Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Review: Possession by A.M. Johnson

Possession (Avenues Ink Series Book 1) by A.M. Johnson 

Publishing Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: A.M. Johnson
Audiobook Duration: 9 hrs and 18 mins
Narrated by: Tracy Marks, Aaron Shedlock

The Premise from the Author: "Paige Simon was the only girl Declan ever loved. The only one capable of silencing his voices, the only person to ever have faith in who he was, until the day her faith turned to doubt and destroyed everything they’d made together. Declan O ’Connell was the only person Paige could be herself with. The only one she could rely on, until the day she was forced to make a choice that would condemn them both. They’ve had years apart, and second chances don’t belong to the damned. But when you come face to face with your savior, it’s almost impossible to walk away. In order to move beyond the sins of their past, and forever silence the demons in his head, they’ll have to risk it all. But with love, there are real reasons to be afraid and, sometimes… your salvation is your damnation" (AMJ).

My overall thoughts and review: Before I begin, I just want to say that this was my first romance read in audiobook form. I wasn't sure if it was going to be for me, but I LOVED this book so much. Tracy Marks and Aaron Shedlock did an amazing job of bringing Declan and Paige to life for me. So kudos to the both of them! I didn't have any idea what to expect going into this book besides the premise but the story follows two perspectives: Declan and Paige. It switches narratives between them, and also flip flops back and forth between the past and present time. You learn that they were highschool sweethearts and had such an intense love. Declan suffers from psychosis and depression, and I really liked how mental health was represented in the text. Every time one of Declan's inner voices came out, it tugged at my heart strings, and Aaron did such a good job narrating those parts. I really empathized with those moments in the text because it's similar to some anxiety that I sometimes feel in certain situations. Paige on the other hand, comes from the other side of town, with very strict parents who begin working with the church. Her parents don't entirely approve of Declan, but things are forever changed between the two of them when they are forced to make a difficult decision. Fast forward to nine years later, Paige has left her cheating husband who she never loved, and Declan is trying to stay afloat still. They both bonded previously over art and painting, and it is through Paige's new job at an art gallery that brings them together again. I really liked how Johnson was sure to indicate that they couldn't go back in time and recreate what they once had. They had grown up and they had changed, and if it were to work again, they had to love each other for who they were now. It was a great second chance romance, but it also felt like falling in love for the first time story. I loved how both were able to overcome their own battles and come together stronger. I love books that have a big emphasis on art (this reminded me of Brooke Cumberland's Pushing The Limits). I think the parts that I loved most though were where Paige's family wasn't a great support system, you saw Declan's brothers: Liam and Kieran, being there 100% for their brother. They also slowly warmed up to Paige again. I think it's good that Johnson acknowledged that sometimes you don't need to make up with your family and things are all shiny and great again. The reality is that a lot of people don't get along with their families, and sometimes their life is much better off without that toxicity. This was such a beautiful book. Although there were swoony and sexy moments, this book was so much more than that. It focused on mental health, religion/faith, and family. I really enjoyed this book. I am already listening to the second book in the Avenues Ink series! Also, I barely mentioned the tattoo shop where the brothers worked, but one of my favorite moments of the text was Paige getting her tattoo of a Sylvia Plath quote <3

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
AudibleAmazon, and Kindle

Disclaimer: I received an audiobook version of the book from Foreword PR & Marketing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

[Teaser] Darkest Temptation by Rachel Van Dyken

Darkest Temptation, the first standalone in The Dark Ones Saga from New York Times Bestseller Rachel Van Dyken is coming October 31st!  

I'm a werewolf King who chose to step down out of grief for my mate.
For centuries I've been alone, choosing to live a life of modesty despite the wealth surrounding me.
I deserve to be punished.
I crave things I have no business craving.
And it is manifesting itself in a way I'm terrified I won't be able to control any longer.
Especially since she arrived.
Vampire. Orphan. Beaten beyond recognition.
My blood calls to her in a way that makes no sense.
I'm a wolf.
She's a vampire.
The two don't mate.
They barely tolerate one another.
All it takes is one slip of control on my part — one taste.
And I doom us all.
Then again, I never knew what is lurking inside has the power to balance good and evil.

Preorder Today!


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Disclaimer: I have signed up with Social Butterfly PR to help promote this author and her book. All opinions are my own. 

[Cover Reveal] Prince Charming by CD Reiss


Prince Charming - an all-new sexy standalone from New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss coming February 20th.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Monday, 9 October 2017

Review: Vicious by L.J. Shen

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen 

Publishing Date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: ljshen
Pages: 338

The Premise from the Author: "Emilia - They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover. Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him. Vicious - She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price. Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me" (Shen).

My overall thoughts and review: This review has been a long time coming. I read this book a few months back and absolutely loved it. From there, I began buying all of Shen's backlist and binge read them all. Vicious was the first to draw me in, and even after a reread yesterday, I'm still in love, and if it's even possible, I love the book even more with a reread?? There is just something about Shen's writing that immediately pulls you in and she somehow makes you feel such frustration for a character, but also love for them at the same time. Baron Spencer AKA "Vicious" was given this nickname, because he is absolutely vicious. He is one of the Hotholes of Todos Santos and the narrative flips between present day and the past in his high school years. When he first meets Emilia, she accidentally walks into a private conversation, and from there, he seems to have this hatred towards her. Her parents work for his family on his estate, and even though don't get along well, they are constantly drawn to one another. Things also get complicated when Emilia starts dating one of his best friends, Dean "Ruckus" Cole. It's clear they both have feelings for one another though, and Vicious acts out through jealousy and Emilia pushes her feelings away.

Flash forward to present day New York, where Emilia has been fired from her job and she must work every waitress shift she can get to support herself and her sister, Rosie. On one unlucky evening, she meets Vicious again and from there, he offers her an offer she can't refuse. A PA job with a great income and a new apartment for her and Rosie. She promises herself that she will keep her guard up this time, and not fall for him again. Vicious says he's simply only hiring her so that she can help him with a certain lawsuit. It sounds so incredibly complicated, but it just worked. The future/past narrative really worked because you got to see how they were with each other, and how Vicious acted incredibly selfishly and impulsively. Gosh, I wanted to shake high school Vicious!! But I loved that Emilia was chipping away at his hard exterior piece by piece. She was so strong, independent, and sassy. She definintely gave back everything he threw at her, and he described it best at the end of the book just how "good" she was: "Knowing what I'd done, she was still here. What's more, she was still strong. That was the true beauty about this girl. She never cowered. She always stood tall and thought for self, knowing what was right and what was wrong in her universe. Always" (303). Their day in New York, going to the museum and the tattoo shop, is definitely my favorite moment of the book. You just see Vicious completely undone by her and I think that's what made me love him so much. So many hilarious and cute moments during this moment in the book. He's frustrating as ever, but also soooo swoonworthy. I loved their messy and not so-beautiful love story: "We've waited a long time for this. I want the real thing. Not the watered-down version. And the real thing is not only beautiful. It is also ugly. I want your truth" (199). I love how they both made mistakes and both had flaws, but I loved how they somehow were better because of the other person, while not losing themselves completely. I feel like with a lot of romance novels, some of the bad guys do a complete 180 after falling in love, but Vicious remains Vicious (I love how crazy he can get and his arrrogant hot hole self), and in a way, he becomes Emilia's Vicious? I don't want to say too much and spoil the book because holy twists and turns and reveals, but when you learn the background story of Vicious, it just tugs at your heartstrings and you want to hug this guy. Emilia put it perfectly when she described how complex her can be: "I shook my head quickly. 'I'm just not sure how you can be both nice and compassionate and a terrible asshole all at the same time,' I muttered. He smiled. 'It's a hard job, but someone's gotta do it'" (281).

I loved this book so much and I can't say enough good things about it. It's definitely an enemies to lovers story, but also a second chance romance. It is just the best kind of romance, and I'm sitting her wishing that Shen will one day write more of Emilia and Vicious' story. When Vicious learns that he has fallen for her, well has loved her all this time, it's just beautiful: "'I want you,' he said simply. 'Just you. Nothing else. Only ever you,' he breathed out in pain, closing his eyes" (295). If you haven't read anything by L.J. Shen yet, what are you waiting for? THIS is her best book in my opinion and I loved it so much, I now own a few copies of it ;)

🎵🎵 - Haunting by Halsey // Back to You by Louis Tomlinson & Bebe Rexha 
(I had these songs on loop while reading and they made me think of Vicious/Emilia)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
AmazonKindle, and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Links for L.J. Shen: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram