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