Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Made Me Crave A Tasty Treat

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Freebie. My choice for this week is Ten Books That Made Me Crave A Tasty Treat.


1. Garden Spells
Sarah addison allen

2. Sweet addiction
j. Daniels

3. deep dish
Mary kay andrews

4. sweet on you
Kate perry

5. savor the moment
nora roberts

6. nuts
Alice clayton

7. cream of the crop
alice clayton

8. candy store
Bella andre

9. garlic and sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise
Ruth reichl


Have you read any books that have made you crave tasty morsels?

Review: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Accidentally on Purpose
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #3
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaton’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer… which should only take a lifetime…

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco earthquake and he craves her 24/7, but Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him…

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…


Accidentally on Purpose is hands down my favorite book in the Heartbreaker Bay series so far. It was filled with Jill Shalvis’ trademark humor, diverse characters, and a romance I had to root for.

In Accidentally on Purpose, Elle and Archer have carefully constructed a working relationship and friendship. They’ve silently put their shared past behind them and set about being the best at their jobs. Neither is willing to address the elephant in the room: their crazy chemistry. But when Elle decides it’s time to put her feelings behind her and dive into the dating world, Archer will decide there is only one man good enough for her.

As always, Jill Shalvis’ writing was amazing. There was something exciting going on in this story every moment. I didn’t want to put the book down because I wanted to know what was coming next, whether it be for the main characters or what was going on around them. I really liked the way Shalvis crafted this story sp that all of the characters from the entire Heartbreaker Bay series were involved in it, but it still felt like it could be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

I loved Elle and Archer so much. Elle was this badass chick in a business suit and heels. She knew what she wanted in life and went for it. The only person able to bring out the softer side in Elle was Archer. Archer was the man no one wants to mess with. He exuded strength and seriousness when it came to everything around him. He was never one to show his feelings, especially when it came to Elle.

Elle and Archer’s relationship was perfectly volatile. There was just the right amount of push and pull between their characters. The frustration between them brought out the ideal amount of heat and sexual tension. It made giving into their true desires so much fun to read. I loved every minute of Elle and Archer’s romance.

Another thing Accidentally on Purpose had going for it was a little suspense. It didn’t take over the entire story, but added to the tension between Elle and Archer. I liked how it helped make their story complete.

Accidentally on Purpose was everything I love in a contemporary romance. It’s my one of my most favorite Jill Shalvis romance novels yet. It’s a must read for contemporary romance fans.

Review: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


Before I begin my review, I must thank my fabulous blogger friend Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings for sharing her ARC of The Sun Is Also a Star with me. I feel very fortunate to have been able to read this novel thanks to her generosity. 🙂

I am one of the few people who did not read Nicola Yoon’s début novel, Everything Everything. I’m ashamed to admit that because it got such rave reviews. It just wasn’t on my sexy romance reading radar at the time of its release. I’m really regretting that after having read The Sun Is Also a Star.

The Sun Is Also a Star is a brilliantly written book. No matter what I write, it won’t be enough to explain how important a book like it is in this day and age. The Sun Is Also a Star encompasses emotions so many people are feeling right now: anger, frustration, loss, fear, hope and love. Those emotions were worked into a plot that could easily be my story, your story, your friend or neighbor’s story. I can’t exactly say I could identify with it, but I could empathize with it — which is exactly what is needed in this day and age.

I was equally impressed with the set up of Natasha and Daniel’s relationship as I was with the message of this book. I loved the bouncing back and forth between their point of views, as well as the supporting character view points and facts included throughout the story. The little extras made their relationship feel even more special. I loved every minute of Natasha and Daniel’s time together and their ending left me feeling such a satisfying hope.

The Sun Is a Star is a book teens (and adults) should be reading this year. It’s a cute teenage love story that encompasses the issues of immigration, discrimination, race, family and truth.

Review: Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith

Pasadena
Author: Sherri L. Smith
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.

When Jude’s best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.

Now everyone is a suspect—family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that’s the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude’s got a few skeletons of her own.


I once again need to thank Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings for sharing with me her ARC of Pasadena. Without her generosity I might not have read this amazing book.

“Maggie always was a fucking train wreck.”

From the moment Pasadena began with that crazy sentence and the paragraph that followed, I knew it was going to be good. And it was very, very good.

Sherri L. Smith is a talented writer. Her characters and their story took on a life of their own. There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t completely invested in what was happening. I read Pasadena from beginning to end, not wanting to break from the action.

My favorite thing about Pasadena was its quirky bunch of characters. Each one played an important role in the mystery of Maggie’s death. Most important was the narrator, Jude. Jude could not believe her best friend had committed suicide. There was no possible way, so Jude set out to find Maggie’s murderer. I loved Jude’s snarky personality. The interactions she had with all of the other characters were priceless. What she discovered about herself, Maggie and the others as she searched for Maggie’s killer made for an interesting coming of age tale.

Pasadena was filled great insights, surprising discoveries and so much fun. This was my first time reading Sherri L. Smith’s writing, and I was so impressed with it that I can’t wait to read another one of her books. Pasadena is a mystery young adult fans are sure to enjoy.

Review: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal
Series: The Lace Reader, #2
Author: Brunonia Barry
Publication Date: January 24, 2016
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?


Brunonia Barry is an author I fell in love with through a past book club. When I first picked up The Lace Reader, I wasn’t sure why a club member had chosen it. It didn’t seem like anything special, but it was. It was the first book I read with an unreliable narrator and it blew my mind. I went on to re-read it multiple times, and that’s not something I normally do. When I saw Barry was releasing a new book, I was excited. When I realized it was a second book in The Lace Reader world I was ecstatic. I was hoping to find the mystery of The Fifth Petal to be just as engrossing as the original novel.

The Fifth Petal wove past and present to create a brilliant mystery. Young Callie Cahill witnesses the brutal murders of her mother and her friends that is never solved. Years later, when a new death becomes linked to the past murders, she returns to Salem to help Police Chief John Rafferty search for the truth about the night her mother was killed.

I was drawn into The Fifth Petal during the Prologue. The mystery began immediately and I wanted to know the answers to all of the questions the characters had just as much as they did. I loved the way Brunonia Barry wove this tale and kept me guessing almost up until the end. She also did an amazing job creating imagery and describing the Salem area. I could picture the entire story vividly in my head.

Callie’s point of view was especially interesting to me. Her lack of memory from that original night and her special “powers” made for an unusual combination. The deeper the story got, the more Callie would remember. The more Callie remembered, the more exciting the story became. I loved the way she pieced everything together.

Rafferty’s police perspective on the mystery added a critical element to the story. It took the supernatural aspect of the story and gave it much-needed grounding in reality. I also loved watching him piece together the answers while wading through the past and present cases. I hate admitting this, but I wasn’t as keen on the way his past with Towner was used. I loved seeing them involved in the story, but at times it just felt like extra added stuff. That may be because it’s been a few years since I’ve read The Lace Reader, and my memory of their relationship isn’t as strong as when I first read it. I wasn’t as drawn to their relationship as I was to what Callie was going through.

While I truly enjoyed reading The Fifth Petal, I did find it to be a little bit long. I was invested in the story the entire time, but there were parts that felt dragged out. The story probably could have wrapped up a little quicker. I had already correctly guessed some of the answers to the mystery at about 75% in. I was just waiting for it all to be presented to me.

Overall, The Fifth Petal was a great mystery to unravel. It’s one fans of The Lace Reader will love and new readers will also enjoy.

Review: P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You
Author: Kasie West
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…


Why did I wait to read this book? No, seriously, why? I adore Kasie West’s books. I’m not sure what had me waiting so long, but I’m mad at myself because P.S. I Like You was so much fun to read.

I have to admit the entire time I was reading this book, I was enjoying it but it wasn’t standing out as much as Kasie West’s other books. The writing was just as amazing. The story was just as cute. My issue was I didn’t fall in love with Lily as quickly as I have done with all of Kasie West’s other main characters.

Lily was one of those quirky YA leading ladies. She didn’t dress like everyone else, was into different music and saw herself as an outcast. I have to admit that all of this combined with her attitude didn’t make her my favorite character. She used all of the reasons she found herself lacking to judge people she deemed popular. Lily had a cool edge that could have made her a cool person, but instead her attitude made her standoffish. Luckily, this was a coming of age novel where she could grow and learn that people didn’t see her as she saw herself. By the end, I really liked who Lily had become and I loved how she got there.

I may not have immediately fallen in love with Lily, but I did with the rest of the characters. Even though P.S. I Like You was written solely from Lily’s perspective, I loved how I could still tell how other characters were feeling or what they were thinking. They gave so much insight into how the world truly saw Lily. Isabel and Cade were my favorite of the group, but I also enjoyed Lily’s entire family. They were full of love and fun shenanigans.

By the time I got to the end of P.S. I Like You, I was in love with everything this book had to offer. It had an amazing lesson in how there is more to people than what they present to you. There was also one of the cutest love stories and endings ever. P.S. I Like You was so much fun. If you’re a fan of adorable YA contemporaries, this one is for you!

Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, GLBT, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.


Before I start this review, I must thank Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings for sharing her ARC of We Are the Ants with me. If she hadn’t passed this book onto me, I might not have read it and that would have been a travesty.

When I began reading We Are the Ants, I was immediately confused and unsure if this book was going to be for me. Science fiction isn’t normally my preferred reading genre, and there were some pretty big science fiction-y things happening right away. Normally, that probably would have bored me, but it didn’t. We Are the Ants enthralled me the entire time I was reading it. The author’s writing and storytelling were brilliant. I read it in one evening. That’s how good this book was. A non-science fiction reader couldn’t put it down.

I absolutely loved the cast of characters. Henry was a boy on the brink of manhood. Life was tough for him to begin with and being abducted by aliens didn’t help. The added pressure of trying to decide whether to save the world or not compounded his already stressful existence.

Henry’s relationship with his family a big part of this story. His family wasn’t as easy to love as Henry was, but the more I got to know them the more they grew on me. It took me a long time to understand their motivations and opinions. Their lack of support for Henry at times frustrated me, especially his mother. I wanted to give her a good shake a couple of times.

The other characters that had a large part in this story were Henry’s classmates. I had a love-hate relationship with them. I loved what they brought to the story, but I hated pretty much all of them. They were a true representation of what kids can be like when presented with someone who doesn’t fit the mold.

We Are the Ants was a beautiful and thought-provoking coming of age novel. It touched on so many issues that will resonate with today’s youth and adults alike. If you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend doing so.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or SoThese are all books I found this year that I want people to read or are books/authors I found this past year that I don’t think get enough attention. All titles link to the books’ Goodreads page.


1. Full Tilt
Emma Scott

2. Addicted to You
Krista & Becca Ritchie

3. Four Letter Word
J. Daniels

4. Burning Moon
Jo Watson

5. My Perfect Mistake
Kelly Siskind

6. The Hard Count
Ginger Scott

7. Waking Olivia
Elizabeth O’Roark

8. Tapping the Billionaire
Max Monroe

9. Sacked
Jen Frederick

10. Kick Push
Jay McLean

 

Blog Tour Review: The Rule Maker by Jennifer Blackwood

The Rule Maker

by Jennifer Blackwood
The Rule Breakers #2
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, Contemporary Romance

BUY:

Synopsis: Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:1. Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)

2. Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.

3. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.

4. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.

5. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he demands new design after new design.

6. Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.

7. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.

8. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.

9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your job—maybe even your heart.

10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.

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REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

It’s not often that one finds the second book in a series to be better than the first. Normally, the first is so good it outshines the rest of a series. This was not so with The Rule Maker. While I really enjoyed its predecessor, The Rule Book, I loved The Rule Maker even more.

In The Rule Maker, Zoey is disturbed when she’s forced to work with the one man she never wanted to lay eyes on again. Ryder is the brother of her current client…and the man who disappeared after an amazing night of sex.

What made The Rule Maker so much fun were the main characters. Zoey and Ryder were a hoot. There was a great post-hook up awkwardness to them that made everything uncomfortable between the two. That uncomfortable awkwardness made the story so funny. I loved how they pushed at each other and tried to avoid dealing with their feelings. They had such a cute and sexy connection.

Speaking of sexy…Ms. Blackwood upped the sexiness in this one. There was a definitely a sensuality the first book was lacking. I liked that it went a little further. I felt it was appropriate for the nature of Zoey and Ryder’s relationship and past.

I also enjoyed seeing a little bit of Lainey and Brogan. It was fun to see their relationship from Zoey and Ryder’s perspectives. I loved knowing where they were in their relationship.

The Rule Maker was such a fun read. Contemporary romance fans will definitely love the humor and romance. I’m really, really hoping this series continues. I want a story for Ryder’s brother, Jason. There is so much potential for his character and I would love to see him get a happy ending. Oh, and I can’t leave out the fact that I adore this cover. The pink adds a sexiness in a way I never imagined it could.

DON’T MISS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SIZZLING RULE BREAKERS SERIES!

The Rule Book

by Jennifer Blackwood
The Rule Breakers #1
Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, Contemporary Romance

BUY:

Synopsis: Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide
1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side.
4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.
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ABOUT JENNIFER BLACKWOOD

Jennifer Blackwood is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

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Review: No Bad Days by J. Sterling

No Bad Days
Series: The Fisher Brothers, #1
Author: J. Sterling
Publication Date: January 9, 2017
Publisher: J. Sterling
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Nick Fisher is State’s most eligible bachelor—confident, creative, and driven—and is completely aware that every girl he knows is trying to land him. But Nick is more than the marketing genius everyone sees on the outside. In fact, his life is far more complicated than anyone suspects . . . even his own brothers.

Jess Michaelson knows she shouldn’t want Nick like all the other girls do, but she’s crazy about him anyway. How could anyone resist those charms? When he focuses his attention on her, she has no idea what she’s truly in for.

Sometimes love is hard.
But it’s worth the fight.


I couldn’t resist reading J. Sterling’s new release, No Bad Days, after reading the book blurb. It just sounded so fun and cute. I can confirm it was just that, with the tiniest amount of angst built-in.

What I liked about No Bad Days was the connection I felt to the characters and their relationship. It was so easy to relate to Jess. Her thoughts were mirror images of some I had in some of my earliest relationships. Those moments of feeling that she somehow attracted a guy who is way out of her league were priceless. I also related to how quickly Jess was to understand Nick and to forgive him. Her character had flaws that are abundant in young women and I appreciated that — even when I wanted to give her a bunch of not so nice advice.

Nick was a giant idiot. If he hadn’t had his own point of view, I wouldn’t have liked him at all. He could be such a jerk. Nick’s lucky I could understand his thoughts and forgive him because he did some incredibly stupid things. Nick was much sweeter than he seemed and his feelings for Jess won me over.

Nick and Jess’ (Anyone else think New Girl when I put those names together?) relationship wasn’t smooth. It had the ups and downs that most college relationships have. Nick and Jess were both finding their ways as adults and learning how to be together. It was very normal and sweet. Their interactions with each other were so cute. But this is a book, so it also had some crazy and cheesy things going on. I loved every minute of the drama. It made No Bad Days a little bit more exciting to read.

The only thing I could have done without in No Bad Days was the insta-relationship. The minute they connected with each other they DTR’d and it just didn’t feel natural. I would have liked a little more build up to couple status. A little more “are we or aren’t we a couple” would have been nice and natural.

I am so happy No Bad Days the beginning of a new series. After meeting Nick’s bar owning brothers, I am dying to learn more about them! They have such personality. I can only imagine how exciting their stories are going to be.

No Bad Days was a cute, sexy and dramatically entertaining new adult novel. It was a fun reading experience you won’t want to miss.