It’s You, Book One by K.P. Kelley

Blurb:

30037207From New York Times bestselling author Katy Regnery comes her first duo of paranormal romances!

ONCE UPON A TIME…
the most beautiful boy in the world kissed me.
I’ve never been able to forget.
Perhaps it was his jet-black hair,
or the changing copper-color of his eyes,
the intense way he looked at me…
or the fact that he awakened my passion for the first time,
at once otherworldly yet heartbreakingly real.
After that kiss, I never saw him again.

His name was Jack Beauloup.
Jack, my “Beautiful Wolf.”

Twenty years passed. He has returned. For me.

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

I think I picked the wrong time to start reading this book, but with the release date coming up I didn’t have much choice.  But reading it over Christmas with a bunch of company over so I couldn’t remain engrossed just wasn’t ideal.  When I started the book I was totally sucked in.  I LOVE books that while being for the adult audience, give you the teenage perspective too…when there’s a past, I don’t just want to know it happened, I want to be there and experience it.  And Ms. Kelley totally gave that to us, and I am in love with the past parts.  I could feel the chemistry drawing Darcy and Jack together, and Darcy’s anguish over the loss of that love when found was just perfect.  And I totally felt her confusion over why it should have such a profound effect on her for so long.  Seriously, the emotions in those sections were just spot on perfect.

But back in the present, I had an up and down relationship with Darcy and Jack…but mostly Darcy.  I had moments where I really enjoyed her…she was smart, she was sassy, she was fairly down to earth.  I liked her relationship with her bff Willow, and I am totally intrigued by that little side story with Amory btw….hope we get more in book two.  But while I enjoyed the continuing chemistry between Darcy and Jack, I wasn’t quite as enthralled as I was in the past parts.  Basically the steamy parts were good, but I wasn’t necessarily blown away.  And I was a bit dismayed with how long the discovery process took…ie, how long it took Darcy to accept that something was up with Jack, and put the pieces together.  I don’t know how it could have been done faster, but it was hard to see all the clues going together, and remember that normal people wouldn’t assume that shifters really exist.

I did THOROUGHLY enjoy the mythology in this one, and how Ms. Kelley chose to present the paranormal aspect.  As a Canadian, I was a bit confused with the way she initially described Métis, but that could have been me reading into things that weren’t there, because in the end it sounded correct.  I just never thought of them as a tribe per say.  But I’m not an expert, so I assume she did the appropriate research and it’s me that has it wrong.

I was a bit saddened by the way Part One ended (trying not to give spoilers).  I can’t help but have wanted Darcy to react differently.  She hurt my heart.  It’s funny, b/c it’s not that I don’t get it…but at the same time, it wasn’t what my heart wanted.

Jack was completely swoon.  I really enjoyed how sweet he was, and the choices he made throughout his past wrt Darcy.  I really enjoyed Part Two from his perspective, I was totally missing his POV and was so happy when we got it in the end.  It filled in so many blanks that I had, and yeah…just supremely satisfied.  I wasn’t quite as sucked in, but that could have been because of life stuff, and not necessarily the book, you know?  Or maybe I was still just mad at Darcy.  😛  Who knows.  I’m also not a Lela fan, I’m not sure how she’s going to be redeemed at this point.

All in all, really interesting paranormal take on the shifter story…love the backstory and mythology, love Jack, and had some amazing set up for the love story.  I enjoyed that there was a lot else going on besides the Jack and Darcy love story, and I’m super curious how it’s all going to end.  Hopefully when I get book two, I’ll have more dedicated time to devote just to reading and devouring it.

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Top Ten Best Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday
(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in which you make a list of ten to do with a certain topic.  This week’s topic is “Top Ten Best Books Of 2016 (you choose — best books overall of what you read regardless of pub date, of a particular genre, 2016 debuts, 2016 releases, etc).”  We chose to do best books we read regardless of publication date.

Curly Carla’s Top Ten:

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  1. Haven by A. R. Ivanovich — 5 stars.
  2. You Can’t Catch Me by Cassie Mae — 5 stars.
  3. Phoenixed by Anyta Sunday — 5 stars.
  4. Switched by Cassie Mae — 5 stars.
  5. (Un)Wise by Melissa Haag — 5 stars.
  6. Slip of the Tongue by Jessica Hawkins — 5 stars.
  7. Not the One by Amy Daws — 5 stars.
  8. The Beautiful Dead by Daryl Banner — 5 stars.
  9. Level Up by Cathy Yardley — 5 stars.
  10. Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti — 5 stars.

Lenoreo’s Top TenThirteen:

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  1. The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy — 5 stars.
  2. #Junkie (GearShark #1) and #Rev (GearShark #2) by Cambria Hebert — 5 stars and 5 stars.
  3. You Can’t Catch Me by Cassie Mae — 5 stars.
  4. Addicted for Now (Addicted #2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie — 5 stars.
  5. Him (Him #1) and Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy — 4.5 stars and 4.5 stars.
  6. Bet on Me (Bet on Love #2) by Rachel Higginson — 4.5 stars.
  7. Shoot the Gap (Big Play #4) by Jordan Ford — 4.5 stars.
  8. Geronimo (Songbird #8) and Hole-Hearted (Songbird #9) by Melissa Pearl — 4.5 stars and 4.5 stars.
  9. For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne — 4.5 stars.
  10. The Hard Count by Ginger Scott — 4.5 stars.

Welcome Home for Christmas by Annie Rains

Blurb:
31349355The bestselling Hero’s Welcome series continues with a juicy Christmas romance, a short novel set in Seaside, North Carolina, where the bustling military base keeps this small town stocked with dedicated, lovable heroes.

Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, Allison Carmichael doesn’t mind being single. It sure beats dating another loser, and it keeps her heart safe. Then there’s that three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth day: Christmas Eve, the traditional time her entire family gathers together—and gangs up on her, demanding to know when she’s going to get married. This year, she swears, is going be different. And that’s why, at a charity auction she’s throwing on-base, she buys herself a man.

Sergeant Troy Matthews insists that he’s not for sale. His time is, though, and he’s happy to donate it. Happier still when he learns the identity of the winning bidder: the redhead with the killer good looks and smart mouth who runs the veteran’s center. Allison needs Troy’s help to fool her family into believing they’re an item, and he’s all too happy to indulge her. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This was a good Christmas romance, but for me personally it was just missing something to give it that extra punch.  I think I just wasn’t that drawn in by either Allison or Troy.  Allison felt kind of stiff, and I tend to be more attracted to heroines with a bit of sass.  She just felt kind of dry or something.  And could be a little…uppity? or something.  I don’t know, she just occasionally rubbed me the wrong way with her reactions and things.

And Troy may have had a bit more sparkle to his personality, but I couldn’t always get a handle on who he was.  He’s supposed to be this playboy, but I’m not sure I really felt it.  It felt like I was told that he broke a lot of hearts, but I didn’t really get why.

It wasn’t all humdrum.  I enjoyed some of the memory sharing they did about their pasts, and Troy’s reluctance to go home for Christmas was a pretty good side story.  And the chemistry was pretty good between them.  *sigh*  I guess it was all just good, not great you know?

So yeah.  It was entertaining, but left me a little underwhelmed at the end.

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Stacking the Shelves — December 24th, 2016

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Justice Ascending (The Scorpius Syndrome #3) by Rebecca Zanetti from Kensington Books — releases January 31st, 2017.
  • Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday from the author — released December 6th, 2016.

 eReaderIQ Price Drops and Freebies:

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 Amazon Prime Borrows:

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 Amazon Freebies:

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  • From Gods (Descendant Prophecies #1) by Mary Ting.
  • Up to Date (Better Date than Never #8) by Susan Hatler.

 Got It On Sale:

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 Loaned to Me:

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 Xmas Book Exchange:

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 Amazon Purchases:

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Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano from Entangled: Teen (Entangled Publishing, LLC) — releases January 3rd, 2017.
  • Tangled Up (Taking Chances #2) by Erin Nicholas from Montlake Romance — releases January 17th, 2017.

ARCs from Authors/PR Companies:

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  • Why Not? (Love Riddles #3) by Carey Heywood — releases January 10th, 2017.
  • Speak No Evil (Brotherhood #2) by Jordan Ford — anticipated release is January 11th, 2017.  I’ve actually already beta read this book, but I didn’t write up a review because there would be changes.  So I need to figure out when to do a skim-type reread of the book and write up my review.

Cassie Mae’s Awesome Nerds Secret Santa:

So I belong to author Cassie Mae’s fan group, Cassie Mae’s Awesome Nerds, and some of us nerds participated in a Secret Santa exchange this year.  This can be complicated due to readers living all over the world, and my poor Santa had a heck of a time sending my gifts since she was from the UK.  But she sent me a gift card with the right amount to buy two specific books from my wishlist!  Thanks again Charlotte!

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  • Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman — This book went on my list because of this review from Anita Loves 2 Read!  I mean, I’d been thinking about it before then, but this review put me over the edge and had me hitting wishlist.
  • Mistakenly Married (The Married Series #3) by Victorine E. Lieske — I’ve read the first in this series, and I’m super excited to read more because these books are so cute and freaking hilarious.  (Also, another author from Love Laughter and Happily Ever After group on Facebook).  ALSO!  It just went on sale for free!!

Preorders That Went Live:

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Fated
by A.J. Brooks — This beauty is the debut by the writing duo of Jolene Perry and Allison Martin/A.I. Martin (I’ve read her as Allie Brennan).  And it was 99 cents!  So obviously I preordered.  😉

My Cyber Monday Book Outlet Craziness:

So Book Outlet had a sale where I think all their books were like an extra 20% off or something?  It was a great deal, and averaged out even with shipping included, I basically got each of these for about $5 each (some were more, some were less).

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  • Rock and a Hard Place (The Jamieson Collection #1) and Snapshot (The Jamieson Collection #2) by Angie Stanton — Read them both and loved them both and actually have the first one SIGNED, but in the Indie cover…but since I wanted the second one, I kind of wanted them matchy matchy.  Now I just need to get book 3 to complete my collection (though I have yet to read it).
  • Façade (Games #2) and Masquerade (Games #3) by Nyrae Dawn — Have the first book (Charade) signed by the author, so wanted to complete the trilogy (though I still need to read book 3).
  • Elite (Eagle Elite #1) and Elect (Eagle Elite #2) by Rachel Van Dyken — This author is hit or miss for me, but since she will be attending the Big Apple Author Event in October 2017 that I will be attending, I decided to take a chance on this series.
  • Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1), Broken Juliet (Starcrossed #2) and Wicked Heart (Starcrossed #3) by Leisa Rayven — This is an author I have not read anything by, but who will also be attending BAAE, and this series has come highly recommended by a few bloggers I follow.  So I again took a chance.  It’s very unlike me.
  • Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen — I’ve read a few of Ms. Madsen’s books, so figured this should be a slam dunk for me!  Another author from Love Laughter and Happily Ever After.  Also, apparently it’s been renamed and covered, so that could be why I found it on Book Outlet for cheap.
  • Take Me There by Susane Colasanti — This author is a favourite of one of my favourite authors, so I asked for her number one recommendation and this was it.
  • The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick — I thoroughly enjoyed the first book (My Life Next Door) and have been really wanting to read this followup about Tim and Alice, but it’s one of those over $5 Kindle books, so when I can buy a hardcover for less, I say score!
  • Glass Heart (Cold Kiss #2) by Amy Garvey — I won the first book in this series from a Goodreads giveaway a long time ago and really enjoyed it.  So I figured it might be time to find out what happens next.  (Because with it being $10+ for the Kindle version for me, it was never going to happen otherwise)
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson — And this is one I picked the wrong Jandy Nelson book.  My fave author loves The Sky is Everywhere, but I forgot and put this one in the cart instead…and it turns out I have this one on Kindle.  So I hope this turns out to be a favourite book!  *snort*

More Paperback Purchases:

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  • Made for You (The Best Mistake #2) by Lauren Layne — An author I’m REALLY REALLY looking forward to meeting at the BAAE, so I’ve started collecting books for her to sign.  I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m not worried.
  • Lick & Play (Stage Dive #1 & 2) by Kylie Scott — I’ve wanted to read this series for a while, but when the first Kindle book is $4, and the rest are $5, it doesn’t really scream dive in (see what I did there?).  But both books were $6 in this paperback, and for some reason I’m willing to pay for paper.  So here’s hoping it lives up to my expectations.
  • What If by Rebecca Donovan — I really enjoyed the Breathing series by Ms. Donovan, so snatched up this paperback for $6 (even though I apparently have the kindle copy, I really need to pay attention to these things), so here’s hoping I enjoy it.
  • Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee — I LOVED this first book.  I have yet to finish the series, but I loved this book enough to want it on my shelf…even though apparently it’s on sale at Amazon, so I could have gotten it cheaper.  😛
  • Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover — I hear about this series and author a lot, and the paperback was only $6, whereas the Kindle copy is $10+ for me, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  It was that darned Indigo gift card burning a hole in my pocket.
  • Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller — Another one I apparently already have on Kindle but forgot.  But hey, hardcover for only $6, and I loved one other book by Ms. Doller so fingers are crossed.
  • Cuff Me (New York’s Finest #3) by Lauren Layne — I’ve read the first two in this series, and they actually didn’t blow me away…but I really really wanted to read the third book the most, and wasn’t approved from NetGalley (boo), so when I saw this at the Wee Book Inn (used book store) I figured why not!  And bonus, if I love it I can get it signed!
  • Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins — I’ve had this particular Kristan Higgins book on my wishlist for FOREVER, and I don’t remember what drew me to it (maybe it was recommended?).  But when I saw it at the Wee Book Inn, again…I figured why not?
  • Night Reigns (Immortal Guardians #2), Night Unbound (Immortal Guardians #5) and Shadows Strike (Immortal Guardians #6) by Dianne Duvall — I really love this series, so adding them to my bookshelf (even used) is something I totally want to do!!

 Got It On Sale:

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  • Bound (Fire on Ice #1) by Brenda Rothert — After reading and loving Hooked by Ms. Rothert, I went looking through her other books to see what she had to offer.  And when I saw this one for free, I one-clicked like my life was depending on it!  Don’t know if it’s a sale or always free, but it’s mine!
  • Edge of Recovery (Love on the Edge #2) and Edge of Bliss (Love on the Edge #3) by Molly E. Lee — When I was doing the Stacking the Shelves last week and was wondering where I spotted some sales, I pulled up the darned The Rock Stars of Romance sale page and spotted these ones on for 99 cents each.  So I had to complete my collection.
  • Snow Angel (Hope Falls #5) by Melanie Shawn — Saw this one on BookBub for free (still is) when it’s usually apparently $5 ish.  And since my favourite author will be writing a book for this series next year, I thought I should introduce myself to it!
  • The Purest Hook (Second Circle Tattoos #3) by Scarlett Cole — Got an eReaderIQ alert that this was on sale for 99 cents (still is) from it’s usual $3.99.  Earlier this year I read The Strongest Steel (book 1) and The Darkest Link (book 4) and enjoyed them both, so I want to fill in the middle now.
  • It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison — Saw this one on My Book Cave e-mail for free (still is) from regular $2.99   This is another author from the Love Laughter and Happily Ever After group on Facebook, and I’ve yet to read her so thought I would grab this!
  • Stroked (Stroked #1) by Meghan Quinn — Saw this one on BookBub for free (still is) from regular $5 (ish) and I had recently read this review from My Tiny Obsessions, so I was convinced to give it a try!
  • This is INDIE: Winter 2017 — This is a cool new catalogue thingie that’s trying to mimick those sneak peek things that publishers do, but for popular Indie authors.  It’s not a book per say so much as a listing of upcoming or recently released books, where to buy them, sometimes early cover reveals, or exclusive excerpts.  I had to wait a bit for it to go free for me in Canada, and there’s another one that I’m still waiting to go free (This is Romance), but I thought I should check it out!  It’s always free now that the price has adjusted.  Check out the This is Indie/This is Romance page on Facebook for more information.

Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk

Blurb:
32613784Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except…when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.

Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed “right match” might just be the wrong brother.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OK, let me preface this review by saying that I’m not sure why I requested this from NetGalley…the entire premise should have given me a big clue.  Perhaps I was thinking that it was only going to be initial circumstances, but that they would change quickly?  Perhaps I was just going Christmas happy at the time?  But seriously people, cheating is one of my button issues, so why in the world would I request a book whose very PREMISE is based around cheating.  And no, there’s no big physical cheating moment (minus the elevator kiss at the beginning, but she tells Justin about that).  But it’s the emotional cheating.  That counts for me too.  It’s the whole “if you’re this interested in someone else, perhaps you should end your current relationship first or figure out what to fix in it.”  I’m just not a fan.  It’s a personal taste thing, I totally get that, so this review is only going to be useful to others who feel similarly.

So a lot of my meh feelings for this book may be related to that one little (big) issue surrounding the cheating.  I just honestly could NOT fall in love with our couple.  Particularly b/c Kennedy’s relationship with Justin dragged on so fricking long!  I just kept waiting for something to happen with Justin, waiting for the moment it would all blow up, and so I just didn’t get invested.  The chemistry between Matthew and Kennedy was pretty good, but again, I was distracted by the circumstances.

I really did not love Kennedy.  I didn’t dislike her so much as just have no feelings about her whatsoever.  She just rubbed me the wrong way b/c of the decisions she was making in her relationship.  And I didn’t buy how her Mom influenced her relationship hangups.  I get what the author was trying to do there, but it wasn’t enough.  Justin was just so unbelievably wrong, and it was so obvious, that I just couldn’t accept that because of her Mom’s flighty relationships, she would grab hold so tight.

And I could not get a feel for Matthew.  I don’t know if we just didn’t get enough time in his head to get a good feel for who he was or what.  At the very beginning we’re almost given this impression that he’s a playboy, but that didn’t feel quite right you know?  Like a trait that was tacked on.  It’s hard to fall in love with a hero that you just don’t know.  And I just felt like I couldn’t empathize with him at all.

And the ending just really started feeling cheesy to me.  Honestly, at that point I was almost skimming just to see what would happen.  Quite frankly, this was probably more of a 2.5 star, but I’m writing this review off of notes, so I’m going with my initial gut feeling.  I must have enjoyed the few good parts enough to give it that solid 3 stars.  The reality is this wasn’t a bad book, it was just a TERRIBLE fit for me personally.  Oh well.

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More Than Friends by Jody Holford

Blurb:
33245968Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.

Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

So I’m the kind of reader that loves to get absorbed into a book, and read in a pretty short time period.  And thus this read kind of suffered for me b/c I read it with a big interruption in the middle (I was on vacation).  So on a different occasion, this might have been a solid 4 star read, but I’m going to stick with my gut on this one anyways.

First of all, I will say that the cover is completely misleading.  I totally thought this was going to be a small town type of Christmas read, and this one was actually set in Boston.  Not really a big deal, but it’s nice when the cover actually gives you a feel for the book, and after reading it, I just don’t feel like this one is accurate at all (doesn’t really represent the characters either).

Gabby was pretty freaking adorable.  I was torn on Gabby’s background with her parents.  It gave me tears sometimes when she was enjoying Christmas with Owen’s family and missing hers, but the whole not wanting to lie because of it felt tacked on as more of a plot device.

Owen was pretty awesome too, if a bit oblivious.  And he made some monumentally stupid decisions, but I still thought he was pretty awesome overall.

I was surprised by the short length of their best friendship.  Usually when I think of best friends to lovers stories, it’s with friends who have been friends for a LONG time, and these two only knew each other for like 2 years.  Made me wonder more about how the friendship developed and what it was like before this wrench was thrown in.  I almost would have liked a bit more background or something.

They definitely had great chemistry, though this was a sweeter book than I had been expecting…which isn’t a bad thing, I just hadn’t anticipated that, so I was kept on tenterhooks for most of the book.  But I will say I loved the ending I love you scene!!  So many feels.  It was just perfect.

Owen’s family was da bomb.  Truly.  I loved them in all their quirkiness.  Made it a bit hard to understand Owen’s reluctance to spend Christmas with them, but then I had to remind myself it was all the strangers that he was mostly opposed to.

Definitely some intriguing secondary characters in the building….made me want to read both Wyatt and Brady’s books, assuming they both have them.  But at times it did feel like some of those secondary plot lines didn’t fit with the rest of the story, and were mostly there to drive intrigue for the next stories.  The whole Jake (his name was Jake right?) stealing thing and the police just felt so out of place…it didn’t add ANYTHING to Owen and Gabby’s story.  I don’t mind learning about the other tenants so I’ll want to read the next book, but I prefer it when it’s more seamless with the main storyline so it doesn’t feel tacked on.

All in all a great Christmas read.  One I probably would have enjoyed even more if I had been able to stay absorbed in the story, but alas, Disney was calling.  🙂

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Completely Yours by Erin Nicholas

Blurb:

30134184Kiera Connelly leads a quiet life, and that’s just how she likes it. She’s built a name as a graphic designer and meets up with her friends online, all from the comfort of her living room couch. But when a rare outing turns disastrous, Kiera finds herself up close and way too personal with an unbelievably hot real-life hero.

Zach Ashley doesn’t see himself as a hero. He’s just a regular guy who gets to help people every day as an EMT. But when he’s called to a scene and has to treat his most gorgeous patient ever, he finds himself mixing work with pleasure. He never hesitates to put his life on the line…but will he ever risk his heart?

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

I don’t know what it was about this book, but I just really fricking enjoyed myself.  I do believe this is my first book by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last.  Her characters were funny, honest, and complex, and I can tell you I ended the book just laughing out loud.

Obviously characters are where it’s at for me, and we have a pair of unique creatures with Zach and Kiera.  They were both so fundamentally flawed and dealing with their own problems, it was a treat to watch them start to compromise and truly LEARN from each other and become better people as a result of being together.  I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.  It’s what made the opposites attract story work so well in this case…they really were HONEST TO GOODNESS opposites in SO MANY WAYS, but they helped each other understand the other side of things, and become more well rounded as a result.

And of course I’m going to love a story with a bit of geek flair in it.  Occasionally I would get annoyed with Zach’s judgemental ways, but I guess that made his transformation that much more satisfying.  I loved that this story dealt with all the pros and cons of both being an introvert (Kiera) and being an extrovert (Zach) and how they could come together.

And they definitely had chemistry!!  I really felt how they were drawn together physically initially, and how that changed and you felt how they were drawn together as more as well.

This story also deals with some very raw topics, particularly looking at the different ways in which people deal with grief.  I definitely teared up at some points, particularly Zach’s story about how he decided to become an EMT.  And it was done so well.

And what a great ending.  I didn’t expect the ending, and I thought it was a perfect healing for Zach.  And then the epilogue was hilarious.  I kind of want to see more from Pete!

Will definitely be looking for the next book in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Lenoreo_small

Déjà Revu December 19th, 2016

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Fantasy

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Fantasy

Woman’s Fiction

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Mystery

Romance

Woman’s Fiction

Max by Sawyer Bennett

Blurb:
29636247The ice is a cold mistress. As the league’s most eligible goalie, Max Fournier has access to his fair share of willing puck bunnies, but right now he’s more interested in bringing home another championship than a one-night stand. A romantic at heart, Max believes in love; he’s just not great at relationships. So when he finally meets a nice girl who’s not blinded by his celebrity, he’s feeling the heat—and the pressure to save her from herself.

Between working two jobs and raising her sister’s kids, Julianne Bradley doesn’t have time for sports—or men. All she knows about Max is that he’s the sexiest customer to ever grace her gas-station counter. And he sees past her tired eyes and makes Jules yearn for things she can’t have: a glamorous fling, a passionate lover, and the time to enjoy both. Max makes her feel like Cinderella, even though Jules has enough baggage to crush a glass slipper. Luckily, he’s no prince—only a fierce competitor determined to win her heart.

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This one got me on characters all the way, specifically Max.  I don’t even care that Max was probably a bit too good to be true, I just couldn’t help but adore him.  He was sweet, kind, understanding, kind of a force of nature that you really can’t (and don’t want to) stop!  And I loved how he and Jules worked out their problems, and how Max really tried so hard to see things from her perspective and rein himself in when she made good points.  But I also liked how at the end, when she wouldn’t work with him, he didn’t let her walk all over him.  He knew when to take a step back, even if it killed him.

And I really loved Jules too, don’t get me wrong.  She had so many of the kinds of insecurities that I can understand.  And she really tried so hard on many occasions, so that when she blunders in the end I can accept how she got there and have faith that she would see her way back.  Normally her blunder might have bothered me on another character, but I got her I guess.  I saw her need for time.  And throughout the story we saw some amazingly real emotions from Jules…I really felt her grief and loss and her overwhelmed state.  The feels from her side of the story were so genuine and evocative.

The simultaneous Hawke story was odd for me since I haven’t read it… I’m not sure it added so much as seemed tacked on.  But perhaps I’d feel differently if I’d read his story first.  And since this is my first Cold Fury story, I probably didn’t get quite as much from all the cameos of other players from previous books in the series as fans might.  But it does make me curious about their stories and want to go back and read them.  Totally putting them on the wishlist!  As such I can say that I enjoyed the secondary characters, though we didn’t get a lot of time with any one of them so much as little bits of time with a lot of different ones.  I kind of would have liked more focus if that makes sense.

As a weird aside, I don’t get the weird name changing of all the teams…does anyone know why authors do that?  Is it a copyright thing?

Occasionally some of the transitions between scenes were more abrupt, and matter of fact than I was expecting.  It made for strange reading.  Not my favourite, but it’s a personal taste thing (and I’m shit at explaining what I mean, so sorry about that).  But the characters and romance made up for it, hence why this was still a solid 4 star book despite this style not being my favourite.

The kids weren’t bad.  Sometimes I find kids in books can be more plot device and less genuine, and it was almost that way in this one, but with a step in the right direction.  There were some good moments with them, so they didn’t *completely* feel thrown in.

So yeah.  Jules was great, but in the end my love is all for Max.  Max Max Max.  Damn people, just swoon.  Will definitely check out some more Cold Fury novels in the future.

Lenoreo_small

Stacking the Shelves — December 17, 2016

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Since we missed last week, this will be for the past 2 weeks!  And I’m not even including the paperback purchases I made, will have to leave them til next week — this edition is long enough as it is!

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love #1) by Anyta Sunday from the author — released December 6th, 2016.
  • Stripped Bare (Vegas Billionaire #1) by Heidi McLaughlin from Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept) — releases March 28th, 2017.
  • Home Run (The Boys of Summer #2) by Heidi McLaughlin from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) — releases January 17th, 2017.
  • Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins from Riptide Publishing — released December 5th, 2016.
  • Royal Affair (Royal Scandal #1) by Parker Swift from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) — releases February 14th, 2017.
  • Catch and Release (Fishing for Trouble #3) by Laura Drewry from Loveswept (Rnadom House Publishing Group – Loveswept) — releases February 28, 2017.
  • Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik from HMH Books for Young Readers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group) — releases March 28, 2017.  This author is part of a group I recently joined on Facebook, Love Laughter and Happily Ever After, so when I saw this on NetGalley I figured it would be a great way to introduce myself to her work!

Jingle Bell Book Exchange:

The Jingle Bell Book Exchange is on its second year (and is over now) and is a group of readers who post their Christmas wishlists and then other readers buy books for them!  The rule is that you have to purchase at least 1 book for someone else.  They can be Kindle books or Paperbacks/Hardcovers.  I love this, b/c you get to give and receive!  I love making someone else’s day!  And I love scoring some highly coveted books!

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  • Daring Fate (Silver Tip Pack #1) by Megan Erickson from Victoria!  I put this one on my wishlist b/c I get Ms. Erickson’s newsletter and the blurb and teaser just pulled me right in!
  • Vampire Girl (Vampire Girl #1) by Karpov Kinrade from Megan!  This one made it on my wishlist b/c of Curly Carla (damn her).  See her review here.
  • Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1) by J. Daniels from Amy!  This one made it on the list b/c the author will be at the Big Apple Author Event and I keep seeing everyone post about it!
  • Finding Perfect (Finding Perfect #1) by Kendra C. Highley from Beth!  This one made it on the list after I read and loved The Bad Boy Bargain by this author.  Definitely wanted to check out more from her.

Preorders That Went Live:

51wagvrxvalWicked Winter anthology by Various Authors — I actually don’t know any of the authors of these 15 stories, but I was looking for some new Christmas stuff a while ago (not realizing I would go crazy on NetGalley) and so I saw this one of paranormal stories for only 99 cents, and I said “PREORDER!”  AND it’s still only 99 cents, AND all proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association!  Done and done.

 

Recommended by a Blog I Follow:

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Being Brooke by Emma Hart — I saw this review from My Tiny Obsessions that I’m beginning to regret following (for my wallet’s sake), and since it’s on a release day special of 99 cents I figured sure!!

New Releases:


32489200Coming Home to You (A Home Novel #2) by Tessa Marie — I adored the first book in this series (Home is Where You Are — see my Goodreads review here) and since this is an author I tend to one-click, I nabbed it as soon as it released!

 Got It On Sale:

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  • Kick, Push & Coast Duet (Kick Push #1-2) by Jay McLean — I think I spotted this sale on The Rock Stars of Romance and snatched it up for 99 cents…  I already had the first book, but each book is usually like $3.99, so 99 cents for both was a no-brainer.
  • Spinning Out (The Blackhawk Boys #1) by Lexi Ryan — I have NO IDEA where I learned of this sale…honestly, like none.  It wasn’t my normal places, maybe a Facebook ad?  Maybe a blogger I follow shared it?  No idea, but I snatched it up for 99 cents.
  • The Opposite of Ordinary by Jessica Sorensen — Had this one on my wishlist and so I got an eReaderIQ alert that it was 99 cents from it’s normal $3.99.
  • Agent I1: Tristan (The D.I.R.E. Agency #1) by Joni Hahn — Darn Curly Carla wrote this review and so I had to snatch it up…especially since it’s free!!  (and still is, might always be)
  • Vertical Lines (The Vert Series #1) and The Grind (The Vert Series #2) by Kristen Kehoe — At the end of November I grabbed book 3 in this series on sale because I’d read one of this author’s short stories in the Get Lucky anthology and enjoyed it and so wishlisted a few of her books.  And then the rest of the series went on sale and I got the eReaderIQ alert that these were each 99 cents from $2.99.  Still on sale!
  • Christmas With You (Due South #4) by Tracey Alvarez — Saw this one on my My Book Cave Team daily newsletter for 99 cents from $2.99.  Still on sale!
  • Getting Wrapped Up (Sapphire Falls #3.5, #3.75) by Erin Nicholas — A BookBub find, this holiday bundle of novellas is still free from regular $3.99 I think.
  • Edge of Chaos (Love on the Edge #1) by Molly E. Lee — Another BookBub find (and an author that’s been recommended to me and that I met briefly at UtopiaCon this year), 99 cents from $3.99 I think.  Still on sale!
  • My Delicate Destruction (Wolfegang #1) by Jillian Ashe — I saw this book recommended by Alisha from The Bohemian Housewife on her Top Ten Books To Read If Your Book Club Likes Diversity, so I wishlisted it.  And thus eReaderIQ informed me that it is free (and still is) from its regular price of $2.99.
  • Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman — If you follow this blog, you’ll know this has been my favourite Christmas book this season so far, and so when I got the eReaderIQ alert (because I follow this author) that it was 99 cents from $3.99, I decided I wanted my own copy (instead of just the NetGalley copy).  Still on sale!
  • Crossroads (Crossroads #1) by Riley Hart — Another author I adore, and thus follow on eReaderIQ, so got the alert that it’s 99 cents from $3.99.  Still on sale!
  • Things That Shine (Brew Ha Ha and Double Blind Study Crossover) by Bria Quinlan and Heidi Hutchinson — I adore Ms. Quinlan, and so wishlisted this book when it came out a month or so ago.  Got the eReaderIQ alert that it is 99 cents from $4.99, and still on sale!