Black Heart’s 2016 Year End Wrap-up

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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Hi guys!   I’m sitting here at my keyboard, really wondering what this post will be about.  I feel like I have so much to say, and I’m not even sure where to begin.  So, if there is a ton of rambling and ‘squirrel!’ moments, just bare with me…there will be a point and a purpose to this.  And a giveaway!

Let me start by introducing myself, I suppose.  My name is Leah and I am one of the Black Heart gals.  I live in the beautiful Pacific North West, have two kiddos, an adorable husband, squish boobs during the day and read all. the. time.  Books are my life and I squeeze in time to read whenever possible.

I created my book Facebook account about two years ago, and my life has been forever changed.  Not only was I exposed to an entire new world of stories and authors, but friends.  Some of my closest and most favorite people I have found in our little Indie book world.

And let me tell you, this community is amazing.  Yes, there’s a lot of drama, but you guys… there is so much love and support it makes my head spin.  And during one of the hardest times my family has had to battle, you guys saved me.

It all started about 3 years ago, and my daughter was around 2.

One night, Magoo woke up crying.  No big deal right?  I cuddled her, rubbed her back, and put her back in bed.  A few nights later, the same thing.  At first we thought it was just bad dreams, and decided to take away night time TV and YouTube watching.  But slowly, our nights of our daughter waking up screaming and crying became a routine.  When I took her to her doctor, he said it was probably growing pains.

Ah.  Growing pains.  Made sense.  My husband had them terribly growing up, and supposedly that runs in families.

But after months and months and fucking months of my daughter screaming at night I had finally had enough.  It wasn’t even just nights anymore, it was mornings and afternoons and anytime during the day, my beautiful little girl would scream and cry and curl up into a ball in pain.

And then she stopped walking.  At this point Magoo was three, and instead of her running around laughing and dancing, she would limp or just outright refuse to walk and just scoot around on her butt.

We hadn’t slept in almost a year, and I spent my nights awake, holding my daughter as she screamed bloody murder, screaming that her bones were on fire.  “Mommy, my bones are on fire!  Make it stop!  Make the fire stop! Mommy, please make it stop!”   We would fill the bathtub with cold water and bags of ice and I would just sit there holding my baby as her entire body shook in pain.

Nothing is harder than being a parent and not being able to take away your child’s pain.  Not only was my three year old in excruciating pain, but my 8 year old son was a fucking mess watching his sister slowly deteriorate.  He was worried, and tired, and acting out… and everything was falling apart.

I took my daughter back to her doctor and demanded answers.  This just could not be growing pains anymore.  It couldn’t.

He made a call to Seattle Children’s, and made us an appointment with a Rheumatologist, throwing around words like arthritis or inflammatory diseases.  It was scary, but we needed answers.

Weeks later we saw the doctor and he examined my daughter.  Took blood, had xrays done and told us….   “I’m sorry, but it’s growing pains.  Some kids experience growing pains at really high levels of pain, and this could go on for a few more years…but hang in there.  It’ll stop eventually.”

Growing pain.  Fucking growing pains.

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But if that’s what one of the top doctors says, you believe it.  So we buckled up and were prepared to ride this out.

Four weeks later, it’s late in the evening.  The kids are in bed and I’m putting away laundry.  My phone rings and the caller ID says, “Seattle Children’s”.   Wait… what?   My stomach drops and I answer.

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And that’s when the doctor tells me he’s sorry he waited so long to call me, but he needed time to talk with specialists about my daughter’s xrays once he got the official radiologist reading.  He needed time to set us up with a specific Orthopedic surgeon. He said he couldn’t give me any answers, since it’s not in his field, but I would be getting a call soon to set up an appointment.

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And that’s when she got her first diagnosis.  Avascular Osteonecrosis.  Plainly, my daughter’s bones were dying.  And no one could tell us why.

Usually this diagnosis isn’t a bad thing.  It usually is an easy fix.  But since it’s usually something that happens to much older boys in knees and hips, and not 2 year old girls’ feet… it just wasn’t caught in time.

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And now came a whirlwind of appointments.  And tests.  CT scans, MRIs, lab draws, x-rays.  Somehow, the bones in my daughter’s foot were…. gone.  Each time my daughter would walk, skip, jump, her bones would break and break and break until there was nothing fucking left.

She had holes in her foot where her bones used to be.  Gone.   And now growing in those places were cysts.  Angry, evil cysts that were growing large and causing a shit ton of pain.

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We spent the next year casting her legs, trying to keep her off of her feet so her body could heal.  Instead of getting to learn how to ride a bike, Magoo had to watch from the sidelines.  Instead of getting to sled in the winter and build snowmen, she had to wrap her casts in bags so they wouldn’t get wet and ruined.  She spent our vacations in Arizona and Mexico wobbling in her casts and having to watch everyone else have fun.  We had to take away dance class and gymnastics from her.  We had to keep her from doing things that kids do… like jumping and dancing and walking.

And through all of this uncertainty and overwhelming days, I had books to take my mind off everything and I had my book friends.  It’s funny, because the friends I have here in person…. they kind of sucked.  Rarely did I get a text or phone call asking how Ariah was doing or how my family was holding up.  But you know what?  I was fucking bombarded every day from people who I had never met in person, who lived all over the globe, constantly sending me encouragement and prayers and gifts for my daughter.

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In a time where I felt confused and so fucking afraid, I had so much support.  All from people I met through….books.

Last week, the day before her 5th birthday, after endless casts and nuclear med scans and blood draws and tests… my daughter got the all clear.  No more casts.  No more tests.  NO MORE.

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I sobbed for days.  It was a long freaking journey, and it was finally over.  And again, we were bombarded with so much celebration from my friends in the book world that my heart overflowed with joy.

So, the point of this?  Thank you.  Thank you SO fucking much for the text messages and PMs asking how we were doing.  Thank you so much for letting me rant and cry and feel sorry for myself, and allowing me to break down in private so I didn’t have to do it in front of my kids.  Thank you for talking books with me and letting my mind focus on something besides radiologist reports.  Thank you for giving me an outlet and a world to emerge myself in.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now I want to pay it forward.  We all have shit to shovel.  We all have bad days and scary situations we have to battle.  And we all need a little bit of encouragement and support from time to time.

So, I would like to give away a $50 Amazon gift card, because that can buy a lot of cool shit.  Books for you to lose yourself in a different reality for a while. Diapers for your baby.  New makeup for yourself.  Whatever it is that will put a smile on your face, I want you to have it.   This will post on our FB blog page, and all you have to do is comment on that post and THATS IT.
(Here’s the FB link –  https://www.facebook.com/blackheartreviews/posts/1415823975112747)

Just remember, everyone is battling something.  Don’t forget to reach out to friends and family, because you never know when they could really use it.

Spread love, bitches.

And again… thank you.

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Leah’s Top Five Go-To Books

So, I read.  A lot.  I’m one of those crazy bitches that finishes a book in a day and starts book 2 before the day ends.  I bounce from one genre to the next and have absolutely no rhyme or reason to what story I’ll open next.

But sometimes, I get stuck.  Like… I start whippin’ out DNF’s and make them rain like crisp one’s at a strip joint.  Or everything just starts to blur together and I get stuck and nothing quite tickles my fancy.  And at this point my mind needs a break and I do one of three things:  watch some mindless TV (I love you Chip and Joanna!  Anyone wanna go to Waco with me?),  watch some M/M tumblr and well, yeah…   or I pick up one of my go-to books.

And since this is a book blog and not my platform to express my love for the Gaines’ or my penchant for M/M masturbation…  I’m gonna share with ya’ll my all-time favorite, could-read-one-million-times-and-never-get-bored books.  You’re welcome.

 

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The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue

New Orleans, 1920s. Raziela Nolan is in the throes of a magnificent love affair when she dies in a tragic accident. In an instant, she leaves behind her one true love and her dream of becoming a doctor — but somehow, she still remains. Immediately after her death, Razi chooses to stay between — a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it.

From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the stories of her lost love, Andrew, and the relationship of Amy and Scott, a couple whose house she haunts almost seventy-five years later. The Mercy of Thin Air entwines these two fateful and redemptive love stories that echo across three generations. From ambitious, forward-thinking Razi, who illegally slips birth control guides into library books; to hip Web designer Amy, who begins to fall off the edge of grief; to Eugenia, caught between since the Civil War, the characters in this wondrous novel sing with life. Evoking the power of love, memory, and time, The Mercy of Thin Air culminates in a startling finish that will leave readers breathless.

Book Link: Amazon 


This is hands down one of the best love stories you will ever read.  It’s about a gal named Razi who lives in New Orleans in the 1920s.  She is raised in a time where women are expected to grow up to be wives and mothers, but all she wants is to go to college and become a doctor.  Not only that, she wants to empower women.  To give them options and a voice.  She is feisty and fearless and the most perfect heroine you will set your eyes on.  And somehow she finds a man that not only loves her, but accepts her many quirks and even encourages the craziness.  Their love is fucking beautiful.

But alas, Razi dies tragically and BAM.  She’s a ghost, and stuck in between life and…whatever comes after death. The story goes back and forth from her story when she was living and breathing, and her story as a ghost.  She haunts a house with a young couple that you can’t help but freaking adore.  They have ups and downs and Razi is there to see it all, and even mess with them a bit.   Plus she has crazy ghost friends that are just as interesting.

This story is just… God.  If you click any book in this list, I really hope its this one.  If I were to ever get words from a story etched into my skin, its a line from this book.  Those words will haunt me and heal me for the rest of my life.  I’m telling you.  This book is everything.  I read it probably 3 times a year and it’s just as good as the first time, every time.

 

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The Diaries of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys

Richard Le Gallienne’s elegant abridgment of the Diary captures the essential writings of Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), a remarkable man who witnessed the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. Originally scribbled in a cryptic shorthand, Pepys’s quotidian journal of life in Restoration London provides an astonishingly frank and diverting account of political intrigues; naval, church, and cultural affairs; and the sexual escapades and domestic strife of a man with a voracious, childlike appetite for living. “As a human document the Diary is literally unique,” notes Le Gallienne. “It will have a still greater value for its historical importance.”

Book Link: Amazon (Free for Kindle)


Oh em geeee. Samuel Pepys.  This man is so bizarre.  Okay, so these are diaries and there are multiple books.  This guy, my good buddy Sammy, lives in the 1600’s and YES!  These are his real, legit journals.  He wrote every freaking day – about anything and everything.  His maids.  The fish he ate for lunch.  War.  His money.  His friends that are royalty.   Pornographic books.  Everything.  I seriously just grab a journal at random, flip open whatever page presents itself….and I read.

He’s funny is a dry way, and so much happens historically, that you never really know what you’ll get.  I could (and have) spent hours reading this man’s thoughts and I just adore this dude.

 


Outlander by  Diana Gabaldon

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.
 
Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

Book Link: Amazon


Let me start by clarifying:  When I say Outlander, I pretty much mean this entire series. If you don’t know what these books are about, then, well…  you’re dead to me. These books are the most epic, amazing…. EPIC-LY AMAZING books ever.  Ever.  I mean, Jamie Frasier… ’nuff said, amirite?

These stories follow two main characters, Claire and Jamie. Claire gets sucked through time from the 1970s to the 1770s in Scotland.  There is action.  There is adventure.  There is war and history and loss and heartbreak and laughter and love. God, that love.  It’s quite literally a love that defies time and logic.

Each book is huge. Like… 800+ pages long, and there’s a lot of them. And I can honestly say that I’ve read each one at least six or seven times, and some of them even more than that.  I find myself randomly picking up one thinking to myself, “just one chapter, I miss them.”  And then two weeks later I’ve read every book. I have more Outlander t-shirts, mugs, paperbacks, paraphernalia than any other novel, and I’ll never get enough from these characters.  (And yes, I’ve read every single spin off series, too.)  JAMMF FOREVER!

 


A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice

Four childhood friends in present-day New Orleans are torn apart by envy, passion, and a secret murder.

Five years ago, Meredith, Brandon, Greg, and Stephen quickly discover the fragile boundaries between friendship and betrayal as they enter high school and form new allegiances. Meredith, Brandon, and Greg gain popularity, while Stephen is viciously treated as an outcast. Then two violent deaths destroy the already delicate bonds of their friendship.

When the friends are drawn back together, new facts about their mutual history are exposed and what was held to be a tragic accident is revealed as murder. As the true story emerges, other secrets begin to unravel with more dangerous, far-reaching consequences.

A Density of Souls is a stunning debut novel that uncovers the darker side of the teenage psyche.

Book Link: Amazon


I have a history with this book.  When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I somehow stumbled upon this book at my local library.  I honestly have no idea how I found it or why I grabbed it, but I did.  And hollyyyy shiiiitt – this book changed everything for me. It was the first story I ever read that dealt with serious issues likes homophobia, bullies, murder, eating disorders, etc.

This book follows a group of friends that once they get into high school, they go their separate ways.  But their pasts are full of secrets, and their futures are filled with lies, and its just a huge mind fuck of “what the Hell is going on?”

I was totally too young to read this book, but I loved it.  And, actually, I still have it.  Yes, I stole the freaking library copy, but you don’t realize what reading those words did to me!  (I’m totally laughing right now, because it sounds ridiculous but it’s so true.)  And I love grabbing this book and visiting all of these broken, messed up characters over and over again.

 


Brie Learns The Art of Submission by Red Phoenix

Join Brianna Bennett as she is introduced to the erotic world of submission… Brie’s life changes the day Sir comes to her tiny tobacco shop. His invitation to the Submissive Training Center is about to rock this young woman’s world. The renowned school is famous for its elite submissive instruction. She has no idea what will be asked of her or the boundaries that will be pushed. One thing is certain: Brie is about to learn more about herself in six weeks than she has over the previous twenty-two years.

From formal classes, hands-on practicums and weekly auctions, Brie will confront her deepest fears and desires. In the process, she will also forge lifelong friendships with fellow submissives and fall for several of the Center’s skilled Doms. As graduation day approaches things begin to unravel, forcing Brie to make an unexpected choice of Master. Which Dom will ultimately earn her devotion and capture Brie’s courageous heart? 

Book Link: Amazon


So, when I read these books they were a bunch of little serials… but from what I can see you can buy the story in it’s entirety in one book (fuck yaaaa!)   This book was recommended to me by a friend, and when I looked it up on Amazon all I could do was roll my eyes.  It sounded ridiculous.  I just knew I was going to hate it and think it was the dumbest shit I had ever wasted my time on.

Aaaaand, I was wrong.  I fucking LOVE these books.  Or book.  Whatever.  Let me tell you… yes, it is  a bit ridiculous, but the writing really is quality and the story is so freaking hot you will definitely be reading with only one hand, if you’re pickin’ up what I’m throwin’ down.

Brie is invited to be a part of a school where you learn the art of being a submissive.  There is book work, hands on learning, auctions, etc… and the whole purpose is for the submissive to learn what they love or hate, and in the end?  To pick their Master.

If I’m bored and I’m finding myself just not getting into romance, but other genres aren’t helping either… or if I just really want something quick and dirty to read… I grab this series.  And it’s just so ridiculously hot I don’t see an end in sight for me loving it.

 

Alright, so those are my top five go-to’s.  Do ya’ll have certain books that you can read over and over again and never get enough?   I’d love to hear which are yours!  <3

 

 

 


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Books We Want to Read This Spring

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Ah, Spring. The temperature’s finally warming up and there’s nothing better than reading a good book outside. Or if you’re an introvert like us, you’re watching spring come to life from the comfort of your home. Whether you’re into romance, new adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, thrillers or mysteries, there are numerous great new releases coming in the wonderful world of books, just waiting for you to pick up and read. So, here are the books that we have on our must reads this Spring list. Check them out, and then let us know which books you’re looking forward to reading this Spring.

 

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Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras
Release Date: March 20, 2016

Victor Reuben.
Most sought out divorce attorney in LA.

Nicole Alessi.
Soon to be ex-wife of Hollywood’s biggest star, Victor’s latest client and his boss’s daughter.

In such a high profile divorce, they can’t afford any extra drama. Luckily, neither one of them has anything to hide.
Unless you count the mind blowing sex they had…
Once…
Twice…
Three times all those years ago.

As long as they leave the past where it belongs, they’ll be fine. But with her wearing those tight dresses and him giving her those heated glances, keeping their hands to themselves is proving to be more difficult than either one of them realized.

It won’t be long before the paparazzi start to smell smoke, and where there’s smoke…

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

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Collared by Nicole Williams
Release Date: March 22, 2016

When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .

Brings her home.

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

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Hard Ball by CD Reiss
Release Date: March 29, 2016

Perfect ass.
Perfect arms.
Perfect swagger.
They call Dash Wallace the Diamond King.
He’s the hottest commodity in baseball and in the bedroom.
When he runs the bases, every woman’s eyes are glued to his stunning body and a smile that puts the night lights to shame.
I’m no queen. I’m a regular girl with a regular job. I just watch him on TV and from the bleachers, season after season.
Girls like me grab a guy like that one in a million times.
My number just came up, and he is as spectacular in bed as he is on the field.
But there’s not a woman in the world who can distract Dash Wallace from the game. Not for a moment. Not even me.
Until the night I do. And everything changes.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

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Fatal by Evie Harper
Release Date: March 30, 2016

Mackson King’s past is a dark, horror-filled chasm that could swallow the toughest, most dangerous men. A member of the notorious Portland Street Kings, he’s impossible to intimidate—but he can be hurt. He learned that the hard way, thanks to her. Lana. The one woman capable of easing his nightmares, of soothing his demons, was the very woman who shredded his heart. She took away his torments, only to become one of them.

Born into a family who lost their way long before she arrived, Lana Scavello has carefully enforced a steely interior that shields her heart from harm. But that doesn’t mean she can’t cry, and she’s spared Mackson King more tears than he ever deserved. Finding Lana at her most vulnerable, saving her when she felt the most invisible, he burrowed beneath her defenses to carve his own personal door to her soul. Only to decimate it, along with everything she’d ever known.

Now, years later, fate has thrown the couple together once more. Pain, heartbreak and betrayal will explode to the surface, leaving both of them raw, aching, exposed. And that’s when their true love story begins…

Book Links: Goodreads

 

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Down To My Soul by Kennedy Ryan
Release Date: March 31, 2016

RHYSON
She doesn’t wear my ring.
We never stood before a preacher.
The only vows exchanged were between our bodies; between our souls.
But she was mine and I was hers until I ruined it. I have to believe that every day, every step, every breath brings me closer to making things right.
To making her mine again.

KAI
I’ve seen promises broken.
I know love makes no guarantees.
But things were different for Rhys and me, until he lied, and I walked away. Only there’s a chain between our hearts that I can’t break. Even if I forgive him, a shadow from my past hangs over us; over this love that reaches all the way down to my soul.

Book Links: Goodreads

 

One-With-You-Sylvia-Day
One With You by Sylvia Day
Release Date: April 5, 2016

Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.

Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

The-Beast-JR-Ward
The Beast by J.R. Ward
Release Date: April 5, 2016

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from…

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Hardcover

 

The-Player-Kresley-Cole
The Player by Kresley Cole
Release Date: April 12, 2016

A madman with a shadowed past . . .
In Las Vegas, Sin City, Dmitri Sevastyan finds her, Victoria Valentine–sexy, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. Obsession takes root deep inside him. Despite a history tainted with violation and betrayal, he will stop at nothing to possess her.

A grifter with nothing to lose . . .
Descended from a long line of con artists, twenty-four-year-old Victoria, a.k.a. Vice, needs the score of a lifetime to keep her loved ones safe. She sets her sights on gorgeous and rich Dmitri Sevastyan. Even as the irresistible Russian toys with her body and mind, he tempts her heart.

Love is the ultimate wild card.
When Vice and her associates maneuver Dmitri into a hasty Vegas wedding, he refuses to protect himself with a prenup, trusting her with all that he has. But can she trust him? As secrets unfold, the newlyweds share days of doubts and nights of the wickedest pleasures. Yet once Vice discovers her husband’s past, will she stay to fight for her marriage or cut her losses and run?

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

ThePlayerandthePixie

The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid
Release Date: April 12, 2016

How can someone so smokin’ hot be so bad in bed? I mean, Sean Cassidy is absolute rubbish. RUBBISH. He is the epitome of walking, talking false advertising and I want a refund! Plus he’s an arsehole. So… what is wrong with me that I can’t stop thinking about him?

THE PIXIE
Lucy Fitzpatrick doesn’t like rugby.
As the little sister of Ireland’s most infamous rugby player, Lucy can’t seem to escape the championship-sized shadow cast by her big brother, or her mother’s frequent attempts to micromanage her future. Her rainbow hair is as free-spirited as her quest for inner peace, yet overbearing expectations keep bringing her down. And when she’s down, her compulsive little problem lands her in seriously big trouble.

THE PLAYER
Sean Cassidy is a cold-hearted brute… or so he’s been told. Frequently. By everyone.
His blonde locks, baby blues, and rock hard bod make ladies the world over drool with desire. As the rugby world’s second most infamous player, he should be basking in his success. But Sean has never been content settling for second place, and his frequent confrontations with Lucy’s big brother leave him cold. And when he’s cold, his compulsive little problem lands him in the lap of Lucy Fitzpatrick.

THE PLAN
Sean has a problem only Lucy can solve. Lucy has a problem only Sean can fix. The solution seems obvious: you scratch my back, and I’ll bail you out of jail. But when their business arrangement unexpectedly leaves Sean scorching hot and Lucy on the precipice of inner peace, can they convince the world—and Lucy’s big brother in particular—that this is the real deal?

Either way, both the Player and the Pixie are about to teach each other some pretty monumental lessons about family, life, but most importantly, love.

Book Links: Goodreads

 

Dirty-Secret-JKenner

Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner
Release Date: April 19, 2016

It was wrong for us to be together, but it was even harder to be apart.

The memory of Dallas Sykes burns inside of me.

Everyone knows him as a notorious playboy, a man for whom women and money are no object. But to me, he’s still the one man I desperately crave—yet the one I can never have.

Dallas knows me better than anyone else. We bear the same scars, the same darkness in our past. I thought I could move on by staying away, but now that we’re drawn together once more, I can’t fight the force of our attraction or the temptation to make him mine.

We’ve tried to maintain control, not letting ourselves give in to desire. And for so long we’ve told ourselves no—but now it’s finally time to say yes.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 3, 2016

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Hardcover

 

Charged by Jay Crownover

Charged by Jay Crownover
Release Date: May 24, 2016

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

Book Links: Kindle (US) | Paperback

 

Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett

Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: May 24, 2016

Sela Halstead lost her innocence in a way that no sixteen-year-old should ever have to endure. She’s spent years trying to forget that night even while wondering about the identities of the monsters who brutalized her—until a telltale tattoo flashes across Sela’s TV screen. The incriminating ink belongs to Jonathon Townsend, the millionaire founder of The Sugar Bowl, a website that matches rich older men with impressionable young women. Obsessed with revenge, Sela infiltrates Townsend’s world, only to come face-to-face with a tantalizing complication: Beckett North, his charismatic business partner.

The tech mastermind behind The Sugar Bowl, Beck always gets what he wants, in business and in bed. And yet, for a man who’s done every dirty thing imaginable, there’s something about the naïve, fresh-faced Sela that sparks his hottest fantasies. Because with her, it’s not just about sex. Beck opens up to her in ways he never has with other girls. So why does he get the feeling that she’s hiding something? In a world of pleasure and power, the shocking truth could turn them against each other—or bind them forever.

Book Links: Kindle (US)

 

Grin and Beard It
Grin & Beard It by Penny Ried
Release Date: May 2016 (TBD)

Sienna Foster is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

Book Links: Goodreads

 


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RomanceRanting

 

My journey to being an Indie reader is a bit convoluted.  I’ve always been a big reader.  When the hubs and I struggled financially, we never had internet or cable, so I practically lived at the library or at yard sales searching for cheap paperbacks that typically already had the covers ripped off.  I’m not one of those readers who hadn’t read since high school but picked up FSOG and fell in love with reading…  reading and I have always been the very best of friends.

But one of my girlfriends is one of those people that I mentioned above.  She read Fifty, like fifty times, and then searched the web for what to read next, and the rest is history.  She became a fucking savage and somehow fell into the Indie world.

I remember sitting with her at work in between saving lives and squishing boobs and her being like, “You should really download the Kindle app.  E-books are legit.”  And all I could do is snarl and judge her a shit ton little.  I’d respond, “Um, no thank you.  I prefer real books that I can hold.”

And then my girl would be like, “Leah, you should really try a couple Indie authors.  You don’t know what you’re missing!”   And I would smile politely and say, “I’ve never had hemorrhoids either, but that doesn’t mean I need to experience them to know that I won’t like them.”  Because I totally thought Indie authors were trad-pub rejects, or bored housewives who needed to get a real hobby.  (Yes, I was a judgmental whore. But just hear me out.)

And this went back and forth for a while until she went a little ghetto on my ass and threatened bodily harm if I wouldn’t just try one.  (That’s a little over exaggerated, but you’re picking up what I’m throwing down.  I already said she turned savage, and I meant it.)   So, I begrudgingly downloaded the Kindle app and downloaded a book that all of her crazy book friends were loving, My Side by Tara Brown.

I read it.  And I hated it, just like I knew I would.

I seriously hated it.  So I went over to Amazon to check out the author’s profile and prove to my friend that the author was probably a schmuck and that’s where things started to turn for me.  Tara’s  ‘About Me’ on Amazon is different than it used to be, but I remember reading something like, “I won’t talk about myself in the third person because that’s weird” and LOLing because it really is weird.  And her whole spiel had me rolling in my chair, because that bitch is funny (she’s also one of my most favorite humans now, ever.)  So then I went to her website and read her blog posts for hours and kind of turned into a weird stalker.

So of course in my total stalker-haze I downloaded one of her paranormal stories (without telling anyone, of course.  It was a total special-ops moment because this bitch hates to admit she’s wrong) and I read the entire series in a matter of days.  I loved it.  Her writing was brilliant and I had never read anything like it ever.

I ended up reading every single book that woman had self-published, and when I read her BORN series, I was hooked.  If an Indie author could write a story that completely and utterly gutted me like that did, I was hooked.  I was a fan. I was a believer.

I made a second Facebook account just for book shit, because that entire world intrigued me.  Authors were on Facebook?  There were other people in the world who loved reading as much as me?  There were giveaways for books and free shit?  I could message an author and they would actually respond?   My mind was fucking blown.

I stopped reading paperbacks for the most part because being able to read at night when I’m laying in bed listening to my husband snore cuddling with my husband without a light on was a huge game changer.  And I’ll totally admit now that e-books have made me weak as fuck, because when I actually do have to hold up a paperback, I swear my wrists get so sore and I actually contemplate wearing wrist braces.

I still read traditionally published books, but 95% of what I read is Indie… and I truly believe that the quality of those books sometimes far surpass some that get published.  I mean seriously, some of those Indie authors are life-changing, soul-crushing, heart-stopping geniuses!

And I love the Indie world.  The authors, the bloggers, the readers.  Some of my closest and bestest friends are my internet book friends that no one in my real life really understand, but that’s okay, they’re my people.  My spirit animals.

And having relationships with authors is pretty fucking rad.  Getting to ask them questions, tell them how they made me ugly cry, getting to meet them at events – it’s a new way of life.  Indie authors have to be some of the hardest working, most generous human beings on this planet, and I feel pretty damn lucky to call them my friends.

So yeah.  I went from a judgmental, paperback self-righteous whoreface to being a loud and proud Indie reader.  And I’m pretty sure I’m here to stay.  🙂

I’d love to hear how you found yourself immersed in this crazy, awesome Indie world!  Let me hear your story!

 

 


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RomanceRanting

It was brought to our attention that we bitch a lot. Okay, that’s not really true. It was suggested that we come up with a post about what we love about Romance. Surprisingly (not really), it’s so much easier to come up with a list of the things you hate.  It’s pretty easy to gloss over all the things we love. But we’re not quitters (unless it’s a diet) so we’re going to give it a try!

 

Top Romance Moments That Make Us Swoony Bitches:

The Face Cup – You know that moment. The one where he holds her face as if it’s the most precious thing in the world. Because it damn well is, and he knows it and he wants to keep it. Protect it. Own it. And then he kisses her and it’s the swooniest of all swoony moments. Ever. THAT moment melts us. Every. Damn. Time.

Choking – What? When did we ever say we were hopeless romantics looking for the next Mr. Darcy type? Give us a Naz or a Javier or a Caleb. Someone that plays a little dirty. We’re not saying choke a bitch out. But a little pressure on the neck during sex is a damn fine thing.

Brow to Brow –  This one gets used in a couple of different ways. Sometimes it’s so adorable. Two people with their heads together, just breathing each other in, in love. Other times it has a darker feel. It’s a struggle for them to be near each other, to fight the feelings they have for the other person. Either way, we love it. Give us a well placed forehead to forehead and watch your rating rise.

Anal – We know y’all are thinking this was Ali’s contribution, but it was not! That girl does like a little surprise anal in books, though.  Surprise anal is NOT to be confused with accidental anal. Two totally different things! Accidental anal is not acceptable. Prep is absolutely required with this procedure. Always. ALWAYS. But when done right, all us Black Heart ladies like some butt sex.

Forehead Kiss – Does this even need commentary? I think not. If you need explanation as to why this is a swoony moment – YOU ARE READING ROMANCE WRONG.

Father Figure – There is nothing sexier than a great dad.  Or a non-dad with great dad potential. Grab the hose and point it in our direction when this shit pops up in a Romance…because it makes us smoking hot.

DP – This might be an odd choice, yes? A two sausage, one taco meal may not be the typical order for a romantic dinner. Though, we’ve read a few double penetration scenes that in no way took away from the overall romance.  Again, it just has to be done right.  We don’t like a girl who carelessly bed hops from one guy to another with no care as to their feelings or the consequences that may come.  We are, however, all for a couple secure enough in their relationship to let another in on occasion for some kinky fun.

Conversation -Let’s face it, you can’t build a meaningful relationship without dialogue. Sadly, there are books where this is lacking.  When there is great, fun, meaty dialogue between the main characters, it’s much easier to fall in love right along with them.  And who doesn’t like falling in love with people falling in love?

Wall Sex – It takes some coordination and certain size parameters to accomplish great wall sex in ‘real life’.  It’s not as easy at it seems. But we can all get hammered like a nail to the wall in a steamy romance. Yes, please!

The Jerk of Our Dreams – There is just something about the guy that pushes all your buttons (yeah, even that button). They get you all fired up in both the best and worst ways. But the angry sex is so good it makes up for everything. 😉

Alphas in Disguise – Not all Alpha males are created equal. There are some males that masquerade as a beta, and then BAM! he does or says something totally Alphaliscious (whether in bed or publicly), and you’re left wondering where the hell this side of him came from. It totally blindsides you, surprises you, but also has you wanting more of that hungry Alpha.

 

These are only a few of our favorite romance moments. Do you agree with some of them? Tell us what some of your favorite romance moments are.



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Romance Ranting: Heroines I Want To Shank

RomanceRanting

 

Heroines.  Those bitches will make or break a story.  

A good heroine makes you fall in love and become invested in their story.  She will become your best friend, and you will be her biggest supporter when she gets accidentally knocked up on that one night stand we all see coming a mile away.  Her crazy antics make you laugh and shake your head in jest, and when she cries you’ll gracefully shed a tear or twelve with her, because that’s what friends are for.

But a bad heroine?  A bad heroine will make a reader feel so stabby that you literally dream about cutting the bitch.  You’ll wish you weren’t reading an e-book and that you had the physical hardback in your hands just so you could slam the pages together and pretend it was her face that you were promptly smashing shut.

Or, well, maybe the excessive violence is just me… but we can all agree that a bad heroine can cause a no-fucks-given DNF.

I know, I know – you’re just dying to ask, “Gee whiz, Leah.   What makes you want to shank a fictional bitch?”   And that’s a valid question.  No, that’s a great question.  So I’ve decided to compile a list of things that make me commit delusional character murder.

Top 5 Worst Heroine Traits That Make Me Feel Stabby:

1 – The Ever-Forgetful Waif.  You know who I’m talking about.  The heroine that is always commenting on how she just so happened to forget to eat all damn day, because that’s normal.  Stab.  It’s the end of the day and she mentions she can’t remember the last time she actually ate something.  Stab.

I mean, I get it.  There’s some days where I’m so busy doing…whatever it is I do when I’m busy… that I forget to eat for a solid thirty minutes.  And I know some people can hold out for even longer.  But when the heroine is forgetting to eat the whole damn story, where it actually becomes a storyline?  You’re a grown woman.  Eat some Cheetos.  (I highly recommend the spicy ones.  Just trust me.)

2 – The Debbie Self-Downer.  Let me start by saying that I love broken characters.  I actually prefer them.  Ain’t nobody got time to ready about a perfect character with a perfect life.  Boooooring.  BUT – the character that’s confidence is soooo lacking that she’s practically pathetic?  Blech.

You can be broken, yet strong.  You can have insecurities, yet have strength.  But when the character spends the entire book doubting why the hot sexy alpha is after her because she’s ugly or gross or unloveable?  Fuck off.  You have a vagina and he wants it, so why are you staring in the mirror all sad and lonely?  Head up, tits out.  Own that shit.

3 – The Toddler Wearing Grown Up Clothes.  I go from calm to I’m-going-to-shank-a-bitch in 2.2 seconds when the main character is a petulant, whiny child.  If the only things that come out of her mouth is cry baby whining, I can’t.  I just can’t.  Give that bitch a pacifier and shut her up.

So you have Daddy issues, I get it.  But are you a stripper who’s addicted to coke?  No?  Well then, he didn’t fuck you up too badly.
Your high school sweetheart that you were certain would love you forever broke up with you before you started college and now you can’t trust any man?  Well, I bet he works as a car salesman and is 40 lbs over weight.  So, you should be thanking him for dumping you.

Put on those big girl chonies and move on.

4 – The Finicky Bitch.  So, there are a few levels of being finicky.  I, myself, am a self-proclaimed finicky bitch.  But, I am not the main character of a romance novel, so I can get away with it.  But do I want to read about a woman who can’t make up her fucking mind?  NO.

For the love of all things holy, you aren’t deciding between turkey or ham…  you more than likely have a hot, sexy, hung alpha who wants to get into your pants.  Why must you constantly question if he loves your or not?  He loves me, he loves me not.  He loves me, he loves me not.  He loves me….  *shank*

Seriously.  Are you getting oral?  Anal?   Multiple orgasms?  …yes?  Then he fucking loves you so knock. it. off.  No more back and forth shit where you can’t make up your mind.    “Oh no!  I can’t fall in love with him, I swore off men!  But I think I love him.  But that can’t be!  Oh Heavens!”   *stab*

5  – Well.  Fuck.  I just stared at this screen for far too long.  I was trying really hard to get five, because a list with four reasons makes me feel a little itchy…but alas, even my ranting has its limits!

Alright, those are my top four Heroine no-no’s.  Do you guys have any character traits that you just can’t stand?


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