Years End

It’s been a bad year and it’s been a good year, but I’m hoping next year will be ALL good. I can’t complain about my reading challenge. Not a bad way to end the year.  Happy New Year everyone!

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By popcorn317 Posted in Books

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: August 2, 2016

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

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First of all, I want to say that I gave this book five stars ***** and it deserved more.

It got a LOT of hype and some readers didn’t like it and some loved it. I’m in the latter category. It deals with a subject whose depth you can not comprehend unless you are a part of it. Thank my lucky stars, I was not ever, nor do I think I will ever be a part of it. 

I would love to tell you everything about this book but I can’t because it would give too much away and I want you to read it or listen to it. I want everyone to read or listen to it. Men and women.

This book broke my heart because I was rooting for the man I thought was “perfect”, but I guess if something looks perfect it’s too good to be true. Love can hurt and love can heal but one person can’t do both.

The blurb makes it sound like a “love triangle” is involved but it’s not. That is not the point, or the focus. Whatever it is you’re thinking this book is, just trust me — it’s so much bigger than that. Seriously, trust Colleen. I did.

This book is now at my top favorite books of the year. I was unable to stop listening for long periods of time and other times I HAD  to stop listening. My heart couldn’t take it and I needed more Kleenex. I know that this is one of those profoundly beautiful and unforgettable stories that will stay with me for a long time.

I highly recommend it to everyone!

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Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1) by J. Daniels

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2016

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words “wrong number” in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend’s heart but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he’s quickly come to hate-until Sydney’s wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past . . .

Review –

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I  LOVE this book!!

If you’re a fan of sexy, tortured Alpha heroes who will make you combust with their hotness, break your heart with their pain, and then melt you with their sweetness, this is the book for you! 

This is the first in the Dirty Deeds series by J. Daniels and I had read the second one first, which  was Hit the Spot,(are you with me?) Jamie McCade was the male focal point in it and I hated his surfer dude character. In this book he plays a minor role and is much more likable so maybe I should have read the books in order. Who knew?

The male character in Four Letter Word is Brian (Dash) Savage and he is a honey. When Syd calls his number by mistake and chews his ass out thinking he was the man who broke the heart of her best friend by lying about being married, he was captivated by her sass and heat. A couple of days later he texted her and so their phone relationship started. He is going through a very rough patch, feeling guilt for an accident that put a young boy in a wheel chair. He’s been doing porn to make extra money to give to his family for the medical and care bills. But once he decided Syd is for him he quits but the films on the internet for anyone to see, Of course he hadn’t told her and of course she finds out. That was almost the end of their relationship but with the help of his sister the film company owner was persuaded to take the movies down. The book ends with an hea and it was perfect.

Sebastian York did the narration for Brian’s part and it was swooney. (I know, not a word, but it should be.)

This is fantastic book and I highly recommend the audio version, but the e-book would be almost as good, but  you wouldn’t be listening to Sebastian’s sexy voice.

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Dirty Billionaire (The Dirty Billionaire #1) by Meghan March

Book Description:

Published: December 8, 2015

I’ve got a big dick and an even bigger bank account. That’s pretty much where my bio ends. Honestly, I don’t need to say anything else. I’ve just sold 99% of women on going home with me.

Do I sound like an asshole to you?

That’s because I am.

And guess what? It works for me just fine.

Or at least it did.

Until I met her.

Books talk about sparks flying. Fuck that shit. With her, it was like emergency flares mixed with jet fuel. Or maybe just straight up napalm.

Only one problem.

She didn’t leave her name or number when she disappeared from the hotel room after the hottest fucking night of my life. Now I’ve had a taste of unicorn pussy—the sweetest, rarest of all pussy—and I need it again.

So what’s an asshole to do?

I took this problem to the street. A missed connection gone viral.

And when I find her? I’m keeping her.

Review –

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I normally don’t read or listen to any genre of books involving Country Western music stars, but what can I say, Sebastian York was one of the narrators for this book, so I HAD to listen.

The storyline is a bit weak – a one night stand that turns into a marriage with the billionaire groom willing to help her career, but on his terms.

Not the best but not the worst either so I sat back and loved listening to Mr. York’s captivating voice.

Will I listen to the two other books in this series? Duh, with Sebastian York narrating I’d listen to any thing!

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Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Review –

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This is a fantastic read/listen ( I had the audio version ) and although it is slow and repetitive in places it grabs your heart-strings and doesn’t let go.

It’s a book to be equally enjoyed by young adults as well as their parents because the issues are presented from both perspectives. The main characters are twins, Mia and Zack  and Jude, their adept but hovering mother and Lexi, a lonely teen living with her aunt.

Mothers will  relate to her parenting skills and worrying. Young adults and teens will relate to the push and pull of finding independence from one’s parents and the necessity of being accepted by peers. It’s layered with issues on family dynamics, teenage angst and romance, first loves, sibling rivalry, friendship, forgiveness, grief and motherhood making it an excellent read.

I felt so sorry for Lexi who just can’t catch a break and so angry at Zack for putting Lexi in a position that  endangered all three of them and ended Mia’s life.

The ending is a bit too much HALLMARK, but I’m glad everything worked out for everyone.

All in all a great book.

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Hit the Spot (Dirty Deeds #2) by J. Daniels

Book Description:

Published:December 6, 2016

Is this love or just a game?

Tori Rivera thinks Jamie McCade is rude, arrogant, and worst of all . . . the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on. His reputation as a player is almost as legendary as his surfing skills. No matter how her body heats up when he’s around, she’s determined not to be another meaningless hookup.

Jamie McCade always gets what he wants. The sickest wave. The hottest women. And Tori, with her long legs and smart mouth, is definitely the hottest one. He knows Tori wants him-hell, most women do-but she won’t admit it. After months of chasing and one unforgettable kiss, it’s time for Jamie to raise the stakes.

Jamie promises that soon Tori won’t just want him in her bed, she’ll be begging for it-and he might be right. Somehow he’s found the spot in her heart that makes her open up like never before. But with all she knows about his past, can she really trust what’s happening between them? Is Jamie playing for keeps or just playing to win?

This book can be read as a stand-alone.
Book 1–Four Letter Word 

Review –

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I have to admit that the only reason I purchased this audio book was because Sebastian York narrated the male characters part and his voice just does something to me.

The story line was just  okay and the female main character was a bit weak BUT I hated the male main character, Jamie McCade. He was a crude, rude, surfer dude and a bit of a stalker.  He’s arrogant and thinks he’s God’s gift to women and frequents the restaurant where Tori works, sitting in her section, for NINE months. I’m sorry but that seems a bit stalkerish to me.

As happens in contemporary romances, Tori finally gives, after they have a bet to see which one will cave first and beg for sex, and of course their in an HEA.

While I hated the character of Jamie McCade, I loved Sebastian York’s reading of him and the dirty remarks coming out of his mouth was just HOT.

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Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross

Book Description:

Published: October 25, 2016

With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

EGGNOG MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

DEATH BY EGGNOG by LEE HOLLIS
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

NOGGED OFF by BARBARA ROSS
Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yultide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

Review –

I haven’t read a food related murder mystery in a long time so I thought this one would be perfect, and it completely lived up to all my expectations.

EGGNOG MURDER is set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and  I loved learning about their Real Beard Santa Club, which I now know is a real group with branches everywhere. The characters of this story drew me right in and I realized I have missed them so I know I need to get caught up on the books I have missed as soon as possible.

DEATH BY EGGNOG  takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. I was at a little disadvantage with this one as it was my introduction to these characters and the writer’s style of Hayley’s articles right in the story but I knew from the start Agatha Farnsworth, the head librarian, was definitely on Santa’s naughty list and was not surprised she was our victim. What was surprising was the culprit responsible for her demise.

NOGGED OFF focuses on Julia cleaning out her old apartment in New York since she has decided to stay in Busman’s Harbor. When she meets her subletting tenant her quick trip to the city gets complicated. The author packed a whole wonderful cozy into just over 100 pages. The mystery takes us on quite a ride that at times was just plain crazy and so much fun to read. I love Julia and her big heart. It was fun to make winter trip to Busman’s Harbor.

All three of these stories were well written with interesting characters. Great reads for the holiday season but they may have you refraining from eggnog for a while. I say fix a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and curl up in a cozy chair. These mysteries will captivate you for a few wonderful hours.

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Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Book Description:

Published: January 19, 2014

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.

But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club.

Review –

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This is a contemporary sexual,erotic, motorcycle club  romance with humor thrown in, and I usually don’t care for that combination but this book is a treasure. 

You have Iris, a twenty-four year old virgin who is as good as good gets. Her father, a motorcycle club member from way back left her and her mom and brother when she was fourteen. She had cancer at the time  and her Mom later died of cancer. She’s moved to Austin and is living with her stepbrother and he has gotten her a job with Dex at Pins and Needles, a tattoo shop. Dex, on the other hand, is crude, rude, violent,short-tempered and told to keep his hands off Iris.

The sexual chemistry between Iris, whom Dex calls “ritz”, and Dex is HOT and although Iris calls him all sorts of names in her head, she can’t stop thinking about him. Some of the names she calls him ar “dick”, “dickhead”, “your highness” and Charlie (because his first name is Charles).

She hates him from the start and he just can’t be bothered, but as time goes by and events happen to put Iris in severe jeopardy, Dex finds himself wanting her for his own and will do anything to protect her.

There is a happy ending after a lot of lies and misunderstandings and being threatened by a Croatian mob and the epilogue is wonderful. The author really tied up everything perfectly.

I had the audio version  and the narrator, Callie Dalton, did a fantastic job portraying the dry sense of humor of Iris which made the book a gem to listen to. If you like motorcycle club and romance – you need to give this one a try.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Description:

Published: September 29, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Review –

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You need to know that Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows is related to her Grisha trilogy, but you can read this first book of the related series without reading the trilogy first.(I did NOT read the Grisha trilogy) The content is consistently mature and a better fit for more mature teen readers and adults.  Characters are complex, flawed, and sometimes responsible for despicable acts, such as plucking out a man’s eye in one gruesome scene. More bloodshed includes arena fighting in prison where a man is mauled to death and wolves are killed, a gang shooting where a boy is left for dead, a knife wound that nearly kills a main character, and more. Backstories of the main characters can be jarring, such as a recalled childhood scene of a character being buried in corpses on a barge, imprisonment and near-starvation, and characters being beaten and forced to work in brothels. No details are given about life in the brothels, but there’s some kissing and nakedness in other scenes.Readers will learn the backstories of these characters as the novel progresses, each bringing up themes of survival and overcoming loss. Though greed and revenge seem to motivate characters on the surface, there’s also an underlying desire for connection.

I’ve read reviews that raved about this book but for me it was a three and a half to four star book. It was entertaining and the narrators, and there were several, did a great job. I will read the next in the series, Crooked Kingdom, but only because I hate not finishing a series, not because I can’t wait.

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Marriage Games (Games #1) by CD Reiss

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2016

THIRTY DAYS
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.

THIRTY DAYS
That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.

THIRTY DAYS
She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.

She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.

She’s wrong

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

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I can’t believe that this is my first experience with the writings of CD Reiss  but it definitely won’t be the last and let me tell you why.

Not only was this book filled with inferno hot, steamy sex but it was an emotional roller coaster ride of two people who spent years together and yet drift  apart.

Diana leaves Adam a note telling him that she doesn’t love him any more and he is beyond devastated. He has loved her from the moment they met.

At first, he doesn’t accept what she’s telling him and tries to get her to come back only to have her refuse him at every turn.

Some background  here would be helpful – Adam was a Dom and belonged to a sex club and owned a house where he would take submissive to break them before he met Diana. Diana, on the other hand, was prim and proper and totally vanilla and since he had never  been able to love a sub, he did not want to introduce her to the life style.

After years of marriage and working together Diana feels something is missing and that Adam’s head is somewhere else when they have sex. She’s right. Adam wants to be a Dominant again but loves Diana too much to bring that into the bedroom.

The saying goes, it takes two to tango. That’s because they spent years together without ever revealing their true selves. It’s difficult to love someone else if you’re not truly embracing yourself. With Adam’s fear of showing his dominance with Diana, he held so much of himself back. Denying his true self was his biggest mistake and once he regains the control he’s ignored for so long, he begins to feel free and euphoric. Dominant Adam was way intense and a major turn on!! ( and don’t get me started on the male narrator, Sebastian York and his dominant voice, OMG, he could have been reading a phone book and my blood still would have churned)

I didn’t care for Diana until the POV of the story switched to her and the reader saw where she was coming from. Each of them had things they weren’t sharing with the other and it was their downfall.

Adam proposes that Diana give herself over to him for 30 days and let him show her his Dominant side. He’s always believed he could never combine love with his dominant lifestyle. That is until he offers up this  deal to his soon-to-be ex-wife. Thirty days in a cottage together. Thirty days to return to his old self and hopefully in the process, fall out of love with Diana so that he can move on with his heart still relatively in one piece. 

Along the way Diana discovers that she IS a submissive and has been craving what a Dom can give her even though she didn’t know it, but Adam discovers that by breaking Diana sexually he now doesn’t love her in the same way.

The tables have turned and now Diana is the one trying to put their marriage back together and Adam is the one walking away.

The follow-up book, SEPARATION GAMES, comes out in January and I can not wait.

This book is extremely sexual, describing explicit sex and using very explicit language. Reader beware.

Five stars *****

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