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

Before I Ever Met You

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle

4 stars!

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Before I Ever Met You is an office romance between twenty five year old single mother Jackie and recently divorced forty one year old Will. Will had returned to Vancouver after his divorce, in which his wife slept with and got pregnant with another man. Jackie came back home to her parents with her son Ty after her ex was put in jail. Ted, Jackie’s father, works with Will and gets Jackie a job as Will’s assistant.

Right away Jackie and Will feel a pull toward each other. But with a 16 year age difference and a boss and employee relationship between them, both are hesitant to take the plunge. The more they work together, it becomes clear the attraction is strong, one of them just needs to act on it….

“I’ll call you Dream Girl, cause that’s what you are to me.”

Who knew Karina Halle could put out a sweet romance! Normally Karina does the angsty and emotional reads, but this was a wonderful Cinderella story. It was unlike anything we have seen from her before! I loved Jackie and will equally, both pulled at my heart in their own way. I now desperately want to watch Bridesmaids because Jon Hamm was the inspiration (and I don’t like Mad Men, don’t kill meh!). This book basically made me feel better crushing on older hot men, because I am only 2 years older than Jackie is in this book. So thank you Karina for making my older men crushes seem a little bit more attainable!

Honestly, this is easily one of Karina’s best contemporary reads, the characters were relatable and I wanted them both to find their happily ever after, with Cinderella and Prince Charming. This hits two boxes for tropes people love, single parent and office romance. What are you waiting for??? Go and get it!!!

“The heart is nothing if not resilient.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

How to Bang A Billionaire

How to Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall

4 stars!

This book is the gay 50 Shades. Except I actually liked it. And I actually liked the characters. And there were no inner goddesses.

This was a book I requested on a whim, I love MM and am always curious to read more. I’m not one for billionaire romances, or BDSM but for some reason this book called to me.

How to Bang A Billionaire is about Arden, an Oxford student soon to graduate with a literature degree. He volunteers for an alumni fundraiser and ends up talking on the phone to billionaire and former student, Caspian Hart. On the phone they strike up a banter, and then Caspian comes to the fundraising dinner. There’s something there, but while Arden wants to pursue it, Caspian wants to resist.

Arden gives up hope of being with the attractive billionaire, when Caspian offers up a deal…..

“Everything was worth it for the power to give Caspian Hart just a little bit of joy.”

I really liked this book, like I said above I’m not huge on billionaires, not huge on BDSM, but this one worked! I thought Arden was such an interesting character, his outlook on life and his motivations. He’s playful and fun and up for anything. Caspian was more of a mystery, one we didn’t get to the middle of yet. I expect there will be more about him in the next book. But what we did get to know of him I liked, he just doesn’t know how to express very well.

This book wasn’t super steamy like I was expecting, and honestly I really liked that about it. It meant we could actually get some character development and get to know our players without constant sex. But there is sex! I promise. And you’ll like it. Hall just found a really great balance. And the BDSM element wasn’t as present as I thought, but I expect we will see more.

There’s no cliffhanger! I promise. I cannot wait for the next book though despite no cliffy, I want to know more about these two men. They were wonderful!

“I want to make you feel safe. And I’d make sure you never forget the extraordinary man that you are.”

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

Art & Soul

Art & Soul by Brittainy C Cherry

4.5 stars!

“Love openly,” my heart whispered. “Love unconditionally,” my heart begged. “Love the struggles,” my heart taught. “Love in the moment.”

Art & Soul is a young adult novel about two teens who don’t quite fit in. Aria made one mistake, and now the school is labeling her a slut and a whore. Levi is the attractive guy who just moved from Alabama, but his looks don’t match his personality, he’s a kind soul and a little bit weird. The two are neighbors and assigned an art/music project together. Levi and Aria seem to like each other, but many outside forces seem to want to keep them apart.

“Sometimes it was so easy to forget that adults were just kids in bigger bodies, and their hearts broke just like ours.”

I tried one B Cherry book years ago and it wasn’t really for me. But two friends recommended this to me so I had to try it and I am so glad I did!!! This is the first young adult novel that is written by a new adult/romance author that actually frickin reads like a YA novel!!! I’m so impressed! I found myself giggling and smiling throughout so much of this book. I’m not normally one for sweet romances without angst, but this one wormed its way into my heart.

This reminds me a little bit of a sweeter Juno, you know without all the hipsters and weird slang. I loved the main characters, I loved the side characters, I hated the mean characters. Basically Cherry did my favorite thing: SHE DEVELOPED HER CHARACTERS. AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Anyways, I really enjoyed this book. It was a little bit too sweet for me (because I don’t like sweet) but oddly, it really worked and I never rolled my eyes at it. I highly recommend if you haven’t read Cherry’s books, start with this one. I know I’ll be reading more of her soon.

“That’s the thing about the future, and the past even. They don’t exist in this moment. We only have the here and now. If we focus too much on the past or too heavily on the future, we miss out on our present desires, the things we want right now.”

The Player

The Player by Claire Contreras

4.5 stars!

“Life is short. We’re only here to chase moments. I’d rather make those moments worthwhile.”

Claire Contreras, cheers to you! This book was awesome!

The Player is about Warren, a talented soccer star who plays in the United Kingdom. He comes to New York on vacation and on family business where he meets Camila. Camila is from a family that fell from grace and she took it hard. Now she works for a non profit and can’t afford much, but she works hard and knows what she wants in life.

Warren is used to women falling all over him based on his looks and celebrity status. So when he pursues Camila and is shot down, he’s genuinely surprised, but still eager to go out with her. Camila is unsure of Warren, his fame and his fortune. She doesn’t want to tame the player, she’s tried that before and failed. But there’s something drawing them together, and they can only fight the attraction for so long.

“If you’re at the other end of the chase, it would be impossible for me to be disappointed.”

I honestly was hesitant to go into this book, and yet at the same time I was intrigued. I’m not a big fan of the whole hot guy cover trend, and was worried this book was going to be all hot and no plot. That wasn’t the case here, we got a sweet and touching story with some very emotional and poignant moments thrown in.

This book pulled and yanked at all my emotions, at first it was hard to think a player like Warren was serious about Camila, but as the book went on I found myself a believer in change. There’s always something thrilling about seeing the player settle down, and I loved the way Warren fell for Camila. The attraction between the two of them was so charged, you could feel it coming off of the page.

I loved Camila as a heroine, she was quiet yet strong. She had to work hard for what she had and didn’t back down easily. She was also cautious, which I respected. It was so refreshing to read a romance where the heroine doesn’t follow at the heroes feet two seconds after meeting him. And I have mad respect for Camila (and Claire) for that.

If you want to read something explosive, filled with tension and longing, this is the book for you.

“I’d give up my career to chase moments with the right woman.”

A Thousand Letters

A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart

4 stars!

“I told her now or never, and that mistake would haunt me until the day I died.”

Persuasion by Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite books. EVER. So when I heard Staci Hart wrote a modern day version of that, I was intrigued. But what really made me read this book? Hart’s Facebook memes. I’m not even kidding, she posts the most hilarious stuff on social media, so I had to see how this woman with a sense of humor could write an emotionally intense novel.

Seven years ago Elliot chose her family over her boyfriend and love of her life, Wade. Their breakup has stayed with her over the years, and she’s never been able to get over him. Now, a family tragedy has brought Wade home from his deployment and the two see each other for the first time since the breakup. Emotions resurface, good ones as well as the bad. But the two need to pull it together in order to be supportive for their family.

“He was back. He was home. And he didn’t want to see me, didn’t want me there.”

I think this book was brilliantly written, it’s not easy to take a classic story and make it your own but Staci Hart did it. I really enjoyed her take on the story, the small changes she made to make it fit into a modern setting. And with this book, we got the perspective of the guy, unlike the original novel. I found it refreshing and fulfilling to know what he was thinking along the way instead of being kept in the dark on his feelings.

I know I keep comparing the two, but since this IS based on Persuasion I’m gonna make some comparisons. In the original book, Anne was the one who made the mistake, rejecting Wentworth because of his lack of fortune and because her family expected it. In A Thousand Letters, both parties were somewhat guilty, the blame on both of them for their choices and actions. I really liked this aspect of the story, because I feel there are so many real life situations when you look back where we all could have done something differently, whether we were in the right or in the wrong.

For those who haven’t read Persuasion, this is a beautiful romance between two broken people who keep making the wrong choices. I found myself getting lost in the words, the story and the characters. I found myself wanting more from the side characters, a huge sign the characters were well developed. It’s a story that will stay with me a long time, and I cannot wait to read more by Staci Hart.

“I would never get over him. Not as long as I lived.”

Every Little Thing

Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

4 stars!

“Vaughn Tremaine may have been a pompous, smug, wealthy, arrogant businessman who thought he was better than me, but he could also kind of be honorable when he wanted to be.”

Bailey is a successful inn owner in Hartwell, Delaware, a small and charming boardwalk town. Bailey has always had a comfortable and safe relationship with her boyfriend of ten years, until she walks in on him having sex with a younger woman. And while Bailey is upset, she’s more dismayed that she wasted so much time on the wrong man.

Vaughn Tremaine is the sexy businessman who moved to Hartwell and got on Bailey’s bad side right away. For years the two have had a contemptuous banter that had a strong sexual undertone. When something bad happens to Bailey at her inn, Vaughn is there to help her. The attraction between the two is strong, it’s just a matter of whether or not they’ll admit it to each other.

“I wish you and he would just admit you’re attracted to one another and stop acting like children at recess.”

Samantha Young is one of my all-time favorite authors, I’ll read anything the woman writes. The Hart’s Boardwalk series is a change of pace for her, but a delightful and sweet series many readers will enjoy. Bailey and Vaughn were a couple I was intrigued by when they were introduced in the previous book, and the heat between them in this book did not disappoint. There was a lot of push and pull, and some frustrating moments, but this couple is made up of two very strong people and it was wonderful seeing them fight for what they wanted.

I think one of the strengths of this series is the side characters, you really get a sense of community when you read about these people. I am dying for Emery’s book, and the books of other characters mentioned in this novel. The pacing was a bit off in this book, some very slow moments like the first book. Usually with a Samantha Young book I am able to devour it within a few hours, but this one took me a couple of days.

If you want a romance with complex and powerful characters, this is the book for you. I cannot wait to read more about this small town and all of the people in it.

“I never dreamed it could be like this between us.”

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

If You Were Mine

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If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow

Review:

4 stars!

“What did it mean to love someone? What kind of power did that give someone over you? What kinds of ways could loving someone come back to haunt you.”

Claire is sick of always being at the singles table at her friends weddings. In a moment of desperation, she hires a date for her colleagues wedding. Theo is not what Claire imagined him to be, he is more attractive and charming than she presumed. What Theo and Claire both didn’t expect is the strength of the attraction between them.

But Theo has a bad family background of no one sticking around, and he doesn’t want to place that kind of trust in another person, Claire also lacks the confidence to go for what she wants. Both of them need to conquer their fears if either one wants to be happy.

“Claire had the kind of heart that was big enough to let anybody in, even me. I couldn’t let her do it.”

Melanie Harlow writes the best of fun and sweet romance. I always know when picking up one of her books I will be delighted and have a great time. The premise of this book is what hooked me and made me have grabby hands for this book. A hired man date that falls for the woman who needs him? Trapped in a cabin together for the weekend? SOLD.

What I liked most about this book was it was about two people discovering they could be so much more than the box they put themselves in. Theo’s journey was of being a good man and not following the history his of his family members, that your upbringing doesn’t define what you do. Claire was in a rut and didn’t see herself for the amazing woman she was, and while Theo helped her to that, she needed to find the confidence in herself.

Very steamy, delightful and a tiny bit angsty, this is the book you’ve been dying to lose yourself in.

“For her, I’d stay.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

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Summary

Theo MacLeod wasn’t supposed to be the one.

 

Tall, dark and handsome suits me just fine, but the cocky grin, know-it-all attitude, and mammoth ego? No thanks. I only hired him so I wouldn’t have to sit at the singles table again. It was just pretend.

 

He wasn’t supposed to kiss me.

 

My heart wasn’t supposed to pound.

 

We weren’t supposed to spend the night together—the hottest night of my life.

 

One night turns into a snowed-in weekend away, and even the blizzard of the century can’t cool the fire between us. I can’t get enough—of his smile, of his body, of the way he makes me feel.

 

We’re nothing alike. He’s a daredevil, and I’m a nervous Nellie. He’s a drifter, and I want to put down roots. He’s an opportunist with a checkered past, and I’m a Girl Scout volunteer.

 

But none of it matters when I’m in his arms.

 

I know he’s made mistakes. I know his wounds are deep, and he doesn’t trust easily. I know he doesn’t believe he could ever be enough to make me happy, but he could.

 

All he has to do is stay.

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Excerpt:

A guy in a black leather jacket set a coffee cup down on the table and sat opposite me.

I looked over at him, feeling slightly awkward since I’d have to tell him he couldn’t sit there. He was handsome, with warm brown eyes and short dark hair, but he wasn’t Fred. “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone,” I said. “But I can move.”

To my surprise, he smiled confidently. “Claire, right? I’m Fred.”

I screwed up my face. “You can’t be. Fred has blond hair and blue eyes. I saw his picture.”

He laughed, almost condescendingly. “I don’t use my real picture, Claire. People are crazy.”

What? This made no sense. “I don’t understand. How can you advertise yourself with someone else’s photo? Don’t women get mad when you show up?”

He shrugged, his grin turning a little cocky. “Haven’t had any complaints so far.”

Actually, he was more attractive than the photo he’d used online—more rugged and masculine, with his scruffy jaw, big shoulders, and brawny chest. Meeting the real Fred was kind of like ordering the chicken piccata and being brought the Porterhouse, which hadn’t even been on the menu.

But that wasn’t the point.

(And I’d described someone completely different to Elyse.)

“So, what, you use a fake photo to lure potential clients and then you set up the coffee meeting to check them out first?” I asked indignantly.

“Wouldn’t you?” He shrugged out of his jacket. “It’s a scary world out there.”

I crossed my arms, sitting up tall. “No! That’s a scam. I don’t like scammers.”

“No, it isn’t. I don’t take any money from them. I don’t even talk to them, I just leave.”

Frowning, I said, “That doesn’t seem right to me. These people are willing to pay you to hang out with them and probably feel bad enough about themselves already, and you just walk out without even giving them a chance?”

He shrugged. “Look, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve only walked off a job once, and that was because I thought I recognized the woman. I prefer to keep my personal and professional identities separate. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

Professional identity? He was a rent-a-date! I shook my head in disbelief. “Is your name even Fred?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes,” I snapped. “How am I supposed to know what to call you?”

He grinned as he leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “Call me anything you want. You’re the boss.”

Was he flirting with me or making fun of me? I cleared my throat and pressed my knees tighter together. “I’d like to call you by your actual name, please. Bad enough I have to pay someone to play my fake boyfriend. I’d like something to be real, at least.”

He held his eyes steady on mine for a moment. I felt like he was sizing me up, trying to decide if he could trust me, so I stared right back without blinking. If anyone at this table was trustworthy, it was me.

“Theo,” he said quietly, his eyes dropping to my lips for the merest fraction of a second. “My name is Theo.”

There. Was that so hard? I smiled at him before picking up my latte.“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Theo.”

“What, you’re just going to believe me? You’re much too trusting, Claire. I bet people take advantage of you.”

I set the cup back down on the saucer with an angry clank. “Is your name Theo or not?”

“Shhh, it is, it is,” he said, laughing. Then he glanced over his shoulder like he was in the fucking CIA. “But I don’t give that out to just anyone. You should feel special.”

 

 

Read Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kyu7kK

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/bgtL5b

iTunes: https://goo.gl/vBw5E5

Nook: https://goo.gl/e16nAD

 

 

Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/zqceTQ

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About the Author:
Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

 

Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

 

Connect with Melanie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieHarlow/?fref=ts

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NPkYKs

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2

Website: http://www.melanieharlow.com

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Mister Wrong

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Mister Wrong by Nicole Williams

3.75 stars

“Me. Matt Adams. The man who’d loved her for so long, I couldn’t remember a time when I hadn’t. Loving her had become a part of me. The defining part of me.”

Mister Wrong starts off with Matt at a wedding, but it’s not his wedding. It’s his twin brother, Jacob’s wedding. Only, Jacob is a no show, and the woman Matt has loved his whole life is about to be jilted at the alter. In a moment of insanity, Matt steps in and pretends to be Jacob at the wedding, but soon is the honeymoon and Matt needs to find a way to tell Cora the truth.

I read the blurb for this book and I wanted it right then and there! Unrequited love? Twin switch? Possible angst? You bet your butt I wanted to read this book. I loved that we got Matt’s perspective at the beginning and then switched between him and Cora, if it would have only been one POV I think it would have been harder to understand character choices, but Williams does a good job of portraying her characters motivations. This book also had a lot more steam than normal in a Williams’s book and I think plenty of readers will be pleasantly surprised by this.

This book started out strong and the pacing got a bit slower once it hit the middle. I very much enjoyed this book and think other readers will too.

“He’s the one, Cora. The real goddamn deal. Don’t let him go because you feel guilty or think you should do the right thing or anything stupid like that. Be with the person you want to be with. Stop wasting time.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

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Synopsis

Cora Matthews grew up with the Adams boys, twin brothers and best friends who wouldn’t let anything come between them except for one thing—her. One of them became her best friend, the other, her fiancé.

She always knew she’d wind up marrying one of them, and Jacob Adams is the very epitome of Mister Right. At least he is up until he fails to show up for their wedding day. Not that Cora realizes it. At first.

As Jacob’s best man, and identical twin, Matt makes a split second decision, but one that will affect the three of their lives forever—he steps in to take his brother’s place. In front of the altar, exchanging vows with the woman he’s secretly been in love with for years.

Cora eventually finds out about the groom swap. The morning after the wedding. As if realizing she just slept with her fiance’s brother wasn’t disturbing enough, she’s forced to confront her feelings for Matt Adams she thought she’d buried years ago.

Matt’s wrong for her. In every way. But through the course of her real honeymoon with her fake husband, she starts to uncover truths both Adams brothers were hoping to keep hidden, for opposite reasons. One to protect himself, the other to protect her.

She married the wrong brother, but what if he’s been the right one all along?

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Excerpt

“So?” I crossed my arms and leaned into the banister behind me. “Did you? Like my brother?”
She sighed, turning toward the open door. “Jacob . . .”
“What? It’s a fair question.” I shoved off the banister, feeling hope and heat tangling in my veins from the look on her face, from the sound of her voice. She’d felt something for me, whether it be the most passing of crushes or something much deeper. Realizing that had me feeling drunk from something other than alcohol. “Besides, you’re stuck with me now. Won’t matter what you ’fess up to.”
Cora started through the doorway. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Grabbing the suitcases, I followed her. I wasn’t letting this go. Never. Not if she threatened death or castration or anything else. “Why not?”
She broke to a sudden stop a few feet inside the room. “Because I don’t want to focus on the past. I want to concentrate on the future. That’s not going to work if you keep asking me questions about Matt.”
There was a sharpness in her voice—one she didn’t use too often. She didn’t want to keep talking about me, which only made me want to continue talking about me. I’d struck a nerve, but I wasn’t sure how deep that nerve went.
I needed to know how deep it went. I had to know. My whole life, I’d been under the impression that Cora saw me as nothing more than a good friend and substitute brother. She cared for me, but not in the same way I cared for her.
Or did she?
“This thing with Matt . . .”
Her back stiffened.
“Was it a thing? Like ancient history? Or is it still a thing?” I closed the door and wondered why I could feel my heartbeat in my eardrums.
She kept her back to me, standing in the middle of the dark room like a lone ship on a vast ocean. “I married you.”
Yeah, she did marry me.
“But if he’d made a play for you, way back before all of this”—I waved my finger between the two of us, not that she could see it—“would you have given him a chance?”
“He never made a play for me.” Her voice sounded faraway, like she was out of reach when she was less than an arm’s length away.
“That doesn’t answer my question.” I stepped closer. “If he had? Would you have?”
Her back was moving faster from her quickened breathing. This conversation was making her uncomfortable. Why was that?
“Stop, Jacob. Enough.” She spun on me, swaying in place just enough that I reached out to steady her. She shook my hand away like it was white-hot. “I’m not going to get into another fight with you over Matt. I’m done. I picked you. I married you. What else do I have to prove?”
“That you don’t—”
“I don’t love Matt!” Her arms flung out at her sides as her voice spilled across the room. ‘There. I said it. Are you happy now? Are you happy we’ve managed to get into another argument over this infatuation you’re convinced I have for your brother? On our wedding night of all times?” She glared at me with bleary eyes. I couldn’t tell if that was from tears or from alcohol. Maybe both.
“Cora, I’m sorry.” I ran my hands through my hair, wondering what in the hell I was doing—for the millionth time that day. Deceiving her, betraying her, and now accusing and angering her. Maybe I didn’t know the first fucking thing about love. Maybe Jacob knew more about it than I did, because I wasn’t sure love was supposed to hurt as badly as this did.
“Just . . . enough already.” As she shouldered past me, I reached for her, but she shook me off. “I need to be alone.”
She slammed the front door behind her a moment later, leaving me alone with my idiocy.
“Cora,” I called to an empty room. I wasn’t thinking when I rushed toward the door after her. “Cora!”
The moment I pulled the door open, something crashed into me. It made a sharp breath rush out of my mouth as I staggered back a few steps.
My arms barely had time to wrap around her before Cora’s mouth was on mine, moving in such a way that made staying upright next to impossible. Before I had a chance to catch up to the fact that I was kissing Cora in an entirely different way than we’d kissed at the wedding and reception, her fingers were working at my belt. Quickly.
I didn’t know she’d already gotten it undone before she’d moved on to my zipper. The sounds she was making as she kissed me, the way her body felt aligned against mine, the way her mouth knew the intricate balance of submission and domination . . . one moment at a time, Cora was crushing the last remnants of my resolve. Destroying the final pieces of my views of right and wrong.

The Cad and the Co-ed

The Cad and the Co-Ed by LH Cosway and Penny Reid

4 stars!

“I was the villain of the piece, and we both know it.”

The Cad and the Coed is the third book in the rugby series by LH Cosway and Penny Reid and can be easily read as a standalone novel. The plot centers around rugby player Bryan, a former womanizer and party boy, he’s since turned his life around and enjoys his new quiet way of living. Eilish is the cousin of Bryan’s teammate Sean and has recently started working for the team.

Bryan is immediately attracted to Eilish, and thinks he may be ready. Eilish seems less thrilled to see Bryan and is always dodging him. What Bryan doesn’t realize is he’s met Eilish before. He just doesn’t remember her.

“If I wasn’t careful, Eilish Cassidy would be elevated to sainthood level in my mind. I decided I should debauch her before this happened.”

Reading this book just made me want to go back and reread this series and rediscover all the characters in this world. I liked that the hero was a reformed man, he wasn’t perfect but he saw what he wanted in life and made the necessary changes to be the man he wanted to be. Eilish was a very endearing heroine who was put in a touch spot and made the most of it, and her life was all the better for it.

I loved seeing Sean and Ronin in this book, it was like seeing old friends again. We got to know Eilish a little book in previous books but I am glad I got to read her as a fully developed character in her own novel. She and Bryan were sensual and sweet, they made a lot of sense together, even though they didn’t always see it that way on their journey to each other.

Cosway and Reid are known for their unique and sometimes odd romances, and while this one was sweet, it was a departure from their distinctive writing styles for me. This book is a great story for readers who enjoy a more established love trope and want a sweet storyline. I look forward to more installments in this series, and more collaborations from these two wonderful authors.

ARC provided by Penny Reid in exchange for an honest review

 

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THE CAD

Bryan Leech is a cad.

Or, he *was* a cad.

No one is quite certain.

Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.

The only problem is, no one believes him.

 

THE CO-ED

Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed to put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.

The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.

 

THE PLAN

Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.

Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.

But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?

 

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

 

Connect with Penny:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Newsletter: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

www.pennyreid.ninja

 

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Meet L.H. Cosway:

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

 

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Connect with L.H. Cosway:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LHCosway/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jVTDk8

Twitter: @LHCosway

Newsletter: https://goo.gl/vkhYHN

Website: www.lhcoswayauthor.com

 

 

Dear Agony

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Beautiful passionate couple is having sex on bed

Dear Agony by Georgia Cates

Review:

3.5 stars

“This man will burn me. I already know it. I feel it deep down in my core.”

Dear Agony follows Rose, a young homeless street performer who is rescued by a woman named Vale who raises her to be a companion. Meaning she spends time with men who pay for her, but not in a sexual manner. And not exactly like an escort service, more like a live in friend. Bash is a friend of the owner of the business, and asks for Rose to be his companion.

Bash and Rose connect immediately, and become the best of friends. They love each other, but both are afraid to share their feelings to one another. Rose is afraid Bash will terminate their time together if she does, and Bash is afraid to let anyone get close him for fear of them getting hurt.

“Dying and falling in love. The two just don’t go together.”

I went into this book completely blind, I didn’t read the summary. I was interested in it based on the title and the author. I didn’t realize some of the heavy subject matter in this book, it’s not normally something I would go for, but I think Cates handled it very well in this book.

Contract romances are always fun to read, because rules are set and we all know those rules are meant to be broken in the war of love. I thought Bash and Rose had a sweet connection based on respect and friendship. I didn’t lose interest in this story and the pacing was great, it’s one many readers will read all the way through. I wish there had been less time jumps, and less fade to black sex scenes, but otherwise this was an interesting story and a romance many readers will love.

“I will get my wish…. to not wither away alone.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

 

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Summary:

Dear Agony,

 

You’ve been my shadow, following me through childhood—filling my days and nights with terror and uncertainty. You cleverly disguised yourself as some form of pain or suffering as I grew into a young woman. We were unwavering companions … until I severed our ties.

 

I traded homelessness on the streets of New Orleans for a luxurious bed covered by the finest linens.

I traded dumpster diving for dinner in the finest restaurants.

I traded myself to a stranger—Bastien Pascal.

 

I have a good life within my platonic and mutually beneficial companionship with Bash.

He’s my friend. My mentor. My roommate.

Until everything changes.

 

I’m not supposed to get goosebumps when his hand brushes my skin.

I’m not supposed to be eager for his soothing touch following one of my nightmares.

I’m not supposed to think about what might happen if I reached out to him in the darkness.

 

Falling in love with him? Preposterous . . . unavoidable.

 

Agony, why are you back with a vengeance to rob me of this life I’ve come to love so dearly?

 

I’m finally happy. Don’t ruin this for me.

 

Always yours,

Rose

 

In this epic love story, Dear Agony forges a connection between an unlikely pair—a beautiful rose entwined in barbed wire and a shipwreck sinking into the darkest depths of the ocean. This agonizing romantic novel poses some gut-wrenching questions: What does a woman do when the man she loves is planning his own demise? And how far will she go to give him something to live for?

 

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GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33298525-dear-agony

 

Pre-order at: amzn.to/2jghw4L

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.

When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her iPod and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire it.

Representation: All questions regarding subsidiary rights for any of my books, inquiries regarding foreign translation and film rights should be directed to Jane Dystel of Dystel & Goderich.

FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS

Till Death

Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout

4 stars!

“People don’t get second chances often, Sasha, but we got one, and I’m not going to let that pass us by.”

Almost a decade ago, Sasha survived one of the worst horrors a person can face, and she was the only one to make it out alive. Now, years later, she has returned to her home town to help her mom run the family business. Sasha’s return stirs up many memories, good ones and bad ones. While Sasha is welcomed by old friends and family, other members of the town are not so happy to have her back with the memories she brings with her.

When Sasha left, she cut off ties with everyone but her mother and her best friend. One of those she left behind was her then boyfriend Cole, who she loved and never quite got over. Cole is clearly happy to see Sasha again, and makes it clear he wants to reconnect. But Sasha’s past trauma makes it hard for her to trust people, and on top of that someone is going out of their way to make sure she knows she is not welcome, using threatening and scary tactics.

“Sometimes you cared so deeply about someone that no matter what happened, you never really stopped.”

I’m not normally a suspense reader, but I will read anything Jennifer Armentrout puts out. I read her teen suspense novel Don’t Look Back and enjoyed it, so I knew she would do a good job writing in this genre. I’ve also seen romance junkies concerned this book will lack romance, it’s something they shouldn’t be worried about because this book contains a lot of it. Readers will love Sasha and Cole and will relish their journey back to each other.

Till Death contains an engrossing story that seizes your attention and holds it in its grasp until the very last page. I had fun guessing at what would happen next and guessing at who the bad guy was. Alpha male addicts will love Cole, and at the same time appreciate the fact that Sasha wants to fight back herself at the threats that come her way. Instead of being a weak victim, she’s a strong woman who combats those meaning to harm her.

Thrilling and engaging, you need to make Till Death a priority on your to be read list!

“I’m going to keep myself safe. But I’ll let you help.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

The Wingman

The Wingman by Natasha Anders

2 stars

I am a huge fan of Natasha Anders, The Unwanted Wife is one of my all time favorite romances ever. I knew going into this book it wasn’t going to be like her past ones, less angst and more humor. But even knowing that, I did not care for this one which makes me sad because I was very much looking forward to this book. I found this book to be really boring, and at times it felt very choppy with rapid changing POV’s. I also felt the plot itself wasn’t focused very well.

This book reminded me a lot of her other book His Unlikely Lover (the only other book by Anders I didn’t enjoy) and I think her take on the ugly duckling trope just doesn’t work for me. I already don’t love the ugly duckling trope in general, but I also found the main character Daisy to be really annoying and I didn’t empathize with her at all. And I have a very high tolerance for “annoying heroines”. Mason and Daisy’s family also would seem clued in to her insecurities and yet still always say the wrong thing to her and hurt her feelings.

I have lots of other friends who read and enjoyed this book, so I encourage you to read their positive reviews while considering picking up this book. I tend to have very picky tastes and what doesn’t work for me works fine for other readers. I will still reading anythingNatasha Anders puts out, she’s a one of a kind author. This book just simply did not work for me.

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

Royally Matched

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ROYALLY MATCHED

By Emma Chase

Release Date: Feb 21, 2017

Review

4.5 stars!

“To thine own self be true.”

Royally Matched is the story of Henry the prince, next in line to the throne. Henry’s brother abdicated the throne for the woman he loves, and Henry has now been thrust into a role he is unprepared for and never thought he would have. With the new responsibility on his shoulders, Henry agrees to a bachelor type tv show where he is to look for the love of his life.

Sarah is a young librarian, technically a lady by name. When her family is approached to be a part of the tv series, her sister jumps at it and Sarah joins in to get out of a work obligation. But Sarah doesn’t want to participate in the game for the prince and comes as her sisters assistant.

Henry and Sarah become friends while filming and get to know each other. And as time goes by feelings begin to develop on both sides. But Sarah is unsure of herself and of Henry, and Henry has his own issues and obligations holding him back.

“If nightmares can come true, and sometimes they do…. then so can our happiest dreams.”

I think Emma Chase writes some of the best escapist romance out there. Normally a royal romance with sweet moments wouldn’t be my thing, but I loved every second of this novel. Chase is able to deliver a sweet and heartfelt romance and at the same time can be cheeky and poke fun at the real world.

I was able to devour this book fairly quickly, it’s a fun and lighthearted read. Sarah as a heroine was so cute and enchanting, I love when the girl who is normally overlooked gets noticed by the hero. There was a lot more to Henry than he let others see, and Sarah was very perceptive at reading him. Yeah sometimes he messed things up, like a true Chase hero, but ultimately he got his shit together and was able to pull it off.

If you’re looking for that perfect book to snuggle up to on a lazy Sunday, this is the book for you. Emma Chase is a constant delight and I cannot wait to read more from her.

“I’ve never had someone who was just mine, body and soul-mine to protect and hold and love. And that’s what Sarah is… she belongs to me now. We belong to each other.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

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Excerpt

 

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry Charles Albert Edgar Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to force her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora goes on a much-needed safari holiday—and when the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit…and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

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Kindle: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedKindle
Amazon Paperback: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedAmazon
iBooks: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchediBooks
Nook: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedNook
B&N Paperback: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedBN
Kobo: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedKobo
BAM: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedBAM
IndieBound: bit.ly/RoyallyMatchedIndieBound

 

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About the Author:

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

 

Website: http://authoremmachase.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEmmaChase/?fref=ts

Newsletter: http://authoremmachase.com/newsletter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emmachse

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551005.Emma_Chase

Ripple Effect: Episode 1

Ripple Effect: Episode 1 by Keri Lake

4 stars!

“Ripple effect: noun 1. A spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event.”

Ripple Effect part 1 kicks off what promises to be a dark and intense ride! Dylan is a young woman, desperate to escape her circumstances but darkness is constantly bleeding into her life. In a series of miserable things to happen to her, Dylan crosses paths with the ruthless killer Ripley and her life changes forever.

I just want to start off by saying that good lord people, Keri Lake CAN WRITE. I mean, I already pretty much knew this from reading Ricochet, but this book just reinforced in my mind how unbelievably talented Lake is with words. For example:

“Wind rattles the glass in its frame, the tendrils of late winter sneaking their way beneath the thin afgan wrapped around my shoulders.”

I could quote countless other sentences or small moments to prove my point, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. I love the romance community and I don’t mean to bash it at all, but it’s rare to find this high quality of a writing style combined with a great story, and Lake delivers both.

I will say this book proved to me what a giant scaredy cat/pussy I am. Because this was dark. Like, I felt nauseous and had to skim some of the more violent parts because my weak butt could not handle it. Nevertheless I very much enjoyed this first installment and cannot wait to get to the others!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review