The Crush Series by Lacey

Book I: Crush
Cami Wimberley and Hunter Wilder seem like the most unlikely of couples. Cami is beautiful, a talented musician, gets good grades, and plans to go to college. Hunter, while handsome and charming, is a party boy with a bad reputation. Despite their apparent polar opposite personalities, it is clear to everyone that they are crushing on each other.

Hunter, however, is determined to keep Cami at an arms length, regardless of how he feels. He has a secret, a secret that will change everything. Something that he must protect Cami from at all costs. But Hunter is unable to deny his growing feelings for Cami or stay away from her. When his secret is finally revealed, Hunter will find himself scrambling to protect Cami.


Book II: Smitten
Everything seems to be going perfectly in Cami and Hunter's (a.k.a. Dylan) world. Cami is at her dream college, pursuing music, and Hunter is by her side. Everything is going according to plan until Hunter is called to go undercover again. His new case involves infiltrating a gang known for chopping and racing cars. Hunter is not allowed to have any contact with Cami and to make matter's worse, he is required to play the role of boyfriend to the sister of the gang's leader, Ripper.

Unable to keep away from Cami for long, Hunter arranges to meet her. Unfortunately, Ripper follows him and Hunter is forced to introduce Cami as his foster sister to keep his cover. Making matters worse, Ripper takes a liking to Cami and decides to pursue her. Cami and Hunter are forced to play a long in order to keep Hunter's cover, and both of them must endure seeming the one the love in the arms of another. As the case heats up, Hunter and Cami find themselves playing an ever increasingly dangerous game as they steal moments of passion. When his cover is blown, Hunter and Cami find themselves on the run from Ripper and his gang.


This is a great little YA series from Lacey. I first came across her writing when I read the Finding Nikki series, which is fantastic, but caused me to ugly cry more than once. This series has suspense, but not a lot of angst. The story was somewhat predictable, but I was still able to lose myself in the story. Because it's a YA series, the romance is PG-13 at best, so don't pick this one up expecting steamy scenes. The most scandalous thing about this series is the fact that Cami is underage when she and Hunter first meet. Regardless, I still enjoy Lacey's style and recommend this series to those who enjoy YA romances. 


Up next in the series...

Book III: Love
Scheduled for release in February, 2014

Living happily ever after has always been part of the plan for Cami and Dylan, but when strange things begin happening around the Wilcock household, Cami simply believes her pregnancy hormones must finally be catching up with her.

Desperate to keep his wife safe and happy, Dylan hires a live in maid to help Cami out while he’s at work. But when both Cami and the maid start experiencing the unusual occurrences, he’s at a loss about what to do.

Unable to explain what’s going on, Dylan delves deeper into the mysterious happenings, but when the truth comes out, he finds himself scrambling desperately to protect his one true LOVE.

A Christmas Star by Thomas Kinkade

"Connection. Reunion. Reconciliation. Unconditional love. Those are a few of the deep threads that run through this story's rich tapestry. Those are lessons we can all take to heart."

Sam and Jessica Morgan's life is turned upside down when a fire claims their home. Left with nothing, the family finds itself making the rounds of their relative's houses as they figure out how to get back on their feet. The stress causes Sam and Jessica to pull away from each other instead of pull together. As the tension mounts, both Sam and Jessica struggle to remember what's really important.

Jack Baxter is not in the Christmas spirit. Mourning the loss of his wife and estranged from his only son, Jack has shut himself off from the world. When car troubles lead Julie and Kate to show up on his doorstep, Jack finds his heart thawing day by day. But after living alone for so long, he is unsure if he can be what Julie and Kate deserve.

This is a heartwarming little Christmas tale, which serves as a great reminder as to what is really important in life - love, family, and friends. Life is not easy and there will always be bumps along the way. It is important to remain grateful for the people in our lives, for they are what make life worth living. This book is part of a series, but can be read as a stand alone. It's nothing spectacular, but if you are looking for a quick little Christmas read, this is a good one.


Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always (The Secret #4.5) by Jessica Sorensen

Lila Summers just wants to know one thing for certain: that Ethan Gregory will be with her always. Once her friend, he's become so much more, melting the pain of her past away with each kiss. Now Lila is on a road trip with Ethan, in the wilderness under the stars, and she can't imagine her life without him. But when she talks about the future, something in Ethan changes . . .

Ethan has no doubts about his feelings for Lila. His life with her gets better every day-and that's the scary part. How can he walk into a future where he has everything to lose? With Lila, his whole heart is on the line for the very first time. But if Ethan can't give her the promise she needs, his greatest fear might come true: he'll lose Lila for good.


I love this series and I love Lila and Ethan. I was so happy when these two got their own book and loved watching them fall for each other. As with all of the books in this series, I, of course, wanted more. This novella gives us a glimpse of Lila and Ethan's road trip and I loved watching these two overcome that last hurtles in their relationship. While I had no doubts that these two were the real deal, I enjoyed watching the two of them, despite the hang ups caused by their pasts, fully embrace their forever.

The History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein

The snowman is perhaps one of the most endearing symbols of the holiday season. Often referred to as the "King of Kitch," one can find the image of the snowman plastered on anything from snow globes to sweaters, and everything in between. I have to admit that I have never once thought about where the snowman came from. He has always been one of those icons that has always been there in the background. 

Like so many before me, I too can remember making snowmen on those glorious days when the snow would free us from the inside of the schoolroom. Perhaps it is because the snowman is such a nonthreatening image, that I have never given a thought as to it's origins.

In his book, Bob Eckstein traces the history of the snowman through the various mediums - art, music, advertising, books, etc - in which the snowman has appeared, resulting in a humorous narrative full of some surprising findings. This is a fun and enjoyable holiday read.

The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater

Mr. Darcy is my ultimate book boyfriend. No one holds a candle to him in my heart, but his inner thoughts have always proven illusive, as Jane Austen never made us privy to them in Pride and Prejudice. When I came across this novel, I jumped at the chance to step inside my literary crush's head. My expectations might have been too high, however. I was left rather disappointed by this one.

The Darcy in my head far out paced the Darcy of this book. I found Slater's Darcy rather dull, with the many of his entries consisting of detailed descriptions of what he ate that day. There was an attempt to add some spice with mentions of Darcy's trysts with chambermaids and his attempt to help Bingley get over Jane by setting him up with a kept woman. While not unfathomable, I didn't like the idea of some of my most beloved characters acting in such a manner. It is hardly consistent with the idealized version (complete with pedestal) that I have in my head.

After Darcy's first failed proposal, the novel did pick up a little steam for me, but not enough to make this a worthwhile read. While not the worst I've ever read, I cannot say that you will be missing anything if you don't pick this one up. 

The Beautifully Broken Series by Courtney Cole

"To anyone who knows what it's like to be broken and to everyone who is stronger because of it."

Book I: If You Stay
Pax Tate is an asshole, and he knows it. He embraces it. After the death of his mother, Pax's life has spiraled. He uses drugs and woman to fill the void, to avoid feeling the pain of a past that he can't remember, but haunts him. He is content to live in oblivion, until he meets Mila Hill.

Mila never could imagine the turn her life would take when she comes across Pax on the beach, near death from an overdose. The connection between Pax and Mila is strong, and Mila finds herself wanting to save Pax.

As Pax and Mila fall for each other, Pax knows that he has to find a way to face his past and deal with it. When the dark secrets from his past are finally revealed, Pax resorts to his assholian tendencies and shuts Mila out. Mila does her best to be there for him, but his coldness drives her away. When he realizes that he may have just driven away the only good thing in his life, Pax sets out to tackle his demons once and for all and give Mila a reason to stay.

Loved this book! Despite Pax's assholian behavior, it was clear from the beginning that it was all just a front to cover up a beautifully broken soul. I loved Pax and all of his tattooed swagger. He is a character teetering on the edge - one step away from darkness, one from light. Mila is his saving grace. This story got me - hook, line, and sinker - from the very beginning. It was angsty, full of plenty of steamy scenes, and of course, had a swoon worthy male lead who is redeemed by love. What more could a girl ask for? A happy ending? It's got that too.


Book II: If You Leave
Former Army Ranger, Gabriel Vincent, has a dark secret, a demon that followed him home from Afghanistan. He is content to keep everyone at an arms length. Then he meets Madison Hill. A chance encounter goes awry and Madison catches a glimpse of the demon haunting Gabe. He is happy to pretend like nothing happened, believing that he will never see Maddy again.

When Jacey, Maddy's friend, tells her that her brother is coming to visit, Maddy never expects Gabe to walk through her restaurant's door. Maddy, bent on proving that she doesn't need anyone, tries to ignore the connection between her and Gabe. It is clear that Gabe's got issues, and the last thing Maddy needs is a messed up relationship like her parents had.

Despite their vows to stay away, Gabe and Maddy are drawn to each other. The closer they get, the harder Gabe struggles to keep his demons at bay. When Gabe unconsciously lashes out at Maddy, he knows that the safest thing for him to do is leave. But in doing so, Gabe will face the most important decision of his life: leave and stay away forever or leave and finally face the demon that haunts him, and pray that Madison will give him another chance.

I loved this one even more than the first book. I've always has a soft spot in my heart for men in uniform, and Gabe is the perfect solider. It breaks my heart to see soldiers coming back with PTSD, damaged by the things they are asked to do while defending our freedom and safety. It was heart warming to see him redeemed by love and reach a place where he was able to forgive himself. I know that not everyone reaches that place in the real world. This is an intense story, much more than If You Stay. I couldn't put it down and I wanted a happy ending for this couple so badly. Thankfully, that's exactly what I got.


Book II.V: Until We Burn
Dominic Kinkaide is damaged. While living in the public eye, no one knows the real Dominic. He covets the darkness, prefers to stay detached, seeks the depraved, because he knows that he doesn't deserve better. This short novella is meant to introduce us to Dominic and give us a glimpse into this life, which is very dark. While the reasons behind his darkness are not revealed, it is clear that this sexy-as-sin bad boy is damaged goods. He's in the same vein as Christian Grey, without the mommy issues. I think you can take this novella or leave it. You can enjoy Dominic's book without having read it, but I do think it adds to the understanding to his character.


Book III: Before We Fall
Dominic Kinkaide's life changed forever when he was a senior in high school. Now he is haunted by a past he can never escape. As one of Hollywood's golden boys, everyone recognizes Dominic, but no one really knows him. He has shut himself off to real connection, choosing to stay in the shadows of life. 

Jacey Vincent is always looking for love in the wrong places. Ignored by her father, Jacey seeks affection in the arms of any man willing to give her the time of day. After a tragic accident that puts her loser ex-boyfriend in jail, Jacey is determined to get her life back on track, to make better decisions. Dominic Kinkaide is exactly the type of guy she knows she needs to stay away from, but the connection between the two is undeniable.

As Dominic falls for Jacey, he will be forced to confront the ghosts of his past, exposing the truth once and for all.

This is another great one. Dominic and Jacey's story is another intense one, but in a different way than If You Leave. This is a dark story and contains plenty of situations that are reminiscent of 50 Shades. Dominic is clearly a damaged and haunted soul and there are plenty of surprises in this story, particularly as the truth of what really happened to Dominic is revealed. This is another page turner with a happy ending. 

I highly recommend this series if you enjoy angsty romances with damaged guys who are ultimately redeemed by love. I sincerely hope that Courtney Cole is planning to continue this series. There are a few other characters (Gabe's friend, Brandon and Dominic's brother, Sin) who I would love to see get their own books. I haven't seen any announcements for more books, so I guess for now I will have to keep my fingers crossed and just hope.


Falling for a Bentley by Adriana Law

"We are all broken in some way. But it's all the shattered pieces that give us depth. Like a stained glass, it's how the pieces and colors that fit together that truly makes us beautiful."

Not every story is a fairytale.

Victoria Anderson has spent her whole life feeling invisible. She used to like it that way, giving into her mother’s demands without a fight. Now that she’s ready to fly free, no one can see or hear who she really is...

Until Sterling.

Sterling Bentley is determined not to fall for his cousin’s girl. If his past taught him one thing, it’s that love has no meaning. His life has been an empty, black void for so long, that he’s ready to let it take him. Hell, he’s ready to dive straight down. But he can see the fire that Victoria hides inside, and it beckons him. And he has to wonder…

Can two broken people fit together?

The more Sterling knows about Victoria, the more he knows he’s no good for her. He does everything he can to push her away, but Victoria isn’t about to let go of the one person who gave her the courage to finally live her own dreams — no matter how dark a place those dreams lead her.


I really enjoyed this novel, in fact, I couldn't put it down. I gave myself a book hanger staying up till 2 AM to finish it. The story is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and has plenty of angst to go around. The characters where beautifully broken, especially Sterling. My heart ached for him and I wanted a happy ending for him desperately. Thankfully, I was quite pleased with how the novel ended. I don't know if this was a self-published novel or not, but there were quite a few grammatical and mechanical issues throughout the novel. Normally this would drive me insane, but I was so invested in this story that I was able to overlook the obvious flaws. Fair warning, this novel does deal with some pretty heavy topics - abuse and drug use - so it's not for everyone. However, if you are willing to to give this book a chance, I don't think you will be disappointed.


Falling for a Bentley is a stand alone novel, but there is a spin off novel involving Sterling's brother, Sawyer. It is scheduled for release in January, 2014. Check out the cover and blurb below.

Always protected by his older brother, Sawyer Bentley wants to be the one doing the protecting for a change which is why he went into law enforcement. Everything is going according to the plan: cool apartment overlooking the city, the satisfying career, a slobbering St. Bernard to share his bed with and the perfect hassle free lifestyle as one of Los Angeles sexiest, unattainable bachelors. Until one night tests his integrity and loyalty for what matters most…his job.

Even the nick name hides the truth of who she really is. After losing the only man she has ever loved, her unborn child, and her dreams of a happily-ever-after Starr does the unthinkable…she uses again. As her carefully maintained illusion of recovery begins to crumble around her she is brutally attacked, ending with her attacker in a coma and unable to voice what really happened.

Starr says it was self-defense.

Sawyer’s not so sure.

Talk about being in the wrong place at wrong time--being the first cop on the scene Sawyer is expected to give his testimony in court of exactly what he witnessed that night, problem is he’s not so sure what he walked up on and to find out the truth, he will have to spend time with the one woman he vowed to stay away from …his brother’s EX.

Starr's fate rest in Sawyers hands. Can Los Angeles sexiest bachelor handle catching a fallen Starr?

A Beautiful Wedding (Beautiful Disaster #2.5) by Jamie McGuire

You know that Abby Abernathy unexpectedly became Mrs. Maddox. But what do you really know?

Why did Abby pop the question?
What secrets were shared before the ceremony?
Where did they spend their wedding night?
Who else knew about it . . . and didn’t tell?

Everything about Abby and Travis’s elopement was top-secret . . . until now. Fans of Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster will get all of their questions answered in this whirlwind tale of the wedding day (and night!)—and as with all good stories, this one will definitely have been worth the wait.


This is a fun little novella that gives us a little more insight into the wedding of Abby and Travis, as well as a (brief) look into the future. I enjoyed this story, and at 160 pages, it is a fairly decent sized novella. There were a lot of really sweet and touching moments, especially those involving Travis's mom. There are no surprises that lead me to believe there will be anymore to Abby and Travis's story. If you are a fan of the Beautiful Disaster series, then you will enjoy this one. 


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Narrated by Death, The Book Thief tells the story of a small German town of Molching during World War II. Next to her brother's grave site, Liesel Meminger will encounter something that will change her life forever - a book. This is her first act of book thievery.

With the help of her foster father, Liesel learns to read and finds a new passion - words. This passion will lead Liesel to many more acts of book thievery. She shares these words with her neighbors during bomb raids and with the Jewish man her family is hiding in the basement. In this dangerous time, surrounded by tragedy and death, words will become Liesel's lifeline.

This book is AMAZING. It is one of those books that latches onto your soul. A book that will change you. I couldn't put it down. Even though the book is over 500 pages long, I flew through it. Seen through the eyes of Death, this POV provides a truly unique reading experience, fitting for the time period of the story. This book made me laugh and it made me cry. I grew to love each of the characters. It is beautifully written and well crafted. It is storytelling at it's best.

Now a major motion picture...


The Ever After of Ella and Micha (The Secret #4) by Jessica Sorensen

When Ella leaves Micha standing at the alter, his worst nightmare seems to have come true. Ella has run away. Again. But while Ella is having second thoughts, it's not about marrying Micha. When a mysterious package appears on their doorstep including a journal that belonged to Ella's mother, Ella finds herself plagued by old doubts. She knows she wants to marry Micha. He is her light in the dark. But now she is having second thoughts about marrying Micha without their families.

So Ella and Micha head back to Star Grove, where it all started. As Ella comes to terms with the journal, Micha gets offered the chance of a lifetime - to tour with his favorite bands for three months. Accepting the tour means leaving Ella behind for three months, something that Micha doesn't want to do. But can he really ask her to give up school and her job to come with him?

Ella and Micha know that they are meant to be together. However, happily-ever-afters aren't always easy. Ella and Micha will once again have to overcome their fears and doubts, face challenges head on, and fight for their love if they are going to have the future they want.

"It's because of those things that I know that you'll walk up that aisle that Lila's going to make you walk up, say your vows, kiss me, and then we'll have our happy, sad, sometimes good, sometimes bad, crazy, bumpy, intense, worth-the-journey ever after."


This is the perfect conclusion to this love story. Ever After is not nearly as angsty as the previous novels, but I don't think it needed to be. If there were ever two people made for each other, it's Ella and Micha. It offers us glimpses into the past - the first time Ella and Micha met, how their friendship grew, when they realized they had feelings for each other. These moments were heartwarming and sweet, and serve to affirm that these two really are soul mates and meant to be together. This book was about healing and moving forward. I loved watching these two characters finally get the ending that they deserve. Jessica does a perfect job of wrapping up their story and I feel completely content with where we leave Ella and Micha.


Up next in the series...
Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always - expected release December 24, 2013

Lila Summers just wants to know one thing for certain: that Ethan Gregory will be with her always. Once her friend, he's become so much more, melting the pain of her past away with each kiss. Now Lila is on a road trip with Ethan, in the wilderness under the stars, and she can't imagine her life without him. But when she talks about the future, something in Ethan changes . . .

Ethan has no doubts about his feelings for Lila. His life with her gets better every day-and that's the scary part. How can he walk into a future where he has everything to lose? With Lila, his whole heart is on the line for the very first time. But if Ethan can't give her the promise she needs, his greatest fear might come true: he'll lose Lila for good.

Living the Dream by Daniel Floyd

I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. The reason is not always clear, and oftentimes isn't clear until sometime after the occurrence. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and while I have always believed in God, I never really felt connected to my church. I had faith, just no connection to the institution, the religion. I also had a tough childhood. While it wasn't all bad, there were times when it was downright miserable and it certainly had a profound affect on me and my faith. I stopped going to church, except on Christmas and Easter. In many ways, I felt abandoned by God.

This went on for years, until my best friend convinced me to go to LifePoint Church. I was hesitant at first because I have been to similar churches and they just never felt right. LifePoint couldn't have been any different from the traditional stand-sit-kneel of the Catholic Church. It was slightly overwhelming, but I felt more at home there than I ever did in the church I grew up in. When I heard Pastor Daniel preach that day, I swear he was preaching to me. It almost brought me to tears. I have been attending LifePoint for a little over two months now, and I know that God was acting through my friend. Before I felt disconnected, couldn't relate to the sermons I was hearing, and I felt faraway from God. While I don't pretend to have everything figured out, I can say that I am further along in my faith journey now than I ever was before.

A lot of that has to do with Pastor Daniel and his amazing ability to "unpack" the lessons of the Bible in a way that is both relatable and understandable. I used to leave church feeling like nothing the priest said related to me and my life. At times I had trouble understanding sermons that were bogged down in dogma. Not the case with Pastor Daniel. Each week I walk away with something. Something that makes me think, that clarifies something, that gives me hope. I also appreciate the fact that he doesn't pretend to be perfect, that he is honest with his own struggles in faith. I used to resent the "holier-than-thou" vibe I used to get from the priests. We're all human and we all make mistakes, and I appreciate Pastor Daniel's willingness to recognize that fact, not only in us, but in himself.

This is what led me to pick up his book. I never in a million years expected to have the epiphany that I did while reading this book, but like I said, things always happen for a reason. Once again, Pastor Daniel's straightforward style (mixed with a little humor) led me to a greater understanding. I think that we all have our own personal struggles when it comes to our relationship with God. Mine is trust. I am not a trusting person by nature. I have been disappointed too many times by those around me. I have always felt that there is something holding me back in my faith and now I know what it is. It seems so obvious now, but sometimes you can't see what's right in front of your face. So while, I still have a ways to go, at least now I feel like I have some direction.

If you are interested in learning more about LifePoint or Pastor Daniel, check out http://visitlifepoint.org/

Holy Frigging Matrimony (Tangles #1.5) by Emma Chase

Picking up about a year after Tangled, this delightful short story has Drew and Kate attending the wedding of their friends, Dee Dee and Matthew. Drew is back in all his sexy and sarcastic glory. He is just as devilish and full of fantastic one-liners as ever. This was a fun little read. I always enjoy getting caught up in Drew's head.


I'm excited for what's next in the series...We can expect Twisted (Tangled #2) in March, 2014. No cover yet, but here is the blurb. Enjoy!

There are two kinds of people in the world. The ones who look first, and the ones who leap. I’ve always been more of a looker. Cautious. A planner. That changed after I met Drew Evans. He was so persistent. So sure of himself – and of me.

But not all love stories end happily ever after. Did you think Drew and I were going to ride off into the sunset? Join the club. Now I have to make a choice, the most important of my life. Drew already made his –in fact, he tried to decide for the both of us. But you know that’s just not my style. So I came back to Greenville. Alone. Well, sort of alone....

What I've come to realize is that old habits die hard and sometimes you have to go back to where you began, before you can move ahead.

TWISTED picks up two years after Tangled’s end, and is told from Kate’s POV.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (but can be read on its own) tells the story of Huck Finn, the lovable friend of Tom Sawyer. When his deadbeat father returns to town seeking Huck's fortune, Huck fakes his own death and set off up the Mississippi River. Along the way he meets up with Jim, a runaway slave, who he decides to help make it to freedom. Traveling up the Mississippi, Huck and Jim encounter many unexpected surprises and adventures.

I remember reading Huck Finn for the first time when I was in middle school and I loved it. It is a great American classic. Most people know Huck and his story even if they haven't read the book. Rereading it as an adult, I think that I am better able to appreciate the complexities of the story better. When I read it as a young teen, it was just an entertaining story. Now as an adult, I can appreciate Twain's use of satire, see the deeper connections to race, and see the literary artistry of Twain's writing. It's interesting to me that Twain originally intended this novel for adults and was dismayed when it became a hit with younger generations. I can understand this, as I certainly missed many of the things Twain set out to accomplish with Huck Finn as a youngster. I don't think as a young teenager I had the ability to truly appreciate the genius that is Mark Twain.

But even as an adult, I still very much enjoyed the story. I've always preferred Huck to Tom Sawyer. I find his practicality and rough edges endearing, because his heart is good. There are many reasons why Huck Finn is such an enduring classic, but for me it's the characters, the themes of friendship and loyalty, that bring me back to the story.


Right Now (Moment #2) by Marie Hall

Since he was six years old, Alexander Donovan has had one purpose – to watch out for his cousin, Ryan. After watching his own father commit a heinous act against Ryan, Alex makes it his life mission to keep Ryan from falling apart. Now that Ryan has Lili, he doesn’t need Alex the same way anymore, and Alex finds himself lost. His life has no direction and no purpose. Alex wants to move on from the past. He is seeing a shrink, trying to do better, but the more he tries, the more adrift he feels.

Until he meets Zoe Stone. Zoe is unlike any woman Alex has ever known. She makes him laugh and smile, but most importantly, she sees past the mask to the real him. Alex knows that Zoe is a game changer, but with his propensity towards self-sabotage, Alex could drive away the only thing that would make life worth living. How can she possibly love him if she knew the truth?

Zoe Stone never thought she would see Alex “The Golden Adonis” Donovan again. Back in high school, she pined for the day when he might glance her way. Alex always fascinated Zoe. Even then she could see that the laid back and jovial exterior hid darkness and pain. When Alex walks into Zoe’s tattoo parlor, she instantly recognizes him, even if he has no clue who she is. The connection between the two is instantaneous and intense, but Zoe has no intention of being just another notch. As the two fall deeper and deeper, Zoe fears that Alex will continue to push her away and never let her in.

When his father reappears in his life with a startling announcement, Alex is forced to confront his past. As the drama comes to a head, Alex faces the ultimate decision – Does he let Zoe in? Tell her the ugly truth? Or lose her forever?


I loved A Moment. Marie’s writing is angsty, emotional, and perfect for new adult romance lovers. While I loved Ryan’s story, I also fell for his cousin, Alex, and I was thrilled to find out that he was getting his own book. Right Now gives us a much deeper insight into Alex and he comes across as a much more complex character in this book than he does in the first. My heart ached for Alex. Here is this man who has lost his purpose and feels immense guilt over something he had no control over, not recognizing that he was a child and a victim too.

For me, Right Now is even better than A Moment. I couldn’t put it down and Marie had me from the very first page. Alex’s story was a roller coaster of a journey. It was torturous at times, leaving a pit in my stomach that these two characters might not end up together. For every step forward, Alex took five steps back and I have to give props to Zoe for being willing to sick around. I really liked Zoe as a character. She was spunky and remarkably comfortable in her own skin (minus a few instances, but these humanized her) and just a perfect partner for Alex. She saw the real him and called him on his bullshit, which I totally appreciated.

This is a fantastic series that I highly recommend. There is a third book in the works – Tor and Jaime’s story – but no details on the title or release date yet.


I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

Born in 1997, Malala Yousafzai grew up in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She watched as her peaceful valley was taken over by the Taliban, religious extremists. Malala originally dreamed of becoming a doctor, but when the Taliban began banning and destroying school for girls, she found her purpose in life – to stand up for women’s education. Following in the footsteps of her outspoken father, who also ran the girl’s school that Malala attended, she began speaking out and giving speeches against the Taliban’s ban on education for girls.

In October, 2012, Malala was shot in the head by a would be assassin. Now living in Birmingham, England, Malala continues to campaign for education. I Am Malala recounts the events leading up to her being shot and through her recovery.

I remembering hearing about this story in the news and being absolutely appalled that anything like this could happen in the 21st Century. When it was announced that she was writing a book, I instantly added it to my “to-read” shelf. I was excited when my book club decided to make it our book of the month and decided to pick up the audiobook for my drive home over the Thanksgiving break. I have to admit that I while I do like audiobooks, I much prefer a hardcopy or ebook. The problem for me with an audiobook is that sometimes my attention wanders and it becomes almost background noise until I recall myself. I also don’t always like the voice of the person doing the narration. I didn’t have much of an issue with either of these things while listening to this book. The prologue is read by Malala herself and the rest of the book is read by Archie Panjabi, who sounds quite similar to Malala. I enjoyed listening to this book and it certainly made my 8 hour trip pass much easier.

Malala is an amazing young woman and I am truly in awe of her. Although I have never experienced anything remotely close to her story, as a teacher and woman I can relate to her story. I too believe that education is a right and that it should not be denied to anyone. I don’t necessarily believe that attending college is a right, but do believe that every effort should be made to make it affordable for those who chose to attend. As a teacher, I believe that knowledge truly is power. It is one of the most important forces in the world and when you strip people of the right to an education, you take from them the chance to fully understand themselves and the world around them and confine them to second-class citizenship.

As a woman, I have experienced inequality personally. It still astonishes me that we have come so far, but still have work to do. Even in the United States, woman (and many other groups) still struggle for equal treatment under the law. However, I still hold out hope. The struggle for equality has always been a long one. It can be seen time and time again throughout our history. What gives me hope is that we eventually get there. African Americans weren’t always equal, but they are now. Women didn’t always have the vote, but they do now. Equality in my country is not perfect, but the possibility for change is always there. It just requires work, and as people continue to work and push forward, I believe that we will continue to see more and more equality.

What saddens me most about stories like Malala’s is the use of religion for destructive purposes. I am a religious person. I believe in God, go to church, and try to live my life with goodwill towards all. For me, religion has always been a unifying force. It has always been a source of community for me. A place of solace, comfort and family. Unfortunately, every religion has extremists. Those people who take their beliefs to a whole other level. While I have my beliefs, I do not believe in shoving my beliefs down other people's throats, nor do I understand how people can use their faith to justify truly heinous things.

Stories like Malala's are so inspirational. This girl could have given up so many times. She could have given into the pressures of the Taliban. After being shot, she had even more reason to give up, but she didn't. She was placed on this Earth for a reason and I know that there are many more amazing things to come from her. 

Remy (Real #3) by Katy Evans

"Every cell in my body is buzzing with awareness. Every inch of my skin is awake. My muscles feel primed like they do when I'm ready to fight. Except I'm not ready to fight now. I'm ready to go get my mate. God help her."

Remington “Riptide” Tate is every woman’s fantasy. King of the underground fighting circuit, Remy is a powerful force used to getting what he wants. And from the moment he lays eyes on her, Remy wants Brooke Dumas. The desire he feels for Brooke is unlike anything he has ever experienced. 

He not only wants her physically, but he wants to protect her, to take care of her, to make her his forever. The problem is that Remy is hiding a secret. A secret that has already caused him to lose things in the past. A secret Remy fears will drive Brooke away forever. Remy knows what he and Brooke have is real and he’s never been so determined to fight for it.

We saw Remy and Brooke’s love story through her eyes, now see it through Remy’s eyes.

*Note: I recommend reading Real and Mine before reading Remy, as it contains spoilers.


Remington Tate is one of my favorite book boyfriends and I can’t sing his praises enough. I love everything about this character and can’t get enough. When I heard that Katy was going to be releasing a book from Remy’s perspective, I couldn’t click the pre-order button fast enough. Needless to say, my expectations for this one were sky high. The day it arrived in the mail, I grabbed it from my mailbox (I might have done a happy dance…) and instantly sat down to read. A few hours later, I was finished and I wasn’t disappointed.

I did feel like there were some events that were brushed over, but Remy is a man of few words, so it makes sense that his recollections would not be very verbose. Other times were during his “black” periods and it makes sense that he would not recall much. Nothing that wasn’t included was significant enough to make me lament its exclusion. All in all, the only complaint that I really have is that it was too short, but I will always want more when it comes to Remington Tate.


Up next in the Real Series…

Ripped (Real #4) – April, 2014
Pandora, the gothic friend of Brooke (Real, Mine, Remy) thought that getting her heart broken by her bad boy rocker ex could only happen once. But now, he’s back in town with the biggest concert of the year. Pandora hates him so much that she gets Melanie to come with her and play a prank on him at his gig. But when they are caught by security, and her ex himself is summoned, he decides not to press charges if she’ll follow certain conditions. Pandora likes none of his rules, or that he’s in charge of her, especially since they seem designed to make sure she’s in close contact with him again. But the closeness reignites the passion they once shared, and soon no matter how much she wants to hate him, it’s clear she’s still hung up on him. And worse: he knows it too.

Raw (Real #5) – September, 2014
Melanie’s story


Forgiving Lies (Forgiving Lies #1) by Molly McAdams

Forgiving lies are “usually lies you tell people to protect them or be polite…They’re the kind of lies that people forgive and forget about because they are so minor.”

Sent to Texas along with his partner, Mason, to work on a murder case after their cover is blown and drug dealers order a hit on their lives, Logan “Kash” Ryan can’t afford any distractions. He has a job to do – catch a serial murderer before he finds his next victim.

What he doesn’t expect is to fall hard and fast for his next-door neighbor, Rachel Masters. He is drawn in by her feisty attitude and soon discovers it is really a shield behind which she hides dark secrets. As Kash works to break down Rachel’s shields, his guilt grows. Kash has to keep his real identity and job secret from Rachel. It’s the only way to protect her, but he also knows that the longer he goes without telling her the truth, the greater the chance he has of losing her.

Rachel Masters’s goal for the summer is just to survive and move on. After being violated by someone she knew and trusted, Rachel would rather be alone than trust another guy. There is just something about Kash that she can’t resist. He sees through all her shields, makes her feel things she never felt before. 

"But when people tell harmful lies, or ones that can shatter trusts, and the other person finds out about them…they always say what they did was unforgivable."

As Rachel’s past and Kash’s current case clash, Rachel’s safety is threatened and all the secrets and lies are revealed. Rachel’s trust is shattered and she finds that she doesn’t know Kash as well as she thought she did. Will she forgive him for lying? Can she learn to trust him again? Or will he lose her forever


While I love Molly McAdams, I am always hesitant to pick up one of her books, as they usually contain a torturous love triangle and cause me to out and out ugly cry. Don’t get me wrong - I love that. I usually just have to mentally prepare myself for an emotional roller coaster ride. Not the case with Forgiving Lies. In fact, this book is quite a departure from all the previous novels that I have read by Molly. I really enjoyed this novel and Kash is quite the leading man. What can I say? I’m a complete sucker for tattoos and a lip ring. He was the perfect match for Rachel, whose feisty attitude and sarcastic comments made her the perfect counterbalance.She is a character that I could see myself hanging with. Rachel was by far Molly’s most developed female character.

The plot was somewhat predictable, but there were some surprises thrown in that I didn’t see coming. It was still emotional, but not torturous, and had just enough sexual tension and angst to make it worth reading. I liked how it switched perspectives, giving us insight into both Rachel’s and Kash’s heads.

There is an ominous cliffhanger, which has me excited for the next one. However after reading the synopsis (see below), I am a little worried that a love triangle will be introduced, which I’m pretty sure will ruin the experience of this series for me. Rachel and Kash are clearly meant to be together and I hope that she doesn’t completely unravel this couple. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until March to find out...


Coming Soon…Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies #2)
Expected release: March, 2014

Rachel is supposed to be planning her wedding to Kash, the love of her life. After the crazy year they've had, she's ready to settle down and live a completely normal life. Well, as normal as it can be. But there's something else waiting—something threatening to tear them apart.

Kash is ready for it all with Rach. Especially if all includes having a football team of babies with his future wife. With his line of work, he knows how short life can be, and doesn't want to waste another minute of theirs. But now his past as an undercover narcotics agent has come back to haunt him ... and it's the girl he loves who's caught in the middle.

Trent Cruz's orders are clear: take the girl. But there's something about this girl that has him changing the rules and playing a dangerous game to keep her safe. When his time as Rachel's protector runs out, he will turn his back on the only life he's known, and risk everything, if it means getting her out alive.


Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

The world Tris grew up in no longer exists. The factions are shattered. A struggle for power has Chicago on the brink of violence. The revelations revealed in the message from Tris's ancestor has her looking for answers outside the fence surrounding the only world she has ever known. She, Tobias, and a small band of friends, set out to discover the truth about what lays beyond the fence. What she finds will shatter everything she thought she knew. It will cause her to question herself and those she loves, to face hard truths, and forever change the course of her life.

The finale of this series left me completely heartbroken. I loved the first two books. They were action packed and I couldn't put them down. I loved the characters - Tris, Tobias, Christina, Uriah, all of them. I found myself rooting for them, crying along with them, and hoping that everything would be okay in the end. I knew there would be sacrifices; there always are in these books, but I was unprepared for the ending of this book. The pace of this book moved slower than the others, almost like it was dragging it's feet towards an ending it didn't want to face. I felt like it took forever for something to happen, but when it did, I found myself wishing that it didn't. There were a lot of revelations and a lot less action in this book. I anticipated this book and had high expectations for it after the other two. I wanted a happy ending. I always want a happy ending. And while the ending brought peace, I'm not sure that it really brought happiness. In the end, I was left disappointed. I so badly wanted a happy ending for this series and these characters, but unfortunately, that's not what I got. And maybe that's the point. You don't always get what you want. 


Mine (Real #2) by Katy Evans

"The heart is a hollow muscle, and it will beat billions of times during our lives. About the size of a fist, it has four chambers: two atria and two ventricles. How this muscle can house something as encompassing as love is beyond me. Is this heart the one that loves? Or do you love with your soul, which is infinite?"

Brooke Dumas never imagined that she would find love with the man every woman wants – Remington “Riptide” Tate, the golden boy of the underground fighting scene – but she did. For better or worse, Remy is her “Real.” As the new underground season begins, Brooke and Remy are determined to take back what Remy gave up for her last season – the championship and the chance to defeat Remy’s archrival, the Scorpion. 

But sometimes happily-ever-afters aren’t so happy. New challenges, old demons and insecurities will threaten to tear Brooke and Remy apart. Nevertheless, they are both determined to hold on to the only thing that is real.

"Mind. Body. Soul. All of you for me. All of you mine."

I only have 3 words…Remington F’ing Tate! This man is my every fantasy wrapped up in one and definitely makes the top 5 on my book boyfriend list. I cannot get enough of this series and these characters. I LOVE Remy. He is a ball of contradictions. Powerful, yet vulnerable. Hard, but soft. Dominating, yet giving. He’s beautifully broken and I can’t help but get all fan girl when I think about him.

The plot of Mine was fairly predictable, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t put it down. All my favorite characters were back and Katy delivers a surprising poignant and profound love story. Talk about unconditional love….Brooke and Remy are enough to make anyone believe in soul mates and true love, and deliver that warm and fuzzy feeling that a good romance always leaves me with.

Mine delivers on all the things that I loved in Real. There is plenty of action, some angst, and plenty of steamy scenes. All in all, it is an excellent sequel that only left me wanting more. Good thing Katy plans on releasing at least 3 more books in this series. I’ve already pre-ordered mine and I am especially impatient for Remy (Real #3) which is Real from Remy’s POV. My love for all things Remy has my expectations sky high, so I’m hoping that it will be as epic as I imagine.

Coming Up…

Remy (Real #3) - Real told from Remy’s POV. Release date: November 26th
Underground fighter Remington Tate is a mystery, even to himself. His mind is dark and light, complex and enlightening. At times his actions and moods are carefully measured, and at others, they spin out of control.

Through it all, there's been one constant: wanting, needing, loving, and protecting Brooke Dumas. This is his story; from the first moment he laid eyes on her and knew, without a doubt, she would be the realest thing he's ever had to fight for.

Ripped (Real #4) – Pandora’s story - expected release April, 2014
Pandora, the gothic friend of Brooke (Real, Mine, Remy) thought that getting her heart broken by her bad boy rocker ex could only happen once. But now, he’s back in town with the biggest concert of the year. Pandora hates him so much that she gets Melanie to come with her and play a prank on him at his gig. But when they are caught by security, and her ex himself is summoned, he decides not to press charges if she’ll follow certain conditions. Pandora likes none of his rules, or that he’s in charge of her, especially since they seem designed to make sure she’s in close contact with him again. But the closeness reignites the passion they once shared, and soon no matter how much she wants to hate him, it’s clear she’s still hung up on him. And worse: he knows it too.

Raw (Real #5) - Melanie's story - expected release September, 2014

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of 15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone, an autistic boy, who discovers the dead body of Wellington, his neighbor’s dog. Following in the footsteps of his favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes, Christopher sets off to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington. In the process, he will uncover an even greater mystery that will rock his carefully ordered world.

I really enjoyed this book. Haddon does a fantastic job creating a believable character with Christopher. Seeing the world through his eyes was intriguing and added a unique element to the narrative. There were some surprise twists in Christopher’s investigation that took me by surprise and the mystery surrounding the death of the dog, Wellington, turns out to be much more complex than I expected it to be, bring to light some interesting insights on relationships and family.


Down To You by Addison Kline

Holly Edgemont thought she had the perfect life – a beautiful home, three wonderful kids, and an adoring husband. She never imagined the turn her life would take. Two years later, Holly finds herself divorced and facing a Christmas (her favorite holiday) utterly alone, as her children are going out of town with Holly’s ex-husband, Brant.

Sloane, Holly’s best friend, is determined that Holly have a little fun this Christmas and drags her to a holiday party where Holly meets up with Chris, the best man at her wedding to Brant. Holly is still very much in love with Brant, but finds herself wondering if it isn’t time to start moving on from him.

Two years ago, Brant made the worst mistake of his life. Unable to deal with devastating news, he walked out on his family. He never stopped loving Holly and has tried to reconnect without success. Now he fears he is running out of time. Desperate, Brant plots to make one more grand gesture, in the hopes that he can win his family back.


I am a sucker for a good romance. Add Christmas to the mix and you pretty much have me hook, line, and sinker. This was not the case with Down To You. I wanted to LOVE this book, but I just didn’t. I loved the idea of the story line and I loved Holly and Brant. I thought their love story was very sweet, but somewhat lacking and underdeveloped.
I was expecting (and wanting) a whole lot more angst. These two people, who are clearly soul mates, spent two years apart, but their reunion was just a little too simple for me. There was no heartfelt conversation during which Brant explains himself and Holly expresses the betrayal she felt. This just didn’t feel right to me. You spend two years apart – pining for each other and miserable – but when you finally reconcile you don’t talk it out? Really? It felt like Holly just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay,” and the two of them moved on without addressing the enormous elephant in the room.

The whole story line with Chris also seemed somewhat forced and unnecessarily dragged out. It was clear that he was never really a contender for Holly’s affections and yet he suddenly turns into a creeper who can’t take a hint? His reappearance towards the end of the novel just seemed superfluous. It might have been an attempt to infuse some much needed angst into the novel, but to me, it just fell a little flat.

The saving grace of this book is the ending. Just like any hopeless romantic, I like my romances to end with a happily ever after that leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Down To You currently delivers in this aspect. So in the end, this book was just okay for me. If you are looking for a simple, sweet holiday romance, then this will probably be up your alley. If you are like me and prefer your romances to be a bit more complex and angst filled, then you may be disappointed.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal ~ Seeking Her by Cora Carmack

Book Lover's Paradise is thrilled to bring you the cover for Seeking Her by Cora Carmack. If you are anything like me, then you fell head over heals with Jackson Hunt in Finding It. Now, we get to see things through his eyes. I'm super excited for this one! Is it January 28th yet??


A few months after being honorably discharged from the military, Jackson Hunt is still struggling to adjust back to the real world. He needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he’s going to keep his own demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.

Bodyguard (and baby-sitter) to spoiled-rich-girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he’d been looking for, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away from the home that has felt stifling ever since his return. It would be a pretty sweet gig if it weren’t for the fact that Kelsey’s father doesn’t want Kelsey to know she’s being followed. Hunt feels guilty (and a little bit creepy) as he watches her from afar. She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When he sees her falling into the same patterns that he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know her is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her,the more he wants her.


The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City weaves together the story of the World's Fair that was held in Chicago in 1893 and the tale of a serial killer who used the Fair to lure in his victims. This is the second book that I have read by Erik Larson and I have to say that I really enjoy his writing style. Some people criticize this style of writing as sensationalism and question it's historical value. I, however, find it entertaining and engaging.

Let's face it. History can be boring. I think all of us can recall a high school history teacher who spent their time boring us to tears. We are always looking for ways to make history "come alive," and I think that Larson accomplishes this quite well. Yes, I do think that there is some sensationalism and I'm sure that Larson had to take some creative license. Nevertheless, his work is also meticulously researched. His citations are primary sources and he mentions in his notes that he does not use the internet to do research. The result is a book that reads more like a mystery novel than a dry historical narrative.

For all you history buffs out there, I recommend that you give Larson a chance.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a French existential classic about a man named Meursault. Meursault is a man who lives on the fringes of society, who values the truth and refuses to lie. This novel is the perfect example of Camus's philosophical idea of absurdity, meaning that individual lives and human existence have no rational meaning or order, despite our attempts to seek and create meaning and order. The idea that humans can create order when none exists is where the term "absurdity" comes from.

"Absurd" is the perfect word to describe this novel. There is no rhyme or reason to this book or Meursault's behavior or thoughts. When I finished reading this book, I was left with a feeling of indifference, which could have been the whole point. It would be very easy to become frustrated trying to figure this book out, but to me it wasn't worth the effort of even trying to understand it. I can appreciate the literary value of this novel, but I can't say that I really enjoyed this book. I felt no connection to the characters and therefore had a hard time engaging in the story and the lives of the characters. Because of this, I was not invested in the story and at the end all I could do was shrug my shoulders and move on. There was no lingering sentiment. Closing this book was as easy as changing the TV channel. 


Blog Tour ~ Now Or Never (Fight or Flight #2) by Jamie Canosa

Book Lover's Paradise is happy to host a stop on Jamie Canosa's Now Or Never blog tour. Keep reading to learn more about Jamie, a review of Now Or Never and an awesome giveaway!


Meet Jamie Canosa - author of Now Or Never

About the Author
Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.


To move on,
Leave the past behind,
And build a new life with Jay.

That’s all Em wanted. After everything they’d been through together, they were both overdue their ‘happily ever after’. Too bad the world doesn’t work that way. Memories last longer than dreams and Em’s fears continue to plague her both day and night, interfering with that new life she so desperately craves.

To start over,
Secure a future,
And give Em the life she deserves.

That was Jay’s plan, but the past isn’t done with them, yet. While Em still struggles to overcome the ghosts of her past, Jay is forced to come face to face with his. When the skeletons in his closet step back into the light, Jay must decide what he will do—and what he will sacrifice—to protect Em from them.

Against all odds, Em and Jay are on the verge of having everything they’ve ever wanted. They’ve fought for it before, but is their love strong enough to endure any more heartache? The time has come for each of them to choose for themselves whether or not they will allow the past to continue to corrupt their future. And, together, they must decide, will it be . . . NOW OR NEVER?

Purchase Links
Amazon buy link
Goodreads link


They were the missing pieces of each other. She needed him just as much as he needed her. 

Jay and Em thought their troubles were behind them. They had escaped their worst nightmares and come out on the other side together. But reality always has a way of stepping in and things are not as easy as they dreamed. Working themselves to the bone to make ends meet is nothing compared to the old fears that will not release them.

Em struggles daily with the fears of her past, which continue to interfere with the future she is trying to build with Jay. Jay is desperate to provide the future that he promised Em and can't help but feel that he is failing her. Their relationship is put to the ultimate test when Jay's past resurfaces and threatens Em. Jay is forced to make a painful decision, a decision that will leave both him and Em shattered. To Jay, protecting Em is more important, even if that protection means that he could lose Em forever.

His only chance, his only hope of protecting the truly fragile thing that love was, was to keep it as far from him as possible. In Jay's fucked up world, the only true, undeniable power love held was the power to destroy.

As their pasts close in on them, both Jay and Em find themselves plagued by old insecurities and fears. Each struggles to prove that they are strong enough on their own, failing to realize that together they are stronger than they ever will be apart. Can they realize this before they completely shatter each other hearts? Or will the past steal their future forever?

Just when I thought I couldn't love these characters anymore, Jamie delivers this heart-wrenchingly beautiful tale. After finishing Fight Or Flight, I wanted nothing more than to see Jay and Em ride off into the sunset. They deserved the sunset, the happily-ever-after. Hell, they deserved the castle complete with moat, a fairy godmother, magic lamp, and so much more for what they had been through. Unfortunately, life isn't a fairy tale, even in fiction. I knew it was a matter of time before the past caught up with Jay and Em. Pasts like theirs don't simply disappear. They demand to be faced, to be defeated.

"We've both been trying so hard to prove to ourselves that we're strong enough to do things on our own, but I think we were wrong. We're not strong enough alone. And that's okay, because we're not alone. I have you, and you have me, and nothing is going to change that."

This book had me all tied up in emotional knots. It was painful to watch these characters almost lose everything, but beyond gratifying when they realized that all the strength they thought they lacked could be found in the other. Finally, these two characters who deserve nothing but the best, have a real chance. There are many characters who are near and dear to my heart, but Em and Jay are in a category all their own. I never wanted characters or a couple to succeed so much. Love is a complicated thing. Nothing else has the power to both strengthen you and make you vulnerable all at the same time.

"I looked at you and I...I swear I saw a piece of myself. A piece I'd been missing. I can't explain it any better than that...You'd taken this dank, dilapidated hole in the wall unfit for human occupancy and turned it into a home. My home. Simply because you were there."

Jamie had me from the very first word, on the very first page. Now or Never is proof that even the most truest of loves can be tested, that sometimes faith isn't enough, that sometimes relying on someone else isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Once again, my only criticism is that it was too short. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Em and Jay. I want more!!

Up next in the series...
Find out whether Ashlyn and Mason find their own happily-ever-after in Win or Lose

*Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review


And now...A Giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3) by Jessica Sorensen

On the surface, Lila Summers appears to have it all - flawless good looks, expensive clothes, a perfect smile. Below the surface, she is anything but perfect. Struggling to keep the demons of a dark past at bay, she engages in reckless behavior to stay numb and hide the truth. Only one person has ever seen behind the facade - Ethan Gregory.

Ethan is the opposite of everything Lila has been taught to want. He's tattooed, poor, and doesn't give a shit about material things. Thrown together as they helped their best friends, Ella and Micha, get together, Ethan and Lila formed a connection that neither one expected. But Ethan has rules. No relationships. Ethan learned long ago that relationships lead only to heartache. Friendship is all he is willing to offer Lila.

Ethan's resolve will be put to the test as everything in Lila's life begins to crumble. Ethan is determined to be there as her friend, but as they grow closer and closer, Ethan finds it harder and harder not to cross the line. As the line between friendship and love blurs, Lila and Ethan must face the demons of their past and decide once and for all whether the connection they have is worth risking it all for.


This book...I don't even know where to start talking about this book. It was AMAZING! It is PERFECT! After reaching the last page, all I could do was hug my Kindle to my chest. I love these characters and the connection I felt to them was even greater than my connection to Ella and Micha. As far as spin offs go, this is by far one of the best that I have read. Sometimes these books can turn out to be really short fluff pieces, but not this one. It stands on it's own, and although I highly recommend it, you don't need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one.

The sexual tension between these two characters is crazy good and frustrating, and watching them fight it makes for an angst filled emotional journey from start to finish. It was such a pleasure to watch the walls these two characters had built crumble around them, as they slowly gave into each other. Both Lila and Ethan are saved and transformed by love and that's what the sappy, hopeless romantic in me loves most about this book. Not to mention Ethan is totally hot and deserving of the title of Book Boyfriend :)

Jessica Sorensen is one of my favorite new adult authors and has the amazing ability to write these love stories that are tortuously fantastic. Her characters are raw and real, and their stories are angst-filled, emotional page turners. The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is no different. Fantastic 5 start read.


Up Next in The Secret Series...
Coming December 2013...

The day Ella has waited for is just around the corner. It's the day she'll marry Micha, the love of her life, the light that guided her out of the darkness. It looks like it will be the perfect Christmas-until an unexpected package arrives with a harsh reminder of Ella's past. Suddenly Ella doesn't feel as confident about her future. Can she really have a "happily-ever-after" if she's never even seen one?

Micha will stand by Ella no matter what she's going through-though he worries that she might leave him standing at the altar again. When he's offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour with his favorite bands for three months, Micha knows he can't leave Ella behind. But can he ask her to uproot her life to join him on the road?

Now Ella and Micha must find a way to balance their fears, their dreams, and their love . . . if they ever want to hear wedding bells.


Finding It (Losing It #3) by Cora Carmack

Kelsey Summers wanted nothing more than to live in the moment, to exist in the here and now. She escaped to Europe after graduation to find out who she was and to escape the meaningless future her parents planned for her. Along the way she found plenty of parties, booze, and "friends" to keep her company. The one thing she didn't find? Herself. But then again, she wasn't looking too hard. Finding herself meant facing the things she was running from.

Everything changes when a chance encounter brings Jackson Hunt into her life. He is tall, dark, dangerous, and the connection between the two is electric. After a few more (slightly embarrassing) encounters, Hunt convinces Kelsey to give him a week - a week free of alcohol and full of adventure. With each new city and adventure, Kelsey discovers a little bit more about herself and falls a little bit more for Jackson. However despite their connection, Kelsey realizes that she doesn't know much about Jackson and when it becomes clear that he is hiding something, Kelsey fears that she may be putting her heart on the line for nothing.

I love Cora Carmack's books. Her characters are relatable and I love the awkward situations they find themselves in. Her books are funny, endearing, romantic, with a splash of sexy. Finding It is by far my favorite in her Losing It Series. Each one of the books in the series gets better and better, and this one was fantastic. It was so good that I didn't even need a bookmark because I never put it down. Finding It is full of angsty sexual tension and I found myself as frustrated with Hunt as Kelsey was. The passion between these two is red hot and makes for a crazy good read. And just when you think things are finally coming together, there is a fantastic twist (didn't see that one coming!) which tears it all apart. Don't worry though, the ending left me hugging the book to my chest with a smile on my face. 


Cover Reveal ~ Now Or Never (Fight or Flight #2) by Jamie Canosa

Book Lover's Paradise is thrilled to bring you the cover and blurb for Now Or Never by Jamie Canosa, book two in the Fight or Flight Series. Make sure to stop by on November 2nd when I will be hosting a stop on Jamie's blog tour! 


1984 by George Orwell

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Written in the year 1949, 1984 maps out the horrific future envisioned by George Orwell. The world is divided into three superpowers - Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia - who are constantly at war. Every move, every thought, is watched by Big Brother and the Party. Every aspect of life - supplies, language, relationships, economy, government - is controlled by the Party. The high ideals of the past - freedom, independence, love, individuality - have been eradicated. The Party controls the past, the present, and the future. It is a world where neighbor turns on neighbor, child turns on parent, where the past can be rewritten again and again. Any sign of dissension, no matter how slight, conscious or unconscious, is quickly and completely removed.

Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party. He remembers a time before the Party came to power and because of this has developed a consciousness, which causes him to question the actions of the Party. He begins to engage in activities - keeping a journal, having a love affair, seeking to join the Brotherhood - with the intention of bringing down Big Brother, only to find that in the end, he cannot escape the reach of the Party.

Yes, it's true...I somehow managed to make it through not only my high school career, but my college career as well, without reading 1984 (a year near and dear to my heart, as it is my birth year). Instead of 1984, I read Animal Farm by Orwell. 1984 has been on my to-read list for sometime, as you will often find it on literary must read lists. Overall, I liked the book. It certainly paints a rather hopeless view of the future, something that I think flies in the face of humanity. I think most people (at least Westerners) are brought up with the idea that man is inherently good and will rise above adversity and oppression. Hope is something that is actively sought after and held onto. Hope is completely absent from 1984. In fact, every time the slightest ray of hope is born, it is quickly and completely drowned. It leaves one with a very bleak feeling. I kept hoping that in the end it would get better, but just like the characters in the novel, all my hopes were disappointed.  

The most interesting aspect of this story for me was the idea of language. I love words. To me, words are the most powerful tool we possess. Words have the power to build up and the power to destroy. Language is powerful because of the innate desire of human beings to communicate and express themselves. I was intrigued by the idea that by limiting language one could inevitably control not only communication, but thoughts as well. After all, how can a person think about something if they lack the words necessary to describe and conceptualize it? This is especially horrifying to someone like me, an American raised on the principle of free speech. The Party in 1984 go far beyond simply trying to censor the thoughts and expressions of the people. Their goal is to limit language so much that people will lose the ability to think negatively about the government. Imagine that...not being able to speak out against the government or even THINK negative thoughts about the government. Certainly would not fly in the U.S., seeing as all people do these days is think and say negative thoughts about our government.

Regardless, freedom of expression is something that many take for granted. It's become the expectation and people forget not only what a gift it truly is, but that free expression has consequences. It is inevitable that language and expression will be used to tear others down, to assert dominance over a person or group. After all, people are always going to have different opinions and different ways of expressing their thoughts. Nevertheless, I would rather live in a world where language has the potential for harm, than in a world like the one in 1984 where there was no freedom of expression whatsoever.