Friday, 30 December 2016

Best Books of 2016!!!!! It's Finaly Here #bestof2016 #romancebooks #favoritesof2016



Normally I have a HUGE top 10's of the year list with different genres but this year was a tough one for me.  For one, my non-blogger life was WAY TOO BUSY causing me to have less opportunity to read as much as I wanted.  And for two, the more stressed out I am it takes A LOT more to wow me with a story.  

And I have to admit this year was a bit lackluster for books that blew me out of the water.  However, there are still some great ones that are near and dear to my heart.   I can't wait for 2017 because my goal is to find more balance which will hopefully help me be less stressed and have more time to do the things I love, like read.  

As usual when I'm making my lists it is about the books that I actually read in 2016.  They may be old books or books to be released in 2017 but these are my faves from this year that I read

ALL TIME FAVES OF 2016!!!!

It Ends with Us by
http://amzn.to/2iO6Zdm

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Adult Contemporary

Swear on this Life by

http://amzn.to/2ihjot8

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review  | Genre - Adult Contemporary

Collared by

http://amzn.to/2iNXFGm

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review  | Genre - Adult Contemporary


Rock Chick Awakened (Rock Chicks #0.5) by

http://amzn.to/2ih5N4W

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre -  Adult Contemporary

Hallowed Ground (Flight & Glory #4) by
http://amzn.to/2ihf7WL

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review  | Genre - NA Military Romance

Perfect Rage (Unyielding #3) by 

http://amzn.to/2imXCSN

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Dark Romance



http://amzn.to/2iNVPVG

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - MM Romance 

Sinner's Creed (Sinner's Creed #1) by
http://amzn.to/2hBwYXL

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review  | Genre -MC Romance


Soulless (King #4) by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Dark Romance

Cease (#7) by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - MC Romance

Wild Aces by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Dark Romance

Off the Clock (Pleasure Principle #1) by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Erotica Romance

The Score by

 GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre -NA Sports Romance

Full Share (Shore House #1) by

GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - NA Romance

Wanderlust by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - NA Rock star Romance

Chaos Bound (Sinner's Tribe MC #4) by 


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - MC Romance

More than Everything (Family #3) by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - MM/MMM Romance

The Hard Count by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - YA Romance

The Reason for Me by by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Adult Contemporary

Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater Part 1 (King #5)  by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre - Dark Romance

Hold My Breath by


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review  | Genre - NA Romance

Lucas by 


GR | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Can) | My Review | Genre -  NA Romance 

 

http://livereadbreathe.blogspot.ca/2015/12/best-books-of-2015-its-finally-here.html
http://livereadbreathe.blogspot.ca/2014/12/best-books-of-2014-its-finally-here.html
http://livereadbreathe.blogspot.ca/2013/12/top-10s-of-2013.html
http://livereadbreathe.blogspot.ca/2012/12/top-10s-of-2012.html













Hate Story by Nicole Williams Blog Tour #bookreview #excerpt #teasers





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Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.

Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.

But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.

This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.


He hadn’t stopped smiling at me, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of smile. It was the kind that made it seem like he was in on some secret I wasn’t privy to. The kind of smile that made me feel like I was being trifled with and made the punch line of a hundred jokes I had yet to hear.
I wanted to wipe the cocky smile off his face, but that would have required touching him and even I wasn’t gutsy enough for that. A woman did not touch a guy like him unless she wanted him to be her undoing. Nope. You didn’t play with fire. You didn’t touch it. You didn’t even come close.
Fire. That was all I saw when I looked at him. I was playing with it by agreeing to this kind of arrangement with him.
Even the way he lounged in the chair was smug. Like it was his throne and he was just waiting for minions to come bow before him.
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He broke the silence first.
Though it was faint, I could just make out an accent. It was European, but I couldn’t nail down the country. To look at the bastard, you’d think he was Scandinavian—blond hair, blue eyes, commanding frame—but his accent was too sharp to hail from the land of Vikings.
I was tempted to glare at the tipped smile aimed at me, but I didn’t want to lead him to the impression I cared. I gave him my version of the same smile, abandoning my “no expectations” policy for the prospect of pissing him off. “You’re older than I thought you’d be.”
His smile shifted into the realm of a smirk, like he knew I was lying. So yeah, maybe I was lying about thinking he was older, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of confirming his silent accusation. He was older than me, but not by much. He might have been closing in on thirty, but he wasn’t past it.
He leaned forward in the chair. When his gaze circled my face to my fiery red hair, his brow elevated. Yes, I am the stereotype. Be warned.
“Prettier too.”
I stiffened. He was fucking with me now. I’d already agreed to marry him. How much more did he think he could screw me over?
I gave him a cursory glance and kept the unaffected look on my face. “Uglier.”
He cocked a brow like he knew better. “And the personality of ten women rolled into one.”
“Intimidated?”
His head shook once. “Intrigued.”
“Irritated?”
His eyes investigated me again. It felt intrusive, definitely not cursory. “Impressed.”
“As impressed by me as the woman in heat who was just mauling you over by the bar?”
“You mean the woman who gave me this?” He pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and set it on the small table between us.
It was a hotel card key. With a lipstick kiss pressed into it.
“Classy place, this five-star hotel.” I glanced back at the woman at the bar. She was still there, watching him as though he was the height of the male species. “Did you tell her the reason you were here?”
His attention stayed on me. “Yes, I told her I was here to meet the woman I was going to marry.”
My stomach wrung. This was the man I was going to marry.
Holy shit.
“And she didn’t ask for her room key back?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to me until right after I mentioned that.” His stare was intense. Too intense. I felt like every secret—every piece of who I was—was strewn out on that table for him to see. “Women love a man who isn’t afraid of commitment. It’s like an aphrodisiac.”
“You know what else women like?” I didn’t pause for an answer because I guessed he didn’t have a clue. “A man who’s humble.”
He fought a smile and leaned back in his chair when a server approached with a couple of drinks on a tray. “No, they like to think they do, but they don’t.” His head shook authoritatively. “They like the cocky bastard who goes after what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Because the server was shielding some of me from his view, I allowed myself to shift. I was getting fired up, and if he kept saying the same kinds of things with the same kinds of looks on his face, that drink was going to wind up in his face.
That was when I noticed what the server had set in front of me. A tumbler with something amber in color. The same thing she was setting in front of him. Although from the curve of her smile, she was offering to give him a blow job on the side, compliments of the house.
“What is this?” I asked. Him. Her. Whoever wanted to answer.
“Scotch,” he answered, ignoring the server lingering between us.
My nose curled at the drink.
“Expensive scotch.”
“I don’t care if it came from the fountain of youth. I won’t drink it.”
His forehead creased with what appeared to be irritation, but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was confusion, like he couldn’t decide what to make of me. “You would have me believe you wouldn’t take a sip of that if you knew it would give you eternal life?” When I shook my head, his head tipped. “Why?”
“Because I value my free will far more than long life.” I pushed the drink away until it clinked against his. “I’d rather live one day free than an eternity in a cage.”
He was quiet for a moment. The server stayed between us, staring at him, waiting.
“Then why are you here?” he asked me finally.
I leaned forward and hoped my stare was as powerful as his. “Because free will is expensive.”







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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.





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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33002294-hate-story?ac=1&from_search=true



Source:  eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Author and Ardent PRose
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
 Standalone


My Hate Story Review . . .

I have to admit there is something so appealing about a standalone book.  Don't get me wrong I love series but when life gets busy sometimes a series can feel daunting.  So to have great standalone books its such a pleasure to pick up and read.

In Hate Story, we have a different take on a love story.  Where we have two people who needed each other but were never meant to fall for each other.  Instead hating each other was so much easier.

"I hate you, Max Sturm."  When she tried to yank her hand free again, my grip tightened.  "Of course you do.  Because hating me is less terrifying than the thought of loving me is."
Nina Burton needs to have money to be able to afford to keep her house that means everything to her while Max Sturm needs a green card to stay in the U.S.  So they find each other and agree to marry one another in exchange for money for Nina and Max's green card. All they need to do is stay married for a few years and not fall for each other since that is the last one either is looking for.  Easy Peasy.  Right?


Nope, not for these two.  At first it is hate at first sight even though Max is too handsome for his one good.  Max has been burnt before so he never wants to fall for anyone again but there is something about Nina that intrigues him.
Nina Burton might very well spend the rest of her life hating me.  But I'd spend the rest of mine loving her.
Not wanting her to fall for him, he turns up his dial on asshole in order to keep her at a decent but his version of asshole wasn't that mean compared to others.  Nina has been hurt before in a different context so not falling in love sounds easy enough.  But when you've never been in love before the theory is easier than the reality.

"People who like us tell us what we want to hear.  People who love us tell us what we need to hear."

Nina and Max are sweet together even through all the hate.  However, if Max wants more he has his work cut out where Nina is concerned.

She was better at telling lies than sharing truths.  That was the nature of a person who'd been battered by life.
Loving someone is a scary concept, especially when there is a chance you can get hurt.  For both of these two, it's quite the internal battle fighting their feelings but in the end love always wins.

"I will always do what's best for you, even if it means you wind up hating me.  Because that's how much I love you,"
These two were very sweet together.  I loved the concept of the book but I have to admit at times I didn't quite feel all the hate as it wasn't a very deep hate to me.  Which in reality is fine but when the books called Hate Story you think the hate is going to be much deeper.   Max was trying to be a jerk but it never completely came across as that for me.  For Nina, she was so young and had lived already too much for her young age so loving someone and being vulnerable was a scary concept for her.    When she was faced with her feelings, her stubbornness to face the truth drove me a bit batty.  I know its a lot easier as the reader when we have dual POV to see the end game but watching one character lag behind sometimes, you just want them to get up to speed.  I know these parts are thrown in to create more angst but to me often some of the angst becomes unnecessary.

After having that little rant, I still did quite like the book and I'm super happy I got the opportunity to read and review this book.  Nicole Williams is near and dear to her heart and I have loved so many of her stories.


3 . 75 Love Always Wins thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up  . 7 5

Lauren











Face-Off at the Altar By Toni Aleo Blog Tour #bookreview #excerpt #teasers

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Markus Reeves is sucking. Big-time. Toiling away on a minor-league hockey team hundreds of miles away from home, he's watching his dreams of an NHL career fade away. Add in the lingering guilt he has over the dramatic demise of his relationship with college girlfriend, Mekena, and he's a mess on and off the ice.

But the family of his heart, the Sinclairs, won't let Markus suffer any longer. When he arrives himself back in Nashville for a trial run on the Assassins, it feels like his life may be making a turn for the better. If only he could get Mekena to forgive him...

Mekena Preston has been hurting since fleeing Nashville following the horror of Markus's betrayal with her sister. Now a professional photographer, Mekena finds herself in the same place at the same time with Markus to celebrate Lucy and Benji Paxton's wedding. Neither of them has been able to move on—and they're starting to wonder if they really want to.

They're headed for a face-off at the altar unless they can confront their past and unearth the truth about what really happened on that fateful night.


“You are, by far, the most patient man I know.”
Baylor grimaced as she took Dawson from Markus’s outstretched hands. He smiled as Dawson looked at him innocently. He knew the little guy didn’t mean to puke all over him and he wasn’t upset, but he was trying to figure out a way to get to the house and shower before he had to talk to Mekena. He highly doubted that baby puke would be an aphrodisiac. Maybe it would be? Huh.
He wasn’t going to try, though.  
As Baylor cuddled Dawson against her, Markus waved her off. “It’s no big deal. He’s a baby.”
She smiled shyly. “Yes, but Ashlyn pooped on you too.”
He grinned as he shrugged, trying not to laugh. It was a tough rehearsal for Dawson, Ashlyn, and Markus. Puke and poop were big-time stars during the hour of watching the Sinclairs and Grace Justice try to put together a wedding. He wasn’t sure what was funnier, Jace glaring as Jordie walked with Avery, or Ashlyn farting and then realizing she had just shit all over him. It was a toss-up, but then Dawson decided to puke down the front of his shirt, and he figured he was now a substitute for a baby rag. “I volunteered.”
“Still, we’re really sorry,” Avery said, holding Ashlyn close as she rocked her back and forth. “I understand if you don’t want to watch her ever again.”
“Nonsense,” he said, laughing as he tucked his hands into his pockets and looked around. He spotted Mekena at the front of the altar, taking pictures of random things. He wasn’t sure if she was done, but maybe he could slip away. “How much longer until y’all are done?”
“We’re done, but Lucy and Benji have some pre-wedding pictures they’re having done with Angie.”
“So Mekena isn’t done?”
Avery smiled. “Nope, she’s got a bit.”
“Can you pass a message for me?”
“Sure.”
“Let her know that I went back to the cabin to shower and clean up?”
“Yeah, of course. I’ll tell Jace to tell her since I’m taking Ashlyn to bed.”
“Cool, thanks,” he said, kissing her cheek and then Baylor’s, before rubbing Dawson’s head. “I’ll see you guys in the morning.”
Before he could get far, though, Baylor smiled. “Thanks again.”
“Anytime. I mean that.”
Avery smiled. “Thanks.”
“Also, good luck,” Baylor added.
Flashing them both a big grin, he nodded. “I need it.”
Heading out the back, he made it back to the cabin quickly. When he entered, though, Mr. Right was sitting on the windowsill howling. “Whoa, man. What’s up?”
Meoooooowwwwwwww, he wailed, with his mouth wide open as his hair stood on end.
“Bro, I don’t know what to say. I don’t speak your language. Are you singing? Do you want me to sing too? Meoooowwwwww,” he said, and Mr. Right looked back at him, almost with a glare. “We should add some beat to that and make a remix,” Markus joked as the cat wailed. Deciding that was a good idea, he pulled out his phone and started to beatbox as the cat wailed, recording it on his SnapChat. The cat must have realized what he was doing because he looked back, scowling, and Markus hid his phone. He didn’t want to admit it, but Mr. Right kind of freaked him out.

















My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?


Author Links







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33282728-face-off-at-the-altar?ac=1&from_search=true


Source:  eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Author and Ardent Prose
Genre: Adult Sports Romance
Part 9 of a series but can be read as a standalone


My Face off at the Altar Review . . . 

It has been forever since I read anything by Toni Aleo.  Given this opportunity I jumped at the chance even though I'm a few books behind.    This book is technically part of the Assassins series but it also combines characters from the Bellevue Bullies Series which sadly I haven't read yet.  This caused me at times to be a bit lost with some of the connections but I was able to follow for the most part.

Marcus Reeves and Mekena Preston were college sweethearts until one night changed everything.  Then a couple years later fate has brought these two back together.  Now all that has to happen is for Marcus to tell the truth and for Mekena to actually listen. Which isn't as easy as it sounds.

Mekena is positive she knows what went down and has a shield made of concrete preventing her to really know the truth.  But what these two do know is that they still love each other.  After the truth comes out these two have a journey to find happiness with each other.  And what a truth it was.  Toni did such a great job with Skylar that you couldn't but hate her and feel for her at the same time.

Sport romances are one of my biggest guilty pleasures and I've always been a fan of Toni's and this story was sweet as most second chance romances are but . . . and yes there is a but.  It was too sweet and schmaltzy at times.  For a big part some of the only dialogues between Marcus and Mekena were ' I love you' and I love you, too ' or 'I love you' and I love you more'.  It got a bit much at times that ruined the seriousness of the story for me.  However, I do understand that it is young love and I remember being that sickly sweet during that era but living it and reading it are two totally different things.

Now since I read an ARC there were so timeline issues and discrepancies within the story and I do hope that many of the discrepancies were caught because it could confuse some details but otherwise it was a a bit long but super sweet story about second chances.

Even though it was too sweet for me at times it doesn't mean I won't continue with this series as there are many more players whom need to find love.  Can't wait for more.  Plus NOW I have to for sure read the Bellevue Bullies series so I can get the skinny on all the Sinclairs.

3 . 5 Second Chances Thumbs up! 


thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up  . 5

Lauren