Reader’s Block!

I believe it’s about time I explain why I have been M.I.A.

Have you ever loved something so much that you just needed a break?

I have read countless books since I started this blog and I loved every minute of it. But in 2015, that all changed.

To be more specific, in 2013 I read approximately 200 books and followed that up in 2014 with another 300 (thank you GoodReads for your Reading Challenges). I prided myself on the number of books I would read in a day, week, month, or year. To some in the book community, these aren’t ridiculous numbers. In the eyes of my friends and family, they thought I was insane.

I loved the time I got to spend in all those different worlds. It felt like home to me. It was my favourite hobby. But something slowly started to dwindle; my love for reading started to subside. It was no longer my favourite hobby.

What was the catalyst to my demise? I don’t know. But I do know that I wish it didn’t happen.

I’ve tried reading. I get excited for book releases; only to be disappointed when I start a book and within a few chapters I need to stop. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story and everything to do with me. And these books that I haven’t been able to complete are piling up beside my bed because I desperately want to read them; my heart just isn’t in it at the moment.

I know that I’m not the only person that has this problem; I compare it to an author’s version of writer’s block. I honestly believe that I have ‘reader’s block’.

The only thing I can hope is that someday – sooner rather than later – I’ll find that love for reading again. I’m just riding it out till the day I can willing pick up a novel of my choice and just enjoy it.

– Emily-Jane.

Blog Tour: That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries #9) by Mariah Stewart

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Title: That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries #9)
Author: 
Mariah Stewart
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
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Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books that advocate transparency in every relationship.  But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie.  Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay.  Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.

The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life.  His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding.  But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open.

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“[THAT CHESAPEAKE SUMMER] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and small town kinship… Stewart offers a strong statement on thepower of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.” —Publishers Weekly

 “A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.” RT Reviews

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About the Author:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at www.mariahstewart.com, and like her on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart.

– Emily-Jane.

ARC Review: When You’re Back (Rosemary Beach #12) by Abbi Glines

when-youre-back-9781471122361_hrThe future is bright for Reese Ellis. She has Mase Colt-Manning, the man of her dreams, and a family she didn’t know existed until her long-lost father arrived on her doorstep in Rosemary Beach. After growing up with a cruel mother and abusive stepfather, Reese is eager to get to know the caring and charming man who wants to be a part of her life. Everything is finally falling into place.

While Reese is visiting her new family in Chicago, Mase spends time with his “cousin,” Aida, who has worshipped him since childhood. Though they’re unrelated by blood, Mase and Aida have been raised to think of each other as family. But when Reese returns, she can tell something isn’t quite right with Aida, who clearly resents Reese and excels at manipulative little games. And though Mase is unsuspecting, Reese knows Aida doesn’t love him like a cousin should…

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Title: When You’re Back (Rosemary Beach #12)
Author: 
Abbi Glines
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
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☆☆☆☆½

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.**

I can’t even begin to describe how big of an addict I am of everything that Abbi Glines publishes. The evidence is in my book shelf dedicated just to her work; but even that isn’t enough to demonstrate just how much of an effect that the woman behind the pages and the heartfelt stories has had of my life. I know that I can open up an Abbi Glines novel and instantly fall in love.

I’m not ashamed to announce that I actually waited to have When You’re Back before even contemplating starting When I’m Gone because I wanted to get the full effect of Mase and Reese’s relationship (plus I’m the world’s most impatient person and waiting in between books would have killed me). By gosh was I glad that I did wait. I binge read both books in the matter of hours because I was completely enthralled with their story. I laughed, I cried and I swooned all over this book.

Mase and Reese faced challenges in When I’m Gone but they are on a completely different level to the obstacles they face in this novel. From jealousy to trust and insecurities, we get to experience the drama and angst that contributes to the lives of these characters. With every book that Abbi has released, I have cried either a little or a lot. I love that I get so emotional over these characters and their stories because it just proves that the calibre of Abbi’s work is second to none. She will always be my favourite author, without a doubt. I judge a book on the impact that it has on my emotions, this book conquered every test. The only criticism I have is that When I’m Gone made me swoon just a little bit more and I seemed to enjoy it a lot more. I can’t fault this book any other way though, it was just as incredible as everything else that Abbi has published.

When You’re Back is just another testament to the incredible quality of storytelling that Abbi is known for. I love that she not only takes you on a journey through the lives of her characters but she brings every friend, family member and nemesis along for the ride. I honestly can’t believe that we have met so many incredible couples just from Abbi’s imagination and it excites me that it looks like she won’t be stopping with the trend anytime soon. I cannot wait to read her future projects, whether it be her next release Until Friday Night, the next instalments in the Rosemary Beach series and maybe a little something that has to do with that cliffhanger at the very end of Until The End (I know we all want that to happen ASAP)! ;)

– Emily-Jane.

ARC Review: Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4) by Christina Lauren

Beautiful-SecretAN UPTIGHT BRITISH EXECUTIVE.
AN ADVENTUROUS AMERICAN NEWBIE.
A SEXY INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL IN THE MAKING.

When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.

Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?

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Title: Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4)
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: April 14th, 2015
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☆☆☆☆

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.**

My gosh. I feel like I’ve just gone on an extreme roller coaster of emotions. I don’t know how they do it but Christina & Lauren always take me down a road of feels with every book they release. It’s an even more significant experience because this book brings together the characters from both the Beautiful Bastard and the Wild Seasons series in an incredible hybrid novel. I’m a huge fan of both series and keep a space in my heart for all the characters.

Ruby Miller has been crushing on Niall Stella since the minute she laid eyes on him and yet he has no idea she even exists. When fate steps in, the pair are set to travel from London to New York together for a month. On the flight, Ruby really brings attention to herself in the most humorous ways, making sure Niall finally notices her even though it may be entirely embarrassing on her behalf. There were points in this book where I was a giggling mess because of the things that Ruby does or says.

While reading this novel I laughed, I cried, I had a smile on my face that then became a frown; all being complete identical reactions to the emotions that Ruby and Niall were feeling. I was blatantly surprised at how much I came to love these characters because of my emotional attachment to those in the previous novels. Niall was a breath of fresh air because of his subdued personality. He is the complete opposite to Bennett, Max and Will but holds his own in the group of our favourite book boyfriends.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading as long as Christina and Lauren are releasing books. I know that no matter what, the books that they publish are everything that I’ll enjoy and love. I cannot wait to see what they give us next when the third Wild Seasons book is released.

‘I wanted to look at her and have a deeper sense that she was mine.’

– Emily-Jane.

ARC Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

confess1Auburn Reed has lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

In her magnificent and exceptional style, Colleen Hoover delivers once again a deeply moving story about how true love and family are ties that can never be broken.

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Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
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☆☆☆☆

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.**

With any Colleen Hoover release, I feel like I instantly sprint for the book once it becomes available because I know I can rely on her to give me a story that I know I will enjoy. There’s always so much hype around her novels and you never really know what to expect once you embark on each individual journey. Not only do you never know what she has up her sleeve, but you can expect that Colleen is going to take you on a roller coaster ride that no other author could possibly create. She has her own way of writing and story telling that is unique and identifiable to just her. Confess is one of these special Hoover’d works of art – both literally and figuratively.

Confess starts at an emotional time in Auburn Reed’s life when she loses part of her heart in an unfortunate circumstance. Colleen really hits you in the feels in the prologue but soon we’re riding along with Auburn as she starts anew in Dallas a few years later and is hunting for a second job. It’s here where she meets the ever intriguing Owen Mason Gentry (O.M.G) who is in desperate need for Auburn to assist him during one of his monthly art shows. From the second that Owen enters into Auburn’s life, I needed to know more and from this point on I was completely dedicated to reading ever single word without stopping. You watch as their lives start to entwine, crack, crumble and rebuild. Though it’s not the actions of Auburn and Owen but outlying sources that affect every single aspect of their relationship. There’s more twist and turns in this novel than a hedge maze!

‘Some secrets should never turn into confessions. I know that better than anyone.’

Without giving away too much, I love the concept that Colleen used in the direction she took the story. From the reasoning behind Owen’s paintings, to the actual art being displayed in the novel which is painted by the extremely talented Danny O’Connor. I spent copious amounts of time just staring at ever single painting in the book and then ventured to his website where I fell in love even more. Not only does Colleen give you the story that you want, but she provides you with a secondary source of sense that contributes to the emotional journey. Previously she has used music and now it’s visual displays of art. It excites me to think what she could possibly do next.

“I want you to remember how it feels when I look at you.”

I think the only thing I can fault in this novel is the fact that it’s a standalone and it left me wanting more. I personally feel like Auburn and Owen’s story didn’t end in the sense that it gave me closure. I became so invested in their relationship that I’m intrigued about their future; but I trust Colleen and I know that she ended the book exactly as she needed to. This book still cements the fact that Colleen is a literary genius and one day I hope to pick her brain cause she absolutely blows my mind with every single word that she writes.

“I’ll love you forever. Even when I shouldn’t.”

– Emily-Jane.

Blog Tour, ARC Review & Giveaway: Where The Road Takes Me by Jay McLean

Where The Road Takes MeChloe has one plan for the future, and one plan only: the road. She’s made a promise to herself: don’t let anyone in, and don’t let anyone love her. She’s learned the hard way what happens if she breaks her rules. So she’s focused on being invisible and waiting until she can set out on the road—her dream of freedom, at least for a little while.

Blake Hunter is a basketball star who has it all—everything about him looks perfect to those on the other side of his protective walls. He can’t let anyone see the shattered pieces behind the flawless facade or else all his hopes and dreams will disappear.

One dark night throws Chloe and Blake together, changing everything for Blake. For Chloe, nothing changes: she has the road, and she’s focused on it. But when the so-called perfect boy starts to notice the invisible girl, they discover that sometimes with love, no one knows where the road may lead.

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Title: Where The Road Takes Me
Author: Jay McLean
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
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☆☆☆☆

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.**

Where the Road Takes Me is a coming of age story about Blake and Chloe. The two characters cross paths under distressful circumstances when Blake finds Chloe in an unfortunate and unwarranted position. Blake instantly sparks up an interest in Chloe after not noticing her and yet attending the same school and classes. Chloe is more hesitant to pursue a friendship with Blake for her own reasons but can’t help but feel drawn to him.

All Chloe wants to do once she finishes school is to hit the road alone and never look back. While Blake has to decide between his love for basketball and his fathers expectation of him serving his country. No matter what he chooses, Blake is determined to make Chloe apart of his plans. He’s not willing to lose her but Chloe knows what she wants and won’t let anything stand in the way – unless there’s something worth fighting for. Blake could be that change that she has needed.

Chloe and Blake may have been the main characters but it is really the secondary characters that really made the story for me. It’s hard to pinpoint which of these characters was a complete stand-out but it probably would come down to a tie between Josh and Blake’s mother. Josh was just utterly hilarious and I thought his character really complemented the friendship and relationship between Blake and Chloe. His personality brought out the laughter and the tears for me. He’s a struggling single father and yet he is an extremely strong human being that deserves so much praise and acknowledgement. This is slightly opposite case for Blake’s mother as she has been MIA in his life for some time but thanks to Chloe, Blake’s relationship with his mother soon starts to mend. I love the fact the she turned her life around and rebuilds her connection with her son. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for him and I commend her for being strong, fighting addiction and loving her son.

In all honestly, I really wasn’t a fan of the choices Chloe made before meeting Blake. Without giving away spoilers, she was blinded by her own grief to realise that she has a family that loves her and are worth fighting for at all costs. It was frustrating at times to see how stubborn she was and yet it’s also understandable under the circumstances. Personally I’d follow a completely different path where family and friends were the first people I would lean on. It all felt a little selfish on her behalf. Thankfully Blake is a persistent guy and Chloe can’t help but hold onto their spark indefinitely.

I love everything that Jay writes and this book was no exception. It was hard for me to venture out of her More series because I love it beyond repair; but it’s great to see her add more to her collection of published works. This book was very different yet still upholds the signature elements that we’ve all come to love in Jay’s writing. I may have had some reservations about Chloe in the beginning because of her choices but was extremely won over by the entire book in the end. I look forward to reading all of Jay’s future publications.

“Regardless of all the black-letter days you might have to endure, there’s always a red one waiting for you.” 

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About the Author:

Jay McLean

Jay McLean is the author of the More Series, including More Than This, More Than Her, More Than Him and More Than Forever. She also has two standalones coming soon titled Where The Road Takes Me, and Combative.

Jay is an avid reader, writer, and most of all, procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her two little boys, or devouring some tacky reality TV show.

She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her smile, make her hurt, and make her feel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaway:

1 x $50 Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

– Emily-Jane.

ARC Review: Be My December by Rachel Brookes

Be My DecemberI knew the exact moment I’d become a ‘yes’ girl. 
December 16th, a cold winter’s night, four years ago. 
The night my innocence was stolen, the night I made the mistake of saying no—a mistake I’d never make again. 
The dream of a ‘happily ever after’ was now a locked away myth. I promised myself that I’d never return to the place of my worst nightmare, that I’d never let anyone get close, but then again, I never thought I’d meet someone like him. 
The intense, confident and beautiful Ky Crawford.

I had no plans to become someone’s Prince Charming. 
I couldn’t be. I refused to be. My plan was simple—do whatever it takes to correct my biggest mistake, my one regret that now controlled my life. 
I was on track. I had plans, but then everything changed when I saw her—the girl in the red jacket, the girl who I was told couldn’t say no. 
The reserved yet stunning Eden Rivers.

A girl who can’t say no.
A guy who craves redemption.
A chance encounter?

It all comes down to this.
One question.
One month.

Be My December?

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Title: Be My December
Author: Rachel Brookes
Release Date: August 28th, 2014
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☆☆☆☆½

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.**

I met Rachel earlier in the year at a book signing and from there I haven’t been able to stop reading her books. I went out on a limb to buy her Breathe Series at the event and I was completely blown away. Now she has written this incredible new book that is just a bundle of pure emotions.

Eden is fumbling through life. After having to go through the unimaginable, she has become a ‘yes’ girl. Thinking that saying no will only make bad things happen every time that she says it, Eden is determined to go through life saying yes so that she will not endure the pain of saying no again. She vowed to never set foot in New York City again, but when the time comes to return, she can’t say no. When she meets Ky, Eden feels something that she hasn’t ever felt before. He not only sets her skin on fire with their attraction towards each other, he also makes her feel safe.

Ky is determined to teach Eden that saying no sometimes can be perfectly safe. He wants Eden for December so that he can show her that she can be herself again. But Ky is hiding something from Eden. Can their close-knit relationship be torn apart when the truth is revealed?

Be My December is one of those books that you just don’t know what to expect when you first start reading. I was astounded by the heart and should that Rachel has contributed to this story. Once you start, you will not stop until you’ve finished the final page. It’s an emotional ride but it is one worth taking.

Be My December has cemented my infatuation with Rachel Brookes and now I’m excited to see what she publishes next!

“The way you are looking at me now, gives me the peace I have been looking for the past four years.”

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About the Author:

Rachel Brookes is from a coastal town on the east coast of Australia where beaches, kangaroos and surfers roam free. She writes angsty love stories with a pinch of craziness, a dash of drama, a cup of romance and a spoonful of sexiness… oh and the main ingredient hot guys.

Rachel sometimes forgets to eat, sometimes forgets to sleep and sometimes can’t remember the last time she cleaned her apartment but that’s because she is in a long term relationship with her laptop and is constantly writing.
When she does step away from her laptop she can be found taking too many photos, making scrumptious cocktails, laughing at Adam Sandler movies and spending her time with her amazing family and friends.

Her books currently available include The Breathe Series and Be My December.

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– Emily-Jane.

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