Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Holidays! My 2016 Book Recommendations

I hope everyone who celebrates had a Merry Christmas and if you don't celebrate, I hope you had a great 2015! This year is quickly coming to a close and I thought I would share some of my favorite books of 2015 as recommendations for what you should read next year if you haven't read any of these yet. I'm sure many of you received those coveted Amazon gift cards so here's some ideas on how to spend it.

Sacked by Jen Frederick

What he wants he gets... 

Knox Masters is a quarterback's worst nightmare. Warrior. Champion. Knox knows what he wants--and he gets it. All American Football player? Check. NFL pros scouting him? Check. Now, he's set his sight on two things. The national title. And Ellie Campbell. Sure, she's the sister of his fellow teammate, but that's not going to stop him. Especially not when he’s convinced Ellie is the one. 

...but he's never met her before. 

But Ellie isn't as sure. She's trying to start a new life and she's not interested in a relationship...with anyone. Beside it's not just her cardinal rule of never dating her brother's teammates that keeps her away, but Ellie has a dark secret that would jeopardize everything Knox is pursuing. 

Knox has no intention of losing. Ellie has no intention of giving in.

I am a huge Jen Frederick fan so I will immediately pick up any new book she puts out. Sacked riveted me and I had a major book hangover. I was legitimately saddened when I finished this book because I just didn't want it to be over.

Confess by Colleen Hoover

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

I wouldn't be surprised if every person reading this post has already read this book but you never know. Colleen Hoover is a literary genius and there is something about her writing that really captures a reader. 
She's had a few books come out this year but this one really stole my heart. 

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

He was my older brother's best friend. 
He was never supposed to be mine. 
I thought we would get it out of our system and move on. 

One of us did. 
One of us left. 

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me. 
He broke my heart last time. 

This time he'll obliterate it.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I was initially drawn to this book by the cover and when I read the synopsis, I decided to pick it up. I didn't read it until months later and if I had know how much I would love it, I would have read it immediately. This book had such a great story line and really great character development.

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

While this is definitely a young-adult romance, what really got me with this story was the development between Emily and her father. I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow and change. 

After the Rain by Renee Carlino

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.

This book left me with tears streaming down my face more than a few times. Renee Carlino snagged me as a fan with her first book, Sweet Thing, but After the Rain solidified me as a fangirl. I love a good "out on the ranch" romance and this book delivered.

Three Brothers by Nicole Williams

I grew up with three brothers. They weren’t tied to me by blood, but our connection went beyond genetics or bearing the same last name. Our connection was forged the summer I turned thirteen, the summer my mom ended her life and left me in the custody of John Armstrong, a man I’d never met. Packing all I owned in a couple of boxes, I left the familiarity of the big city and headed west to Red Mountain Ranch, set in a lonely valley outside of Jackson Hole.

Nothing was as it seemed at Red Mountain—it didn’t take long for me to figure that out. John was kind to me but distant, as if he was afraid to let anyone get too close. His three teenage sons had their own devices for keeping love as far away as they could. The eldest distracted himself with cheap relationships that had a shelf-life of one night. The middle son threw himself into the rigor of running a ranch, and the third wielded cruelty and mind-games in his quest to keep people from getting close.

Time has gone by, and I’ve spent those years trying to forget the brother I’d fallen for—the biggest mistake of my life.

Finally, I’ve moved on. Finally, I’m back. But what I didn’t realize was that running away from the wrong brother meant I’d also run away from the right one. The one who’d been there for me all along, waiting in his brother’s shadow for the day I either would or could move on.

But a decade is a long time to wait. Has the brother I should have chosen all of those years ago moved on too? Am I about to discover that my biggest mistake wasn’t falling in love with the wrong brother, but failing to return the love of the right one sooner?

Does unrequited love have an expiration date?

I’m about to find out.

If you've read anything by Nicole Williams then you know what a talented writer she is. This was one of the first books I read in 2015 and it really left an impression. It was so much more than just a romance. Scout's character development was well done and I felt like she really grew. I also read enough to be able to predict fairly well and there were some twists and turns I didn't see coming.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blog Under Construction

Hello to all my friends and followers. It has been many months since I posted on my blog and my posts had been sporadic at best for several months before that. I have had a lot going on in my life over the last year and while blogging and reading is a huge part of who I am, I had to take a break for a while. However, I am making a comeback!

I have decided to completely revamp my blog with a whole new name and design so for the next few weeks, my blog will be under construction while I make lots of changes. The first notable change will be the name. While I still love Starbucks and that will remain in my twitter name, I think part of getting back into blogging is to almost start over and that includes coming up with a new name. I remember when I first started blogging a huge part of the excitement was naming my blog and coming up with the design and I need to bring back some of that enthusiasm to get me in the mind frame to blog again.

While my blog will be going through major design changes, myself as a blogger will still be the same. I still read the same books so my reviews won't be changing. I still love telling anyone and everyone about a book I love so that won't be changing. I still love checking out other blogs and talking to fellow book lovers about books so that won't be changing.

I really miss being a part of the book blogging world and I especially miss my blogging besties so I'm excited to be jumping back in again and if you've missed me, I'm glad to be back. If you didn't miss me, that's ok too. I'm still coming back.