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.”

Rhapsodic

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

5 stars!

“People like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”

Rhapsodic is the tale of Callie the Siren, present day bounty hunter with a past that’s always tied to her. When she was a teenager, she needed help and called upon The Bargainer to help her clean up her mess. Lost and alone, she kept calling him back for more and more favors until her wrist was wrapped in the hundreds of favors she owed him. Until one day, he left her and she didn’t see him again.

Now, seven years later he has come back, and it’s time for those favors to be repaid. The Bargainer needs Callie’s help, for something is wrong in the Otherworld, and she has the ability to get answers where he cannot. The only problem? Callie’s help has made her a target, and no one knows who is coming for her.

“Now, cherub,” his words roll off his lips like honey, “the first repayment of the day: you’re coming home with me, and you’re not leaving until your debts have all been paid.”

Rhapsodic is a book that has been recommended to me over and over again, and yet I waited because only the first book was out. I binge read all three of her Fallen World books, one in a row, so I know how addictive her books can be. So when the second book A Strange Hymn came out, I decided to pick this one up. And I am so glad I did.

Thalassa writes the perfect hero. At least, the perfect men for me. Her heroes are flawed, and not always good, but they love their heroines and treat them well. Plus there’s just the right amount of alpha male where it can be considered hot but doesn’t leave me banging my head on the table with frustration. Des to me is perfect, he may not be your typical good guy or bad guy, but he has a job to do, people to protect, and he cares for those close to him.

I fell into this book so easily, Thalassa’s writing flows across the page. I hope this woman does nothing but write the rest of her life, because I haven’t found an author whose writing I meshed with this well in a long time. I’ve read four of her books so far and loved all four of them. And I’m a picky bitch. Seriously, I’ve been told that by other readers.

I highly recommend this book, for all types of readers. You won’t regret it!

“And the mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea may claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.”

Stay

Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

4.5 stars!

“My confidence took a hit after the divorce. But it’s slowly coming back. I feel stronger. More self-assured.”

Hailey runs her own anonymous virtual personal assistant business with her ex-husband, and her favorite client ends up being her favorite hockey star, Matt Erikson. Matt just recently went through a tough divorce and tries to spend as much time with his twin girls as he can. Matt also is intrigued by his virtual assistant, and wants to meet her in person.

Hailey is definitely interested, but her history with her ex has really taken a hit on her confidence. Matt also has his issues with his ex that get in the way of his personal life. But, it may be time for the two of them to take a chance and put themselves out there.

“I’m ridiculously attracted to you. Hottie. I figured I should be up front about that.”
“Shut up and kiss me again, Snipes.”

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have never let me down! Every single book I’ve read by this pair has been pure magic! I cannot get enough! Stay is another great novel that you have to make next on your to be read. I picked up this book and never wanted to put it back down. It’s actually because of Bowen and Kennedy that I love hockey romances, I’ll pass on the football and you better pass me the puck!

I gotta say the best part about this book is we got mature characters, by that I mean a driven and smart heroine who works hard, and a man who isn’t sleeping around. I cannot tell you how many books I’ve read where the guy is constantly slutting it up until he meets the heroine. Both Hailey and Matt had standards and goals, and it was so refreshing.

This was an unconventional slow burn romance, one I can see myself rereading in the future. This book was low angst and low drama, so it’s perfect for all of you out there allergic to those things. I happen to prefer angst and drama, and I still loved this book. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like it!

“I’m a goner for this man. Our relationship might not be ‘official’, but holy hell, I officially feel all the feelings for Matt Erikson.”

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review

Riveted

Riveted by Jay Crownover

3.5 stars

“I was the girl that everyone always assumed was good… so they never asked… but he had and the world stopped.”

Riveted is the story of Church and Dixie. Dixie is that girl who is always sweet and happy, who never lets it show when life gets her down. Dixie knew early on that Church was the man for her, but he didn’t get the memo. Coworkers at a bar, Church is aware that Dixie is attracted to him and a nice person, so that’s why he asks her to come home with him to the South when there’s a family emergency.

Dixie goes with Church knowing she shouldn’t, that she’ll lose her heart even more than she already has. But maybe this trip will be the kick in the pants Church needs to see the good thing he has right in front of him.

“No matter what kind of armor we wear, all of it has a chunk, a dent that speaks to a battle we fought and lost.”

Jay Crownover is an author I always come back to if only for one thing: her characters. I love the dynamic, lovable people she brings to life in her books, you never get the same character twice. Her books are a much needed escape from reality, even when her characters have issues, I am always happy to peak into their lives for a little bit.

My favorite parts of this book were Dixie and Church themselves, I felt they were developed really well and neither one of them annoyed me at any point in the book. I understood their actions and what justified them.

I enjoyed this book, but mostly the second half of it. I’ve noticed something in this book, as well as in Honor and Charged: Crownover has been getting long winded with her writing and it’s been taking away from my enjoyment of the book. The first 100 pages of this book felt super long and almost nothing plot wise happened, and this went away the last ⅔’s of the book which picked up a lot for me. In the nicest way possible, I really hope this doesn’t continue, because I almost didn’t keep reading because of the long winded writing. It felt way too long and a lot could be edited out. That’s just my opinion.

Anyways I am excited for Salvaged and cannot wait for Poppy and Wheeler’s story!

“Sometimes all people can see is what’s different, but those differences are what make us who we are.”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5 stars!

“I want them to know the real story. The real me.”
“All right. Show me the real you, then. And I’ll make sure the world understands.”

Evelyn Hugo is an iconic aging actress, famous for her work in the movie industry but also famous for having been married seven times to seven men. Monique Grant is a writer for a magazine, but has been in a bit of a career rut as of lately. On top of that she’s getting divorced, so she jumps on the opportunity to interview the famous Evelyn Hugo. When she meets Evelyn, she discovers Evelyn wants more than a simple article, she wants to tell her life story to Monique for a biography. And Monique is getting the story exclusively.

“I’ve spent a very long time learning how to spin the truth. It’s hard to undo that wiring.”

I absolutely loved this story! Taylor Jenkins Reid has this uncanny ability to suck you into the lives of her characters and never let you go. They feel so utterly genuine, I felt as if I was a part of their lives instead of an outsider reading about them. Reid also does an amazing job developing her characters, I was rooting for all of them to get what they want and to achieve their goals.

I never really know what to expect when I dive into a book by Reid, but I can honestly say this book was full of surprises and twists I didn’t see coming. This book spans from the 1950’s to the present day, and we get to know all of the loves of Evelyn’s life. Evelyn herself was enchanting, I found myself fascinated by her life story, her choices and her perseverance. While love was a motivating factor, to me this was mostly a story about success and survival. Evelyn was always going to do what it takes to be a star and stay at the top, and she would fight for what she wanted.

Hollywood and the film industry can be a ruthless place but it can also be one where greatness can be achieved for the lucky ones. I think Reid captured the industry and the time periods this story took place in perfectly.

This is one of the best books I’ve read all year and I think if you go into it with an open mind and a kind heart, you’ll fall in love with this book like I did.

“If you love someone enough, you should be able to overcome anything.”

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

The Queen and the Cure

The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

5 stars!

“Come to me, and I will try to love you. I will try to love you, if you but come back.”

The Queen and the Cure is the story of Kjell, brother of King Tiras, bastard son and soldier. He and his men have been traveling the lands hoping to hunt and kill the last of the Volgar, a bird creature hybrid that is dwindling in size. During his journey, they come upon a young woman named Sasha, who has the Sight and can see the future. Locals deemed her a witch and pushed her off of a cliff, leaving her bloodied and broken. Kjell, heals her and in return Sasha thinks she belongs to him.

As much as Kjell tries, he cannot keep Sasha away from him as she is determined to remain by her side. He decides to bring her back to his home city, and along the way Sasha begins to creep under his skin. But Kjell has lost his heart to the wrong woman before, and he has no wish to let anyone else in.

“He would not be able to let her go, he thought. He would never be free of her.”

Amy Harmon has such a beautiful way with words, she weaves them to what she wills, and spins beautiful tales and descriptive stories that will remain with you for a long time to come. The Bird and the Sword was one of my favorite books from last year, and to get a sequel set in the same verse was an unexpected and very welcome surprise.

For someone who is mostly successful for her contemporary works, I always find myself blown away at the depth and intricate world building Harmon has to deliver, as if she has always been writing fantasy and not anything else. Her fantasy rivals the greats, current and deceased.

I love the world created in this book, it’s one I want to get lost in. In my mind, this world is real and I don’t want to leave. The characters so tangible and genuine they could be real instead of fiction. I felt for them, my heart stretched for them and their love and their pain.

Basically I loved this book, and I hope you give it a chance and read it too. You won’t be disappointed. By the end, this book had me like:

“I fell in love with you in pieces. Layer by layer, day by day, inch by inch.”

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

Tease

Tease by Ella Frank

3.5 stars!

“You’re where my heart is. So that’s where I stay.”

Try by Ella Frank was my first ever MM novel. In fact, I went into it not even knowing it was MM. After a while I had thought, where’s the love interest? Yeah. That was my dumb blonde moment. I ended up loving that book and it opened up a new world of romance for me. I love Tate and Logan and will read anything involving the two of them.

Tease takes place about four years after the original trilogy and we get to see what is happening in the “domesticated” lives of Tate and Logan. Both have been busy with work, and when Logan realizes this, he demands they make more time for each other.

I like that this book cleared up lose ends from the last book, things I definitely had questions about and some resolutions I never expected to get, so I was very happy for those. Why not a higher rating? I felt the pacing was off and I was skimming through the hot parts. I wish we had gotten more plot than hot, and it’s how I also felt about book 3. Again, I did enjoy this book and the fact that we got answers, it was just a bit too slow and didn’t hold my attention as well as books 1 and 2 did.

PS I am dying for the next book after the end of this one. So Ella still has me hooked!

“Forever’s a long time.”
“What? Worried you couldn’t put up with me for that long?”
“No. I’m worried it won’t be long enough.”

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

Olive Juice

Olive Juice by TJ Klune

Well, I just spent the last hour like this:

I loved this book. DON’T READ SPOILERS, GO IN BLIND!

What a beautiful and heartbreaking story! This reminded me a bit of a play; I know Klune had a blog post referencing a one shot scene but honestly this felt like something you would see on a stage. Extremely well written, Klune is obviously very talented and there’s a reason why I will read anything he writes.

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

Midnight Target

Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

4.25 stars!

What a thrilling, action packed ride!!

Midnight Target is about Cate, the daughter of a famous mercenary. When she was seventeen she met her father, and while he would do anything to protect her, he doesn’t want her in the same life as his. Cate has since dropped out of a college and become a freelance photographer. She’s working for a reporter on a story in South America when she captures something dangerous on film, and then finds her life in danger.

Cate’s father comes to save her, along with one of his coworkers Ash. Cate can’t stand Ash after he rejected her advances on his years ago, leaving her humiliated and alone. Cate isn’t happy to see Ash, but he’s hopeful they can at least be friends. With tensions high and a criminal psycho after them all, things get rough and heated.

I’ve really only read Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus series, along with her MM books and Erin Watt; I hadn’t picked up any of her Killer Instincts books before. But I love her writing style and trusted she would deliver a good story and a fulfilling read. This book was such a fun and fast paced read. It reaches almost 450 pages and didn’t feel long at all, it just flew by! Technically this is the eighth book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone. I personally can vouch for this because this was my first time reading this series and I was able to navigate the novel easily, even with all the background players.

Despite this being about a couple that cannot be together (due to age difference in the beginning and daughter of the boss issues) there was only mild angst. I prefer a bit more, but it fit the tone and theme of the book. I really liked spitfire Cate and southern boy Ash, the two just made sense, even when they were friends only. I wish things had progressed a bit faster for the two of them, but enjoyed it very much once they did.

The best part about the book though? The surprise MM plot mixed in between Liam and Sully. That was my favorite aspect of the book, I found myself waiting impatiently for their POVs because I just wanted MORE. Elle Kennedy is amazing in general, but when she writes MM I want to use the worship hands emoji all the time.

Once my reading schedule opens up a bit more, I know for sure I will be going back and reading other books in the Killer Instincts series ASAP! And if you haven’t you should too!

Copy for review provided by the publisher