BLOG TOUR+REVIEW+GIVEAWAY-Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

BLOG TOUR+REVIEW+GIVEAWAY-Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms has easily became my favorite series I read this year-With deep, flawed characters and rich storytelling, I was putty in Morgan Rhodes's hands. Magnus is easily my favorite character, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this story pleased me from beginning to end. Below you will find my FIVE star review, a giveaway, pre-order links, and the rest of the tour schedule. Not only do I hope you enjoy this post, I hope it encourages you to pick up this book immediately upon release. I am honored to have been given this ARC, but you don't have much longer to wait until the release. Enjoy!

BLOG TOUR+REVIEW+GIVEAWAY-Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan RhodesCrystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5)
by Morgan Rhodes
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

An epic clash between gods and mortals threatens to tear Mytica apart . . . and prove that not even the purest of love stands a chance against the strongest of magic.

MAGNUS and CLEO are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he's no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption.

LUCIA, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe . . . but could mean her demise.

JONAS treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey.

AMARA has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she'll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge.

And what kind of darkness will descend--and who will be safe--after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death?

Review: 

I feel like its so far and few between that I get a chance to write a (well thought out) review for a book I love. For example, I’ve been sick off and on for five months, and my reading has been basically non-existent…but in the last couple months, I’ve managed to read some of my favorite books this year-and maybe 3 of them have gotten even close to the reviews I’m capable of and that they deserve. So, when I received the email telling me I got one of my most (ummm come on, basically THE book that I pined for most) anticipated reads of this year…I just knew I would give it the best review I could muster.

So, this is me taking the opportunity to talk about one of my top book boyfriends this year-Magnus. And doesn’t he deserve the whole review to himself, honestly?? I mean seriously…he’s Magnus, the prince of blood. Do I really need to say anything more?

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Well, I think I do, for those who want to know about more than my darling boy. And let’s be honest-Everyone who reads this series is obsessed with him, and some might only be reading it because of him, so what more can I possibly push?

Basically, even after all the trials and tribulations surrounding all the books before…this one broke my heart the most. It was absolutely the most brutal. I’ll admit that it isn’t near as brutal in the way of battle and death and destruction, but more brutal in matters of the heart. My soul was ripped to shreds in more ways than one, and more times than one. I might be a bit of a drama queen, but my heart has always ripped in two when a couple like Cleo and Magnus, so in love, have to keep themselves a secret with literally everyone around them.

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This was definitely a tremulous chapter for the new couple, bringing heartaches and new issues bubbling to the surface. But not once did my confidence in them waver. Not once did I think one or the other would cheat (even with easy access) or give up on their new love. And not once did I think they wouldn’t believe in the best of each other, in the end, keeping their relationship stronger than ever. But I did foresee some bumps in the road…and that prediction aimed true.

“And you listen to me, Princess.” Gaius’s voice followed her like a rancid odor. “This love you think you feel for my son? The day will come when you will have to choose between Magnus and power. And I know, without a doubt, that you will choose power.”

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So many book series these days drag out unnecessarily for so many books you can’t help but roll your eyes at them-but there are some that shine brighter with each book, building into something so tangible that you can’t breathe when it’s left unfinished. You aren’t thinking, ‘Oh, come on, another book?!’, you’re rejoicing that there’s another and you have the opportunity to follow the paths these relationships and evil plots continue to pave. This is one of those series.

Even as I worried there were going to be too many books when I started this series, I remain surprised each and every time I open a Falling Kingdoms book. They grow dramatically richer and more complex with each additional storyline, and you can’t help but to love each character, good or bad, more with each new installment.

For example, had I only stayed on book one, I only would have lightly pined for Magnus. Sure, he was the reason I even considered continuing onward with the story, but I put this series down for a couple months after finishing, if only because there was so much more to read in my TBR pile and nothing had truly hooked me, aside from the not-so-sweet man candy. But, the minute I was urged to continue on, I was immediately hooked.

The deep love, the betrayals upon betrayals, the needless slaughters…they spoke to my evil self in a way I’ve not been accustomed to, in a while. This series (and especially these last three stories) touched on so many nerves that I couldn’t help but to be hooked. Now, months later, I’m a ravenous fangirl who can never have enough Magnus and Cleo.

I think it’s safe to say who my two favorite characters are, hmm? But even as the series has progressed, I find I have many favorites, especially in this one-Even the evil Amara. There’s just something about an extra feisty bitch added to the character pool that enriches the story and adds just the right amount of turmoil.

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And, truthfully, this book wasn’t as action packed as the rest, the more I think about it. In all truth, I think that’s why I loved this book so much and it became my absolute favorite of the 5. We really got time to sit and see where everyone stood, who was loyal and who wasn’t, what relationships were real and which were smoke and mirrors. I even found the guard relationships to be enriching to the story. By our main cohorts all staying in the same place for an extended amount of time, we really had the opportunity to see the chaos as it slowly descended upon them.

When a story is just go-go-go, you lose a little something, I think. But as Mags and Cleo sat in one particular area for a prolonged amount of time, surrounded by both friend and foe, we got to see some relationship turmoil that ripped me apart, but filled me with ceaseless obsession for the two. I don’t know why this book spoke to me the most (maybe because I’m messed up in the head and love jealousy so much its sick), but it did, and I already am dying to re-read it and the whole series. I might just do it!! WATCH AND SEE!

With a cliffhanger that took my breath away (and made me gleeful, yes I’m THAT crazy and THAT sick) I am already eagerly anticipating how it will all turn out in the final book. Hearts will be broken. Not everyone will survive. Loyalties and friendships will be tried and tested…and I can’t help but long for the final book to be in my hands at this exact moment. It hurts…but I guess I’ll just have to remember all the hot Magneo moments to get me through the next year. And, hey, I can always re –read this series multiple times as I wait. 😉

*Many thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy!*

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Pre-Order Here:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Itunes  Book Depository  Kobo

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Enter for a chance to win a set of the Falling Kingdom books by Morgan Rhodes, which includes paperback editions of Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness and Frozen Tides and a hardcover edition of Crystal Storm (Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”): $63.00). In addition, four (4) Runner-up Winners will each receive a paperback edition of Falling Kingdoms ($11.00 each).

 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:01 AM (EST) on December 5, 2016 and 11:59 PM (EST) on December 16, 2016.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about December 19, 2016. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
 

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About the Author:

morgan-rhodesMorgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess — the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.

 

 

 

And follow along with the rest of the tour below!

12/5: Steph in Wonderland (Book Look)
12/5: Young Adult Hollywood (Book Playlist)
12/6: Live to Read (Review)
12/6: Adventures of a Book Junkie (Reasons to Read Falling Kingdoms)
12/7: Take Me Away to a Great Read (Falling Kingdoms Mood Board)
12/7: Fiction Adventure (Character Fancast)
12/8: A Page with a View (Favorite Fictional Princes)
12/8: Star Crossed (Review)
12/9: Seeing Double in Neverland (Guest Post)
12/9: Bibliophile Gathering (The Series So Far)
 
WEEK TWO:
12/12: Once Upon a Twilight (Quotes + Review)
12/13: Dark Faerie Tales (Excerpt)
12/13: Mundie Moms (Review)
12/14: The Book Nut (Reasons to Read Falling Kingdoms)
12/15: Scifi Chick (Spotlight)
12/15: Tales of the Ravenous Reader (Guest Post)
12/16: Two Chicks on Books (Q&A)

 

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne

Lincoln's book is here! Check out my review below, read an excerpt of when Lincoln and Daisy meet, and enter a fabulous giveaway! Enjoy!

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren LayneSomeone Like You (Oxford #3)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Review:

Lauren Layne has done many things since I began reading her books, and it’s nothing short of impressive. I’ve followed her through almost everything, I’d say, and she has never failed to produce a book that makes me smile. But, on the flip side of that, she’s only ever once brought tears to my eyes-whether from cruelty like in Good Girl, or from happiness in, well, many of her novels. But never once has she brought me to choking, knot in the throat tears…until now. Let me preface this short review by saying that my heart is in the worst shape its ever probably been in, emotional wise. I won’t get into the details, because I don’t think I’m strong enough to type it out for a bunch of people I barely know so soon. But, just know, I have not been myself since November 1st, and I really don’t know when I’ll be my happy go lucky self again. I miss being carefree…life seemed so much simpler, lighter. And, even with 4 long months of morning sickness, nothing has compared to the heartache I feel now-That was nothing. I’ll stop here, lest I begin to cry at my desk, but just know that this review isn’t easy for me, nor was the content of this story. Maybe this was a five star read, maybe in a different time I’d have gobbled this up without any reservations…but, as it is, my heart is guarded and I didn’t let myself fully immerse the whole time, because I quite frankly can’t take that kind of emotion, at the moment. And that’s not the book’s fault, it’s mine. So, anyway, my point is, I am rating this four stars, but the content is by far heavier than anything I could handle, so my rating may not be what it normally would.

In response, Cole ambled over to the counter, picked up the eggroll, took an enormous bite, and knelt to offer the rest to Kiwi, who wagged happily. “There you go, baby. Who’s your favorite uncle now?”
“It should be me,” Mitchell grumbled as he helped himself to a beer from Lincoln’s fridge. “I’m the one that took her to do her business. Lincoln, you know they make crap bags in colors other than pink and purple.”

So, anyway. This book isn’t what you’d normally expect from LL, and that’s most likely a good thing. The depth here is astounding, and whether you can relate or not (I imagine most can’t), there is something tangible here that will resonate deeply within you and make you feel deeper than perhaps you ever have before in an LL novel. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, its life and lessons and learning and doing what you can to get by-Now hey, this? This I can relate to-that endless blur of each passing day, just doing your best not to crumble to the floor and leave your heart in pieces for everyone to see.

Daisy put a hand over her heart. “You wound me. Say Anything. I’m due for a rewatch. You could come.”
Emma made a gagging motion. “Pass.” “Oh come on. I don’t know how twenty-two-year-old John Cusack didn’t steal your heart in that scene.”
“Um, no. Nothing against the actor, but any guy holding a boom box outside my bedroom at dawn is going to get a swift kick to the balls. And I don’t know how you can possibly find it romantic. You’re the least morning person I know.”

I was truly shocked with the direction this took, but humbled in a way that was grounding. My only complaint stems from the ‘three months later,’ and ‘two weeks later’ stuff. I’ve never been a huge fan of that, but I did understand the need not to dwell on current circumstances the whole novel. But perhaps one or two times less of this happening would have helped the book seem less like we were on fast forward so much.

“This is where you’re supposed to tell me I’m not broken,” she said, nudging his arm with hers.
He took a sip of beer. “Well, shit. I’m not sure I’m the person to know what’s broken and what’s not. I’ll tell you this though . . . nothing wrong with being confused.”

This was a good mix of hero and heroine, an extremely good pairing. Emma’s sister is the heroine, and I really liked her personality-Of course, I loved Emma so this completely makes sense. She and Lincoln were absolutely adorable together and I enjoyed their relationship-She has her own past she is trying to forget and he is stuck in his own whirlwind of emotions. You can see they are both broken in different ways, but by both of them having issues, its easier (if anything like this can be easy) to deal with it together-it almost makes them whole. My only issue with the relationship is probably Lincoln…but how could I possibly gauge that with this special circumstance? I don’t think it is possible. Again, I’m sorry I’m not my happy go lucky self, but I can’t be any other way. Lincoln was a wonderful hero who deserved the best story he could get, and I think LL nailed a diverse range of emotions in a very short span of a book-that’s hard to do. We’ve all been waiting forever to find out his big secret, and now that we will know, it’s certainly worth the wait-well…you know what I mean. I hope everyone finds something to love in this story, because we not only have a new heroine that is hard not to love, but we get the whole crew again…and it’s like coming home.

 

 

 

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Buy Now:

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Excerpt:
“Lincoln, you know that I love you like a brother, but if you make a move on my sister, I will end you.”
Lincoln Mathis took a slow sip of his cocktail as he studied the fierce bride-to-be. “I hope Cassidy knows how lucky he is. You’re so delicate and gentle.”
Emma Sinclair, soon to be Emma Cassidy as of this time tomorrow, lifted one elegantly manicured fingernail and flicked his chest. “Promise, Lincoln. No hitting on Daisy.”
“I don’t hit on women.”
Emma gave him a look.
He held up his free hand in surrender. “I don’t. They come to me. I’m like the stamen.”
Emma stared at him with wide, slightly accusatory brown eyes. “The what?”
“The stamen. The pollen-producing part of a flower, Sinclair. Don’t you watch the Discovery Channel? Animal Planet? I just saw a fascinating documentary on bees. See, when the bees land on a flower, their little feet pick up pollen from the stamen— “
“Mathis. Are you talking to my fiancée about semen?” Alex Cassidy asked, coming up beside Emma and setting a possessive hand on her waist.
“Stamen,” Lincoln clarified. “Not semen. Honestly, is sex all you people think about?”
“Yes.” This came from Riley Compton, a brunette bombshell whose status as New York’s foremost “sexpert” meant she had zero qualms about discussing sex at her best friend’s rehearsal dinner. “And you know, actually, the stamen is rather sexual. I saw that bee documentary too, because these are the sort of things you do when you’re nursing a never-satisfied baby, by the way, and the stamen is a flower’s male reproductive organ. Sexy, right?”
Emma inserted the arm not holding her champagne flute between the two of them. “Guys, it’s my wedding weekend. Can we not talk about flower boners?”
“Fair enough, Bride,” Lincoln said. “What do you want to talk about? Cassidy’s boner?”
Alex Cassidy choked into his champagne.
“There will be no boner discussion,” Emma said. “Lincoln and I were just having a chat about how Lincoln will be maintaining his distance from my sister.”
“Speaking of flowers, where is Daisy?” Riley asked, scanning the room.
“Running late. Knowing my sister, her dress had a slight crease from the suitcase, and she won’t make an appearance until every wrinkle’s banished, every hair’s in place, and there’s not a speck of lint anywhere.”
“Gosh, however will I keep my hands to myself?” Lincoln muttered.
“Lincoln, I swear to God—”
“He’s messing with you, Em,” Cassidy said, carefully tugging his fiancée away from Lincoln. “Don’t let him press your buttons. And Lincoln, man, what is with that drink?”
Lincoln glanced down. “It’s called a Jasmine. Gin, lemon, some Campari—”
“It’s pink,” Cassidy observed.
“Right? You want one?”
Cassidy rolled his eyes. “I’ll stick with wine, thanks. Ah shit, there’s my grandma waving us over. Emma, you up for talk about the state of your uterus?”
Emma groaned. “Oh no. I thought she’d agreed to wait until after the wedding to talk about my eggs.”
“I’ll go with you,” Riley said. “As the only one in our little group of friends who’s ever pushed a human skull out my—”
“Okay, I’m going to expand my taboo list,” Emma said. “No talking about boners, flowers, or vaginas.”
“Fine,” Riley said, as she entwined her arm in Emma’s and started leading her toward Cassidy’s grandma. “But if Grams starts talking about fertility, just follow my lead . . . ”
Lincoln smiled as he watched his friends walk away. He could follow, certainly, help run interference, but new mom Riley was a far better choice for this particular bridal-party duty.
Besides, as best man, Lincoln had enough to worry about. The ring, reconfirming transportation to the church tomorrow, the speech that he was going to slay tomorrow, the—
Lincoln’s best man to-do list scattered as his eyes landed on a woman standing in the doorway to the private event room. He did a double take. When had Emma found time to change? Generally speaking, he didn’t consider himself particularly in tune with his friends’ clothes. Especially the women, because, well . . . he didn’t really give a crap. But he was pretty damn sure Emma had been wearing a white dress just ten seconds ago.
Now she was wearing a short yellow dress, with fussy, flowy sleeves, high-necked and a bit demure—
No, not demure, Lincoln amended as she turned. Hot. The dress was backless, showing a smooth expanse of lightly tanned skin from the small of her back all the way up to long dark blond hair.
. . . Blond hair.
Emma had shoulder-length brown hair. A wardrobe swap, he might be able to buy, but the hair?
You idiot.
He was looking at none other than Daisy Sinclair, the forbidden fruit, in the flesh.
He’d forgotten that Daisy wasn’t just Emma’s sister—she was Emma’s identical twin.
Other than the fact that she was, apparently, not to be hit on, Lincoln didn’t know much about her.
Well, he supposed he now knew that she dyed her hair blond.
Or maybe Emma dyed hers brown?
Whatever. Girl stuff he didn’t care about one way or the other.
And yet he didn’t look away, captivated somehow. He racked his brain for everything he’d heard about Daisy Sinclair.
He knew that she and Emma had grown up in North Carolina. But Emma left for New York City shortly after college, and Daisy had stayed. He thought he remembered talk of a recent divorce, although he didn’t recall the details.
Didn’t need to, really. Lincoln knew better than anyone that not all relationships had happy endings.
Lincoln watched as Daisy hesitated just inside the doorway, unnoticed yet by the rest of the bridal party and out-of-town guests.
Making people comfortable was a particular skill of his. Normally he’d be over there in a heartbeat with a glass of wine and some of his best banter until her shoulders relaxed and he’d coaxed a smile from her pretty face.
But he wasn’t entirely convinced Emma wouldn’t make good on her castration threats, so instead Lincoln merely studied Daisy. The woman was beautiful. No surprise there, since Emma was gorgeous. Yet, though their features were identical, they were attractive in entirely different ways.
Emma was all polished confidence, stunning in an untouchable sort of way.
Daisy was softer somehow. Gentler. She seemed . . . touchable.
Lincoln’s cocktail froze on its way to his mouth as the forbidden rocked him back on his heels. Daisy Sinclair was not for him to touch for reasons that had nothing to do with Emma’s threats.
As though sensing a man’s brooding thoughts on her, Daisy turned slightly, her eyes locking on his. Eyes that he’d known would be dark brown like Emma’s, and yet eye contact with Emma had never felt like this.
Lincoln felt something akin to panic, because for a heart-stopping moment, it felt like Daisy Sinclair was seeing him. Not seeing the Lincoln he wanted everyone to see.
The real him.
He gave himself a little mental shake. Get it together, Mathis. The woman doesn’t even know you.
None of them did.
Not really.
He saw the moment of answering shock in her own gaze, sensed that for a split second, she considered turning and running. From him, from the party, all of it.
Then he saw something else. Something familiar, because he’d done it a thousand times himself. She squared her shoulders, and he watched as a mask slid into place.
He knew even before she approached that Daisy was exactly like him—good at being around people only because she chose to be. Knew that perhaps once it had been second nature, and now it was nothing but a deliberate attempt to make sure everyone thought she was okay.
Daisy began making her way toward him, and he tensed for reasons he couldn’t identify before ordering himself to chill out.
It was just his friend’s sister. The maid of honor to his best man.
She stopped in front of him, and he caught just the faintest whiff of her perfume, a surprisingly elegant scent for someone named Daisy, before she extended her hand.
“You must be Lincoln Mathis, The Manwhore of Whom I Should Beware?”
Her voice was a surprise. It had the same low huskiness as her sister’s, but years in New York had all but erased the Southern from Emma’s whiskey-raspy voice. Daisy’s drawl was very much intact—a mint julep on a hot day.
He grinned and took her smaller hand in his. “Which would make you Daisy Sinclair, Delicate Flower to Whom I’m Not to Speak.”
She grinned. “Nailed it.”

 

About Lauren Layne:

Lauren LayneLauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

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TOP TEN TUESDAY – New-To-Us Favorite Authors We Read For The First Time In 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY – New-To-Us Favorite Authors We Read For The First Time In 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week we get to talk about New-To-Us Favorite Authors We Read For The First Time In 2016.  And they are….

falling kingdoms morgan rhodes
(Chelsea’s Choice – Review)
the demon king cinda williams chima
(Chelsea’s Choice – Review)

1. Morgan Rhodes – This cat and mouse game Morgan Rhodes has created is something else, and I haven’t felt this desperate in a long long time.  This series, while action heavy and full of blood, destruction, mayhem, and peril, didn’t grip me for that reason. No, this series gripped me on a far more addicting level, and that honor solely belongs to my dear Magnus….and even Cleo.

2. Cinda Williams – There is just something appealing about being pulled in when you didn’t expect to be. The unexpected gives you so much more than knowing every little thing that might happen. So, when my tummy did a little flip flop when we first met Han in the beginning…..I knew I was going to be a forever fan of this series

Nevermore kelly creagh
(Chelsea’s Choice – Review)
glass-houses-rachel-caine
(Chelsea’s Choice – Review)

3. Kelly Creigh – Epic. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching. Perfection. This series is just so addicting…I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. And this final book was everything the first book was and more. Everything I could ask for. Peril. Devastation. Heart-stopping romance.

4. Rachel Caine – I love the atmosphere, the boy, the main girl (most of the time), but sometimes it’s a bit lighter and not as intense in the writing area. I love that, but starting this series certainly made my heart pound in ways that are completely out of this world.

splitcover swati avasthi
(Chelsea’s Choice – Review)
under the never sky veronica rossi
(Jen’s Choice – Review)

5. Swati Avasthi – Each chapter, layered with vivid, imaginative, and candid storytelling, ensnared me in ways I can’t even begin to express. It’s a story not often told, at least not correctly, and I think it’s an important book for people to read. I am on a huge realistic fiction kick, of that I am certain everyone is aware, but none have spoken to me on such a deep emotional level like this one did. 

6. Veronica Rossi  – This series captivated my attention and made me an emotional mess.  I was constantly flitting between butterflies, smiles, devastation and heartache.   I won’t be able to get their world or these characters out of my head for a long time to come.

On The Fence Kasie West
(Jen’s Choice – Review)
sweet evil wendy higgins
(Jen’s Choice – Review)

7. Kasie West – Her books make me want to spin circles while laughing and smiling.  Seriously.  They are beyond adorable.

8. Wendy Higgins –  I am always on the lookout for a paranormal story that makes me want to smile with happiness while my heart is beating fast from the romance and perilous situations.  And The Sweet Series did just that!

infinity-jus-accardo
(Jen’s Choice – Review)
Xenophobia S.B. Roozenboom
(Jen’s Choice – Review)

9. Jus Accardo – Infinity haunted my dreams and interrupted my thoughts throughout the day.  I couldn’t stop thinking about this book.  I loved getting swept away by the action, adventure and the unknown.  And when I reached that last page,  I wasn’t ready to stop being in their world.  Even though it ended absolutely perfect and left me so excited for where the next book is headed!

10. S.B. Roozenboom – Tevire slowly seeped into my heart and I found myself completely falling for him.  Watching him interact with Ness showed who he truly was.  He was selfless.  He was protective.  He had a sense of humor.  He was so many amazing things wrapped up into one beautiful being.  But my favorite aspect about him?  The things Tevire did to protect Ness was gut wrenching, sweaty palm inducing and entirely swoon worthy.

So these are  New-To-Us Favorite Authors We Read For The First Time In 2016!  Do you share any of the same with us?  Of did you already fall for their books before 2016?

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FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 12/02/16

Friday Stars.13
Life:

I am SO unbelievably excited about this weekend!  We are going on The Polar Express *gasps*.  If you aren’t familiar with the children’s book or the movie (both I highly recommend!) it’s a train ride that takes kids to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.  On the train ride there are people on-board each car that sing, dance and dress up to look like the characters in the movie and book.  Then when you arrive at the North Pole Santa climbs on board with a few of his elfs and they visit with each child on the train.  I can’t wait to see the excitement and wonder in my two little boys eyes this weekend.  Here’s hoping you all have a fabulous weekend too!

In case you aren’t familiar with our Friday Star Posts, we like to take a look at what’s happened around here in the last week, what’s coming up that we are excited about and anything else that we may have to share!

♥ Enjoy!

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Giveaway:

fiy-feature-tour-bannerEnter to win a signed set of the Wait For You Saga (not including FIRE IN YOU). Enter → here

 

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Just Finished and Loved:

stay-with-me-mila-gray Stay With Me (Come Back to Me #2) by Mila GrayJen’s Review

5 Stars! Stay With Me was an emotionally, beautiful story that will stay in my heart for a long time to come!
Didi Monroe has waited her whole life for happily ever after. So when charming Zac Ridgemont sweeps her off her feet, Didi believes she might finally have met the one.
Until she begins an internship at a military hospital in California. There she meets wounded marine Noel Walker. Frustrated on the outside and broken on the inside, Walker’s an irritating patient who refuses any care, keeping his distance from everything and everyone—including Didi.
Walker is strictly out of bounds. Didi knows this, respects this, but the more she tries to help Walker the closer the two grow. Soon neither one can ignore the sparks flying between them as their attraction simmers into dangerous territory.
But Walker doesn’t believe in love or happily ever after—not after what he’s seen. Not after what he’s been through. He doesn’t want to hurt Didi, but he doesn’t want to push her away either. She makes him feel peaceful. Hopeful, even.
Then tragedy hits, shattering both their worlds, and Didi realizes that love isn’t as simple as happily ever after. Love isn’t easy. It’s difficult. Messy. Complicated.
Now all Didi has to do is decide if it’s worth fighting for.

 

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Reading Next:

crystal-storm-morgan-rhodes Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes
The story continues!  In the first book, Falling Kingdoms, War brought them together. Love will tear them apart.
 Princess Cleo of Mytica confronts violence for the first time in her life when a shocking murder sets her kingdom on a path to collapse. Once a privileged royal, Cleo must now summon the strength to survive in this new world and fight for her rightful place as Queen.
 The King of Limeros’s son, Magnus, must plan each footstep with shrewd, sharp guile if he is to earn his powerful father’s trust, while his sister, Lucia, discovers a terrifying secret about her heritage that will change everything.
 Rebellious Jonas lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.
Witches, if found, are put to death, and Watchers, immortal beings who take the shape of hawks to visit the human world, have been almost entirely forgotten. A vicious power struggle quickly escalates to war, and these four young people collide against each other and the rise of elementia, the magic that can topple kingdoms and crown a ruler in the same day.

 

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playing-the-player-lisa-brown-robertsPlaying the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts
Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she – the most organized, prepared student in school – spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she’s ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don’t ask her about the secret job of “fixing” the bad habits of a certain high school player…
Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She’s all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer…
Then the weirdest thing happens. There’s chemistry. A lot of it. But nothing gets between a boy and a girl like a big, fat secret…

 

 

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Upcoming Releases:

someone like you lauren layne oxford Someone like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne (Releases 12/06)
Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.
Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.
After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.


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You can check out the rest of the books that we can’t wait to release → HERE

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Sales:

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New Sale   4.5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
Anna’s Review

Jen’s Review

4 Stars!
Laura’s Review
   

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New Sale   4.5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

New Sale   5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

New Sale   5 Stars!
Anna’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

New Sale   4 Stars!
Laura’s Review

New Sale

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

4.5 Stars!
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4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!

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Chelsea’s Review
 

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5 Stars!

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
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4.5 Stars!
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5 Stars!
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Jen’s Review

5 Stars!
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Anna’s Review

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4.5 Stars!
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4 Stars!
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5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
Anna’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
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5 Stars!
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5 Stars!
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BOOK REVIEW – Stay With Me (Come Back to Me #2) by Mila Gray

BOOK REVIEW –  Stay With Me (Come Back to Me #2) by Mila GrayStay With Me (Come Back to Me #2)
by Mila Gray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the author of Come Back to Me comes a heartwrenching novel about a forbidden romance, a wounded marine, and the girl who’s determined to save him.

Didi Monroe has waited her whole life for happily ever after. So when charming Zac Ridgemont sweeps her off her feet, Didi believes she might finally have met the one.

Until she begins an internship at a military hospital in California. There she meets wounded marine Noel Walker. Frustrated on the outside and broken on the inside, Walker’s an irritating patient who refuses any care, keeping his distance from everything and everyone—including Didi.

Walker is strictly out of bounds. Didi knows this, respects this, but the more she tries to help Walker the closer the two grow. Soon neither one can ignore the sparks flying between them as their attraction simmers into dangerous territory.

But Walker doesn’t believe in love or happily ever after—not after what he’s seen. Not after what he’s been through. He doesn’t want to hurt Didi, but he doesn’t want to push her away either. She makes him feel peaceful. Hopeful, even.

Then tragedy hits, shattering both their worlds, and Didi realizes that love isn’t as simple as happily ever after. Love isn’t easy. It’s difficult. Messy. Complicated.

Now all Didi has to do is decide if it’s worth fighting for.

Review:

Stay With Me was an emotionally, beautiful story that will stay in my heart for a long time to come!  While there are many reasons I fell hard for this book, it ultimately boiled down to two things.  The characters and the sexual tension.  The characters easily worked their way into my emotions.  I couldn’t help but feel everything they did.  And the sexual tension and angst left me longing to read the pages as fast as possible while also slowing down so I could savor every sexy moment.  So yes, I definitely recommend this book, and I can’t wait for you to meet Walker and Didi!  But before I go any further, I want you to know that this book can be read as a standalone.  Although I love and highly recommend the first book too (Come Back To Me), it was about Didi’s best friend Jessa.  

Everything can change in a heartbeat. – Didi

Didi Monroe ends up taking an internship at a medical facility on a Marine Base, since she’s a trainee psychologist.  She’s the bosses daughter and knows that it won’t be easy, but she didn’t expect her first day to be a total nightmare.  And part of that nightmare has to deal with her run in with Grumpy aka Noel Walker.  Walker was part of the Alpha Team and was one of the youngest Lieutenants in the Marine Core.  But the majority of his team died while he was left blind with a knee injury.  

The goddamn darkness. I can’t get away from it. It’s like being slowly buried alive. Every day another shovelful of dirt gets thrown on top of me. – Walker

Walker didn’t even want to talk to Didi.  But as her daily visits added up, he started to warm up to her.  Slowly over time start they formed a friendship, yet it’s not that simple.  You see when Didi and Walker are around each other, there’s an underlying sexual tension that is through the roof scorching hot!  Their moments together had me holding my breath, because the electricity between them was mind-blowing intense.  It couldn’t be ignored.  And anyone around them saw it too.  There is a shaving scene and many, many others that you must read.  Those moments contain the perfect amount of sexual tension and angst!  I absolutely love when angst is done in such a fabulous way that I can’t help but have my emotions on edge.  

His hand nudges closer across the bed. I move my own hand to meet his. Our fingertips brush— that’s all. But it feels like I’ve just leaped across a line, smashing every last boundary that lay in the way. – Didi

Underneath Walker’s gruff exterior, he is suffering from PTSD.  Watching him struggle through the flashbacks, mood swings and nightmares shattered my heart into a billion tiny pieces.  Yet Didi’s friendship starts to help, although they have a lot of obstacles in their way.  She isn’t allowed to have relationships, let alone even be friends, with patients.  And he doesn’t want to tie anyone down, since he is blind.  But the connection between the two of them, even when they were talking about something as simple as music and movies, moved me.  It was pure and so real.

What are the scars on the inside like? Are they just as bad? And how do you heal those ones when you can’t even see them? – Didi

The story was rounded out with side characters that I absolutely loved!  Sanchez and Dodd were wounded Marines who were at the same facility as Walker.  They added moments of laughter and moments of heartbreak.  I became just invested in them, and I hoped they would get their happily ever after too.  And I loved the friendship they not only had with Walker, but with Didi too.  They saw that Didi had this huge heart and good head on her shoulders.  I loved that she tried her hardest to help others and find good in the world.  While some of her choices, cough Zach cough, made me shake my head, it made her that much more human.  She had flaws, just like we all do, and it made me love her that much more!

There’s another pause before he asks, “What color’s the sky?”
I smile, but at the same time I feel a sharp tug in my heart. What must it be like to know you might never see the sky again, or colors?
I look upward. “It’s blistering blue. Swimming-pool blue. Like someone’s poured chlorine into it.”
“Is chlorine blue?” he asks.
I laugh. “Actually, I have no idea. But the sky is very blue today. And there’s not a single cloud.”
He tilts his face up to the sun and I find myself staring at him, at the hard line of his jaw and the soft curve of his mouth. I look quickly away.

So yes, I definitely recommend this book!  Especially if you love tortured males and slow burn romances!  Although I will say that I wish this story had an epilogue.  There was an epilogue in Come Back To Me, the book about Didi’s best friend, and it was absolutely perfect.  So I wish Did got one too, since I had a few questions about the future.  But then again, I’m an epilogue junkie.  But regardless, I can’t wait for you to read Didi and Walker’s story!

*ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

 

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
***Each book can be read as a standalone.***
Come back to me mila gray
Come Back To Me #1
Reviews:

Jen
stay-with-me-mila-gray
Stay With Me #2
Reviews:

Jen

 

About Mila Gray:

Mila Gray is a pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila (winner of the Kingston Book Award), Losing Lila, Fated, The Sound, Out of Control and Conspiracy Girl (all Simon & Schuster).
Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home (a journey that was documented on this blog and later turned into a book).
As well as writing young adult novels and screenplays, Sarah also writes adult fiction for Pan Macmillan (Simon & Schuster in the US) under the top secret pen name Mila Gray.
Find out more here: 

 

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