Rough Ride

Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley

4.5 stars 

“Men are breakable. They just hide the cracks better than we do.” 

When Rosalie gets beaten by her boyfriend and his motorcycle club for being an informant to Chaos, she wants nothing to do with that life ever again. But Snapper, the Chaos man who was partnered to her, isn’t ready to let her go, especially now that her boyfriend is out of the picture. Snapper has always wanted Rosalie, and now is his chance to prove it to her.

“If you care about someone, it’s not about going that extra mile. It’s about giving everything.” 

I kind of laughed to myself when I received this arc, because when I think of a novella, I think 100 pages or less. Well, for Kristen Ashley, just under 300 pages IS shorter than her usual novel, but I loved every second of this book.

While I love the Chaos series by Ashley, I have to admit that I didn’t remember who Rosalie or Snapper were….. or even some of the other characters that I may have looked up while reading this novel. But despite not remembering them, I fell in love with this couple. My heart broke for Rosalie and I wanted her to get her happy ending. And Snapper got the chance to go after the girl he always wanted.

This is the kind of motorcycle club books I love, there will never be another series out there like this one.

“I found the one who was perfect for me.” 

**I will note, this novella cannot be read as a standalone, it really only makes sense if you’ve read the other books in this series** 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

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A Crack in Everything

A Crack in Everything by LH Cosway

5 stars 

“You’re sunshine, Evelyn, and there’s nothing but clouds around here.” 

I’M NOT CRYING. THERE’S JUST WATER LEAKING OUT OF MY FACE. 

Boy am I glad I waited to read this book until part 2 is out. I’m gonna try and squeeze in a semi-comprehensible review here but it’s probably just gonna be me screaming all over the place.

Evelyn is a teen living in a bad part of Dublin. One day when he’s running away from a gang, Dylan rushes into Evelyn’s apartment for a place to hide. From then on the two become friends and then more. But there are sinister forces working against the two of them that threaten to tear them apart.

“It was warm here. And safe. I loved kissing him. I could kiss him forever. If only I could.” 

I basically spent the first half of the book like this:

And the last fourth of the book like this:

What can I say, I love this book! And then it ripped my cold little heart to shreds. LH Cosway is Queen of the Feels and I will forever be her devoted servant, taking her heart lashings with every book.

I would say more but honestly I need to dive into book two ASAP so I’m off to do just that!

“I loved Dylan O’Dea. And probably would forever.” 

Brooklynaire

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

4 stars! 

“Everything seems fine and ordinary. Or at least it did until I hit my head.” 

Brooklyn Bruiser fans, we finally have Nate and Becca’s story! And it was SO worth the wait!

Becca has worked for billionaire Nate since the beginning, before he earned all the money and fame. Over seven years the two have had a great friendship and worked really well together. And while both are attracted to the other, neither one of them knows it or will admit it.

When Becca injures her head on the ice, Nate steps in to help take care of her. Doctors cannot figure out exactly what is wrong, and it’s extremely frustrating for Becca who just wants to get back to work. Staying at Nate’s place, she does her best to work out the past few years and how they ended up where they are now.

“We work together all the time. I can’t be the girl who just casually sleeps with her boss.” 

The thing I love about Sarina Bowen is, I enjoy her books 99.999999% of the time. Her writing style just works for me. Brooklynaire was such a fun read and a great escape from reality. I spent the majority of my weekend reading this avoiding real life tasks like cleaning and leaving my house.

While technically this is the fourth novel in the Brooklyn Bruisers series, it can totally be read as a standalone. Believe me, I skipped book two (hides in shame). I loved this story and glad we finally got to see Nate and Becca’s side of things and why it took them so long to give up the ghost and get together.

Sexy, fun and entertaining, this is the book you want to one-click right when it releases right away!

“Everything worthwhile is complicated.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Next Year in Havana

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

4.5 stars! 

“Am I dangerous?”
“I have a feeling you just might be.” 

I made a resolution to myself last year that I would make more of an effort to read new to me authors when selecting future books. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and when I saw the cover and title of this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it. And man oh man am I so glad I did because I loved this story.

Next Year in Havana is told in present day by Marisol, a young woman grieving her recently deceased grandmother, Elisa, and goes to Cuba to spread her ashes. We also get Elisa’s story in 1958 Cuba, a story of love and a divided country.

That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, but know both stories present and past are beautiful and will surprise you.

“I walk down these streets, and I look out to the sea, and I want to feel as though I belong here, but I am a visitor here, a guest in my own country.”
“Then you know what it means to be Cuban.” 

Cuba has always been a subject of interest for me, but not one strong enough for me to do some heavy research. Reading this book I felt I learned a lot about the country and its history, its present day happenings as well. At times the characters I felt got a little bit too political and by that I mean I did skim some political stuffs because it was feeling repetitive and preachy, but I honestly didn’t mind it that much because I’m giving it 4.5 stars.

Normally when a book is told from two point of views I find I like one more than the other, but that really wasn’t the case in this book. I loved Marisol and Elisa’s stories equally, wanting to know more about both and never wanting to skip a POV. Both women are caught in impossible situations because of issues beyond their control. They feel powerless, and yet do everything they can for the people they love.

Reading this book I felt as if I was transported to Cuba. I’ve never been but felt I have based on the descriptive nature of this book. Cleeton is excellent at bringing her readers into her story and I honestly can say I am dying for her to write more books like this one.

I know I will remember this book for years to come.

“No one warned me love would hurt so much.” 

ARC provided by the publisher 

Moonlight Sins

Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L Armentrout

3.5 stars 

“Legend goes that only two things can happen to women of the de Vincent family or women who come here. They either end up…. unstable or they end up dead.” 

Moonlight Sins is the beginning of a new contemporary romance series by Jennifer Armentrout and this book was a promising start! Julia is a live in nurse who gets hired by a wealthy client to care for a family member. But when she gets to her new job in Louisiana she doesn’t realize it’s one of the wealthiest families in the country.

The person she’s to care for is to remain a secret, and the house she’s staying in has eerie flickering lights and the sounds of footsteps. Julia also finds herself attracted to one of the de Vincent men Lucian, a notorious playboy. And he seems to have taken a liking to her too…

“You know what we are. What we always end up doing to people. We destroy them and then go about our lives like nothing fucking happened.” 

I really enjoyed this story, Jennifer Armentrout is great at writing mystery and heroes to swoon over. This first book in a series holds so much potential and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the series goes.

The romance was really sweet, but surprisingly I found myself more interested in the mystery plot of the book more than the romance. I was hooked and wanted all my questions answered, so I sped through this book!

Fans of mystery romance genre, you will love this book!

“How can you be here and be the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen?” 

ARC provided by the author. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

4.5 stars! 

You know how they always say never judge a book by its cover? Sometimes THEY’RE WRONG. Because this cover is cute AF and so was this book!!!! Such a refreshing read, I enjoyed it so much!

The Wedding Date is about Alexa, who when visiting her sister in a hotel gets stuck in the elevator with a hot guy, Drew, when the power goes out. Right off the bat they hit it off and Drew asks Alexa to be hit date at a wedding the next day and she agrees.

One fake night of dating and the two begin seeing each other on the weekends (as she is in the Bay Area and he’s in Los Angeles). But a relationship that starts out as fake cannot end up real, right?

This was the perfect book to pick up and forget your problems. Once I picked it up I didn’t want to put it down. While it’s not as big on the sexy times as most romances, it’s one where you will fall in love right along with the characters.

Sweet, fun, enlightening and romantic, this debut novel needs to be your next read!

ARC was provided by the publisher 

Ryan’s Bed

Ryan’s Bed by Tijan

3 stars 

Three star reviews are always the hardest to write, because while I didn’t love this book I didn’t hate it. It just falls into the I enjoyed it but it’s fairly forgettable to me category.

Tijan’s books are a guilty pleasure for me, she dishes out the angst and drama and I sit there and spoon and spoon and spoon it right up and then look to my dealer Tijan for another hit. The woman knows how to write teenage issues for adult eyes, and she does it well.

I liked the premise of this book and the idea of it more than the execution, a girl who lost her sister and crawls into the bed of a boy she doesn’t know needing sleep. Recipe for an addicting story yes? Well, 50% from me. I loved the first half of this book and it totally fizzled out after halfway. I wasn’t impressed by Ryan, and having read 20+ Tijan books now there are so many aspects of the story that just started to blend in with all her other books. I want something fresh, not something I’ve read before.

Anyways, if you are a Tijan-mega fan I am sure this is the book for you. An enjoyable read, but one I probably won’t remember well in a couple of months.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

5 stars! 

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.” 

You ever read a book where you can’t stop reading into the night, then early hours in the morning, and you get to a point where it’s go big or go home and decide to lose sleep and finish the book? That was this book for me. Once I picked it up, I did not put this book back down until I was done. I DEVOURED THIS BOOK.

When Jude is seven, Madoc comes to her home and murders her parents for he is the true father of her older sister Vivi. Madoc takes Jude and her sisters to where the Fae live and assumes responsibility for their upbringing. Ten years later and Jude longs to prove herself among the fae, forever taunted and picked on because she is mortal. Jude wants to become a night for the High King and plans to compete in a tournament to prove herself.

But Jude faces an enemy every day, the youngest Prince Cardan, who has made it his mission to make Jude’s life miserable. So she does her best to defy him, and as a result she becomes entangled in the intricacies of court life.

“No matter how careful I am, eventually I’ll make another misstep. I am weak. I am fragile. I am mortal.
I hate that most of all.” 

I’ve never read Holly Black, she’s a new to me author. But after several recommendations from other readers I decided to get this one from the library and picked it up when I wasn’t sure what to read. From the first page I could tell this is a book I would love. Fae and fairies seem to be the big fad in YA right now and while I love that, there’s a lot of crap being churned out. This book isn’t like that, it’s amazing, terrifying, wonderful and heart pounding.

I loved that despite having a half fae sister the heroine of this book was an ordinary human. This so easily could have been Vivi’s book instead and while I really liked her, I think Jude was such a developed and compelling character. From the beginning I wanted to know what she would do next, how she would overcome her challenges. And while she’s not always making the best decisions or even likable, none of the characters in this book are.

This was a very fast paced and mesmerizing book. I’m already screaming for the next book and I have no clue when it’s going to be here. It’s that good.

“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.” 

Wild

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

5 stars! 

“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.” 

Have you ever read a book you never expected to like and then end up loving it? I saw the movie Wild when it came out and loved it, but I was a bit apprehensive to read the book. I hate comparisons, but this book is always lumped in with Eat Pray Love and I fucking HATED that book and the woman who wrote it. But after reading lots of reviews of this book I decided to take a chance and I am so glad I did because I LOVED THIS BOOK!

Wild is the story of Cheryl, who after losing her mother at a young age lost her way. Drugs, adultery, she gave up caring what happened to herself. Until one day she got the idea to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Along the way she remembers her past, comes along interesting people and faces difficult challenges.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” 

One of the best things about this book is Strayed’s writing style. I can’t remember the last time I just completely lost myself in a book and wasn’t paying attention to the page count or how far I had gotten. I simply was sucked into the story and her words.

Working for the public library I have patrons recommend me books all the time, a lot of the time saying that I would love it and what I don’t tell them is I already read the book and it wasn’t for me. So when this book came out I avoided it because of all the recommendations from strangers who didn’t know my reading tastes at all. But this is a book thatlives up to the hype. I’m already recommending it to people like my best friend and my mother and her friends.

I loved this story, but you will probably never see me going on a hiking trip like Cheryl because I like food, and plumbing and showers. Plus I’m a bit of a fatty and reject exercise as fun. But I admire her fortitude, but also know I could never do what she did. She obviously could have prepared more and is lucky to be alive in some circumstances, but she knew she needed to heal herself and she set about in her own way to do that and I admire it.

I highly recommend this book no matter what genre you enjoy most. If you don’t feel like reading it I recommend the movie, it’s one of my favorites.

“How wild it was, to let it be.” 

Deal Maker

Deal Maker by Lily Morton

5 stars! 

“My Jude. My best friend, my lover and my heart.” 

This book made me swoon! And I don’t friggin swoon!!!

Jude is a reluctant model, working the career because it pays well. When his apartment gets flooded, he needs a place to stay other than the sex filled apartment of his best friend. A fellow model gives him a tip, leading Jude to actor Asa.

Asa loathes models, everything they stand for. So when he takes Jude in he makes it clear he thinks Jude is dumb and self involved because of his profession. So Jude decides to make it interesting and plays along, fully intending to make Asa’s life hell…..

“Everyone is entitled to love who they want, and people aren’t weird just because of who they love. No one is weird.” 

After really enjoying Rule Breaker last year, I knew I wanted to read Jude’s story. And wow, personally I think Lily Morton outdid herself! While my tastes run toward angsty, I fell in love with this sweet and swoon-worthy story. Jude and Asa were amazing together, I had a constant smile on my face when reading this book.

Lily Morton is an author I will be automatically one clicking in the future. If you love MM romance you need to start reading her books ASAP!

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

Down by Contact

Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

4 stars! 

“It was perfect. He was perfect. We were perfect together.” 

Adrian and Simeon are enemies on rival football teams. They snark at each other during games, call each other out on social media and can’t stand the sight of each other. Simeon is a openly gay football player and Adrian seems to be anti-gay. When the two of them get into trouble on the field they are forced to spend time together working for a charity, where they both learn there is more to the other than they originally thought.

“All this time, I’d not only been starving for his body—I’d been deprived of his kisses. Now I couldn’t get enough. 

Santino Hassell became one of my all time favorite authors very quickly this past year. A very talented writer, he never delivers the same story twice and never the same character twice. That’s what I love about his books, they always bring something new to the table. Football isn’t my sports romance genre of choice usually but I that didn’t even cross my mind when reading this book, the game was important but it also didn’t overwhelm the story which I appreciate.

Simeon and Adrian were both such amazing characters, I loved both in different ways and for different reasons. While they may have started out hating each other, I loved being on the journey of understanding and acceptance with them and thought they had a very beautiful love story.

“I need you to tell me I won’t ruin your career by being in your life. Because no matter how hard I try to be discreet, I know somehow . . . I’ll screw it up. ’Cause that’s me, boo. I’m a mess. A loveable mess, but still a goddamn mess.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Man Hands

Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

3.5 stars 

Man Hands is about divorcee Brynn, when she divorces from her husband she’s left with a very low self-esteem. Her friends take her to a party and convince her to kiss the first man she sees, and she does exactly that. And she ends up doing more than that with him, then running off when it’s done.

But the hookup returns, and she learns his name is Tom. And Tom has an unusual proposition for her.

Let me start off by saying this book is VERY funny. Sarina and Tanya hit the humor spot really well. And this book was FILLED with sexy times. But I felt the romance wasn’t developed very well and wish we had more of that than sex scenes.

Plus when I thought home renovation tv personality I thought of Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper and sorry not sorry, I don’t find him attractive.

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review 

The Queen & the Homo Jock King

The Queen & the Homo Jock King by TJ Klune

3.75 stars 

This is TJ Klune at his funniest! This book had me bursting out laughing and then taking snapshots of the kindle screen and sending it to my friends!

A very unconventional love story, I think the only other drag queen romance I’ve ever read was Painted Faces by LH Cosway and that was verrryyy different from this one.

Other than really loving it, I had some issues with it. For one, I was dying for the romance between Sandy and Darren and what we got with this book was a book about Sandy and everyone BUT Darren which was a tad disappointing. I wanted to see more of the two of them together. And sometimes it was a bit over the top with shenanigans that completely wiped out the plot of the book. Hence why I am giving this 3.75 stars and not a higher rating…

But still a very solid and funny book. Klune is an excellent writer and I am excited to read more by him in the near future.

Tell Me It’s Real

Tell Me It’s Real by TJ Klune

This gets 5 stars because it make me LAUGH. Like so hard!!! In places you shouldn’t laugh out loud, like public!!!! That and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

TJ Klune is an author I have come to love and reading more of his work just showed me what a talented author he is. He can write funny, he can write serious, he can write steamy. He just never fails to disappoint! Next time I am in a massive book slump again, I am turning to his books for help.

Tell Me It’s Real has possibly one of the worst book covers ever, which is why I’ve waited so long to read it. But this is one of those books where you have to look past the awful cover to get to the amazing inside of the book. Paul is a husky guy, insecure and settled in his life. Until he meets the stunningly beautiful Vince who is interested in Paul right away. Except Paul thinks Vince is playing a joke on him, never thinking Vince could be actually interested.

Loved this book, obviously from my 5 star rating. Again, it had me laughing out loud in public, a rare feat for me as I try to remain stoic when reading. I highly recommend this book!

Off Base

Off Base by Annabeth Albert

3.5 stars 

I’ve been seeing lots of goodreads friends reading this series and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Lots of mixed reviews on this first book, but I am excited to read more in this series, it seems to get better.

Off Base is about closeted Navy Seal Zack and young professor Pike. The two know each other through personal friends and under random circumstances the two become roommates. The attraction has always been there, but Zack doesn’t want to admit he likes men and Pike is not eager to be some man on the down low. But living in close quarters means things are bound to explode.

I really enjoyed this story, it’s one that got better as you kept reading. The beginning was a bit jarring because the characters were kind of thrown at us and together really quickly, a bit too quickly in my opinion. But once they were together the book really worked and I started to like the characters a bit more.

I’m definitely eager to read the other books in the series, this was a cute start but I felt like I needed to have read other books by this author first to understand some of the characters. Like I was missing something.