Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: On the Island by Tracy Garvis Graves

On the Island
By Tracy Garvis Graves
Release Date: August 16, 2012
Source: Own Copy 
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments -- instead of his friends. 

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

My oh my, this book surprised me so much. With the age difference and the whole stranded-on-an-island premise, I was so skeptical going into this book. I FINALLY gave it a chance, though, and absolutely loved it. 

After having cancer during his sophomore year of high school, TJ Callahan needs to catch up before next year. When thirty-year-old Anna Emerson is offered a glorious vacation on a tropical island and the only thing she has to do is privately tutor a 16-year-old student, she can't say no. Instead of the fabulous summer she thought was ahead of her, though, Anna and TJ find themselves stranded on a deserted island. Anna and TJ work together to survive, but what started out as days turns into months and the two are starting to lose hope of ever returning home. As more time passes, the two survive insurmountable odds and Anna starts to notice how TJ isn't so much a boy anymore, but rather has become a man who will do anything to help them survive. 

Like I said, I was super skeptical going into this book. There is a 13 year age difference between our two main characters and I knew that there was a romance. To my surprise, this was such a slow burn romance and develops over a long period of time. On top of that, they both really do question if their age difference is okay and don't just ignore it. I was all in for their romance and loved when the two of were conflicted over their feelings for each other and started to notice each other romantically more and more. 

What I also really appreciated about this novel was how realistic the survival story was. These two went through EVERYTHING and it was a challenge just to survive what was thrown their way. I've read some survival stories that were boring or unrealistic, but this was neither. I was kept on the edge of my seat with what these guys faced and I actually believed everything they did to try to survive. But I think that because a large portion of this book was about them surviving, when they finally did start to develop feelings for each other, I was all in. Nothing like romance to lighten up a serious situation! 

If you can't tell, I absolutely adored this book and was all in for the romance. I think that this is perfect for any romance lover, and if you're skeptical about the age difference, don't worry at all! This book is so addicting and you'll find yourself flying through every page!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (249)


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what books they got throughout the week!

From Book Depository 

Since I'm seeing Kandi in July, I wanted to get some more of her books to bring for her to sign. I've pre-ordered three others from her that I will pick up at the signing, but I got Weightless from Book Depository. I'm hoping to read this before meeting Kandi at the singing! 

From Half Price Books Warehouse sale

The Half Price Books Warehouse sale was this weekend, so I went right when they opened on Friday (9am) and it was packed! Everything was $2 and all mass market paperbacks were 50 cents. I ended up spending 2 hours there and grabbing these 14 books for only $20! I am so excited to own them and can't believe I found some of these books! I mean, Slammed?!? He Will Be My Ruin!?! So excited to have all of these! 

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Revenge by Lexi Blake

Revenge (Lawless #3)
By Lexi Blake
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Source: Publisher
Passion and danger collide in the latest contemporary romance featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he'd promised he wouldn't touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed. 

Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. And every night brings her closer to realizing he might be the man for her. 

As Drew's feelings for Shelby grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.

This series is so much fun and after seeing Drew and Shelby bicker in book two, I could not wait to get my hands on their story in Revenge

Drew Lawless has given everything to protect his family after his parents were brutally murdered when they were young. When he discovered a secret that could destroy his siblings, he turns to the last women he should. Shelby has been digging into the Lawless murders and knows that she's close to finding something. So when Drew makes her a deal that could allow her to write a book about her findings, she knows she can't pass it up. But spending so much time with Drew has Shelby feeling things she should not be feeling for the nerdy, cold man. But Drew is also starting to feel things for the infuriating reporter and doesn't know if he can trust his heart with her and protect his family at the same time. 

This book picks up right where book two leaves off, so make sure you've read the previous two books in this series. What I love so much about this series is that while it does have a hot romance, there is also so much suspense and mystery between the murder of the Lawless siblings' parents. Who was really behind the murder? Who could they really trust? That all comes to a closure in this book and I loved watching Drew, the leader of the family, finally discover what really happened all those years ago. 

Since Shelby and Drew were hinted at in the previous book, I loved their banter and how much Shelby really challenged Drew. Drew was used to calling all the shots and never being denied, so it was fun watching Shelby put him in his place both romantically and with his life in general. Of course, they had hot, sizzling chemistry and their passion poured from the pages. I was a little bit disappointed with how things seemed to wrap up so quickly, specifically how we figured out what really happened and how the big climactic showdown went down. Other than that, though, this was such a satisfying conclusion to a suspenseful and passionate series!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Stand by AL Jackson

Stand (Bleeding Stars #6)
By AL Jackson
Release Date: May 22, 2017
Source: Author
Zachary Kennedy has never been known as a fighter, but he’ll never regret fighting for her…

I’m Zee Kennedy.
Quiet. Reserved. Predictable.
When my brother died, everyone thought I was just the good guy who stepped up to take his place in the band.

No one knew what I was hiding. The one thing I’ve been fighting for.

For seven years, I’ve never lost focus.

Not until one chance encounter with Alexis Kensington.

Now she’s become my greatest temptation.
I knew better than to touch her, but now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t get enough.
Her kiss becomes my air. Her body my salvation.

She needed a savior and somehow she became mine.

Taking her was a betrayal. But keeping her means risking everything.
One look at Alexis Kensington, and I know she’s worth the fight.
Will my past continue to keep me down or will I finally find the strength to pull myself up and Stand…

I have had my eye on this series for along time now, so when I was contacted if I wanted to review the newest release in the series, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I love my rockstar romances, so I couldn't wait to meet the men of Sunder! 

After his brother died, Zee Kennedy did not hesitate to take his place and play the drums for Sunder in honor of his brother. He also promised to keep the band together and keep their family safe; he's always the protector. So when he finds Alexis Kensington in need of help, he doesn't hesitate to step in. And that one moment changes everything. Zee can't get Alexis or the feelings she stirs within him, feelings that have lain dormant for 7 years, out of his head. While Zee finds himself saving Alexis, he also finds himself being saved by her. But can his past allow someone as pure and life-altering as Alexis into his life? 

Like I said, this was my first book in the Bleeding Stars series, even though it's the final book. While it can be read as a standalone, I definitely felt the closure with the other characters and really wished that I had read their stories before seeing them at this point. Despite that, I really enjoyed how close the bandmates were in this book and actually wished I got more of them playing together and being together. We did get to see them all together and got a concert, but I feel like I wanted to feel more of the music and like I was really there instead of seeing a snippet and then following a character who wasn't actually involved in the music making. Give me my rockstars in their elements!

Alexis and Zee's relationship was very emotional and hard from the beginning. They both had their demons and couldn't explain what they were feeling with each other. While I really enjoyed the rawness of Alexis and Zee's relationship, it got a bit flowery and over the top in moments. They fell hard very fast and were suddenly the only thing allowing them to breath and feeling whole and complete. It was all very emotional and they talked about those emotions quite a bit. I also loved the suspenseful moments, but near the end the suspense happened and was over pretty quickly and I wished it was more drawn out and realistic. Other than that, I enjoyed watching Zee struggle over his past and his present with Alexis and try to be a good guy while dealing with his demons. 

While this was my first Bleeding Stars book, this is definitely not my last. I want to run out and grab the previous five books and gobble them up so that I can see how the amazing couples in this book met and fell in love.

Cover Reveal: Dear Bridget, I Want You by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

We are excited to bring you the next cover from New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland.

DEAR BRIDGET, I WANT YOU is the next standalone Contemporary Romance Novel from this sensational duo releasing on September 18, 2017!


Model: Philip Van den Hoogenband – Chadwick Models Melbourne
Photographer: Brian Jamie
Cover designer: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs

Dear Bridget,

I’m writing this letter because it’s highly doubtful I’ll ever garner the courage to say this to your face.
So, here goes.
We’re totally wrong for each other. You’re the proper single mum with a good head on your shoulders. I’m just the carefree British doctor passing through town and temporarily living in your converted garage until I head back to England.
But here’s the thing… for some bloody reason, I can’t stop thinking about you in very inappropriate ways.
I want you.
The only reason I’m even admitting all of this to you right now is because I don’t believe it’s one-sided. I notice your eyes when you look at me, too. And as crass as I appear when we’re joking around about sex, my attraction to you is not a joke.
So, what’s the purpose of this note? I guess it’s a reminder that we’re adults, that sex is healthy and natural, and that you can find me just through the door past the kitchen. More specifically, it’s to let you know that I’m leaving said door cracked open from now on in case you’d like to visit me in the middle of the night sometime.
No questions asked.
Think about it.
Or don’t.
Whatever you choose.
It’s doubtful I’ll even end up sliding this letter under your door anyway.

**No Amazon ebook preorder. Will go live on Amazon on release day.

About the Author

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list fifteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.  

Connect with Penelope Ward Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram          

Author photo

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (185)


This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

Wish You Were Here
By Renee Carlino
Release Date: August 15, 2017
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Before We Were Strangers and Swear on This Life comes a novel about a young woman who reunites with a soulful artist after their magical one-night stand…only to be faced with an impossible decision.

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink…and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.


How amazing does this book sound?! It's kind of a second chance romance, but the second chance is at the one night that our main character cannot forget. I'm so intrigued by Adam and why he brushed Charlotte off and never sought her out again. What was he hiding? And what's going to happen when Charlotte actually finds him? I can't wait until August to have this book! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: Stay by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Stay (WAGs #2)
By Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Source: For Review
Can you fall in love with someone you've never even met? 

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson. 

Although it's against the rules for her to check his file, she's 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting... until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He's still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won't show her pretty face.

But it's nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can't fix. Hailey can't resist the offer. Matt can't resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn't have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.

YES. That's all I can think when I see a new Elle Kennedy and/or Sarina Bowen book released. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and fell in love with the professional hockey romances these ladies have created for us. I couldn't wait to read Eriksson's story! 

Hailey Taylor Emery did not expect to be divorced from the man she's loved all of her life. Nevertheless, they've separated and both still thrown themselves into their service/delivery business, working to satisfy their growing costumer base. Hailey doesn't typically personally run errands for the costumers, but she has a hunch that one of them, one she chats with online quite frequently, is Matt Eriksson. Hockey player for her favorite hockey team. Hailey knows that she would be violating client confidentiality if she ever tries to meet him, but some flirting online leads to a very intrigued hockey player. Recently divorced and working hard to be a good father to his two kids, as good as he can be while traveling so much for the team, Matt can't stop thinking about the woman he messages for his delivery service. Taking a chance, Matt gives Hailey an offer she can't refuse and the two find themselves face to face for the first time. Can someone like Matt really like Hailey? And can they both give themselves into another relationship when they've already failed at one once? 

From the beginning, I loved the premise of how Hailey was anonymously messaging with someone who she could only guess was Matt Eriksson. Their subtle flirting was so cute and I loved how slowly this romance started. They met multiple times before any feelings were involved, which I felt was very realistic and I really enjoyed. It was fun, too, how much of a hockey fan Hailey was, so she truly loved seeing the hockey games and following how Matt was doing in his games. 

While the first book in this series was about younger characters, I really appreciated how both Hailey and Matt were divorced and trying not to make the same mistakes in their new relationship that they made in their failed ones. It was so heartbreaking in Matt's case because he felt like he could never be a good husband or father because he was gone all the time, a fact that he believed had broken his pervious relationship. I loved how their exes were both still very present in their lives and affecting their new relationships. I also loved how we got to see my favorite characters from the previous book and see the men that I knew and loved from the hockey team. 

This was such fun addition to the WAGs series and all hockey romance lovers HAVE to pick up this series. I am already looking forward to reading more about these hockey players and seeing my favorite couples show up in the later books!

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