Books and Baubles...the end of 2014!

Hello Everyone, it is that time of the year again, where the rushing of getting Christmas presents, getting up decorations and seeing the people that you love. Today I am packing to go to stay with my family and I can't wait. In theory I will be back before the New Year but I probably won't post until after 2015 has begun!

It certainly doesn't feel like the end of the year that's for sure. This year has gone far to quickly for me but it has been the best year of my life. Everything has just fallen into place nicely and I don't think I've ever been this happy... what with life, work and blog, it's just been perfect.

I've met some awesome people this year, not to mention meeting Sarah Alderson and to met fellow bloggers that I've admired their blogs for so long. As well as some lovely blogger friends, like Pili, Glass and Tanja. I've also had my blog reviewed/praised on the publisher's website for Holly Bourne's brilliant,  The Manifesto on How to be Interesting and I've just, JUST discovered, after having the books for 6 months, that I'm mentioned in for The Forever of Ella and Micha, and The Temptation of Lila and Ethan inside and in the cover for my review of The Secret of Ella and Micha!                    
As it is drawing to the end of the year I thought I would do my top ten books of 2014.... 

I don't think I can number them because that would be impossible. But these have no doubt been my favourites...some debut authors, some personal favorites from last year, some recent discoveries, and some inspiring authors! 

So I guess this will be my last post of 2014... I want to wish a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all and I can't wait to see what 2015 has to bring to all of us... 

COVER REVEAL - ASA by Jay Crownover

Hi Everyone, it's only a week till Christmas and I feel myself slowly relaxing and my post becoming a little sparse at times. But today I totally forgot I signed up for this and I have to say I am so excited for this cover reveal. I'm a huge fan of The Marked Men series, if you haven't already gathered from fangirling and countless reviews for the brothers. At the end of my review of Rowdy I was very much looking forward to Asa's story, so here is the cover of Asa, Marked Men #6...

Asa (Marked Men #6)
by Jay Crownover
Release Date - April 25th 2015
Publisher - HarperCollins
Pre-Order - Amazon | Book Depository

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

Oh My Goodnes...he is certainly by far the hottest guy of all the covers. I'm so so looking forward to Asa's story. So much character build up throughout Rowdy that I wish Asa's story was released a little closer to home. But hey, 2015 isn't too far away and only 4 months after.

Try the other brothers um I mean books....

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


The Shape of my Heart (2B Trilogy #3)
by Ann Aguirre
Publisher - Harlequin HQN
Release Date - 25th November 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.
It was sad to start this book as this is the final book in the 2B Trilogy. So far I cannot fault Ann Aguirre's take on the New Adult genre. She begun to turn the tables for me in the plot-line; character sets and the relationship between them. As we come to the end of the line, she hasn't failed to deliver a stonking great conclusion and I got to read it with the lovely Pili.

A girl who isn't afraid to be who she is, isn't afraid of her past but now only the certainty of her future. Courtney Kaufman, a recent roommate, to Angus and Max, taking the final steps towards completing her degree. At the beginning of the novel, Courtney proved to be the strong female character that we all learn to love in books. For me she certainly struck me as an unusual character but is the best possible sense. She isn't one to boast about her life either, she is blunt but honest, which was a refreshing change. Courtney has lived through her fair share of the rough, after her first love and high-school boyfriend, Eli, died from cancer, she really headed down a dark path, it was only after rehab that she could possibly acknowledge the fact that she needed to get on with her life. Being from a high class family and since Eli, she really hasn't connected with anyone on that level of intimacy or emotional relations. I felt that she really wanted to preserve herself and who she is for someone else, for someone closer.

Whilst she has been living in the apartment, she has grown accustomed to the various personalities; you have Angus, the comedian, the much-loved best friend, and your typical down to earth guy. I love Angus. Max, well, he is a hard one to pin down. Previously we known him to be quite reserved about his life apart from his relationship with Lauren, terrible break-up and it was left rather raw for Max. But this novel, very much moved on from that...
Max, lost everything when he was sixteen, and he has carried the blame and guilt ever since. Now he has to face his demons and his past when his grandfather had sadly passed away. He need someone to be there with him...Kaufman. Max found something in Courtney unlike anyone else. But everything is about too change! 

Together they proved to be the perfect match, like a lot of Ann Aguirre's character sets! Both Max and Courtney brought everything to the table, they still have their own space, Courtney blossomed more but she also proved that not everything surrounds Max, she joined a band, she had closure from her previous relationships, she was proving to herself that she can be strong, protective yet self-sufficient in her own way. But truly she never really deferred from who she really was because that was who Max fell for. 

Ann Aguirre has created a sensational NA series that has for me turned the tables this year. I know some of you recognise the titles from the Backstreet Boys, but if I'm I honest I never really twigged, lol. What I love is that although her writing is flawless, so is the some of the things she deals with; privilege, disability, drugs, alcoholism...  but they all seemed so real. The characters so relatable to reality and we were able to connect with them. I hope Ann decides to continue writing NA, The Shape of My Heart, is my second favourite of the series. I Want It That Way stole my heart, and is my favourite of the entire series.
Rating - 4.5


Stay With Me (Wait for You #3
by J. Lynn 
Publisher - Harper
Release Date - September 25th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You and Be with Me comes a daring tale that pushes boundaries . . .

At 21, Calla hasn't done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought shed left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from they moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn't give them her mom.
Stay With Me proved to be my least favourite book in the series. I felt quite flat with this book, and JLA hasn't until now disappointed me, which makes me feel a little deflated that I have to admit it. 

Calla Fritz had three F's to follow to get her through college and to get her through life; "Finish College, Find a career in the nursing field and Finally reap the benefits of following through on something." But when her life suddenly turns upside down as all her funds for her tuition's is wiped including maximum amount on credit cards all in her name, it means she has to go back to a place she has never called home. Life is on hold for her at moment. Calla isn't particularly confident in who she is or her own future for that matter. But that isn't her fault either. Being brought up by a mom who was regularly high or absent from her life, it left her scarred both mentally and physically. A scar like an any other is a part of you, a constant reminder of what she has been through. Without giving away too much of the plotline, Calla has suffered greatly, her family remind her of the pain she has gone through, and now it's time to go back, only to be thrown into the deep end of drugs, love and family. 

Calla had potential in her character, but sadly her constant attitude of life and of people around her somewhat deterred from her personality and really annoyed me at times too. I also thought that when she lied and withheld the truth of her life from her friends, that was actually rather shocking and actually made me dislike her slightly. However, when I was in about a half way through the book, I felt that she really started to connect with me a little and I felt that sometimes I could relate to her at times too. I know she wanted to bury that life behind. But sometimes you have to let it out or let someone in to fully appreciate some of the good times as well as acknowledging the bad... that particular person happens to be Jax! 

Jax or Jackson James, was introduced to us as flirtatious bartender, who had the uncanny ability to make people spill there feeling. He was also the man running Mona's bar, originally named and owned by her mom. Jax has his own issues too, fighting in the causes of war in Afghanistan, it has certainly left his own scar, mentally. Jax was sort of an complex character to really get to know. But I also tended to compare him to Rome (the Marked Men series) as they have similar past and also present life, with the restoration of the bar. He also tended to overuse the words 'baby', 'honey', 'babe' and sweetheart to the extreme. I love a bit of endearment, but sometimes I just felt it seemed false to his character and to the plotline. Whilst he does have redeeming qualities that's for sure. So it's not all bad. 

Whilst, I loved J.Lynn's previous two books in the series, I felt that this one was a carbon copy of other NA books I've read previously, especially the likes of Jay Crownover's the Marked Men series. What I found difficult was the written style and also the dialect of most characters, phrases that was used to the extreme and spoiled the flow of the novel. This book alone will not stop me from continuing to read her books as she has already proved that in other genres of her writing. Stay With Me, has it's great moments, but also balanced itself with some equally annoying moments. 

Rating - 3

EXCITING NEWS - If you haven't seen or heard (I've been raving about it on Twitter!) about the new bookclub I'm starting then head over to the previous post for more information. Sign-Ups are still open.