BOOK REVIEW: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

blackliesBrant: Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for three years. Has proposed four times. Been rejected four times.

Lee: Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost two years, whether he knows it or not.

I love two men. I want two men.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

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“I have lied for this man, stolen for him, cheated on him… and sold my soul to his with our first kiss.”

The moment I opened this book and read the first few pages, I felt that tingling sensation in the back of my neck that usually alerts me of something great about to happen, and I knew, just knew that I had come across something truly rare. And the more of it I read, the more I knew I was right—this was the most perfect piece of writing I had read this year, and quite possibly ever. Every part of this unique story is sheer genius, ever facet of it truly unexpected and utterly mind-blowing. By the end of it, I felt like my mind had been stretched so far, I needed a map to navigate back to the mundanities of regular life. Without giving anything away, I will tell you that this book is not to be taken at face value. This story is so brilliantly woven together, so meticulously assembled that nothing is accidental, everything is intentional, and your preconceptions and assumptions as a reader need to be left at the door because apart from being a phenomenal storyteller, when Alessandra Torre decides to write an epic love story, she ‘recalibrates’ the entire genre. Remember that.

“When you really love someone, you cannot walk away. No matter what they do. No matter the lies from their mouth, or the actions from their bodies, you tie yourself tightly to their sail and vow to be there through thick and thin. Let the wind blow you where it may. Even if that place is a crash. Even if that place tears you apart and kills anything good.”

We meet Layana Fairmont on her twenty-fifth birthday as she comes into possession of a large trust fund designed to provide her with the same affluent lifestyle she grew up accustomed to, while she follows in her mother’s footsteps and seeks a wealthy husband whose name she would carry and whose arm she would adorn. But Layana is nothing like her own mother. Passionate, opinionated, generous with her heart—she hopes of finding an equal in the man she marries one day, someone who would share the same goals in life, someone to forge a future with, free from secrets and deceptions, someone to love her completely and unconditionally. Someone to ignite her body and stimulate her soul.

“I wanted the happily-ever-after of movies. Where my family would share their day while eating at a round table. Wanted to visit life in a world where mothers hugged daughters with bruises and consoled them after their first dates went awry.”

When Layana meets Brant Sharp, one of the country’s most eligible bachelors, a self-made billionaire, philanthropist and computer genius extraordinaire, she falls for his quiet charms and unassuming good looks, but what draws her to him the most is his intense interest in her, his focus on her pleasure and her happiness, something no man has ever given her before. However, she soon discovers that as perfect as their connection has been from the moment they laid eyes on each other, being the girlfriend of an inherently reclusive man presents its challenges, especially when those closest to him are willing to offer obscene amounts of money just to keep her away from him. But the more people try to discourage her from dating him, the more Layana sticks around, her feelings for him only growing stronger each day.

“It didn’t make sense. He was too perfect. How was I the first woman to tie him down?”

Layana’s fairy tale romance becomes her own personal nightmare when she discovers that the love of her life is not as perfect as she always believed him to be, his one hidden flaw having the power of tearing them apart, and yet she stays, her heart quietly hurting, but her determination to love him forever never wavering, not even for one single flicker in time. And that is the moment Layana meets Lee.

“We did not feel like strangers; our mouths instinctively knew each other.”

Lee is everything Brant is not—cocky, arrogant, sexually dominant and emotionally vulnerable all at the same time, a man who acts on instinct in all aspects of his life, showing no care for the consequences of his actions. And one look at him is all it takes to make Layana want him body and soul, her relentless pursuit of him knowing no limits. His passionate touches, his unapologetic use of her body for his own pleasure, his desire to claim her as his but thinking himself unworthy of a woman like her, make Layana’s addiction to him as true as her love for the man whose heart she risks breaking with her deceit. But her own heart won’t let her stop.

“Why does she cheat on me? What do I not provide for her? What part of me is not good enough?”

And this is where I must stop and let you unveil the rest of this story at your own pace, navigate through your own conclusions and ‘ah’ moments, to discover one of the most heart-stopping and heart-breaking love stories I have ever read. Never have I been so tempted to cheat and fast-forward to the end of a book like I have while reading this story. I was desperate to see the finishing line, to assure myself that my heart would remain in one piece because it did not stop racing beginning to end. But I didn’t—I inhaled every word, absorbed every scene, and let this story slowly reveal itself to me as intended.

“I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. Everything… everything fades unless I’m with you.”

Brace yourselves for one of the most astonishing tales you will ever read, and then want to re-read immediately after to make sure you did not miss a single thing. Faultlessly written, impeccably mapped out, this story shows us how far a person is prepared to go for true love, how many sacrifices they are willing to make, and how far they would derail from their own moral compass just to make sure they never lose that love. This story had everything I always hope of finding in a book, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I was enthralled, I was stunned, and I was left speechless by the end of it. And then I went back and re-read it.

“I will fight for this love. Lie for it. Steal for it. It is worthy of that… I love her completely. She returns the love wildly. This love is worth the unsaid truths. The hidden lies.”

6stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Seducing Lauren by Kristen Proby

seducinglaurenIn the second book in the Love Under the Big Sky series from this New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the With Me in Seattle series, life in Montana gets spicy when a woman and her divorce lawyer sign off the papers—and sign on to love.

Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?

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“Being in love with someone is an unconditional commitment. To love someone isn’t just a feeling, it’s a decision that you make every day, no matter what happens. It’s a judgment. A promise.”

I’ve been a fan of Kristen Proby’s brand of smuttilicious romance ever since I stumbled upon her debut novel many moons ago, and her tales have kept feeding the starry-eyed dreamer in me unfailingly. Just like the With Me in Seattle stories, this series warms your heart and sets your pulse racing all at the same time, but there is a significant shift in pace this time around—the love story flows easily, almost linearly and completely bump-free, the focus laying solely on the growing emotional bond between the characters and the heroine’s personal journey. The sex is more intense, the character development is more layered, and the story centres entirely on finding love when you’re no longer sure you believe in it anymore.

“I’m not a cynic, I’m a realist. We don’t live inside a romance novel. I learned that lesson the hard way.”

Lauren Cunningham is a soon-to-be-divorcée from small town Montana, raised by loving parents but left disillusioned by a husband who used and abused her, and then admitted to marrying her only for her money. She lives a solitary life, with very few friends she can truly trust or confide in, her secret career as a romance novelist filling her days and nights, but with no one in her life to share her success or happiness with. When her estranged husband’s latest demands leave her terrified for her own safety, she seeks the help of her attorney to expedite her divorce, but runs into Ty Sullivan, who takes one look at her and swears to himself to protect her with all he’s got.

My body yearns for her, I need to feel her, kiss her. Protect her.

Ty is a man used to protecting the women in his life ever since he was a young boy. His abusive father showed him exactly the kind of man he never wanted to become. Ty has admired Lauren from afar for a very long time, stepping back while she was married, but waiting for the right moment to approach her ever since her separation. So when Lauren walks into his office, distressed and scared, he cannot help but want to shield her from harm, but also finally claim her as his. The more time they spend in each other’s company, the more his body yearns for her, but instead of pushing her outside her comfort zone and into something she might not be ready for, he offers her something no man has ever given her—kindness and support.

I’ve never had anyone in my life that was here without wanting something from me.

Through the simplest gestures of affection and wanting nothing in return, he shows her what it is like to have a man in her life who only wants to love her and make her happy, and very soon all they can think about is the other. But their romance is not an all-consuming wave of passion driven by the undeniable attraction between them—it is more like a gentle wind that sweeps away all their fears and reservations, allows them to grow comfortable around each other, and gives them a fresh start in life, in each other’s loving arms. They become best friends while they are becoming lovers, completely entrusting their hearts to one another while they surrender their bodies the same way, something that neither of them has ever done before. Under Ty’s adoring touch, Lauren blossoms as a person for the very first time in her life. She grows more self-assured, she starts opening up to the world around her, and she no longer feels the need to rely solely on herself to be happy. Because of Ty, Lauren comes out of her shell—she learns to smile more openly, laugh more freely, and love wholeheartedly. So, even when her past tries to destroy her present happiness, Ty’s unwavering love is all she needs to survive it all.

I have to admit that as much as I truly enjoyed the uncomplicated beauty of the romance between Lauren and Ty, I hoped on more than one occasion for a tinge of angst here and there. Ty is the embodiment of the quintessential ‘prince in shining armour’ who wants nothing more than to save his damsel in distress and ride with her into the sunset, but while their love story is heart-warming and awe-inspiring beginning to end, I personally would have enjoyed the occasional bump in the road to make the happy moments between them even more precious. But that is only because I enjoy flaws more than perfection, and because I always seek stories of delayed gratification.

In so many ways, this story is an example of what relationships should be like between two people who unquestionably belong to one another. I loved that Ms Proby gave us another fearless, independent heroine to inspire us, and a hero who might look like a bad boy, but whose capacity to love and his need to protect those he loves make him the ultimate ‘nice guy’. I was left smiling, as always, the romantic in me full to the brim.

“I’m not used to receiving kindness with no strings attached.”

4stars

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Love Under the Big Sky – Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
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Loving Cara: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Seducing LaurenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Falling for Jillian: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (27 Jan 2015)

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The Author

Kristen Proby_pic croppedKristen is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular With Me In Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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SERIAL REVIEW: Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams

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My cock has an appetite.

A huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a f*cking liar…(Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was, until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview–a college-intern interview, and everything f*cking changed…

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“I’m giving you two weeks to come to your f*cking senses…”
“What?”
“Two weeks,” he whispered. “That’s when you and I are going to meet face to face, and I’m going to claim every inch of you.”

It doesn’t happen too often that I become consumed with a story from the very first page, something in the writing style and the voice of the characters grabbing me instantaneously, but from the moment I opened the first book, I was obsessed. Normally not a great fan of serials due to my inherently impatient nature, this story crushed all my biases and made the anticipation of the rest of the series so deliciously addictive, I think the wait was half the fun. And as I now reflect on the story as a whole, I am in total awe of the skilful way it was told, peeled off layer by layer, making me realise that every deceptively random scene had a set purpose in the big picture that is the story of Andrew and Aubrey.

I know this feeling will only last for so long; it never stays. In less than a week, I’ll have to find someone else.

Andrew Hamilton is a successful lawyer, a loner, a man who professes not to believe in relationships and who hides his past fiercely. The last six years of his life have revolved solely around his career and his pursuit of the next one-night-stand. He avoids building friendships and emotional attachments in his life, no woman ever making him want to change his one and only ‘dating’ policy…

“One dinner. One night. No repeats.”

But while sifting through his favourite online social network and dating sites, looking for the next ‘lucky’ recipient of his kiss-and-run routine, he meets a woman whose smart mouth and adamant refusal to have sex with him intrigue him and keep making him come back for more. Aubrey Everhart is a young woman torn between her innate passions and her parents’ expectations of her. She juggles her life trying to please everyone around her, but the more pressure is put on her to forget her childhood dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, the more her stubborn heart remains unchanged. Andrew and Aubrey’s frequent interactions soon become the only thing still capable of putting a smile on Andrew’s face, their email and phone exchanges taking the form of one of the sexiest games of cat and mouse I have ever come across. They tease, provoke, tempt and arouse each other, but their odd friendship stays within the confines of inconsequential personal information and more lies than truths. Everything changes when Aubrey starts working as an intern at Andrew’s firm, and all their lies suddenly catch up to them.

“I believe you and I are currently in an unfortunate web of deceit.”

Their physical attraction is immediate, irreversible, unstoppable, and no matter how much they both wish they could, they cannot keep their hands off each other. But their expectations remain very different—while Aubrey keeps looking for the man she befriended online, the man she believed cared for her, Andrew wastes no opportunity to make it clear to her that there could never be anything more between them than just sex. Even though he doesn’t ever seem to be able to get enough of her.

“You’re the only woman— only person actually, that I talk to outside of my hours at this office, the only woman I’ve ever f*cked over the phone, the only woman who’s been in my car, and the only woman who’s lied to me and still gotten me to stay…”

But the moment Aubrey asks for more and makes him break too many of his self-imposed relationship rules, he walks away. He bolts. He shows no concern whatsoever for the woman whose heart he so recklessly breaks while denying them both what they want the most. And this is where the game ends and the story shifts from amusing to heart-wrenching in a matter of minutes. We get to watch these characters tackle the aftermath of their breakup in very different ways, forced to deal with everything that is dysfunctional in their lives while pretending they are not missing each other.

“I miss the idea of you— of what you could’ve been.”

I am still unsure what it is exactly about this particular story that owned me so zealously start to finish, but I suspect the phenomenal writing style has something to do with it, not to mention two of the wittiest characters I have ever had the pleasure of finding in a book. I loved the personal journeys these two people travel in this story, their go-getting personalities, their willingness to put everything on the line for what matters the most in their lives, and how much them being together or staying apart does not define them as individuals. It was refreshing, it was inspiring, and it made me fall for them even more. This series is the full package—fun, sexy, cleverly written, and it is a read you will not want to miss.

“Dear Mr. Hamilton, F*CK. YOU. —Aubrey

5stars

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Reasonable Doubt – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Reasonable Doubt Vol. 1Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Reasonable Doubt Vol. 2Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Reasonable Doubt Vol. 3Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Reasonable Doubt Series BundleAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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BOOK REVIEW: Five Ways to Fall by K.A. Tucker

fivewaystofallSometimes you can’t change—and sometimes you just don’t want to. 

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

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“She’s everything I never knew I wanted. She’s everything I never knew I could have.”

It is truly rare to find a series that delivers so consistently and at such a remarkable level one book after another, each story unique, gripping, unforgettable, a series that never stops getting better and better. So it came as no surprise to me that this last (fingers crossed that it is not!) book would become my personal favourite of the lot. Reese and Ben’s story had all the magic of its ‘predecessors’—a strong, independent female lead; a charming, irresistible hero who changes his bad-boy ways for the woman he cannot stay away from; a whirlwind romance with all the right ups and downs to make us hopelessly addicted and clinging onto every single word. But this story had something more for me, an added pinch of angst that made me wholeheartedly invested in these characters’ ultimate happy ending. There is so much bittersweet emotion driving this story forward, so much hidden self-deprecation in these characters, all under the guise of fearlessness and over-confidence. Mesmerised by all the beautiful layers of this story, and once more, by this author’s inimitable trademark humour and flawless prose, I was in book heaven cover to cover.

“I was smart. Some may say I’m still smart. But I’ve made so many wrong turns along the way, I don’t know how many right ones it will take to course-correct.”

Reese MacKay has been a thorn in her social-climbing mother’s sight ever since adolescence, her rebellious, reckless shenanigans landing her in hot water time after time, and so we meet her in the middle of her latest trouble, at a police station, arrested for destruction of private property, her only hope of getting herself out of this situation being to call a man who raised her, but whom she hadn’t seen for nine long years, ever since he divorced her mother. But her ‘get out of jail free card’ comes with conditions—to come to work for him as a paralegal and start sorting herself out, away from the pain of her past and all the reasons she acted out in the first place. Six months later, she is on the cusp of getting a fresh start in life by starting her new job, in a new city, living with and working for the only quasi-parent who has ever seen her true potential. But during her twenty-first birthday celebration in Mexico, her last act as a careless youth, she meets a cocky playboy whose wide grin and steely blue eyes become her undoing. Their connection is immediate, their attraction indisputable, and yet all she walks away with is the memory of one embarrassing night spent in his room hugging the toilet bowl, too drunk to do much else. Two months later, that same cocky guy walks into her office, and he does not waste a second reminding her of their one disastrous night together.

“… I’m trying to control the hyperbolic flashback that took weeks to suppress… as the walking, breathing proof of one of my most mortifying nights stands in my office.”

Ben Morris is the confident new lawyer hired by Reese’s stepfather. His good looks and flirty personality have made him a hit with the ladies, something he did not mind in the least while working nights as a strip club bouncer to pay for his law degree. But his obnoxious swagger is only a playful façade he enjoys teasing Reese with, riling her up having soon become his favourite past time.

“Have you always loved yourself this much?”
“I had an awkward year in ‘ninety-nine, but I got over it quick.”

As they play a delicious game of cat and mouse, their daily interactions quickly blur the lines that Reese is so adamant to preserve, especially when her cheating ex-husband enters the scene and she needs someone to be her fake boyfriend. One kiss is all it takes for them to re-ignite the spark between them, something that no friends-with-benefits agreement can suppress. The more they pretend to be in love and the more they try not to fall for one another, the more they can’t keep their hands off each other.

“Reese, well .  .  . she’s all angry and fire-breathing bitchy until her lips find you, and then you’re sure she must have a cocaine-laced tongue because you can’t get enough of her sweet mouth.”

Reese and Ben are polar opposites in so many ways. While Ben is like a ray of sunshine any minute of the day, having been raised by a mother who loved and supported his every decision, and nurtured his interests in life, Reece has never felt that kind of unconditional love from a parent. She craves for someone to make her come first in their life, for someone to finally choose her, love her, make her their priority. Everyone who ever counted the most has always let her down, made her feel rejected and thus naturally distrustful of people around her. Ben is the first person in her adult life who makes her feel wanted, appreciated, good about herself. His cheerfulness and protectiveness towards her ground her and make her blossom as a person. Reese, on the other hand, is the first woman in Ben’s life to make him want to believe in something he has always looked at with disdain—love.

“I think Ben has a strange power over me— the ability to balance my chaos. And, the more time I spend here on the grove— in his life— the more I think that his entire world seems to stabilize me.”

A truly beautiful, light-hearted and yet deeply emotional story of two people quieting each other’s demons and becoming one another’s anchors in life—this is one of those books that warms you from the inside out and draws you to re-read it whenever you need a story to make you feel happy. From two charismatic leading characters to one of the most colourful casts of secondary characters I have ever encountered, this is a tale that shows the true meaning of family bonds as much as it is a love story, all laced with a delightful undercurrent of humour and wit. I am besotted, I am in awe, and I cannot recommend this book, as well as the series as a whole, highly enough.

“… if you have to fight over a guy, he’s not worth it. Go for the one who’s waiting for you.”

5stars

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Ten Tiny Breaths – Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
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Ten Tiny BreathsMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
One Tiny LieMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
Four Seconds to LoseMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
Five Ways to FallAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
In Her Wake (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA (1 Sep 2014)

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The Author

KATucker_picBorn in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Connect with Kathleen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

dontletgo

Noah Ryan and Jules Doucette spent every moment together, first as best friends and later as young lovers. The two had planned a life together—until one unspeakable decision tore them apart for good.

Twenty-six years later, Jules is still carefully living the life her mother planned out for her. She’s running her mother’s store, living in her mother’s house, following her mother’s rules, and keeping the secrets her mother made her bury.

Then Noah comes home and any sense of an ordered life flies out the window. Noah’s return does more than just stir up old memories—it forces Jules to see her life in a whole new way and uncovers secrets even she didn’t know were buried. Secrets that could easily destroy her world once more.

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“Never settle, baby. Never, ever settle.”

Second chance at love stories are my personal weakness. I love when characters are given a chance to re-do their lives, mend their broken hearts, correct the mistakes of their youth by choosing a different path in life, a better one, a happier one, and embrace a happy ending that should have been theirs in the first place. These stories literally make my skin tingle and while many have moved me and kept me enthralled, very few have truly left a mark on my soul as this beautiful tale has. Couple that with an exquisite writing style and a myriad of characters I adored, and I was in book heaven. This is one of those timeless love stories that shows us how unique true love is, how hard it is to find it, or let go of it. I giggled, I swooned, I fought to catch a breath while sobbing like a baby, and I have loved, loved every single moment of it. One of my favourite books of the year, one of my favourite stories ever.

“Whose life was I living? Mine or my mother’s?”

Julianna “Jules” White is a woman in her early forties, a mother to a rebellious teenager, a small business owner, a divorcée. She lives a normal life in the same small town where she was born and raised, the same normal life her mother lived, the same normal life her mother expected her to live. But everything in Jules’ life has been the result of one bad choice, one moment in time when she trusted someone else to make the right decision for her, and she has felt the crushing weight of regret in every breath she has taken ever since. And then, after twenty-six years of living a half-life, everything comes to a standstill when the love of her life comes back to town.

“Once upon a time you thought you’d die without him. Then you thought you’d crumble into dust if you ever saw him again. Well, he’s back. And you’re still standing.”

Noah Ryan is the boy who stole Jules’ heart when they were just kids, and he never gave it back. He is the boy who left her heartbroken, confused, angry, alone at seventeen and forced to forget every dream they ever made together. Her choices drove him away, but the day he left her swearing never to return again was the day Jules’ life became everything she never wanted. She closed her heart off to everyone who ever tried to love her, giving only part of herself to them, because her whole heart never stopped belonging to the one who got away. And now, as a forty-three-year-old woman, she is faced with the biggest ghost from her past as he returns with the proof that he has moved on in life.

“It’s been a lot of years. Everything got put away—doors locked up tight. But now you fall out of the sky and knock all those doors open. And suddenly I’m not sure where I am half the time.”

What follows is a heart-warming, comical at times, sexy, moving, somewhat bittersweet tale of giving love a second chance, but also of parenthood and finding that golden balance between overprotectiveness and letting your child make their own mistakes in life. Jules is not just a woman fighting to get her heart to beat again—she is also a mother desperately trying not to make the same mistakes her mother made, and to be the kind of parent she has always wished she had.

“And the romp in the rain?” she said, gesturing to the door. “That was—what?”
“Me finding him in the park,” I said.
“Because that was your obligation?”
I huffed out a breath. “No, Nana Mae, that was me looking to help a friend who was hurting.”
“By falling into his mouth.”
I stared at her. “So—my daughter’s having sex right now.”
She paused and raised her eyebrows as she looked down. “Better subject?”
“Frighteningly so.”

Every part of this story got to me, every part of it made me feel, and what I loved the most was how imperfect the premise of this story was, how heavily tainted by one single mistake these characters’ lives have been, and how heavy the price of some happy endings can be. I was left smiling through my tears, replaying all the what-ifs in my head, knowing that this story was the best example of human resilience, forgiveness, and unconditional love. This is a book you will want to hug, revisit, tell your friends about. And it is a story you will forever hold dear in your heart.

 “I’ve spent two decades living behind lines I never crossed. Twenty years of holding back, not giving my heart completely, not even to my husband. Not ever wanting to feel crushed like that again. And fifteen minutes with you blew all that away.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Lead by Kylie Scott

Lead

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry.

But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

review

“I don’t know why the f*ck I put up with you.”
I shrugged. “No, me neither. But you keep paying me so I keep hanging around.”

She’s done it again! Kylie Scott has given us another absolutely flawless instalment in the Stage Dive series and this one just might be my new favourite. It’s a story that made me laugh as many times as it made my heart clench, and every part of it, every single word was just perfect. There are scenes I have read so many times, I could recite them by heart, and on every single re-read I experienced a new emotion, saw a new side of the characters’ multifaceted personalities. This is in essence a story of unrequited love, of two people falling for one another very differently—with different perceptions of their own rapidly growing feelings for each other and with different emotional capacities to deal with those feelings. I loved being in these characters’ heads, loved dissecting their strengths and weaknesses, and I absolutely adored how much attention was paid to the natural progression of their relationship. This book is the very best example of the kind of story that leaves me breathless and makes me never want to stop reading.

“Fancy falling for someone you didn’t even particularly like half the damn time. Who did something so stupid?”

Lena Morrissey stopped believing in love when her heart could no longer bear the constant disappointment from always falling for the wrong kind of man. She is sarcastic, strong-willed, and she does not let others walk all over her, even if her stubbornness ends up costing her her job. But when her outspoken, sassy personality is the very reason she is offered to become a live-in assistant for the lead singer of Stage Dive, she is not sure whether this is a joke or the best thing that has ever happened to her. Shortly after meeting the grumpy and yet utterly irresistible rocker, however, she fears she might be in more trouble than she ever bargained for.

“Verbally sparring with Jimmy was fast becoming more fun than I’d had with most other men naked.”

Jimmy Ferris’ perfectly groomed appearance might give him an air of poise and self-control, but behind closed doors Jimmy is moody, hot-tempered, hard to live with on the best of days. His poor emotional coping skills have resulted in addictions that cost him dearly and almost made him lose everything he has ever valued in life. Unable to work with any of his past sobriety companions, he is coerced by his bandmates into hiring Lena into that role, knowing all too well that he has met his match. His dynamic with Lena is one of constant bickering, both personally as well as professionally, but when faced with his first meltdown while in his employ, she proves to be the only person he trusts to see his deepest fears and triggers. He lets his defences down with her, showing her the man very few people in his life get to see, and their bond grows.

“Don’t hate me, Lena,” he whispered. “You want to be mad at me when I do dumb things, that’s fine. But don’t ever hate me. I couldn’t take that, not from you.”

As their relationship changes over time and Jimmy begins to depend on her strength in his darkest moments, so does Lena’s growing infatuation with her boss. She falls in love with him silently, reluctantly, fully aware that she should not be feeling that way, but incapable of fighting it. She knows that he would not return those feelings, so she hides them, pines after him secretly and pretends that nothing has changed between them. But when her secret is no longer that and their working arrangement is at risk of ending, the only solution to their predicament is to find ways to make Lena ‘get over’ her crush… even when the only thing that remains to try is to sleep with one another.

“Lena, focus. What was the frown for?”
I stared at his cock, mesmerized. Even incased in rubber it remained a thing of true beauty. Had I any talent with a pen, I’d have written in poems. A haiku perhaps.
“Lena?”
I was hypnotized, helpless. Cock-struck.

One of the main strengths of this story is the way the author shaped these characters, subtly but impeccably, and the way she made their differences the very thing that makes them so perfect for each other. She gave us a plus-sized heroine whose physical appearance in no way defines her as a sexual woman or diminishes her fearless personality. And then she gave us a hero who is physically flawless, but a complete mess inside, unable to cope with emotional closeness and harbouring unresolved abandonment issues. Their every interaction is explosive, hilarious, unforgettable. As a couple, they clash at every turn and yet they make complete sense. The dialogues in this story, as in all the previous books in the series, are simply fantastic, carrying Ms Scott’s signature humour in almost every character interaction. They are clever, unforced, and always fresh. I simply couldn’t get enough of them.

I rarely find myself loving and connecting with every layer of a given story, but in this case, I truly adored every last word. This series keeps getting better and better, which is rather scary since it was perfect from the very beginning. An absolute, super enjoyable must-read.

“You okay?” I asked.
A nod.
“Feeling a little emotional, huh?” I petted his hair. “That’s okay. It was an emotional blow job.”

5stars

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Stage Dive – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
LICK_new play Lead Deep
Lick: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Play: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Lead: Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback
Deep: Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (6 Jan 2015)
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The Author

Kylie is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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BOOK REVIEW: Rogue by Katy Evans

rogueGreyson King…

My boyfriend. My friend. My protector. He’s the reason I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and the reason I fall asleep limp, worn out, and aching for his warm arms around me. When we make love, he says my name like it means something. Like I mean something.

He

Lied.

His name is Greyson King, but his alias is Zero.

There’s zero trace of him, he has zero past, and now I know that with him, I will have zero future.

He may leave no trace of him anywhere, but his imprint is in me, in my very soul–and I hate that a mere look at him commands the beat of my heart. The temperature of my body.

I’ve looked for love my entire life. I’ve waited for the butterflies, the rainbows…

Instead I’m in a free fall of emotions and there’s no one to catch me but the one man I should be running away from. The one man I thought was my prince charming.

Except this prince charming went rogue.

Greyson will stop at nothing to make me be with him. He’ll let no one stand in our way, will allow no one to threaten me, and maybe this is what scares me most of all…

What will my rogue do to keep me?

 

review

“As long as I have breath in me, you’re going to be my princess.”

Whoa. Why was I not told I’d need one of those walk-in freezers while reading this book? Apart from being one of my most scorching reads of the year, the ‘realness’ of the love story took me totally off guard, and held me captive until the very last word. This is a book I expected to like, and found myself obsessively devouring. The level of emotion, the raw chemistry between the characters, the insight into both their personalities—this book was the total package for me and one I’d recommend unreservedly.

“I get up every morning and put on my perfect face and promise myself to have the perfect day and to someday have the perfect family. But I’m failing.”

We met Melanie Meyers in previous instalments of the series as Brooke’s loyal best friend, but it is not until now that we meet the real Melanie and the hopeless dreamer behind the mouthy vixen. Melanie has always been the perfect daughter, the bright hope in her parents’ life, perennially bubbly and optimistic, her appearance and attitude reflecting that positivity and cheerfulness. Deep down, however, Melanie feels like a fraud, unworthy of the life she was given because she keeps failing at the one thing her parents wish the most for her—finding a good man and falling head over heels in love with him. She keeps ‘kissing frogs’ in the hope of finding the man of her dreams, but all she is ever left with is a string of one-night stands and a heart that keeps breaking from the constant sting of disappointment. And yet, Melanie never stops hoping that her perfect man would suddenly walk into her life and love her the way she craves to be loved, the way she sees her friend Brooke being loved by her husband—completely and desperately.

“I am prepared to fall, and fall hard, if only I would just find him.”

Her loneliness and desire to have at least some parts of her life fall into place drive her to make the kind of mistake that puts her entire future in jeopardy, the very mistake that brings a dangerous man like Greyson King into her life.

“F*ck her prince charming. She’s getting me.”

Greyson is the ‘heir apparent’ to an organisation that sets up fighting events all across the country, called the Underground. They are also in charge of all gambling activities related to the fights, and Greyson is their collector, a ruthless man with very particular talents and an unmatched success rate. But Greyson never wanted the life he was forced to live or the future he is now asked to embrace. When his only weakness is used against him, he accepts a job that makes him cross paths with the only woman who has ever made him wish he were someone else.

“She makes me feel like I’m not a robot, like I’m flesh and blood, a man, not a number, not a job . . . not a monster, not a bastard, not a zero.”

What starts as just one night of earth-shattering passion, slowly grows into an emotional connection neither of them can deny. When they are in each other’s arms, nothing else matters, they belong to one another body and soul, but when they are apart, their personal demons try to pull them apart and make them doubt what their hearts have known from the very beginning—they belong to each other. While Greyson is convinced that his hands are too dirty to be worthy of a woman like Melanie, she allows her insecurities to make her believe that a man like Greyson could never love and want to keep someone like her, regardless of how much of her love, of herself she gives to him.

“He is the one. The one who’s going to wreck me. Hurt me. Demolish me. The one who is going to remove every inch of the girl in me. He will be the memory I will never forget, and good or bad, he will be THE one I dream of.”

I’ll be honest, I never expected to find this story, or rather, the intensity of it, when I first started reading this book. The way these characters were developed so flawlessly and so meticulously made me feel like I understood their every move, their every though, their every emotional struggle. I simply got them. And don’t get me started on the chemistry between them because it is electric. Devastating. Epic. The sex scenes between Melanie and Greyson are so powerful, urgent, almost savage in the way these characters part with their inhibitions and self-control while their bodies take over. This author has a very unique talent for transforming even the most explicit of sex scenes into moments of pure emotional vulnerability and demonstrativeness which end up only tying these characters even further to one another. I was overwhelmed, utterly ruined by those scenes, everything about them being just right for my taste.

“I look at him, and he doesn’t scare me. He lures me. He tempts me, exhilarates me. He makes me want to claim him as if I’m claiming back a part of me that was once lost. Makes me want to tame him. Let him tame me.”

There is also something extremely appealing to me about a heroine who is so emotionally unguarded and yet so resilient. Melanie’s strength of character, her unwillingness to let go of her dreams, even after so many disappointments, and her courage to put her heart on the line time after time, are qualities that made me love her from the very first page. Greyson might have been the dominant ‘alpha male’ in this scenario, but it is Melanie’s persistent heart that was the true hero of the story. I loved their romance beginning to end, every component of it fit just right, including the language used by the characters, and I found myself without objections.

“You are so f*cking mine you don’t even know how mine you are.”

A deeply emotional story, a story that caught me by surprise and made me adore every delicious, dirrrty moment of it. I was enthralled, I was moved, I was bewitched, and I never wanted it to end.

“Whoever you end up with, just know you were mine first. A part of you will always be mine. When you find your prince charming, the one who has everything you’re looking for, perfect, you’ll still be my f*cking princess and not any other’s.”

5stars

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Real – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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BOOK REVIEW: Dair by R.K. Lilley

dair

Are you ready for the truth?

I’d started writing everything about her down. I didn’t want to forget.
The color of her hair. The depth of her eyes. The stubborn shape of her jaw. The way her lips shaped words with such expression. The way her voice made my chest ache. The way she gave advice beyond her years.
The way she listened like she cared about every word.
The way she made me feel—Alive.
Every curve and hollow of her body was recorded, in my mind, and now my hard drive.
There was a bit of truth in every lie, and even if it had only been fed to me in the smallest increments, I wanted, needed to remember the real Iris.
Because in the end, there was one irrefutable thing that I couldn’t deny.
Hostage or hustler, sinner or saint, whatever she was or wasn’t, whether she lied to my face or taunted me with hints of the truth, all of this seemed always to defer to the more pertinent fact at hand.
She was mine.
Inconceivably.
Undeniably.
Mine.

After yet another shocking discovery, followed by a disturbing letter, Dair is almost certain Iris has left his life for good. He tries his best to move on.
Easier said than done, and when an unexpected and dangerous opportunity arises for him to find out what happened to her, he doesn’t hesitate to take it.
As usual, with Iris, the answer leaves him more lost than the question.
Every revelation is shrouded in mystery, and every disclosure leaves Dair more in the dark than ever.
And when finally, the messy truth is revealed in its entirety, will he be ready for it?

review

“Quit fighting against this, Dair, and start fighting for it.”

In a spellbinding finale to a truly addictive erotic serial that had me manically guessing and collecting clues from the very beginning, we finally find out everything. We find out Iris’ real identity, we find out why she keeps running away from Dair, and we find out what the future has in store for them. Every single detail has been untangled, every little secret unveiled, and we are now left retracing our steps and wondering whether it was the sizzling, off-the-charts chemistry between the main characters or the thrill of the enigma itself that clouded our vision and made us enjoy the ride so thoroughly, even though we were blissfully ignorant for the most part of it. I adored the fast pace of this story, the way we were kept in the dark right along our hero, knowing as little as he did, making the same presumptions, having the same suspicions, and getting hungrier and hungrier for the truth. This story is the ultimate wild ride, one I enjoyed tremendously and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a flaming hot read, heavily infused with romance, and a delicious zing of mystery.

“There was a bit of truth in every lie, and even if it had been fed to me in the smallest increments, I wanted, needed to remember the real Iris.”

Iris has been gone for two months, leaving Dair counting the days since her sudden disappearance and grieving her absence profoundly. He is unable and unwilling to move on, hoping each day that Iris would come back to him, just like she has done so many times before. As little as he truly knows about Iris, Dair cannot deny the fact that it is not just his body that misses her more and more each day, or that he would be willing to do anything to get her back.

“Regardless of the absence of its desire, my heart was already involved elsewhere.”

When finally presented with an opportunity to see her again, Dair goes without a second thought, prepared to risk his own safety just to hold her one more time. And that is when Iris’ story starts slowly unravelling. We start catching small clues, we are given a few long-awaited answers here and there, but the puzzle pieces don’t come together until the very end to give us the complete picture of Iris’s life.

“How could you be in love with a person you didn’t really know? Someone that had fed you nothing but lies? Someone you knew with certainty you couldn’t trust?”

As much as this book is all about the truth finally coming to light, this is also the book where Dair comes to terms with his feelings for a woman he knows almost nothing about, apart from all the reasons why they shouldn’t be together. He is desperate to know more about her, save her from her predicament and protect her with his life if needed, but he also keeps struggling with the knowledge that she has lied to him from the very beginning and that their connection might be based entirely on lust.

“I’m more than an age, Dair. I’m a person, a woman, and I’m in love with you.”

I devoured this final instalment in the series ravenously and I only wish it had been longer. One of the most passionate erotic thrillers I have ever read, I am not sure what I loved more—the intensity of the storyline or the superb writing style—but I was addicted to every part of it from the very first page and cannot recommend it highly enough. And just wait for that Epilogue…

“My love for you is the realest thing I know. I’d like for you to remember that.”

5stars

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Iris: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
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BOOK REVIEW: Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

sweetfiltyboyOne-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

review

“I want to love all of my life as much as I love this night.”

I must say that it stuns me that even after so many books read and loved, a story can still take me by surprise so completely and so unexpectedly, and end up being the very opposite of what I thought I would find. When I picked up this book, I expected light-hearted humour, I expected romance, I expected a fun read. Well, as much as those elements were all present, this book is first and foremost a stunning insight into human nature, into short-term escapism versus the vivid reality of everyday life. It is a stunning testament of how even the rarest of human connections need a mutual commitment in order to work out, and how love is as much a reward after a journey travelled as it is a ‘winning lottery ticket’ of sorts. I devoured this book, even re-read parts in order to fully absorb every layer of this story and not miss a word. From impeccable character development, to a truly stimulating storyline, from sizzling sex scenes that had my skin-tingling and my pulse racing, to an engaging writing style that left me craving for more from this talented writing duo—this was a book I could not put down and even before I finished it, I knew it would forever remain one of my favourite reading escapes.

“We have the rest of our lives to be sophisticated, but only the one weekend in Vegas.”

Mia is a woman in her early twenties, fresh out of college, and at an important crossroad in her life where she is about to pick the road that someone else has set before her and embark on the kind of future she never wished for herself. A former ballerina, her dreams were suddenly cut short due to injury, but the performer in her still craves to be ‘in someone else’s head’ as she has never felt as liberated and as free to be herself as while pretending to be someone else. During her last weekend of reckless abandon, she goes to Las Vegas with her two best friend to celebrate their graduation and be irresponsible for the last time in her young life, never expecting that a one-night-stand could change the rest of her life.

“I want to have a different life tonight.”

From the moment Mia sees Ansel from across a crowded bar, the spark between them is hard to ignore. They meet, they flirt, they have too much to drink, they talk, they flirt some more, they have wild monkey sex all night long on every surface of their hotel suite, and… they get married. A typical night of fun in Vegas and up to this point, this story was exactly what I expected it to be. But once the bright morning light sets on the reality of everything that has happened between them, the more Mia remembers of their night together, of the person she became while in Ansel’s arms, of the freedom and passion she felt while talking and making love to him, the less she feels inclined to have their marriage annulled and erase that way the only act of spontaneity in her adult life.

“I have no idea what to do with you.”

From the bright decadence of Las Vegas to the sophisticated elegance of Paris, France, we follow the young couple into their new life together, as temporary as it may be, and from the moment Mia steps onto the plane taking them back to Ansel’s home town, they are faced with the harsh reality of being married to complete strangers, of knowing very little about each other, of having only one thing still tying them to one another, apart from the gold bands on their fingers—the memory of the spark between them.

“I might not remember every touch, but my body certainly does. I can feel his fingertips tattooed all over my skin. They’re in the bruises I can see and they’re invisible, too: the echo of his fingers in my mouth, dragging along my legs, pumping inside me.”

And this is where this book becomes truly spectacular. Mia and Ansel are faced with the impulsiveness of their decisions, struggling to connect now as spouses rather than each other’s one-night-stands. They have to work on their communication, on facing the secrets that could potentially tear them apart, on setting a pace in their marriage that leaves both of them resentment-free even when constantly making small sacrifices along the way, and they have to rediscover each other, from the very beginning, their sole foundation being the memory of a perfect night together. I had to stop on several occasions simply to absorb the intensity of those scenes, to reflect at times on a single sentence exchanged between Mia and Ansel, because their every exchange is so meaningful, so electrifying, and yet always charged with underlying issues that they are both committed to resolve.

“What we know is dimly lit bars, playful banter, the clean, crisp sheets of hotel rooms. What we know is the unrequited possibility, the temptation of the idea. The make-believe. The adventure. But when you choose the adventure, it becomes real life.”

The absolute highlight of this book for me is the way these characters strive to understand each other’s needs and wants, how much they are willing to do to recapture the magic between them, never attempting to change one another in the process. Even during the most electrifying sexual scenes between them, there is always an undercurrent of unconditional mutual acceptance that deepens the meaning of every single touch, every kiss, every stolen breath. I will not deprive you of the indescribable thrill from discovering how they learn to communicate with one another, but I will tell you that I have never been so moved and yet so aroused all at once.

“I reach for my bag, pulling out gum, but he quickly moves to me, sliding his hands up my neck to cup my face. “Don’t.” He leans close, sucking on my mouth the way he seems to like so much. “You taste like me. I taste like you.” He bends, licking my tongue, my lips, my teeth. “I like this so much. Let it stay, just for a bit.”

A deceivingly predictable scenario which turns into one of the most real and realistically told stories I have ever read, this is a book I adored. I laughed, I sighed, I fanned myself, and I even choked up on occasion—the story of Mia and Ansel is what happens when a modern fantasy is faced with the starkness of everyday reality. Reading this book made me happy and it is a top recommendation from me.

“What you feel, Cerice? I feel it too. F*ck, Mia, I feel everything for you.”

5stars

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Wild Seasons – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
sweetfiltyboy
dirtyrowdything

Sweet Filthy Boy: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Dirty Rowdy ThingAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (4 Nov 2014)
Dark Wild Nights: coming Sep 2015…
Wicked Sexy Liar: coming Feb 2016…

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BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Maby by Willow Aster

maybemaby

I’m having a meltdown. Not the put-her-in-the-loony-bin kind, but the rock-in-the-corner-so-I-can-breathe kind. Maybe they’re one and the same and I really do need to be put away, but I think I just need a little air. I’m bone tired. My eyes look like I haven’t slept in weeks. I’m eating my feelings and developing a pudge that isn’t gonna go anywhere if I keep binging on chocolate, nachos and wine.

I’m 28 and everyone has left me. I have no friends. My boyfriend left. My mom died, so technically she left me too. I hate my job.

I get this overwhelming oh my God, is this what my life is gonna be? feeling and I want to die.

Curl up and die.

And since I don’t feel my heartbeat fading or my breathing getting even slightly faint, I panic that I’m gonna have to live.

review

“Being with you makes me forget who I really am.”

I always say that an outstanding writer can make me fall in love with pretty much any reality they create, as farfetched as their imagination will travel, but only a few can truly capture me with their words to such an extent that I feel the characters, empathise with them, understand their every thought process, and walk in their shoes cover to cover. Willow Aster is an author whose writing I simply adore, her perfect prose enthralling and astounding me every time I open one of her books, so it came as no surprise to me that this story, this quirky, unusual, out-of-the-box story held me so captive and made me love everything about it. A curious tale of self-discovery and learning how to cope with one’s idiosyncrasies, a rare but splendid kind of romance, a bittersweet comedy of sorts—Maybe Maby is a book I’d recommend to anyone seeking a story to warm their heart and add a tinge of hope to their everyday life.

“The only way I find any relief is by counting … everything … repeatedly.”

Maby is a young woman in her late twenties who suffers from an obsessive compulsive disorder, brought about by a particularly stressful event in her adult life and then exacerbated by subsequent traumas. Maby’s everyday compulsions, such as repetitive counting of everything around her, excessive hand-washing, or repeatedly organizing her closets, help to somewhat alleviate her anxieties and neutralise the urges that rule her every thought, but they do not help in any way with the intense sense of shame from having to carry out these persistent compulsions or the occasional bouts of depression caused by her mental condition. Behind all these oddities lies a heartbroken young woman who does not see herself as worthy of the love she dreams of finding, convinced that all that is ‘wrong’ with her would only inevitably end up damaging the people who get close to her.

“I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be anymore. I pray God will untether whatever is holding me afloat and just let me drift into nothingness.”

Maby lost control of most aspects of her life at the same time when her compulsions started, her love life and her career becoming casualties in the endless struggle that is her almost comical day-to-day existence. A fickle and selfish ex boyfriend, an unreliable best friend, a self-centred boss—Maby’s life is filled with barriers to her happiness and as it keeps getting more and more complicated, her condition also keeps getting worse and worse. One day, however, the right person steps into her life and for the first time since her only parent’s untimely death, Maby experiences the very thing she craved to feel the most—hope.

“There’s something about him that cuts through my hardened heart and makes me believe in more—something more than shattered fragments of a life and the endless emptiness.”

Torn between an all-consuming sense of helplessness and bleakness towards her own future, and the overwhelming joy from being loved, cherished, and never judged for her imperfections for once, Maby’s struggle to accept and feel worthy of the life that is being offered to her brings us to our knees as readers. Her every self-deprecating thought strikes us like a dagger, making us feel protective of this broken young woman who cannot make herself believe anyone could ever love her as completely as she hopes to be loved.

“He makes me believe I can be good. Or at the very least, that my ugly is really not so ugly at all.”

At the core of this quirky tale lies a truly beautiful love story—a story of patience, perseverance, honesty and unwavering affection. It’s a love that makes Maby believe she can have the things she never thought she could, a love that acts as an anchor in the stormy waters of her troubled mind, a love that she can depend on and draw strength from. I lived this story from beginning to end, I felt Maby’s pain in my soul, and I never stopped cheering for her. Ms Aster has also given us an extraordinary hero for our beloved heroine, a man who is almost too good to be true, but who perfectly balances someone as complex as Maby. This is a story that made my heart race, skip a beat, rejoice, shatter on so many occasions, and it never stopped making me love every word in it. A rare gem of a book, one I wholeheartedly recommend.

“This—this is the best night of my life.”
“You always say that.”
“I always mean it.”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
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