Thursday, January 29, 2015

Withering Hope Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Today, I'm excited to be one of the review stops on the Withering Hope Blog Tour!

Withering Hope
by Layla Hagen
Now Available!!!
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, for Readers aged 18+
Add Withering Hope to your Goodreads to-read list here.
Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

My Thoughts:
Terrific, fast-paced read!

I really enjoyed Withering Hope (and this title is so appropriate for this book). I really enjoyed getting to know Aimee and Tristan as we're given the first-person narration from each of these characters view points, with Aimee getting 80-90% of the narration.

Aimee was a great character, she's strong, smart and empathetic. Readers will root for her survival as she is a very down to earth character.

If I have to be deserted some place, I would love for Tristan to be my pilot! This man was cool and calm in the face of all danger, and always put Aimee's safety above his own. And his knowledge of survival skills really came in handy. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make it in the Amazon rainforest passed a day, seriously, there are so many things that I never would have considered being potential dangers that Layla has written in this standalone.

I also love that I learned some new facts about the Amazon rainforest from this book- I have no idea that it was flooded in lower parts for months at a time. Layla does a fantastic job of describing the Amazon setting with its lush nature- I could easily picture it in my mind.

There is a bit of action in this book, but it is very character-driven, the dialogue and romance between Aimee and Tristan was well-paced and interesting, which really helped the plot flow well.

But will Aimee and Tristan be rescued? Will Aimee be reunited with her fiancé, and if so, will she be able to deny her feelings for Tristan? You'll have to read to find out! :)

I would recommend this read to readers looking for a quick read with action, adventure and inevitable romance!

Happy Reading!!!

About Layla:
My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough.

Connect with Layla: Author Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

But wait!!! Before you go, Layla has a wonderful International giveaway for you!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below, Good Luck!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to Layla and Xpresso Book Tours, for allowing me to participate in this tour!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bell Let's Talk Day: Help Reduce the Stigma of Mental Health

Image taken from
Today, January 28th, is Bell's Let's Talk Day click here for full details.

Here's How it Works:
Today, Bell will donate 5 cents to help mental health initiatives, for every:
  •  Text message sent 
  •  Every mobile long distance calls made
  •  Tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk
  •  Facebook share of the Bell Lets Talk logo image

Get the Facts:

  • 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from mental health or addiction problem
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
  • Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.
  • Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year – an average of 11 suicides a day.
  • After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-19
  • Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.
 *Disclaimer - The above facts and statistics have been directly copy and pasted from the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) website, for further information on the origin of these statistics, click here.

My Thoughts:
These numbers NEED to change and it's up to US to help reduce the stigma that continues to surround Mental Health.

A very wise individual used this analogy once- "You wouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about a broken leg, so why is it that we seem to be so uncomfortable discussing Mental Illness?"

Mental Illnesses aren't a choice anymore than it's a choice to suffer from Cancer, diabetes etc. We have the opportunity now, to lead by example and show youth of today, that it's ok to not feel well, mentally, it's ok to talk about it and that there ARE other options than suicide, no matter how difficult it seems or feels, it CAN and WILL GET BETTER. 

Today is the day to start leading by example:
- BE RESPECTFUL - Don't judge someone before you've put yourself in their shoes,
- BE CONSCIENTIOUS  - Watch your words, phrases such as "I'm feeling really OCD or Schizo today," could be seen as insensitive to those whom, suffer from this illness on a daily basis.
- BE KIND TO OTHERS & YOURSELF - If able, be an ear for someone going through a difficult time. Give yourself time, if you feel anxious or upset, take a break- many people take smoke breaks, allow yourself a mental break- YOU DESERVE IT.
- NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP - There are many organizations whose sole purpose is to be their for YOU, no matter how much it may seem like it, YOU'RE NOT ALONE.

Here are some Young Adult/Teen titles that deal with Mental Illness (I haven't read all of these books, but many of them are popular, some of them have only recently been released, but when you're going through a tough time, it's always helpful to read narratives in which the characters are experiencing similar struggles)

YA Titles that deal with Mental Health/Illness
Titles are linked to Goodreads pages

Here are a few support numbers and website. These lines are for residents of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. (again, if you have more to contribute, please leave your suggestions in the comments :))

If you're in a crisis call 911 and they can give you your local crisis centre number

CAMH 1-866-531-2600
or visit their website here, where you can chat via social media as well

The following helplines were taken from this website.

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Available 24/7, 365 days/year

Distress Centre: 416-408-HELP (4357)

Youthdale’s Crisis Support Team: (416) 363-9990 

Anishnawbe 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Management Service: 416-891-8606  (Aboriginal clients)  

Gerstein Centre: (416) 929-5200

Happy Reading and Happy Mental Health to you all!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Starts Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

I'm super excited for my pick this week because I love Rachel's earlier work with Mira and HarlequinTEEN, can't wait to see what her new series has in store! :)

The Stars Never Rise
by: Rachel Vincent
Release Date: Jun. 9/15.
Publisher: Delcorte Press
Add The Stars Never Rise to your To-Read list on Goodreads here.
Synopsis (and cover image) courtesy of Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

What titles are you waiting on this week?

Happy Reading!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Indie Review: Outside the Ropes by Ashley Claudy

Outside the Ropes
by: Ashley Claudy
Now available!!!
Source: Purchased e-book
Add Outside the Ropes to your Goodreads to-read list here.
Synopsis (and cover image) courtesy of Goodreads:
***Reader please be aware: Story contains mature content such as: Drugs, sex, abuse, and explicit language that may be upsetting for some.****

In the ring, Regan has control. Outside the ropes, she fights to survive.

Regan Sommers spent her life fighting. Fighting foster parents, kids in the group home, and classmates. But the night she has to fight for her life changes everything. 

Now, she's fighting for money in the ring, and from the first punch she's addicted. Every addiction has a price though, and this one is the gym's star boxer, Gage Lawson. He may come in an enticing tattooed package, but his demands are more than she can handle. 

The responding officer from that night, Anthony Fields, comes with no demands. He want's whatever she's willing to give, and Regan can handle that. She can definitely handle him. 

But no help comes string free, and Regan's not the only one with a hard past and scars to cover. The life she was trying to escape is nothing compared to the danger she's in the middle of now, and she can't fight her way out.

My Thoughts:

Readers be warned, once you start this read, you won't be able to stop, and it's a rather meaty read!

I first saw a giveaway for this one on Goodreads, it sounded really intriguing and I was so eager for it to release. Let me tell you, this one does not disappoint! Loved it!

Regan is an awesome heroine, so amazing, she has been through so much and it's only made her stronger. I'm so glad we get to see the world Claudy has created, through Rea's eyes. Simply put- she's a fighter (literally and figuratively)!

Gage has book-boyfriend material written all over him, he's a brooding playboy, oh, and a champion boxer. And the chemistry between these two is absolutely sizzling! Although, I'm not sure their relationship is completely healthy, in fact, I'd say they're pretty toxic for each other, but they really suck you in with their drama. But Gage is keeping a very dark secret...

Dexter is such a great character, a little self-absorbed, but completely adorable and lovable.

Anthony was a bit of a enigma, I feel like Claudy originally wanted to make him good/likeable character, but changed her mind half-way, because my opinion of him completely changed.

I'm undeniably addicted to this series and Wattpad! I had to read Book 2 and Book 3 right away, trust me, once you've read Outside the Ropes you'll want to get your hands on book 2 as well!

Although I feel the need to warn that if you shy away from violence, than it's best that you pass on this one, Outside the Ropes is filled with great characters, plot and action, but it also contains A LOT of violence.

Ultimately, I would recommend this read to fans of romance and new adult whom don't shy away from violence.

Happy Reading!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

ARC Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

The Conspiracy of Us
by: Maggie Hall
Now available!!!
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: ARC provided by Publisher
The Conspiracy of Us on Goodreads here.
Synopsis (and cover image) courtesy of Goodreads:
A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

Purchase your copy: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo

My Thoughts:

Readers beware!- Take a deep breath before diving into this one!

The two leads in this story were on the so much that I felt out of breath for them!

The Conspiracy of Us is action-packed from page one through to the end, however, Hall does an amazing job of balancing story and plot twists into this read. Fans of the Amazing Race will enjoy the constant journeys Avery must take in order to solve an Ancient riddle. 

I'll be honest, I was lost a couple of times during this read, with the constant Greek Myths and riddles, Avery and Jack must solve, it was hard for me to keep up, but this read has definitely made me interested in studying up on Greek Mythology!

Avery was a great narrator, very brave. At first, I thought her a little too trusting, but I can understand her desperation to find out where (or who) she came from. She's very smart and well read on current events, I must admit I'm not sure I would've recognized as many political faces at that age haha.

Jack is a great hero, and counterpart to Avery, the romance between these two is very subtle in its build-up.

But be warned, Hall has done a fine job of setting up a love triangle for book #2, and I think there will be many readers who will be team Stellan, with his no-bull, take-charge attitude, I'm sure we're going to see much angst among these three in Hall's sequel.

And speaking of, sequel, can I have it now? Seriously, Hall ends off with a somewhat cliffhanger in The Conspiracy of Us, but rest assured, there'll be enough satisfaction that no one will feel the need to throw their book or e-reader at the wall (we've all had those moments :)).

Ultimately, I would recommend The Conspiracy of Us to fans of the Young Adult genre- it's got a great blend of action and mystery with a dash of romance to satisfy the romantic in us all!

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Intensity Blog Tour: Review, Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Today, I'm happy to be one of the stops, on the Intensity Blog Tour!

by C.C. Koen
Now Available!!!
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Readers aged 18+

Add Intensity to your Goodreads to-read list here.
What would you do to improve your life?

Twenty-one-year-old Serena Thomas is faced with a tough decision. Unable to get ahead of debt and loneliness since her grandmother’s death she finds a new job, placing the sheltered virgin in an underground escort business. She tells herself it’s just a temporary life choice, but destiny has a different plan. She meets a mysterious and gorgeous man, who happens to be her new boss. Will Serena fit in or will she be left all alone again?

Lincoln (aka: Linc) Jefferson has an unusual life. He established The Lounge, an exclusive escort club for very personal reasons. A place where the women say who, when, and what type of sex they’re willing to have. The escorts possess all the power and the money. It’s a business Linc guards at all costs. Trying to maintain the secrecy is a constant challenge and one that’s tested when he enters into a relationship with Serena. She tempts him unlike any woman, even though he’s surrounded by beauty on a daily basis. The more time they spend together the harder it is for him to keep his secrets. Will Serena stand by his side or will she abandon him?

Sparks and passion fly, taking these two on a journey neither could have expected.

Purchase Your Own Copy: Amazon | B & N

My Thoughts:
Great, fast-paced romance!

I was unsure when I first started reading Intensity if I would find the story believable, things just seemed too picture-perfect in chapter one, but rest assured, this book is great.

Serena is a likeable character and narrator and most of the story is told from her first-person point-of-view. She's in her young twenties and up to her eyeballs in debt, and just lost her only known-relative- the reader will sympathize with her.

Linc was by far, my favourite character, he has an easy confidence about him that is undeniably attractive, although I have to admit I'm not a fan of ponytails on guys, haha. I was unsure of his motives when he first meets Serena- the connection between these two is basically instant- he's clearly hiding something from her, but when you find out the truth, he's just that much more endearing. I enjoyed the romantic build-up between these two, although I wouldn't characterize every encounter as "intense" but more sweet and romantic.

There isn't much action in this novel, as it is very character driven, giving high priority to the build-up of the relationship between Serena and Linc. But there are some great supporting characters whom add a great blend of humour, angst and jealousy into the mix. B.B. is one character I wouldn't want to mess with!

Readers looking for a romance they can read and enjoy in one sitting, should add Intensity to their TBR lists!

Happy Reading!!!
Author Guest Post:
Favorite Aspects of New Adult: What makes a good NA read?

New adult enables readers to hone in on an age group that appeals to them and is easy to relate to. The topics vary, but the majority correspond to the pangs of growing up and the beginning stages of “adult” life (i.e., first job, sexual relationships, college, entering the work force, etc.). This stage includes many “firsts” and therefore, help us relive a critical part that shaped our future. For some readers that may mean facing regrets or reminders of precious events that were a meaningful part of our past. Therefore, this genre packs a load of emotion into the stories. 

There are many authors that have paved the way for new adult. Some of my favorites are Colleen Hoover, Katy Evans, and Kendall Ryan. 
Stories I’ve enjoyed in this genre are:

Colleen Hoover: Ugly Love, Hopeless, and Maybe Someday

Katy Evans: Real, Remy, Mine

Kendall Ryan: Filthy Beautiful Lies, Filthy Beautiful Love, and Filthy Beautiful Lust

Book recommendations can be found on most blogger sites, but some that specialize in the new adult genre are:

New Adult Addiction

NA Alley 

As for what makes a good NA read, there are certain aspects that I look for. 

  1. Appealing story: I’m an avid reader and get tired of reading the same storylines over and over. An NA novel should apply a different and intriguing angle to very common topics (i.e., first job, sexual relationships, college, entering the work force, etc.). 
  2. Interesting characters: I’m a sucker for alpha, military, and men in uniform Therefore, the story would have to include those types of characters in order for me to read it. Also, I like independent, strong, and willing to fight for what they believe in women. Those preferences aren’t always applicable in the NA genre, so the plot is even more critical. The story would have to capture my interests in another way. 
  3. Cross other genres: I enjoy reading mystery and suspense and look for both elements when choosing NA. Most NA stories address problems and issues that occur in real life. Therefore, a story that addresses secrets, overcoming life altering events, and using the past to positively impact the future are appealing and can draw many readers to this genre.  
Thanks, so much, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the New Adult Genre- Great Recommendations! :)

About C. C. Koen:
C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing.

Connect with C. C. Koen: 

But wait!!! Before you go, Koen has an awesome INTERNATIONAL giveaway just for YOU!
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below, good luck!!!


2x $5 Amazon Gift Cards

Swag pack (incl. t-shirt, magnets and more)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to C.C. Koen and Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

This week's pick is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast - LOVE IT!!!!

by: Sarah. J. Maas
Release Date: May 5th/15.
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

What book are you waiting on this week? 

Happy Reading!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What's the Story McCoy? The First of 2015

What's the Story McCoy is Booking It With Hayley G's own version of the Stacking the Shelves meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews


Hope you all had a great holiday season filled with tons of delicious reads! In case you missed it, the winner has been announced for the BOX OF ARCS giveaway, so if you entered be sure to check the rafflecopter to see if you've won (click on the photo and the top right of the page).

If you didn't win this time around not to worry, I have a brand new Giveaway starting on Friday for a whole new selection of ARCs so stayed tuned...

In the meantime, here are some titles that I added to my shelves over the season!!!

I was gifted (thanks to Bookoutlet's AMAZING Boxing Day sale)

Super excited to have Audio books, these are my first two!

And I received from Publishers:

Thank you so much to my family, Raincoast Books, Harpercollins Canada, Simon and Schuster Canada for all of the awesomeness above! :)

That's my story this week, what's yours?

Happy Reading!!!