ARC Review: Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

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Title: Strong Enough

Authors: Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat Rating: 4 Stars

All the Feels: 5 Stars

Add to Goodreads

 

blurb

I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.

I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.

He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.

But he does.

He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.

He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.

I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.

 

review

I’m a big fan of Melanie Harlow and so I was excited to see how her first MM book would turn out, especially co-writing it with David Romanov. I have to admit my expectations were a little high, given that I was familiar with Harlow’s work. Well, Strong Enough completely blew me away.  It was heartwarming, sexy, sweet, gut-wrenching- a total roller-coaster.

From the moment Maxim steps off the plane in America, things aren’t going his way. After a string of bad luck, he finds himself being taken in by Derek Wolfe. The two are complete opposites in almost every way- Maxim follows his gut, Derek follows his brain- yet there is this connection, chemistry even, between them that is undeniable. The more time they spend together, the more the spark grows. Maxim thinks whatever happening is simple and easy, while Derek knows it’s anything but. Torn between his heart and his mind, Derek is in a rough spot. For the first time ever he has these incredible feelings, but will he let himself feel them?

Maxim was one of my favorite parts about this book. He’s younger, only 24 years old, yet is wise beyond his years. There is a dept and maturity to his character that is hard to describe. But at the same time, he is carefree, loving, and thinks you should always follow your gut and never second guess things. He has a big heart, and isn’t afraid to love. He is Russian, and it was interesting getting to know more about the Russian culture. Gah, he was so adorable!

Derek was so different from Maxim. He was a bit older 36 years old, and everything was logically thought about with him. His ultimate goal in life was to have a wife and family. You know, a “normal” life. Yet, he is carrying a secret. Derek is attracted to women… but he is also attracted to men, especially Maxim. He has battles within himself over this throughout the book, more so when he starts to really care for Maxim. I have to admit, at times I got mad at Derek. Frustrated with him. Wanted to yell at him. But, at the same time, I appropriate how realistic his character was. Derek was raised a certain way to believe certain things, and his struggle to accept himself is one that many people go through.

The relationship between Maxim and Derek is everything. From strangers, to unlikely friends, to much more. They just click. The complete what the other is lacking, and bring out the very best in each other. The way Derek softens around Maxim is super sweet. And the chemistry? WOWZA! It’s off the charts! There are some serious steamy scenes.

The writing was incredible and I was very impressed with David Romanov’s debut. I look forward to reading more from him! And of course, it was another hit for Melanie Harlow.

You seriously don’t want to miss this touching tale.

 

Find it on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

 

 

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ARC Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

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Title: Stay

Authors: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Series: Wags #2 (Can be read as a stand alone)

Genre: Sports Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

Heat Rating: 4 Stars

All the Feels: 5++++++

Release Date: June 20th, 2017

 

blurb

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it’s against the rules for her to check his file, she’s 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting… until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He’s still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won’t show her pretty face.

But it’s nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can’t fix. Hailey can’t resist the offer. Matt can’t resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn’t have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.

 

 

review

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have written some damn great books together. I didn’t think it was possible for any to surpass my love for HIM, but wow, Stay is reallllly trying to do that.

Stay has the witty banter, humor, and oh so steamy scenes that comes along with books that Sarina and Elle write, but it also tugged at my heart strings a lot more than I was expecting. The writing is excellent and really makes the characters come to live. Their emotions feel raw and genuine, which I really appropriate.

I know some people might be weary to see the word “flirting online” in the blurb because E-mails and messages between characters can get boring. Let me tell you, this is SO not the case. The interactions between Hailey and Eriksson are golden. I lost count at how many times I laughed out loud.

I loved Hailey‘s character. She was the kind of character that most people could see bits of themselves in. She was shy, uncertain at times, but also hungry for success and sure of herself. There is more I’d like to say about her relationship with another character, but I don’t want to give away too much. I know that’s a tease. 😛

As for Eriksson… sigh. He is so swoony. He’s been hurt so he has a bit of a hard shell, but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the guy from the beginning. Seriously. His interactions with his daughters are too cute for words. It will hurt your ovaries. His inner thoughts about Hailey will make you swoon so hard, you will be a puddle on the floor. Total closet romantic. Oh, and did I mention he is one of the best dirty talkers? YEP! I’m still kinda blushing from it.

The chemistry between them is amazing. So hot, it was burning my fingers as I held my kindle. 😉 But more than that, they just have this connection that makes you sigh. It’s so real, so sweet. It’s not all easy, but you can’t help but smile at them. One of the cutest couples.

Of course, I have to mention Rufus, the dog that likes to steal the spotlight. He might not be able to talk, but man, you have to love him! Sometimes he helps makes things deliciously awkward, and other times he helps breaks the ice.

You also get to see Blake and Jess (From Goodbye) and Wes and Jamie (HIM/US). I love, love catching up with them. There are some new characters as well, but I don’t want to give too many details away.

All in all, you really don’t want to miss this. A perfect summer read!

 

Find Stay

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rah

ARC Review: THE FOXE AND THE HOUND by R.S. Grey

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Title: THE FOXE AND THE HOUND

Author: R.S. Grey

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heat Rating: 4 stars

All The Feels Rating: 5+++ Stars

Release Date: June 1st, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

blurb

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

 

review

What do you get when you have one sexy, charming vet and one klutzy, determined woman with a side of a dog that is too big, too friendly, and doesn’t know the meaning of no? All the makings for a perfect read. THE FOXE AND THE HOUND by R.S. Grey is filled with witty banter, sizzling chemistry, and a dog that sounds cute, I’m mad I don’t get to pet him. Yeah, that’s right Grey, I have some beef with you about that! 😛

R.S. Grey is one of my favorite authors, and my go to for the best Rom Coms. So effortlessly. If you haven’t read any of her books, you need to change that ASAP. Seriously. THE FOXE AND THE HOUND is the definition of a true feel good read. Not only is it hilarious (I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud), but it also made me grin like a fool, swoon, and tugged on the heart strings a little bit.

Madeleine Thatcher is down on her luck. She’s single, not doing well as a realtor, and adopted a puppy, Mouse, that seems to gain 15lbs a night. But at least Mouse behaviors amazingly…. yeah, one could wish! Mouse acts like the puppy he is, while looking nothing like a puppy. What else could go wrong?

How about a muddy run in with the new vet, Adam Foxe? (Thanks Mouse, sigh). Adam is sexy, moody, and has a thought or two on how Madeleine is training Mouse. The two clash -cue some of the best banter. Then when Adam needs a favor he turns to Madeleine for help. So what if he needs her to pretend to be his girlfriend, it’s not like things about to get interesting…. right?

You first meet Madeleine Thatcher in Anything You Can Do as the little sister of the hero, and best friend of the heroine. I adored her character in that book so I was super excited when she was getting her own book. (THE FOX AND THE HOUND can be read as a standalone!) She didn’t disappoint staring in her own book. She’s not where she wants to be at 27, a feeling many of us can relate to, regardless of age. She’s sweet, caring, loyal and strong. I love that she’s spunky and trips over her own feet.

And Adam, sigh. He is so swoony! He starts off kind of tough, but I love seeing his softer side come through. And the two of them together? Wowza. Talk about chemistry. They bicker and push each other and have enough sexual tension that you can feel it in the pages. If you want a book that delivers all the feels, yep, this is it!

This book is also filled with great secondary characters. Some new, and some we’ve met before. 😉 Mouse really finds a way to your heart.

THE FOX AND THE HOUND is the perfect summer read: tho you may need to jump in the pool to cool off after! 😉 I can’t wait for what’s next from R.S. Grey!!!!

Order on Amazon!

Add on Goodreads!

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ARC Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Title: When It’s Real

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heat Rating: 1 star

All The Feels Rating: 5+++ Stars

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

blurb

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

review

You know when the weather is perfect, and you’re driving with the windows down, music blaring, singing along to your favorite song? You get that feeling of utter satisfaction that you want to hold on to forever. Well, that’s how I felt when I was reading When It’s Real. Yep, it’s that good. Though that’s a complete understatement, since it’s hard to put into words just how sweet, fun and swoon worthy this book really is.

Oakley Ford is a famous pop star who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. And unfortunately for Oakley, his less than desirable antics are constantly splattered all over the tabloids. When his popularity with his fans start to dwindle, there is only one thing to do- clean up his image. That’s when Oakley’s manager drops a bombshell: the fastest, and most sure fire way to revamp Oakley Ford is with a sweet, innocent, normal girlfriend. Welp, how bad can that be?

Vaughn Bennett has zero interest to play girlfriend to Oakley Ford. Unfortunately for Vaughn, she has a lot of interest in the amount of money she will earn by being Oakley’s image booster. After all, it’s not just Vaughn that needs the money, but her siblings as well. So what if she has to flirt with him on social media and hold his hand from time to time. It’s not like they have to get along. It’s not like she actually has to like that self centered jerk. It’s not like lines will be crossed. Right?

Eeek, just writing about it makes me want to go back and re-read it!

The relationship between Vaughn and Oakley is PERFECTION. When the two first meet, they don’t really like each other, and there is some amazing banter between the two of them. The friendship they form surprises them, and I have to applaud how authentic it felt. There is this vulnerability between then that gave me chills. They are a lot alike, yet vastly differently, and they compliment each other really well. It is a bit of a slow burn, and the chemistry between them is off the charts.

I really appreciate how well-written and developed Vaughn and Oakley were. Oakley is cocky and kind of an ass at times, but there is SO much more to him than meets the eye. He is thoughtful, genuine and unexpectedly really romantic. Seriously. He made my heart skip a beat a few times. Vaughn is strong and independent. She’s caring, intelligent and put others before herself. She had a true old soul feel to her, yet still had the battles that every teen girl goes through. I also really love her family.

I know some of you are thinking “But I don’t like YA….”

Come on now. This is Erin Watt we are talking about! You are going to love it! The writing is amazing, and even though this plot has been done before, it felt fresh. I promise it’s not all fluff, there are some issue that both Vaughn and Oakley are going through, and they both have a mature feel to them.

Do yourself a favor and read When It’s Real. You won’t regret it!

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Find When It’s Real

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Release Blitz & Review: Confesssions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

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Title: Confesssions of a Former Puck Bunny

Author: Cindi Madsen

Series: Taking Shots #4 (Can be a standalone)

Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance

Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: May 8th, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

blurb

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.

 

review

I have been a huge fan of the Taking Shot series ever since Getting Lucky Number Seven came out, and had been eagerly awaiting Confesssions of a Former Puck Bunny.
It did not disappoint! This book is swoony, laugh out loud funny, and witty. The perfect way to end a great series!

Lindsay Rivera used to be a puck bunny- a girl who would hook up with hockey players simply because they were hockey players. After getting her heart broken by one, Lindsay decides it’s time to stop, cold turkey. Instead, she spends her time focusing on school and trying to find an internship for after she graduates. Fun and guys are a thing of the past for her. Things are going good, except for one little problem…

Ryder “Ox” Maddox. This young hockey player has his eyes, and heart, on Lindsay, and this guy doesn’t give up easily. When Lindsay needs a math tutor, Ryder eagerly steps in to help. Despite Lindsay’s best efforts, a friendship forms between the two of them. The more time they spend together, the more Lindsay can’t stop thinking about it. But she won’t cross that line. Cause no guy is worth the potential of a broken heart…. right?

When I first heard the plot to this book, I was excited that Cindi was writing about a former puck bunny. In every other hockey book I’ve read, the puck bunny is portrayed in a certain way. That character is usually manipulative, petty and often faceless. Used to create drama.

Lindsay is nothing like that. She’s strong, intelligent, has a good heart, and just happens to have a sex drive. Seeing the world from her POV shows us that things are not always black and white, and we shouldn’t judge others before getting to know them. Cindi creates the ultimate heroine, one who is flawed, real, and has both beauty and brains.

Ryder is sure to make you fall in love with him. Between his gestures towards Lindsay, and his inner thoughts about her, it’s impossible not to swoon over him. Seriously. The two strike up a friendship that while feels natural, is filled with sexual tension and desire. They are sizzling hot together. But it’s deeper than that. They both have issues they are trying to work through and find comfort in the other. The rare, non-judging, I’m completely there for you, type of friendship.

The events in this book take you on an emotional roller coaster. My heart skipped a beat, raced, dropped, and then swelled up. Reading this felt like I just had a cardio work out.

The ultimate romantic, feel good read that you don’t want to miss!

I’m going to miss this series, but I’m excited for what Cindi comes up with next!

Find Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny

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ATAs

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

 

 

rah

 

 

Release Blitz & Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

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Title: The Hot Shot

Author: Kristen Callihan

Series: Book 4 in the Game on Series (Can be read as standalone)

Genre: Sports Romance

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heat Rating: 4 Stars

All the Feels: 5 stars

Release Date: April 17th, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

blurb

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

 

excerpt

CHESS

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

“Salted caramel?”

“You know it.”

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.” I am.

 

 

review

Gah, I just ADORED this book! The Hot Shot is the type of book that you know you will re-read before you even finish it the first time. Funny, sweet, and oh so sexy.

Finn Mannus is a famous NFL Quarterback. He’s young, successful and loving life. Well, until he has has to pose nude for a charity calendar. To make matters worse, he gets off on the wrong foot with the photographer, Chess Copper. The two start to bicker, despite the metal attraction they feel for each other. Then when it’s over, Finn can’t stop thinking about Chess. The girl who isn’t his type, and loves to push his buttons.

Chess Copper isn’t sure why Finn won’t leave her alone. He wants to be friends, but she isn’t so sure about that. They probably don’t have anything in common, is what she keeps telling herself. It isn’t possible the fact that he’s so good looking, so charming, that she can’t stop her thoughts from going to the naughty side.

When Chess finds herself suddenly living with Finn, an unlikely friendship forms between the two of them. A friendship filled with SO much sexual tension it’s hard to breathe.

Hands down one of my favorite things about this book, is Finn. His thoughts are so damn romantic at times that I can hardly handle it. I love how opposite Finn and Chess are, yet at the same time they get each other like no one else can. I love the banter, the swoon worthy moments. I love how realistic the flow of their relationship is. The chemistry between the two of them could melt my kindle.

Like other Kristen Callihan books, there are some great secondary characters as well. The writing is filled with natural wit, and I didn’t want the book to end.

Such. A. Great. Book.

I don’t want to give too much away about it, because it’s truly best to enjoy every moment without knowing too much, but if you haven’t one-clicked it yet, do so now!

Find The Hot Shot

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ATAs

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

 

rah

Release Blitz & Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

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Title: Walk Of Shame

Author: Lauren Layne

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: April 18th, 2017

Add to Goodreads!

ARC Received in exchange for an honest review.

blurb

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

 

 

excerpt

And who is he, you ask?

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.

I know this because we moved into the building on the exact same day, and right before we got into a horrendous fight over whose movers should have access to the building loading dock first, he handed me his business card.

The thick white card stock declared that he had a fancy law degree to go along with the fancy suit he was wearing on a Saturday.

Andrew handed it over with such superiority, I actually wished for a half second that I had a business card of my own that would somehow be better than his. Like, lined with gold or something. No, platinum. With a diamond in the corner. It would be too heavy for him to hold, and he’d drop it, thus having to kneel at my feet to pick it up.

But then I realized it was just as well that I didn’t have a business card.

Because it would say . . . what? Georgie Watkins, professional party girl?

Anyway, I digress. Despite the high temps of that swampy July morning, the encounter had been the start of an epic cold war.

Me, the socialite in apartment 86A against the uptight esquire in apartment 79B.

I’m not entirely sure I’m winning the war, but I’ll never tell him that.

I let my gaze drift over Andrew, even though his appearance rarely holds any surprises. The man’s a lesson in sameness, like some sort of anal-retentive version of Groundhog Day.

There’s always the black mug with some healthy gunk inside held in his right hand, Tom Ford briefcase and Armani garment bag in his left, containing what I know to be a perfectly tailored three-piece suit.

Andrew’s coppery hair is perfectly styled, although I’d swear that there’s some natural curl in there threatening to disrupt his perfect order. I imagine that annoys him, so it therefore makes me happy.

Let’s see, what else about my nemesis?

He’s got a hard, unfriendly jawline that’s perfectly shaven.

Dark brown eyes, cold and flat. Black gym bag over one shoulder.

I suppose you could say he changes up his attire, because he does alternate between black and gray gym shirts. But considering that they seem to be the exact same fit, both colors molding perfectly to his impressively sculpted upper body, we’re not giving him any points for variety there.

Same goes for the lower half. The black shorts worn in summer have given way to sleek black sweatpants now that October’s upon us, but they’re both black and Nike, so we’ll give him no credit for changing it up there either.

The shoes, though . . .

I do a double take.

Well, well, well . . .

Instead of the usual black gym shoes, the man’s shoes are red. I don’t know how I missed it before.

I drag my eyes back up his body with a grin, and he gives just the slightest roll of his eyes to indicate that he’s noticed my slow perusal and isn’t fazed in the least.

“You went shopping, Dorothy!” I say happily.

He stares at me. “I don’t shop.”

Of course not. Far too frivolous.

“No, that makes sense,” I say, pointing at his feet. “Glinda would have given these to you.”

Andrew looks down at his Rolex watch. “I’ve got to go. Have a good day, Mr. Ramirez.”

“You too, Mr. Mulroney,” Ramon says with a deferential nod. “Enjoy your workout.”

“Yes, do,” I say, turning and watching as Andrew moves toward the front door of our building. “What’s on the schedule today? Treadmill, or just skipping down the Yellow Brick Road?”

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even turn before pushing through the revolving doors and stepping out into the still-dark autumn morning.

Now come on. Tell me that wasn’t at least a little bit fun, despite the ungodly hour.

 

 

review

Thank you Lauren Layne, for writing this book and getting me over a book hangover. I’m going to pretend this one was just for me. 😉 Seriously though, Walk of Shame is witty, laugh out loud funny and oh so sexy. A delicious enemies to lovers story. The type of read that leaves a smile on your face.

Georgie is a socialite, but not a typical one. She’s sweet, thoughtful, intelligent. She is super rich, but never comes across as stuck up. I was slightly worried by the blurb that her character would drive me nuts, but I was happily surprised at how down to earth she is. Her wealth gives her a lot of options, so she tends to be more carefree, go with the flow type.

Andrew is the opposite. As a successful divorce attorney, Andrew is busy and thrives on routine. He’s kind of awkward, and doesn’t have an endless parade of women coming in and out of his place. It was refreshing to read about a male character that isn’t such a playboy.

The two of them don’t get off to the best foot, and kind of clash. Their banter is EVERYTHING. They are so cute together, even before they are aware they are cute together. The fighting gives way to an unlikely friendship, which surprises them. Even more surprising, is the sexual tension that keeps building up every time they see each other.

There are some great twists and turns, but I don’t want to give everything away.

Lauren Layne is an exceptional writer, and Walk of Shame is no different. The characters have a realistic vibe to them, with strong voices. The flow of the story is perfection. I enjoyed the secondary characters. Most of all, I love the connestion, the chemistry between Andrew and Georgie. Wowza, hot!

If you love rom coms, you need to check this book out!!

Find Walk Of Shame

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ATAs

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

Author Links:   WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK  |   TWITTER  |   GOODREADS

 

 

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ARC Review: Confessions of a Carpool Captive by Dawn L. Chiletz

Cover

Title: Confessions of a Carpool Captive

Author: Dawn L. Chiletz

Genres: Romantic Comedy

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat Rating: 3.5 Stars

All The Feels: 4+ Stars

Release Date: March 24th, 2017

Find on Goodreads!

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

blurb

My name is Liz Foley. I love my accounting job because I’d rather deal with numbers than talk to people.

My best traits:
I have (RBF) Resting Bitch Face.
I give snarky come-backs.
I have no friends.

My worst traits:
I speak in run-on sentences when I get nervous.
I’m attracted to assholes.
I’m broke.

Enter Finnigan Walsh – the new guy at work.

His best traits:
He’s kind of hot, I suppose.
He has a working car.
He sings to me and brings me coffee.
Nothing ever gets to him, even when I add more people to our carpool.

His worst traits:
See above

I don’t like him. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
After all, it’s not about how fast you get there. It’s the journey. Right?
Damn this carpool.

You’d better buckle up.

 

review

This is my third book by Dawn L. Chiletz, and one of the things I love about her is how different each of those books are. It takes talent to be able to switch up genres like that, while keeping your writing voice strong. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you should change that! I would have to say she is one of the most creative writers,  is amazing at storytelling and the master at throwing in the unexpected.

Liz Foley is witty, full of dry humor and loves to keep to herself. She’s not shy, she just doesn’t feel like dealing with people. Unfortunately for Liz, her co-worker, Finnigan Walsh- or Finn- is the complete opposite. He’s outgoing, charming and loves to be around people. The two cross paths in a big laugh out loud moment. And even though Liz would very much like for that to be the end of their communicating, Finn, and fate, have other plans.

Even though the two are clearly as different as night and day, thanks to carpooling, the two form a very quirky friendship. Which leads to an oh so delicious slow burn romance. Finn will make your heart melt. He is so caring and seems to understand Liz more than she does at times. He is the type that says the right things, does the right things, and all for the right reasons. I love how there is also more to him than meets the eye.

Liz is a nut. In the way she has a hard shell to crack. Liz has flaws, but man, she has one journey through this book. Her life is truly like a roller-coaster.

Their unexpected friendship is filled with sexual tension, fun banter, and heart to heart moments. It’s sweet and feels real. The chemistry between them feels natural, and the progression of their relationship flows perfectly.

In addition to those two, there are several side characters that are amazing. Side characters are always fun, but these ones really bring the book to life. Not to mention are hilarious. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say much more on them!

Confessions of a Carpool Captive is light, fun and romantic. It feels like a super fast read, probably because of how captive it held me. Pun intended. 😛

I know at times it’s a little scary reading a new author. And I know that Dawn L. Chiletz may be new to you, but you won’t regret checking out her work. You will most likely end up with a new fave author!

 

Find Confessions of a Carpool Captive exclusively on Amazon!

ATAs

Dawn L. Chiletz is the author of The Contest, Waiting to Lose, Enough, Can’t You See, The Fabulist and Confessions of a Carpool Captive.

“Sarcasm and humor are my favorite tools. I write whatever I’m feeling. Sometimes that means a romance, a mystery, a thriller, or a tear-jerker. I like giving everything a little twist and I try to stay original. I hope people like not knowing what to expect from me. I never know what I’ll write next either.”

Dawn currently resides in Illinois with her husband, two boys, and three dogs. When she’s not binge writing or reading, you’ll most likely find her on Facebook or playing taxi driver to her kids.

Facebook | Website | Goodreads

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ARC Review: GOODBYE PARADISE by Sarina Bowen

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Title: GOODBYE PARADISE (Previous titled: In Front of God & Everyone)

Author: Sarina Bowen

Genres: New Adult, Romance, M/M

Rating: 5 Stars

Heat Rating: 4 Stars

All The Feels: 5++++++ Stars

Release Date: March 21st, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

blurb

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counterThis book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

 

 

review

Okay, guys. I know it’s only March, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: GOODBYE PARADISE is one of my top reads for 2017. This book is romantic, sexy, heart wrenching and pulls on every single damn heart string! I was hooked from the first paragraph, and every page is pure perfection. Not to mention GOODBYE PARADISE delivered all the feels, so you might want to keep some tissue nearby. Seriously. I was wiping away the happy tears when I finished. The true definition of a feel good read.

Josh and Caleb are born and raised on a polygamist ranch named Paradise. Which is ironic, since it’s about the furthest thing from Paradise. Obeying the strictest of rules, working from dusk to dawn with never enough food, the only true comfort they have is each other; they have been best friends since they were toddlers.

Except Josh is hiding a big secret from Caleb, one he is sure would make Caleb hate him if he ever found out: Josh is in love with him. It’s forbidden in so many ways, so Josh keeps his feelings buried deep down.

Suddenly (I don’t want to go into all the details and spoil it all), Josh finds himself out in the world, free of Paradise. He is in a world he doesn’t understand, and one that doesn’t understand him. His saving grace is that Caleb is there, of course, right by his side helping him. Like always.

Caleb always protected Josh, and that wasn’t going to change now. He has a safe place in mind and is determined to get the two of them there. The only thing is, Caleb has a secret of his own… one that might even mirror Josh’s.

First of all, I apologize for being vague at times in this review. It’s just that I personally felt like it was a really powerful read, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone else.

I think the idea that they were raised on a polygamist ranch is so interesting. Sarina Bowen did a fabulous job of creating such a realistic world with Paradise. It was fascinating getting a glimpse into their world- you can tell she really did her research. The feelings and thoughts that Caleb and Josh have, both on and off the ranch, made me forget at times that these weren’t real people.

And gah, I just LOVE Josh and Caleb. I love forbidden romance and best friends to lovers and this has both!!! Being raised the way they were, they both clearly have issues. The biggest one, particularly for Josh, is knowing his self worth. There were times where I wanted to hug the crap out of him, even though he isn’t a real person. Their friendship is adorable on its own, but when it starts to move to something more… well, let’s just say these two made me swoon so freaking hard. Their love, their chemistry, their vulnerability all hit you right in the heart. The journey these two go on, the connection they have, and the growth they go through…well… I dare you not to cry!

One of my favorite things about Sarina Bowen’s books are her side characters. They always bring so much life to her books, and GOODBYE PARADISE was no different. I feel in love with several side character’s: Daniel, Maggie, Miriam, and particularly Washington (you’ll see why!).

The writing is amazing, it’s filled with great dialogue and has characters that honestly take a piece of your heart. Do yourself a huge favor and read this book. You will not be sorry!!

GOODBYE PARADISE is the first book in the series, but can be a standalone. Book two, HELLO FOREVER has no release date yet, but hopefully will be out soon. I’m not sure if there will be a third, but man, I hope so!

Find GOODBYE PARADISE

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads 

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ARC Review: Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen

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Title: Operation Prom Date

Author: Cindi Madsen

Genre: YA, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat Rating: 1/2 Star

All The Feels: 4 Stars

Release Date: March 13th, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

 

blurb

Kate ships tons of fictional couples, but IRL her OTP is her and Mick, the hot quarterback she’s crushed on since, like, forever. With only one semester left of senior year, it’s now or never if she wants to land him in time for prom. Since she’s flirtationally challenged, she enlists Cooper Callihan, the guy who turned popular seemingly overnight but who used to be a good friend.

Cooper lives and breathes rowing, but his partner just broke his wrist. When he remembers Kate’s good with a set of oars, he strikes a deal: help him train, and he’ll make sure her crush notices her. Only he didn’t know how addicting spending time with her would be. Or how the more successful the Operation is, the more jealousy he experiences.

The mission has been set. The troops have their marching orders. But what if the target is the wrong guy all along?

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains stargazing, accidental swimming, and poker swindling. This kissing practice will melt your ereader…and give you a new couple to ship.

review

Cindi Madsen + YA Romance = YES! Okay, I’ve been a fan of Cindi Madsen for years now, so when I heard she was writing this YA book, I was so excited. I love a good young adult book to make me all nostalgic. And Operation Prom Date doesn’t disappoint. It’s fun, romantic, and made me had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it.

Kate only has one goal left to her senior year of high school: Get Mick, her long time crush, to not only notice her, but get him to ask her to prom. The only problem is the odds of that happening is slim to none. So she convinces her friend Cooper to help her get Mick’s attention, in exchange to help him while his rowing partner is injured. Easy, peasy, right?

Cooper really doesn’t want to help Kate. It’s kind of weird, teaching her how to flirt with another guy. But he’s in a bind, and needs her help with rowing. And really, what can go wrong? Well… the more time Cooper and Kate spend together, the more Cooper can’t help but think it should be him taking Kate to prom. And unfortunately for him, his little ideas to get Mick to notice her… are working.

I know the fake dating to get another guy to pay attention has been done A LOT, but I have to say, this plot didn’t feel repetitive. Maybe that’s because I enjoyed the characters so much, Cooper especially. He is the kind of guy you wish you knew at 17. Charming, sweet, a good friend, and worthy of swoons. Kate is quirky, kind and while she’s not perfect, she tries to do what she thinks is right. Cooper felt more mature to me than Kate, who felt like a realistic 17 year old girl. She was sometimes over the top and dramatic, which is how a lot of girls are in high school.

The chemistry between Cooper and Kate is there from the beginning, even if they aren’t super close when the book starts. This is defiantly a slow burner, filled with a bunch of “almost” moments. It’s really sweet watching their friendship develop along the way.

Since it’s YA, it is a fast, light read. However, the characters did have dept to them, and both dealt with family issues, and realistic insecurities. It’s well written, with little unnecessary drama.

If you like sweet, silly YA romance you will love this book! I’m excited to see what’s next.

teas

Find Operation Prom Date

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