The Diverse Books Tag

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I was tagged by the lovely Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions for The Diverse Book Tag. It was created by Nazahet @ Read Diverse Books.

Thanks for the tag, Cristina! I think this one is really going to make me think.


A Book Starring a Lesbian Character 

Vanished by E.E. Cooper

Kalah, a lesbian, has a special relationship with her best friend Beth. I know I’ve read other books with lesbian MCs but this is the only one I can remember. They’re aren’t enough lesbian MCs out there.

A Book with a Muslim Protagonist

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Amir was the first character who came to my mind. I’m not sure if I’ve read any other books with Muslim protagonists. Surely I have, right? If not, I need to. So much to learn.

A Book Set in Latin America

Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell

This book is set in the Yucatán Penninsula of Mexico. It’s a romantic thriller that revolves around Mayan artifacts of the area. It wasn’t my favorite book by Lowell, but it was good.

YAEA_Final_WebA Book About a Person With a Disability

You and Everything After (Falling, #2) by Ginger Scott

Tyson Preeter is confined to a wheel chair without use of his legs after a freak accident. Cass Owens has young woman who is not about to let MS limit her. This is one of my favorite Scott books.

A Science-Fiction or Fantasy Book With a POC Protagonist

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I don’t read much Science Fiction or Fantasy, so this was the one and only book that came to my mind. I’m sure there a lot more books out there, but I haven’t read them.

A Book Written by an Indigenous or Native Author

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I haven’t read it, but I own it. That counts, right?

A Book Set in South Asia

The Colossus by Ranjini Iyer

You get more than just South Asia with this pick. This book is set in ancient India, Nazi era Berlin, modern day Chicago, London and Pakistan. How is that for diverse?

26027030A Book with a Biracial Protagonist

That Thing Between Eli & Gwen by J.J. McAvoy

Okay. This is really bad to admit, but I think Gwen is biracial. I can’t remember exactly. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. I apologize if I am.

A Book Starring a Transgender Character or Transgender Issues

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’ve heard this book is amazing. I’ve always wanted to read it. I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

 


I Tag:

Alex @ Alextheshadowgirl’s Blog
Calliope the Book Goddess
Claire @ Art and Soul
Dimple @ Enthrallingdimple
Jesse @ Books at Dawn
Jessica @ Mud and Stars
Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts
Paige @ Page by Paige
Raven @ Dreamy Addictions
Skylee @ Bookish Night
Stephanie @ Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Sumaya @ Sue’s Reading Corner
Yvo @ It’s All About the Books
The Bookie Monsters

Review: Valentina by S.E. Lynes

Valentina: A Hauntingly Intelligent Psychological Thriller
Author:
S.E. Lynes
Publication Date: July 1, 2016
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from Blackbird Digital Books in exchange for an unbiased review.

Synopsis:

When  Glasgow journalist  Shona McGilvery moves with her partner  Mikey  and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.

But with Mikey working offshore, the  frightening  isolation of the Aberdeenshire  countryside begins to drive her insane…

That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.

She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?

As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


When Mikey takes an off-shore job, he moves his girlfriend Shona and their baby to a cottage in rural Scotland. The move leaves Shana and the baby alone the majority of the time. Shona immediately feels lonely and isolated. She’s pleased when she makes a connection with vibrant Valentina.

With Mikey gone more and more, Shona depends on Valentina and her young son for companionship and support. But the more Shona gets to know Valentina, the more she begins to wonder about her new friend. Something is not adding up and Shona can’t put her finger on it.

The closer she becomes with Valentina, the more Shona’s life feels like it’s beginning to spin out of control.

Valentina was a very good psychological thriller.The writing was incredible. It had a dark and dreary feel to it, which is exactly what I would expect from a thriller. I could imagine the story playing out on a dark and grainy movie screen. The setting was absolutely perfect.

The characters were extremely complex. Shona was stuck in the haze of new motherhood. She was overwhelmed, anxious and lonely. She was desperate for a friend and confidant. As sweet as her boyfriend Mikey was, his absence was slowly draining her.

Valentina was the answer to Shona’s prayers. She was supportive and available at a moments notice. They had children the same age and that helped strengthened their bond. Their friendship fills the void Shona was missing in her near perfect life.

But as the synopsis hints, things may not be as perfect as they seem. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I guessed part of the twist correctly. The rest of it definitely surprised me. It was really cool.

Valentina had all the makings of the perfect psychological thriller except for one thing: the pace. While I was immediately pulled in by the imagery and emotion of the story, Part I of the book moved so slowly I was beginning to lose interest. Shona’s day-to-day life was so mundane. I get it. I’ve had a baby and know how trying, boring and emotional that first year is, but Shona’s boredom started to make me bored. There needed to be the introduction to and build of a relationship with Valentina, but I wish it would have been faster paced. Parts II and III moved a lot quicker and contained most of the action. They’re what made the story truly interesting and amazing.

Despite the slower pace, Valentina was still a wonderful psychological thriller that had guessing until the end. I would definitely recommend it.

 

 

Marry, Kiss or Cliff Book Tag

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I saw the Marry, Kiss or Cliff Book Tag on Anushka’s blog. It sounded like a lot of fun and she invited me to participate. Thanks, Anushka!


RULES

  1. Put names of characters (Male if you’re a female and vice versa or whatever sex you’re attracted to) written in pieces of separate papers in a empty jar or a pen holder.
  2. Shake the jar.
  3. Pull out 3 pieces of paper in each round and tell us which character would you marry,kiss or cliff!

ROUND 1

  • Caine from Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)
  • Dax from Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3)
  • Wes from December (Calendar Girl, #12)

Marry: Wes. He just seems like the best choices. Plus, he’s hot and rich… Not that those things matter. 😉
Kiss: Caine. He’s so sexy and seems like he’d know how to do it well.
Cliff: Dax. I couldn’t really stand him.


ROUND 2

  • Sean from The Pixie and the Player (Rugby, #2)
  • Dillon from Pistol Whipped (Locked & Loaded, #2)
  • Drake from Changing Forever (Rains, #2)

Marry: Drake. He’s a really sweet guy.
Kiss: Sean. I don’t know if I could stand being married to him.
Cliff: Dillon. He seemed like an amazing guy, but he was my least favorite of the three, so…


ROUND 3

  • Lane from Extraordinary Means
  • Jake from Sidebarred (The Legal Briefs, #3.5)
  • Rafa from Spanish Lessons (Study Abroad, #1)

Marry: Jake. I loved this guy. He’s such a devoted husband and father.
Kiss: Rafa. Hot Spanish guy? Yes, please.
Cliff: Sorry, Lane. I love ya, but I’m not sure what the future holds for you. Just being honest.


ROUND 4

  • Wes from If You Can’t Take the Heat
  • Gannon from Up in Flames (Rosemary Beach, #13)
  • Vincent from Cuff Me (New York’s Finest, #3)

Marry: Vincent. He’s got this brooding secretly sweet thing going.
Kiss: Wes. Hot rancher/restaurant owner.
Cliff: Gannon. I don’t think I’d be down with his type of foreplay!


ROUND 5

  • Spencer from Big Rock
  • Matt from Fearless in Love (The Maverick Billionaires, #3)
  • Mack from Shine Not Burn

Marry: Mack. There was just something about him I loved.
Kiss: Spencer. So sexy.
Cliff: Matt. No real reason. Sorry, dude.


That was a lot of fun. I’m going to go ahead and tag the following bloggers:

Betwixt the Pages
Jess @ The Mud and Stars Book Blog
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
Raven @ Dreamy Addictions
The Orang-utan Librarian

and anyone else who wants to join in!

Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


I loved The Way to Game the Walk of Shame from the very beginning. The whole awkward moment of waking up in an unrecognizable bed, with a half-naked guy cracked me up. I can only imagine the horror! (Thankfully, this has never happened to me!) From that point on, the story had my utmost attention. It was fresh, fun and full of self-discovery. It was exactly what I like in a YA contemporary romance.

While I loved the story, I have to admit Taylor wasn’t my favorite female character. It wasn’t her fault. She falls into my least favorite type of teenage female category: the pretentious smarter than everyone else know-it-all. Usually this type of character really grates on me. I was impressed with how Jenn P. Nguyen wrote Taylor. She only had a few moments of being super irritating. The way the story and Evan’s character were written can be thanked for that. His influence on her character brought large sections of reprieve from the Taylor who was consumed with being perfect. I think I fell for Taylor’s character as Evan did.

Evan was my favorite character in this story. I adored him. He came across as this laid back guy without a care, but he had some deeper issues going on. He wasn’t the slacker everyone perceived him to be. I liked that his story wasn’t just about him finding that he could be more than a womanizer, that his future came into play too.

Taylor and Evan’s relationship might have started out as a ploy to get everyone to stop gossiping about Taylor, but it was easy to see how they would fall for each other. Each moment they spent together was special and touching. There was such a nice sweetness to their relationship. It never felt fake. Although, I do have to admit I worried a lot about the true nature of their relationship being discovered. It added an intensity to the story I was expecting.

My only teeny tiny complaint about this story was the ending. I wanted a little more resolution than what I got. It was sweet but way too brief. Maybe it needed an epilogue with a look into the future. But I did love that Evan and Taylor’s memories of what happened at the part that night were included at the end. I absolutely loved those chapters. They were my favorite part, along with that first chapter.

I enjoyed The Way to Game the Walk of Shame so much that I really, really hope the author decides to make it into a series. I would love a book about Carly or Aaron or Carly and Aaron. Or even Brian or Lauren. I just want more!!!

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is a book that all YA Contemporary Romance readers should have on their summer to-read list.

The Happiness Tag

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I was tagged by The Orang-utan Librarian for The Happiness Tag. (Thank you!) I’m super excited to do this tag. It looks like so much fun. 🙂


List five seven things that make you happy:

1)Best friends.

I’m always happy when I get the chance to hang out with my best friends Melissa and Jaime. I always laugh so hard at our shared memories and the new ones we create. We don’t get to hang out much, but when we do it’s always hilarious.

2) My family.

I love my husband. He gets me. (Well, he doesn’t get the whole reading obsession, but I’ll let that slide. I don’t quite get the snowbiking one.) And my daughter is an amazing little girl. I can’t believe that a person that cool came from me.

3) Books — especially romances.

Can’t leave that one out right?

4) Music

Good music always makes me happy. It can be new or old. As long as it’s something to groove to, I’m happy.

5) Pitch Perfect 1 & 2.

What can I say? They make me laugh.

6) Dancing with friends!

I was reminded this past weekend how much I love to do this when I was at a wedding reception. 🙂

7) The Gym

I love going to aerobics classes (Zumba, Step) and lifting weights. They give me such a natural high. I even love running, although my body doesn’t like it so much anymore.


List five ten songs that make you happy:

I could go on and on and on with this one!

1)ODB ft. Kelis – Baby, I Got Your Money

I’m really into this “old school” song right now. I even quoted it in my friends’ wedding picture guest book this weekend. No Joke. So this isn’t the best video of this song, but I didn’t want to put the explicit version on my blog.

2) Thomas Rhett – T-Shirt

This just makes me smile. It’s so cute, but sexy at the same time.

3) Madonna – Get Into the Groove

This ALWAYS makes me want to dance! It reminds me of being 18 and dancing with my best friends.

4) Tiësto, Oliver Heldens ft. Natalie La Rose – The Right Song

Another one that makes me want to dance!

5)Chris Young, Cassadee Pope – Think of You

I just love it!

6) The Cars  – Just What I Needed

I can’t even explain how happy this song makes me feel. I used to listen to it on repeat at my friend Casey’s house back in the day. I’m sure I ruined this song for him. Lol.

7) Trey Songz – Na Na

This song is so seductive! Seriously! This Fugees infused song is just awesome.

8) Jeremih – Don’t Tell ‘Em

How can this song not make you smile? We love the “don’t tell ’em” part. Plus, a shout out to Rhythm Is A Dancer.

https://youtu.be/fSgAitqHWFM

9) The Luniz – I Got 5 On It

So these days $5 wouldn’t cut it, but I’m not worried about that anyways. This song brings back SO many memories for me. My BFF and I listened to it a bunch on this road trip to Canada one time back in the 90’s.

https://youtu.be/lhhSd9q_wZk

10) Ginuwine – Pony

This is a dirty song. Really dirty, but when it came out we were all in love with the beat. It was probably the most danced to song at the wedding I went to this weekend.


I tag these 5 bloggers:

Ari @ The Daydreaming Bookworm
Claire @ Art and Soul
Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions
Jesse @ Books at Dawn
Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts

Review: Wicked Fall by Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Fall
Series: The Wicked Horse, #1
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Synopsis:

Never in your wildest dreams could you begin to imagine all the filthy and depraved things that go on inside The Wicked Horse. Step inside and Woolf Jennings will make every one of your dirty fantasies come true.

He’s covered in a facade of deception. An enticing blend of multi-millionaire and hot-as-hell Wyoming rancher, those that think they know Woolf Jennings admire his abilities to preside as CEO of his family’s cattle and oil empire. But only a privileged few truly understand what fuels the glitter of depravity in those gorgeous blue eyes. Only a few know he’s opened up a sinfully erotic and private sex club, similar to what you might see on saucy videos from watchmygirlfriend.xxx, named The Wicked Horse right at the base of the beautiful Teton Mountain range.

Sweet Callie Hayes has returned home to Wyoming and is looking forward to starting her life over again. After a night of impetuosity, she’s managed to put herself right in Woolf’s line of sight… the man who she foolishly offered up her virginity to years ago and was flatly turned down.

Now Woolf is seeing that Callie is all grown up and has a kinky side to her that leaves him as confused as it does turned on. Worse yet, both Callie’s dirty desires and sweet heart are getting under his skin, and making Woolf question everything he’s ever believed about himself.

**Warning: this book has sex in it. Lots of sex. Dirty sex. The Wicked Horse Series is a bit different than what Sawyer Bennett normally writes. While you’ll still enjoy fabulous characters, a suspenseful story, some witty banter and an epic romance, there’s just… a lot of sex. You’ve been warned.


? ? ? ? ?


So…If you have any issues with kinky, multiple partner sex this book is not for you. I’m just going to put that out there right away. Wicked Fall is filled with what many people would consider taboo sex, this kind of stuff would only be found the sauciest websites like hdsexvideo.xxx. Like I said, just skip this book if it bugs you at all.

Obviously, by my rating, I didn’t really have a problem with that. I don’t necessarily search out this sort of erotica, but as long as it’s done tastefully I don’t mind it. And it was definitely done in what I would consider a tasteful manner. That’s a credit to Sawyer Bennett’s amazing writing.

In most erotica, the focus of the book is the sex. In Sawyer Bennett’s The Wicked Horse series, the focus is on the characters and their relationship. Yes, the hot sex is an added bonus, but the story is really what pulls you in and keeps you reading.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Woolf had a dark, hard edge but when it came down to it, he was a big sweetie. He wasn’t as dark as he thought he was. I loved his dominant attitude and the gentle care he took of Callie. I also loved his friendship with Bridger.

Since I mentioned Bridger, can I just say I need to know more about this dude? I was intrigued by his character. I can’t wait to learn more about him in the future.

Back to Callie. She had such a sweet and innocent charm about her. I loved that she wanted to push herself and find a new, more mature version of herself. I had to fan myself when she explored her sexuality with Woolf. Dang! It was hot!

Woolf and Callie’s relationship was filled with ups and downs. They had so much to learn about each other, themselves and what they wanted out of life. The way they navigated it all was so much fun to read.

I found Wicked Fall to be an exceptional erotic romance. I think readers of this genre will really enjoy this story.

*Note: Next week you’ll be seeing my review of Wicked Ride, the fourth book in this series. It’s actually the first book I read in the series and it made me want to read this one.

WWW Wednesday: June 22, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

I am finally reading More Than a Feeling. 


Recently finished:

I’m amazed I got through 4 books this past week. I was crazy busy with errands, house cleaning and a wedding. It was a fun and exhausting week. Here’s what I did read:

Good Girl (Love Unexpectedly, #2)
Seared on My Soul
Wicked Ride (The Wicked Horse, #4)
That First Kiss (Night Calls, #2)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

My plan is to read The Way to Game the Walk of Shame next because it has to go back to the library! Story of my life. Sigh.

Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Good Girl
Series: Love Unexpectedly, #2
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


A country music star who crosses all genres and whose relationship status is hounded by the paparazzi? Does this sound like one of today’s most popular music stars? *Cough* Taylor Swift…

I have to admit the minute I began reading Good Girl I began switching the name Jenny to Taylor in my head. Obviously, Lauren Layne did a pretty awesome job at depicting a true to life country music star on the run from the headlines. Jenny was sweet and pretty innocent. She was trying to do the right thing for her reputation and self by retreating from the public eye to a rural Louisiana mansion. Unfortunately, people wanted to believe what they wanted to believe about her. It definitely made me want to second guess all those sensational celebrity “news” stories out there. And honestly, this book couldn’t have been read at any more perfect time than right around a real life country music star’s real life breakup. *Cough* Taylor Swift.

Jenny’s retreat wasn’t as solitary as she was hoping, though. Grouchy caretaker Noah made Jenny’s much-needed alone time pretty impossible. He was constantly throwing her supposed indescretion in her face and ruining her solidarity. He was crass, abrasive and downright harsh. I had a love-hate relationship with him. When Noah was a jerk, I couldn’t stand him. When he was sweet, I loved him. I, like Jenny, had whiplash from his ever-changing moods.

I absolutely loved the other supporting characters in Good Girl. Noah’s best friends, Vaughn and Finn were so much fun! I loved the relationship between the three of them. I would love more books in this series about them. (Hint hint, L.L.!) And Noah’s ex Yvonne… Man, she was crazy but I loved her! She added a really fun dimension to the story.

All in all, Good Girl was a very cute and funny celebrity romance. It wasn’t my favorite LL New Adult romance, but I did really enjoy it. There were some ups and downs (due to Noah’s jerky behavior), but I was smiling ear to ear by the end. I will never think of pink zip ties the same. Sorry, you have to read it yourself to discover what that’s all about! And I suggest you do! Good Girl is part of a series, but the first book doesn’t have to be read before reading this one. It’s a standalone and does not have any characters or relations to the first book in the series.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Thirteen Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year. There were so many books that could have been on this list, so limiting it to ten was really hard. These are some of my favorites so far.


1. Too Late by Colleen Hoover

Sloan will go through hell and back for her little brother. And she does, every single night.

Forced to remain in a relationship with the dangerous and corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to make sure her brother has what he needs.

Nothing will get in her way.

Nothing except Carter.

Sloan is the only good thing to ever happen to Asa. He knows this and he never plans on letting her go; even if she doesn’t approve of his lifestyle. But despite Sloan’s disapproval, Asa knows what it takes to get what he wants. He knows what he needs to do to remain on top.

Nothing will get in his way.

Nothing except Carter.

(THIS BOOK IS FREE TO READ ON WATTPAD, PEOPLE!)


2. What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin

 The USA Today bestselling author of the Brenna Spector series returns with her most ambitious book to date, a spellbinding novel of psychological suspense, set in the glamorous, wealthy world of Hollywood—a darkly imaginative and atmospheric tale of revenge and betrayal, presumed guilt and innocence lost, dirty secrets and family ties reminiscent of the bestsellers of Laura Lippman, Gillian Flynn, and Harlan Coben.

Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s got a drawer somewhere with something hidden in it.

On June 28, 1980—the hottest night of the year—Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home. . . . And instantly becomes a media sensation, her chilling smile fodder for national nightmares. For years, speculation swirls over the enigmatic seventeen-year-old’s motives, information she’s refused to share. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.

Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.

Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent—of both killings—and want to help her clear her name. But is she?

Written with masterful precision and control, What Remains of Me brilliantly moves forward and back in time, playing out the murders side by side—interweaving subtle connections and peeling away layers of events to reveal the shocking truth.


3. That Thing Between Eli & Gwen by J.J. McAvoy

 **A multicultural new adult romance from bestselling author, J.J. McAvoy**

Eli Davenport thinks he’s found the perfect woman to be his wife. She’s a doctor, like he is. She’s brilliant, like he is. And she’s wealthy, like he is.

Guinevere ‘Gwen’ Poe thinks her fiancé is the perfect man. He’s handsome, successful and he was her first…

But when Eli’s bride runs off with Gwen’s fiancée on his wedding day, they are left to pick up the broken pieces of each other…


4. Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

 It’s not just the motion of the ocean, ladies. It’s definitely the SIZE of the boat too.

And I’ve got both firing on all cylinders. In fact, I have ALL the right assets. Looks, brains, my own money, and a big c*&k.

You might think I’m an a*&hole. I sound like one, don’t I? I’m hot as sin, rich as heaven, smart as hell and hung like a horse.

Guess what? You haven’t heard my story before. Sure, I might be a playboy, like the NY gossip rags call me. But I’m the playboy who’s actually a great guy. Which makes me one of a kind.

The only trouble is, my dad needs me to cool it for a bit. With conservative investors in town wanting to buy his flagship Fifth Avenue jewelry store, he needs me not only to zip it up, but to look the part of the committed guy. Fine. I can do this for Dad. After all, I’ve got him to thank for the family jewels. So I ask my best friend and business partner to be my fiancée for the next week. Charlotte’s up for it. She has her own reasons for saying yes to wearing this big rock.

And pretty soon all this playing pretend in public leads to no pretending whatsoever in the bedroom, because she just can’t fake the kind of toe-curling, window-shattering orgasmic cries she makes as I take her to new heights between the sheets.

But I can’t seem to fake that I might be feeling something real for her.

What the fuck have I gotten myself into with this…big rock?

BIG ROCK is a standalone, dirty romance novel written from the guy’s POV by NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely.


5. My Perfect Mistake by Kelly Siskind

 What happens in Aspen
is definitely not staying in Aspen. . .

A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared.

Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don’t kill each other first.


6. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Bittersweet The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.


7. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

 Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rainwith the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details.

We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read?

Lily and the Octopus is the next one.


8. Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras

 Victor Reuben.
Most sought out divorce attorney in LA.

Nicole Alessi.
Soon to be ex-wife of Hollywood’s biggest star, Victor’s latest client and his boss’s daughter.

In such a high profile divorce, they can’t afford any extra drama. Luckily, neither one of them has anything to hide.
Unless you count the mind blowing sex they had…
Once…
Twice…
Three times all those years ago.

As long as they leave the past where it belongs, they’ll be fine. But with her wearing those tight dresses and him giving her those heated glances, keeping their hands to themselves is proving to be more difficult than either one of them realized.

It won’t be long before the paparazzi start to smell smoke, and where there’s smoke…


9. When We Collided by Emery Lord

 We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.


10. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

 For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


11. Paper Princess by Erin Watt

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

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

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

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

He might be right.

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


12. Redemptive by Jay McLean

It’s said that your life flashes before your eyes when you die.
It must only happen to those whose lives were worthy.
Clearly, mine was not.

The only thing that happened to me was a repeat of what I thought was my death.
The blast of the gun as it went off.
The loss of my breath as two hundred pounds of dead weight dropped on top of me.
And then darkness.
This replayed over and over.

When the guy squatted down next to me and asked if I was hurt, the only thing I could see, feel,
hear, were those few seconds.
Even now, as I sat in the back of a blacked out van—it was the only thing that ran through my mind.
Gunshot, breath, darkness.


13. In Your Dreams by Ginger Scott

Casey Coffield has a growing list of personal flaws he keeps locked away in his head:
He’s never on time.
His list of IOUs to his best friend is endless.
Money is always short.
Goals are never in reach.

Oh, and he’s decided to add college drop-out to that list, too. He doesn’t really think that last one’s such a bad thing, but his family insists it is, so it stays on the list.

On paper, he’s a zero. But in person, when he’s mixing tracks for a sea of bodies at the hottest clubs and parties, he’s downright irresistible. Just-right stubble on his chin, body of a boxer and a smirk that stimulates all the right nerves—women have never been a problem. They flock to his swagger and fall for his charm…fast.

All except for this one.

Purple hair, gray eyes, a raspy voice and sass, Murphy Sullivan is a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll. And her and Casey? They have history. He can’t remember it, but she wrote a song about him—and it’s not exactly a love song. But it is good. Damn good. And uncovering her inspiration just might be the key to solving a few of his shortcomings—not to mention open doors to his own big break in the music industry.

But sometimes dreams get messy when they collide. Sometimes life changes patterns. A past paints the wrong picture and futures get cloudy. The only question that remains is who will you choose when the dust settles—you? Or the girl of your dreams?

** This book is a Falling Series spin-off. It can be read as a standalone. **

New York Times By the Book Tag

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I was tagged by Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts for the New York Times By the Book Tag. According to Joey, the tag was inspired by The New York Times’ “By The Book” feature. Maybe?

Thanks for the tag, Joey!


What book is on your nightstand right now?

It’s my Kindle. I’ll leave it at that because there are so many books on that thing.

What was the last truly great book you read?

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley is the last truly great book I’ve read. The last book I truly enjoyed reading is Paper Princess by Erin Watt. There’s a difference between the two, although I’m not sure how to describe that.

If you could meet one author (living or dead), who would it be? What would you ask?

This is so hard! Honestly, probably Colleen Hoover. I follow her on multiple social media platforms and she just seems like a really cool person. I think I would ask her what motivates her to live the life she does. That sounds really broad, but she does some amazing philanthropic work and it interests me.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

Joined at the Heart by Al and Tipper Gore. It’s not my normal reading material. My BFF dragged me to a signing of this book in Seattle YEARS ago. I still haven’t read it.

How do you organize your personal library?

Oh goodness. I have one large bookcase in our “office”. It’s all the books I’ve already read and own physical copies of. I have another half bookcase in our living room that has some random books I’ve read on it. On my kitchen counter is a stack of books that are my TBR. I also have some random books I haven’t read yet shoved in the top drawer of my nightstand. How’s that for organized?

What book have you always meant to read but haven’t gotten to yet?

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I own it. I’ve meant to read it. Someday!

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

Most recently, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. I found it kind of boring and lackluster. Sorry. 🙁

What kind of stories are you drawn to?

Sexy ones. Lol.

Contemporary Romances. Specifically, New Adult ones.

If you could require the PrESIDENt to read one book, what would it be?

Well, I think President Obama seems to be pretty well read. I think he desperately needs a break, so I think he should get to read something a little smutty and probably sports related. Let’s go with The Deal by Elle Kennedy.

What do you plan to read next?

I’m not going to answer this because I have a long list to choose from and it would probably change from what I chose. It all depends on my mood at the time. 😉


I tag:

Betwixt the Pages
Calliope the Book Goddess
Caterina @ Trust in the Words
Claire @ Art and Soul
Esther @ Chapter Adventures
Jacquie @ Rattle the Stars
Jess @ The Mud and Stars Book Blog
Kelly @ Kelly’s Rambles
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
Lois @ My Midnight Musings
Maren @ The Worn Bookmark
Paige @ Page by Paige
Raven @ Dreamy Addictions
The Bookie Monsters
The Orang-utan Librarian