Beard in Mind

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

4 stars! 

“People, all people, are blinded by their own expectations.” 

Beard in Mind is the fourth book in the Winston Brothers series and can be read as a standalone novel. This book follows Beau Winston, twin brother of Duane from the first book, and Shelly, sister of Quinn from the Knitting series. Beau and his brothers Duane and Cletus own and run a mechanic shop in town. With Duane leaving the country soon to travel with his girlfriend, Cletus hires a new mechanic, the beautiful and cold Shelly Sullivan.

Right off the bat, due to a misunderstanding, the two don’t get along. Beau doesn’t like Shelly’s demeanor toward him and her unfriendliness toward customers. Shelly is highly intelligent and Beau had insulted her. But, at the end of the day, Beau is a good and friendly man and he makes the effort with her, discovering her secrets and becoming her friend. But eventually they both want more, and Beau’s brother Cletus stands in the way of that.

“I don’t think Beau Winston would purposefully hurt anyone.” 

I know when it comes to a Penny Reid novel, I can always expect the unconventional romance. You don’t get the same old story when you read one of her books, you get something unique, and something special. It’s why she’s an auto buy author for me, the woman has never let me down. In a time where many authors are spitting out repetitive and unoriginal stories, Penny Reid offers something more to readers with her work.

This book made a few observations about society without being preachy about it. The most obvious, being the cultural norm of how we perceive OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the misunderstanding of what the actual disorder it. The heroine, Shelly, has it, and it’s an everyday struggle that she has to conquer, that she works hard at, but it makes her misunderstood to those around her. It has something interesting for the reader to take away and think about, maybe not use the phrase so casually in conversation.

The second one I noticed, which is less obvious, is the subject of rape culture. Shelly is a beautiful woman, and because of that, many men think it’s okay for them to hit on her/assume they have the right to do so, and it isn’t. Just because someone is beautiful, doesn’t mean it’s okay to assume you can make advances on them or touch them without permission. Granted, Shelly’s sharp wit and intelligence proved no match for whatever man came her way, but just because she can handle herself still doesn’t mean it’s okay.

I liked Shelly and Beau equally, neither one of them drove me crazy or made stupid decisions. They each had some issues to work on and work through, and they made the decision to include each other in their problems. It doesn’t mean that being together solved everything, but now they had someone to support them throughout what was happening. As a couple, they didn’t seem to have that spark between them. Personally, while I liked them together, I didn’t feel the attraction between the two like I had for other couples in this series. And at times, I felt this book was more about the side characters than them as a couple. Which is fine, I loved the side characters, but to me, something lacked.

If you haven’t read the Winston Brothers series yet you need to. If you haven’t read a Penny Reid book yet, I can’t even with you right now. The series only has two books left, making me just one book closer to my love Billy!!! I need Billy ASAP!

“Don’t let anyone in your life who isn’t the best, and don’t hesitate walking away from a person who can’t give you what they need.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Wild Card

Wild Card by Karina Halle

4 stars! 

“Just because someone has a broken heart, it doesn’t mean the heart doesn’t work anymore.” 

Six years ago, Rachel left the town of North Ridge and fled to the city of Toronto, heartbroken and alone. Now she’s returned to her hometown because she’s learned her mother has cancer. With a career and a boyfriend to get back to, Rachel is eager to avoid her past, mostly her ex Shane, the man who destroyed her six years earlier.

Shane mad a choice years ago, and it’s one he’s always regretted. Shane works on his father’s ranch, a country boy with a dog and his truck. Now that Rachel is back in town, it brings up many memories for Shane. And while he tried to give her space, it becomes clear the two need closure. But Shane wants Rachel back, and he’s gonna fight for her.

“The fault of man is that we never live long enough to be the person we want to be.” 

Second chance romance is like catnip for me, I cannot get enough of it! Karina Halle delivers an emotional and intense romance between two people who were ripped apart too early in their love story. Rachel and Shane had such a sweet and innocent romance, childhood friends to lovers, later to be ripped apart. You couldn’t help but root for them to be together.

I really liked Shane and Rachel as individuals as well as a couple. Rachel is a driven young woman who does the right thing even when she’s been wronged by those who love her. All Rachel really wants is security and for someone to love her. Shane is a quiet yet bold cowboy, a man living a simple life but he knows what he wants and he will tear about the earth for it.

A romance many readers will love, I cannot wait to meet the rest of the men in the North Ridge series!

“My heart would always return to him.” 

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

Royally Endowed

Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

4.5 stars! 

“I feel more alive just standing next to him, than I have around anyone else.“ 

Royally Endowed is the story of bodyguard Logan, and the girl he is to protect, Ellie. Ever since Ellie’s sister began dating a prince, a bodyguard was required to keep her and her family safe. Logan is assigned to her by the Prince is Wessco himself.

Spanning over a few years, we see the progression of a friendship based on respect and understanding between Logan and Ellie, and as the two get older, something more begins to form. But Logan’s job means the world to him and he doesn’t want to compromise that. Ellie is the perfect woman for him, but will there ever be a perfect time for the two of them to be together?

“Subtlety, thy name is not Logan St. James.“ 

This book came to me at exactly the right time, I needed something fluffy, funny and sexy in my life. I’ve been having a hard time finding books I loved, and this one broke the pattern! This is the book you turn to when all other books fail to make you smile. I cannot go on enough on how refreshing it was to read this story, how much I loved the characters and the plot. Some things may seem a bit tropey, but it just works.

Bodyguard romances seem to be the new trend in romance and I am totally on board with this. I feel it adds a touch of the forbidden to otherwise safe romances, kind of like the office romance where there’s a chance someone could get fired. The other side of it for me, is that protector role. We get that tiny bit of alpha, wanting to protect someone and keep them safe, but it’s their job which makes it not so creepy to me than some random dude going all Tarzan on a woman.

Full of humor (seriously, I laughed out loud quite a few times reading this), tenderness, and a touch of magic, Royally Endowed is the perfect end of summer book. It’s my favorite in this series and I am honestly excited to see what Emma Chase has in store for us readers in the future.

“Happy endings are for all of us.“ 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Amnesia

Amnesia by Cambria Hebert

3 stars 

“The sun sees your body, but the moon sees your soul.” 

Amnesia is the story of a small town, where one evening a young woman washes up on the shore of the lake. Eddie, who works at the local grocer, finds this young woman and runs her to the hospital. Once she wakes up a few weeks later, she has no memory of who she is and what had been done to her leading up to her ending up in the water.

Eddie becomes obsessed with Amnesia (as she chooses to call herself) as she reminds him of someone from his past. The two spend a lot of time together, but he’s advised by her doctors to keep his suspicions a secret. Also, someone in town doesn’t appear to be happy that Amnesia is around, and has been watching and threatening her.

“Nothing can stay paused forever. Eventually, you have to hit play.” 

I’ve only ever read the book #Nerd by Cambria Hebert, and I enjoyed it very much. Plus, she’s an absolute sweetheart in real life so I’ve always been meaning to read more of her books. Rave reviews and an interesting memory loss premise are what attracted me to this book. That and an outstanding cover. The book really started out strong, sucking me into the story. Where it fell a bit flat for me was it slowed down about halfway through and seemed a bit too long.

On top of that we have a cliffhanger ending, and I kind of already have my theories what will happen in the next book. I would have been happier with a longer book and gotten all the answers right away than wait for a second book. Plus the romance was a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but that’s just me.

If you want to read something different and well written, this is the book for you. Suspenseful and filled with kind hearted characters, many reader will love this mystery small town love story. It honestly reminded me of a Nora Roberts type novel.

Trust

Trust by Kylie Scott

2 stars 

It really pains me to say this, but I did not enjoy this book. Kylie Scott is a go-to author for me, she’s written some of my favorite romances ever, but this one fell flat for me.

Trust is about Edie, a seventeen year old who finds herself a hostage in a convenience store robbery. Having just popped in for a few things, the entire encounter changes her life and leads to her decision to leave private school and her so called friends behind and attend public school.

At her new public school, Edie begins to cross paths with John, a boy who was stuck during the convenience store robbery himself. Because of their bond from the tragic night, they begin to form a friendship that means a lot to the both of them. Edie begins to make other, more loyal friends at her new school as well, and things seem to be looking up. But as can be expected, feelings for John begin to form, but does John like her back?

This book started out really strong, but then around 30% slowed down a bit for me. The pacing was a bit off throughout most of the book, and with an unclear plot for most of it. That combined with a rushed ending made it difficult for me to truly enjoy this book. I also didn’t care for John, he and Edie seemed to have zero chemistry, on top of his lack of personality. He wasn’t developed well enough.

I loved that we got a plus sized heroine, Kylie Scott has always shown readers that beauty is more than a skinny body. I respect that she challenges traditional standards of beauty. Plus sized women are often seen as undesirable, and that’s just not true. I also liked the friendship between Edie and Hang, I love seeing stories that portray healthy and supportive female friendships.

According to the Goodreads definition “Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 18.” Considering this book contained graphic sexual content that I in my job as a public librarian would not feel comfortable handing to someone 13-15 years old (and 16 is stretching it), I do not consider this YA. I’ve seen lots of reviews citing this as “YA I actually like to read, and I don’t like YA”. Well….. that’s because it’s not YA. This was a contemporary romance novel meant for readers 17 and up. That’s my professional opinion, I understand if you disagree with me.

Obviously I am in the minority when it comes to this book, there are a ton of favorable reviews out there and I encourage you to read them. Also, everyone has different reading tastes, mine fall pickier than others, so I think you should pick up this book and decide for yourself.

ARC provided by the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

After All

After All by Karina Halle

4 stars 

After All is a standalone spin off of the book Before I Ever Met You, with characters featured in that book. Alyssa is a curvy and sassy office assistant, Emmett an actor making his comeback. They are both part of the bridal party for their friends Will and Jackie, and they meet the day of the wedding. Right off the bat Emmett is attracted to Alyssa, he loves her prickly and spitfire personality, and Alyssa is attracted to Emmett against her better judgement. The two end up having a one night stand and expect to never see each other again. But a tabloid gets pictures of the two of them at the wedding, and they look like a couple. So Emmett, needing some good PR, asks Alyssa to be his fake girlfriend. From there, the lines get blurred.

I always enjoy Karina Halle romances, she never fails to deliver a great story. I loved Alyssa as a heroine, she didn’t fit into the typical role being abrasive and outspoken, as well as being a size ten. It goes to show that not every heroine is a simpering girl that plays doormat to the hero. Alyssa held her own, she knew when to push and when to let go, and I admired her. Emmett is a complicated hero with a damaged past, just the kind of guy readers enjoy to watch fall in love. He challenged Alyssa and thought she was beautiful.

I’m glad we got this story from Halle, it was a nice surprise to get a second book in the BIEMY univserse. I know Tiffany has a boyfriend, but I cannot help but want to get a book for her too. Make this book your next summer romance read!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Until It Fades

Until It Fades by KA Tucker

3 stars 

“Something good will come from the bad. It always does. That’s how life balances itself out. That’s how people keep going.” 

Single mother Catherine is driving home from a disastrous blind date when she comes upon a car crash, and she saves the life of the passenger inside. It turns out the man she saved is a hockey star and a celebrity. Having already been through a scandalous affair with her teacher when she was a teen, she doesn’t want any of the media attention that comes with the accident and tries to remain anonymous. But her identity is blown, and that’s when she meets Brett Madden and the connection between them is immediate.

“I promised myself I’d be smarter.” 

K. A. Tucker is a great writer, she has the ability to suck you into a story effortlessly. I thought this was an interesting story, a girl who made mistakes in her past and does everything she can to overcome them. Catherine was a great, strong female protagonist and she was someone the reader could admire. Brett seemed like a really sweet guy and exactly what she needed.

The pacing of this book was very slow, we didn’t even see that much interaction between the main couple until about 60% in. Cinderella story tropes aren’t my favorite, on top of that this book was very sweet so it just didn’t match with my personal tastes. I think a lot of readers will really love this book and this story, so I encourage you to pick it up and decide for yourself.

“No wonder people want the happily ever after between us. I want the happily ever after.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

4 stars! 

“Dear World, stop fucking with me. Sincerely, an agitated human.” 

Maximoff Hale is the son of reality television star royalty. His entire life, he has known nothing but the spotlight, the constant nagging of the paparazzi, and has always had a body guard. But when his guard retires, Moffy is faced with having to spend his days with a new guard. He’s even more shocked when that new bodyguard ends up being his childhood crush, Farrow Keene.

Farrow is five years older than Moffy, and with his father being the Hale family physician, he’s comfortable with the family. The more time he spends with his charge, the more he realizes he’s attracted to him, and the feeling seems to be mutual. The only problem? Bodyguard and charges cannot date, making anything between them forbidden.

“Don’t you see, Maximoff? There’s a cement wall in front of you, and you’ve just been told to be satisfied with staring at it. And so you stand there, not able to see the other side.” 

I was so extremely excited for this book, not only is it a spin-off of the Addicted series, but we get an MM romance too? I was completely overjoyed and ecstatic, it’s like Christmas came in June! Finishing this book, I came to the realization of why I love books by the Ritchie twins so much: they always deliver a quality story with realistic, relatable characters and lots of feels. It’s obvious they take their time when writing a book and make sure the reader gets a story of great caliber. And Damaged Like Us follows in that same vein.

I loved both Moffy and Farrow equally, these two men were amazing! Moffy is the oldest of all the Calloway children, and because of that he falls into the role of protector. Moffy will support is siblings and cousins, would kill for them. His loyalty to his family is the most important thing to him. Farrow values his work, he knows that what he does makes a difference, and he will also do anything to keep the family safe. It’s rare that I say this about a character, but I also really dug Farrow’s demeanor, the twins did an amazing job describing him and developing him.

There were some issues near the end that I felt were rushed and kind of brushed aside. I wish that we had seen more of what came of those issues, but maybe we will see more of their impact in the next book? Or a novella? I was just shocked by the behavior of some of the characters from the original series and never really got an explanation or confrontation about it, which I really wish we had.

I love these authors, I after having read eleven works by them I can honestly say they write the best books in the indie romance community. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic start to a new series and I cannot wait to read what is to come.

“Millions of people know me, but not like this. Not like that. I hang onto that fact like rope on a wall that blocks my view of everything. He’s how I see the other side. He’s made my life feel freer.” 

Hearts on Air

Hearts on Air by LH Cosway

4 stars! 

“Trev was the one thing in this world I could never, ever resist. I’d always want him. Only him. Even when I know wholeheartedly that I shouldn’t.” 

Trev and Reya were best friends, until they became much more. After years of pining for the guy she always wanted, Reya had him. Until he signed on to a parkour reality television series and the two drifted apart. Now, two years later, Trev reenters Reya’s life, and he is determined to bring her back into his. And he does this by bringing her on the road while his show is filming throughout Europe.

Reya is determined not to let Trev get under her skin again, but being in close quarters through some of the most romantic cities in the world make it difficult to resist him. Little does she know, Trev has been harboring some serious intentions for Reya, and this time he’s not going to let her go.

“Happiness was a stranger, but misery was a dear old friend.” 

I love the Hearts series so so much. Each book brings something unique and special to the table, every story something new, and every character a breath of fresh air. While this can be read as a standalone, we got brief glimpses of Reya and Trev in previous books in the series, and I have always been intrigued by their dynamic and have wanted to read their story.

I love reality television romance, it’s something we rarely see in the book world, but when we do it adds a little something extra to the story. That and Reya were my favorite parts of this book, I loved her as a heroine. She was alluring, curvy, and fierce. She had her issues and her insecurities, but they were what made her wonderful and she didn’t let them hold her back from living her life. Trev and Reya were explosive together, a delightful and beautiful couple. I know readers will love their story.

“He smelled like home. He embraced me like love.” 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 

180 Seconds

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

4 cried my eyes out stars

“It’s going to hurt until it doesn’t anymore.”

180 seconds is about a college junior Allison. After sixteen years of being tossed around the foster care system, unwanted, she was adopted by her father. Now years later in college, she still lacks social skills and would prefer to spend her time studying or in her room. While talking a walk one day, she gets roped into a social experiment where two people stare into each others eyes for 180 seconds, no breaks. The person she does this with is another college junior named Esben, and the experience has a profound effect on the both of them.

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

I went into blind and it was wonderful! It was on the sweeter side and more emotional than I usually like my books, but I still really enjoyed it all the same. I love heroines that aren’t the norm, and Allison wormed her way into my heart very early on in the book. This is a story not just about love, but friendship, family and kindness to others. But what I loved most actually was this was a new adult college read: I really missed reading that kind of book, it feels like no one is writing them anymore.

Anyways, if you are up for an intensely emotional novel, this book is the one for you! I really liked it and look forward to more that Park has to offer readers in the future.

“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”

Dating-ish

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

5 stars!

“I’d had some terrible first dates since breaking up with David, but this one took the cake. It took all the cakes. In less than twenty minutes, my perfect match had irrevocably propelled himself to the top of my worst dates list.”

I want to study Penny Reid’s brain. Like not in a murdery creepy way, but a you fascinate me tell me all of your secrets and make me interesting kind of way. Not weird at all, right? Nope. K. Brilliant.

Anyways my first draft of this review looked like this:
I LOVED IT. YOU WILL TOO. ROBOTS, CUDDLING, OMG. PIZZA SHOES.

But I’ve had a while to think on it now and I may sound a bit more coherent. On Facebook Penny had mentioned she didn’t know how readers would respond to this novel, citing it as really weird. To be completely honest, I get really friggin excited when she says things like this, because those are the books by her that I love the most. I always enjoy her books, but those are the ones that feel most free to me, like she had no barriers when writing them.

I should probably talk about the plot. This book opens with Marie going on an internet date, meeting a stranger and it just goes completely wrong in every possible way. Like it is literally her worst date EVER. As a result of this Marie decides to do research for an article on alternatives to men. This leads Marie to an interesting world of professional cuddlers, dry humpers and orgasm meditation.

While researching, her date reappears, and he’s not the man she met on that disastrous date. And he may have a solution to her dating problem….

“ Where are all the men? And I don’t mean man-children. I mean men. You know, the guys whose interests extend beyond playing Halo on their Xbox, and who actually make eye contact, and aren’t constantly scanning the room for a better option.”

It’s hard to say this fellow Reiders, but Dating-ish may have become my favorite book in the Knitting in the City series. It hurts me to say that because I feel like I am betraying/cheating on Sandra and Alex, but this book was SO DANG GOOD. Like I mentioned above, I had a very hard time writing a review after reading it, my mind just needed to wrap itself around all of the awesomeness that was thrown my way. I loved Marie, I loved Matt. I loved them together, I pined, I burned I perished when they were apart. This book had the perfect combination of humor and angst that we only ever get in a Penny Reid novel. I am like a drug addict waiting for my next hit of Reid, even though the woman puts out numerous quality books a year I want MORE. There will never be enough!!! Lol.

Honestly, go into this book without spoilers, don’t even look at key plot points. I feel this book is better experienced if you go in almost blind. I went in not even knowing who the hero was and it totally enhanced the reading experience for me.

There’s a reason Penny Reid has made a name for herself in a community that is oversaturated with thousands of authors and books. She delivers original and unique concepts, is able to make them relatable, and she makes you fall in love with her odd yet realistic characters. You’ll never get the same book twice with her. And that’s why she’s one of my all time favorite authors EVER. And why I will read any book written by her, even if it’s about a person watching paint dry while eating rice crackers.

“You are my person.”

ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Buns

Buns by Alice Clayton

4 stars!

Clara Morgan makes her living rebranding hotels on the verge of closing. It’s a job she’s wonderful at and it’s given her the stability she never had growing up. Clara is tasked by her boss at a classic hotel in Bailey Falls, The Bryant Mountain House. Upon arrival Clara finds the owner is thrilled to have her there, but his son Archie is not. Clara finds she must prove herself to Archie, that she has the best interest in his hotel at heart, no matter how much he resists her.

The longer Clara stays in Bailey Falls, the more she grows to love the place. And the more time she and Archie spend together, it’s hard to deny an attraction between the two of them. But both of them have a past that can interfere with their future, not to mention in a way Archie is Clara’s boss. It’s up to them to decide whether or not they will let their issues get in the way.

Alice Clayton never fails to make me smile. I’ve read every single one of her books, and I love the anticipation of a new release by her. Will it be funny? Or angst? Or sweet? This book was all three! From the moment I began reading until the very last page I was enamored with the story and these characters. I feel like Clara is unlike any character we have seen by this author, and I loved that Clayton tackled a more sensitive subject with this characters past and did it in a way that’s accurate but tactful.

I thought Archie was great as well, I wish we had delved a bit more into his past, maybe developed him a bit more. But what I loved most about him was he was the perfect counterpart to Clara, knowing when to push and when to let things go. His heart and soul was in that hotel and he wanted to save it, so while he may have fought change, ultimately he wanted what was best for his family legacy and those he employed.

This is a great hate to love story about two people who weren’t looking for each other, but found each other. Oh and if you are wondering about the title, it refers to hot cross buns sold by the hotel. And Archie may have had some buns too…….

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Who We Are

Who We Are by TJ Klune

4 stars!

“… it’s not about where you come from. It’s about who you are.”

This is such a sweet series. I am dying to read the next book so I am very quickly gonna review this one so they don’t blend. Who We Are is the second part to Bear Otter & the Kid, a continuation. Bear and Otter have moved in together and are in the process of adopting the Kid. It’s an adjustment period in their lives and while nothing is perfect, they are very happy together.

First thing I have to get off my chest. The cover of this book is HORRIBLE. It didn’t affect my rating or how I felt, but I put off reading these books because of the covers. Yes I judge a book by its cover, and I honestly think these would sell better with a cover update. That being said, I loved the story. I love how in this book Bear seems to have gotten over his “no homo” phase as my friend Eva and I call it (referring to the numerous times he said in the first book “I’m not like that”). Bear is working out his feelings for the opposite sex, and what seems to be GFY may not necessarily be the case.

I laughed a lot while reading this, all of the family dynamics and antics are so much fun to read. This being my 5th book by Klune I do see some of his patterns in his writing (older/younger couple, meet when one is a kid, family support systems, tragic moments, etc…)

But what I loved most was Otter and his unwavering devotion to Bear and Ty. He’s such an amazing man and I wish we got more of his POV and how he feels about everything. He’s got a touch of alpha in him and I love it!

If you haven’t read this series (or Klune’s books) yet, please do yourself a favor and just read them already. Guaranteed lots of smiles and feels…. in a good way.

“Nothing’s too fast if it means forever.”

Mister Romance

Mister Romance by Leisa Ravyen

4.5 stars!

Eden is on her last leg at her job at Pulse magazine when she gets wind of a man named Mister Romance, a high paid escort who gives women the most romantic night of their dreams, without sex. Intrigued, Eden makes it her mission to find out who this mystery man is. When she does find him, he wants to make her a deal: if he can make her fall in love with him in three dates, Eden drops the story. If not, she gets full exclusive.

Eden:

Ever since I picked up Bad Romeo three years, I knew Leisa Rayven was one of those authors, the one where I love every single one of her books. Mister Romance is a book I fell in love with right from the beginning, with original strong characters readers can relate to, and a romance that had me holding my breath at times and swooning a bit. And I don’t friggin swoon.

The book is a little bit slow to start but really picks up at that 20% mark. I loved Eden as the main character, she was tenacious and driven, but at the same time had empathy and integrity. Max was a bit harder to pin down, but ultimately I loved him by the end of the book and was rooting so hard for him and Eden. This book is a bit sweeter and less angsty than I prefer, my reading tastes lean toward angsty and emotional, but I loved it.

I truly believe that so many readers will love this story. In a time when it’s hard to find a book with an original idea, Ravyen delivers a unique and fascinating romance that I know I will be rereading in the future!

ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

5 stars!

OH MY GAWD. I loved this book so hard! Sarina Bowen, you have outdone yourself!!!

Pipe Dreams is the third book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series but can easily be read as a standalone novel. This book follows Mike Beacon, goalie for the Bruisers and Lauren, the office manager to the man who owns the team. Four years ago they had been in a relationship, happy and in love, until two years ago when Mike broke up with Lauren and basically disappeared from her life very rapidly. What Lauren didn’t know was Mike needed to take care of his young daughter, as his wife who he was in the middle of divorcing became terminally ill.

Currently, Lauren has been brought in by the team owner to cover the Bruiser’s while they are in the playoffs. Mike and Lauren find themselves together more often and old feelings resurface. Mike wants to pursue Lauren again, but after he left her Lauren has issues with trust and doesn’t want to risk getting hurt again.

This is a book that every single time I put it down, I found myself craving to pick it back up. I gobbled this one up and wanted to hug it to my chest after reading it! Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors, and this book just reaffirmed why I always come back to her books every single time. I was even hesitant to pick this one up, because I just kind of liked the first book, and dnf’d the second. But I wanted to see what else was happening in the Bruiser’s world and I am so glad I did!

Second chance romance is my favorite subgenre of romance, I love seeing two people who belong to each other, make their way back to one another. Mike made a mistake two years before, but in my opinion he made it for all the right reasons. Does that mean he still didn’t mess up big time? No. But my heart bled for the man and the tough choices he had to make, and the one he chose ultimately for the better for his daughter.

Surprisingly for a second chance romance, there was zero to no drama. I kept waiting for it to happen at the 70% point on and when it didn’t, I was impressed! There was a little bit of angst, mostly because Lauren had to learn to trust again, but I completely understand that and so did Mike. And for having a 13 year old daughter in the book, delivering no drama is quite the achievement! What we did get as readers is emotional moments, ones that squeezed your heart but not too hard that it hurt. I found myself rooting for this couple for all that they had been through and was pulling for them so hard!

Anyways, this is a single parent, second chance, hockey sports romance that I think many readers will love and enjoy. After what felt like a rough start to the series (for me) it’s good to know that it just keeps getting better.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review