Review: Anti Stepbrother by TijanAnti Stepbrother by Tijan
August 21, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 321
Format: Audio, eBook
Source: Purchased
Length: 10 hours 26 minutes

He told me to settle.
He asked what was wrong with me.
He called me an easy target.
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?

*Stand-alone novel

Where has CADEN BANKS been my entire life?!

Or more importantly why have I waited so long to read a title from TIJAN?!

I picked up AS shortly after its release in August for my reading preparation for the Mile High Author Event last year and I seriously FELL IN LOVE, madly in love with this book.  I’ve learned after quite a bit of trial and error that I love brooding heroes, quirky heroines, college romances, and somewhat realistic situations… Well this book had it all!  And I can’t go without mentioning that there was a Gilmore Girls’ reference which basically sealed the deal for me.

So with my growing obsession of audiobooks I seriously was on pins and needles waiting for the audio to release and it did not disappoint.  November 15th was marked on my calendar and as soon as the day came I listened all day and fell even more in love with Summer and Caden then I even thought possible.

Bailey Carr and Vikas Adam performed this story perfectly!

Summer Stoltz has this festering crush on her stepbrother Kevin and now that they are in college together she finally thinks its her chance… until she meets Caden Banks the big asshole.  But as time passes and her what begins as an accidental run in with Caden, who also happens to be Kevins fraternity brother, turns into a friendship that no one expected it becomes harder to see him as the  asshole she initially judged him as.

Summer and Caden develop this easy routine where they fall in line with one another and it felt like watching two magnets connect without any fuss.  I adored that so much of the book was spent exploring their friendship and adjusting to each others needs and then wanting to insert themselves into one anothers lives.

And once feelings are recognized is it only one sided?  What if the want for more than a friendship isn’t reciprocated?  All the unknowns surely can drive a person crazy.

Then the plot turned a bit more serious than I expected and for me this either goes one of two ways: it crashes and burns or it is the greatest thing to ever happen.  Since I want to give this book a million stars I am sure you can guess which direction it went.

Perfection, I don’t know what else to say about this book other than it was perfectly timed and executed.  In fear of ruining it with spoilers I will say whether you read the ebook, paperback, or listen to the audio the book translates well in any case!  One more thing, CHAPTER 35, chapter fucking 35.  Seriously I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve listened/read that specific chapter but I will say that it is in the double digits. 

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by Karina Halle
Also by this author: Dust to Dust

Behind the Cover Story is a cover reveal with an exclusive guest post from the author about said cover. Maybe, it’s an explanation of how they came up with the concept. Maybe, it’s how they found their model. Maybe, it’s more than that.

Rocked Up is a STANDALONE rockstar romantic comedy and the fun and sexy brainchild of New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle and her husband Scott Mackenzie.

I have been watching him since I was a child. 

He didn’t notice me back then and it didn’t matter. Brad Snyder, guitarist and singer for one of the world’s greatest bands, was my entire life.

My father, the CEO of Ramsey Records, takes credit for all of Brad’s success, trying to control him in the same way he’s controlled me.

But I finally get an opportunity to prove myself. 

To be wild. 

To be free.

Today I’m auditioning to be the replacement bass player for Brad’s band. If I get the job, I’ll go on tour and work with Brad every day, in very close proximity.

There’s only one rule: he’s not allowed to touch the boss’s daughter.

Remember when I said that Brad never used to notice little ol’ me?

Well, Brad’s noticing me now.

In a way that’s going to get us both in trouble.

My name is Lael Ramsey and we all know how this will turn out.




~ Guest Post~




Cover designer extraordinaire Hang Le and I have been working together for a long time. I think the first work she did for me were logos for The Artists Trilogy back in 2013! I’m talking old school.


This cover wasn’t that different from any of the others. It usually involves me contacting Hang with my next book, telling her my feelings about the cover and what the book is about and then she runs with it. She always reads my mind and if she doesn’t, it’s a much better version of what I envisioned.


For Rocked Up she surprised me. I mean, how hot is this guy on the cover? Where did she find this perfect sexy specimen? He was the perfect Brad Synder (the rockstar hero in the book)…not only that but it’s also classy and fun at the same time. Nothing wrong with a shirtless guy, but since I wrote this book with my husband, we wanted a cover he could be proud of. And there’s the fact that most of my covers in the past don’t have a man on it, so I wanted some kind of happy medium. I think this cover both showcases a sexy guy while still retaining a lot of mystery.


And of course there’s Hang’s fun touch with the pregnancy test logo! Yes, the book does contain the trope of an accidental pregnancy so it ties it all in and lets the reader know they are in for a read!

 

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About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


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Review: Unhinge by Calia ReadUnhinge Published by Ballantine Books Genres: Romantic Suspense, Suspense
Pages: 401
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began.

No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she’s still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancé, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria’s world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband’s obsessions pushed her beyond the breaking point.

At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place for Victoria to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she’s powerless. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn’t sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.

I finished Unhinge by Calia Read about two months ago and that woman knows how to fuck your mind a thousand ways till Sunday and leave you with your jaw hanging on the ground. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Okay this is only my second title from her but both times I have been completely flabbergasted!

Never am I ever able to predict anything that happens in her books, I drive myself half insane trying to come up with scenarios that all end up being wrong.

Pretend Mommy had me super intrigued since Unravel and whoa… whoa… whoa…

Victoria whether she be the villain or the victim her story is one that kept me on the edge of my seat! I’ve said this before but just to drive my point home, Calia Read is one of the most descriptive writers I have ever read from. She describes without over indulging in needless details but the picture she paints is vivid and vast. I can see everything playing out in my mind from the garden Victoria has grown to the master bedroom she shares with her husband.

Pretend Mommy, Victoria, is a character we were introduced to in Unravel as mentioned but we know from the start of her story she is already “crazy” seeing as she is in Fairfax to begin with. So with that knowledge it’s hard to believe that she really isn’t crazy and I mean her nickname is Pretend Mommy.  This is one of the reasons I am basically bald after reading Calia Reads books because for the life of me I cannot predict anything, she is just that damn good! 

Carrying on with Victoria she has no knowledge of how she ended up in a crazy facility or why she is there… her only memories are of her husband and even those are extra spotty. Wes seems to be the perfect husband who gives Victoria the entire world and they live this perfectly polished life until the subject of children is brought up.  It definitely adds in some kinks to what seems to perfect when they become reproductively challenged.  Their days become longer, nights turn colder, touches no longer linger and they can’t seem to find their way back to what once was.  

Then… it all makes sense and my mind is FUCKED! I had to keep reading the same parts over and over not because anything was wrong  with it but because I just couldn’t believe what happened like how did she pull all that off right under my nose.  Bam, bam, and bam freaking damn genius Calia Read is.  

If you like/love suspense you NEED to read this!~

 


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Whew! 2016 has been quite a year, right? This year will definitely go down in the record books as one of the most memorable. Through all the highs and lows, the one constant thing that has brought us joy this year is reading. Our love for reading has really helped us escape from all the real world problems and brought us closer to other readers like you. We read some really great books this year (and some not so great) and we wanted to share with you our Best of 2016 list. *Note: not all books listed were published in 2016.

 

2016 Favorite Covers

 

Favorite Heroines

Feyre from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Debbie)
Charley Davidson from First Grave on the Right (Ali)
Nora from The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz (Tiffany)
Lady Isabel Townsend from Ten Ways to Be Adored When Romancing A Lord by Sarah Maclean (Leah)

 

Favorite Heroes

Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Ali & Debbie)
Soren from The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz (Tiffany)
Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes (Leah)

 

Favorite Young Adult

Mark of the Mage by RK Ryals (Ali)
The Hard Count by Ginger Scott (Tiffany)
Ghost Bird Series by CL Stone (Leah)

 

Steamiest Reads

Dirtiest Secret by J Kenner (Ali)
The Boss Series by Abigail Barnette (Debbie)
Turbulence b Whitney G. (Debbie)
Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas (Tiffany)
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas (Debbie & Leah) 
Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley (Leah)

 

Favorite Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Reads

Halfway to the Grave by Jenienne Frost (Ali)
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Tiffany)
The Beast by J.R. Ward (Debbie)
Alexa Montgomery Saga by HD Gordon (Leah)

 

Favorite Historical/Regency Reads

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah Maclean (Ali)
My American Duchess by Eloisa James (Ali)
I’m disqualified. >.< (Tiffany)
One Good Earl Deserves A Lover by Sarah Maclean (Leah)

 

Biggest Ugly Cry Reads

Harley & Rose by Carmen Jenner (Ali & Tiff)
Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn (Ali)
A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole (Tiffany)
Say You Want Me by Corinne Michaels (Tiffany)
Forgotten World by Kate L Mary (Leah)
Soaring by Kristen Ashley (Debbie)
Desperately Seeking Epic by BN Toler (Debbie)

 

Best Therapy Inducing Reads

Darken the Stars by Amy Bartol (Ali)
Deep Redemption by Tillie Cole (Tiffany)
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Leah)

 

Favorite TV Shows

Game of Thrones
Vikings
Stranger Things
True Blood
Sons of Anarchy
Making a Murderer
NOT Gilmore Girls (LOL)

 

Biggest Letdowns

One With You by Sylvia Day (Ali & Debbie)
Twisted Palace by Erin Watt (Ali)
The Goal by Elle Kennedy (Ali)
Sparrow by LJ Shen (Debbie)
Gilmore Girls (not a book but still, Tiffany)
Balance by Lucia Franco (Leah)
The Story of Us by Leslie Jones (Leah)
Invisible Love Letter by Callie Anderson (Leah)

 

Ali’s Top Reads of the Year

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
Beard Science by Penny Reid

 

Debbie’s Top Reads of the Year

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders

 

Leah’s Top Reads of the Year

Everything by Sarah Maclean. (Seriously. I read every single book of hers.)
Broken World Series by Kate L. Mary
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
Wait for It by Mariana Zapata
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

 

Tiffany’s Top Reads of the Year

The Fall by T. Gephart
Say You Want Me by Corinne Michaels
First Step Forward by Liora Blake
Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras
All of Tillie Cole’s books!
Breaking Her by RK Lilley
The End of ME by Tara Brown
Four Letter Word by J. Daniels
Sweetest Venom by Mia Asher
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Still Surviving by A.M. Johnson
In Pieces by Gia Riley
Closer by Mary Elizabeth
The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj
The Original Sinner Series all of The Red Years by Tiffany Reisz

 

Talk to us! What were some of your favorite reads from 2016?

 


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Review: The Unwanted Wife by Natasha AndersThe Unwanted Wife Series: The Unwanted Series #1
Published by Montlake Romance March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 249
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads

No one had ever looked at her and seen perfection—until now.

Delicate, titian-haired Theresa Noble has met her father’s associates in the past, but the gorgeous, Italian-born Sandro De Lucci leaves her speechless. Eighteen months into their marriage, however, Sandro has turned to ice. Desperate to escape a relationship that has proven to be as stubbornly passionate as it is cold and hateful, Theresa summons up the courage to ask for a divorce. But before he’ll grant her request, Sandro demands something from Theresa: a son.

The stalemate sickens her. Never mind that Sandro has yet to introduce Theresa to the large family that means so much to him. Or that Theresa overhears her husband on the phone with a mystery woman. Most damning is that Theresa senses, in Sandro’s treatment of her, the behind-the-scenes machinations of Jackson Noble, her cruel father. From the depths of her anxiety, Theresa must seek an empowering truth about the husband who calls her, with such cold affection, his cara, his beloved.

Revised edition: This edition of The Unwanted Wife includes editorial revisions.

For days and days, Debbie was telling the rest of us that we needed to read this book. She specifically told me that it gave her similar feels to Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn, a book I really enjoyed and cried at while reading. Something I just don’t do often. Well, I picked it up and she was absolutely right. It broke my heart in much the same manner.

Theresa married Sandro for love. What she didn’t realize was that he did not have the same motives for marrying her. While his cold demeanor towards her surfaced rather quickly, it took her a year and a half to finally realize that she is more than the nuisance Sandro treats her as. In their shared bed, he’s an attentive and giving lover. Outside the bedroom, he wants little to nothing to do with her. When she gets the courage to ask for a divorce, he gives her one condition. She can have her divorce, after she gives him a son. Now she must navigate a life with no purpose aside from being a brood mare and an unwanted wife to the man she once loved. 

Theresa is somewhat of a doormat, but when you get her history, you understand why. Normally, I am not so much a fan of this type of character but it works perfectly for this story and you do see her will to fight for herself.

Sandro, on the other hand, starts the story off as such a dickhead. You do eventually get an understanding of why he acts as he does, though there were still times that I was not very sympathetic to his plight. He does come through at pivotal times. I think I would have enjoyed an occasional trample through his brain, however.

I was on the verge of tears from start to finish, while reading this book. You cannot avoid feeling for Theresa. It’s such a depressing existence and Anders writes it in a way that each time you think there might be a little relief for your heart, you’re wrong. A new barb gets thrown and you are right back to feeling the sadness. I never, actually, cried but my eyes were welling with tears for much of the story. Which, I could not put down. Reading this over the holiday was a bad idea, I was ready to kick all my family out of my house so I could get back to reading.

I think Anders has cemented herself as one of my go to authors when I’m in need of some super-angsty-all-the-feels type reads. Well done.


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