Tuesday, 16 July 2019

[Blog Tour] Making Up by Helena Hunting - Review

Making Up by Helena Hunting
Publishing Date: July 16, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 448
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list. Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him. As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world" (SMP).

My Review: If you know me, then you'll know that one of my favorite male heroes ever in romance is Helena Hunting's Lex from Hooking Up. It was the first book I ever read from Helena and from there began my love affair with her writing! She writes such down-to-earth, hilarious, and relateable characters. I was so excited that she decided to write more in the Shacking Up series because Griffin is the last Mills brother for us readers to meet, and that also means I get to see snippets of the other couples that I've met and loved (ok, let's be serious, I wanted more Lex any way I could get him). This follows Griffin who has recently been broken up with by his fiancee who travels to Vegas for work (he's a hotel mogul). While there he is sent to a sex-shop to get some gag gifts for a bachelor party. There he meets Cosy, the sales person, and he's immediately drawn to her. They had a really adorable meet cute, and I knew I liked her from the very beginning. She's very sassy, but also very vulnerable. From there, they decide on a no-strings attached relationship, but that never goes as planned does it? While I love Helena's writing and I did love both characters a lot, there were moments when I felt the drama was too much to handle in the book. I felt like this couple could not catch a break at all. I will say it does remind me again too that age is just a number, and it's more about how you feel that is important. However, despite the drama, you also really see the importance of family come through with the Mills family, and I loved seeing them all together again. You also get to meet Lincoln, who is Armstrong's brother, and the male lead of the next book in the series, Handle with Care (which comes out next month!!). If you are a Helena Hunting fan, you'll def enjoy this read. It's fun, laugh-out-loud funny, and sexy!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
US Macmillan, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Special Excerpt of the Book!
We’re a couple of minutes away from my apartment, which also means we’re almost at the end of our date. End-of-date protocol often means a goodnight kiss. 
And I’ve eaten onions. Lots of them. What the hell was I thinking? I feel around in my shorts pocket, hoping I have a random stick of gum. I find a tiny square packet and pull it out, along with an old tissue. I shove that back in my pocket and sigh with relief as I carefully open the Listerine Pocketpak. There’s one strip left. I pop it in my mouth, wishing I had water since my mouth is dry and I’m suddenly super nervous. 
Griffin pulls up in front of my apartment building. I swallow a bunch of times, trying to get the strip to dissolve on my tongue and glance out the tinted window, seeing it from his perspective. I don’t live in a bad part of town, but I sure as hell wouldn’t leave this car sitting out here for any length of time unless I wanted it keyed or stripped down. 
Griffin shifts into park and turns to me, one hand resting on the back of my seat near the headrest. “I had a great time, Cosy.” 
“Me too, thanks for dinner.” I tried to fork over my share, but he was quick on the credit card draw. 
“It was my pleasure.” He leans in the tiniest bit, a nonverbal cue that he’s going in for a kiss. 
I mirror the movement, giving him the go ahead. My stomach flutters in anticipation. I exhale slowly through my nose. Even though the Listerine strip should be doing its job to mask the onions, I don’t want to ruin the moment by breathing that in his face. 
His fingertips skim my jaw, and I close my eyes. And then his lips brush my cheek. I wait for them to move a couple of inches to the right, but after what feels like a lot of seconds—and is probably only a few—I crack a lid. 
Griffin is still close, a wry smile on his lips and a smolder in his eyes. 
“Seriously, that’s it? A kiss on the cheek?” 
His smile widens, making his eyes crinkle at the corners. He’s nothing like the guys I usually end up on dates with. College boys don’t take things slow. If I were out with one of the guys from school, I’d be sitting in a beat-up Civic with some stupid music playing, and he’d be all over me with his tongue halfway down my throat, copping a feel. 
“I thought all the onions you ate were the equivalent to garlic for vampires.” Griffin fingers my hair near my shoulder. I’d really like him to finger something else. Wait. I mean I’d like to feel his hands on me. Not in my pants. Okay, maybe I’d like them in my pants, but not after date number one. 
“I wasn’t thinking, and I really like onions. A lot. In hindsight, it’s not a great date food. I feel kinda dumb. And I guess at first I wasn’t so sure about you. How was I supposed to know you’d actually be kind of normalish?” 
“Well, you drink club soda on purpose, so you can’t be all there.” I tap his temple.
Griffin circles my wrist with his fingers and drops his head, lips brushing over my knuckle. “We can’t all be perfect, now, can we?” 
“I suppose not, and perfect is boring.” 
“That it is.” He hums against my skin, and I feel it through my entire body. “I would like to try that kiss again, if you’re still interested.”
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes
contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by St. Martin's Press for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Most Anticipated Releases for Fall/Winter 2019 | YA + Fiction Edition

Hi everyone! Similar to the romance edition of this post, I decided to make a YA and fiction edition featuring releases coming out in the second half of this year that I'm looking forward to! :D 

Containment by Caryn Lix
PUB DATE: August 6, 2019 

In the thrilling second book in a series best described as Alien meets The Darkest Minds, Kenzie and her friends find themselves on the run and up against another alien invasion headed towards Earth. They may have escaped Sanctuary, but Kenzie and her friends are far from safe. Ex-Omnistellar prison guard Kenzie and her superpowered friends barely made it off Sanctuary alive. Now they’re stuck in a stolen alien ship with nowhere to go and no one to help them. Kenzie is desperate for a plan, but she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Everyone has their own dark secrets: Omnistellar, her parents, even Cage. Worse still, she’s haunted by memories of the aliens who nearly tore her to shreds—and forced her to accidentally kill one of the Sanctuary prisoners, Matt. When Kenzie intercepts a radio communication suggesting that more aliens are on their way, she knows there’s only one choice: They must destroy the ship before the aliens follow the signal straight to them. Because if the monstrous creatures who attacked Sanctuary reach Earth, then it’s game over for humanity. What Kenzie doesn’t know is that the aliens aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Omnistellar has put a bounty on Kenzie’s head—and the question is whether the aliens or Omnistellar get to her first.

The QB Bad Boy and Me by Tay Marley 
PUB DATE: August 20, 2019 

Everything changed the day Drayton Lahey crashed into Dallas's life? Sparks fly between Dallas Bryan, a no-nonsense cheerleader with her eyes on a CalArts dance scholarship, and Archwood High's bad-boy quarterback, Drayton Lahey. She's convinced they're wrong for one another and is intent on proving that she can resist his brooding attitude, impressive abs, and all-around hotness. But when Drayton falls for her, their relationship takes a turn for the intense in ways neither could have anticipated.

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson
PUB DATE: September 3, 2019 

Jemma knows who the murderer is. She knows because he told her. He thought his secret was safe because Jemma can''t speak or move. But Jemma observes all kinds of things about everyone around her. His secret is just one of them. And when a new technology means she may be able to communicate and reveal all she knows, Jemma no longer feels powerless in the face of this deadly secret. It''s a race against time before the killer acts again. . . or tries to stop her.

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden
PUB DATE: September 10, 2019 

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak-and a startling revelation about sexual assault-culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
PUB DATE: October 1, 2019 

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents'' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That''s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby. When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she''s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available. This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
PUB DATE: October 1, 2019 

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us. Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It''s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out. At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again. Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
PUB DATE: October 8, 2019 

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she''s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city''s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group''s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien''s own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo 
PUB DATE: October 8, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale''s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she''s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world''s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What''s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale''s secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street''s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

What releases are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Batch Reviews #15

Defy Me (Book #5 of Shatter Me Series) by Tahereh Mafi (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 368

My Review: I put off reading this for a few months because I knew I would devour it instantly and wanted to set aside time for myself to just savor it. I was able to read it all in one sitting and I'm already feeling the withdrawal and wanting the next book. I was a bit hesitant when Mafi announced the return of these books, but as I said in my previous review for Restore Me, I love this world and the characters that Mafi has created, so she can do no wrong in my eyes. This picks up after the insane finale from the last one, and I don't want to say too much to spoil, but you do get Kenji's POV now which is awesome. I loved seeing the other characters through his eyes. And if you thought you loved Juliette and Warner before, you'll love them even more in this book. The risks they take, the strength that they both have is simply astounding. I ship them even more (how is that even possible?) now, and I can't wait to see how it all ends next book. This installment was an easy 5 stars.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository

Queen of Ruin (Grace & Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: July 2, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336

My Review: **This is the sequel to Grace and Fury - you can find my full review here! Please proceed knowing that there are some slight spoilers** If you read my previous review for the first book, you'll know that I absolutely loved the first book. As someone who isn't reading as much YA fantasy as before, I loved this historical fantasy duology. It was such a strong feminist text in my opinion, so my expectations for the second installment were quite high. I'm happy to report that Banghart did not disappoint. The book opens with both sisters reuniting on the island, only to separate once again to do what was best for their loved ones. I loved seeing Serina kind of take charge of everything at Mount Ruin. I also really liked seeing her relationship with Val grow as well. She truly becomes a leader among all the women of Mount Ruin. On the other hand, you see Nomi teaming up with Malachi to deal with Asa. You also seeing her change as well, and how she adapts to wanting to guard her heart a little closer. I really loved this sequel and thought it was such a satisfying conclusion to the overall duology. It is hands down one of my favorite YA historical fantasy series and I can't recommend it enough! You've got strong female leads and really supportive male counterpoints, what more do you need?

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Hachette Canada in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400

My Review: This was my first book by Tessa Bailey, and friends, I love her writing so much! I really did not know what to expect going into this book, but from the very beginning, I fell in love with it. It opens with Travis Ford hitting rock bottom after returning to his hometown because his baseball career has ended, and his best friend Stephen's younger sister, Georgie, comes over to give him a bit of a wake-up call. I knew I liked her right away, because she mentions "I just bought a house. My own house. I'm not a kid anymore, but even if I was? I'd have my shit together more than you do. And I'm a children's birthday party clown--let that sink in" (Chapter 1). She is such a unique female lead, but also super relate-able at the same time. Both Georgie and Travis are dealing with other people's perceptions of them, and certain expectations. They have both been pigeonholed a certain identity their whole life: child & a player. And they both want to be more than that. I loved seeing them fall in love with one another and just bring out the best in one another. Bailey's writing is funny, sweet, and incredibly honest and authentic. I loved that she was able to capture both of their inner struggles and anxieties in a way that made me appreciate the characters a lot. Her books are also quite steamy ;) Like I said, this was my first Tessa Bailey book, but it won't be my last. There is also another book to come which follows a character we were introduced to in this one, so I can't wait to get my hands on that one. This was the perfect summer RomCom and I would highly recommend you go out and get yourself a copy. It was so much fun!

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository

Monday, 8 July 2019

[Blog Tour] All Grown Up by Vi Keeland - Review

A Standalone Contemporary Romance
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Vi Keeland

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Most Anticipated Releases for Fall/Winter 2019 | Romance Edition

Hi everyone! So end of last year, I did a Most Anticipated Romance Releases list. The releases were primarily for books from January-July, so I thought I'd make a second post focusing more on titles that are due for release this Fall/Winter. If you want to see my previous list, you can click here! I love making these kind of lists not only to share with you what I'm excited for, but it also works as a kind of checklist/TBR for me to keep up with current releases. 

Making Up by Helena Hunting
PUB DATE: July 16, 2019 

Cosy Felton is great at her job-she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she''s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she''s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list. Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend''s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him. As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin''s motivations, there''s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn''t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off.

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
PUB DATE: August 6, 2019 

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day. Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life. The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name. Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Truly Mine by Kennedy Fox
PUB DATE: August 13, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Amazon - Kindle - Kobo

The night we met in the dimly lit bar, she looked like a brunette bombshell, and I wanted to learn her deepest secrets. With sun-kissed skin and soulful bedroom eyes, she was pure temptation, and I was mesmerized. As one drink led to two, I craved more of her playful banter and taunting lips. Resisting her wasn’t an option, and we quickly became a desperate mess of tangled limbs and hot kisses. She tasted like the sweetest sin, but I was no saint. Once we caught our breaths, and it became obvious that meeting her wasn’t a coincidence, everything changed. Now I must deny her at all costs. Friends. It’s all we can ever be. After years of lying to myself and keeping her at a distance, I want to pull her close. Sophie’s on my mind more than ever as my instincts to protect her take over. Regardless of my attempts to help, she pushes me away and makes it clear she doesn’t need me. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, to show her I’m the good guy, but one night takes a tragic turn for the worse when her boyfriend and I start throwing punches. And ends when I’m arrested for his murder.

Handle with Care by Helena Hunting 
PUB DATE: August 27, 2019 

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL. Between his parents' messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he's been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother''s chagrin. But Lincoln's bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman. SHE'S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER. Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she's presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she's that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn't expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn't expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she's forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren 
PUB DATE: October 22, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak. During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good. Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
PUB DATE: November 5, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

The first rule of book club: You don''t talk about book club. Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott''s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville''s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it''ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

What romance releases are you most excited for this fall/winter? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, 21 June 2019

[Chapter Reveal] Handle with Care by Helena Hunting

I'm so excited to share with you all this EXCLUSIVE chapter reveal from Helena Hunting's upcoming novel Handle with Care, coming August 27th, 2019!