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 

Illegal Contact

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

4.5 stars! 

“I’m your boss. You’re my assistant. We’re not anything else.” 

Gavin Brawley is one of the NFL’s biggest players, and after an assault charge he’s been confined to his home for six months, monitored by an ankle bracelet. Being benched means Gavin needs to hire an assistant to manage his entire life, something he’s not exactly happy about.

Noah Monroe is in desperate need of a job, after him and his father lost theirs they need to make ends meet. The last thing Noah wants is to be a PA to a cranky NFL player, but despite his reservations, he takes the job.

Tension is high between the two of them, and things don’t start off smooth. But the more time they spend with each other, the better it gets until a tentative friendship and mutual respect is formed.

“Better to have an insolent nerd with no interest in football than a kiss-ass fan who will tell all to all their friends.” 

Illegal Contact is the sports romance you’ve been waiting for! Football is never my first choice (like ever), so I was surprised when I ended up loving this football romance. Well, I shouldn’t have been because Santino Hassell is everything that’s good in the MM romance genre. The voice he gives to his characters is so strong, Noah and Gavin felt like real people to me, one’s I could turn my head and talk to.

This is an I hate you/I love you kind of romance. The beginning starts out with much badgering and barb trading, but I loved the journey from dislike to mutual admiration. They always say there’s a thin line between love and hate and this book encapsulates that phrase excellently. I loved Noah and Gavin equally, neither one of them got on my nerves at any point and I was rooting for them both to get what they want.

This is the next big series in MM romance, so you’d be an idiot not to pick up this book!

“You are trustworthy. And I’m tired of always hiding.” 

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

First and First

First and First by Santino Hassell

5 stars! 

“There’s not one way to to live or to love, and whoever tries to tell you any different will probably be dead in a decade or two anyway, so screw them!” 

Santino Hassell has easily become one of my favorite authors in the last year, and it’s because he delivers amazing books like this one! First and First is everything I never knew I wanted.

First and First is about Caleb, a thirty six year old former CFO having trouble finding himself after losing his ex to another man. Oli is a programer whose sex life is open and adventurous. On New Year’s Eve at a party, the two ending up spending a night of mind blowing sex with each other, spinning Caleb’s world and causing him to rethink who he’d always assumed he was.

It’s clear that Oli is not up for a relationship, but Caleb finds more and more often they are spending time together. Oli encourages Caleb to be more free with how he is, yet Caleb still struggles with anxiety at points. A companionship forms, but Caleb knows not to expect anything from Oli….. but should he?

“I said I wasn’t your Prince Charming. You don’t enjoy being banged like a ragdoll because I pranced into your life. You didn’t discover hot sex just because I happen to exist. I don’t want you thinking of me as your savior. As someone you’re beholden to because now you know what you like. You told me what to do that night. You were just drunk enough to stop caring about what I would think of you.” 

I loved this book, if the 5 star rating isn’t clear enough. I love the way Hassell writes, how his characters are flawed and yet so lovable. Caleb at many points in this book spoke to my heart, his struggles with anxiety, his self doubt. After spending so many years hiding what he was it made him insecure, which affected his relationships and his sex life because he never learned how to be himself until now.

Oli is a bit of a mystery, I really liked him for David, but without dual POV it was difficult to gage what he was feeling and thinking. Our perspective was only what Caleb saw, and at times what Caleb thought about Oli instead of Oli himself.

Lately I tend to not enjoy books with erotic tones because I feel there is more sex than plot: Santino’s books are the exception to this because he gives readers an amazing combo of hot and plot every single damn time. It’s like the perfect recipe for my reading tastes, the best of both worlds.

This book can be read as a standalone, it features characters from the two previous novels. So while you can read it as a standalone, I do recommend that you maybe consider reading book 2, as those characters are in this a bit more and it could help with context.

An amazing read, I stayed up until 2 am to finish it. I cannot wait to devour more of Santino Hassell’s books.

“But regardless of what you think of yourself, when I look at you, I see someone beautiful. Someone who makes me insane, because all I can fucking think about is touching you. Being close to you. Being inside you. And there’s a reason for that, baby.” 

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.” 

Damaged Like Us-Release Day Blitz!

DAMAGED LIKE US RELEASE DAY BLITZ!
Buy it!:
Giveaway
 
Synopsis
Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.
Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.
Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.
He is certified American royalty.
When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.
Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.
Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.
Excerpt:

Maximoff Hale POV

 

“Number twelve.” I nod to the list.

He eyes me for a long moment before focusing on the paper. “It says that you’re not used to letting other people behind the wheel.” It actually says I always drive.

I glance at him once, then back to the road. “I didn’t realize that you can’t read.” I switch lanes.

I can almost feel his smile stretch. “Always a precious smartass.” I hear him flip a page. “You have a typo on number thirty-two.”

He called me precious. What the fuck does that even mean? Precious. I have to let it go, but the word scrolls across my gaze like a tickertape banner. “What typo?”

“You forgot a comma.”

I let out an irritated groan. “This isn’t a term paper. Don’t critique my grammar.”

Farrow kicks up one of his shoes on my seat. Balancing his forearm on his knee. Then he bites the staple off and spits it out. I tense and try to watch him and the road simultaneously.

He has a very particular way he moves his hands. They shift with meticulousness and care. A sort of accuracy that belongs to surgeons and someone equipped to disassemble and reassemble a gun blindfolded.

I’ve imagined those hands on me too many times to count. Don’t fucking restart now. I’m trying not to, but having him this close, the NC-17 fantasies vie to breach the surface. Heat blankets my skin and tries to grip my cock.

Thumbing through the papers, Farrow tells me, “You’re about to miss our exit.”

“Shit.”

 

About the Authors
Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

THE KNOCKED UP PLAN – Release Day Launch

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

✮✮✮ THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

There are three little words most guys don’t want to hear on the first date. Not those…I mean these… “knock me up.”

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it’s not true love. It’s a bun in the oven, and I’m not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming — and he’s also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won’t fall for him, he won’t fall for me, and there’s no way baby will make three.

Right?

****
There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date — “your place or mine?”

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place — as well as any position — I can’t refuse. Besides, I’ve got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There’s no way I’ll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoon worthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

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✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! Link coming soon!

“A refreshing take on the baby trope, The Knocked Up Plan is as sweet as it is naughty. Blakely not only balloons Nicole and Ryder’s incredibly powerful chemistry to new heights with their steamy love scenes, but she also infuses sweet emotion into every single one of their interactions.”

– USA Today

EXCERPT:

Yanking open the door, I head inside. I stride to the small cafe where Ryder said he’d wait for me.

My chest falls. The man is known for punctuality. I scan the white bakery case and the five round iron tables, but he’s not here. When I spin around and survey the bookshelves, my heart nearly leaps from my chest.

He’s in the . . .

Oh my fucking God, he’s waiting for me in the . . .

I bring my hand to my mouth, and I want to run, to leap into his arms. When he sees me, his blue eyes twinkle with mischief.

I am a teapot about to whistle. I am a dog dancing before dinnertime.

He taps the shelves and holds up a book.

A pregnancy guide.

He’s ten feet from me. But I sprint anyway, and I grin like a fool. I stop two inches from him and clamp my hands on his broad shoulders. “Is that a yes?”

“Yes—”

I tackle-hug him before he can say anything more. I knock the breath from him in an oomph as I rope my arms around his neck and crash into him.

“But I have one condition,” he says, embracing me back.

I’m crying tears of happiness, so I don’t care. “Anything. Name it.”

“You better hear it before you agree.”

The moment screeches to a halt. He’s going to want visitation rights. He’ll want lots of money. He’ll want summers, or weekends, or evenings out.

I unwrap myself from the warmth of his strong chest and swallow. “What’s your condition?”

“I thought it would be best to present it in the form of a column.”

“A column?”

“Top five list and everything.”

I groan inside. He has five conditions? Maybe my mother was right. Maybe asking for baby-mix from someone you know is a big mistake. Anonymous donors request nothing but greenbacks.

I steel myself as he fishes in the back pocket of his jeans. The paper is square, folded in quarters. He hands it to me. “Open it.”

I unfold it then read the headline out loud. “‘Top Five Positions for Getting a Woman Pregnant’?”

I blink and stare at him. The cogs turn slowly in my brain. I part my lips to speak.

He raises a hand to silence me. “Hear me out. You explained how it worked. The room, the cup, the magazines, the videos. The whacking off in a fucking public place. The cost. But most of all . . . the wait.
You’d have to wait for an appointment for me, for the testing, for the jerking off, then for your special date with the turkey baster.” He cups my cheek. His hand is big and warm. “What if we did it the
old-fashioned way?”

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2r4ml1u

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About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In June she’ll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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Salvaged

Salvaged by Jay Crownover

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

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ADD SALVAGED TO YOUR GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28497297-salvaged

 

 

EXCERPT:

I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

 

REVIEW:

Salvaged is the story of two people who have taken the hardest hits in life, and yet come together to heal each other. Poppy was abused and tortured by her ex husband and is still having trouble dealing with people. Hudson was cheated on twice by his ex fiance, who is now in love with a woman and pregnant with his child. The two are so damaged, and yet find comfort in each other.

 

Jay always manages to create fresh and interesting characters that feel real. I loved Poppy and Hudson, they both had such a great journey, together and separately. Two people who needed someone to love and want them for who they are and to be treated with respect. I am so glad Jay wrote this story, it’s for all those people who never thought they would get the love they wanted and deserved.

 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked MenThe Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

Website: http://www.jaycrownover.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayCrownover?ref=hl
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JayCrownover
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Crownover

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ijRhq4
Barnes and Noble: 
tinyurl.com/hqotakt
Kobo: 
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ibooks: 
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Amazon UK : 
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Amazon Canada: 
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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.”