Best Books of 2017

Best books I read in 2017

It’s that time of year! These are the best books I read in 2017, publication date does not matter and the books are listed in alphabetical order by title. So many amazing reads this year!!!!

I am giving the synopsis and a link to my review. These books are so amazing, you need to read them yourself to really know.

Axios by Jaclyn Osborn

Synopsis:

I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.

But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have.

Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.

However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.

My review of Axios: click here

 

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Synopsis:

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

My review of Dating-ish: click here 

 

Drive by Kate Stewart

Synopsis:

Music . . . the heart’s greatest librarian.

The average song is three and a half minutes long; those three and a half minutes could lead to a slow blink, a glimpse of the past, or catapult the soul into heart-shattering nostalgia.

At the height of my career, I had the life I wanted, the life I’d always envisioned. I’d found my tempo, my rhythm. Then I received a phone call that left me off key.

You see, my favorite songs had a way of playing simultaneously. I was in love with one man’s beats and another’s lyrics. But when it came to the soundtrack of a life, how could anyone choose a favorite song? So, to erase any doubt, I ditched my first-class ticket and decided to take a drive, fixed on the rearview.

Two days.

One playlist.

And the long road home to the man who was waiting for me.

My review of Drive: click here 

 

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.

My review of Fast Connection: click here

 

First and First by Santino Hassell

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

My review of First and First: click here

 

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

My review of Goodbye Paradise: click here

 

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

My review of If There’s No Tomorrow: click here

 

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

My review of The Impossible Vastness of Us: click here

 

Infini by Krista and Becca Ritchie

“Don’t have a best friend that’s a girl” — this was the advice from my older cousin. I didn’t take it. Because he followed with, “friends don’t f*ck friends. And you’ll want to f*ck her.”

It was terrible advice.

My cousin should’ve told me that being best friends with Baylee Wright — since she was twelve — would be the best and worst decision of my life.

He should have told me to protect her from what was coming.

He should have told me that when a darkness crawled towards us, there’d be no safety net.

Now I’ve signed back on to the same Vegas acrobatic show as Baylee, working together for the first time in years. And she tells me that she’s having trouble in a certain “area” of her life — because of our past.

“You can help me fix it,” she says.

And then she hands me a list.

My review of Infini: click here

 

The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.” 

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

My review of The Queen and the Cure: click here

The Queen of All that Dies by Laura Thalassa 

(side note, this entire series was a best of 2017^^^)

In the future, the world is at war.

For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world.

All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can.

Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption.

Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.

My review of The Queen of All that Dies: click here

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: click here

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Halfway to the Grave

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

5 stars 

This is a book I read before I started reviewing and blogging, and it’s oh so special to me. Cat and Bones are my favorite PNR couple, and when I recently got myself into a horrifyingly bad book slump, I turned to them for help. I’ve read this book so many times I’ve lost count, but I always find something new to appreciate I may have never noticed the first time around. I am so very tempted to continue rereading the rest of this series, and switching to PNR books only for a while. They are my first love of the romance genre, maybe I need to go back to my roots…..

Villain

Villain

Cover Design by Samantha Young

 The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

 Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal – a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…

My review:

4 stars!! 

“I acted like my story deserved a hero. But only a heroine deserves a hero. And I wasn’t a heroine. I couldn’t be. The truth was in someone else’s story… I was a villain.” 

Villain is the story of Nadia, a broadcast meteorologist. When her boss blackmail’s her into doing some deep digging into a wealthy man, his best friend Henry decides to fight back. Sparks fly, and hatred of each other evolves when Nadia and Henry realize they are both not what they seem.

But Nadia has a past that can threaten any relationship before it starts. That combined with severe trust issues promises an emotional and bumpy ride for these two.

“Grand gestures and fireworks are part of our lives; they’re not extraordinary to us. But when we get home and we close the door behind us and it’s just you and me…. that’s our extraordinary, right?” 

I love romances where the guy chases the girl. There’s just something so amazing about a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. Nadia was so unsure things would work and he never wavered. There were moment when this story seemed as if it would be cliché and predictable, but it had just enough angst and humor to push it over the edge and make it something a little bit more than the usual.

I read Samantha Young because she never fails to deliver me a satisfying story, and I will read her books as long as she keeps writing them because of this. A truly talented writer, I hope she never stops.

“I was born into a life of privilege… but I never knew true wealth until I met you.” 

ARC provided by the author. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

 

Out December 5th in digital edition.

 

Preorder Links:

AMAZON US – http://amzn.to/2giFLfF
AMAZON UK – http://amzn.to/2yxhpZz

KOBO US – http://bit.ly/2i1siJr

KOBO UK – http://bit.ly/2yQpdGp

iBOOKS UK & US, & GOOGLE PLAY Links Coming Soon!

 

 

Connect with Samantha Young online:

Website:http://authorsamanthayoung.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsamanthayoung

Twitter: @AuthorSamYoung

Instagram: @AuthorSamanthaYoung

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samyoungauthor

 

 

Roomies

Roomies by Christina Lauren

4.5 stars! 

“You’re too beautiful to be inexperienced in love.” 

Roomies is a charming book that sneaks up on you and grabs your heart! Holland has had a crush on subway musician Calvin for months who then saves her when she gets attacked on the subway. Recognizing his musical talent, she is able to get him his big break in broadway. There’s only one problem, he’s from Ireland and has been living in America illegally for the last four years.

Holland finds a crazy solution, she decides to marry Calvin so he can be in the show. Marriage of convenience turns into lovers, and maybe something more. But how can either of them know if this relationship is real?

I loved this book. It started off a bit slow at the beginning, but this is a story that BUILDS. By the end I was so in love with this couple and wanted them to find their happiness. I see a lot of reviews calling this book sweet, and I totally agree. But it did have small doses of angsty bits that gave my angst whore self the hit I needed to bring this rating up!

Holland was an amazing heroine, unsure of where she was in life and yet not at all annoying. She didn’t see herself clearly, others around her did and Calvin always wanted what was best for her, trying to put her needs before his as much as he could. To me this was also a slow build romance, starting out strangers then friends then lovers, then finally more. You need to have the patience for this couple because it’s well worth it.

This is a story you savor, one you think about when you set the book down and continue to think about once you’ve finished it. I highly recommend roomies, it’s a perfect book to curl up with.

“I think you might be the best girl there ever was.”
“I think you’re the best boy there ever was, too.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Brave

Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout

5 stars! 

Perfect ending to this trilogy!

Brave is the third book in the Wicked Saga, you need to have read Wicked and Torn before reading this book. So there may be spoilers about the other two books in this review, but no spoilers about this book specifically. Ivy has escaped the fae Prince Drake, being rescued by Ren and some good fae. Now she lives in a good fae haven, dealing with some serious PTSD from being held captive. Pulling away from her friends and loved ones, Ivy retreats into herself more and more. But with the threat of the Prince finding them and ending the world, she needs to shape up and get her act in gear to save the world.

Jennifer Armentrout is one of those very few authors that my reading tastes click with. And I mean I love her books, every single time. Reading her books is like coming home to your bestie and falling effortlessly into that friendship mode. Does that make any sense? This series also feels like a gift to the readers, she takes time out of her busy publishing schedule to bring us a fun indie PNR series. It’s a readers treat!

Everyone loves Tink, let’s be real. Half the reviews on here are about him. And I ADORE TINK. I want to hug him and never let go! He reminds me a lot of Jenks from the Kim Harrison Hollows series. My dream book would have a collaboration between Tink and Jenks in their own book. MIND BLOWN! And his connection with a new character? Seriously amazing and I want Tink to get his own book. Like yesterday.

Ivy and Ren… *sigh*. Hashtag couple goals! Ren is amazing and the way he loves Ivy is even better. I didn’t want this book to ever end. I will be holding out for any and all spin offs that come from this series! And if you haven’t started this series yet because you were waiting for it to be done……… well it’s done so you have no excuse and should be reading book 1 right now instead of my review! I mean it!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Citywide

Citywide by Santino Hassell

Full disclosure, I only read Rerouted. Before all of you jump on me, I am allowed to read what I want to read, and I honestly was only interested in Chris, Jace and Aiden. Not that I have to justify my reading choices to anyone, but I have no desire to read the other two novellas because those characters don’t call to me.

That being said, I LOVED Rerouted. I could read about these three men for, well, forever. I wish they had their own full length novel. It’s about Chris, a bisexual man who finds himself as the extra to a married gay couple Jace and Aiden. Jace and Aiden have been together 20 years and are polyamorous, but lately they only want one man to make them a trio. When a blackout leaves the three of them stuck together, it’s up to the couple to convince Chris he’s perfect for them.

As I said before, I loved this story. Chris I wanted to hug the entire time, I understood all of his insecurities and where he is coming from. It’s easy to want him to fall into his happily ever after, but some things needed to be worked out and I think Hassell did a great job of covering all those issues.

Citywide can technically be read as a standalone, but I think maybe you should read Third Rail a short story first to get some background.

Autoboyography

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

4 stars! 

“His smile ruins me.” 

This book follows Tanner, an eighteen year old bisexual Jewish kid who moves from liberal Palo Alto to the mormon town Provo, Utah when he was fifteen. His parents ask him to go back into the closet fearing the community won’t accept him. And he does, for three years. But then he meets his new TA Sebastian, the son of the local Bishop. And it doesn’t take long for him to fall completely in love.

“Love fails for a million reasons – distance, infidelity, pride, religion, money, illness. Why is this story any more worthy?
It felt like it was. It felt important. Living in this town is suffocating in so many ways.
But if a tree falls in the woods, maybe it makes no sound.
And if a boy falls for the bishop’s closeted son, maybe it makes no story.” 

This book struck close to home. I’ve been thinking a lot before writing this review because I don’t want to offend anyone with it, so let me be clear. I am a fairly liberal person, and I am not a fan of any organized religion. While I grew up in Southern California, there is a small Mormon community in my home town. I grew up with Mormon kids who I knew were gay, that almost everyone knew were gay and yet they couldn’t admit it (and I know because they later came out after high school). I remember when Prop 8 happened, one of those kids kicking a sign his own father had put on his lawn. It’s something I’ll never forget. To me, love is love, and as long as no one is hurting anyone, everything is okay. So when reading this book, a lot of this was going through my head. Now this isn’t to say I hate Mormons or organized religion, but it’s difficult for me to accept something that doesn’t promote love.

Off my pedestal now, this was an amazing love story. Knowing up front what Tanner and Sebastian face, you can predict what challenges they would face. But this book wasn’t predictable, and I was rooting for these two boys the entire time. I think this is a book that teens need and I wish we had when I was a teen. I highly recommend this book and I hope you give it a chance.

“I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?” 

One of Us is Lying

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

4 stars! 

“She’s a princess and you’re a jock,” he says. He thrusts his chin toward Bronwyn, then at Nate. “And you’re a brain. And you’re a criminal. You’re all walking teen-movie stereotypes.” 

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars…..

Yeah, I’d actually have to agree with this assessment. One of Us Is Lying is a book I was intrigued by when it came out but didn’t make the time to read. That’s why I love the Goodreads Choice Awards, because it helps me pick up books that would have been on the tbr list forever.

Anyways, this book is about a jock, popular girl, brain, and a criminal who get detention with their school’s version of gossip girl. Except by the end of detention, Simon aka gossip monger, ends up dead. Now the four students there with him are suspected of murder, and all of them have secrets no one could ever have expected.

“I guess we’re almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you’re not one hundred percent sure the other person isn’t framing you for murder.” 

I ended up really enjoying this one, the murdery side of teen books don’t really appeal to me, but this book was more focused on the characters and their development than the mystery plot. Some things were fairly predictable, but they were in a way that I liked it. Does that make any sense? I liked all four main characters equally, each of them had something interesting to bring to the table. One of them had to grow on me but by the end I liked them.

I think this book is perfect for teens who love shows like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. Perfect for the relucant readers and those who would like a murdery John Hughes movie, if one existed.

“Things’ll get worse before they get better.” 

It Happened One Autumn

It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

4.5 stars! 

“The next time you face a room full of strangers . . . you might tell yourself that some of them are just friends waiting to be found.” 

The Wallflowers are so good!!! I think this book is my favorite in the series so far (yes, I have read Devil in Winter already). I liked the chemistry between the main characters in this one the most so far, that hate to love you tension. This book is the story of Lillian and Westcliff, a brash and outspoken American and a formal, follow the rules Englishmen. Right off the bat they cannot stand each other, but as time goes by they realize their hatred for each other might be something more.

“I can’t get it out,” she said.
“Just pull at it.”
“It hurts. It’s throbbing.”
“Pull harder.”
“I can’t! It’s truly stuck. I need something to make it slippery. Do you have some sort of lubricant nearby?”
“No.”
“Not anything?”
“Much as it may surprise you, we’ve never needed lubricant in the library before now.” 

I’m not normally one for historical romance, but Lisa Kleypas has that magic about her writing. It’s never cheesy to me (and I loathe cheesy historical), and never do I roll my eyes at the language or the diction. It’s an amazing escape from reality, a foray into the lives and loves of the past.

I’m also going to add, when Lillian and Westcliff do finally give in, BOOM WENT THE OVARIES! You wanna read it now, don’t you?

“There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your smile…no sound sweeter than your laughter…no pleasure greater than holding you in my arms.” 

Third Rail

Third Rail by Santino Hassell

4.5 stars! 

I love love love the five boroughs series by Santino Hassell! This threesome of characters, Jace, Chris and Aiden are among my favorites, I’ll read anything about them. Honestly I wish there was like a 500 page book about them, but I’m just plain greedy. Third Rail is a collection of short stories about them in chronological order, because they get another story in Hassell’s Citywide coming out November 2017.

This book was HOT. I mean, Santino’s books always are. But an MMM threesome? Yeah. Enough said.

I believe this can be read as a standalone, other characters are mentioned but it’s not confusing. This book should also be free, so grab it while you can!

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata

4.5 stars! 

“Not liking you is like fighting gravity.” 

After her boyfriend dumps her, Gabby is asked to go on tour with her twin brother selling merchandise for his band. Which would be fine, if she wasn’t insanely attracted to the lead singer of the other traveling band, Sacha. Three months and a bunch of countries, everyone will be tight together making for some interesting happenings.

“Because if I remember correctly, your text message said, ‘I just kicked the hottest guy I’ve probably ever seen in the ass.’ And I asked you what he looked like and you texted me back, ‘Like a double bacon cheeseburger I’d take a bite out of.” 

Mariana Zapata is an author who has never let me down. I’ve read six of her books and thoroughly enjoyed them all. She takes the time to develop her characters and her relationships, so everything feels more real. I love that she writes slow burn instead of instalove, I love seeing the journey her characters take when falling for each other.

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin is an excellent book and falls in the middle of the spectrum, not my favorite Zapata and not my least favorite. It’s a solid rock star romance, but I also wondered why none of the band players were running around getting laid with everything that moved. Not that I want that, but I wonder if this was a more accurate depiction of the lifestyle where it takes place.

You need to start reading Zapata if you haven’t already. And if you have read some of her books, bump this one up the to be read list.

“He was the end to my beginning.” 

Dear Aaron

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

4 stars! 

Full confession, I totally went into this book knowing mini spoilers. By that I mean I knew the majority of the first half of the book was in epistolary form aka written in emails, IMs and texts. I think it helped knowing that going in, because if I hadn’t I think I would have quit this book, and that would be a damn shame.

Dear Aaron is a love story between a soldier and his assigned pen pal. Ruby and Aaron meet via email when he is deployed in the Middle East through a letters to soldiers program. Over time, they become very good friends and some feelings develop, at least on one side.

I really don’t want to say more than that, go into this knowing it’s a slow burn, the first half the interactions are all written, and that it’s a long book and you’ll be good. Mariana Zapata writes the best slow burn romance. Hands down. You want a romance you’ll long for? Turn to this woman’s books. And while this one was on the sweeter side for me, I still found myself smiling as I was reading it.

This book was really a double edged sword for Zapata, and by that I mean the way it’s written is a tough balance. Too much written interaction and it’s too long, not enough and then people would complain it’s not developed enough. While it’s not perfect, I think she did an excellent job in building the relationship she did and that many readers will enjoy it.

I’m off to read the rest of Zapata’s books! I have two more to go until I run out and will sit here waiting for her to publish more!

Third Rail Release Blitz and Excerpt

Third Rail (Five Boroughs):

Christopher Mendez has always known his sexual identity had a swerve. No straight guy would have low-key lusted after his childhood best friend, right? Unfortunately, a combination of insecurity and overall lack of game has prevented him from further exploring his sexuality. That changes once he agrees to participate in a photoshoot for a queer dating app and meets Jace Fairbairn.

 

Jace is beautiful, fey-like, and in an open polyamorous relationship with his gorgeous linebacker-looking husband Aiden. Once they set eyes on Chris, they’re instantly in lust and determined to broaden his sexual horizons. But what’s supposed to be a straight-forward sexual encounter gets complicated once a one-night-stand has repeat performances, and Jace and Aiden begin to fall in love.

 

This collection of shorts explores the start of a relationship that eventually blossoms into something the three men realize they cannot do without.

 

THIRD RAIL releases on 10/25/2017. It will be FREE at all major retailers.

 

Links: https://www.books2read.com/u/4Awv5qhttp://santinohassell.com/books/

 

Subgenres: queer contemporary romance in the Five Boroughs universe.

 

Excerpt:

We took the train into Queens, which surprised me. I had it in my head that people like Aiden, who were in the same category as Caleb, Ashton, and Meredith, took cabs or slick town cars everywhere. My rich people hookup fantasy was shattered once he led me to the subway with the rest of the suckers.

“This would have been way cooler if you’d had a car downstairs waiting for us,” I confided as we descended the steps to the subway. “Like you in your suit and me with my fifty-pound backpack getting in a black Lincoln. That would have been tight as fuck.”

Aiden slipped his Metro Card from his pocket, snickering. “What, you thought this was some Fifty Shades of Queer set up?”

“Yup. Do you have a play room?”

“My entire apartment is a play room, bro. Have you met my husband? We don’t exactly keep it to one location in the house.”

“Good for you. I’m lucky if I get any action in my own damn bed with my right hand.”

We walked towards the E train, our conversation lost in the rush of bodies moving around us. He could have started describing exactly what they did in every corner of their place and nobody around us would have given a single fuck. But that was New York for you, and it was why I loved it.

 

 

About Santino Hassell:

 

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

 

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

 

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

My Best Friend’s Ex

My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

3 stars 

Meghan Quinn is a relatively new author to me. I’ve seen her at lots of author events, Big Apple, Love N Colorado, Love N Vegas, etc… so she’s an author I’ve been meaning to read. When I saw this book was only $1.20 on Amazon, I snapped this baby up! And while I enjoyed it (remember peeps, I don’t consider a 3 a negative rating!!) I think my sense of humor doesn’t really mesh well with Quinn’s. It’s a little bit too much for me, I’m more of the sarcasm and one-liners kind of humor than in your face almost slap sticky.

I really did enjoy this book, mostly the second half because it was hotter and angstier than the first half. I think lots of readers would love this book and the story, it’s a good trope. I just wish we had seen more of the best friend, we only saw her at 48% and then a little bit near the end, we saw all of Emma’s other friends more than the “best” friend.

Many of my trusted book friends have told me to read Dear Life, and I think I will try that. This book was a lot of fun and that light read many readers are searching for. And I’m also glad I read a new to me author and broke outside of my comfort zone.

Michael’s Wings

Micheal’s Wings by Tiffany Reisz

4 stars

Michael and Griffin are my favorite couple from the Original sinners series, and The Angel my favorite book. So when I saw they were getting their own collection of stories I jumped on that so fast! This was a great glimpse back into this world, a new original stories and if I am correct 5 previously published short stories about this couple all in one volume. If these men were real, I would love to be the F in their MFM sandwich!

I adore them, thank you for giving us more of them Tiffany!

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review