What’s Kim Reading: 5 Books on My Summer Reading List

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading off to Sicily for a much needed vacation and some writing time. I’m looking forward to eating lots of gelato, drinking vino rosato and feeling the heat of the sun on my skin.

When I am on vacation, I devour books. I’ve already got a few books on my June vacation reading list. I head to the US in August, so I will probably save a few books for that trip (and buy a few more).

Camden by Xio Axelrod

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Xio Axelrod‘s got a new book coming on 23 May and I seriously cannot wait to read it! It’s called Camden and right now it’s available for preorder exclusively through iBooks, but will be sold wide.

I love the cover copy:

Sometimes there’s a moment when you know you’ve screwed up. For Camden Skinner, it’s the night a dead pop star walks into his pub.

As one-half of Skin, an agency which specializes in cleaning up behind the ultra-rich and infamous, Cam has gotten used to getting his hands dirty. A little too used to it. After the young singer at the center of a client’s controversy is found dead, Cam decides he’s out. He walks away from Skin in search of a simpler life. Maybe even a shot at redemption.

Redemption arrives in the form of Yara Bujold.

The singer’s meteoric rise to the top surprised no one more than Yara herself. All she ever wanted was to make music. Caught up in the dark underbelly of the industry, Yara is forced to fake her own death. But she can’t hide forever.

Yara tracks down one of the principals at Skin, the very people that helped to tear her down. She’ll force Camden Skinner to make it right, whatever it takes. What she doesn’t expect is remorse from the man that helped to ruin her. And she certainly doesn’t expect to lose herself in him.

Cam finds himself sucked right back into a world he’d hoped never to step foot in again, but he can’t walk away. He has to fix this. Not only for himself, but for her. For Yara. Because she might just be everything he didn’t know he needed. She just might be everything.

Intrigued? I know I am! 🙂

Somebody Else’s Sky by Jessica Hawkins

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Last summer, I stumbled upon Jessica Hawkins’s books and now I am hooked. I’ve got Somebody Else’s Sky on my Kindle, but I am waiting until Sicily to begin reading it. I want to be able to savor this without any distractions (other than my lovely hubby).

Here’s the blurb:

If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.

A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.

Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.

Book two in the Something in the Way series, an epic, 3-book saga of forbidden love…

Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

summerslease-ebookI’ll have to wait until July for this one, but I will make sure I have a lazy weekend to enjoy Carrie ElksSummer’s Lease.

If you’ve never read her books, you’re missing out on something good.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet the Shakespeare family: four sisters, four stories . . . four ways to find true love

Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

A brand new series from the bestselling author of Fix You and the Love in London series.

 

The Boy Friend by Mika Jolie

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 11.53.02Mika Jolie’s latest came out at the end of April, but I am saving it for my summer holidays.

If the cover isn’t enough to whet your whistle, then check out the blurb:

According to the law of attraction, women and men can’t be friends.

Contrary to this myth, my friendship with Coriander Phillips does not rest on unrequited love or un-actualized lust. We’ve been inseparable since the day I pulled one of her pigtails and she punched me in the gut.

She’s hilarious, fun to hang out with. Together, we’re like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, wings and beer. A match made in heaven.

She’s the bomb.

Did I mention she’s smokin’ hot? I’ve checked her out…maybe once or twice. Hey, I’m a guy.
Seriously, no awkwardness, no secret yearning for our relationship to escalate beyond the purely platonic. I’m the boy friend—the loyal shoulder she cries on, the dispenser of coffee, sympathy, hugs, advice, and affection with no expectations.

Until the invisible line between friends and lovers became blurry.

Now I want more. I want her.

All I have to do is convince her we can be more than friends.

Right?

If only it were that easy.

The Promise: Tactics of Love by L.S. BergmanScreen Shot 2017-05-22 at 12.03.07

L.S. Bergman’s The Promise: Tactics of Love is another title I purchased a few months ago, but that felt more like a summer book, so it’s on my vacation reading list. I love the cover–it’s intriguing!

Here’s the blurb:

Every girl wants the fairy tale, ‘the promise’ of a perfect love.

Alessa Monroe is no exception.

Every guy has his way, his tactics for getting what he wants.

Keith Parker has enough skills and fame to consider himself a pro, and Isaiah Fieldman’s powers hate to be underestimated.

One woman is responsible for both men’s sudden awakening and moment of reckoning… Alessa Monroe.

For Alessa, her life feels like it’s finally on track.

With a bright ‘too-good-looking’ mentor and boss, Isaiah Fieldman, and a dreamboat celebrity boyfriend, Keith Parker, everything in Alessa’s world seems to be on the fly. The niggling feeling at the base of her stomach, that it is all too good to be true, too perfect; Alessa is happy to ignore, until … she can’t help but read the writing on the wall.

Words that say. Men and their wily ways don’t always add up. What you think you see is not always what you get. The guy you think you’ve got all figured out isn’t who he seems.

Because love is like that, complicated, oft bumpy, seldom smooth. These are how the games oft go in the tactics of love.

So that’s what my summer reading list looks like so far. Have you got suggestions for books you think I should add to it?

 

Review: Starlight by Xio Axelrod

FS_Starlight_600 Four words: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

Doesn’t matter that I’d read it back when Xio was still trying to decide if Falling Stars would be a series or one book. Reading it again, now with Starlight as its own novel, I fell in love with the characters all over again.

Xio really knows how to pull you into a story, and this continuation of Val and Sam’s love story seriously hooks you. We pick up where Falling Stars left off, with Sam and Val finally seeing one another again after a summer of We the People being on hiatus. The chemistry between them is still smoking hot and–no matter how hard they try to deny it–everyone around them senses that there is more going on than simply a deep friendship. How long can they keep it platonic–even when they cannot seem to resist one another? Well, you have to read Starlight and find out yourself. I’m not giving anything away. 🙂

Sexy, romantic, and a total page-turner, I loved every moment of reading Starlight, and I think you will too. The characters are three-dimensional and there is a strong character arc. The plot moves quickly, but the pacing isn’t break speed. And the ending? Very, very satisfying.

A five-star read–highly recommended!

5_Star

 

My 10 fave books of 2015 and 5 I’m anxiously awaiting in 2016

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Heaven is a stack of good books! And a glass of wine!

 

Some people get excited about new handbags or shoes or guys with tattoos. I am such a book nerd. I get more excited about books. Though if you give me a hottie lumbersexual reading Garcia Marquez or some novel that I am also reading, well, I might get excited about that.

Anyway, I read a little over 50 books in 2015, so I thought I’d share with you ten of them that resonated with me.

  1. Haunted by Christina C. Jones
  2. Addicted Allison by Noelle Black
  3. Kilted for Pleasure by Melissa Blue
  4. Maldeamores by Mara White
  5. Love Is by Tia Kelly
  6. Falling Stars by Xio Axelrod
  7. Ivy’s League by Nia Forrester
  8. Coming Down by Carrie Elks
  9. Brunch at Ruby’s by D.L. White
  10. In the Nothing by Nia Forrester
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Yes, I am just as excited as this little cutie! Photo credit: forharriet.com

And which titles am I anxiously awaiting? You know there are more than five I can’t wait to read, but these are five that I am super excited about. 🙂

  1. Starlight by Xio Axelrod
  2. When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson
  3. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. Lily in the Middle by Nina Perez
  5. Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

So tell me: which titles are you anxiously awaiting in 2016? And which were your favorites of 2015?

My Christmas reading list

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Photo credit: Kate Zaidova/unsplash.com

I love to escape into a good book. I think everyone who knows me is well aware of this fact. Sometimes I prefer books to people. This is especially true during the Christmas season. Usually, it’s a pretty stressful time at work and I just want to relax…but then there are all those Christmas things you have to do–like mingles and shopping and meeting family (which is not bad, though sometimes there are those who try your patience). That’s why I always have a book with me–you never know when you need a few minutes to yourself to simply…escape. 

And I love holiday love stories. Yes, I am kitschy like that. It doesn’t even need to be a romance, as long as people are falling in love and there’s a little snow and maybe even mistletoe, well that makes me happy. So here are some of titles I’ve already 1-clicked for my Kindle. Maybe they’ll whet your holiday romance appetite.

Wrapped-in-Red-slider1-280x376Wrapped in Red by Mika Jolie

Christmas is a time to be merry and bright. For Minka Montgomery, it’s anything but.

While Martha’s Vineyard bursts with festive lights and good cheer, a black shadow parades around and within Minka. With her Christmas spirit conspicuously absent, her marriage to Jason Montgomery has snowballed and is spiraling out of control. The weight of motherhood – and her new role as a wife – presses on her shoulders. Self-doubt creeps in and swiftly turns to hopelessness.
As her anxiety level rises, can she share what’s in her heart with her husband? Is there a branch of hope to hold on to? With Christmas only twelve days away, can she find her Christmas spirit and rediscover the true meaning of the season?

Festive Stocking Filled with Candycanes and Gingerbread Man

The Calum by Xio Axelrod

Calum, The (Noun)
1. fictional hero of best-selling romance novel, A Laird to Love
2. the perfect man

Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend a winter vacation.

 

winters-tale-english-5.previewWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature.

Wrapped in Red NMWrapped in Red by Nana Malone and Sherelle Green

Two holiday romances for the price of one! 🙂

‘Tis the season for finding passion and rediscovering love… 

Mistletoe Mantra by Nana Malone

Returning to her Virginia hometown where her fiancé dumped her—years earlier on Christmas Eve—is making Nomi Adams croon the holiday blues. She needs to find the reclusive photographer who can advance her magazine career. However, Lincoln Porter’s on his own rescue mission this yuletide. Because during this season of love and renewal, Faith, Virginia, looks to be a place for second chances…

White Hot Holiday by Sherelle Green

A solo Caribbean vacation is college professor Sage Langley’s perfect escape from Christmas and all its merriment. But she has unexpected and thrilling company at Grayson Ellington’s luxurious vacation home: the sexy attorney himself! And her brother’s best friend—who has desired and longed for Sage for years—has fantasies and plans for a red-hot romance to chase away her winter doldrums.

comfort_and_joyComfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

An oldie but still a goodie!

In this modern-day fairy tale, New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah gives us a very special gift: the heartwarming story of a woman at a crossroads, caught between two lives, who finds a second chance at happiness.

Joy Candellaro used to love Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she finds herself at loose ends. Recently divorced and estranged from her sister, she can’t summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the rural Northwest.

Yet Joy’s best-laid plans go terribly awry. The plane crashes deep in the darkness of a forest. Miraculously, Joy and her fellow passengers walk away from the wreckage as the plane explodes. There, amid the towering trees, Joy makes a bold and desperate decision to leave her ordinary life behind and embark on an adventure…just for the holidays.

Daniel O’Shea has returned to the small town of Rain Valley, following the death of his ex-wife. Now he is a single father facing his son’s first Christmas without a mother. Six-year-old Bobby isn’t making it easy-the boy has closed himself off from the world, surrounding himself with imaginary friends.

When Joy and Bobby meet, they form an instant bond. Thrown together by fate, these wounded souls will be touched by the true spirit of Christmas and remember what it means to be a family.

Then a dramatic turn of events shows Joy the price of starting over. On a magical Christmas Eve she will come face-to-face with a startling truth. Now she must decide: In a time of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, can she find the faith to reach for the love she has found…and the new life only she believes in?

There are still more books on my Christmas reading list, so check back later this week for more ideas! And if you’re looking for gift ideas for the book nerd in your life, check out my suggestions here

 

Review: Falling Stars by Xio Axelrod

FallingStars_coverWhen Xio first told me about Falling Stars (which was called Starstruck back then), I was really excited about it. She initially serialized it on Tumblr and–though I discovered it rather late–I loved the story from the very beginning.

Xio spent many months revising and re-crafting Starstruck until it became Falling Stars, and I am so happy that it is now live so everyone else can discover this incredible love story.

Review:

Sometimes we meet the right person at the wrong time in our lives. That’s what happens in Xio Axelrod’s Falling Stars on the set of We the People–the fictional TV show set where Val and Sam, two actors on the opposite spectrums in their careers, meet and fall in love.

One of the things that I love most about Falling Stars is the spot-on character development. Both Val and Sam are fully-fleshed characters whose flaws make them all the more real. As we follow their relationship (and their attempts to remain platonic when it’s already written in the stars that they should be together), we get to know what makes them tick and we understand immediately why they resist and why they are tempted to give in.

all bets

I also loved the behind the scenes look at life on the set of a popular TV show. This aspect of the story adds context and complexity to the situation Val and Sam find themselves in–they are actors who play lovers, they are falling in love in reality but trying to hide it. The reader feels like she gets an insider’s look at Hollywood and how life in Tinseltown can be life in a fishbowl.

Xio Axelrod

Author Xio Axelrod

Xio does a great job of handling the struggle for Val–and especially for Sam–as they both try to do the right thing. They want to be together, but they can’t–not when Sam is still married–but the chemistry between them is off the charts and they are drawn to each other time and again.

I loved Falling Stars–this is definitely one of my favourite books of 2015. It’s a beautifully written love story that will challenge and intrigue you. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Add Falling Stars to your Goodreads TBR list.

Xio is having a giveaway. Head over to her author site for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Hurry–the giveaway ends on 30 November!

Get your copy of Falling Stars now!

Amazon

http://amzn.to/1SzZh22

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Xio_Axelrod_Falling_Stars_Falling_Stars_Book_One?id=i6XmCgAAQBAJ

iBooks

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/falling-stars/id1060179367?ls=1&mt=11

Kobo

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/falling-stars-17

Check out Xio Axelrod–another writer from Philly–and Starstruck

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Xio Axelrod, the author of Starstruck

I found out a week or two ago that one of my friends from Philly (we’ve known each other since elementary school) has written a serialized novel. She’s been posting chapter-by-chapter on her blog. The story is called Starstruck and I started reading it mid-last week. I love a good love story, so it’s right up my alley.

Xio’s amazing–she has a beautiful voice, she’s super-talented and she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Go and check it out and show Xio some writerly love! 🙂 You can find Starstruck here.

Happy reading (and writing)!