniels– Wedding hookups never amount to anything. Those who partake in this wicked little activity know the rules. Get in. Get laid. Get out. There’s no expectation of a relationship. It is what it is. Dylan Sparks knows the rules. She’s familiar with the protocol. And she engages in the best sex of her life with a complete stranger at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Reese Carroll doesn’t care about the rules. He wants more than just one night with Dylan. And he’s too addicting to pass up. Sweet Addiction is the story of one girl’s struggle to keep things casual, and one boy’s desire to never let her go.

 Oh man. This book. This book rocked my face off. It had everything- laughs, loves, hot sex, great friends…it was the total package. I found myself laughing out loud at parts and sniffling at other parts. I love a book that makes you feel the full range of emotions. Dylan was a bad ass main character and I loved her!

 6. Inflame by Tessa Teevan– Easy going soldier Kale Montgomery, a self-proclaimed ladies man, has no plans of settling down, especially not with his best friend- the sexy, sassy schoolteacher Lucy Dawson. Their relationship, though unconventional, is mutually beneficial, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Friends with benefits? Casual lovers? Whatever you want to call it, they’re having fun, in and out of bed, and to them, that’s all that matters. At least that’s what they think, but how long can you spend in someone’s bed before you find they’re also infiltrating your heart? As their casual fling with no strings attached progresses, it’s not long before they realize they’re both in way over their heads. One fateful night changes their lives forever in ways they could never have imagined, giving them the push to finally admit that maybe, just maybe they want more than they’ve let on. Their mutual attraction rapidly intensifies as it shifts from burning lust to unrelenting want, need, and possibly even love. Suddenly the idea of settling down doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, it sounds pretty damn perfect. Just when things seem to be falling into place, past pain and renewed insecurities rise to the surface and threaten to smother the flames of their passionate relationship, reminding them both why they’ve always kept the idea of love at arm’s length. Will Kale and Lucy realize that what they’ve been waiting for is each other, or will the blazing whirlwind of their feelings burn out too quickly, causing it to all go up in smoke?

 This is book 3 in the Explosive series and I think it was the best one yet. I loved the connection between Kale and Lucy. They were so meant to be together but the road to love is not easy for them. I loved this book!

 7. Stupid Girl by Cindy Miles– After her senior year of high school leaves behind nothing but heartache, Olivia Beaumont is sure of this: She’s no stupid girl. She sets out for Winston College, promising herself that she will remain focused on her first and only love – astronomy. But all it takes is cocky sophomore Brax Jenkins and an accidental collision with a football, to throw her entire year off course. A quick-tempered Southie who escaped the inner city streets of Boston to pitch for Winston, Brax is known to play way more fields than just the baseball diamond. So, when his name is drawn to take part in his fraternity’s hazing dare, Brax eagerly accepts the mission to take Olivia’s virginity. But he doesn’t plan on falling hard for the sweet and sassy Texas girl who sees right through his bad-boy persona. As Olivia and Brax battle their feelings for each other, echoes of the past year begin to surface. A boy who once turned Olivia’s whole world upside down reappears, and “harmless” pranks wreak havoc. Pretty soon the aspiring astronomer is on the verge of revealing her most difficult, heartbreaking secret. All the while, Brax must wrestle with the irrevocable dare, and Olivia struggles against all logic as she does the one thing only a stupid girl would do: fall in love.

 Oh man, this book killed me. I had a book hangover for days after this one. I loved Olivia- she was a total bad ass main character with so much pain buried inside her. She made my heart ache. Brax….was kind of an ass. But I still liked him a lot. The roller coaster these two went on to get to their HEA was wild. This is probably one of my favorites of the year so far. 

 8. Separation Anxiety by Lisa Suzanne– We all get one true love in our lives, and it’s up to us to find it. Fate will act and try to push us together, but ultimately it’s up to us to recognize who that one person is when he’s standing in front of us. It turns out that I recognized who my one person was when I was separated from my husband. On the same day I determined that I was finally going to file for divorce, I confessed my secret to Jesse Drake, my swoon-worthy colleague known for his womanizing ways. Jesse invited me to crash with him, and with each new piece of the enigmatic Jesse puzzle that I started to fit into place, I found myself wondering if Fate had pushed us together for a reason. If only my husband would stop getting in the way of the man with whom I was meant to be.

 I love books where the couple starts as friends and progresses into a relationship. I love the connection, the angst of the transition from friends to lovers. This book was all that plus the added drama of a failed marriage. I loved how Jesse stayed strong and refused to let his relationship with Veronica progress to a physical one until her divorce was final. 

Did you read anything good this month that I should know about?

 Book I’ve Loved This Year:

January

February

March

April

 

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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In April

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I didn’t read as much in April- mainly because the temps warmed up to above freezing and we spent a lot of time outside soaking up the sunshine for the first time in months. But I will still exceed my goal of 250 books in 365 days. I know I won’t be reading as much during the summer because the kids require supervision at the pool, which is where I plan to spend all day every day. I can hardly wait!

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1. Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt– Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

 This book was a tear jerker. It’s classified as young adult but it deals with serious stuff- face it, cancer is never young adult. I adored the main character, Mia’s, relationship with Gyver. One of my best friends growing up was a guy so I could really relate to their relationship and I think I felt the story more because of that. I highly recommend this one. 

 2. Leverage by Jessica Wilde– Adventure. That’s all Aislinn ‘Ash’ Brannock wanted in her life. Her dad and two brothers – all cops – got to see it all, but their over-protectiveness made her feel like she had been locked away in a tower with three fire breathing dragons watching her every move. Yes, it was that bad. The only silver lining? Lucas Shade. Her brothers’ best friend growing up, and apparently the only man she will ever love because let’s face it, none of the others even come close. After an unfortunate mistake lands her back in her father’s home, her world is turned upside down and Lucas is there in a tightly wrapped package of serious with a big red bow on top. Life just got interesting, but it comes with a price, one she never wanted to pay. Detective Lucas Shade never had a real family, but the Brannocks took him in as one of their own and he never took it for granted. Ash was a big reason for why he stuck around, but in order to save himself the beating of a lifetime from her two older brothers, he kept his feelings for her hidden. When the case he has been working on for months takes a turn, Ash could become the leverage the bad guys have been waiting for, but keeping her invisible may destroy everything Lucas has worked so hard for. Good thing Ash is the only person he would give up everything to protect. 

 I’m a sucker for a hot, alpha, cop. And this book has that in spades. Add in a forbidden love, some overprotective brothers, and a fiesty heroine and you have a fantastic book. I liked how the story flowed- there was just enough action and suspense to make the story a page turner and the romance was great!

 3. Fallen Crest Alternative Version by Tijan– This book was originally written to be the sequel to Fallen Crest High. It was scrapped and not used. Fallen Crest Family was written instead as the number two book in the Fallen Crest Series. However; this version was posted on the author’s page for free reading as a thank you to her readers. After reading what she posted, enough fans requested this story to be published so here it is. This book is not meant to be promoted or a part of the Fallen Crest Series. It has been published at the readers’ requests and it is for them to enjoy. With all this said, please enjoy. 

 I’ve mentioned before that the Fallen Crest series by Tijan is one of my all time favorites. I just love the characters and how they are with each other. This book is not technically part of the series but it was really good regardless. I do have to say that I love the story she went with as book 2 more than this one but that’s mainly because I liked where the storyline went in that book better than this one. The story itself is fantastic. 

 4. Pass Slowly by Danae Ayusso– Dr. Jackson O’Neil was a decorated Captain in the United States Army, and a well-respected doctor and talented surgeon who had a reputation with the ladies. He kept friends close, but always at arm’s length, women were disposable, his mother was the only woman he respected, and he had been called stubborn and incorrigible more than once. His life was exactly where he wants it to be…That was until an order barking woman rode into his E.R. with her finger knuckle deep in the chest of a victim of a hit and run. But this woman just wasn’t a bystander who happened to be at the wrong place at the right time. No. This woman was his new boss. The temporary Chief of Surgery at North Seattle General teaching hospital wasn’t what anyone was expecting. Dr. Max Taylor was a talented, passionate and mysterious young woman, that had traveled the world volunteering in some of the most poverty-ridden places on earth, and was always on run, never staying in one place for more than a passing moment. Max was from a family of talented surgeons and doctors, but she could never please her mother who was hell-bent on finding her traveling daughter a husband and stationary life; two things Max vowed would never happen so she ran. But as she found out, you couldn’t run forever. For the second time in their lives, Jackson and Max’s paths had crossed, only now there wasn’t a war between them, and they had a chance for a future together, if only he could convince her to pass slowly.

 I love stories that revolve around a medical setting and this one was fantastic. The main characters are both doctors and the story was fast paced and original. There were several smaller storylines that meshed with the main story and it made the book so interesting to read. 

 5. Hotshot by Julie Garwood– Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishop’s Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit—only then will they own it. A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic. Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful. There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding. Among them are Peyton’s contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didn’t inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property. It’s soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare her—until she’s nearly killed. She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again.

 Julie Garwood has been a favorite author of mine for years and she just never disappoints. I loved the main character, Peyton, in this story. She’s strong and stands up for what is right despite the cost to herself. I loved her relationship with Finn- the two of them together were dynamite. And who doesn’t love a hot FBI guy with a big gun?

 6. Only the Beginning by Laramie Briscoe– Hannah “Harmony” Stewart has lived most of her adult life in the spotlight. It hasn’t always been easy. One heartbreak almost ruined her. Some days it’s hard to keep a smile on her face and stay positive, but there are a lot of people counting on her to keep it together. Just when it seems like she’s at the pinnacle of her career, her life takes a turn. She meets a man who challenges everything she knows about herself and makes her question if the life she’s living is for her or for the Nashville machine. Garrett “Reaper” Thompson is tired. Touring and keeping up appearances with his band “Black Friday” is beginning to wear him out. He’s ready for a change, ready for something different. When he meets Hannah at an awards show, he knows that she’s the one, he knows that he can’t live without her. The problem? Their own insecurities, their fans, her ex-boyfriend, and the media themselves. Can they look past it all and come through on the other side? For their story – this is only the beginning.

 I think this was my favorite book of April. I love books set in the music industry and this one was fantastic. It showed the struggle to keep a relationship alive with the demands of fame. Hannah was a great character who was struggling to overcome an abusive relationship and Garrett was the perfect man for her. Their relationship felt really natural to read and the pacing was perfect. Highly recommend this one. 

 Did you read anything great this month?

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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In March

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So I’m still going strong on my mission to read 250 books in 365 days. I read a lot in February- face it there’s not a whole lot to do when you are stuck inside for multiple snow days. You can only watch so many kid shows before you start to develop a noticeable twitch. Here are my favorites from March. As always, none of these links are affiliate or compensated.

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1. Beneath our Faults by Charity Ferrell– Daisy Mara had the picture perfect life until a shot rang through the air and shattered her world into pieces. Unable to cope with her loss, she’s forced to move thousands of miles away. The last thing she expects to find when arriving in her new home is her neighbor, naked and in a very compromising situation. Keegan Montgomery never had to answer to anyone for anything. His life consisted of partying and frequenting as many beds as he could throw himself into. But under his bad boy facade, he is facing his own internal demons. Daisy will never love another. Keegan knows he’ll never love anyone – ever. But their attraction is undeniable. Can the tragic ending of a first love end up being the beginning of another?

 This book was a tear jerker. I could feel the emotional pain of the main character. And I could feel her struggle- to hold on to the past or to move on with what was right in front of her. So many tears. 

2. Salvation by Noelle Adams– You get to the point where you can just say it. There was never anything special about me, except my father is rich and important. That’s why it happened. It was just a normal Tuesday afternoon. I was twenty-three and thinking about my new designer boots. They kidnapped me for ransom. They raped me before I was rescued. My therapist says that talking about it means I’m starting to heal. I don’t really think I am. It’s even harder to talk about Gideon. He couldn’t save me when it really mattered, so he keeps trying to save me now. He refuses to give up on me, and I can’t make him understand. There are some things you just can’t be saved from.

 This book was everything I expected and more. The author does include the following warning: Salvation is a love story that follows a difficult path of healing after sexual assault. It is a true contemporary romance, but it addresses very hard issues, including rape and attempted suicide. Please consider whether this book is for you. I personally did not find anything in this story to be triggering but everyone is different. The actual assault is not described in graphic details and 99% of the story takes place afterwards. It’s about how one woman deals with the aftermath of her assault. I found it to be very real, and raw, and realistic. 

3. More Than Meets the Ink by Elle Aycart–  Wickedly sexy James Bowen is a bad boy of the highest order — tattoos and attitude included — which unfortunately ranks way up on Tate’s not-a-chance-in-hell list, right there along with skydiving naked over Teheran and juggling Ebola vials just for kicks. But what the heck, she’s on holiday, the guy is absolutely irresistible, and she needs to unplug from her life. With her dad and brother gone, Tate is left to deal with the family restaurant, which is fast going down the drain. Her employees are acting out, her boyfriend has bailed out, and her very own private stalker is emailing her to death with lovely threats of doom, fire, and dismemberment. So yeah, maybe a little holiday fling is in order. Strictly sex though, and no follow-up whatsoever once. She hadn’t counted on her take-charge holiday fling having an opinion of his own and stubbornly sticking around, before and after the sex, making himself at home in her life. There is definitely more to James than meets her prejudiced eye, and even if she’s not ready to look deeper, James isn’t prepared to permit her not to.

 I adore this book. Seriously. This one and the sequel Inked Ever After are on my favorite books ever list. And I don’t add books to that list lightly or often. You know how much I love me some alpha males and these books are full of them. Hot, tattooed, possessive, wickedly funny alpha males. I laughed out loud so many times while reading these books. I highly recommend them. Be warned- they are naughty and hot!

 4. The Plan by Qwen Salsbury– Day of Employment: 359 11:05 a.m. Location: Cubicles outside Canon’s office. Co-workers: Betting on how long Canon’s new PA will last. Me: No doubts. Ms. Gum-smacker won’t last the day. I need to place my bet. Manolo Blahnik’s New Fall Shoes: Mine. As soon as Madeline hands over my winnings. Emma Baker has never spoken a word to Alaric Canon, nor has he to her. But she’s studied him every day across the office tundra for almost a year. Canon is hard and fierce, terrifying and beautiful. He’s also the most stern, unforgiving person Emma has ever seen. Emma’s co-workers run a betting pool for Personal Assistant terminations. There’s a separate pot for the day one leaves without crying. Not likely…Canon made a former Navy SEAL cry. He has high standards and low tolerance. Everyone knows it. Everyone stays away. Everyone who can, that is. Except Emma. She can’t look away. Alaric Canon is the single most attractive man she’s ever seen. Bar none. Canon has never noticed her. Not once in almost a year. She’s not even a blip on his radar. But she will be. His radar will be blipless no more. It is a goal. Emma has a plan.

 I love a good office romance story and this one was fantastic. It’s hysterically funny. I mean REALLY hysterically funny- I snorted sweet tea out my nose during one particular scene. I think the ending could have been better but the book was just so funny that I can overlook that small detail. 

 5. Surrendering by Ahren Sanders– Ravenel Hayes is a perfect daughter, a loving sister, a loyal friend, and an excellent student. Returning home to complete her MBA and be closer to her family, she has her future all mapped out. That is until her path leads her straight into Declan Collins. The dark haired, tattooed singer with a sinful body is a distraction, one that’s way out of her league. He wasn’t part of her plan. But now that he’s literally knocking on her door, how can she avoid him? Declan Collins lives life to the edge. His only emotional attachments are to his family and his band. He’s your typical bad-boy, lead singer who lives with no regrets. “Hook-up and head-out” is his motto. His ultimate goal is to take his band all the way to the top, or so it was. When he runs into Raven, she stirs up emotions in him that he had never thought possible. From their very first meeting, there’s no denying the chemistry between them. He’s not a relationship guy, but can she change his playboy ways? Jealousy, anger, stalkers, and fame and fortune threaten to tear these two apart. Will surrendering to their love get them through the challenges that await them? Or will it tear them apart?

 I loved this book. I wish I had known it was part of an unfinished series before I started reading it because I probably would’ve waited for the next book to be available before starting it. But the cliffhanger ending aside, this book is fantastic. And the second book is due in April so not that long of a wait. I really loved the main character, Ravenel. She was feisty and smart and didn’t put up with any crap. The hero was fantastic up until the very end and I have high hopes he will redeem himself in the next book. He better.

 6. Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James– Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her—not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews. Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize she may just be his perfect match.

 Oh man, this book was so funny. I love the main character, Taylor. She is strong and self-assured and is so not impressed with the sexiest man alive. I love a woman who doesn’t take crap and who’ll put a man in his place no matter who he is! 

7. Tied With Me by Kristen Proby– Nic Dalton’s cupcake bakery is thriving. She serves both rock stars and locals alike, content with her growing business. But one adventurous night out with her best friend, Bailey, turns her life upside down. She meets a handsome stranger who makes her skin sizzle and her heart race. Their one night together is explosive and unexpected, but when he has to suddenly leave without taking her phone number, Nic resigns herself to never seeing him again. Matt Montgomery is one of Seattle’s finest. He works hard, loves and protects his family fiercely, and is loyal almost to a fault. And he has a penchant for bondage. Matt enjoys the way a woman looks wrapped up in his ropes, and makes no apologies for his preferences. When he meets Nic at a fetish festival, the small, beautiful woman catches his eye, drawing him to her. His one night with her was everything he’s ever looked for in a partner, but is cut short because of a family emergency. Even before he sees her again weeks later, he knows he’ll never get her out of his system. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make her his.

 This is book #6 in the With Me In Seattle series. Every single one of these books is on my all time favorites list. I love them. I highly recommend starting with the first book and reading them all in order. I was a little nervous about this one because BDSM is not really my thing. But fear not, it’s very light in this book and it only enhances the story instead of being the story. I enjoyed the build up of the main characters relationship and I loved seeing all the characters from previous books in this one again. I cannot recommend this series enough.

 8. Last Breath by Jessica Clare– Regan: I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can. Daniel: For the last eighteen months, I’ve had one goal: to find my kidnapped sister. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and have befriended criminals all across the globe. In every brothel I raid or every human trafficking truck I stop, her face is the one I’m desperate to see. In Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken and still sane despite her weeks in hell. I should leave her behind or send her home because the last thing either of us needs is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I can’t let her go.

 This is book 2 in the Hitman series and I definitely enjoyed this one much more than the first book. It’s not really necessary to read book 1 first. This story stands alone and it’s really good- gritty, raw, and real. Be warned- it does have scenes of rape but they are not overly graphic. This is a story of survival and strength.

 Who read something good this month?

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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In February

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 I told you last month about my mission to read 250 books in 365 days. And I’ve made a great head start so far this year. As always, none of the links in this post are affiliate. 

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1. Captive by Brenda Rothert– Two years ago, Jason and Kate Ryker were brought together by grief and bound to one another by love. Now married, they’re confronting their fears together. But heartbreak finds them again, and the ties that bind Kate and Ryke are tested as she struggles against fear and sadness. As a grief counselor, Kate understands all too well the pain of her clients. And while her husband’s career as an NHL forward is at an all-time high, he’s coping with the frustration of feeling powerless as his wife’s hopes slip away. Kate’s unexpected journey sheds light on the fear that imprisons her, and reveals that she is the only one who can set herself free.

 This is book 2 in this series. The first book is Bound and you should read it first. I adore these 2 books. They made me feel and those are the best books of all. Small warning- both books revolve around pregnancy loss so if this is a really tough subject for you then you might need to steer clear. I had a few moments reading both books but I’m far enough removed from my own losses that reading about it doesn’t trigger me anymore. I highly recommend both books!

 2. Something Worth Fighting For by Ashley McNiel– After a rough past Ellie Grant now leads an easy life. Between school, work, and beach days with her loud mouth best friend Darcy, she keeps things simple. She never knew there was something missing until she found it. When Marine Corps Sergeant Atlas Ryker walked into the diner that morning her world stopped and started spinning in the opposite direction. Falling in love is easy. Deployment is hard. Distance will mean nothing when someone means so much. 

 Oh man, this one was amazing. I loved every single page of this book. Loved it. And will definitely read it again and again. This book gives a fairly realistic look at deployment and how a relationship survives. 

 3. Shaken by Kariss Lynch– Idealistic and sheltered with a passion to change the world, Kaylan Richards leaves her comfortable life in Alabama to serve in poverty-stricken Haiti. Despite her inexperience and the opposition of a voodoo priest, Kaylan develops a love for the country and the Haitian people. But something deadly is about to strike. It is the worst earthquake the country has ever seen, and in its aftermath bodies, buildings, and broken lives litter the streets. People she cares about are dead, and Kaylan is caught in the middle of the destruction, questioning a God who said He was good. Navy SEAL Nick Carmichael never planned to find a girl he loved more than his country. Now she is a world away, trapped in a deadly situation nothing could have prepared her for. Can Nick’s love help Kaylan heal and show her the God who never abandoned her, or will tragedy shake even the most rooted faith?

 I adored this book. I even mentioned it on here once before because I loved it so much. It is Christian Fiction but it’s so much more than that. I didn’t find the religious undertones to be overwhelming and it didn’t take away from the story- if anything it enhanced it greatly. I compare this book to one I might read by Dee Henderson, who is probably one of my most favorite authors (her O’Malley’s series is one of the best series I’ve ever read). This book was realistic, heartbreaking, and deep. 

 4. Changing Course by Aly Martinez– I met Sarah Kate Erickson when I was twenty-one years old. I was lucky enough to keep her for seven years before a tragic accident stole her from me. She didn’t die, but sometimes I think it would have been easier if she had. I lived in a haze for those four years after the accident. Catering to her every need, even though she hated the very sight of my face. I tried to hold on to her and the future that we were supposed to build together. But you can’t hold on to someone that doesn’t exist anymore. It wasn’t until I met Jesse Addison, a barista at the local coffee shop, that I realized I didn’t just lose Sarah that tragic night, I lost myself as well. Jesse taught me how to let go of the past and learn to love again. But what happens when your past haunts your present and the woman you used to love refuses to accept the woman you can’t live without?

 I got sucked right into this book. I could feel the pain of the characters as I was reading. The story was unique and well written. It was angsty but not high school angst if you know what I mean. The characters were adults who had tragic pasts and baggage. 

5. Be With Me by J. Lynn– Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real. Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him. As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not.

 I adored every second of this book. I didn’t want it to end. Ever. This is the third one in the series. First you should read Wait For You and then Trust In Me. Wait For You is probably one of my top 5 books of all time. I loved it so much. Trust in Me is the companion novel told from the male lead’s perspective and it’s equally good. I just can’t say enough about this series- you definitely should read it. 

 6. Give Me Strength by Kate McCarthy– Quinn Salisbury doesn’t think she’s cut out for this whole living thing. Even as a young girl she struggled. Just when she thinks she’s found a way to leave her violent past behind her, the only thing that’s kept her going is ripped away, leaving her damaged and heartbroken. Four years later, she is slowly rebuilding her life and lands a job as an assistant band manager to Jamieson, the hot new Australian act climbing their way to the top of the charts. There she meets Travis Valentine, the charismatic older brother of her boss, Mac. From his commanding charm to his confidence and passion, Travis is everything Quinn believes is too good for her, and despite her apprehension, she finds their attraction undeniable and intense. When her past resurfaces, it complicates their relationship. Instead of reaching out for help, Quinn pushes Travis away, until a staggering secret is revealed that leaves her fighting for her very life. Torn between running and opening her heart to the man determined to have her, can Quinn find the strength within herself to fight for her future?

 This is the second in the series- Give Me Love is the first one and so very good. Both books revolve around the lives of a rock band and also a security team. There is a great mix of suspense and romance with some twists and turns. The books are set in Australia so some of the language is a little different but the stories were so great that it didn’t bother me.

 7. Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright– Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong. Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before. Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

 I love paranormal shifter books- especially when they are done right. And Suzanne Wright does them right. This is the third book in the series, preceded by Feral Sins and Wicked Cravings. All 3 books are hot and naughty but with great storylines. If hot and naughty books make you uncomfortable then skip this series but otherwise- I definitely recommend these. You’ll be blushing and fanning yourself for sure. 

 February was a great month for books. I have so many still on my TBR list. Anybody read anything great in February?

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