Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (225)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what books they got throughout the week!

For Christmas

I got some AMAZING books for Christmas and I could not be more excited! My mom had bought three books on my wish list for me, as well as a kindle! Then, the next day when we had Christmas with our brother and his wife, they surprised me with the other three books on my wish list! All of the books are ones that I have been dying to read, so I am definitely excited for them. 

From Barnes and Noble

Since I knew that my friend Sarah from Words With Sarah LOVES J Daniels, I decided to pick up book two after getting the first book for Christmas. I had some Christmas money and have my educator discount from Barnes and Noble, so I couldn't resist picking it up!

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, December 30, 2016

DIY Project: Making My Own Book Sleeves

If you're on Instagram and follow the bookish community, then you've probably seen the adorable book sleeves made by Book Beau. I have been pining after them ever since I first saw them, but the $20 price tag with almost $5 shipping seemed too much for me. But seeing as I carry a book everywhere with me, I knew that they would come in handy. Since my mom is a quilter and I learned to sew when I was pretty young (though I haven't used a machine in years), I decided to ask her if we could try to make them ourselves. 

I went to JoAnn's and bought these three adorable fabrics and they were so cheap! The bottom two were $5.99 a yard and the turquoise Darth Vader fabric was on sale for around $7 a yard. I got half a yard of each fabric and spent only $10 total after using a coupon. My mom had some Soft and Stable foam to use for the inside, so I was all set to work!

We looked around on the internet for a good pattern to use and found one right here for an iPad sleeve that looked like the perfect size for what I wanted to make. We tweaked the tutorial a bit by using a thicker foam and omitting the quilting on both sides. 

***I forgot to add that I sprayed 505 Temporary Adhesive spray between the foam and the fabric on the sides that I knew would be the outside of the pouch. This ensured that the outside of the pouch would be smooth and attached to the foam. 

Once I had a finished product, I decided to skip the button closing in the tutorial and sew an additional large seam around the top for decoration. While my sewing is definitely not that great (the seam may or may not have ended up a bit wonky), I am so excited with how they turned out! 

With the way the patterns were situated on the fabrics, I was able to make one out of each half yard for the deer and Darth Vader fabrics and two out of the blue arrow fabric. That's four total for only $10! I have some left over fabric and can't wait to make something small out of them. The fabrics are just so cute and I want to make more and more and more! I can't wait to protect my books with my adorable new book sleeves! 

Book Review: Last Mile by Katie Ashley

Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)
By Katie Ashley
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Source: Publisher
After her father was murdered in the line of duty, ATF agent Samantha Vargas is determined to take down the scumbags of the drug trade. When her partner takes on a case to infiltrate the Hells Raiders MC, Samantha agrees to go undercover as his old lady but is surprised to find herself drawn to the very man she is investigating.

Benjamin “Bishop” Malloy has worked hard to carve a place for himself both in and out of the MC world. Working days as a mechanic, he spends his nights rebuilding motorcycles with the hope of one day owning his own shop. After taking one of the club’s new hang-arounds under his wing, Bishop is conflicted over his growing attraction for the man’s girlfriend.

Even though she’s determined to bring down the Raiders, Samantha discovers their world isn’t as black-and-white as she thought. And as the stakes grow higher, she’s in danger of losing more than her heart.

Holy moly, you guys. THIS BOOK. THIS SERIES. I don't know how Katie Ashely does it, but each book gets better and better in this series and I fall harder and harder for the Vicious Cycle men. Sam is the perfect girl to tame Bishop, but her secret is definitely going to make it hard to keep him. 

After witnessing her father's murder when she was a little girl, Samantha Vargas has been determined to be a cop to take down the bad guys like the biker that killed her dad. When her partner is called to go undercover in a motorcycle gang thought to be dealing illegal guns, Sam knows she has to be on the case. The Hells Raiders has always been Bishop Malloy's family and life, and he would give anything for them. When a new prospect's girlfriend starts stirring feelings inside of him, Bishop knows he can't go after another guy's girl, but there's just something about her that's different. Sam is surprised how close she feels to Bishop when they start to spend time together and the lines between work and pleasure start to blur…

I've got to say, I absolutely loved Sam's character and how she was a cop. I completely understood her hatred for bikers and how determined she was to take down the bad guys. You know, though, that she was going to meet Bishop and everything she had ever known about bikers was going to be challenged. There was so much emotion in this book, both romantic and familial, and I felt every emotion along with Sam. As Sam grew closer to Bishop, you knew it was going to be revealed that Sam was a cop at some point, so you were on the edge of your seat just waiting for that bomb to blow. 

Just like the first two books in this series, we got the members of the club that we all know and love. The couples from the previous books had their place in this book and I loved seeing them happy and trying to turn the club around. It was so fun watching Sam find a place among the women of the club and earning their trust. Since we've gotten to know Bishop over the past two books, I loved seeing him finally meet his match in a woman and want what his brothers had already found. 

Obviously, I absolutely LOVE this series and loved every minute of Last Mile. I NEED more of this series, but I'm not sure if any more books are in the plans. If you love motorcycle romances, you must pick up the Vicious Cycle series. If you haven't tried out motorcycle romances yet, you're missing out on an amazing genre with sexy men and emotional stories that will make you fall in love with rough bikers who have a surprisingly soft, charming side that is impossible to resist.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Rules of Contact by Jaci Burton

Rules of Contact (Play by Play #12)
By Jaci Burton
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon
A defensive end for the San Francisco Sabers, Flynn Cassidy is used to being in the spotlight—he just doesn’t enjoy it. But if getting in front of the cameras will help his new restaurant succeed, he’s willing. Now if he could just meet a woman who loved him and not his fame…
After her divorce, Amelia Lawrence is thrilled to start over as head chef at Ninety-Two. It’s just the opportunity she needs to heat up her career—if only she wasn’t wildly attracted to her sexy new boss. Their chemistry might be sizzling hot, but Amelia has no intention of being burned again. 
Amelia is genuine and fun and Flynn can’t get enough of her—and Amelia loves every second she spends with the tough but tender Flynn. But trust is a hard fought battle for both of them. Breaking the rules of contact and surrendering to their passion was easy, but are they willing to risk their hearts to win at the game of love?

JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER. Oh my goodness, I knew that this was going to be my next read when I saw that cover. While I haven't read every book in this series, I was excited to meet yet another athlete and watch him fall in love. 

Flynn Cassidy is used to having the press around, seeing as he's a defensive end for the Sabers. Unfortunately, he's also used to women using him for the cameras and fame and has yet to find someone worth settling down with. Amelia Lawrence does not want to trust a man again after her divorce and is focusing on her career and passion for cooking. As the head chef of Ninety-Two, Flynn's new restaurant, Amelia finds herself spending more time with Flynn. Both are having fun and when things heat up, neither one of them knows if they're ready to fully trust in the other person. 

For some reason, no book in this series has really swept me off my feet. These books hold so much promise with hot athletes and a sexy romance, but I really didn't connect with either Flynn or Amelia. Then, since it's the 12th book in the series, there were so many side couples mentioned that it got hard to keep everyone straight and I felt like it was unnecessary. I liked Flynn enough, but nothing about him screamed that I had to love him. As for Amelia, she was nice enough, but I wasn't invested in her character and didn't care about her. I think if a little bit more was explained and explored in her past, I would have connected with them more. 

I did enjoy how Amelia and Flynn weren't really into each other that way at the beginning of the book and only realized their attracted after spending more time together. It was cute how Amelia got to meet Flynn's family and how open and welcome they were to her. There were definitely some hot moments in this book, but sometimes I felt like it those moments were overdone and the story included more than necessary. I wanted more about the characters and less about their physical time together. 

Overall, this wasn't a bad addition to the series, but I didn't find myself really caring for the characters. I wish we got more of their background and a more emotional connection to them. As the 12th book in the series, this wasn't bad read but don't expect an amazing romance.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (168)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

Until it Fades
By KA Tucker
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?


I love KA Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths series, so I was intrigued when I saw she had a new book coming out in 2017. When I read the summary and realized there was a hockey player in it, I immediately added it to my must-read list for next year. I love how the girl in this book doesn't want to be in the spotlight but the guy wants to be in her life after she saved is life. And it sounds like a friends to lovers kind of story, which I always love. I definitely can't wait for this one to come out! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2)
By Sarina Bowen
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Source: Publisher 
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score... 

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good

I am pretty much obsessed with every word Sarina Bowen writes and the first book in this series, Rookie Move, was sooooooo good. I was so excited to get back into the world of the Brooklyn Bruisers and watch another girl fall in love with an irresistible hockey player. 

Team captain and one of the oldest members on the team, Patrick O'Doul is feeling the beatings his body has taken throughout the years. With a particularly bothersome injury, O'Doul is being pushed to put in more time with the team masseuse, Ari Bettini. O'Doul does not like being touched and is used to his life alone in his studio apartment, but when he finds himself wrapped up in Ari's life as she is dealing with a crazy ex-boyfriend, O'Doul realizes what he's been missing out on and how much he doesn't actually mind waking up with a beautiful woman by his side. But Ari isn't ready for a relationship after being involved with a man for ten years, a man who will not leave her alone. Still, Ari is determined to help heal O'Doul's wounds while O'Doul is determined to help heal Ari's heart. 

I absolutely adored Leo Trevi from the first book of this series. Sadly, I was not as in love with O'Doul, but I still appreciated his character and his past that led him to becoming a hockey player. It was fun seeing him realize that maybe he didn't want to be alone anymore and how much he really enjoyed being around Ari. Also, I really enjoyed how much hockey we got in this book (and the last book) and how important sports really are to our characters. As a sports romance, these books have the perfect amount of sports in them. We get to see O'Doul during games and how affected he is by being the enforcer (the guy responsible for the physical fights) for his team. 

As for Ari's character, I really enjoyed her character and her storyline not only with the hockey team but also with her crazy ex-boyfriend. It was so cute how O'Doul helped protect her and made her feel safe when she was scared of living in her own home. There was also a little bit of tension regarding how O'Doul was actually connected to Ari's ex-boyfriend, and you were just waiting for that bomb to drop and create drama in Ari and O'Doul's relationship. There was a little bit of mystery and thrill added to Ari's storyline, which kept you on the edge of your seat. You didn't know when Ari's ex would show up or what he was hiding, which definitely kept things interesting. 

Overall, I still really enjoyed this addition to the Brooklyn Bruisers series, even if it wasn't as adorable and addicting as the first book. I still loved how much hockey we got in here and the added mystery and danger revolving around Ari's personal life. If you want an AMAZING sports romance series with some hot hockey players, you have to pick up Sarina Bowen's Brooklyn Bruisers series!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Book Review: On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton

On Broken Wings (Wild Aces #3)
By Chanel Cleeton 
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Source: Publisher 
A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

You guys have no idea how long I've waited for this book. Ever since we learned that Easy was in love with Dani in book one, I knew I HAD to read his story. Now that book three is here, we FINALLY get Easy's story and his chance at his own HEA. 

Easy has been in love with Dani ever since he first saw her, but she's always been Joker's. After tragedy struck the Wild Aces, though, Dani is extremely vulnerable and has no idea how to go on with life. All she knows is that Easy is there for her as he's always been and makes life a little bit more bearable. The more he's there for her, though, the more she feels things that she's never felt for Easy before. Both Easy and Dani don't know what to do with what they're feeling, but the guilt they feel towards Joker may outweigh any attraction they hold for one another. 

Going into this one, I knew it was going to be extremely emotional. I mean, hello, Dani's husband is gone and she has to deal with the dilemma of moving on. Like I said, I loved Easy since book one and know that he may come across as cocky and a player, but he's such a sweetie on the inside. The amount of compassion he holds for Dani is just so heartbreaking and he would be there for her even if he had no chance of any romantic relationship. 

What I loved about this book was the fact that Dani wasn't even attracted to Easy when this novel started. She was perfectly happy being married to Joker and thought he was it for her. When an attraction started to stir for Easy, (because, hello, it's Easy and have you seen those abs??) she was so freaked and had no idea what to do about it. Her hesitancy to start anything with Easy was so understandable and even though you wanted to shake her and yell at her to go be with Easy already, you totally understood why she wasn't ready to move on yet. 

For those of you who have already read the first two books in this series, it's a no brainer that you're going to pick this book up. Easy stole my heart in book one and it broke and healed and swelled during this book. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading this series, you must! You will meet some cocky, hot men who will steal your heart on the first page.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have the chance to spend some quality time with family, furry friends, and some great books! Hopefully Superman or the Holiday Armadillo stopped by to give you some presents :) 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (224)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what books they got throughout the week!

For Review

An e-arc of this showed up on my kindle yesterday and I flipped out. This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 and I have a copy! I love both Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen so much and I haven't read a book that they've written together, so I have very high expectations for this one! I hope it doesn't disappoint! 

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

A Portrait of Emily Price
By Katherine Reay 
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?

Every book Katherine comes out with, I get so excited because she always uses inspiration from classics I know and love. This book promised a romance between an art restorer and an italian chef and I couldn't wait to watch them fall in love. 

Emily Price loves her job as an art restorer, but creating her own art is her true passion. She's content with her life, though, until she runs into Italian chef Benito Vasallo. Ben is working to restore his Aunt and Uncle's restaurant and his passion captures Emily and the two find themselves falling deeply in love. Emily soon finds herself married to Ben and moving back to Italy with him, but Emily doesn't feel welcome and unearths some secrets the family has kept buried for far too long. 

I knew that this was going to be a fast romance since the main character fell in love and married a man within a week, but I still wasn't a fan of the instalove. I liked Ben enough, but I didn't feel like he was the most charming or had the strongest connection with Emily. Romantically, I wanted more insight into their relationship and felt like we just got a surface level of their attraction to one another. I didn't completely buy into the fact that they felt like they had found the one and couldn't imagine life without one another. 

When Ben and Emily got to Italy, I was so excited to see Emily explore and fall in love with the foreign country. Instead, I was a bit bored by the story and how cooped up Emily was in the family home. I get that the point was that Emily didn't realize how things would be when she agreed to move and live with Ben, but I found myself bored a lot of the time. I did enjoy Ben's family and the emotional turmoil they were all hiding, but as for Emily, I just didn't seem to care about what she was going through. 

Overall, this was a sweet and cute read, but it lacked the romance and character depth to hold my interest. The characters were interesting, but I didn't love this one as much as I wanted to.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

2016 has definitely been a fantastic year. I know we still have a week and a half left, but as of now I have read 143 books. My goal for the year was 100 and clearly I blew that out of the water. Among the books I read, I have 13 that have stayed with me throughout the year and I am still thinking about how amazing they were. Of the 13, I have a variety of genres that I loved, from new adult and adult romance to YA fantasy…I've got it all! Instead of explaining why I loved each book, I'm linking my review and the Goodreads page, so be sure to click on those if you want more info! 

No Review Posted | Goodreads

And those are my favorites from 2016! Granted, I might read something amazing within the next week and want to add it to this list, but these are books that I've read this year that I could not put down! Have you read any of these? Do you agree? Make sure to let me know what your favorite reads of 2016 have been!

Here's to an even better year of reading in 2017! 
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