TITLE: LEO AUTHOR: Jay McLean SERIES: Preston Brothers #3 RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2020 GENRE: New Adult, Coming of Age THEMES & TROPES: Ment
TITLE: LEO AUTHOR: Jay McLean SERIES: Preston Brothers #3 RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2020 GENRE: New Adult, Coming of Age THEMES & TROPES: Mental Health Issues, Friends to Lovers RATING: ALL OF THE STARS CLIFFHANGER: No
It's been so long since I read a story by Jay McLean and, boy, did I miss the Preston Clan. I loved Logan and Lucas (although they are punks in Leo's story) but Leo? No. Words. I will never do the beauty of this book justice and it's hard to put the multitude of feelings it evoked into words.
Leo is the quiet Preston brother, the one the whole family relies on. He listens in a way not many do. He only speaks when he has something important to say and when he speaks people listen. But sometimes his words get jumbled in his mind he is unable to speak up when it's important which drives away the girl he has been in love with since I first saw her as a kid. I loved Leo. So much. This young man was everything parents want in a son. He was kind, so kind, and his love for Mia so fierce it almost hurt. I want to sing his praises and write love songs and books about him. He's a once-in-a-lifetime guy. Once you're in love with him there is no one who will measure up.
“I’ve known you for ten years, Mia, and you still do crazy things to my heart.”
And Mia knows that. From the day they met they were lost to one another and no one else ever stood a chance. Mia's tender heart got stomped on since she was just a toddler. Her mom left her with her grandfather when she was three years old, her dad not very interested in raising his daughter. The result: Mia has ABANDONMENT ISSUES. Yes, in caps because that's how bad they are. And Leo is the best to take care of her heart but, you know, life is a mothereffin' bitch. Mia's issues lead to more issues and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and help her. This girl had all my love throughout the story and thank God she had people like her Papa and Holden, her best friend, and Tammy, his mom, in her life. They were vital to her life.
Did Leo and Mia make good life choices? Not always, both of them fumbled and failed at life at some point but these are young, inexperienced people. What's important is how you react to these poor choices and make up for them and both of them grew throughout the story.
Mia and I—together—we deserve more than just one moment. We deserve a lifetime.
When I saw the length of this book I was a little intimidated. It's BIG but I was so totally enthralled and captivated by the words, it didn't feel long. And A LOT of things happen, you don't have the time to get bored. The story spans a decade and we get to watch Mia and Leo grow up from the time they first meet until they are in their twenties. We witness how they fall in love and never fall out of it. We are there when they struggle, when they battle their demons and in the end come out stronger for it. It was sheer beauty.
Jay McLean has writing angst down pat. LEO is a slow burn romance that made me rage, laugh, and the author made it hurt so good and I teared up more times than I want to admit. But Jay McLean also made the pain worth it because at the end of the book I just wanted more despite the beautiful epilogue that was the cherry on top. Jay gets better with each book, her talent shines brightly from the pages, her words are powerful and beautiful. She writes about important, timeless issues that we need to talk about, in a way that they are relatable even if your life isn't affected by them. I really wouldn't mind getting the next book soon. LEO goes straight on my favorites shelf.
“I’m going to spend my entire existence proving that you have, are, and will always be perfect to me.”
There are characters that are unforgettable and when the author tells you that she's done with them and there won't be any further stories then they leave a vacuum behind. Pia and Dragos are pretty much my all time favorite PNR couple and I just can't get enough. So when Thea Harrison decided to document their move into the Otherworld Rhyacia it was like Christmas and Easter and birthday and every other holiday on the same day for me.
Pia and Dragos's relationship has come so far. Pia has really grown into her own. The tragedies and tough times she experiences have left a mark and a backbone of steel and iron will that wasn't as obvious before. She was never a doormat but now she's a sweet but feisty herbivore unicorn who stands up for herself.
Dragos is still mystified by women, even after years of marriage. I always get a kick out of seeing this ancient, most powerful dragon bamboozled by stuff Pia does or says. It's really a hoot. When this almost godlike creature very reluctantly adopts an ugly mutt the hilarity has no end. Seeing Dragos's fierce love for Pia is always a highlight - that's something the author does so well.
And there it was, that moment, with happiness dancing in her aquamarine gaze and the air around her effervescent with her Power—that moment was what the dragon would do anything and kill anyone for. That moment was what he lived for. That one, and then the one after that, and the one after that, all grouped together in his mind like luminous pearls on a string. Each one came to him new, a perpetual gift of joyful surprise, and as rich as he was, and as many jewels as he’d acquired, those moments were the sum total of the dragon’s true treasure.
Dragos and Pia's move to their new home doesn't go smoothly. Along for the ride are many familiar faces like Graydon and Beluviel, Tricks and Tiago, only to name a few. Seeing them again really makes me want to re-read the whole series.
The cliffhanger Thea leaves us with is brutal. I hope she writes fast like the wind because I can't wait to continue this story. I adored this journey back into the world of the Elder Races and I hope Thea Harrison keeps writing stories about this fascinating universe and the mythical creatures inhabiting it. This was a beautiful start to this serial.
For him, love was a collection of moments like this. Strung together like luminous pearls on a string
TITLE: BEACH READ AUTHOR: Emily Henry SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2020 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: Smalltown Roman [image]
TITLE: BEACH READ AUTHOR: Emily Henry SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2020 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: Smalltown Romance, Second Chance RATING: ALL OF THE STARS CLIFFHANGER: No
Man. This book is special. The characters are special. I'm blown away. When I saw the high ratings for THE BEACH READ I was cautious as I always am with early review but they are all true! This author has enormous talent. There were beautiful lines like. .... and. ... and other times I was laughing and giggling. Other times I'd swoon over Gus or my heart broke for him and January. This story has everything you want in a book.
Gus is the glass half empty kind of guy and his insecurities make him feel so real. His whole life, his childhood, his college and adult years people failed him. January is the opposite. She is the romantic type who witnessed her parents' marriage and thought it was perfect until she learns that her sweet, bookish dad cheated on her mom. With him having passed away, she's unable to ask the question she has a right to know about. Angry and sad, she flees to the country to find solace and peace.
Both January and Gus are writers and for the first time I realized how painful writer's block must be. When your creative outlet is hampered by emotional baggage. While they try to find back into the groove they start to spend time together. after their rocky start they find they have more in common than they first thought.
As different as I’d thought we were, it felt a little bit like Gus and I were two aliens who’d stumbled into each other on Earth only to discover we shared a native language.
I loved their beginnings, there were a lot of laugh-out-loud funny scenes I adored. And as Gus and January's emotional bond grew I was so firmly in their corner that I felt every heartbreak they went through. I loved them so hard - these two gave me all the feels.
The notes they wrote to each other and their clever banter were an endless source of laughter and swoons.
JANUARY, JANUARY, WHEREFORE ART THOU, JANUARY?
The message was ironic. The butterflies in my chest were not. I pushed the box onto the table and grabbed my notebook, scribbling in it. I held the note up.
New phone who dis
This story deserves every praise it's getting. I had so much fun reading it. I am super excited to have found a new author whose writing is everything I look for in stories. This was absolutely heartwarming and beautiful.
“I do, you know,” he said. It was almost a whisper, a tender, rugged thing like Gus himself. “Care about you.”
TITLE: YOU WERE THERE TOO AUTHOR: Colleen Oakley RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2020 GENRE: Fiction, Women's Fiction THEMES & TROPES: Family, Marr
TITLE: YOU WERE THERE TOO AUTHOR: Colleen Oakley RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2020 GENRE: Fiction, Women's Fiction THEMES & TROPES: Family, Marriage, Supernatural RATING: ALL OF THE F*CKING STARS CLIFFHANGER: No, but open ending
Maybe instead of wondering why we’re all connected, what’s important—the only thing that’s important—is to know that we are.
I think you need to experience this story with as little information as possible. What you need to know though is that this is not romance - but it's a love story. This book does not have a classical happily ever after. I was honest to God scared about this book before I started - I love my HEAs and I rarely read books that don't have one. So I steeled my heart (to no avail, of course) and went in.
In YOU WERE THERE TOO we meet Harrison and Mia, a married couple who, on the outside, have everything. They are for all intents and purposes happy together. But of course it can't stay that way. As it is often the case, miscommunication leads to rocky times.
Love isn’t supposed to hurt. But really, if you’re doing it right, love hurts all the time.
Here are the things I absolutely loved about this story:
The characters Mia - so damned likable, relatable and human. She'd had dreams about another man for years - when she met Oliver she felt safe enough to talk to Harrison about it - I really loved that. She struggled with her attraction to Oliver but at no time I doubted her deep love for her husband. Harrison - this man was so incredibly good and kind and funny. And so so troubled. I wanted to hug him hard and talk some sense into him. My heart broke for him. Oliver - I wanted to dislike him. I really did but I couldn't because he, too, was a good guy who was confused about the dreams he'd had.
The plot * This story must have been a nightmare to plot. Everything, every word, every gesture, every scene serves a purpose. And everything is tied up with a bow and at no time the author takes the easy way out. It was so well planned and executed that I was left pretty speechless at the end of it. * There is also a certain balance and righteousness that gives everything sense and purpose. * It was so unpredictable and unique, I just couldn't put it down until I had all the answers. * The realism despite the metaphysical aspect was astounding.
Mia’s sadness is his sadness and he’d carry it around with him like water in a bucket until the end of his days if it meant that she didn’t have to.
Mia and Harrison * I adored them together. I thought they had a strong marriage but the author shows the reader that even a solid relationship can get in trouble. Their love for one another was so palpable, despite everything. * The despair I felt when they were at an impasse was...I only wanted them to be happy again. I rooted so hard for their relationship.
And in that moment, our eyes locked, I see my husband, and I remember all at once how much I love him. And I wonder how I could ever forget, even for a second.
The impeccable writing * This author can write up a storm. She has so much talent, it's crazy. I want to see her writing romance - I'm sure she'd be incredible.
Sprinkled in between you have light moments that take the edge off of the angst but at the same time I hated them because they were so sweet and I knew it wouldn't stay that way.
This year is six days old and I've already read two amazing books by authors I've never read before. I can't believe my luck. With YOU WERE THERE TOO Colleen Oakley ripped my heart out and never put it back together, yet I can't be mad at her. This book left me sad, yes, but also with a sense of hope - the end is left open and that's good. Everything else would cheapen what these characters went through. This thought-provoking story was hard to read but I'm so glad I took a chance. It will linger with me for a while. Colleen earned herself a spot on my auto-read list.
TITLE: RELEASE AUTHOR: Aly Martinez SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2020 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: Second-Chan
TITLE: RELEASE AUTHOR: Aly Martinez SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2020 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: Second-Chance, Friends to Lovers RATING: All of the Stars CLIFFHANGER: No
Time and timing is the theme that drives RELEASE. The time when Ramsay Stewart entered Thea Hull's life. The time it took for them to become friends. When they shared their first kissed. When they went far beyond kissing for the first time. And when Ramsey left Thea's side for just a moment and their lives changed yet again. And the years that followed after, when Thea was counting every day, every minute, every second, until she would see the man again who told her he didn't love her anymore.
“Because when I was ten years old, I met a boy. I hated him. But I needed him like my veins needed blood. He broke my leg. He broke my patience. And eventually he broke my heart. But there hasn’t been a minute that’s passed that I haven’t loved him with every single broken shard.”
Thea hated Ramsay when she met him but at that time she would have hated anyone, there was so much bitterness in her. Ramsay's smile, his cheerfulness, his persistence of not letting Thea's abrasive behavior drive him away broke through her walls and they became first best friends, then lovers and then...nothing. The tables have turned and it is now Thea fighting for Ramsay. Isn't that beautifully righteous? And fight she does. Damn that girl can play dirty. I loved how she just soldiered on although she was dying inside from the hurt Ramsay delivered because he thought he needed to protect her.
I’m not giving up on you, Ramsey. I don’t care if you want me to. I don’t care if it means you ice me out for all of eternity. I don’t even care that you’ve already quit on me. I once promised that it was you and me forever. Do you remember that? You made me swear it.”
Ramsay was perfect for Thea. He hid his awful family life and abandonment issues behind a perma-smile, took care of everyone and everything who needed him. And he paid for it. The weeks following his release from prison, his adjustment to life outside his cell was heartbreaking to watch but the author managed to infuse some humor (cue Siri) that lightened the mood and helped to handle the emotional roller coaster. And this is what Aly excels at - her stories are perfectly balanced and never drift into the trap of too much angst.
“I can’t do this without you.” “Do what?” He lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. “Breathe.”
Thea and Ramsay are two of the most resilient people I've read about in a while - they have that survivor's gene that just won't let them give up, no matter how dire the situation looks. But I guess, when you know you're fighting for your soul mate there is no such thing as giving up. Thea and Ramsay were meant to be but until they were allowed to have their happily ever after my heart took quite a beating. But that's Aly Martinez for you - she makes you hurt and earn those happy moments. She makes sure that you deserve that happy ending when you get there.
"Sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned in order to live the one you’re given."
RELEASE is told in the present and a long flashback in the beginning, that takes up about a third of the story. I loved watching Thea and Ramsay's friendship grow into more but for a short while I was a little worried that the page time that was left wouldn't be enough to address every thing that needed to be tied up. But I shouldn't have worried. This book left me satisfied in every way. In typical Aly Martinez fashion there is a twist there you don't see coming. While you're reading and feeling quite safe and optimistic, all of a sudden you're left reeling and flailing and wondering WTF just happened. I LOVE that.
If you always wanted to try one of Aly Martinez's books, this is a great place to start. RELEASE is a complete standalone with new characters that will give you all the feels, some humor, intense storytelling and a beautiful story about soulmates who deserve their HEA.
And then Ramsey kissed me, deep and frantic like a boy. Gentle and skilled like a man. All-consuming and claiming like my forever. And he did it all tasting like watermelon gum.
There are many talented authors out there but for me Elle Kennedy is one of the best when it comes to College Romance/New Adult Romance/Sports Romance and I'll read anything, literally ANYTHING she writes. So when I started this one I read every free minute I had (which is a feat with school just having started again).
In THE PLAY we finally get Hunter's story and boy, I was not expecting to love him the way I did. I was a little worried that he'd be bitter, the way he acted after Summer and Fitzy went behind his back. But no! He gave me Dean vibes with his goofy sense of humor. I tumbled into love with him.
“Everything gets me aroused, Bee. The feel of the wind on my face gets me aroused. Bumping into a table gets me aroused.”
Hunter was the was the full package - smart, kind, hilarious, sweet, entertaining and honest. He gave me so many laughs and favorite scenes throughout the story. There is his handling of Pablo Eggscobar, the boiled egg the team was tasked to take care of, his self imposed sex drought, or when he and Demi were locked up in jail and he took a picture of her.
"What’s a boner between friends, right?”
Demi is being introduced as a new character and the heroine of this story. In the beginning she can't help to think that Hunter is the stereotypical hockey player with puck bunnies lining up to get in his pants. She couldn't be farther from the truth because Hunter has been celibate for a couple of months after the disastrous ending of the team's hockey season, blaming himself for it. I have to say I was pretty impressed that he resisted as long as he did but that Demi had a boyfriend definitely helped. Anyhoo...Demi...her dad wants her to follow in his footsteps and go to med school but Demi has a completely different idea of what her future is going to look like. Her passion is psychology, she only needs to grow the cojones to tell her dad.
When her boyfriend becomes her ex-boyfriend Demi is hurt and I loved Hunter for being such a wonderful friend. In that regard Demi really showed backbone and it was then, when her dad was taking her ex's side and she stood up to him that I fell in love with her too. Speaking of, I thought Demi's parents were jerks. I didn't think they had a lot of redeeming qualities when they defended a young man who hurt their daughter so deeply. Ugh.
A laugh tickles my throat. This girl is something else. She cracks me up. And she’s so fucking beautiful.
Demi and Hunter's connection is so palpable - their friendship is amazing, so laid back and natural and I loved how important it was to Hunter that he didn't want to ruin it. But there is also a spark, an explosive chemistry that is just waiting to be ignited. And when it does? Oh my! So good, so hot, so sweet.
Gales of laughter shake my body. I love this guy. We have so much fun together, no matter the circumstances. We could be studying or sitting in a jail cell or lying naked in bed, and he’d never fail to crack me up.
We get to catch up with most of the Off-Campus characters which was a treat and I loved to visit with them and see where they are in life now. There are also a couple of characters that have huge potential to get their own books and a front runner is Conor, the man-ho that actually reminds me even more of Dean. That guy begs to be brought down to his knees!
I loved Summer and Fitzy, I worshiped Brenna and Jake but I think my favorites are Hunter and Demi. I'm walking on clouds after finishing this book and in my opinion Elle Kennedy did these two justice. I laughed, I giggled, I swooned - this story was so much fun. There was no unnecessary drama, only delightful banter, awesome characters and a sweet slow burn romance written in Ms. Kennedy's crisp, impeccable writing style. I think the author said that this would be the last installment in the Briar U series (for now) but there is potential for a new series. So let's see what happens!
If you are a fan of Elle Kennedy's Off Campus series, read this. If you are a fan of Sara Ney's Douchebag series, read this. If you are a fan of Sarina Bowen's Ivy League series...yeah, you guessed it, READ THIS.
I'm a huge of the NA sports romance sub genre. It's addictive as hell and makes me go back in time. Anyhoo, if you haven't met Joel Moreno yet, get ready. He is the ultimate player and will charm your panties off. He will make you swoon and laugh and then leave you but with a smile on your face. He is such a blast with his cocky attitude that he uses to cover up the depth he of feelings he is capable of. Once you learn about his first love your heart will melt for him. I adored Joel.
A guy like that needs a worthy heroine and Katrina is exactly that. She is a single mom, juggling life and school. Going out on a whim isn't something she can do so she keeps saying no to Joel's invitations to take her on a date. I couldn't wait for her to finally say yes. She gave Joel a run for his money and I loved that about her, he had to really earn and deserve her. Katrina was such a good mom, always making sure that she put her little guy first, who was, btw. such a beautiful side character. So sweet, so cute. I loved Christian and Joel's scenes together, their bond grew strong fast.
The flow of this story is effortless, it makes the book absolutely unputdownable. I just didn't want to stop listening even a single second. It helps that we get a stellar narration duet - Teddy Hamilton is one of the best out there and one of my top favorites - the way he performed Joel was just brilliant! I'm new to Summer Morton but she, too, did a fantastic job breathing life into Kitty!
I'm sure a lot of people will have fun with this utterly adorable, charming story that has low angst, buckets of humor and endearing characters. I regret nothing....more
Kate Stewart's climb to the top is unstoppable. If you had asked me if this author could top DRIVE, my favorite book by her and one of my top favorites of all times, I would have said no. Good thing I didn't put any money on that because with THE GUY ON THE RIGHT Kate Stewart has done exactly that. May I present: My new top favorite by this author (by a tiny fraction but still).
Laney is my kind of gal, my spirit animal, the yin to my yang. Quirky, funny, open, fiercely independent, brutally honest and so incredibly sweet, I wanted to be her best friend. She had sass and a hilariously smart mouth. Theo thought the same, obviously. He makes nice look sexy. He is dependable as they come, hilarious and not as cocky and self confident as we are used to and for some reason that makes him even more swoon-worthy. He was cursed blessed with three busybody sisters who couldn't keep their noses out of his life.
When the meet, they both aren't ready for relationships but they damn sure become each other's best friend fast. Their friendship was so solid, so exemplary, so tight, the best wingmen covering your six, the sidekicks everybody should have. I fell hard for both of them.
We’re polar opposites in some ways. I’m too country, and he’s a whole lot of everything else. We shouldn’t fit, but we do, and our fit is nothing short of spectacular.
The build up of their attraction and sexual tension was almost subtle but oh so delicious - while I was still basking in their beautiful friendship, they were like "nope, game over" and, whoa, all of a sudden I was witness of one of the hottest kiss scenes. From then on I was lost. Lost to both characters, irrevocably in love. We know that Kate Stewart is also a masterful storyteller, so a little angst on the side is a must - but fear not, it's the perfect amount to keep things interesting.
“She’s my favorite person in the world, and I can’t imagine not knowing her.
If you follow Ms Stewart on social media you know what a quirky, funny bird she is. We know that she can write angst like a fiend but I was waiting for her to finally write a RomCom and I wish she'd never write anything else. OK, that's a lie, but I'd so be up for more of her brand of hilarity. I had such a blast with THE GUY ON THE RIGHT and I can't recommend it enough if you need a pick-me-up.
“What?” “Your accent. You keep forgettin’ the G.” “I’m well aware my accent is thick. Some people think it’s charmin’.” “Like the toilet paper?”
When I read a sample of LOVE LETTERING a while ago, I knew I had to have this book. Kate Clayborn is a new-to-me author but what jumped right at me was her insane talent to bring multi-faceted characters to life over the course of a couple of pages and from a single point of view. I was so intrigued that I wanted to see if the rest of the story would be able to fulfill the promise.
Meg's whole thought process is built around letters. As a hand-lettering artist that's not surprising but it may distract you at first since she uses graphic design jargon. Fear not, it's not rocket science and if you know a little about fonts this will be fun because visualizing the things Meg saw in her mind became my favorite past time while reading this book. So heads up - this may start out a little slower for some readers.
Meg and Reid are like Yin and Yang. Coffee and milk. Gin and Tonic. Ice cream and cone. You get the gist. Total opposites but perfect for one another. While Meg's creative, loyal and sweet character is being revealed through her thoughts, Reid's needs to be uncovered one layer after another through Meg's experience with him. To him numbers are what letters are to Meg, and if you thought you've read about multi-layered characters, try Reid Sutherland. At the beginning he comes across a bit stuffy, formal sometimes even a little rude and a lot sad but the deeper you get to know him the more his softer, more romantic and playful side becomes apparent. There is an unexpected sweetness to him that just had me fall head over heels for him.
I know that I could have my eyes closed this way and I’d still know Reid’s kiss anywhere, because Reid’s kiss is everything I like about Reid—firm and direct, with a sweetness you have to know to truly recognize.
Meg loves New York as much as Reid hates it. Together they discover the city from a completely different point of view by inventing games they play on their strolls together. And this is where the magic happens - I loved how Meg reflects on everything she does, how willing Reid is to learn Meg's language and how they obviously make each other happy. How Meg, who shies away from conflict in the beginning learns how to confront issues straight on. How this reserved man opens up to her and finds delight and love for the city he couldn't wait to leave in the beginning.
“You’re the best part of this city,” he whispers...
There is no point in the story where you can point at and say that they fell in love right there and then. It's a gradual, slow burn that will have you giddy for all their firsts.
LOVE LETTERING is a clever, beautifully written story that shines and sparkles brilliantly and has so much depth and a lot of sweetness that never gets cloying. I enjoyed the development of Reid and Meg's relationship, the friendships that are an integral part of Meg's life and the twist towards the end, that took me by surprise. This book made me happy, so happy that I went and bought the audiobook. I'll be checking out Kate Clayborn's backlist!
It feels like floating, like being untethered. Like writing without letters. Like counting without numbers. It feels like love.
TITLE: TOP SECRET AUTHOR: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy RELEASE DATE: May 7th 2019 GENRE: MM Romance TROPES: Enemies-to-lovers RATING: 5 STARS CLIFFHANGER: No
A story by either Sarina Bowen or Elle Kennedy is a guaranteed win. Together they are on fire. In TOP SECRET they show us yet again how harmoniously and with ease their writing styles mesh together. So my excitement went through the roof when I learned about this book. But since it was, indeed, top secret, we weren't allowed to talk about it. Keeping a secret has rarely been so hard.
Now on to my thoughts about this story.
I have so much love for Luke and Keaton, our two main protagonists. Luke is the silent brooder, not giving away much about himself to pretty much everyone. Nobody knows about the unhealthy relationship with his family, or that he works his butt off just to survive day by day. As soon as someone tries to pry information out of him he clams up. On the other hand he has zero hangups or insecurities about his sexuality, is ambitious and determined to leave his poor upbringing behind. My heart ached a little for him, because it was so hard to shed his distrust of pretty much everyone.
He said I was stingy with love, and he was right. I am really not sure that will ever change. But if there’s anyone in the world I could change for, it’s certainly him.
Keaton is the outgoing, popular guy, the jock with the beautiful girlfriend, the money and the suitable friends. His dad is the meddling kind, one who expects his son to follow in his footsteps which Keaton has no intention to do. He's a biology buff and didn't that make my little scientist heart sing? All those references about the mating behavior of different species were hilarious (and true).
Keaton's sexual progression felt natural to me - he struggles with it at first but, being the open-minded guy he is, he accepts it and moves on. I loved how loyal and sweet, patient and understanding he was with Luke.
I’m just a guy, standing on a beach in nothing but his favorite pair of lobster shorts, waiting for the right man to love me.
In TOP SECRET Keaton goes on a research expedition in Chile that has the goal to find an unidentified ecotype of orcas. That's actually a fact and happened in March 2019. A friend of mine is one of the scientists who were on the research vessel and took many pics which were published in National Geographic. I thought this was such a cool coincidence I had to mention it.
M/M romance is one of my favorite genres. I love the dynamic between men and the imagery that comes with it. I loved Luke and Keaton together. They couldn't be more different but because of that they filled needs in one another no other person could have. Their evolution from competitors to friends and lovers was beautiful to watch.
Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen joining forces again is a dream come true. With TOP SECRET they give us a stinkin' cute, light-hearted, humorous, flirty enemy-to-lovers story that made my heart pitter-patter. Can we have more of this? PLEEAAASE? I can't wait to listen to the audiobook of this one!
LobsterShorts: I’m fresh out of lobster sex facts atm. BUT…lemme tell you about sea slugs. SinnerThree: Omg yes. I can’t wait for this. Hold on. Let me undo my pants. This time I snort out loud. I know he’s kidding, and I play along. Actually, I’ll do that, too. Having both our dicks out for this fun fact is so fitting. SinnerThree: Dick’s out. All right. Slug sex. Now, baby. LobsterShorts: OK—you ready for this? SinnerThree: Hit me. Blow my mind. LobsterShorts: Sea slugs have penis fights. Dead air follows my revelation. I see the three dots appear to indicate he’s typing. Then they disappear. Reappear. Disappear. Finally, a message pops up. SinnerThree: I don’t even know what to say to that. I guess… Why?? How?? Why???
TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE AUTHOR: Evie Dunmore SERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1 RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019 GENRE: Historic
TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE AUTHOR: Evie Dunmore SERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1 RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019 GENRE: Historical Romance THEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers, women's emancipation RATING: ALL OF THEM! CLIFFHANGER: No
I'm a huge fan of Judith McNaught's historical romance. Why I'm mentioning that? Because this author's debut, BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE, transports me back to a time when I was devouring the novels by McNaught. While Evie Dunmore's writing style is more modern in parts which makes this story extremely readable, I'm not complaining, mind you, because this author's words wrapped themselves around my heart. However, the story, this deliciously angst-filled plot, the yearning, the complex characters so reminded me of McNaught's. I think that's one of the biggest compliments I can give an author.
Evie Dunmore shows us how far women have come, how women fought for what we consider normal and rightfully ours. This alone makes it this book worth reading and will give you a new appreciation of the women's role in society today. Spun around this setting is an epic love story between a commoner and a duke, both very aware of their position in society. Sebastian is right a jerk when this starts off but man, did I fall in love. I fell so hard. He is honorable, considerate, more than he let on when we first meet him, arrogant, high-handed, controlled and incredibly private and emotionally stunted. It was a thing of beauty to watch him turn from this seemingly cold-hearted bastard into a man, who felt deeper than anyone would have ever expected he was capable of. What a complex, infuriating, protective, wonderful man he was.
Something tore inside his chest, something vital, and briefly, he wondered if a man could die from it. The pain all but took his breath away. What a way to find out he did have a heart.
Annabelle is everything Sebastian needs but can't have. She was just as beautiful a character with her backbone of steel, intelligence, sophistication and unshakable loyalty. She refused to be the duke's mistress because she had a sense of self worth and knew that even though Sebastian would treat her well, society wouldn't. She knew the feeling of being a pariah, she didn't want to repeat mistakes she'd made before. While my heart hurt for them both I could understand her standpoint.
He does have a heart, you see, a restrained, honorable heart, but it bruises just like yours and mine, and I wager it is a hundred times more steadfast. He is a rare man, not because he is wealthy, or powerful, but because he says what he means and does what he says.
Their attraction was so palpable, so passionate and there were times I wanted to smoosh their faces together and tell them to get it over with. There was so much tension between them, the impossibility of their love made this story heartwrenching.
She belonged here, right here wrapped in these strong, nonjudgmental, protective arms, and she wasn’t sure where to begin again without him.
Supporting these two are equally strong women, who I suspect will get their own stories.
This is a well researched, fascinating romance with characters that make you think even after leaving them to their happily ever after. And what a HEA it was. How can I not fall back into a slump after BRINGING DOWN HE DUKE? Ugh! The story is flawless and flows without hiccups. And I can't praise the beautiful words enough. Evie Dunmore shows other authors how debuts are done. I loved every minute spent with Sebastian and Annabelle.
“Darling,” he said, “I have only just begun to love you.”
She does it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. With every book Aly Martinez gives us she brings something new to the table. The Retrieval Duet is no different.
I had the chance to listen to the audiobook of THE RETRIEVAL DUET - the narration was amazing in the first book. I love Andi Arndt and Jason Carpenter, who I know from Aly Martinez's Guardian Protection series. Unfortunately, Maxine Mitchell didn't work as well for me. She had a bit of a whiny narration style with drawn out syllables that got a little annoying after a while. It wasn't horrible, just not as fabulous as the other two. With that out of the way, let's get to the heart of it.
In RETRIEVAL a couple, whose marriage broke apart after the son, who lived only for a couple of minutes, passed away, is at the center of attention. When both Roman and Elisabeth are getting a call from the police and are being informed that Elisabeth's eggs were switched at the fertility clinic and she probably has a daughter the secret glimmer of hope that couldn't be quenched even after their divorce, flares up again.
Roman's single-minded pursuit of Elisabeth, his wooing and slow seduction was beautiful and showed his dedication and determination and I loved him so much for letting Elisabeth feel that she would come first this time. Both of them were so inside their heads when they separated that they just couldn't express what they needed from one another but time apart has blunted the edge and finally they talk. It was sweet to see how Elisabeth opened up to Roman again and started to trust him. Retrieval switches between present and past in which we see memories of both Roman and Elisabeth and those explain the strong connection they had and why both of them couldn't let go. They were soul mates, a once-in-a-lifetime-love, their connection palpable. I loved them so much.
TRANSFER continues the story, this time primarily from Clare and Heath's point of view. What Clare went through until she got away from her druglord husband was horrific. Physical, emotional and mental abuse was on her schedule on a daily basis but she endured it to keep her daughter safe. She was strong and learned Walt's MO inside out, knew what he would do and how she could manipulate him which in the showdown helped her a great deal. Heath was wonderful, protective, smart and didn't play around for long to go after the woman he'd fallen in love with. The way he treated Clare's little girl was adorable.
Out of the two couples I loved Roman and Elisabeth's POVs the most. Their banter was just hilarious, typical Aly Martinez. We get come Guardian cameos which were awesome!
I went blind into this book, that's how much I trust this author. You can't do it better. THE RETRIEVAL DUET is a phenomenal roller coaster that has it all - tension and a little suspense, blindsiding twists, a little heartbreak and humor, a huge dose of romance and steam. The female leads of this second chance and a friends-to-lovers romance are smart and strong, and the guys swoonworthy, romantic, a little bossy and overly protective and not afraid to show their love for their women. This story is so unique and so uniquely Aly Martinez - if you enjoy any of the above and always wanted to try Ms. Martinez you can't go wrong....more
You think you've read about perfect heroes? Then get ready for Lucien. He will have you swoon and laugh and maybe even your eyes water a tiny bit. He is just wonderful, charming, funny, self-deprecating with a twinkle in his eyes and intuitive, caring and thoughtful. Lucien has a tenderness for Angelique that he expresses in his mind that is achingly beautiful. For this alone, for his thoughts about this strong, proud woman, I would give this a five star rating. He was the ideal partner for Angelique, who had been hurt and disappointed and discarded by men and disowned by her family. She is wary of Lucien but fascinated and drawn to him all the same. Because of Angelique's previous painful experiences her pulling away from Lucien was relatable, even when she hurt him.
“Is it something about me? Or do you feel as though you can treat all men as though what we feel is of no consequence?"
Lucien's vulnerability was incredibly endearing.
I admired him for how he handled the conflict with his father. Angelique could be pretty badass, especially when she fought for the man she'd fallen in love with. I loved that there wasn't a sudden realization that they had fallen for one another because it was so obvious to see from the outside what was happening. It was a gradual growth and there was no need stating the obvious - that's how good JAL is transferring the words from the pages into the reader's heart. Their interactions and teasing natures were just...*blissful sigh*...
Being in a room that contained her was better than being in a room that did not contain her.
I also adored reconnecting with Delilah and Captain Hardy - like Delilah and Angelique I thought Lucien and Tristan would butt heads but nope, they got along just fine which is why I was so touched when Captain Hardy pled Lucien's case.
I think everyone should read Julie Anne Long's books. Seriously, though - her writing is poetic and full of wit and clever dialogues, her stories are riveting, delighful, and so, SO romantic. I knew this when I went into ANGEL IN A DEVIL'S ARMS. I've known this for years but every time I finish a book by this author I think I have an expression of awe and utter bliss on my face. The highest compliment I can pay a HR author is comparing them to Lisa Kleypas. If you love LK's stories you'll definitely adore Miss Long's books. The teaser about the next couple in the epilogue of this installment has me excited for the next book. I hope we don't have to wait too long!
“I should like it if we could be friends, Lord Bolt.” She sounded appallingly sincere. A silence spread like a stain. “Friends?” he managed finally, on something like a croak, as though she’d extended a silver platter upon which rested his own testicles.
ALL THE SWOONS! No, seriously! This book is a new favorite by Jill Shalvis. I keep waiting for my girl crush on this author to wear off but she keeps delivering the best romance with the swooniest heroes and the sassiest heroines. On that note, I know this has been tagged as women's fiction but it has all the makings of a contemporary romance. So don't let that category turn you off!
In THE LEMON SISTERS, the third in Ms. Shalvis's Wildstone series, we meet, surprise, the Lemon sisters. Brooke lives in LA and only goes home sporadically. A surprise visit by her sister, Mindy, and her three kids, takes her back to her hometown, Wildstone. She's determined to find her old self, make amends with her estranged sister, apologize to the man she left without a word, and return to LA as a new/old Brooke. Running into Garrett, the only man she ever loved, goes as expected - where Brooke is concerned he is distant, sometimes even unfriendly and not amicable at all.
Over the course of the story we learn about the tragedy that happened to Brooke and how that affected her future. I think many women will sympathize with her. The reasons she left Wildstone made sense to me, although I'm not a fan of characters keeping secrets. I know it's an often used plot device - I trusted Jill Shalvis because she has never let me down. She didn't this time either. After the helicopter accident, that not only wrecked her body but also her confidence and spirit, the reckless love for life she'd always had, she built walls around her heart. Brooke didn't let anyone in. No one. My heart was heavy with sadness for her - even when she was surrounded by people she was lonely.
“You were never alone, Brooke, never. You just chose to shut us out.”
Garrett doesn't feel very benevolent towards Brooke - this woman did a number on him yet when she returns the pull is still there. He is so determined not to get caught in her web again because he was left one too many times. Having grown up in the system he knows much about abandonment and he's still dealing with the issues that come with it. Brooke's leaving without a single word destroyed him because she was his everything and he, too, has learned to harden his heart.
As always this author gives us a charismatic, beautiful, soulful man who is loyal and patient to a fault. I have yet to read a book with a douche by Jill Shalvis. I'm not holding my breath. I loved Garrett, so so much, how accepting he was, how he kept telling himself to not fall for his ex-girlfriend.He was so conflicted about his still strong feelings for Brooke and his abandonment issues and fear of having his heart broken again. And yet, despite all his denying that he would, he fell again.
Once upon a time he’d loved her so much it’d been painful. And now . . . now he had nothing in his heart for her. Or so he’d been telling himself. But the truth was, he’d merely bricked and mortared around the poor beleaguered organ. If she blasted her way through those walls he’d built in self-protection, he had no idea how he’d survive Hurricane Brooke II.
Brooke had all my love too. When these two learned to trust one another and in each other again, the spirited, vivacious, sweet young woman Brooke used to be, appeared under the rubble of the tragedy. And she was wonderful with all her quirks and OCD.
“Look at yourself now,”
he said firmly
. “Not only are you still here, you’re stronger than you’ve ever been. You’re not just conquering your demons, Bee, you’re stomping all over them.”
They had undeniable chemistry that burned up the pages and, fair warning, your ovaries may be in danger of exploding. I just wanted to smoosh their faces together and tell them to get over it already! I'll put a trigger warning here, because I know some women may find this story hard to read (view spoiler)[Infertility (hide spoiler)]
There is a third POV from which we learn about Mindy's marital issues. I wasn't a huge fan of her with her know-it-all attitude and her nagging for a long while but she grew on me. She lashed out at her sister but I had to give her some leeway because she didn't know the full extent of the reason why Brooke had walled herself off. I adored Mindy's husband, Lincoln, who wanted nothing more to lighten his wife's burden and give her everything she wanted. Their children were another highlight in this book. I loved them all but Maddox, the youngest little man, who barked instead of talked...man, I wanted to adopt him right away. He was the best, the funniest and sweetest kid I've read about. So freaking cute.
We all know these books, the ones we don't want to end yet we need to know that things will be alright. THE LEMON SISTERS is one of those. I could have read about Brooke and Garrett's HEA forever - although I was done I just wanted more.
I love the small town feel of this series and that it feels more like romance than women's fiction. Jill Shalvis is a fixture on my reading list - her warm, sweet, beautiful stories light up my day. This story has everything we love as readers: a surprising dose of angst, hilarious banter, nuggets of wisdom, relatable, lovable characters and because it's Jill Shalvis, lots of animals. This book can be read as a standalone but trust me when I say you will want to read the previous stories too. I'm leaving Wildstone with a book hangover and I'll be waiting patiently until I have the next in this series in my hands.
I'll keep this short and sweet because, honestly, you need to experience this story with as little influence as possible. Better yet, stop reading here and go in blind. Yeah, I'm not selling myself well but I want you to have those whiplash moments. The twists I told you about in m review for WRITTEN WITH REGRET? Fuhgettaboutit. They were child's play. Forget everything you thought you knew when you finished the first book in the REGRET duet. Everything will be turned upside down and flipped at neck-breaking speed.
Aly Martinez is officially the queen of unexpected turns and twists. She has surprised me before with her completely unpredictable storylines but this time she has outdone herself a thousand times over. I was catching flies with my gaping mouth. I was shocked, in awe at her evil genius and totally taken off guard. I DID NOT SEE A SINGLE THING COMING. Damn, I thought I'd figured it all out when I finished the first book. Turns out I was completely off track. And that showdown? My heart, oh my heart, it was beating so hard.
She stared back at me, her eyes filling with tears. A million words hung in the air between us. Apologies. Accusation. Blame. Guilt. Love.
The sweet connection between the main characters, the one that is being made for the ages, is reinforced and strengthened in WRITTEN WITH YOU. They were inevitable. I loved Caven so much. He is a jerk when he is hurt - once you know that, it's easy to forgive him. He's alpha-male goodness with a side of hilarious. I adored this heroine just as much - her sass, her kindness, her all encompassing love for Caven and their little girl, she was the perfect partner for this strong, broken man who had the protective instinct of a mama bear. *Happy sigh*
"I don’t believe there is a reason for anything that happens. There are only actions, consequences, and unorchestrated coincidence. But every now and then, after the pain and heartache settle, beauty can be found in the consequences."
Aly has been a favorite of mine since THE FALL UP but she is getting better with every book. Every storyline is unique told in her own distinctive storytelling voice that holds both humor and anxiety and has its way to dig itself into your heart. Gah. I love her so much. This author reminds me why I love reading and she is the best remedy when you're in a slump. I thought the first one was amazing but this one? PER-FEC-TION. Bottom line? Get this duet.
A wise woman had once told me that we aren’t given a hundred years all at once. Time was doled out one very manageable second at a time. If all you focus on is the big picture and worry about tomorrow, you lose the happiness that can be found in the seconds.
TITLE: HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS AUTHOR: Kerrigan Byrne SERIES: Devil You Know #1 RELEASE DATE: August 27 2019 GENRE: Historical Romance
TITLE: HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS AUTHOR: Kerrigan Byrne SERIES: Devil You Know #1 RELEASE DATE: August 27 2019 GENRE: Historical Romance THEMES & TROPES: Trigger warning (view spoiler)[Rape (hide spoiler)] RATING: 5 STARS CLIFFHANGER: No
HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS starts with a harrowing scene that had me chewing my nails, clutching my pearls, dropping my stomach and dreading the future of this brave, beautiful heroine. I was devastated for Alexandra from the very beginning of this book but this woman, this amazing, courageous, above-average intelligent woman was everything I hoped for. Alexandra never wanted to get married, or even be touched by another man but in order to keep her secrets and protect the two women she loved most in this world, she offered the man, called "The Terror of Torcliff" her hand in marriage. That's the kind of loyalty that is unequaled and only grows through a special bond of trust and shared secrets. That's, in a nutshell, Alexandra and her friends Cecilia and Francesca.
The man called this beastly name is Piers, a man who has had his share of heartbreak. While he was fighting death abroad his cousin stole his fiancee and married her, a woman Piers thought to be in love with. His mother was a harlot who couldn't keep her skirts down. Piers is no stranger to betrayal so he finds Alexandra's forwardness and honesty refreshing.
Could she be real? Did he hold in his arms the rarest of creatures? A woman of substance. Of integrity? One who tended more carefully to the capacity of her heart than to her coiffure? One who thrived on intellect and honor and genuine interaction rather than the empty endorsements of her peers?
When you see how this heroine makes a purring cat, a besotted fool out of this hero with her gentleness, her courage, her sweetness you get really angry when he behaves like a jerk. Thankfully, that never lasted very long. I loved this man - he was fiercely protective, wickedly sexy, brooding and bad-tempered but surprisingly full of humor. Yes, that's totally a contradiction but you'll see what I mean when you read this story. And I loved how he fought his feelings for Alexandra so hard, yet couldn't help but fall head over heels.
“I sometimes forget…” he murmured as though to himself. Alexandra swallowed layers of nerves before she could speak. “Forget what?” “How beautiful you are.” He undid his cravat as he traveled the length of the sitting room. “Then I see you and realize that memory cannot compare to reality. I’m left as breathless as the first time we met.”
Their bond was special and while this is very insta I don't care. Not even a little. And c'mon, check the title...HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS? Hello Captain Obvious.
Alexandra was a gentle soul with a steely will and I rooted so hard for her because of her pain. Piers made her feel worthy and became her champion, protector and lover. They made so much sense to me together that I was happy to see how these two people, who experienced so much trauma and heartbreak, found their due, a love so extraordinary and deep, a companion and friend for life. And above all, trust.
“I—I don’t know how to please you,” she confessed, suddenly daunted. He gazed up at her with a patience so tender, so genuine, it released a swell of emotion inside her.
"Don’t you know by now, Alexandra, that everything you do pleases me? To look at you pleases me. To touch and kiss you pleases me. The scent and taste and shape of you is the greatest pleasure I’ve ever known. Anything you do beyond that…”
This book got me out of a book funk I keep falling back into. I don't know why it's not going away but there are these special ones that seem to have the ability to put that slump to rest, at least or a while. I fell deeply in love with Alexandra and Piers but I also declare my love for all the side characters. I loved Cecilia and Francesca, they are the kind of friends who not only hand you the shovel if there is a body to bury but who literally help you bury it. I also found Piers's half brother intriguing, enigmatic and charismatic and I can't wait to see this man fall hard.
The suspense part is done really well and while I guessed one of the villains correctly I was totally taken back by the other. So brownie points for that!
Before I finish my review I want to remark on Kerrigan Byrne's extraordinary gift. Her words, the way she builds sentences, the feelings her words evoke are nothing short of beautiful. HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS is a wonderful story with delicious angst, heartbreaking revelations packed in subtle and fine humor that doesn't go unappreciated because of the nature of the topic. I can't wait for spring 2020 when we get the next book in this series. If you're a fan of HR and haven't read Ms. Byrne's stories yet this is a good time. This is the start of a new series so you have no excuse.
He knew, then and there, that he’d walk through hell for her. He’d slay dragons and face entire armies. He’d circumnavigate the globe to lay her foes at her feet.
Let's take a moment and stare at the rugged beauty that is Joseph Cannata...*clears throat*
Sometimes it sucks a little to be a reviewer with deadlines (and one who can't say no). Many of the books I buy are sitting prettily on my Kindle and I rarely get to read them due to a busy schedule. Pains me because I miss out on a lot of good ones and for some authors it's impossible to get arcs for ( like Penelope Ward's) if you're not in her group of chosen bloggers. Anyhoo...my point is - this was my first book by Penelope Ward as a solo writer and damn did I miss out.
In WHEN AUGUST ENDS, Noah, a photographer in his thirties and Heather, a young woman, who isn't even of legal drinking age yet, become unlikely friends.
Heather and her mom own property on a lake and a houseboat which they rent out. Noah is their new guest and he intends to stay for a couple of months. From the first moment Noah and Heather feel an irresistible pull towards one another and although Heather would love to act on it, Noah keeps his distance because he thinks he's too old for her. Heather knows she has to accept Noah's decision but that doesn't keep her from being a mischievous little devil who pushes boundaries. She doesn't know how close to giving in he soon is.
I loved the main characters in this story so much. Heather is an outgoing, bright young woman with a bad taste in music and a positive outlook on life which is a bit of a miracle. Her sister killed herself five years earlier and her mother is battling depression. She takes care of her mom and her plans to go to nursing school are put on hold. Despite it all she looks life right into its face and embraces it. Heather was so honest, a little crazy and quirky and so adorable that even the little stalker episode was cute. I loved that she didn't tear herself up over embarrassing herself in front of Noah.
"Life is made up of little moments that don’t seem that important at the time, but in retrospect they’re what get you to where you are.”
Noah seems a little grumpy when we meet him but the more we get to know him it becomes obvious that he isn't at all. He married his childhood friend and when the marriage fell apart he considered it one of his biggest failures in life. A change of pace to find himself again is what we are made to believe is the reason he rents the houseboat.
Before coming to the lake, I hadn’t known what to expect from this place. I sure as hell wasn’t planning to feel so at peace here. It had crossed my mind that I could live this simple life forever.
But why he really came to Heather's lake remains a mystery for a while. And let me tell you - I was totally blindsided by that twist. Totally didn't see it coming. I fell in love with Noah because of his integrity, his obvious adoration for Heather, his sense of humor and dirty thoughts. He considered people's feelings, maybe a little too much sometimes. I loved how Heather's optimism changed the way he looked at life.
She walked to me and fell into my arms. I held her tightly. For the first time, I let myself breathe her in, hold her the way I wanted to without resisting.
I was a goner.
And can I say how much I loved Heather and Noah's friendship? It was so heartwarming to see that they got along so well. They made me laugh, especially Heather's antics, and made my heart hurt a little. The slow burn builds up to a sexual tension that makes you want to smoosh their faces together and yell to get on with it already.
WHEN AUGUST ENDS is a beautiful story about an extraordinary connection between two people who teach one another aspects of life they didn't consider before and which change them fundamentally and for the better. It's got a couple of twists and is unexpectedly emotional which made me a little bit teary-eyed...that end and epilogue....oh my heart. I am so glad I got to read this story and I'm so looking forward to reading more books by Penelope Ward.
"In the end, all we have are memories. I don’t have nearly enough memories with you. I want to make some."
TITLE: We Shouldn't AUTHOR: Vi Keeland GENRE: Contemporary Romance TROPES: office romance, enemies-to-lovers NARRATORS: Sebastian York, And
TITLE: We Shouldn't AUTHOR: Vi Keeland GENRE: Contemporary Romance TROPES: office romance, enemies-to-lovers NARRATORS: Sebastian York, Andi Arndt LENGTH: 8 hrs and 36 mins RATING: ★★★★★ CLIFFHANGER: no
I'm utterly smitten with Vi Keeland's writing. I had so much fun with WE SHOULDN'T - it was everything I wanted it to be multiplied by 10. It started out with a laugh-out-loud scene and those were generously sprinkled throughout the story.
In this romance novel we meet Annalise and Bennett who are adversaries, competing for the same job after the merger of their former employers. To say I loved these two characters is a major understatement. Annalise is a beautiful, a little quirky, tender-hearted young woman who made Bennett a better man by leading by example. Although she was competitive she had a fairness and decency about her that couldn't be overlooked. And Bennett didn't.
"Underneath all the tough exterior was a man with a giant, soft heart."
He comes across like a bit of a douche in the beginning, trying to one-up Annalise at every turn but we know it's always much more complex than that because along the way you'll find out that there is a decent man hidden under the snark and cocky attitude. He looked out for Annalise and although it was bound to be complicated they became friends. Yes, there is a lot of push and pull happening on Bennett's part but there was always an underlying feel of him caring immensely for his combatant so it didn't bother me all that much..
"I didn’t see you coming, Texas. Didn’t see you coming."
I loved loved LOVED Bennett's inner monologues, I busted a gut laughing at him. His confusion about his feelings and attraction for Annalise were adorable...and damn he was ovaries-destroying in bed. Vi Keeland really made me wait for their first time - there was so much pent up sexual energy between them that I knew it would be explosive.
Two more things I absolutely adored: Annalise narrating her driving - of course it was sex where Bennett's mind wandered when he learned about it. The other thing was his relationship with his godson. There is nothing sweeter than a man who loves kids.
This office romance is also an enemies to lovers story that is perfectly executed with humor and just enough heartache to make your heart go pitter-patter. Go, pick up WE SHOULDN'T, I promise you'll have a good time.
"Thank you for loving me even when I hated myself.”
Confession time: I was scared of starting this book. I love Ginger Scott's books. All of them. Without exception. Yet, the angst of WAITING ON THE SIDELINES and GOING LONG was a little hard on me. Nolan and Reed had to go through so much and often times it was outside interference that broke them apart. Again. And again. It hurt because I'd come to love these two. So when THE HAIL MARY landed on my Kindle I was worried that they'd have to deal with issues again, they'd only have limited control over. This time, Ginger took pity on me. The problems Noles and Reed had to solve were, while grave, not out of their control. And they did so with flying colors.
After GOING LONG ended Nolan and Reed married. Reed became a professional football player and that life, with all its ups and downs, injuries and thousands of miles apart, is hard on a marriage. While they are still very much in love they are both hanging by a thread. Reed's neck injury four years ago scared the living daylights out of Nolan and makes her fear for Reed's life whenever he steps on the field. He's closing in on forty but retiring isn't an option for Reed, much to Nolan's grief. So they are stuck in a place where both are right, unease has settled in, and there is little they can do except to ride it out. The alternative isn't an option.
I want something that is in direct conflict with what the love of my life wants.
These two have gained so much maturity and despite all the resentment of their past mistakes, despite their arguments, there is still this undeniable, palpable love. They had a ton of issues but I never doubted them to make it to the other side. They never stopped fighting for their love and handled their issues with a grace they lacked when they were teenagers.
Somehow… still, after all these years, this guy can make me feel special just by the way he looks at me.
I fell in love with them so deeply this time. The way they were working through the obstacles, one at a time although they kept piling up, they had each other's back even though their relationship wasn't always easy. And can I say how much I loved Reed? He is the kind of hero I adore about this author's stories. They are all decent men, good to the bones and not afraid of their own feelings. He has come so far, has grown and matured so much. His relationship with his daughter was one of my favorite things.
More than anything, I want to live. This life, with this girl— it’s my passion. I’m nothing without her, and everything when I’m wherever she is.
I also fell a little bit in love with Jason although I really hated him in the first two books but he, too, showed a lot of growth and had become a man Noles and Reed could rely on.
Ms. Scott has proven times and again that she can write poignant stories that hit you right in the chest, with characters you can't help but fall in love with. THE HAIL MARY is the perfect happy ending for two wonderful people who had to overcome so many challenges in life. The first two books gave me a knot in my stomach because of all the teenage angst. This story has a different kind of angst, the one you feel in your heart but still know that everything will be alright in the end, because the love Nolan and Reed have for one another is unquestionable and irrevocable. It made the hurt I felt while listening to the first two books so worth it. I'm a little sad to have to say goodbye to them now.
The setbacks. The milestones. The ride. The motherfucking ride. This life, it’s hard on a marriage. It’s hard on the mind and the soul. You have to be something rare just to survive it and I did. We did.
TITLE: ANOTHER SKY AUTHOR: Jayne Frost SERIES: Standalone - connected to Sixth Street Bands RELEASE DATE: June 25th 2019 GENRE: Contemporary
TITLE: ANOTHER SKY AUTHOR: Jayne Frost SERIES: Standalone - connected to Sixth Street Bands RELEASE DATE: June 25th 2019 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: Mental Illness RATING: ALL OF THE STARS CLIFFHANGER: No
Jayne Frost's name should be known wide and far. Her extraordinary talent for writing deeply emotional stories, that stay with you for a long time, always gets me like a visceral sucker punch and every time I experience one of her stories I fall in love with the characters. Miles and Gelsey are no different.
Lightning on my skin Thunder in my soul Heavy on my heart You were my perfect storm
And she was mine.
If you know this author and thought DOWN TO YOU was her best book, prepare for ANOTHER SKY. I'm not saying it's better, it isn't. But that's because Logan and Tori hold a special place in my heart and it's hard to live up to them. But you know what? Gelsey and Miles did. I adored Gelsey's pure heart and innocence. The way she looked at the world, wide-eyed, open although she wasn't a stranger to disappointment and setbacks.
Miles couldn't have asked for a better partner in life. After the tour bus accident we learned about in the Sixth Street Bands series, when he lost his love Paige and best friend Rhenn, Miles stopped living and fell into an uneasy existence. He battles demons that go beyond this accident, and my heart ached for both of them when things tumbled out of control. I loved that he ultimately realized that giving up isn't an option if he wanted to live a full life with Gelsey at his side.
“You are my mirror. And through your eyes, I see the me I wish I was.”
If you missed Taryn from LOST FOR YOU you get the chance to catch up with her a little. I adored Miles and Taryn's friendship, how much love there was between them. We get some hilarious scenes with Daryl, a bodyguard forced on Miles by Tori - their snarky exchanges were my favorite thing and I kind of think that this is a bromance in the making. And then there is Ivan, Gelsey's mentor, who is the only father figure she ever really had in her life. He seems so stern, hard and unrelenting but he has a buttery-soft spot for Gelsey. I loved him almost as much as the two leads.
The single most important theme in Ms. Frost's stories is music. It's so present that it seems like its a separate character. This time ballet dance joins in and I loved reading about Gelsey's practices and performances.
This story isn't dark. It gives you as the audience hope with its light, beautiful moments. ANOTHER SKY is like life - it shows you that everyone - rich or poor, famous or not - has their burden to carry but that there is always hope. Wrapped in Jayne Frost's gorgeous, descriptive writing this story will make you smile, swoon and sniffle a little. She gets me every time. Every. Time.
Home wasn’t a place on the map. Not anymore. Home was lavender-scented linen and blue eyes and promise. And joy. So much joy.
When I started Royally Yours I knew deep in my bones that it would be magical. Of course I don't expect anything else from Emma Chase but this installment in the Royally series is a little different. Sure, it has the author's trademark humor, swoon worthy her and wonderful heroine but it's way more emotional than the other three.
From the other books we know that Queen Lenora is the unmovable object to her grandsons' moving ones. She always seems to draw up a facade and only drops it for the ones she loves. Royally Yours guides us through the first 20+ years of her life, which were saturated with love but also tragedy that doesn't stop even for a future queen.
Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story. This is ours.
This time I would like to talk about a side character first who so thoroughly captured my heart. I adored Lenora's friendship with Thomas. Theirs was true, honest and full of innocent love only two long time friends share.
He’s become my rock and my fun skipping stone. The someone I’d been missing my whole life. My friend.
Lenora was a sweet teenager with a wild streak. From an early age she has been prepared for one role only: being the ruler of her country. Being a child, acting like one was never in her cards. One of the most important lessons is to never show emotions in public.
After the loss of her parents she had to grow up fast and be the first queen of Wessco which isn't at all the awesome job they made us think it is in first grade. Lenora has to fight a lot of resistance, and it's pretty lonely if there is no one who has your back... Lenora's loneliness made my heart ache, she was conditioned to not show emotion so when things got bad she cried behind closed doors. Good thing she met Thomas's brother, however, who would soon become her closest ally and biggest champion.
I was made for this . . . for her. To cherish her, protect her and challenge her, to guide her and follow her— to be the man she needs, so she can be the woman, the queen, she was always meant to be.
Edward was everything I want from a male main character. He was absolutely smitten with Lenora, her spirit which she showed when she was among familiar faces, her stubbornness and he loved to rile her up. He had a dirty mouth on him and taught Lenny that it's absolutely OK to be not as queenly proper in the bedroom. With Edward, Lenora was a woman first and with him she could be the wild girl she had inside of her. Although she outranked him there was never a feeling of imbalance in their relationship. Edward was possessive of his firecracker queen and spoke his mind. I adored their relationship that was based on honesty and acceptance and a soul-deep connection and love that grew naturally.
She’s ethereal— a heavenly creature and a sin-tempting spirit all in one— and she takes my breath away.
I didn't expect this story to be so deeply emotional although we got a little of Lenora's backstory in the other books. Royally Yours is an absolutely romantic fairytale that managed to make me laugh and cry at the same time. This may be the story you didn't see coming, yet you'll fall head over heels in love with it. I had my heart in my throat from the first to the last page. Lenora and Edward's epic love was perfection and I wouldn't mind getting more books in this series.
You know, when you read the last The End of a beloved series it's always with both sadness and joy.
Free is the phenomenal conclusion to the Chaos series by Kristen Ashley and has pretty much an all-cast from Dream Man, Chaos, a little Honey and Unfinished Heroes. Heads up: this book can't be read as a standalone. The sheer amount of POVs will leave anyone, who hasn't read the previous books in this series, completely lost. While I usually don't like jumping between so many multiple viewpoints, it didn't bother me in this story because I knew all the characters.
Cole "Rush" Allen is a chip off the old block. He is in most ways a carbon copy of his dad, maybe a little more easy-going. But everything I loved about Tack I also love about Rush - his protective nature, his open adoration for his woman, how he looks out for her, his bossiness, his integrity, his humor...I could go on for a while.
“You’re lucky you’re a great fuck.” I grinned.
“And got great hair,” he went on. I grinned bigger.
“And fantastic legs.” My grin got seriously toothy.
“And beautiful cheekbones.” That surprised me.
“Beautiful cheekbones?” Another sigh.
“Baby, you pretty much got beautiful everything, which means I’m fucked.”
So it's probably no surprise when I say he has joined the ranks of Tate, Tack and Luke, who are my top favorite Kristen Ashley male characters. He falls for Rebel fast and when he loves, he loves hard. Tack and Rush's relationship was one of my favorite things. His dad gave him advice in typical Tack manner. Straight, to the point but not unkind and with so much wisdom - Tack has come a long way. Father and son had an unbreakable bond.
“You’re a good son. You’re a good man,” his dad whispered. “I have no idea how, through all the shit you had to wade through that was not in my power to protect you from, you turned into the man you are. But you did and I’m damned proud, Rush. You’re the man I wanted to be. You’ll have the Club I wanted to make. And I did more. I made Tabby. I had a hand in makin’ Ride and Cut. I earned the love of your stepmother. I debate it every day, what makes me the proudest. And I gotta tell you, son, havin’ that to debate is the best place a man can be.”
Rebel was da bomb. I adored her. She has a bit of a superwoman complex, a need to always take care of others and make things right for them. She just can't help herself. If someone needs a leg up, a shoulder, she's there. I think she may be one of my most favorite heroines. I adored her for Rush. She was perfect for him in every way. She had sass, courage, smarts, compassion and a tender heart. There were so many sweet moments between them, moments that left me without a doubt that these two were a once-in-a-lifetime, meant-to-be love. And I didn't care that they it was pretty much love at first sight.
“I’m keeping you,” he said against my lips. He was keeping me. I was going to belong to somebody. And that somebody was Rush Allen.
There were also many laugh-out-loud moments, and I was again floored how kind and sweet and funny the Chaos men could be when they didn't need to be tough. I *need* to paste this interaction between them when they meet Essence, Rebel's hippie neighbor (who reminds me a little of Tex in a more feminine, sweeter way), for the first time.
I'm putting this deliberately in spoiler tags because it's a long quote, the quote itself isn't a spoiler! It's worth it to read! (view spoiler)[“Accidentally, I was a cock blocker!” Essence exclaimed. “Did that hippie granny just say she was a cock blocker?” Joker whispered. “I’m so sorry, Rush, I didn’t mean to be a cock blocker!” Essence cried. “Essence, it’s okay,” Rush murmured. “Cock blocking is never okay,” Shy muttered. “You two can shut up or I’m gonna knock your skulls together,” Hound growled. Joker grinned at his boots. Shy put his hands to his hips and pressed his lips together. Boz sneezed. Everyone looked at him. “What?” he asked. “I’m allergic to macramé.” “He’s allergic to hippies,” High murmured. “She’s a sweet old lady,” Snapper said. “She’s a cock blocker, nothin’ sweet about that,” Hop put in. “Are you men really fuckin’ jokin’ at a time like this?” Tack growled. “It’s okay, really, Mega Rush,” Essence declared. “It breaks the tension.” “Mega Rush?” Dog asked. “I’m Tack, Rush’s father,” Tack introduced himself . . . again. “Yes.” She looked him up and down. “Mega Rush,” Essence replied. “I think I love this woman,” Brick stated.(hide spoiler)]
Another side character who stood out was Beck, the Bounty MC member who treated Rosalie horribly in Rough Ride. I loved what Ms. Ashley did with him. He was definitely one of my favorite POVs in FREE. The villains' POVs (yes, plural) raise the tension and the stand-off left me a little breathless and tense.
Leaving Chaos isn't as easy as I thought it would be, even though I knew Kristen Ashley would leave them in a happy place. These characters have stolen a piece of my heart and run away with it. FREE is the perfect conclusion to the series and will remain with me for a long while. It is about amends and tying up loose ends, solving the remaining mysteries, catching up with beloved characters and finally bidding them goodbye. I hope we get to see the Chaos cast in other books and can catch up with them. Until then, I'll listen to the audiobooks and relive vicariously through these awesome characters and hope that maybe, someday, there will be another MC series in the future.
Tacked grinned at the open stretch of tarmac in front of him, glinting in the sun. And Chaos rode.
This was my first Christina Lauren book and these two authors made it straight to the top of my auto-read list. Everything and ev[image]
This was my first Christina Lauren book and these two authors made it straight to the top of my auto-read list. Everything and everyone in this story was lovable that the book felt almost a little too short which is by no means the authors' fault and only my love and enthusiasm for this wonderful friends-to-lovers novel.
Millie loves her job and her small circle of four friends who consists only of the XY-chromosome variety and are all scientists. One of them is Reid, her best friend, and their relationship is truly amazing. The ease with which they treat one another almost could have fooled me into thinking that they are really solely platonic. But while they have a beautiful friendship, Millie keeps Reid and everyone else at arms length, so far that Reid wonders at some point if she has the emotional capacity to feel deep emotions.
But one night Millie is a little tipsy and feels a little frisky so she makes her move and they end up spending, you guessed it, half a night. Apparently the underlying attraction they've felt for one another has been brewing and neither of them has acknowledged it. So how do you go back to friendship when the night you had with your best friend rocked your world? How do you keep the awkwardness out?
Trying to be cool about banging your best friend is a lot harder than I would have anticipated.
When the five friends need to attend a black tie function for work and don't have dates they have the glorious idea to register for an online dating platform. Millie signs up with a name none of her friends are aware of and finds herself being a 98% match with Reid. They start messaging each other, with Reid being none the wiser that he's talking to his best friend. For so long Millie has kept everything she feels inside: about her sick dad, the way she's dropped the ball with her sister. For the first time Millie can be herself, but she does it on the sly and as we all know...secrets always have a way of coming out at some point.
Often times emotionally closed off characters come across a little distant, maybe even cold. Not Mllie - she has a warmth about her that I found enchanting. She is wicked smart and has a kickass sense of humor, she just bottles up her feelings. The way she explained them totally resonated with me and I think this is what made this book so special to me. I saw myself in a lot of things Millie said and did. Her loneliness, not being able to say the things that moved her...in her mind she voices things many of us aren't able to admit.
I’m lonely. I’m lonely because I don’t tell people what I need or what I want, and then get hurt when they don’t figure it out on their own.
Reid is dreamy and so so swoon-worthy. Ahhh he has this charming, humorous and intelligent way about him I love. There is also an innate kindness that makes him stand out. And don't get me started on his nerdiness. I LOVE a hot nerd. I adored Millie and Reid's friendship. It was easy, sweet, and strong enough to overcome mistakes made on both sides.
The way he smiles up at me is the same way he always looks at me: like there is nowhere else he’d rather be. There’s no awkwardness or tentative touches. It’s just us.
Their circle of friends is a hoot, totally quirky, endearing and nerdy and when they interact you can feel the love they have for each other. You can also feel a sort of reverence they all have for Millie.
The graphic format of the friends' online chats is extremely well done - so hats off to whoever decided to make the book look interactive and alive!
MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND is a beautiful and enchanting study of characters and online dating with surprising depth and a little angst towards the end. I had such a ball reading about the friends' antics and Reid and Millie's path to love in this modern and crisp writing style. So as always, when I find a new author to love, I'm desperate to catch up on their other books. If you love a cute, delightful friends-to-lovers story that will have you swoon and make you think then grab this. You're welcome.
“I love you, too.”
He punctuates each small phrase with a kiss lower on my throat.
“All of you. The silly, the quiet, the argumentative, the sarcastic, and even this side.” He kisses my shoulder. “The softer side.”
I haven't read a book that punched me in my heart and my gut and destroyed me so thoroughly like this in a long, long while. I'm left raw and in need of a good ole hug.
HEARTBREAK WARFARE is a life lesson. About how we shouldn't judge people's decisions because we haven't walked in their shoes - so start this story with this mindset because it'll make you uncomfortable. It starts out with Katy leaving home and her husband and son for a deployment she doesn't want to go on, meeting a fellow soldier she feels a connection with but she fights the attraction because she's a happily married woman.
That was before the ambush. What follows is harrowing, a hail storm that batters your heart, leaving it ripped open and bruised. Heather M. Orgeron and Kate Stewart didn't hold back when they described the nightmare of Briggs and Katy's time in Iraq. It was painful but necessary because, let's be real people, there are people in this world who live this nightmare everyday. If they can live it so that we can breathe easy and live free and in peace, then we damn well can read about it.
Katy's resilience and strength is nothing short of awe inspiring. When she came back from Iraq she couldn't accept the change in her. She was stuck in hell with no way out of it. Yet she fought for her family and herself with every breath she took. The guilt, the horror, the nightmares would be her companions for the rest of her life. The only person in the world who understood was the man she was trapped with in hell. Only he knew the atrocities because he lived them, too.
Locked in our gaze, everything else disappears. I see the pain and fear leave her eyes. They’re replaced with trust, with a connection so powerful it steals my breath. We’re no longer in this bunker. There’s no pain. No torture. We’ve drifted off to a place that’s ours alone.
Briggs, a cocky, wisecracking and mellow guy, had fun riling Katy up. He knew he couldn't cross the line with her but those two months in captivity with her turned their initial connection into an unbreakable bond as only life-altering events experienced together can weld it.
She’s all that matters. As long as she makes it back to her little boy in one piece, and as long as I can see her smile again, I can live with whatever hand I’m dealt.
Gavin was a saint. That man deserves a medal for being one of the most selfless men in romance. My heart shattered for him, how he fought to bring the woman he fell in love with back from her darkness.
She’s finally home, and I’m still living in the headspace we were in when she left. Not only are we not on the same page anymore, we’re reading completely different books.
And here's the thing - every single one of these characters is so wonderful and amazing that you can't help but root for them all and it's what tears you apart while reading this story. All of them are catapulted into an impossible situation and they have to make impossible decisions. If you had made me choose I wouldn't have been able to and it's that dilemma that makes you understand some of Katy's choices. They all did things that hurt the other and it changed all of their lives fundamentally, but when you are thrown into Briggs and Katy's hell your world is narrowed down to a very small piece with little room to wiggle and hidden exits.
Now I'm nursing the mother of all book hangovers. This book is hard, so hard that I had tears in my eyes pretty much all the way through which turned in ugly-crying at the tough parts. Heather and Kate definitely didn't take the easy way out with their story-telling, which, by the way is effortless and seamless. Even though it may not be for everybody, everybody should still read it. There are so many lessons in this story. It's darkness and light, violence and tenderness and full of undiluted love.
Together, we breathe the ultimate sigh of relief, and as our climax ripples between us, our eyes never part. Ocean blue meets amber sunset. And it’s beautiful.
HEARTBREAK WARFARE is raw, unfiltered and painful, and pure heartbreaking emotion, that will have your heart in your throat, make you cry and angry, oh so angry. It deserves its title 100%. Ms. Orgeron and Ms. Stewart have penned one of the best and most memorable stories I've read and these characters will stay with me for a long time.
Thank you to all the soldiers in the world for their service so that we can live free and in peace.
Those who have read The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game know how beautiful and sweet Tessa Dare's stories are. She writes the most adorable heroines, the best brooding, troubled heroes and some of the wittiest banter. In The Wallflower Wager we meet the third of the quartet of friends who bonded over the fact that they seemed to be unsuitable for marriage.
While Emma and Alex both aren't originally from the elevated circles of aristocracy, Penny is the daughter of an earl who for all intents and purposes may be called a spinster if it weren't for the fact that she lives in the city and has her beloved friends. She rarely goes out and is devoted to her merry mix of furry friends including but not limited to a parrot, a hedgehog, a goat, a dog and cats which she at one time rescued from injury or abandonment.
Enter Gabriel Duke, was a street urchin but made a fortune bringing members of the aristocracy to their knees. With one word, he does his nickname, Duke of Ruin, justice. He is feared but far from being accepted by the ton. When Penny finds herself in a pickle and is forced to re-enter society and find homes for her pets our broody hero offers to help. What then ensues is one delightful courtship that will have you utterly charmed and hot and bothered.
Like the rest of him, his heart was strong, defiant, loyal. Capable of lasting love. He might revel in denying it, but she knew the truth. If he ever permitted himself to love, he would love fiercely and without reserve. Only the most stubborn of women would be able to bear it.
Hidden under Gabriel's hard exterior is a soft center. He is a wonderful hero who on one hand doesn't care that he isn't accepted by the ton yet he doesn't want to give them any reason to talk or speculate. His poor upbringing has always been a sore spot. Penny is an adorable heroine who gravitates towards the wounded and injured (and vice versa) so it's no surprise that she is the one who will, for a change, bring the Duke of Ruin to his knees.
It was trust at first sight. I felt safe with you. All those firsts that I believed had been stolen from me . . . With you, I got them all back. I took them back, on my own terms. I only wish I could go back and help recover all the firsts you missed, too.”
I loved these two so much - they were everything. Their banter hilarious and so smart, and, JESUS, their connection...so, so, SO HOT! We get to catch up with Ash and Chase too and I loved the scene where they bonded with Gabriel, it was such a hilarious scene I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard.
There is one thing I need to mention and I'm going to be honest - I could have given this story 5 stars for the story alone but I'm big on crediting where credit is due. In this story there is a part where Penny and her friend Nicola sit together and eye a gossipy newspaper. This is after an adventure with Gabriel that may have caused a little bit of a scandal.
“I don’t know why this so difficult. It’s not as though I can change the contents by waiting. What’s printed is printed. I am either a scandal or a spinster already, depending on what’s inside.” “Actually,”Nicola mused, “while the paper remains closed, you’re both.” “Both?” “Right now, you’re both a scandal and a spinster.” “I’m so sorry. I’m afraid I don’t follow you.”Penny frequently had difficulty following the twists and turns of Nicola’s mind. Everyone did. Nicola’s eyes went unfocused, as though she were staring at distant horizon. One that only she could see. “Imagine you took a cat,”she said slowly, “and sealed it in a box.” “Seal a cat inside a box?”Penny was horrified. “I’d never do such a thing.” “Of course you wouldn’t actually do it. I’m only trying to illustrate a philosophical conundrum.”
OK, so my bestie called me a nerd for even knowing this but see, there is a theory called Schrödinger's Cat devised in 1935 which I'm not going into in detail but it's a thought experiment by physicist Erwin Schrödinger which you can read about here if you want to geek out a bit. The thoughts Nicole uttered are based on this theory and while I think it's totally OK to take creative liberty I would like to see the source credited in author's notes or acknowledgements. I didn't find any of that in The Wallflower Wager and I have to say that I was a little disappointed, so much so that I deducted a star.
With all that being said, this story is one of the highlights of this year and I wish I could have rated it 5 stars. I will keep reading Tessa Dare's stories because they are some of the best Historical Romance books. This one will make you swoon, laugh, fall in love with Penny and Gabe and leave you totally satisfied with their Happily Ever After. I am looking forward to Nicola's story - she's a nerd after my own heart.
I'm bitten by the Royal bug! I can't get enough of those Wessconian princes!
This time we get naughty, wild, hot mess Henry who, after his older brother's abdication is next in line of the throne. Nobody really believes in him, not even he believes in himself.
If I’m supposed to be the Great Royal Hope for my country, we’re all well and truly fucked.
Thank God though there is Nicholas who thinks that Henry will make a stellar king. Before that though he is happy to add one more bad decision to his scoreboard. While his grandmother believes him to be alone in a castle, giving him "space" to acclimate in his new position, he accepts the offer to be part of a royal edition of a "The Bachelor" type of show. Hoping for a last hurrah before the reality of court life and politicking starts he's disappointed that sex is off the menu for the duration of the filming.
Bookish and shy Lady Sarah von Titebuttom accompanies her sister Penelope who is one of the contestants vying for Prince Henry's attention. She'd never thought that she, the quiet, socially awkward girl would draw Henry's attention and win his affection. But Henry is everything she can't have. And even if she could she wouldn't want him, with him being a major player he is bound to break her heart. Right? RIGHT? If she JUST could stop thinking about the charming, larger-than-life, cheerful and cocky Henry.
“Corrupting the good ones is my favorite pastime.”
Oh yes, definitely a Willoughby. I hug my book to my chest. “I’m not corruptible.”
His smile broadens. “Good. I like a challenge.”
They become fast friends and soon Sarah becomes the most beautiful woman for Henry. I loved how Henry was knocked on his butt by his realization when he fell in love with the super-sweet, totally endearing Sarah.
I would give up a crown for her. I would give up my name, my title- I would trade my country, forfeit my birthright, lie, kill, cheat and steal for this. For her.
She is so good for him - the man who nobody takes seriously has fundamental things to say and she is always there to listen. I loved their harmony when they spent time together, when they chatted, or Sarah listened to Henry playing the guitar. They could have been totally normal people next door, being themselves, enjoying each other's company. They were two puzzle pieces that matched perfectly - I loved them so much. Although Sarah never lacked courage she gains self confidence with Henry's help and Henry in return matures into the man his country needs as the future king.
This is such a beautiful, swoon-worthy, humorous and romantic love story. It was pure perfection and there is not a single word out of place. I wish I could read this story again for the first time - Sarah and Henry captured my heart. Emma Chase writes perfect romance and I can't get enough. So next up are Logan and Ellie!
I’ve never had someone who was just mine, body and soul—mine to protect and hold and love. And that’s what Sarah is . . . she belongs to me now. We belong to each other.
SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY is Emma Scott's first MM story and it's an important one. It is an advocate and champion for the LGBTQ community and deals with homophobia in its rawest form. It is also a light of hope for people who are in a "nontraditional" relationship and have been cast out because of it.
Nothing hurts more than the rejection of your parents. Both Max and Silas were dragged out of the closet at a young age and both their parents handled their sexual orientation poorly. Both turned to drugs. Max was kicked out of his home at sixteen and survived only by God's good grace and the good heart of a man who picked him up, sobered him up and gave him a home until he was able to stand on his own two feet. Silas was sent to Alaska for conversion therapy and returned broken, only a shell of the boy he used to be. He has easy access to the opioids produced by his family's pharmaceutical company and the pills, intended for people with a terminal illness and severe pain, help him to ignore the daily struggle and the emptiness inside him and give him a temporary high.
At this point you can see that this story isn't something out of a fairy tale. This is the real world, a world we created, full of hatred, fear and intolerance of the "other." I'm not a pessimist by any stretch but if you want change you need to take a hard look at our failures. This is what Emma Scott does in this story - we are confronted with homophobia from people who are supposed to love and accept you without conditions.
Silas and Max have so much in common yet are so different. Silas, the future CEO, born with the literal silver spoon in his mouth and the world at his feet - nobody knows what he experienced at such a young age, how it transformed him into this cold man who can only show love to his older brother. He is hard to love at first with his hard and frosty presence.
I was a character in the play of my life. A life that was nothing more than an endless string of days pretending, lying, burying truths and feelings until I was more stone and steel than hot, beating blood.
Max, who dragged himself out of the gutter and turned his life around, is the light of every life he touches. He is upbeat, genuinely kind, pure, with a heart as big as the ocean and a pretty good idea of who he is. Silas is a tough nut to crack but with his sweet disposition Max takes Silas's walls down, one by one.
"I spent a lot of years lying to myself about who I was. When I got clean, I made a No Bullshit policy. I don’t dish it out and I don’t take it from anyone, including myself. Especially myself.”
When you watch these two filling the void that has been left by the hardships they went through, how the magic between them sparks from the first moment, it'll give you hope. And hope is what you need, because there are parts that will have your heart in your throat. Some of the things these two had gone through were tough to read about. But there is also forgiveness - and that was a pretty satisfying part in this story. It may not mirror reality but it let the book end on a positive note.
"Choose me, Silas. I’ll love you for who you are, and we’ll have a shot at happy.”
I have two honorable mentions - we know Max from Forever Right Now by this author. To see Darlene and Sawyer the Lawyer again was the cherry on top of this story. I loved that she was such a loyal friend. And then there is Eddie, Silas's brother, who is on the Autism spectrum, who was such a great counterpart to the sometimes dark atmosphere. He was a sweet, quirky guy who made things lighter.
SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY is Emma's latest success. It has all the elements she is known for - a complex storyline, buckets of emotions and characters you can't help but fall in love with. I'm so glad I had the chance to read this story. It covers a lot of contemporary issues and solves them with bravado. I wish life was like that. Ms. Scott has proven that she can write anything she sets her mind to. SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY is a powerful, special story that had me heartbroken, hopeful and, at the end of the journey, satisfied, happy and totally gooey. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us next. I'm sure she already has something brewing!
A hundred black nights of ice and shock, fear and shame, followed by hundreds more of self-denial and starvation, all washed away under the perfection of this moment with him.
TITLE: GETTING PLAYED AUTHOR: Emma Chase SERIES: Getting Some #2 NARRATORS: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt RELEASE DATE: June 11 2019 GENRE: Conte
TITLE: GETTING PLAYED AUTHOR: Emma Chase SERIES: Getting Some #2 NARRATORS: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt RELEASE DATE: June 11 2019 GENRE: Contemporary Romance THEMES & TROPES: small town romance RATING: 5 stars CLIFFHANGER: No
I love everything Emma Chase. She writes the funniest, sweetest, most lovable characters. GETTING PLAYED is #2 in the Getting Some series and just as good as (or maybe even better than) GETTING SCHOOLED. She always, ALWAYS hits the spot for me.
Dean is the swooniest hero - he is a player and learns what it's like when your past bites you in your butt because growing up in a small town word travels fast and every single person there has an opinion about it. Lainey and Dean's chemistry is off the charts from the moment they meet (*fans herself*) and this author, like only a few others, can make me believe in love at first sight. Their one-off night leaves them both wanting more but it takes months until they get another chance and then it's quite the bombshell she drops on Dean.
I loved Garrett and Callie so much but with Dean and Lainey Emma Chase upped the ante. These two are so adorable together. Dean is your typical player who falls hard and irrevocably. I adored how he was with his students and especially with Jason, Lainey's son. Lainey is a lifestyle blogger. Her attitude towards life is so admirable, always expecting the unexpected and going with the flow. She truly is perfect for Dean. I loved how she treated her son like a grown-up.
Supported are these two by a colorful array of secondary characters who give this story a multi-dimensional feel. I loved every single one of them. I'm hoping for at least two more books in this series. Kelly Simmons and the hot doc, Connor, Garrett's brother.
Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt are professionals and I can't say it often enough - they get better with each book they narrate. It's amazing how beautifully they breathe life into their characters. You really can't go wrong with these two if you are new to audiobooks. (You can listen to a sample on the blog).
GETTING PLAYED is a winner from beginning to end. It's an enchanting, funny, light and fast, laugh-out-loud summer read and the best remedy for a book hangover. Emma Chase, bring on the next!
I read Tangled a long time ago. I remember loving it and that it was written solely from the male character's point of view. So I'm a bit at a loss why I never picked up Emma Chase again. Audiobooks make it so much easier to catch up on your TBR so I figured, with two of my favorite narrators, Zach Webber and Andi Arndt, performing GETTING SCHOOLED I had no excuse to not read another book by this author.
There is something immensely attractive and endearing about a cocky guy with the reputation of a women connoisseur who is head over heels in love with his high school sweetheart. That's exactly what Garrett is. He is the history teacher you always wanted to have. He has charm in abundance, is smart, not just in life but with the kids he is teaching and he has a warmth I found incredibly alluring. Garrett is one of a kind and I fell in love from the first moment. How he held on to his love for Callie over the years, that he never forgot her yet lived his life...he just amazed me.
They say you can’t go home again... but they’re wrong.
I came home and found the love I never really lost.
Callie is his female counter piece. She was thrown into a situation and didn't just make the best of it, she shone.
This story has so much warmth, love and humor - I totally felt at home in Lakeside, New Jersey. I wanted to be part of this charming small town and I can honestly say, if I could go back to school I totally would if it had teachers like Garrett and Callie. With them comes an array of pretty wonderful side characters - especially Dean, Garrett's best friend was a hoot.
The depth of emotion and the strong connection the two main characters had came really through Emma Chase's words. While Garrett and Callie's relationship was basically drama-free it wasn't without a little heartbreak along the way but that's what made it more real, even more relatable. My heart totally broke for them although I knew that soon they'd have their happiness back soon. Because that's the way these two were. And there wasn't any other way around it. They were perfection!
My memories of loving Garrett are pale and flimsy compared to this. This is real and solid . . . and us. How did I breathe without this?
Zach Webber and Andi Arndt have done an outstanding job performing these two main characters and all the side characters. They really brought them to life and I have to say there is a constant growth with these two. They just get better and better with each book they narrate.
If you love a great second chance romance, stories that make you feel good and laugh, swoon, and get the tiniest bit teary-eyed you can't go wrong with Getting Schooled. It left me with a goofy smile on my face and my heart full.
She was the love of my life, before I had any fucking idea what love was... and then, still, even after I did.
”Don’t go near the water, love. Stay away from strand or sea. You cannot walk on water, love; The lough will take you far from me.”
Wow. If I could leave a one-word review that would be it. Buuuut, since I'm a reviewer I suppose that won't cut it, will it? I know that people have been raving about this book. Hell, my girl Christie said that it is one of her top favorites, so I wanted to know if the accolades were true.
Timetravel in books is awesome. It gives an author the freedom to infuse the story with magic and fictional characters while adhering to history books. In this regard, Amy Harmon did an unbelievable job. The amount of research must have been insane. The author paints a picture of an Ireland ridden by revolution and violence but also the kind of patriotism that is written into people's DNA. I loved learning all the things I didn't know and reveled in the parts I did know.
The characters are so well fleshed out that I felt like they were old friends. I loved Anne's kindness, her unconditional love and forgiving heart. Thomas's tenderness with both Eoin and Anne, his love for his country, his readiness to help anytime, to think beyond the impossible and his belief in Anne and finally his pure love were just beautiful. I adored little Eoin and how his parents cared for him. Their love for one another was ageless, woven in the fabric of time.
“I fell so fast, so hard, and so completely. Not because love is blind, but because . . . it’s not. Love isn’t blind, it’s blinding. Glaring. I looked at you, and from the very first day, I knew you. Your faith and your friendship, your goodness and your devotion. I saw it all, and I fell so hard."
You'll get to spend time with well-known historic figures, get to know and love them, in a country that Amy Harmon describes vividly, the contemporary Ireland and the historic - you can see it before you, the soft hills, the green grass, the old buildings, the mist rising from the lake. It was superbly done.
WHAT THE WIND KNOWS is an unforgettable, timeless lovestory brimming with magic, tenderness and passion. Passion for people, for Ireland, for loved ones, passion between lovers. It is a history class that will make you want to know more and wish a little bit that time travel was real. All the 5-star-reviews are real. So I'll just add mine.
His lips were so soft and shy, they slipped away without letting me greet them. I followed, frantic to call them back, and he hesitated, forehead pressed to mine, hands on my shoulders, letting my bated breath extend an invitation before he accepted it and returned. His hands slid around to my back as his mouth lowered and stayed, letting me feel the warmth and the press of his kiss, so real, so present, so impossible.