Kim’s Guest Dueling Review of Once Upon A Billionaire (The Billionaire Boys Club #4) by Jessica Clare

ouabjcI hope you love the dueling reviews that my reading bestie Kelly (from Reading With Analysis) and I write, because we have a brand new one for you. It’s on the fourth book in Jessica Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series, Once Upon A Billionaire.  (Here are my/our reviews of books one, two, and three.)

Once Upon A Billionaire follows Griffin, a member of the royal family of a small European country, and Maylee, the deeply southern secretary of book two’s hero Hunter.

For a direct link to our review, click here.

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Kim’s Guest Review of The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed (Billionaire Boys Club #3) by Jessica Clare

twbbjcI hope y’all have been loving all the joint reviews that reading bestie Kelly (from Reading With Analysis) and I have been posting. We’ve read so many of the same books lately that we’ve joined creative forces to help put an end to all the writer’s block we’ve been having.

Our latest joint review is on The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed by Jessica Clare. It’s the third book in Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series. Book one was Stranded With A Billionairefollowed by Beauty and the Billionaire, which Kelly and I gushed about here.

For a direct link to our review of our pros and cons about The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed, click here.

Kim and Kelly’s Review of Beauty and the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #2) by Jessica Clare

batbjcSeveral months ago, I read Stranded With a Billionaire by Jessica Clare (because I love billionaire romances) and was impressed with the way Clare was putting a new spin on the trope.  In most billionaire romances I’ve read, the men win over the women with their money; taking them on trips, buying lavish gifts, or giving them whatever their hearts desired. Instead, Clare wrote about a woman unimpressed by wealth. A woman who valued her independence and wanted to make her own way in the world.  When I found out that the second book in Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series was modeled after Beauty and the Beast I knew I was in for a treat.  My reading bestie, Kelly, from Reading With Analysis, jumped on board and joined me in reading/reviewing.

From Goodreads:

Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that’s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family’s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love—until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her.

Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck—and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can’t ignore her new boss’s delectable body—or his barely leashed temper.

Hunter’s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it’s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises….

Kim: My favorite fairy tale has always been Beauty and the Beast.  The feminist side of me would say it’s because women are painted in such a good light.  But the romantic side of me would say what’s more beautiful than a relationship built on inner beauty?  I’m assuming that after reading that it won’t come as a shock that I absolutely loved Beauty and the Billionaire.  Clare’s done a phenomenal job smashing the common billionaire trope with this series (you know: man has tons of money, woman opens legs for it, etc.) It’s because she writes about women that own up to their sexuality and desires, but more importantly want to be respected as women, not objects that can be bought.  They aren’t impressed by the riches their men have, they are instead impressed by the emotional lengths their men go to win them.

Kelly:  It’s no secret that I’m leery of billionaire romances (especially billionaire/ingenue pairups. Ugh!), so I was pretty dang reluctant to give this series a try, but Kim can be rather persuasive.  Also, I trust her taste in books.  Anyway, one of the things that I liked about the first book was that Brontë was uncomfortable with Logan’s wealth.  It reminded me (a little bit) of one of my favorite sequences in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Gardiner chides Lizzy for being such a snob, objecting to poor Mr. Darcy for his wealth.  And, since I am predisposed to like anything that reminds me of Pride and Prejudice, I liked Stranded with a Billionaire and decided to continue reading the series.  I’m glad I did, because I liked Beauty and the Billionaire about a billion times better than the first one.

Kim: Having read the three books available so far, I can say that Beauty and the Billionaire is my favorite of the series.  And that’s mainly because of Gretchen and Hunter. Gretchen is the creme de la creme of female characters. She’s smart, sassy, witty, totally in touch with her sexuality, strong-willed, and independent (among other things.)  As Kelly said, Hunter’s wealth doesn’t make her drop on a bed and open her legs to keep him.  She’s instead wooed by all the small things he offers her.  Each day Hunter sends her roses from the greenhouse he tends to with a note asking her to join him for dinner.

It’s probably a good idea to give a small bit of background on Hunter. Hunter is a mangle of scars that occurred after he was kidnapped as a child. Since then he’s lived as a loner in his huge mansion. When I say loner, I mean it. Hunter is a virgin (and all the more adorably awkward because of it.)

Kelly:  Hunter lives his life in almost complete isolation, so he’s more than a little socially awkward at the beginning of the book.  There are quite a few parallels to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in this story, particularly in the early scenes.  All of Hunter’s initial attempts to befriend Gretchen are epic fails because Hunter has such a difficult time navigating social waters and managing his own insecurities.  Let’s face it: Hunter has a lot to be insecure about.  His face, chest, and hands are scarred, and he’s missing a finger; he’s not pretty.  Hunter spent most of his childhood in seclusion, homeschooled until he was sent to college ostensibly to learn and network but really to be ogled and ostracized.  “Socially awkward” doesn’t quite communicate the extent of Hunter’s struggles.  His experience of society was decidedly negative, and he doesn’t believe that anyone can look past the scars to appreciate the man underneath. Further, he views himself (his visage) as a menace to society.  So his isolation is the best thing, a kindness, for all parties.  I enjoyed watching his journey and loved that Clare paired this reclusive and insecure man with vivacious, confident, and accepting Gretchen.  She really is one of the best heroines I’ve ever come across.

Kim: And I believe Hunter is one of the best heroes as well. To view himself as the menace to society? His soul is beautiful but the way he views himself (not just the way he sees himself externally) is heart-breaking. He keeps mirrors in his office so that he “never forgets” his appearance or why he lives in his mansion alone. He is also so generous. He pays his staff excellent wages and keeps his crotchety, old, and rude housekeeper on simply because the man has been there forever.

I fully approve of the way he “uses” his wealth. Unlike other billionaire novels I’ve read, Hunter tries to use his money to give, not gain. Even when he sets up the fake book project for Gretchen, he does it with the intent that he hopes he gains her as a friend. A friend.

Kelly:  It could have been totally skeezy, right?  Reclusive billionaire creates a live-in project in order to lure a young woman into his home… You’d expect that kind of premise to be the lead-in to Criminal Minds, but because Hunter is so well-crafted, the reader always knows that he’s not a creeper.  It also helps that every increase in intimacy between Hunter and Gretchen is initiated by Gretchen (sometimes by accident.)  With so much agency in the story, Gretchen never seems like the unwitting victim of some billionaire mastermind.

Kim: YES. Their first interaction with each other is when she unwittingly sees him after he gets out of the shower. She has never seen him or his scars before and is at first mesmerized by his hot bod.

At the end of the hallway, not a hundred feet from where she was standing, a door was opening. A man emerged, rubbing his head with a fluffy white towel to dry his hair, humming to himself. HIs face was hidden from her but…nothing else was.

And oh, mercy, he was gorgeous.

He was utterly naked, his skin gleaming with with drops from his shower. His legs were tanned and shadowed from the wet hair clinging to them, and his legs were thick with cords of muscle. Nice, wet chords of glorious muscle..

He was hung, too. Gretchen didn’t mind noticing.

He of course freaks that she sees him and tries to hide his scars from her.

Kelly:  But Gretchen is more aware of having been caught ogling his manparts than anything else.  I mean, she notices his scars, but she saw his penis first, so — quite accidentally — her impression of Hunter is sexualized before she even has a chance to feel pity for him.  Of course, Hunter doesn’t really get that (from his perspective, he’s a recluse who has arranged for Gretchen to *maybe* become his friend, and then he goes and flashes her? Oy.)  Hijinks ensue, including my favorite bit of dialogue in the book:

“Are you drunk?” he asked abruptly.

“No,” she said, drawing out that one syllable. Okay, so the pajamas weren’t making the best first–um, second–impression. “I’m friendly. I saw you out here and wanted to talk.”

“I have nothing to say to you.”

So this wasn’t going well. When he began to stalk away at a pace more rapid than she could sustain in her oversized boots, she panicked. “Your penis!” she called out. “I saw it!”

Kim: Yup, that’s Gretchen. Just telling it like it is. She goes on to flash Hunter so that they’re “even” and then begins her attack on him. I don’t say attack in a bad way, just that she knows Hunter’s sensitivity and reluctance to push himself on her because of his inexperience.  And this is why Gretchen is awesome. Knowing everything she does about him, knowing that he’s scarred both inside and out, she still sees something deep inside of him that speaks to her.  And what can she do but go after it?

One thing I wanted to mention here. There isn’t much of a “plot” so to speak. The majority of the book is spent with Gretchen in his mansion working on the book project he’s set up for her. However the lengths of character development and growth that exist in this book is astounding. To me, THAT is what makes a book good/author amazing. When one can develop characters without crazy plots of kidnappings, rapes, and dark abusive pasts, and just develops the characters in the here and now, THAT is writing. And damn good writing at that.

Kelly: Amen to that.

Kelly’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Kim’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare
Berkley Publishing (2013)
eBook: 261 pages
ISBN: 9781101621240

Kim’s Review of Stranded With A Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #1) by Jessica Clare

swabjcRecently, I’ve read contemporary romance novels that follow this pattern: boy wants girl, boy is rich and knows he can have what he wants, girl allows boy to treat her however he wants because he is “dark” and “brooding” and she is going to change him, etc.  You know the pattern.  Knowing this, I was hesitant to start reading a new contemporary romance series that follows a group of men known as the Billionaire Boys Club.  Once I read the plot of Stranded with a Billionaire (book one), I was interested enough to give Jessica Clare a chance to show me that she didn’t follow the same played-out formula.

Logan Hawkings is a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world: the Billionaire Boys Club.  Its six members obviously have a massive amount of money, but they also are very success driven and will do whatever it takes to protect their wealth.  Unfortunately for Logan, however, the rest of his life isn’t falling into place so well, with the recent death of his father and betrayal by his fiancée casting a shadow over his life.  He therefore decides to get his head back together with a trip to one of his new business ventures, a private island in the Bahamas.  After settling in, a freak hurricane and broken elevator bring a woman named Brontë Dawson into his life.  Brontë is just a waitress on vacation, but now she finds herself with the hotel manager to whom she is very attracted.  Fast forward a few days and Brontë finds herself in a full-blown relationship with Logan, but she suddenly discovers that he is much more than just the manager of the hotel.  Will this revelation threaten to tear their new relationship apart or can Brontë stay and help rebuild Logan’s life?

The first thought I had while reading this book was about how likable the characters were.  Brontë and Logan hooked me from page one.  Brontë is really funny; she’s full of snark, intelligence, and a burgeoning self-confidence.  She’s also got a philosophical saying for everything, which became a running joke for the whole book.  What I loved about her the most though was her sense of independence.  Logan’s money means nothing to her.  It doesn’t make her want to be with him.  She wants Logan the man, not Logan the billionaire.  Logan on the other hand is this strong, sexy man who oozes confidence and tranquility.  He knows he has the power and means to get what he wants.  What money can’t buy, he wins with his personality and genuine effort .  I know that bundled together, these traits make him seem arrogant.  At times he was, but it wasn’t an arrogance that turned me off.  I’ve read other contemporary romance novels where the leading men are just disgustingly arrogant, expecting their female counterparts to accept their demeaning behavior.  The amount of arrogant leading men in contemporary romance novels has skyrocketed in my opinion, and made me a bit hesitant to try new authors.  I’m happy that I gave Clare the chance to wow me with Logan, and I will definitely read about the other five men in her Billionaire Boys Club series.  If Clare’s witty and sexy writing in Stranded by a Billionaire is any indication of her talent, I’m going to enjoy each and every one of them.

4 out of 5 Stars

Stranded With A Billionaire by Jessica Clare
Penguin Group (2013)
eBook: 260 pages
ISBN: 9781101621233

Special thanks to Penguin Group for my review copy via Netgalley!

Kim’s Review of Everywhere and Every Way (Billionaire Builders #1) by Jennifer Probst

eaewjpIf you’ve read this blog for anything longer than a few minutes, you probably have found out that I’m a big fan of anything and everything related to Jane Austen. Secondary to this, you may have also discovered that I have a certain type of fantasy-husband: the billionaire. I realize that putting that filter on the general population would narrow the field about 99.9%, but hey, a girl can dream. Anyway, I’ve come across some great series that have billionaires at their centers, notably the Billionaire Boys Club books by Jessica Clare and the Love in the Balance series by Jessica Lemmon. This time around I figured I would try to dip my toe into the Billionaire Builders series via its first installment, Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst. Previously I had the pleasure of reading the Marriage to a Billionaire series by Probst, and it was a ton of fun. I figured if this new series was anything like the other great billionaire-centric books I’ve enjoyed so much, than I would be in good hands with this latest acquisition.

The plot, courtesy of Goodreads:

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?

One of the first things that caught my attention with Probst’s work is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. That is not to say that the characters aren’t full of their own depth and strength (more on that later), but there is a ton of sharp dialogue and a healthy obsession with the Property Brothers show on HGTV that made me crack up. I thought it was great that Morgan was obsessed with the show, only to find that she now worked with three good looking brothers in her new job that all remind her of the Property Brothers themselves. It’s this tongue-in-cheek humor that kept me reading and engaged with the story. It made the later, more serious topics easier to handle and held my interest in a good way.

Speaking of the character development, Probst does a great job of bringing Morgan and Caleb to life, making them deal with complex issues, such as illness and family infighting, all the while maintaining a healthy attraction for each other. The quality dialogue and good chemistry that they exude makes their story a joy to read and time definitely stood still for me while I read this book. It was a great intro to this series and you can bet that I’ll be picking up Any Time and Any Place (the second in the series) quite soon!

Fast moving, humorous, and filled with depth, Everywhere and Every Way is one book you’re going to want to make sure you read this summer. Equal parts fun and sexy make this a great beach read!

4 out of 5 Stars

Special thanks to Ms. Probst for my review copy!

Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst
Simon and Schuster (2016)
Paperback: 448 pages
ISBN: 9781501124259

2015 – A Year in Review

fireworks

Friends. I know it’s the end of February and that means I’m oh…almost two months late in posting my 2015 Year in Review blog entry. But better late than never right? Is there ever really a time when it’s too late to share book recommendations? (Answer: There is never a bad time to share book recommendations)

SO. 2015. I completed my goal of reading 140 books. In actuality I read 182 over the course of the year.

Now for the hard part of the post: my top ten reads of 2015!

  1. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
  2. Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon
  3. When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
  4. The Billionaire Takes a Bride by Jessica Clare
  5. The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
    •  Cut & Run
    • Sticks & Stones
    • Fish & Chips
    • Divide & Conquer
    • Armed & Dangerous
    • Stars & Stripes
    • Touch & Geaux
    • Ball & Chain
    • Crash & Burn
  6. Splintered Trilogy by A.G. Howard
    • Splintered
    • Unhinged
    • Ensnared
  7. The Tairen Soul series by C.L. Wilson
    • Lord of the Fading LAnds
    • Lady of Light and Shadow
    • King of Sword and Sky
    • Queen of Song and Souls
    • Crown of Crystal Flame
  8. Enslaved by Virginia Henley
  9. An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
  10. The Boleyn Trilogy by Laura Andersen
    • The Boleyn King
    • The Boleyn Deceit
    • The Boleyn Reckoning

And because 10 is just not enough, here are some more of my favorite reads of 2015, in no particular order:

  • Pride, Prejudice, & Secrets by C.P. Odom
  • Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
  • The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
  • Wishing for a Highlander by Jessi Gage
  • Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai
  • Act Like It by Lucy Parker
  • It’s Only Love by Marie Force

2015 was a romance heavy reading year for me (whatever haters, I love love.) I’m trying to diversify myself a bit more in 2016. So far, so good. What did you read in 2015? Give me some of your recommendations!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 7: For the Romance Lover

It’s Day 7 of our 12 days of giveaways and we’re giving away romance books! I’ve read so many great romances this year that it’s hard to pick just a few to recommend! Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino, When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare, The Billionaire Takes a Bride by Jessica Clare, Enslaved by Virginia Henley, Abigail Roux’s Cut and Run series, as well as Jessica Lemmon’s entire backlist are my top choices from 2015. They either had me laughing, sobbing, or falling head over heels in love. (And we all know how much I love love.) With that being said I hope that you too can love love by winning one of the three romance packages below!

Romance Package 1:

aswctsA Silver Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear – C.J. Silver is eager to help the new she-wolves in town renovate the old hotel in time for the holidays, especially if it means spending time under the mistletoe with the alluring Laurel MacTire.

The bustle in the long abandoned hotel attracts the attention of human ghosthunters out to prove the place haunted, but the bigger problem is keeping them from discovering the werewolves in Silver Town. CJ and Laurel have to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Working together is a surprisingly hot holiday treat for two attractive and clever wolf shifters.

(Giveaway is a mass market paperback ARC)

dwnrDark Witch by Nora Roberts – With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

(Giveaway is a paperback)

Romance Package 2:

fnwtdejFour Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James – As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain…he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.

(Giveaway is a mass market paperback)

twvccThe Wedding Vow by Cara Connelly – Sexy billionaire Adam LeCroix has a mission: hunt down the sultry spitfire he blames for his troubles, demand her help, and exact revenge while he’s at it. Maddie St. Clair will help him . . . or else.

Former prosecutor Maddie damn near nailed Adam for stealing, but the lucky bastard walked. Now, five years later, he’s back, arrogant as ever, giving her an ultimatum—work for him to collect the insurance money, or she’ll never work again.

Maddie’s all about right and wrong. Adam’s shades of gray. So when he uncovers the hot body under her hard-ass veneer and she finds he’s a thief with a heart, can the law-and-order lawyer and the fast-and-loose felon put their prickly past behind them?

(Giveaway is a mass market paperback)

viwnrVision in White by Nora Robert – With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera—ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac’s foundation is jostled again moments before an important planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

Carter Maguire is definitely not her type: he’s stable, and he’s safe. He’s even an English teacher at their high school alma mater. There’s something about him that makes Mac think a casual fling is just what she needs to take her mind off dealing with bridezillas and screening her mother’s phone calls. But a casual fling can turn into something more when you least expect it. And with the help of her three best friends—and business partners—Mac must learn how to make her own happy memories…

(Giveaway is a mass market paperback)

Romance Package 3:

wsimllgWith Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke – London Society is harsh for a young woman with no family connections who has to work for a living. But when Daisy Merrick is sacked from yet another job, the feisty and outspoken miss comes up with a plan that could give her a future beyond her wildest dreams. There’s only one problem. Her success depends on a man, the most infuriating, impossible, immovable man she’s ever met.

Sebastian Grant, Earl of Avermore, is England’s most infamous author. Known for his notorious reputation, he is more interested in play than work, and has no intention of cooperating when Daisy shows up on his doorstep with a mad plan. The provoking, fire-haired beauty stirs his senses beyond belief, and Sebastian knows he has only one way to stop her. Seduction.

(Giveaway is a mass market paperback)

tglomdabThe Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst – A modern-day Gatsby tale of forbidden love, family secrets and the true price of wealth.

The story begins with a dinner party invitation. When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man’s eccentric daughter offers him entree into the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. A small-town boy with working-class roots, Thomas is a stranger in this opulent world of private jets and sprawling mansions.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Matilda is a beautiful and mysterious young woman who has never left the lush Bel-Air estate where she was raised. Thomas is immediately entranced by the enigmatic girl and the two begin a secret love affair. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon unravels a web of secrets and lies that could destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them forever.

Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine is a sparkling love letter to Los Angeles and a captivating journey beyond the golden gates of its most glamorous estates. Timeless, romantic and utterly absorbing, it is a mesmerizing and poignant exploration of life’s unexpected riches.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Sourcebooks and MIRA for our ARC giveaway copies!)

Three lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the three packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about your favorite romance trope.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

New Year; New Challenges, Episode V

So here we are near the end of January and I’m only just now getting around to posting my annual “New Year; New Challenges” post. I received a promotion at work right around Thanksgiving and have been trying to deal with the change to my schedule. Having a job with irregular hours can sometimes throw off my schedule outside of work. I’m trying to find my balance between work, life, and blogging, and I appreciate you all sticking with the blog as I figure it out.

With all of that being said, here is my goal for 2015: 140 books. Since I successfully completed reading 100 books in 2014, 10 more books gets added to my goal. (2011 = 100 books, 2012 = 110 books, 2013 = 120 books, 2014 = 130 books, etc) As per years past, you can keep track of my reading progress and what books I’ve read here.

In no particular order, here are some of the books releasing in 2015 that I’m looking forward to reading!

  1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  2. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
  3. Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard
  4. And I Love Her by Marie Force
  5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  6. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (This is an exclusive collector’s edition!)
  8. The Seven  Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  9. When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
  10. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
  11. Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
  12. Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams
  13. One Night with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  14. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
  15. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Well readers, what are your reading goals for 2015? What titles are you excited to read?

2013 – A Year In Review

fireworksIt’s totally cliché, but where the hell has this year gone? With today being the very last day of 2013 I figured I’d do a quick “Year in Review” post to talk about my progress with reading challenges and also to discuss my favorite books of the year!

Quick rundown on how I did with my reading challenges: I successfully read 120 books this year. In fact, as of the time of writing this post I am at 199 books for the year! (WOOT!) You can see all the books I’ve read with links to their reviews here. Now, a bit of bad news. I utterly failed (for the second year in a row) the audio book challenge. I didn’t listen to 1 audio book this year (read: pathetic.) I also didn’t do so great with the Book to Movie challenge either, with only 2 out of 12 read. Now, to the good news: I completed 78% of the Color Coded Challenge, or 7 out of 9 reads. I actually had a blast doing this challenge. You don’t realize how many books use colors in their titles until you do a challenge like this! Additionally, I unsurprisingly completed the Historical Fiction Challenge as well as the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary challenge with no trouble at all.

And now for the difficult part: Picking my favorite reads of 2013.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley (look for my review next week!!!)
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers/Making It Last by Ruthie Knox
  5. Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  6. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
  7. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander/Easy by Tammara Webber
  8. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  9. Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
  10. The Secret of Ella and Micha/The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Having read almost 200 books this year, choosing 10 (really 12) of my favorites almost killed me. So, in the effort of easing my conscience I’m giving you some of my runners-up (in no particular order)!

  1. Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match by Marilyn Brant
  2. The Edelstein Trilogie by Kersin Gier (Book one, two, & three)
  3. The Westfield Wolves/Regency Vampyre Series by Lydia Dare
  4. Return to Longbourn by Shannon Winslow
  5. The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
  6. Losing It by Cora Carmack
  7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  8. Bittersweet by Noelle Adams

This was hands down the hardest year yet to pick my favorite books. When you read almost 200 books in a year I guess that should be expected, no?

Ok, the burden is being passed to you. What did you love reading this year?!? Please let us know below. And finally, enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Day, hopefully with a great book. See you in 2014!

2014 130 Book List

Here is the running tally of what I’ve read this year.  The book names are linked to their reviews.

***Met my initial goal of reading 130 books on October 11th! New goal is 150!***

***Met goal #2 of 150 books on November 12th! New goal is 175!***

January:

  1. The Governess Affair***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  2. Crave***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  3. Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always
  4. Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner***Reviewed on Austenprose
  5. Undressing Mr. Darcy
  6. Chance For Love***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  7. Live***Reviewed on Reading With Analysis
  8. Darcy’s Decision***Reviewed on Austenprose
  9. Unwrapped***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  10. The Future Mrs. Darcy***Reviewed on Austenprose
  11. All the Appearances of Goodness***Reviewed on Austenprose
  12. Twelfth Night at Longbourn***Reviewed on Austenprose
  13. Romancing the Duke
  14. Finding Cinderella***Reviewed on Goodreads Only

YTD: 14

February:

  1. Another Place in Time
  2. A Match Made in Texas
  3. Seducing Simon***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  4. Seduction of a Highland Lass***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  5. Never Love a Highlander***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  6. The Selection
  7. The Prince***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  8. The Elite
  9. The Guard***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  10. Consequences***Reviewed on Austenprose
  11. Beastly
  12. Gabriel’s Redemption***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  13. A Breath of Eyre
  14. A Touch of Scarlet
  15. One Thread Pulled
  16. Heart of the Hunter***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  17. Rescue Me***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  18. Still So Hot***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  19. The Chocolate Thief***Reviewed on Reading With Analysis

YTD: 33

March:

  1. Almost Persuaded***Reviewed on Austenprose
  2. The Chocolate Rose
  3. The Chocolate Touch
  4. The Harrison Duet
  5. Attachments

YTD: 38

April:

  1. City of Bones
  2. Unbound
  3. Passionate Persuasion***Reviewed on Austenprose
  4. Engaging the Boss***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  5. Nameless***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  6. Christening***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  7. Incarnate***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  8. Once Upon A Billionaire***Reviewed on Reading With Analysis
  9. Most Truly***Reviewed on Austenprose
  10. The River of No Return

YTD: 48

May:

  1. A Baby for Easter***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  2. Seven***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  3. The One
  4. Book Lovers
  5. Murder at the Breakers
  6. Three Weeks With Lady X
  7. Gansett After Dark***Reviewed on Goodreads Only

YTD: 55

June:

  1. Indecent…Exposure***Reviewed on Reading With Analysis
  2. Indecent…Proposal***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  3. Pride’s Prejudice***Reviewed on Austenprose
  4. Laugh
  5. Her Best Laid Plans
  6. Cinder
  7. Scarlet
  8. Cress
  9. Doubled***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  10. Salvation***Reviewed on Reading With Analysis
  11. Telling Tales***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  12. True North***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  13. Revival***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  14. Autumn Wish***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  15. All You Need is Love
  16. I Want to Hold Your Hand
  17. Summer Rain
  18. The Fault in our Stars
  19. Haunting Mr. Darcy***Reviewed on Austenprose

YTD: 74

July: 

  1. Mark of Distinction
  2. An American Heiress
  3. The Duchess’s Tattoo***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  4. Landline
  5. Rusty Nailed
  6. Misbehaving
  7. Fanning the Flames***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  8. Holiday Heat***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  9. There’s Only Been You***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  10. Shatter
  11. The Highland Bride’s Choice***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  12. Matched
  13. Crossed
  14. Reached
  15. The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne***Reviewed on Goodreads Only

YTD: 89

August:

  1. Disappointed Hopes***Reviewed on Austenprose
  2. Darcy’s Dilemma
  3. Desperate Measures
  4. Neanderthal Seeks Human
  5. Neanderthal Marries Human
  6. Friends Without Benefits
  7. Love Hacked
  8. Truly
  9. The Real Thing
  10. Unmasking Juliet
  11. One Fine Fireman***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  12. How To Tame A Wild Fireman
  13. Escorted
  14. Breaking
  15. No Regrets***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  16. Mistletoe Mischief***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  17. Beauty and the Mustache
  18. The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen***Reviewed on Austenprose

YTD: 107

September:

  1. Still Life With Strings
  2. One Night With Her Boss***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  3. The Start of Us
  4. The Thrill of It
  5. Every Second With You
  6. Plaid to the Bone***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  7. Stripping the Billionaire***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  8. Lord Savage
  9. Slow Surrender
  10. Slow Seduction
  11. Slow Satisfaction
  12. Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread***Reviewed on Austenprose
  13. Remember the Past…Only As It Gives You Pleasure***Reviewed on Austenprose
  14. Vanity Fare
  15. Wild About Her Wingman

YTD: 122

October:

  1. Murder at Marble House
  2. Kisses After Dark***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  3. Island Peril***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  4. Happy Marriage?! Vol 1***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  5. Happy Marriage?! Vol 2***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  6. Happy Marriage?! Vol 3***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  7. Happy Marriage?! Vol 4***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  8. Happy Marriage?! Vol 5***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  9. Happy Marriage?! Vol 6***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  10. Happy Marriage?! Vol 7***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  11. Happy Marriage?! Vol 8***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  12. The Dancing Master
  13. Play Me #1 – Play Me Wild
  14. Play Me #2- Play Me Hot
  15. Play Me #3 – Play Me Hard
  16. Play Me #4 – Play Me Real
  17. Play Me #5 – Play Me Right
  18. My True Love Gave To Me
  19. The Destiny of Violet and Luke
  20. The Probability of Violet and Luke
  21. The Certainty of Violet and Luke
  22. The Resolution of Callie and Kayden

YTD: 144

November:

  1. The Trouble With Being A Duke***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  2. Finished
  3. Lizzy and Jane***Reviewed on Austenprose
  4. I Saw Her Standing There
  5. Deep Desires***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  6. Room at the Inn***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  7. Rugged and Relentless
  8. Tall, Dark, and Determined
  9. Strong and Stubborn
  10. A Family for Christmas
  11. Scenes from the City

YTD: 155

December:

  1. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover
  2. Romancing the Billionaire
  3. Darling Beast
  4. Wicked Games
  5. Strong Enough to Love***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  6. Duty Bound
  7. Broken
  8. First Position
  9. Second Position
  10. Third Position
  11. Her Christmas Earl***Reviewed on Goodreads Only
  12. Winter Rain
  13. Before I Go
  14. Say Yes to the Marquess

YTD: 169