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Fav Reads: March - July 2018

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So, as you may have noticed, it's been awhile! I normally like to post these lists every month, but this year has been crazy. So crazy and busy, my site has been down for a few months as I redesigned it, and really just life. But I'm back, yay! If you've read any of my previous posts, you also know I usually write micro reviews for the books I loved each month. You won't find that here this month, and I'm honestly not sure if I will go back to that. Time will tell. 
With all that being said, I read a lot of fantastic books while I was away and I want to share my favorites with you here! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Anything I'm missing out on? Let's discuss in the comments!!!

March

Simon vs The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Tempt the Boss by Natasha Madison

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

April

Unconventional by Isabel Love

Unforgivable  by Isabel Love

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

The Hot Shot by Kristin Callihan

Bad Intentions by Charleigh Rose

The Eagle by Jillian Dodd

The Society by Jillian Dodd

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

May

Welcome to the Dark Side by Giana Darling

Sombra by Leslie McAdam

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Piece of Work by Staci Hart

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

June

The Bombshell Effect by Karla Sorensen

Snapshot by Rebel Farris

July

Perfect Vision by L.M. Halloran

Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie

 

 

 

Fav Reads: February 2018

I'm a mess, y'all! These five books here are probably the only ones I read in all of February because: edits + rewrites + a deadline months overdue + mom shit + just fucking life, man = a self-imposed ban on reading until I GET THIS SHIT DONE. So yeah, that means I read very little and haven't read anything since. BUT... those five books I did read? Love them. LOVED. THEM. They were fantastic. You should pick them up and read them (and I believe almost all of them are available in Kindle Unlimited, so if you subscribe to it, you really have zero excuses). I don't have much to say about these right now because my brain is fried, but seriously guys, these are so good!

 
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The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey

Oh, what to say about this one, other than I loved it? Seriously loved it. I enjoyed the fact that Gray decided to start Lauren and Beau's story at the beginning, in the past. They were some of my favorite chapters. Lauren is so awkwardly, adorably relatable. And that doesn't change much when we hit her adult years. I absolutely loved that about her, it made her so real and endearing. The chemistry between her and Beau was so great. The way New Orleans is described makes me want to take a trip there like yesterday.

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Dangerous Hearts / Destined Hearts by K.K. Allen

I LOVE a great rock star romance. LOVE. When that story is mixed with some suspense, burning hot bedroom scenes, and a cliffhanger that makes you want to pick up the next book immediately, I'm sold! I quite literally devoured these books in about two days. I was lucky I'm so late to the K.K. Allen/Stolen Melody duet, because I didn't have to wait at all to see where Lyric and Wolf's story was going to end. Angsty and emotional, Lyric and Wolf create beautiful music together in more ways than one. Allen took their story places I wasn't expecting, which is always a rare treat. This is the first of her work that I've read, but they won't be the last. I can't wait to devour more of her work!

Living Out Loud by Staci Hart

I haven’t read a Staci Hart novel in quite awhile, and not because I was actively avoiding them, but more so because I really need the time to sit down with her Hearts & Arrows series, so I've kind of ben waiting for that. So, anyway, it’s been awhile, and I decided, fuck it, I can't hold out any longer, I'm just gonna go ahead with Living Out Loud and come back to H&A when I have the time. So glad I did! Living Out Loud reminded me of all the reasons why she’s one of my favorite writer’s. Annie and Greg’s story is sweet, beautiful, not super high on the angst, but still delivers so many feels and emotions. Their dynamic, the path of their relationship, everything was just perfect the way it was. Get ready for a bit of a slow burn, but trust me, it's so worth the wait. I've never read a Jane Austen book (I know, I know), but Hart's adaptations of them make me want to change that!

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

I know I mentioned last month that I don't read Historical Romance as much as I used to. After moving on to Contemporary and New Adult Romance, I found it really hard to go back to HR. After reading and loving one of Julia Quinn’s books last month, and having Lord of Scoundrels highly recommended, I decided to jump into another one. I was not disappointed. Far from it. This might be my favorite HR ever and it’s definitely on my list of all time favs. This book is so witty, charming, and sexy. It is so incredibly fresh and modern that it’s hard to believe this book was written over 20 years ago. The banter between Jessica and Dain is so on point I had a smile on my face for much of the book. The characters are so different than what I’m used to with this genre, and it made for a fantastic read. If you are on the fence with this one or are new to Historical Romance, just make the leap. You won’t be disappointed.

My Favorite Romantic Movies: Part 2

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It's Valentine's Day, which means I'm back with a second edition/part of my favorite romantic movies list (you can find my first list here). I know I say that I'm not big into romantic movies, and I'm really not. If you gave me a list of 10 romance films, I'm guessing I probably haven't even seen half of them. What I find funny is that despite this not being one of my favorite genres, I definitely have enough movies that I classify as love stories that I fell for to do more than one list. Don't be surprised if there is a part 3 next year. And now to more favorites, in no particular order:

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The Cutting Edge

Who doesn't love a good enemies to lovers story? The Cutting Edge is the ultimate in that. The story of a figure skater with one last shot at Olympic gold on the hunt for a new partner to get her there. In comes a washed up hockey player with nothing left to lose. The level of hate that rolls off of both the characters is palpable, and it's no surprise the minute that animosity gets redirected to passion. With the 2018 Winter Olympics going on right now, this is the perfect movie to accompany viewing the events. 

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Spring

This might be the most untraditional movie on this list. A young, American man runs off to Italy to get some space from the shit show his life has become. Soon after arriving he meets a woman that he shares an instant attraction with. Sounds like the start of a promising romantic drama, right? Well, yes and no. He soon begins to realize something is off with his new romantic interest, and that's where Spring gets really interesting. Some would classify this as more of a horror movie than a romance, but I would disagree. Don't get me wrong, it is a horror film, but more in the vein of Lovecraft than in jump scares and creepiness. It is also very much about the relationship of the main characters. Spring is so, so beautiful and unique. I found myself in love with everything about this movie by the films end.

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Love Jones

Oh, Love Jones. I saw this movie in theaters when I was 15, and it was love at first sight. For a young biracial girl, this movie conveyed a life and love that resonated with me, something that I could envision for my own future. It really was a revelation for me. And then there was the passion, the sexiness of it all, the art, the poetry, the conversations, the words, the music. That damn soundtrack was life and I listened to it on repeat for months. The movie also introduced me to John Coltrane, something I will always be grateful for.

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Timer

Imagine living in a world where you can get outfitted with a device that lets you know the exact moment you will meet your soulmate. Would you do it? How would it affect your life? This is the premise for Timer. This little independent film is so full of emotion, fun, and discussion-worthy ideas. I enjoyed this movie so much I promptly had a few friends watch it. I found this movie so refreshingly different, and it's seriously worth the time.

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Simply Irresistible

This movie is one of my all-time guilty pleasures. A young woman is on the verge of losing the restaurant her recently deceased mother started and loved. Through a strange twist of magic, she becomes a great cook, and hijinks ensue. While not a high budget film or even an award caliber one, it is a really fun, sweet movie. I love the dynamic and banter between the characters, and I can't help falling in love with the movie as the main characters fall in love. For me, this movie is simply irresistible (see what I did there?)!

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A Very Long Engagement

This movie is so close to perfection for me. A young woman is told that her fiancee has been killed during World War I, and while everyone tells her to move on, deep inside she believes that he is still alive and sets out on an adventure to find the truth. Alternating between her investigation and flashbacks, A Very Long Engagement is a funny, wonderful, tragic, absolutely stunning film. It's beautiful to look at and is so emotionally moving. Imagine feeling a love so deeply that you know in your bones that the soul of your love has not yet left this earth. So, so gorgeaous. 

My Favorite Reads of 2017

So, I'm a little late with this list, but man 2018 has been a little crazy so far! And while most of us are in the full swing of a new year, I'm still looking back, fondly, at the books I read and loved last year. Let me tell ya, I loved a lot. I'm talking so many books that it was a huge struggle to get my list down to 27 standalones, 3 duets, and 5 series! It feels like every year I find more and more amazing books. The talent out there is crazy, y'all!

So here is the list of my favorite reads of 2017. The books listed didn't all come out in 2017, they were just books I read for the first time in 2017. Also, In order to save time and space, I decided not to write my thoughts on each book, but I have linked each listing to the post it originally appeared on that does have my thoughts, if you're interested. Also, just a quick note: I have broken things up by standalones, duets, and series. There will be some books that appear on the standalone list that are part of a series. Those books can be read as standalones. There are books that appear on my duets list that might have one or two other books in the series, but I felt like you couldn't read one of these without reading the other, so they felt more like a duet to me. Just felt like I should disclose that from the start!

If you've read any of these books, I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss in the comments! These are in no particular order and my hope, as always, is that you might find a new book or author that you love too! 

And, in no particular order:

STANDALONE NOVELS

DUETS:  

SERIES:

Fav Reads: December 2017

I almost considered not doing a December list and just compiling those favorites into my big 2017 list, but I didn't think it was fair for December or those books to get the shaft. So here I am to give glory to the amazing things I read this month. And seriously, so much good stuff. I know I usually have more of a lead-in to these lists, but what the hell, I think I'm just going to jump right in! In no particular order:

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When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and I still don't have words for it. First off, this woman can write. Her words draw me right in and I end up getting completely lost in her stories and devour them quickly. When Life Happened is no different. I can't say much about this one without giving a lot away, and if you've read my posts before, you know that's not how I roll. What I will say is that there was a point in this story that stole my breath. Seriously. I had to set my kindle aside and just live in my feelings for a bit. There are times where you just have to trust an author to get you through it, and if you reach that point with this book, just trust that Jewel E. Ann will definitely get you to the other side.

Team Player Anthology by Various Authors

This is a year of anthologies for me. They were never something I was into before because I usually veer away from short stories. This year though I had the pleasure of reading a few different anthologies, and none of them disappointed me. This one might be at the top for me, though. I can't think of one story that was less than great, and so many of them left me wanting so much more, yet satisfied at the same time. If you like steamy, swoony stories and sports romances, this is the collection for you. Standouts for me were: Yard Sale by Charleigh Rose, Full Court Press by Kennedy Ryan, One Good Man by Emma Scott, The End Zone by L.J. Shen, and Back in the Game by Meghan Quinn.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Sometimes you hear a ton of hype about an author you haven't read before and you think, "there's no possible way they can live up to the hype." Most people give it a go anyway. Not me. I usually run the other way until I can't give in anymore. This book here, though? The minute I closed it I thought, "THAT'S what all the hype was about!" And it was right on. This book was so ridiculously good. The writing team behind Christina Lauren perfectly captured the excitement and angst and emotion and uncertainty of falling in love for the first time. But it's also so much more than that, so much more complex. Autoboyography is written so beautifully and authentically that I couldn't help but feel everything Tanner and Sebastian and even Autumn and Tanner's parents were feeling. It was that real and raw. This is one of those books I wish I could read for the first time all over again.

Untouchable by Isabel Love

Untouchable is a debut novel that doesn't read like one because it's so well written. It was emotional, so steamy and sexy with a bit of angst mixed in for good measure. Monica and Max had so much chemistry, the secondary characters were well-developed, and there was so much humor and emotion that I compulsively turned the pages, stayed up almost all night, and finished it in one night. It was seriously that good. The one thing that kept standing out to me above all this is how real it was. The passion and love felt authentic, and when complications arose, Love ensured we understood and felt why these issues were happening. Untouchable has me dying to read her next book.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I love a good mystery/thriller, and I love great YA Fiction, mix those two together and you get. One of Us is Lying. It did not disappoint. Five students walk into detention, one doesn't walk out. Through alternating pov's of the surviving students, you come to learn that the victim's gossip blog may have been the motivation behind his death and that each student in that room has secrets they want to keep hidden. Through the course of the novel, not only are you trying to piece everything together to see if you can figure out what really happened and why, but you also come to care about each of them too. About halfway through I had a theory worked out that proved to be partly accurate. McManus threw a twist in there that I would have never seen coming, and man was the climax and resolution satisfying.

Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

This is the first Keeland/Ward book I've read, and I loved it. Soraya and Graham were the perfect picture of opposites attract. While they never should have made sense, the sexy chemistry between them and their  hilarious dynamic made them one of my favorite fictional characters. There was a twist I didn’t see coming, and yet the resolution of the conflicts felt mature and real. This was one of those books I found to be the perfect combination of sexy, sweet, and funny. I smiled so much reading this and then couldn’t stop thinking about the characters for days after.

Fav Reads: November 2017

November was a crazy, crazy month y’all! As some of you may know, in addition to this writing thing and the mom-ing I do, I also have an online shop where I make and sell super cute crochet items. I’ve managed to avoid doing any craft shows in the five years I’ve been in business for various reason (main one being my super clingy 2.5 year old). I was invited to take part in a local show with other mom-owned small businesses and decided to take the leap. I had almost no stock, so November consisted of me crocheting my fingers off and trying to maintain my sanity. Thank God for the two seasons of Nashville I needed to catch up on and a nearly endless supply of Hallmark/Lifetime holiday movies to get me through the late nights.

Okay, so the point of all that is: all that work left me with very little time to write or read. Which made me kind of sad. But the books I did read? A-fuckin-mazing. Seriously. 

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The New Camelot series (American Queen / American Prince / American King) by Sierra Simone

I’ve grouped these books together because you can’t read one without reading the others. If you’ve read my book wrap-ups before, you probably already know that I tend to veer away from highly hyped books. Reality for me never lives up to the hype, so why disappoint myself? Well this is a case where something greatly hyped not only lived up to it but surpassed it. I only knew a few things going into this series: that it was a modern take on the King Arthur legend, that it was highly emotional, and it was super filthy. These books were all those things and so much more. I can’t and won’t say much because these need to be experienced with as little spoiled as possible and I still have trouble articulating all the things I felt reading these books. They were so well-written, so smart, and so fucking filthy (seriously the filthiest books I’ve ever read). And the heart. There is so much heart and emotion and heartbreak (yes, I even shed a few tears). It’s so rare to get a book, let alone a series, that contains all of these elements. Read these, and then feel free to reach out to me for some hair stroking and conversation when you’re done.

Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I enjoy a good rock-star romance, and Spider does not disappoint. It actually takes the rock star trope and the step-brother trope and creates a story I wasn’t expecting. This isn’t a typical rock star story; while it’s what Spider does, it’s not a huge focus of the story. The forbidden love aspect of the story goes beyond Spider and Rose being step-siblings. At the heart of this book, it’s a story of how two broken people find love and healing in each other. I loved reading their journey and that epilogue made me smile in a way few have.

Bad Habit by Charleigh Rose

Oh angsty goodness! I read Misbehaved earlier this year by Rose and absolutely loved it, it’s one of my top reads of the year. When I heard about Bad Habit I anxiously awaited its arrival, and I was not disappointed. I adore all the sexy, angsty goodness that is a usual hallmark of NA books, and Bad Habit has that in spades. As much as I liked Briar, I loved Asher. Seriously, he was not at all the stereotypical alpha asshole so prevalent in NA. After finishing this book in less than two days I’m left waiting for the follow-up books with some of the side characters. Anyone else dying to find out Dare’s story?!?

Fav Reads: May 2017

May was a crazy month for me. Between both of my daughters' birthday's this month, planning and hosting their party, a slight relapse of my health conditions (fibro and me/cfs seriously suck), and general family/life madness, I was a busy girl. So busy that it cut into my reading time. And I seriously hate when life gets in the way of my few, true pleasures, don't you? While I was only able to read about 10 books this month, I loved 6 of them, so I count that as a win overall. This really was such a fantastic month of reads for me. Have you read any of these? Loved them, hated them? Anything else you read this month that you couldn't put down? I would love to discuss in the comments.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I haven't read a really good fantasy novel in a long time; a couple years at least. Probably not since the last Mortal Instruments book. I got kind of burnt out on the genre and avoided it for awhile. This book brought me right back in. It was a slow read and a long read for me, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved getting drawn into this world that Maas created, loved getting attached to the characters. I'm invested now and I'm dying to read on and see what happens next.

Bombshell by CD Reiss

This was my second book by Reiss, and the second one that's on one of my favorite lists (Hardball was one of my top reads last year). She has a way of creating incredibly realistic, flawed characters that you can't help but fall for, and in many cases, relate to. Bombshell contains some of my favorite things in a romance: a sexy single dad, a hot movie star, a precocious and special child. Oh, and the steam in her books. Serious fire.

Bright Side by Kim Holden

I was really late to the game with this one. I was obviously living in a vacuum and hadn't heard about it until maybe six months ago. Even then, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. I get that way when I come across things that everyone seems to fervently love. I figure it will never live up to the hype, so I avoid it. But then I was in the mood for something that would gut me (because I love that shit), and this book crossed my mind, and I figured, why not? I'm glad I did. It gutted me a bit and I definitely cried (if you've never read any of my other posts, this is something that does not happen very often, it's hard to melt my cold, icy heart). So I know you're wondering, do I think it lived up to the hype? Mostly. Is it my favorite gut-wrenching, yet inspiring story? No. But I really did enjoy it, and it was definitely one of my favorite reads this month.

Ruckus by L.J. Shen

This is the third book in Shen's Sinners of Saints series, and I know I'm going to be dying waiting for the next one. That shouldn't put you off from reading Ruckus (or any of the other books in the series). Each story is a standalone, each featuring one of the infamous Hotholes introduced in Vicious. I love how alternating between past and present reveals why two of the Hotholes are the way they are. It adds depth and heart to characters that might otherwise be unlikable (to some; personally I love a good asshole hero). While Jaime (Defy) is still my favorite Hothole, Dean might be a close second, plus, it's hard not to love Rosie too.

All About the D by Lex Martin and Leslie McAdam

I love every single thing Lex Martin has written. EVERYTHING. And this was my first time reading anything by Leslie McAdam (but it definitely won't be my last; I have a plan to devour all of her books). I've been waiting for this story for what feels like forever, and I was not disappointed. I don't want to give too much away, but I found All About the D to be funny, heartwarming and sweet. Oh, and super, super sexy. I absolutely loved Josh and Evie. And I think you will too.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I just finished this book last night and I'm already feeling hungover. Finding words to explain why I loved this book so much is impossible right now, I'm just too close to it and it's hard to say much without giving important plot points away. The p.o.v. and way the story is told and unfolds won't work for everyone. Either will the subject matter. It's obvious that highly emotional books that gut you are kinda my thing. There are so many things I related to and saw myself in, other things I was so glad I didn't. This book is the perfect example of how beautiful and heartbreaking the messiness of love and life can be.

Fav Reads: April 2017

So, I decided to try something new this month by creating a to-be-read list/collection on my Kindle to help focus my reading. I just wanted to see if it would help increase the amount I am reading each month. The list was a mix of books I've been meaning to read for forever and newer releases. I thought I was a onto a good thing. But the month started with a book that took me forever to finish, one that I actually regret spending so much time on. It just wasn't good. Then came a whole slew of new releases I wasn't anticipating or some great sales on books I've been meaning to get came up, and my list went up in smoke. I still managed to get 15 books under my belt, which still seems to be around my average this year.
 

I'm ok with the list not exactly working for me this month, because I ended up reading some freaking amazing books that I fell in love with. I mean, I'm sure that would have happened even if I had kept to the list, but I have no regrets. Here were my favorites for April, in no particular order:

The Perfect Illusion by Winter Renshaw

Winter Renshaw is a one-click author for me. No matter what it is, I buy it the minute I can, and I'm never disappointed. The same goes for The Perfect Illusion. It takes the fake fiancée/spouse trope and turns it on its head a bit, especially with a little enemies to lovers vibe thrown in there. I liked both Mari and Hudson, and I found most of the secondary characters enjoyable as well. I devoured this one quickly and found myself smiling when it was over.

Heat Wave by Karina Halle

I love, love, LOVE flawed characters. I really do. Even if I can't relate to the flaws, I still love reading about them, maybe because it makes it all seem more real and relatable. Ronnie and Logan are two flawed, stubborn characters, and I enjoyed every bit of them. Throw in some elements of taboo, a beautiful location, and secondary characters that help lighten the mood, and you have the yumminess that is Heat Wave. 

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy Cherry

The Gravity of Us is the final book in Brittainy Cherry's Elements Series (a series of standalones that are not connected). I loved them all, and this one was no exception. She does angsty, sad, and beautiful love stories so freaking well. I don't want to say too much, because I feel like these books are best left to be experienced. I will say that I felt like Lucy and Graham's story had a quiet intensity to it, which worked well for this story. While this wasn't my favorite of the series (The Silent Waters is, if you were wondering), but I would not skip this one!

Managed by Kristin Callihan

I read Idol, the first book in the VIP Series (a series of standalones) last year and loved it. That being said, I probably love Managed even more. The back and forth between Gabriel and Sophie was amazing and so, so funny. I am not always or even usually a fan of slow-burn romances, but this one was done so well and I completely got why there was a ramp up. While Managed takes place in the world of rock stars, it is so different than the average rock star romance. It's really worth the read!

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

I was expecting to be disappointed by this one. It happens to me almost every single time I decide to jump in and read a book that seems to be loved by all. That, surprisingly, did not happen with Royally Screwed. Quite the opposite, in fact. I LOVED Royally Screwed. So. Much. I loved that Olivia had a backbone, and I loved the dynamic between her and Nicholas. And those sex scenes were absolute fire! My one qualm, (and it's not a major one), is I feel the ending was wrapped up pretty quickly and I would have loved to see it drawn out a little more, but it didn't diminish the story, for me. I'm definitely looking forward to the next two books in this series (they are standalones).

 

Fav Reads: March 2017

Good-bye March, hello April! You know what that means: time for my March Reads Wrap-up! I read 14 books in March, which seems to be my average per month. I thought last month was a slow one for me, and that's mostly because I spent almost half the month in a book hangover. They very rarely happen to me, but when they do, they knock me out for weeks! Out of the books I read, there were 5 that I fell in love with. 

I would love to know your favorite March reads in the comments. Or did you read one of my favs and love it/hate it/meh about it? I would love to discuss!

So, in no particular order:

Flow/Grip by Kennedy Ryan:

You guys. These. Books. They are the reason I was in a book funk/hangover for so much of the month. I devoured them and then couldn't stop thinking about them (or talking about them with anyone who would listen). So many thoughts. So many feelings. Kennedy Ryan is a magician with words. She takes things that should be ugly and turns them into something beautiful and deep. She took a character from her Soul Series that I really didn't care for, and she turned her into this fierce, beautiful, broken character that I ended up loving. Bristol and Grip's love story is beautiful and heartbreaking. What really got me though is the social aspect of the story. This story is so much more than just the love story. When romance delves deeper into some of the major issues facing our world today, you get a book that transcends the genre, and you end up with the perfection that is Flow and Grip. I don't want to say too much or give too much away. I just urge you to read these. Seriously, read it. Trust me on this, just pick it up and read it.

The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott

I know I've talked about the fact that I have a heart of ice before. I'm not a big crier and it takes a lot to get me to shed tears. Emma Scott is the rare author that seems to have a direct line right to all of my feelings. This is the third book of hers that has made me tear up. I absolutely loved reading about Zelda and Beckett's journey and growth. And those tears I cried? They were happy ones for sure.

Scarlet Stone by Jewel E. Ann

I went into this book completely blind, aside from the blurb. I am so glad I did. I could sit here and talk about the story or what I loved about it, but I enjoyed going into it blind so much that I don't want to potentially ruin it for someone else. I will say though, this is the book that broke my book hangover!

Born Sinner by S.L. Jennings

I haven't read a Paranormal Romance/Thriller in so long, so this was a refreshing read for me. It was dark and sexy, and I was automatically drawn into the world of demons, fallen angels, and the devil himself. There is also a sequel out, End of Eden (which I enjoyed), and based on the way that ended, I have a feeling there is still more of the story to come.

My Favorite Romantic Movies

If it weren't already obvious, I'm a book girl. When I want to experience love and romance of the fictional variety, my first instinct is to reach for a book. I'm generally not a big movie fan, especially of romance or romantic comedies. Every now and then though, my icy heart melts, and I want to see a great love story on the screen. To celebrate Valentine's Day in the only way I really do, I decided to share a list of some of my favorite romantic movies. These are just a small selection of movies I love, and I already have a list going for next year! If you are looking for a love story to watch, I personally don't think you will go wrong with any of these. These are in no particular order:

Casablanca

If I ever had to pick a favorite movie, this would likely be my choice. It takes a place in Morocco during World War II and is a beautiful love story, with elements of a war thriller and a bit of comedy thrown in. In a word, it's perfection. I don't want to say too much about this movie in case there are people that haven't seen it, but there is a reason that this one is considered a classic and is often at the top of most romantic movie lists. 

Almost Famous

I fell deeply in love with this movie the first time I saw it. On the surface, it's a coming of age story about a teenage boy that goes on tour with an up and coming band to write an article for Rolling Stone in the 1970's. To me, it's really a love letter to music and music lover's. You not only see it, but can also feel the way these people love the music, you can see how their love for music moves them and drives their actions. As someone who loves music passionately, this movie has always resonated with me in a pure and beautiful way. It also has a lot of kick ass music and a radiant Kate Hudson in her breakthrough role.

About Time

Some of you may know this, but I am not a crier. I often think that I am unable to cry, but then I come across a movie like this that literally makes me sob like a baby, and it reassures me that I am, in fact, capable of shedding tears. This sweetly charming romantic comedy is about a man who discovers he has the ability to time travel. It's funny, the characters are quirky and lovable, and the love story is sweet and oddly realistic for a movie like this. What really gets me though, is the relationship between the man and his father. Parent-child relationships seem to be my kryptonite, and this movie gets me every time.

Dangerous Beauty

Another confession: I love history. Always have. I love it so much, that I actually got my degree in Renaissance Studies, my favorite time period. With that said, it's probably no surprise, then, that one of my favorite romance movies is a historical one taking place in Renaissance Venice. Dangerous Beauty is the story of the most famous courtesan of her time and the man she is in love with. It's beautiful and intriguing. It's also based on a true story (though obviously some events have been altered for cinematic purposes), which I loved. I saw this movie for the first time when I was in high school, and it's been a favorite ever since.

Penelope

This modern fairy tale is about a young woman cursed with some of the physical features of a pig. A search for a way to break the curse also becomes a path to self-acceptance. The story and message are sweet, it's quite funny, and Christina Ricci and James McAvoy have a great chemistry that jumps off the screen. When I want a movie that is going to make me feel good and smile, this is often the one I go to. It's beautiful, with a magical quality and feeling. It looks like what I think a fairy tale steeped in reality would. As the movie progresses, you get so wrapped up in Penelope's journey that you begin to care less and less if she ever breaks the curse.

Wall-E

I avoided watching this movie for a while. I am not a big animated movie fan, and what little I had heard about this movie just wasn't a draw for me. Then my brother convinced me to just give it a try, I did, and about five minutes in I was mesmerized and sold. This movie is not only one of the best movies I have ever seen, it is one of the best love stories I have ever seen. Two robots fall in love. It sounds so ridiculous and silly, but in reality, it is so heart-wrenching and touching. Don't let the fact that there is almost no dialogue in the first hour of the movie. It doesn't need it, and you won't miss it. Weird related fact: My husband and I love and related to this movie so much that he actually got a scene from the end credits tattooed on his arm.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

A sweet and hilarious romantic comedy about love in different points of life. You have the young boy experiencing his first love with his babysitter (who doesn't even know he exists in that way), the married couple finding themselves at what seems to be the end of their marriage, and a young woman not really sure what she wants when it comes to love. I found myself laughing and rooting for all of the main characters, and relating to them all on different levels. For me, it brought up all the sad, magical, and happy feelings that love at its different stages engender. Oh, and did I mention Ryan Gosling without his shirt on?

Pillow Talk

This is possibly my favorite romantic comedy. Of all time. Doris Day is perfection as an independent woman embroiled in a feud with composer Rock Hudson over his constant use of their shared telephone line. Once Hudson's Brad sees Day's Jan, he is smitten, and creates an alter ego to attempt to seduce her. Hilarity ensues. This is by far the best of the Day and Hudson pairings, and you can just tell by their on-screen chemistry why two more films with them as romantic leads were made. While it's fairly obvious where this will all lead, I couldn't help but find myself wanting to see it all go down and see how it would all be tied up. Spoiler alert: it ends with laughs, of course. 

Splendor in the Grass

Natalie Wood. Warren Beatty. Need I say more? Ok, I do? Here it is: Love and sexual repression in 1920's Kansas. Wood and Beatty play young lover's crumbling under the pressure of their families expectations and the sexual repression of the time. It's angsty, passionate, and sad. It is also beautiful and compelling. It stayed with me long after I watched it for the first time, and I loved it.

Secretary

This is probably the least traditional of the movies on this list. When I first watched this, I had no idea what to expect, and I remember thinking that I had never seen a love story like this. It is raw and real. This was probably the first time I had really experienced BDSM in any capacity, and while new to me (I was all of 20 when I saw this for the first time), I couldn't help but notice how normal the relationship is. While it could have be portrayed as an oddity or something other or strange, it is obvious that this is what comes natural to these characters, and it is indeed romantic and dare I say, sweet. And oh so fucking sexy. On top of the relationship that emerges between the two main characters, I absolutely adore how Maggie Gyllenhaal's Lee comes into her own as a person.