Monday 28 November 2016

Review: After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto #1) by Lauren Layne

After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto #1) by Lauren Layne 
Publisher: Ebury Digital
Publication Date: 28th September 2014
My rating: 4 stars. 

The star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love. Julie Greene loves flings, steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and - every now and then - that first sexy romp between the sheets. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career - a first-person account of the shift between dating and "I do" she'll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more. Mitchell Forbes, a devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, is the perfect subject for Julie's "research." But what Julie doesn't know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose and that Julie, notorious for avoiding love, is exactly the type of no-strings fling he's looking for...

One of my all time favourite tropes is when two characters are forced in to a situation together and they end up falling for one another. In After the Kiss Julie is known for quick flings, never taking time to settle and actually forming a meaningful relationship and Mitchell is the setting type of guy, he’s just come out of a long term relationship, but to prove to his friend that he can do a quick fling and get rid of a person after a few dates, he’s challenged to take on Julie. Both Julie and Mitchell go into their tasks with their own agenda’s, but they so didn’t expect leaving with much more than they bargained for.

Both Julie and Mitchell were difficult characters to like at first, Julie was the type just to quickly go for a relationship, I think because she hadn’t really been in love, or actually spent long enough in a relationship to fall in love, she was just used to appear crass and abrupt. And my gosh when I first met Mitchell I thought he was a complete bore, okay I perked up when I heard he liked reading, but the way he came across all prim and proper and working on Wall Street, I thought the chemistry between Mitchell and Julie would be a complete snooze fest, but never has Lauren Layne led me astray, of course she was able to weave her magic and actually make me fall for Mitchell (did I ever mention that Mitchell/Mitch has always been a bit of a soft spot when it comes to hot characters names?) and actually develop Julie’s and Mitchell’s relationship into something realistic and meaningful. You have to remember the time they spent happens over days and a few weeks even, but the way Layne built up their time together and the way they got to know each other? It was done wonderfully, I was left wanting more. I wanted them to finally come clean with each other about why they’d got together in the first place, as I knew it would lead to heartbreak in the end and they had come so far, through going to a night club instead of having movie night, runs through Central Park and dealing with bitchy ex girlfriends, their relationship was actually becoming that and their feelings for one another were clearly apparent.

I’m not going to say how After the Kiss ends, but there is a lot of heartbreak and growing up along the way. I was super impressed with how far these two characters came by the end of this book. After the First Kiss was another hit by Lauren Layne for me, thank you Nick for recommending it, I’m hoping this series will fill the void left after finishing The Wedding Bells series and to be honest I can feel a binge reading coming on!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: November 2015.
My rating: 5 Stars. 

This is a love story between a guy (me) and a girl (Fallon). I think. Can it even be considered a love story if it doesn’t end with love? Mysteries end when the mystery is solved. Biographies end when the life story has been told. Love stories should end with love, right? Maybe I’m wrong, then. Maybe this isn’t a love story. If you ask me…I’d say this might even be considered a tragedy. Whatever it is—however it ends—I promised I would tell it. So without further ado. Once upon a time…I met a girl. THE girl.

Colleen Hoover’s books have been a real miss for me, I’m really gutted about this, as so many of my friends have adored her books and I really wanted to find that one which I would fall in love with. I’m glad that any stubbornness paid off and I didn’t give up on Hoover’s books as November 9 is my favourite yet! 

If you don’t know me by now, I’m a huge fan of second chance romances, romances which take place over a few years and the love growing stronger as they get to know one another. The set up between Ben and Fallon was an unusual one, their chance meeting and Ben pretending to be Fallon’s boyfriend in front of her dad bought them together. And soon before they realise, fake-relationships aside, there is actually something deep and meaningful between them underneath, but Fallon’s flying out to New York in a few hours and then what? Fallon and Ben decide to meet every year on November 9 at the same place, they’ll have no other contact with each other until that point, and if they are really meant to be, their relationship should be able to withstand the five years that Fallon wants to wait to take the relationship further. I for one didn’t think this relationship could last at all, they didn’t have each other’s numbers, they’d blocked each other on social media and really they’d only known each other for a few hours. But you know what they say, time makes the heart grow fonder, and honestly true words couldn’t have been spoken. I loved watching the development of Ben and Fallon’s relationship, some could say it was insta-love, as they fell for each other so quickly, but Hoover really made the relationship work well with only the yearly meet ups. The way the relationship developed was done beautifully, there was a lot of heartache along the way, but their feelings or one another never wavered. 

I really liked Ben as our romantic interest he wasn’t the typical alpha male character, but a real sweetheart. I loved how he wore his heart of the line and how he was feeling was always apparent on his face, he wasn’t afraid to truly put himself out there and that’s what I loved about him. I adored his passion for writing, how he became obsessed with reading books that did romances well and then trying to be that sort of character for Fallon in real life. The bookish references throughout was a favourite of mine, we had Ben taking the mick of romantic declarations in books such as characters claiming “I own you” and running to show their last minute feelings to their love interest at the airport. It was fun to read, as it’s done so often in the books we read, but seeing Ben and Fallon discuss it was refreshingly funny. Ben not only was a swoon worthy crush, but also a funny guy too! I adored how he helped Fallon gain the confidence back with homework he gave her, but his genuine feelings towards her also made that possible in a massive way. I know there was a lot of miscommunication and truths held back along the way, but despite these, they never made me think that what Ben and Fallon had wasn’t worth fighting for. 

Hoover did an absolutely wonderful job with November 9, the romance was achy, raw and beautifully done and characters were ones you could easily relate to, they were witty, determined and hugely loveable, that it made them that more memorable. November 9 I can safely say is one of my favourite reads of the year, the romance that Hoover writes will easily make its way to your heart with you never wanting it to let you go.

Monday 14 November 2016

Review: Thief (Love Me with Lies #3) by Tarryn Fisher.

Thief (Love Me with Lies #3) by Tarryn Fisher.
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent 
Publication Date: 21st July 2013
My rating: 5 Stars.

*Contains some spoilers*

I was super anxious going into Thief, after everything my two favourite characters Caleb and Olivia had been through, the heartache, torment and destruction I needed their lives to get back on track, to be away from toxic characters that were hell bent on ruining their lives and finally live the life they were long overdue. 

Even though I had fallen in love with their love story since The Opportunist, I was a bit confused about how Fisher was going to make everything happen. One of the reasons this largely was because of Noah. Noah was a decent guy, and I really didn’t want Fisher to tarnish his character like what a lot of authors have done in the past, but at the end of the day Caleb and Olivia were meant to be! See how difficult of a predicament I found myself in? But I have to commend Fisher, I always knew some characters would end up getting hurt, but she really did play out the issues and situation the best way that she could. 

And oh my gosh I thought Olivia and Caleb had dealt with their fair share of things in the previous two books, but no it seemed the entire world was against them being together, if it wasn’t some sort of obstacle getting in the way, it was one of these characters trying to do the right thing. But I loved Caleb’s persistency and resolve to not give in, they’d already missed out on so much, by letting toxic characters get in the way with their lives, so I respected and admired Caleb’s resilience to go for what he wanted. Because Caleb and Olivia were meant to be! Their time together was once again off the charts, I loved how their love for each other just got stronger and stronger and that they just knew each other so well. They honestly had it all to deal with. 

Fisher once again swept me away with her beautiful yet heartbreaking story, I really didn’t think it was possible for my heart to break anymore, but my gosh, she thoroughly shredded it in Thief. But honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. I adore my books which pack a strong emotional punch and really make you experience all the hurt and turmoil the characters are going through, and Fisher was just on point with making me feel everything! 2016 has really being a rough reading year for me, but I’m hugely grateful that I was able to devour this fantastic series in a few days (the lack of sleep was totally worth it). I just know I’m going to struggle for the next few days to find something that can live up to these beautiful books!

Friday 11 November 2016

Review: Dirty Red (Love Me with Lies #2) by Tarryn Fisher

Dirty Red (Love Me with Lies #2) by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent 
Publication Date: 15th January 2013
My rating: 4 Stars.

*Contains some spoilers*

When I found out that this book was from Leah’s perspective, I really didn’t want to give this book a go, but being reunited with my other favourite characters even for the briefest of moments I was eager for. I didn’t think that Leah could be any more horrible and twisted than how she came across in The Opportunist, but by getting in her head in this book it made me realise that I couldn’t be more wrong. We really got to know the real Leah in Dirty Red. I could understand that she’d had a tough upbringing and with the way her parents were with her, I could understand her need to be loved and wanted. But honestly she was going about it totally the wrong way. Whenever I thought I’d finally feel some sort of emotion for Leah and even start to feel sorry for her, some other revelation would come about that made me hate her even more. And she was a mother for goodness sake, she had Caleb and a lovely baby, why couldn’t she just accept it and make the most of it? But no that could never be enough. Honestly the extremes she went to and how she couldn’t have a care in the world about anyone but herself seriously made me sick. When it comes to horrible characters I’m always willing to give them a chance, maybe they’ll come around and win you over in the end. But everything with Leah just got worse and worse. I was absolutely devastated with what happened to Caleb, you could tell that he was just about getting through and his baby girl was the only thing helping him. I just wanted Caleb to be rid of her already, but she always had a way of reeling him back in.

Again Fisher did a great job, with the alternate past and present chapters, although I did find myself once again just wanting to gobble up the present chapters, the past did give great insights into Caleb and Leah’s back story and how everything started between them. Although I was initially wary to read this book from Leah’s perspective, I didn’t completely end up hating it. Leah was a wretched, manipulative character, probably one of the worst I’ve come across in a long time, but I enjoyed this story a lot and getting Leah’s perspective although difficult to read at times, I liked that Fisher took the risk with it. 

Of course I had to buy Thief as soon as I finished Dirty Red, I’m excited to finally get Caleb’s perspective, because I’ve honestly fallen in love with the guy. I’ve been warned to prepare for all the emotions, which I’m quite nervous about, because I have my particular ending in mind, but with everyone involved and Leah’s possessiveness I just don’t know how things will end. Please don’t destroy my heart Ms Fisher!

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Review: The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1) by Tarryn Fisher

The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1) by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: 13th February 2013
My rating: 5 stars

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

So many of my blogging friends had been on at me for some time now to start this series, but you know me, I never listen. But lately with the only books seeming to work for me being New Adult and Adult books, I felt as if I was in the right mood for it. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, The Opportunist blew me out the water. I Initially had a tough time starting The Opportunist, I found myself not being able to trust our MC Olivia, she seemed so out there with extremes she would go to, that it made me feel that I couldn’t trust her, I felt as if she was an unreliable narrator at times, she made things awkward that I was like what I have seriously got myself into? But seriously Fisher turned this book around for me that by the end of it I couldn’t get enough of Olivia and Caleb’s relationship, that I ended up staying up way later than I should have done finishing this book (the last time I did this was with Gone Girl; and to be honest The Opportunist has left me feeling the same way after finishing; in awe and totally lost for words.

Although I found myself totally suckered up in Olivia’s present world with the crazy happenings, I slowly found myself getting caught up in Olivia’s past too. Why had things ended up the way they had between Caleb and Olivia? I really enjoyed dipping into the past chapters, as it gave me a proper understanding of the sort of characters Olivia and Caleb were when they initially met and it really did give me a better understanding of why Olivia was the way she was now. Both characters really had been through a lot, their relationship was a tumultuous one, but beneath it all it was a gloriously beautiful one, one which broke my heart and stitched it back up again. I know there were a lot of things which made it twisted, crazy and really scary with the extremes that characters went to, but I liked how different it was to the typical romances that we get to read about, the ones that full with smooth sailing and end up with happily ever afters. The romance here was raw, painful and a bit dark at times, and I was totally a fan of it. I also liked how Caleb and Olivia’s paths kept coming back to one another, through some sort of twisted fate. The revelations along the way were also a favourite part of mine, I honestly didn’t see any of them coming, and the deception that Fisher weaved into this story was masterfully done! And the ending? I was actually quite surprised about that too I thought things would have ended the way they were meant to, or they way I would have hoped. But it really went to show how much our characters had been through and the growth they had experienced, it was sort of bittersweet in a way.

Despite being okay with the way things ended in The Opportunist, I’m eager to be reunited with these characters once more in the next book and see what Fisher has up her sleeve. I know it’ll definitely bring out all the emotions too especially of the ragey variety, as it’s told from Leah’s perspective!

Monday 7 November 2016

Review & Giveaway: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Someone to Love (Westcott #1) by Mary Balogh
Publisher: Signet
Publication date: November 8th 2016
My rating: 4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had...

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

My Thoughts:
Even though Anna Snow grew up mostly happy in the orphanage that was her home the last twenty years, she’s always longed for a family to call her own.  Finding out she has a fortune in addition to a family sounds like a dream come true.  Unfortunately, Anna’s immediate family wants nothing to do with her and transitioning into the life of a lady is overwhelming.  Anna’s used to freedom and independence, hardly possible for a society woman caged in by all of the expectations of the ton.  Anna’s determined to keep her identity intact, though.

To Avery Archer, the Duke of Netherby, Anna is unexpected and unlike any other woman he’s known. Usually bored by the trivialities of London society, Avery is surprised that he feels compelled to help Anna navigate her new life.  She’s so unlike any other woman he’s been attracted to, but there’s something about her that fascinates him. 

I liked that Anna had a mind of her own and yet a soft heart. She could’ve been very bitter over the way her family treated her when they found out who she was, but instead Anna continually worried over their situation and tried to help when she could. I’m very interested in their future stories.

As for the romance, the pull between Anna and Avery was immediate; they just seemed tuned into each other.  Once it was acknowledged things moved pretty fast, but I liked that.  There was no dancing around the subject of will they or won’t they, which allowed time to explore the mystery behind how Anna ended up in an orphanage to begin with, and the feelings that brought up. 

Mary Balogh has become one of my favorite historical romance writers.  Her stories are moving with interesting and complex characters.  Someone to Love kicks off what I expect to be a wonderful series, and I’m already eagerly anticipating Camille and Joel’s story! Even though Camille didn’t leave me with the best impression here, I can definitely understand her feelings and reactions.  

Connect with Mary Balogh:

The lovely people at Signet graciously provided a Paperback Copy of Someone to Love to one Readers Den Follower.  The giveaway is open to US and CA residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Monthly Recap: October

Hi everyone, where has the month gone by, I can't believe it's November already, I think because the weather really hasn't changed over here, (I haven't even been using my scarf or gloves yet!) that it doesn't feel like Winter is around the corner, Winter is my favourite season by the way, with Christmas my favourite holiday. Can you believe they've already put up the Christmas decorations in my town centre? And Starbucks and Costa have started their Christmas drinks this week too! What is going on? 

What I've been up to.


Work has been killing my butt big time lately, that all I want to do is sleep when I get home, but I've persevered and renewed my membership at the gym and been going back to my circuits class, the first one literally killed me, but I'm slowly getting back to it. I've also slowly started getting back to eating healthy, the Sourced Boxes have been keeping me going. But I've tried getting up earlier so I can meal prep too. Smoothie bowls and cookies have been my go to as of late (You can see all the photos of my healthy food on my Instagram here.)

What I've been watching. 


I haven't been able to catch up with my TV shows at all this month, everytime I intend to I'm either too tired or distracted my something else, I need to play catch up this month for sure! But I have been watching all the films with my younger sister, we watched Beauty & the Beast, Princess and the Frog and Megamind. Megamind was definitely one of my favourites! 



Number of books read: 12! The last time I read this many books was all the way back in February! And I've still been continuing with my audiobook reads too, with me finishing 4 this month! 

Best read of last month: 

(Click on Book for Goodreads link). 

I listened to The Deal on audio and honestly with the mood I've been in lately its exactly what I needed, the sexual chemistry between our characters was off the charts! I think Garrett is definitely one of my top fictional crushes! 

Three Books I'm looking forward to reading next month. 
(Click on Book for Goodreads link). 


These are three books that I've been highly anticipating for sometime now, retellings haven't really been my thing the last couple of times that I picked them up, but my sister recently read my copy of Hunted and absolutely loved it and Meyer hasn't let me down with her books so far, so of course I can't wait any longer before diving right in. And I adore all of Cotugno's books I've read in the past and so if anyone is going to get my back into reading contemporary YA I'm sure this will be the book!

I'm already so excited about November, there will be another Jas and Allie Adventures! I've actually been prepping for this, as I always seem to be the one that can never finish her food off, this time it hopefully won't be the case! I also get to meet the lovely Keertana, I'm so excited for this, as Keertana was one of my earliest friends when I first started blogging and I can't wait to finally meet her in real life! And November is my birthday month, I have a few reunions and catch ups with friends to look forward, so an exciting month nonetheless! I hope you all have a wonderful month! 
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