Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best reads of 2016

Ah another year comes to a close. 2016 has been another great year for books. I find that the more I read, the more authors I find that I love, the harder it is to write up these lists. I have read so many great books this past year, but I managed to narrow it down to my top 20. I only chose one book per author, but I may have cheated a bit on some of them and combined a few books as sometimes I just can't choose! So here are my top reads of 2016 - in no particular order - with my favorite read(s) of the year at the end! Click on the title to see my full review. Enjoy!


Rath's Redemption by Piers Platt

Last year one of my top reads was the first Janus Group trilogy. It was so much fun so when I found out there was a second trilogy coming out this year, chronicling what happened after the end of the first one, I was really excited to read it. All three of the books were great reads, but Rath's Redemption, the final book, was so so so much fun! In the other books Rath struggles with the things he has done, which I enjoyed, but in this one he finally is just like f this! I am going to take the bad guys down and I won't feel bad about it. Oh man. Rath on a mission was amazing!! Seriously, this whole series is amazing, but this book? This book was my favorite by far. 


Spiral Down
The Spiral Down by Aly Martinez

I don't read a lot of M/M romances because prior to now most that I had found were just...not what I want to read. I don't know how to describe them. Maybe more erotica, which I am overall not really a fan of. I like my books to have great stories and great sexy time. The ones I tired to read before felt...not realistic. But The Spiral Down changed all that. This was the story of two wonderfully amazing people who fall in love. I loved every second of it and cannot recommend it enough. 


Chase Me
Chase Me by Laura Florand

It is no secret that I love Laura Florand and all her books, they always make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but Chase Me was the first that had a much different feel. It was just straight up fun! A special ops guy and a Michelin star chef get mixed up and fight their way to a happily ever after. It was amazing! Fun, hot, sweet, everything you want in a story is in here. 


The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

What do you get when you cross a guy who is terrible in bed, knows he is, but doesn't know what to do about it and a girl who is so bright and colorful, but had issues of her own? This amazing read! Hilarious, sweet, heartbreaking, you have it all. I felt for Sean immediately, oh I loved him so much, and he and Lucy are perfect together. They have a lot of things to work through, somethings outside their control, but oh this book was great. 


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Bright Side and Gus by Kim Holden

I know this is two books, but I feel like they have to be read together. If you are looking for a book to make you cry then Bright Side is your book. I don't cry at books. I just don't. But Bright Side was different. Bright Side made me cry so much I had to put the book aside at times because I couldn't see to read for the tears. It was amazing and devastating and oh, this story. I thought I was prepared for it, I knew what I thought would happen, and yet I wasn't ready. I don't think you can be. And after Bright Side it felt like I wouldn't be able to move on. Wouldn't be able to read another book because this one was stuck with me. Luckily Gus was there to help. To fix things. To make everything okay again. If you are going to read Bright Side you should have Gus ready to go afterwards. If you are like me you will need it. You will need it to try and move on. Plus it is a great story by itself. 


An Ounce of Hope 
An Ounce of Hope by Sophie Jackson

I was trying to decide which story I liked better, A Pound of Flesh or An Ounce of Hope and I think the later just barely hedges out the former. Part of it was that I was not really expecting to enjoy An Ounce of Hope. I put off reading it forever as I didn't care about Max or his story after reading the first book. Man I am glad I still went ahead and read this though. It was amazing. The writing really reinforced how fragile Max and Grace were and how strong they become. I loved them so much!! Another book I couldn't put down.


Splinters of Light by Rachael Herron

Oh man was this book devastating in such a wonderful way. It is not my typical read which is probably why I put it off for so long, but man it was good. This is the story of Nora and the other Glass woman and what happens when the inevitable comes a little too soon. I couldn't help but put myself in some of their places and think about what I would do in their situation? What would I do if I found myself in their situation right now? Oh, it was very hard to read at times, but because it is so well written. It is hard to feel so much for these characters and watch them go through everything. It feels like they are people you know. It was wonderful even if it was devastating. 


Penny Reid GABI Cover
Grin & Beard It by Penny Reid

Since I am trying to only put one book per author on my list then Grin & Beard is my favorite from Penny this year. Beard Science was also amazing, but something about Jethro and Sienna really got me. It was fun and funny, sweet and heartbreaking and just wonderful. I normally don't care that much about the female characters, don't connect with them as much, but I loved Sienna. I wish she were real so I could be friends with her. Plus I normally don't like famous people in my books, but she was different. She was just a person who happened to be famous and it worked. Oh it was fun. Sienna was hilarious and that tension in the beginning when they want to be together, but don't think they can be for whatever reason? Oh I loved it. I have re-read this one a few times already and I am sure I will a few more next year. 


 
Once Upon a Time by S.K. Hartley

This book was hilarious! I was a little iffy on it based on the synopsis, I was worried it would be another comedy that wouldn't be my sense of humor, but oh it was fun. It is hard for me to find books that I find as funny as this one. It was wonderful. Hot and funny and sweet and a great read. 


Graffiti in Love by G.G. Andrew

This was a fun, sweet read. I wish I saw the world as KaveMan does as it sounds so beautiful! They way he talks about how he sees everything, colors, all of it makes me jealous. I wish I saw things like he does. I think I could have read a book of him walking around describing how he sees things and been perfectly happy. Instead I got to watch him and Laurel fall in love. It wasn't easy or straightforward, but it was wonderful to read.


Warped by Emma James

What a wonderfully twisted world this author created. I read this on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn't get enough. I needed to see what would happen, but also wanted to savor it. I don't normally like MC books, but Edge is part of an MC and I love it! This is not a standalone, it is the second in a series, so if you haven't read Wrenched yet you would need to before starting this story. And you should just so you can read this one it is that good. So dark, so twisted, and sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I can't wait for the next book to come out!!


BendMeBreakMe
Bend Me, Break Me by Chelsea M. Cameron

Ingrid and Coen don't have an easy time of it. Ingrid had some tragedy in her past, something that leaves her broken, but Coen? Oh, Coen was wonderful. You know he has secrets, but man he was amazing with Ingrid. The two of them have a connection that cannot be denied and he will always be there for her. One of my favorite things about this story is how the author dealt with Ingrid's past. With what happened to her. How it was talked about and what details you learn/don't learn. It was wonderful.



The Silent Waters by Brittainy C Cherry

This book wrecked me in such a wonderful way. It is all about the moments. Moments that made the book for me. Moments, big and small, that make a person who they are. Sometimes it was just a word or two that would just shatter me, but the author always puts you back together again in a better way. I loved all the moments even when they hurt me. A moment can change everything. A moment can help you heal. It was a wonderful read.



Upon a Midnight Dream & Whispered Music by Rachel Van Dyken

This is another cheat one as I simply cannot decide which one I enjoyed more! I am particular about my old timey romance, but these stories were so much fun I wouldn't have cared even if it had things I normally don't like in my old timey romances. The first book was so ridiculous in such a great way I couldn't stop reading it once I started. The second is a retelling of Beauty & the Beast - my favorite! And just as much fun as the first. I was talking to the author in Birmingham this year and she said most people don't even realize she has old timey romances! That is such a shame as they are amazing!!


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Practically Imperfect by Mary Frame

I love this author. She writes some seriously entertaining hijinks that I love. The characters are all so much fun! I smiled/laughed my way through this story. The author writes some more serious situations in a lighthearted way I can't get enough of. Oh, this book is wonderful.



All the Rage by T.M. Frazier

I love most all of Frazier's books, but Rage? Oh Rage. I love love loved her! She is so tough and badass, but she is not so experienced with emotions. There are only a few people she cares about and if you are not on the list she could easily kill you and not think twice about it. It was wonderful watching her fall in love since it was a whole new world for her. Loved it!


Wasted Words
Wasted Words by Staci Hart

This author writes some really fun, cute, sweet reads. Cam is a bit of a nerd and likes to categorize people. Tyler is Cam's roommate and she doesn't think he is on the same shelf as her, so nothing can ever happen. It was a really sweet story. Watching Cam fall for Tyler and how it all works out was great.


Kind of Heart
King of Hearts by L.H. Cosway

Man Cosway sure knows how to write some amazing, unique characters. This book was split into two parts, before and after. Before was a lovely story, but after? Oh man it was great. Oliver has demons, you know this already if you have read the prior books, but man Alexis is wonderful with him. The whole how do you reach someone who is so far gone? When things fall apart what do you do? It was a great story. I loved Oliver and Alexis.


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More Than Forever by Jay McLean

I love Cam and Lucy! Cam loves Lucy so much, but she doesn't always see it. She has some insecurity issues, but oh these two. I love how Cam is there for her through everything. How he knows she is it for him and how he sees her. It was lovely.


And finally my favorite read of the year. Or I should say my favorite author, who happened to be a new to me author, of the year as I cannot pick one of her books as my favorite. I love them all so much! So who is it?



Jade West! 

Oh my goodness do I love her books. Every one I have read has been amazing! It all started with Dirty Bad Wrong, the best BDSM book I have read. Seriously this book is hot hot hot, but it also has an amazing story. That is the thing with Jade. She writes these stories that are so incredibly hot I would love to read them just for that, but they also have an incredible story to back it up. If you were to take out the sexy times you would still have an incredible read. Bang GangSugar Daddies, and Teach Me Dirty were all so so so good. They are all so different, have situations I haven't read before, but oh I can't get enough! A student/teacher relationship? Not my thing, but this one worked. A M/M/F relationship? I have never read that before. Sure I read ones that start out as a threesome, but then eventually it becomes just two people, but not a threesome relationship. Not where everyone loves each other equally. So good! And Bang Gang? Gah! Seriously I don't know how she does it. I fall for all of the characters and want nothing but great things for them all. Plus it is hot hot hot! I can't wait to see what Jade has in store for 2017! I am so glad I gave her books a try. If you like BDSM, if you like hot, super sexy reads with incredible story then you want to read Jade West. She is incredible! The best!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Blog Tour: Until Ashlyn (Until Her #3) by Aurora Rose Reynolds


Now Available on

Synopsis:

Dillon Keck knew Ashlyn Mayson was drunk when she suggested they get married. He knew he should have taken her back to their hotel room and put her to bed. Instead, he did what he had been craving to do since the moment they met.

Claim her as his.

Waking up married in Vegas isn't something Ashlyn Mayson ever thought would happen to her. Having Dillon, her boss, a man she thinks is a dick, insist they stay married is absurd, but every time he touches her, she gets lost in him and wonders if maybe they are meant to be together.

But someone isn't happy for Dillon and Ashlyn and their new found romance, and they're willing to do anything to keep them apart. Even commit murder.

Review:

Yes! Until Ashlyn was the amazingness that I want from Aurora Rose Reynolds. I love her hot alpha males and the boom and all of it. I wasn't a huge fan of the last book in the series and was a bit worried this one wouldn't be my favorite either, but this book? Phew! It was hot and fun and amazing! It was everything that I love about this author. Oh, this book was so so so good! I picked it up and couldn't put it down until I finished it. 

Ashlyn works for Dillon. She hasn't worked for him all that long, and when she first saw him she thought there might be something there, but he ended up being a huge jerk! That and his fiance is terrible and it is not so good for her. Yes, she is still attracted to him, but ugh! He hates her for some reason. When he needs her to go with him to Vegas for work she doesn't expect to marry him one drunken night. She also doesn't expect him to refuse to get a divorce or get it annulled. They are married and that is the way they are going to stay according to him. 

Ashlyn is pretty confused at first. I mean why is Dillon adamant that they stay married? That she is his wife? Man these two. They were crazy fun to read and hot hot hot! I loved Dillon. I loved how he knew he wanted Ashlyn, but was trying to take care of some things before he tried to win her over. I loved that once he had her he wasn't going to let her go. I loved how sweet and kind and wonderful he was with her, but also how alpha controlling at the same time. He was really a great guy and one of my new favorite book guys!!

He does have a sorta ex-fiance who was all kinds of crazy. Ashlyn at first was super upset that she married a guy who was engaged to someone else, that is not who she is, but he keeps telling her he wasn't engaged to the other girl. He keeps trying to tell her what is going on with that other girl, but whenever he brings it up she doesn't want to hear it. She turns into a jealous girl and she doesn't really like that. She has dated a lot, but never really connected with someone like she does with Dillon. She doesn't understand all these new things she is feeling and doing. She was so cute. I loved her just as much as I loved Dillon. These two do have a lot to work out, but it works. I mean they got married when they were drunk and everything moves so quickly which freaks Ashlyn out a bit. But they are definitely meant to be. You can feel the connection between them. I loved reading this story, loved that they were both instantly into the other (even if it didn't seem that way to Ashlyn) and seeing the other characters, her parents and brother and everyone. It was just so much fun!!

Of course not everything is all sunshine and roses. Telling her family that she got married without telling anyone was no the easiest. Plus someone seems to be out for Ashlyn and she has no idea who or why. Now I will mention one thing - the ending. Well not the ending ending, but some things that happened towards the end felt a bit rushed. I wanted more! I wanted to see what happened and go through it all with the characters, but it was just a small thing. I could have used more, but I still loved it! I loved seeing the vulnerable side to Dillon and how unbelievable he is whenever anything bad happens to Ashlyn. They seriously were so great together I couldn't stop reading their story. I wished it would just go on and on and on! 

If you like hot alpha males and awesome female counterparts and fun and excitement and a bit of mystery and adventure then this is the book for you. Dillon and Ashlyn are perfect together! They just work and I loved it!

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for voluntary review consideration
Rating: ★★★★1/2



Excerpt:
Chapter 1 

Ashlyn 

“Hey, Mom,” I greet, tucking my phone between my ear and shoulder as I shove another dress and matching heels into my suitcase. I smile while I do, because Dillon will likely flip his lid when he sees my choices in attire for the weekend, but there is not one damn thing he can do about it since we won’t be in the office. So technically, his stupid rules don’t apply. 

“Are you all packed?” 

“Almost,” I sigh, looking at the clock and realizing I only have ten minutes to finish before my cab is set to arrive. I wasn’t planning on going to Vegas for the dental convention, but Dillon insisted he needed me with him, and like an idiot, I agreed. 

“Is Dillon picking you up?” 

“No, I’m meeting him there. His flight left a couple hours ago.” 

“Oh.” She lets out a defeated breath. “Is it just you and him going?” 

“I hope so. I swear if the Wicked Witch shows up, I’ll sell her on the strip to the highest bidder, or pay someone to take her out to the desert and drop her off,” I grumble, digging under my bed for my tickler—just in case of an emergency. 

“Call me if you need an alibi.” She laughs, and I smile, shaking my head, because I know she’s not lying; she would find a way to be my alibi if something happened. 

“I’ll call,” I mutter, heading to the bathroom so I can gather my shower supplies. 

“Dillon’s so nice,” she says quietly, and I grit my teeth. 

Dillon is annoying, bossy, and… fine, he can be nice sometimes. Plus, he’s uber-hot, but I hate him. Okay, I don’t hate him… but I really, really want to. 

“How long are you going to be gone for?” she questions, breaking into my internal rant. 

“Just four days. My flight gets back Monday night around seven.” 

“Promise you’ll call everyday and check in.” 

“I’ll call or text,” I agree, grabbing my cosmetics case from under the bathroom cupboard, filling it with all of my makeup. 

“Please try and have some fun while you’re there. Make Dillon take you out to a nice dinner or dancing.” 

Snorting, I mutter, “Sure, Mom. I love you. I’ll message when I land.” 

“Okay, honey, and don’t forget your dad and I leave Monday for Florida and we’ll be gone for three weeks.” 

“I haven’t forgotten. Have fun, kiss Grandma and Grandpa, and tell Dad I love him.” 

“Will do,” she promises softly before I hang up and shove my cell into my back pocket. Looking at the clock I let out a quiet curse, getting my ass in gear to finish packing so I don’t miss my flight. 

~*~*~ 

Dragging my bag behind me toward the reception desk, I’m stunned by how many people are here wearing nametags stating they’re attending the dental convention. Dillon mentioned this weekend is one of the largest gatherings of dentists in the United States, but sheesh, this is crazy. Finally making it to the front of the line, I smile at the cutie behind the desk. 

“How can I help you, gorgeous?” he inquires once I’m close, and I set my purse on the counter and pull out my ID, handing it over to him. 

“Hi, I have a reservation.” I yawn, covering my mouth while I listen to the sound of slot machines going off in the distance. I love the slots—or penny slots to be exact, since I’m too chicken to play the real ones. 

“I’m sorry, but there is no reservation under your name. Are you sure you’re staying with us?” he asks, handing me back my ID, and I frown. 

“I’m positive. It may be under my boss’ name, Dillon Keck. He made the reservations,” I say, and he starts to type again then smiles. 

“Got it. I see here that Mr. Keck has already checked in and requested we give you your own key to the suite upon arrival.” 

“Uh… what?” I blurt, feeling something close to dread fill my stomach. “Are you saying he’s staying in that room too?” 

“Yes, it’s a suite with two kings.” 

“I don’t care how many kings are in the room. It’s one room. Right?” I panic, leaning half over the counter, trying to see his computer screen. “Please tell me you have another room available?” 

“I’m sorry, but we’re completely booked. This is one of our busiest weekends of the year.” 

“Of course it is.” I shake my head. “Can you recommend another hotel nearby?” 

“Sorry, but I really doubt anywhere else has an opening.” 

“Oh man… oh man,” I breathe, squeezing my eyes closed. “It’s not a big deal. You can share a room with him. You’re an adult, and it’s not like you even like him, right?” I whisper, balling my hands into fists. 

“Um, so do you want me to get you your key?” Opening my eyes, I nod once and his face softens. “Call down and check. Sometimes we have people call off their reservations last minute. You never know. Something might open up between tonight and tomorrow.” 

“Sure, I’ll call,” I agree, wondering what the hell I did to deserve this kind of karma as I wait there for the room key. 

Standing in the hall outside the door to our room ten minutes later, I pause with my key card in my hand, not sure if I should knock or just go in. I seriously cannot believe Dillon booked us in a room together. Actually, I can believe it, because I think he gets off on annoying me. 

“Screw it. It’s my room too,” I mutter to myself, shoving the key into the card reader, watching the light turn green. Pushing down on the handle, I turn, using my shoulder to hold the door open while I drag my suitcase into the room, fighting with its weight as the door closes, trapping it half way through. 

“Shit!” 

Turning my head, I look over my shoulder and almost fall on my ass when my eyes find Dillon standing in the middle of the room, completely naked, with a pair of boxers in his hand. His once long hair now short and wet, and a tattoo I didn’t know he had along his muscled ribs on his side. 

“Oh, my God,” I breathe, turning quickly while attempting to shove my suitcase back out of the room. I totally did not need to know Dillon looks hotter without clothes than what my mind had made up, and believe me—my mind had unfortunately tormented me with thoughts of him naked many times. 

“Christ, you’re a mess,” is muttered from behind me while a very strong arm wraps around my waist, lifting me off my feet, and my suitcase is tugged from my grasp. Before I know it, my suitcase and I are both in the room and the door closes with a soft hiss, trapping me inside. 

“Please tell me you’re not still naked,” I whimper, squeezing my eyes closed, feeling his arm release me and his heat leave my back. 

“I’m not naked.” 

Opening my eyes, I close them again when I see he’s only got on a pair of form-fitting black boxers and nothing else. “Put some clothes on.” 

“Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a naked man before.” He chuckles, and the sound of his laughter makes my teeth grind and my hands drop to my sides. 

“I don’t want to see you naked.” I glare at him while he buttons up a pair of dark slacks that fit him perfectly. 

“You could have avoided all of this if you had knocked.” 

“Really?” I raise a brow. “You could have ‘avoided all this,’” I make air quotes, “and gotten me a separate room.” 

“They messed up the reservation.” He shrugs like it’s no big deal, and I feel my eyes narrow further. 

“You should have called to tell me that, so I could have—” 

“You would have avoided coming,” he cuts me off. “If you knew we were sharing a room, you would have found an excuse, and I need you with me this weekend.” 

“Whatever,” I grumble, knowing he’s right. I would have canceled the trip if I knew we were sharing a room, even knowing that being here is a great way to build connections with other dentists. Especially, if I want to open my own practice in the future. “We need to set a few ground rules.” I cross my arms over my chest while I watch him walk across the room toward the bed near the window. 

“Later.” He picks up a dark-blue, almost black, dress shirt and starts to put it on, which is unfortunate, because now that I’ve seen him shirtless, I’m thinking he should never cover up again. 

“No, now,” I growl, annoyed with myself for being attracted to the dick. 

“Later.” He holds my glare. “Right now, you need to get dressed. We have reservations in forty minutes.” He takes a seat on the side of the bed and starts to put on his shoes. 

“What?” I look at the clock on the wall. It’s after seven at night and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is climb into bed, order room service, and watch some bad TV. 

“We have a reservation in forty minutes,” he repeats, then stands. “The restaurant is twenty minutes away, so you have twenty minutes to get ready, unless you want to wear that.” He motions to my sweats, flip-flops, and hoodie. “I suggest you change.” 

“I hate you.” 

“So you say,” he says, just barely loud enough for me to hear, as he goes to the dresser, picking up his watch and putting it on. 

“What did I do to deserve this?” I shake my head, pulling out my hair tie and running my fingers through my knotted hair. 

“You may want to hurry.” 

Holding his eyes for a minute, I give up my glare then drag my suitcase to the middle of the room and unzip it. After pulling out one of my favorite “going out” outfits along with my makeup bag, I go to the bathroom and try to slam the door closed, but it’s on one of those thingies that prevents me from doing that, which pisses me off even more. 

“Stupid door. Stupid dick,” I mutter once the door is closed, then get to work on making myself look halfway decent. 

Twenty minutes later, I look at my refection and lean forward, putting my face an inch from the mirror, and use my dark-red lipstick for the final touch on my dramatic makeup look. Since I didn’t have time to do anything with my hair, I brushed it out and put it up in a bun on top of my head then pulled out a few pieces to frame my face. Looking at my now blonde hair, I smile. I wasn’t sure I would like having blonde hair but Kim insisted it would look great on me, and she wasn’t wrong. Standing back, I place my hands on my hips and take myself in. My black sleeveless-top, with triangles cut out of the center of the chest and sides, is sexy but classy, and my red skin-tight pencil skirt, with its slit up the thigh, shows off just enough skin to draw attention while leaving everything to the imagination. 

Slipping on my black, pointed-toe, four-inch pumps, I open the door to the bathroom, and mutter toward where I know Dillon is sitting, “Let me just change my purse and we can go.” 

“You’re not wearing that.” 

“Pardon?” I ask, pausing in my squatted position in front of my open suitcase to look at him. 

“You’re not wearing that outfit. Go change.” 

“I’m not changing.” I stand, moving to the desk so I can transfer what I need from my bag to my clutch. Hearing no reply, my eyes move to where he’s sitting on the edge of the bed, and I feel my skin warm up and butterflies take off in my stomach as our eyes lock and his darken. 

Licking my lips that have suddenly gone dry, his eyes drop to my mouth and his jaw clenches. “I’ll meet you downstairs.” He stands abruptly and moves past me out the room quickly, letting the door close behind him with a swoosh without another word. 

“What the fuck was that?” I ask the door, gaining no reply—not that I need one. I know exactly what that was; I just have no idea what to do with it. Dillon has always acted professional with me. There has never been a time that I’ve seen him look at me like he’s interested, but the look in his eyes a moment ago was primal and not one an engaged man should give another woman, or a boss should give his employee, ever. 

Shaking off the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, I finish changing out my bag then leave the room and make my way through the casino and into the lobby. Not finding Dillon inside, I head outside to the area the cabs and limos pick up and drop off, and spot him standing with a group of people. I’m not surprised he’s surrounded by a gaggle of women and a couple of men. He tends to draw attention wherever he goes, and it’s something else that annoys me. I hate being the center of attention, and I don’t really like people who need it to feel important. Needing a minute to get my head together, I stop a few feet away and tuck my clutch under my arm. 

“Where you going, gorgeous? ‘Cause wherever it is, I’m there,” a drunk guy, who can’t be much older than twenty-one, slurs, stumbling up to me. His clothes are rumpled, his hair in disarray, and if he wasn’t such a mess, he’d be cute. But sadly, sloppy drunk works for no one. 

Ignoring him, I untuck my purse, open it, and pull out my cell phone, knowing better than to engage with men like him in his current state. 

“So you’re to good for me?” he slurs, snatching my cell out of my hand, and my eyes fly up. 

“Give me my phone,” I say evenly, holding out my hand, and his eyes travel the length of me and his face scrunches up. 

“Ho here thinks she’s too good for me.” 

“Mike, come on. Give her the phone and let’s go,” someone says off to the side, but I keep my eyes on Mike, with my palm out toward him. My dad insisted I take martial arts with Jax when I was little. I hated it; I wanted to be a ballerina, not a ninja, but he was adamant about me being able to protect myself. Over the years, the skills I learned back then have come in handy, like now, when all I really want to do is kick the crap out of Mike but know better. One of the first things I was forced to learn was control, to never lose my temper. The second thing I learned was to keep my eyes on my enemy at all times. I was never really good at either, but I still got a black belt in the end. 

“Mike,” I say softly, taking a step toward him. “I’m going to ask you nicely, once, to give me my phone. If you don’t, I swear to God I will unleash the Kraken, kick your ass in front of your friends, and send you home crying to your mother.” 

Laughing, he looks around then his eyes widen as they move behind me. I really, really want to know what he’s looking at, but I refuse to turn my head and give in. 

“Give her the phone.” The deep rumble of Dillon’s voice sends a chill down my spine. I’ve only heard him pissed a few times, and I know he’s pissed right now without even looking at him. 

“I… I… w-was just playin’ man,” Mike stutters out, tossing my phone toward me. Missing my hands and causing my phone to crash to the ground, and my nostrils to flare as it shatters at my feet. 

“Oh, shit. Oh, Christ. I’m sorry.” He drops to his knees and begins gathering the pieces of what used to be my phone then tries to get up, but falls face forward into my crotch, causing me to stumble back. 

“I can’t believe this shit,” Dillon grumbles, catching me before I fall, then tugs me out of the way as Mike’s friends decide to finally step in and pick him up from the ground. “You had to wear that outfit.” 

“You can not be serious right now?” I hiss, swinging my head back and finding him glaring down at me. 

“Deadly.” 

“Let me go.” I try to get free, but his hand on my waist tightens as his eyes leave mine. Swinging my head in the other direction, I find one of Mike’s friends standing a few feet away with my phone, looking anywhere but at us, and Mike off to the side, puking in a trashcan. 

“Let me go,” I repeat, and his arm tightens for a moment before he finally lets me loose. I really want to scream or throw a fit, but instead, I calmly take my clutch and open it, holding it out toward the guy and letting him dump the now useless pieces inside. “You need to get him some Gatorade and toast,” I tell him, nodding toward Mike. 

“Um, yeah sure. Than…” his words taper off, and the smile that was forming on his lips slides away as he looks over my shoulder. Rolling my eyes, I watch him turn quickly and go to Mike to help carry him away, feeling Dillon get close once more. 

“Limo’s waiting,” he mutters, placing his hand against my lower back, making me tense. 

“I’m not going.” I try to step away, but his hand slides around my waist, bringing my side into his middle. 

“You are.” 

“I’m not.” 

“You are,” he growls, leaning forward, close… way too close. 

“Fine, you want me there? I’ll go, but just so you know, I plan on getting completely wasted, so you have just become my chaperone for the evening.” 

“You’re not getting drunk.” 

“Wasted, not drunk. And you better make sure I don’t do anything stupid.” I pat his chest, ignoring his flashing eyes. With that, I step out of his grasp and start toward the line of limos then turn to look over my shoulder at him, realizing I have no clue which one to go to. 

Smirking, he crosses his arms over his chest and raises a brow. “What’s wrong, blondie? Confused?” His mocking tone and the look of triumph in his eyes does it. I turn on my heels and head to one of the limos with the driver standing outside leaning against it. The moment the driver spots me coming in his direction, his back leaves the car and his eyes rake over me, making my teeth snap together. 

“Can I help you, Miss?” 

“Ashlyn Mayson, get your ass back here,” Dillon snarls behind me, making my palm itch to smack him. 

“I’m sorry, pumpkin. I thought you said this was our limo.” I fake pout, turning to look at him and tossing my head to the side for good measure. 

“Christ, you drive me fucking insane.” He walks to where I’m standing, tagging my hand, and then starts to drag me with him, grumbling under his breath. 

“You know all I want in this whole wide world is to make you happy, pumpernickel,” I whine, batting my lashes while watching his jaw tic. 

Leading me toward another limo with a driver holding the back door open, he growls, “Behave.” 

“I swear I’ll be your good girl from now on if you don’t spank me,” I stage-whisper, and his hand spasms in mine as a smirk forms on his lips. 

“You don’t behave, I’ll bend you over and tan your ass right here.” His words ring through my ears, making my insides liquid, and then I hear the sound of a male chuckle as I’m gently forced into the back seat of the dark limo before I can reply. 

“You’re such a jerk,” I hiss, adjusting my skirt as I move across the leather seats. 

“You started the show we put on. I just ended it,” he mutters, sitting down across from me and unbuttoning his suit jacket. 

“You started it with the whole ‘blondie’ thing.” I cross my arms over my chest and glare at him. 

“Can we not do this tonight? Can we get along for one damn evening?” 

“You tell me. I’m not the one who’s bossy and annoying all the damn time.” 

“No, you’re just crazy.” 

“Crazy?” I snort, and his lips twitch ever so slightly. “I’m not crazy.” 

“Babe, you told that kid you were going to unleash the Kraken on him then went on to tell his friends to get him Gatorade and toast. You’re the definition of crazy.” 

He may have a point, but instead of agreeing with him, I turn my head to look out the window and watch the city of Las Vegas slide by. 

~*~*~ 

“Turn it off. Turn it off,” I croon sleepily as my hand sweeps out in the direction of the noise blaring from the alarm, missing it over and over as the beeping continues to torture me. 

“Jesus, shut that shit off.” An arm comes from around me, and silence fills the room as my body freezes and my eyes spring open, only to close again when the room spins. 

“Oh, God, why are you in my bed?” I hiss, trying to calm my stomach that feels like it’s getting ready to empty. 

“You’re in my bed,” Dillon grumbles, sliding his arm around my waist, pulling my ass back into the crook of his thighs. 

“Why am I in your bed?” I breathe as bits and pieces from last night flash through my mind, and none of them are good. None of them at all. 

“You wanted to cuddle.” He buries his face in my neck then moves his hand up to cup my breast. I know I don’t have any clothes on when I feel the hair from his thighs tickle mine and his finger runs over my nipple. Oh, God. A memory of me telling him we have so much in common while we both got naked for bed fills my mind, and then another one pops in and my hand flies up to my face. 

I force my eyes open, trying to focus, and see it there—the small, plain, white-gold band from the memory of him sliding it on my finger. 

“We got married?” I shout, pulling his hand from my breast. 

“We got married,” he agrees, not sounding upset, but instead, almost proud. 

“Oh shit!” I fly out of the bed and trip over our clothes scattered across the floor, feeling him catch me right before I land on my face. 

“Ash, calm down.” 

“Calm down? Calm down? Are you insane? We got married last night. Married, Dillon. I got married to a man who is engaged to another woman!” I yell, then cover my mouth. “Oh, God, I’m going to hell. I’m so going to hell for this.” 

“I’m not engaged,” he says calmly, giving me a shake. 

“I know your fiancĂ©e!” I screech, attempting to get away from him, only to have him hold me tighter. 

“I’m not fucking with Isla. Now stop with the crazy.” 

“You’re not with her?” I stop, and he runs a hand through his hair. 

“No,” he states, holding my stare, and my body uncoils just slightly. 

“Fine, I’m not going to hell.” I move away from him and resume pacing. “We need to find an attorney. I saw loads of advertisements on the strip. We’ll get one and get this taken care of. It’s no big deal. People get married in Vegas everyday then get divorced. We will just be one of the ninety percent,” I ramble while pacing. 

“We are not getting an annulment.” 

“Annulment, right.” I snap my fingers. “That’s even better. No one has to know about this.” 

“Listen to me.” He grabs onto my shoulders, giving me a shake, and my eyes focus on his. “We are not getting an annulment, or divorced. We got married and are staying that way.” 

“Oh, God, you were drugged.” I rest my hands against his chest and drop my voice, “Don’t worry. We’ll go to the hospital and they’ll give you something. Once you’re better, this will all be taken care of.” 

“Jesus Christ.” He rubs his hands down his face, tilting his head back to look toward the ceiling. “I’m married to a nut.” 

“Hey, that’s not nice.” I plant my hands on my hips. His head drops, his eyes scan the length of me, and I realize I’m naked… that we’re both completely naked. “Dillon.” I take a step back when his eyes meet mine, and his arms swing toward me. “What are you doing?” I shriek, sidestepping him, only to stumble onto the bed, where I attempt to roll. But he flips me to my back, his giant body moving between my legs, and his hands pin my wrists to the mattress over my head. Panting, I look up into his beautiful blue eyes. 

“We are not getting a divorce,” he snarls, leaning down so his face is mere centimeters from mine. 

“Be rational.” I lift my hips and my arms, trying to throw him off. “You’re obviously on—” 

Before I can say more, his head descends and his mouth is covering mine, stealing my breath along with my soul. The feel of his lips, the taste of him on my tongue, ignites something deep inside of me, and I kiss him back with everything I am. Ripping my mouth from his, I pant, “Please let me go.” 

“No.” The word sounds almost primal, and I lean up, placing my mouth back against his. 

“Please, I want to touch you.” 

Groaning, his hands release my wrists, and my palms fly to his chest and slide up and over his shoulders, pulling him closer to me as my legs wrap around the back of his thighs. He kisses me again, this time using his tongue and teeth to torture me in the most beautiful way possible. 

“How is it possible you taste as good as you look?” he questions, pulling back, but I have no answer for him. He tastes amazing and having him covering me, his hardness pressing against my softness, is making my brain short-circuit. Palming my breast, he slides his thumb over my nipple, causing my hips to jerk forward. Rolling us again, he settles me on top of him, palms both my breasts, and then leans up, pulling my right nipple into his mouth, releasing it with a pop. “When did you get these?” he questions, flicking the tip with his tongue. 

“When I was thirteen.” I smile, and he smiles back then moves to my other breast, doing the same, only sucking harder, almost punishing. 

“When?” he asks again, and I know he’s asking about my nipple piercings. I got them with my cousin April a few years back. I wanted a piercing, but needed to be able to look professional to the outside world, so I got both my nipples done with simple, almost elegant-looking gold barbells. 

“Three years ago,” I breathe as he tweaks the tiny piece of metal. 

“Before me.” 

“What?” I try to focus, but every time he touches me, my body gets hotter and my focus depletes. Grabbing my hips, he tugs me forward, dragging my wet center along his length. 

“Soaked.” He nips my nipple then wraps his hand into the hair at the back of my head, taking control of my movements as he pulls my mouth to his and thrusts his tongue between my lips. Lost in his kiss and the feel of him between my legs, so close to where I need and want him, I squeak when he flips us over and slides down my body, not giving me a chance to think as his mouth covers me. 

“Dillon.” My hands move through his hair and my hips lift off the bed, offering myself up to him without thinking about anything but the way his tongue, lips, and teeth feel as he fucks me with his mouth. “Oh, God. Oh, God, I’m going to come,” I pant, feeling my toes curl into the bedding and my hands grip his hair. The touch of his finger rimming just the inside of my entrance sends me over, shouting his name as I go. 

Feeling him kiss my inner thigh then my belly, over my breasts then shoulder, I come back to myself lazily. 

“Tell me you want me.” Looking into my eyes while his hand moves between my legs and his fingers slide though my folds, I know I’ll give him anything. “Tell me you want me as badly as I want you.” 

“I want you,” I hiss, feeling the very large head of his cock at my entrance, and then watch his eyes drop between us before my eyes do the same, and I know I need to tell him. “I—” 

Oh, God, too late… way too late. I bite my lip as he fills me, stretching me. 

“Tight, so goddamn tight.” He pushes in farther and his jaw clenches. 

“Hold on. Please, hold on,” I breathe, and his body stills above me as his eyes search mine. 

“What’s wrong?” 

“I just need a minute.” I squeeze my eyes closed, feeling like an idiot. 

“Baby.” His fingers slide along my jaw and cheekbone, into my hair. “Do you want to stop?” he asks gently, making tears sting my nose. 

“God, no.” He feels good, so good. But he’s huge, way bigger than any of my toys. “You’re just big. So big.” I wiggle my hips and he hisses out a breath, grabbing my waist. 

“Don’t say that shit when I’m inside of you,” he groans, dropping his forehead to mine. 

“I have to tell you something, but please don’t be mad.” 

“Christ, what now?” He pulls back, gritting his teeth. 

“Stop being a jerk and let me talk.” I smack his shoulder and he looks down at me, thrusting in another inch. 

“Never mind. I don’t want to know.” 

“What?” I moan, wrapping my legs around his hips as he slides in a little more. 

“If it’s going to piss me off, I don’t want to know.” He slides out then back in, and my back arches off the bed as his thick cock fills every inch of me. 

“You’re such a dick!” I cry out as he tosses my leg over his shoulder, changing the angle of his thrust. 

“I don’t give a fuck about that either.” He drops his mouth, covering mine and stealing my reply—not that I have time to think about that as his mouth leisurely travels down my neck to my breast, which he pulls and sucks until I’m once again shouting his name and hearing mine groaned from his lips as we both come.

About the Author:
Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who's husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She's married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it's beauty. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Splinters of Light by Rachael Herron

Available on

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Pack Up the Moon comes a poignant and beautiful novel about love, loss, and the unbreakable bonds of family—particularly those between mothers, daughters, and sisters. 

Ten years ago, Nora Glass started writing essays about being a single mother of a six-year-old daughter. Her weekly column made her a household name, and over the years, her fans have watched Ellie grow from a toddler to a teenager.

But now Nora is facing a problem that can’t be overcome. Diagnosed with a devastating disease that will eventually take away who she is, she is scared for herself, but even more frightened about what this will mean for her sixteen-year-old daughter.

Now Nora has no choice but to let go of her hard-won image as a competent, self-assured woman, and turn to the one person who has always relied on her: her twin sister, Mariana. Nora and Mariana couldn’t be more different from one another, and they’ve always had a complicated relationship. But now the two sisters will have to summon the strength to help them all get through a future none of them could have ever imagined, while uncovering the joy and beauty that was always underneath.

Review:

Why have a waited so long to read this book? I have had it sitting on my Kindle for two years now and all this time I didn't know what I was missing out on. Rachael Herron is a fantastic author and she writes such beautiful stories. I might not always like the characters, but I love her stories regardless. Simply wonderful. 

Splinters of Light is the story of the Glass woman, or more accurately the story of Nora Glass and how what happens to her affects the other women. Nora is Ellie's mom and Mariana's twin sister. Ellie who is just on the cusp of adulthood, but still so young. She is sixteen when the story opens and acts like a typical teenager. She is moody and her mom is not cool anymore. She plays video games a lot, but she doesn't want her mom to know how much she loves the one she got for her. Throughout the story she deals with that awkward first love, the insecurities that come along with it, the pressure to choose a college and what you want to do with your life. I feel like I knew Ellie. Like she was from my real life. That age...man. She goes from only having the typical teenage things to worry about to having so much placed on her shoulders. My heart really broke for her and often. She feels so alone, especially since her mom and aunt are twins. They always have someone, but who does she have? This girl. You really see her grow up throughout the story. You see her deal with so much, but she is strong. 

Then there is Mariana the mess up. Everything she does seems to turn out wrong. She was an interesting one. I didn't always understand why she did things or the way she acted, so I don't completely understand it, but you can't help but root for her. To want things to work out just this once. For her to finally have something she can say is a success. 

And Nora. Oh Nora. She feels like she is the glue that holds everything together. Without her what will everyone do? She has been writing a column for the newspaper for the past years and everything she does is for Ellie. Her husband left them both when Ellie was little, but Nora got by. She started writing about her experiences getting divorced and raising a small child, with tips and tricks for her readers. She even has a book out about life with Ellie. She was interesting to read because there were a lot of times when she wouldn't want Ellie to do or experience something because Nora knew that she wouldn't enjoy it, only to find that Ellie did like it. It was Nora that didn't enjoy whatever it was. She has this way of thinking that the other Glass woman are the same as her. That they would like the same things, be afraid of the same things, react the same way to things. But it is simply not true. They each deal with things in their own way. 

There is a really beautiful/heartbreaking scene towards the end of the book where Mariana and Nora get into a big fight. Understandably, but they both let out what they really think and never said. It was this beautifully terrible scene where I just thought yes to all of this. Yes to Mariana finally letting Nora know how she saw everything. How everything is. How Nora is not the center of the world. How they can stand on their own without her if need be. That scene stuck out so much to me partly because it really explained Nora in a way I hadn't noticed before, but afterwards it was so obvious. 

Overall this is a fantastic read. Nora gets some bad news when she goes to the doctors and to watch what happens with her and how it affects the others...it was simply heartbreaking. I couldn't help but put myself in Ellie's place. What would I have done at her age? What would I do now? It was a beautiful, heartbreaking read of growing older and how the inevitable sometimes comes a little too soon.  The story was amazing, the writing magnificent. Go read this story. Even if it doesn't sound like your thing try it out. These characters will get under your skin and stay there. It is hard to read at times, but so worth it.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Monday, December 26, 2016

Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

toms river
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

For the readers of A Civil Action, The Emperor of all Maladies andThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a ripping scientific detective story, deep historical research and an unforgettable cast of characters into a riveting narrative that will leave readers asking, could it happen in my town, too?

On a cool September day in 1971, an independent trucker with a history of legal scrapes flung open the double doors of his eighteen-wheeler and began tossing leaky drums of industrial waste onto the sandy soil of a rundown chicken farm in Toms River, New Jersey. Eight years later, a schoolteacher who lived four miles away gave birth to a boy whose cherubic smile belied the fast growing tumors that soon riddled his face and chest. The doctors predicted he would not reach his first birthday. They were wrong, but that was only one of many surprises that would eventually come to light in Toms River, culminating in 2001 with a record legal settlement believed to top $35 million and an unprecedented government study confirming the existence of a long-suspected cluster of childhood cancer linked to polluted water and air. 

A detective story rooted in a scientific quest thousands of years old, Toms River is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who would not keep silent.

Review:

Toms River was an interesting read. Definitely not a happy fun tale, it made me angry at times, but interesting none the less. It was really like two books in one - the history of the dye industry and cancer and then what happened in Toms River. Sometimes this worked, the author flowed seamlessly from Toms River to history, and sometimes it didn't. Sometimes it was jarring how it switched topics suddenly. 

Toms River is a town in New Jersey that was kind of ruined by a big chemical company. A company who makes dyes for clothing and such. It is one of those stories about how big corporations don't really care what they do, who they harm, as long as they are making money. Yes, that is a bit cynical, but stories like this happen a bit too often I think. Just look at Flint Michigan for a current example. Reading this story made me really angry at times. Angry at the people in power who could have stopped some of this from happening, but instead looked the other way. Angry at the corporations who know there are issues, but do nothing. Just...it is not good. And Toms River is just one example. 

One of the things I did really enjoy about this story, even though it wasn't always done well, was the history. How different color dyes came about and the history of cancer. I always thought of cancer as a new disease, but according to this book it really isn't. It was fascinating reading how people went about researching cancer and making dyes and all of it. It was a lot of information I didn't previously know as I never looked into it before. Also the science stuff, trying to see if there is a cancer cluster and everything involved was really fascinating. It is crazy how hard it is to make any kind of correlation in such a small sample size. Yes, looking in from the outside it looks obvious at times, but to scientifically say that when you look at the different types of cancer in an area, some only having one or two cases, that it is a cluster is hard. It really showed how frustrating it would be to work in cancer research. At one moment the author goes through how this Toms River case came to be and all of the things that just happened to happen at the right time to make it come to fruition and it was crazy. I can understand people whose job it is to look for things like cancer clusters and how you could get so disillusioned so quickly. How it can seem to be like such a waste of time since you don't really get anywhere most times. I never thought about it, but now that I read this it makes me want to know more. Really an interesting read. 

Then you have the company who destroyed a town just because. The company's history, how it would move from place to place once their current location was no longer open to them dumping their waste and wanting them to clean up their act, was frustrating to read. I don't know how you could read it and not want to yell at them. They knew they were dumping stuff that was not good into Toms River, but they simply didn't care enough to stop. Then when things get a bit dicey, when it looks like it will be obvious that they are ruining the area, they have to try and find other ways of handling toxic waste. That alone, how they dealt with the waste and how there seemed to have been little oversight in the whole thing, was surprising. I don't know that most people knew what they were doing, what they were really storing or whatever, but the ways people tried to make a quick buck and cut corners wasn't good. The whole ordeal was frustrating to read. I would like to think that things have gotten better, that Toms River couldn't happen again in the US, but I am not so sure. Like I said above, look at Flint. That was just recently in the news and while I think things are definitely better we still have a ways to go. Toms River was a fascinating, frustrating, angering read but I am glad I read it. The author goes into a lot of detail so it is a slow read, but I really enjoyed it. As I said the two stories, the history and Toms River, didn't always mesh well, but overall it was a good read. 

Rating: ★★★★