Review: Dair (#3, The Wild Side) by R.K. Lilley

My Thoughts

thrilling finale to a wonderfully addictive and suspenseful series!

5stars

Synopsis

dairARE YOU READY FOR THE TRUTH?

I’d started writing everything about her down.  I didn’t want to forget. The color of her hair.  The depth of her eyes.  The stubborn shape of her jaw.  The way her lips shaped words with such expression.  The way her voice made my chest ache.  The way she gave advice beyond her years.    The way she listened like she cared about every word. The way she made me feel—Alive.  Every curve and hollow of her body was recorded, in my mind, and now my hard drive.   There was a bit of truth in every lie, and even if it had only been fed to me in the smallest increments, I wanted, needed to remember the real Iris.

Because in the end, there was one irrefutable thing that he couldn’t deny.

Hostage or hustler, sinner or saint, whatever she was or wasn’t, whether she lied to my face or taunted me with hints of the truth, all of this seemed always to defer to the more pertinent fact at hand.  
She was mine.  
Inconceivably.  
Undeniably.  

After yet another shocking discovery, followed by a disturbing letter, Dair is almost certain Iris has left his life for good.  He tries his best to move on. Easier said than done, and when an unexpected and dangerous opportunity arises for him to find out what happened to her, he doesn’t hesitate to take it. As usual, with Iris, the answer leaves him more lost than the question. Every revelation is shrouded in mystery, and every disclosure leaves Dair more in the dark than ever.

And when finally, the messy truth is revealed in its entirety, will he be ready for it?

My Review

“There was a bit of truth in every life, and even if it had only been fed to me in the smallest increments, I wanted, needed to remember the real Iris.”

After two riveting installments, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I was going mad trying to figure out the truth of who Iris really was. The puzzle pieces seemed in reach, they just didn’t quite fit into place. After book 2, we’re left in a sea of incertitude, while Dair is left to drown in his despair. Iris is gone and Dair is once again trying to battle a life of mundanity, one bereft of her color and vivacity. But Dair was in deep and he couldn’t let it go. Couldn’t let the secrets go. The questions. The hole he felt inside. He couldn’t forget Iris.

“I tried it again. Tried moving on from her by keeping busy. But this time was so different, the weight of her absence heavier with grief of permanence attached.”

And once again, an uneventful day brings shock and surprise as Dair finally has the chance to learn what happened to the woman he loved.

The situation he finds is different. Dangerous. And he’s left with more questions than answers… more trepidation… more uncertainty than ever at what will happen next. He’s also forced to confront his true feelings for Iris. Was it love? Something else? Something wrong… or something fated?

“How could you be in love with a person you didn’t really know? Someone that had fed you nothing but lies? Someone you knew with certainty you couldn’t trust?”

I don’t want to spoil a single moment of this riveting conclusion, but I can tell you that it left me smiling widely and feeling wonderfully. The end came full circle in a way I thought was absolutely perfect. Expect the same level of maddening suspense and intrigue, but with scenes that are unexpectedly emotional and heartwarming. This has been a great, well-plotted series that kept me wanting more more more with every moment, every chapter, every book. Fans of the first two installments will be thrilled to finally discover the real Iris.

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Reading Order and Links

The Wild Side | Iris | Dair

the wild side cover iris cover dair

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Spotlight + Exclusive Interview + Giveaway: AFTER by Anna Todd

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I am so excited to have an exclusive video interview with AFTER author Anna Todd! AAANNNND, I am thrilled to be able to host the first giveaway for a signed paperback of AFTER! You can win one of two copies. Please note the winners will receive closer to release date! *happy dance*

If you’re not familiar with AFTER, here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s the most read story online with over 900 million reads on Wattpad
  • It’s being re-released through Gallery Books on November 25th
  • The story is inspired by One Direction, but the characters have evolved on their own
  • Harden is our bad boy and Tessa is the girl who becomes his whole world 
  • There are three books in the series
  • The books are intense, emotionally charged and full of plot twists
  • So the one thing you can count on is to expect the unexpected.

Watch my video interview with Anna on USA Today’s HEA blog ✦

Make sure to pre-order the books so you’ll be among the first to have it on your ereader!

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after cover

Tessa didn’t plan on meeting H. during her freshman year of college.
But now that she has, her life will never be the same.

after

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Cover Reveal: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

Burying Water

I love author K.A. Tucker and I love romantic suspense, so to say I am anxiously awaiting for this book, Burying Water, is a severe understatement! Coming October 7th! Mark your calendars! 

✦ Pre-order Burying Water ✦

Synopsis

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

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AND… You can read Chapters 1-4 of Burying Water in the back of In Her Wake, the Ten Tiny Breaths prequel novella from Trent’s POV which will be out September 1st. Pre-order here.

In Her Wake Ten-Tiny-Breaths Tucker_One-Tiny-Lie-cover four seconds to lose cover five ways to fall

About K.A. Tucker

KathleenTuckerBorn in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

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Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

My Thoughts

An emotional journey fraught with desire, angst and secrets that consume. A story about feeling too much and too deeply that you don’t feel at all. Bold and beautifully written, this is a different side of Colleen Hoover … one you won’t soon forget.

6stars

Synopsis

ugly love_cover_FINALWhen Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past. 
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated. 
Promises get broken. 
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

My Review

There’s something special that happens when you come across a book that immediately prickles your skin. A recognition that it’s the type you’ll inevitably fall in love with.  The kind that draws you in with every emotionally-charged moment, with every carefully selected word, with every feeling it ignites. And before you know it, you’re consumed by the story. Heart and soul devoured by it. Drowning in it. And when it’s a story so ugly, so raw, so misshapen by hurt, it feels as if the story will swallow you whole…

That was my experience reading this book.

“Ugly love becomes you. Consumes you.”

Colleen Hoover once again proves she’s a master storyteller in her best and boldest work to date. She pens the novel in a unique and thematically symbolic format that renders a one-of-a-kind fluidity and motion to how the story ebbs and flows. How it recedes. How it crests and surges with every emotionally charged moment as Miles reluctantly falls in love with Tate, and in turn, how Tate falls for Miles despite his best efforts to keep her away. Their story isn’t typical, but it’s one that is all about feeling. Feeling too little and feeling too much. Feeling so much that you shut down and feeling not enough that you hurt others. And despite the fact that their coming together isn’t a fairytale, it shows that sometimes a happily ever after costs a great many tears and heartache. That beautiful, forever love can come from ugly, broken love… if you just believe in a person enough to not give up.

“Love ain’t always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better.  Then before you know it, you’re back to square one and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.”

When nurse-in-training Tate Collins moves in with her brother temporarily, she never expected to meet Miles Archer—a striking, blue-eyed, unpredictable boy whose presence fills an entire room. Despite his desultory attitude, she was able to see feeling and pain and secrets behind the stormy blue of his eyes. There was more to him than he led on and she couldn’t help but be drawn to him. But love was impossible for Miles. It could never happen. It shouldn’t.

“It’s not that I don’t like you, Tate… I just don’t want to like you. I don’t want to like anyone. I don’t want to date anyone. I don’t want to love anyone.”

Tate’s feelings intensify nonetheless. Each time he smiles. Each time he’s kind. Each time he touches her… that undeniable, ever-present connection beckons. And even though he’s cold one minute and hot the other, she suspects he feels something real too. Desire grows as confusion consumes, but finally a creative arrangement gives them a mutually beneficial outlet. They agree to a physical relationship bound by rules, but devoid of any hope for more and stripped of any real emotion.

“Don’t ask about my past. And never expect a future.”

Miles defines complexity. A well-worn armor masks emotions, hides a past. We get to know him gradually, moment by moment. Upon first meeting him, he seems hardened, callous, uncaring, but we also get the sense that he’s been through something life-changing. Life-taking. Because now, in the present, he seems bereft of it. Living but not really living. Numb and simply going through the motions.

The entire story alternates between present and past tense, allowing us to experience the different sides of Miles. The juxtaposition between the two versions is striking, and as a reader, I desperately sought to bridge the chasm between the two personas. What happened???

“If I were capable of loving someone… it would be you.”

The story centers on their struggles to understand their feelings for the other. Tate must battle whether Miles’ sometimes hurtful actions are worth it. Is he worth it? And Miles must reconcile his past and decipher his own feelings before it’s too late. I loved the buildup of emotion as these two people fell in love. I could feel myself filling up up up with desperate hope and possibility. It was all such a visceral experience. So many emotions. So many ups and downs. So many feels. All wonderfully chaotic.

“… he kills me. Or he kisses me. I can’t tell which, since I’m pretty sure they would feel the same. His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn, all at the same time.”

And goodness, when the truth is finally revealed, IT. IS. UGLY. Gut wrenching. Shattering. I was breathless. In tears. Everything fell into place. I got it.

Every Colleen Hoover book is a challenge. At the first flip of the page, I ask myself… Can this story actually trump the one before? Will it be as good? As powerful? As creative? Will I fall in love? What will she do differently? How can she do it again and again and again AND AGAIN? Can she really?

She can and she does.

Ugly Love delivers a reading experience rife with heart and hurt. Quiet in agony and loud with emotions. Expect to feel everything. It’s no secret that Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors. For me, she’s the best storyteller out there now. And with each book I read, each character I connect with, I am more in awe of her talent as each deceptively simple word—string of words—suddenly has the power to shatter me in ways I didn’t think possible. I couldn’t have loved this story more. 

“It’s intense. It’s heartbreaking. It’s devastating. It’s ugly.”

UGLY LOVE1 BANNER

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Spotlight + Bonus Scene + Giveaway: Last Second Chance by Caisey Quinn

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So excited to share an exclusive bonus scene from Last Second Chance, a contemporary romance from author Caisey Quinn and the first book in the series, Second Chance. Falling for Fate is book 2 and will be coming late summer/early Fall. Each book can be enjoyed as a standalone.

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Synopsis

last second chanceWhen Stella Jo Chandler gets an offer to work at the Second Chance Ranch celebrity rehab facility right after graduating from Texas A&M, she’s tempted to turn it down. She wants to help real people with real problems, not spoiled celebrities going on vacation for publicity. But growing up on her family’s ranch left her with a love of horses that draws her to the opportunity. How bad can babysitting a bunch of strung out celebrities be? 

What she didn’t count on was being roped into a tangled mess with infamous rocker and three-time rehab drop out Van Ransom on her first day. And she sure didn’t expect to feel the overwhelming attraction that pulls her to the man who has more issues than she can count on both hands. Like the hotel rooms and tour buses he’s famous for trashing, the havoc he could wreak on Stella’s heart would be irreparable. 

Van isn’t at Second Chance for publicity or because he’s suffering from “exhaustion”. He’s on the brink of destruction, and he needs the kind of help Stella isn’t sure she can give. But without her, he’ll lose everything. Because he’s on his last second chance.

Bonus Scene

About Caisey

Tessa-BaileyCaisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com.

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