WWW Wednesday – July 26, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

I pretty much had an ARC reading week. I had a ton of NetGalley books to read and a couple of tour ARCs as well. At least they were all romances! 🙂

For Forester (For You, #2)
When I Need You (Need You, #4)
Twisted Twosome
In Pieces (Something More, #2)
Something So Perfect (Something So, #2)
Irresistible You (Chicago Rebels, #1)
Checkmate: This is War (Travis & Viola, #1)

Click on the book title to be read my review.


Currently Reading

I haven’t made much progress on After We Fell. I was listening to, but just got the e-book. Hopefully it will go faster now that I can read it. I’m not really loving it, so we’ll see…

I’m starting Checkmate: This is Love (Travis & Viola, #2) today. The first book ended in a cliffhanger, so I need to know what happens next!


Reading Next

I’m not sure I’m going to pick next. I have a bunch of KU books I’ve downloaded and some NetGalley ARCs I need to read.


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Review: For Forester by J. Nathan

For Forester
Series: For You, #2
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: July 19, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Trace
I’m Alabama’s star wide receiver. I’ve got mad skills on and off the field, and it’s no secret I’m heading into the draft after the upcoming season. But I’m home for the summer to make some cash before my senior year. Being back under my parents’ roof isn’t the ideal situation, but the moment I see Marin, the star of my adolescent fantasies, I know it’s about to get interesting. She may not have noticed me back then, but I’ve got a feeling it’s just a matter of time before she lets me turn those fantasies into reality.

Marin
The last time I saw Trace Forester he was just a kid tearing up the neighborhood on his skateboard. That was when I was foolish enough to think I had the perfect husband and the perfect life. But now my life is in shambles and Trace is back, all grown up, hot as hell, and exuding major confidence. It would be so easy to fall for his good looks and undeniable charm. So easy to let him into my life. Too bad I learned the hard way that nothing worth having ever comes easy.


For Forester is the first book I’ve read by J. Nathan. I was impressed with her writing. I easily connected with her characters and believed in their relationship. That was amazing because I never expected to find a nineteen year old guy falling in love with an almost thirty year old single mother believable. I expected the attraction, but didn’t expect the love.

Trace was a special young man. I loved the way he loved Marin and her son. He was at the height of his college football career with everything going for him. Trace had a multitude of women at his beck and call, but he only wanted Marin. His loyalty to Marin and her son was exceptional considering the distance between their locations.

What Marin went through was tough. Not only did she have to deal with the fallout from the demise of her marriage, but the attention of dating a much younger man. She was constantly being judged while trying to do what was best for her son and herself. I loved how strong of a person she was. Her relationship with Trace only made her stronger and gave her a new outlook. That was so cool.

Trace and Marin’s relationships was filled with so many ups and downs. Everything they went through together and apart made me love them together more. I was totally invested in their relationship. I loved the little family they made.

Reading For Forester has made me a fan of J. Nathan. It’s also made me want to go back and read the first book in the For You series. I would love to know more about those characters! Finlay and Caden seemed like such special characters.

If you’re looking for a new adult romance that’s outside the normal college sports romance, I highly recommend For Forester. I loved the older woman, younger man dynamic.

Review: When I Need You by Lorelei James

When I Need You
Series: Need You, #4
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Rules are tossed aside when a pro football player join forces with a spitfire cheerleading coach in New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James’s brand-new romance…

Heir to Lund Enterprises and ladies’ man Jensen “The Rocket” Lund has three conditions when it comes to dating:
1) No single mothers
2) No cheerleaders
3) No medical personnel
So it makes no sense that he’s wildly attracted to Rowan Michaels, who breaks all three.

Rowan Michaels didn’t pass the rigorous requirements to become an athletic trainer and Vikings cheerleader in the hopes of landing a pro athlete: been there, done that, and she has a young son as proof that football players and fidelity don’t go hand in hand. When Rowan learns her new neighbor is Jensen Lund, the smoking-hot tight end who takes being neighborly to a whole new level, she’s grateful for the team’s strict “no fraternization” policy because the sexy man defines temptation.

But Jensen is intent on rushing straight to the goal line to prove to Rowan he’s much more than just a player…on and off the field.


A month or two ago I read my first book by Lorelei James. It was the first book in the Need You series, What You Need. I enjoyed that book and getting to meet the Lund family. Even though that was Brady’s book, I found myself wondering about his youngest brother, Jensen. I have to admit it’s because Jensen was a football player, and I’m a big sports romance fan. When I saw Jensen’s book was up on NetGalley, I had to request it. I’m so, so happy I did.

I really enjoy Lorelei James’ writing. Sometimes, contemporary romances can feel a bit dated. The characters act more mature than their age and aren’t very easy to relate to. Lorelei James’ books don’t feel that way. The writing feels fresh and new. Rather than use third person narration, she tells her stories in first person dual point of view. It makes her characters vibrant and easy to connect with.

When I Need You was a cool sports romance because it involved two athletes. Jensen was a professional football player and Rowan a professional cheerleader. This book told their love story, but also spotlighted the harsh reality of how cheerleading is viewed in the professional football world. I loved how that was woven into the story and affected the couple.

I loved Rowan. She was a single mother who strove to give her son the best while doing what she loved. If I loved Rowan, I don’t even know how to tell you how I felt about Jensen. That guy was incredible. He made this book. He was a gorgeous sports star with a huge heart. The way he was with both Rowan and her son made me swoon so hard. I couldn’t get over how he dealt with the challenges of dating a single mother. Jensen was all in with them, and it made me so dang happy!

All of the characters in When I Need You shined. It didn’t matter how big or small their part was in the story. They made me want to go back and read books two and three, and also hope there will be more book in this series. This is one of those series I wouldn’t mind if it went on forever because each book can be read as a standalone and doesn’t focus too much on past characters.

When I Need You went above and beyond my expectations for it. I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know how much I would adore it. If you have a soft spot for a sexy sports star falling for a single mother and her son, this is a book you won’t want to miss. It’s such a sexy, sweet story.

Review: Dear Agony by Georgia Cates

Dear Agony
Author: Georgia Cates
Publication Date: March 1, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

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?


In Dear Agony, Rose is plucked from the streets of New Orleans by a woman who wishes to transform her from a homeless performer to an elegant companion. No longer hungry and dirty, Rose learns all she needs to know to survive in the posh world new world she’s entering. She thinks she is prepared for the man she will work for, but Rose wasn’t expecting Bastien Pascal. He’s successful, confident, nice, good looking and a whole lot younger than she expected. Living and spending time with Bastien won’t be hard, but not acting on her attraction to him will be. Rose’s feelings toward Bastien are complicated, and they’ll become even more complicated when Bastien’s secret is exposed.

When I started Dear Agony I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole paid companion story line. My thoughts mirrored Rose’s. I just didn’t think the men the women worked for wouldn’t expect sex. It made me slightly uncomfortable for some reason. The minute I met Bastien, my thoughts changed. His reason behind hiring Rose was not what I was expecting.

I loved everything about Rose and Bastien’s relationship. Their attraction was instant, but the relationship grew over time. Roe and Bastien knew every good and bad thing about each other. They had a lot of battles to fight against each other and together. Their love story was truly a journey. Moments of it reminded me slightly of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. Dear Agony was its own story, but it gave me some of the same feelings at times.

Dear Agony was a beautifully written and emotional story. It brought tears to my eyes. Readers who like emotionally deep romances will love this book.

Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

Dear Aaron
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: June 10, 2017
Publisher: Mariana Zapata
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.
The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.
Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.
What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.


This book made me swoon so dang hard. Normally, I like my characters to instantly have chemistry that leads quickly to sexy times, but I was all about the slow burn romance in Dear Aaron.

The way Mariana Zapata set this story up was amazing. I absolutely loved how Dear Aaron began with a series of letters between Aaron and Ruby. It was easy to see the friendship and camaraderie developing between them. They exchanged so much about their days and themselves with each other. Their silent attraction grew and grew for the first half of the book through those letters and then online chats. I could have read the entire book through their online communication with each other.

Then, Aaron and Ruby’s mode of communication changes. The story switches from letters and chats to Ruby’s point of view. I loved this change. It gave me even more insight into the characters. I wish more of the story would have been done this way. I wanted more of Aaron and Ruby’s story through her eyes. There wasn’t enough of that part for me.

I loved both Ruby and Aaron so much. Aaron because he was what every girl dreams of. He was the perfect combination of strong and sweet. He wasn’t perfect, but his imperfections are what made him special. It also helped that he was hotter than sin. Ruby was that nice, shy girl who doesn’t know how gorgeous she actually is. She had some annoying self-confidence issues, but they made her more real and genuine. These two characters truly brought out the best in each other.

I wasn’t ready to be done with Aaron and Ruby’s story when it ended. Honestly, I could have read another 400+ pages about them. I loved Dear Aaron that much. I have some other books I need to read next, but I really, really want to go devour Mariana Zapata’s backlist right now! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be her new biggest fan.

Review: Atheists Who Kneel and Pray by Tarryn Fisher

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: July 13, 2017
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Yara Phillips is a wandering muse.

She dates men who need her, but always moves on to something new, never staying in one place for very long.

David Lisey is in need of a muse.

A talented musician lacking lyrical inspiration. When he first sees her, he knows he’s found what he’s been looking for.

Yara believes she can give David exactly what he needs to reach his full potential:
A broken heart.

David’s religion is love.

Yara’s religion is heartache.

Neither is willing to surrender, but religion always requires sacrifice.


Here’s the thing about reading a book by Tarryn Fisher: You never know what you’re going to get. No two of her books are ever the same. Her writing is always evolving and so are the ways she touches her readers.

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray is a romance. It’s probably the softest book Tarryn Fisher has written to date. By softest, I mean most romantic because this book has its edges. There is still pain and suffering, and there are still twists you might not see coming. I don’t want anyone to think Tarryn’s gone completely soft.

I can’t even begin to explain to you how I felt about this book. I was completely addicted to it from the very beginning until the very end. Atheists Who Kneel and Pray made me feel so many different emotions. I loved every moment I spent with it.

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Eye Candy
Series: Real Love, #1
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jacqueline: As an adult woman–and the vice president of a marketing firm–I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.


I love Jessica Lemmon’s writing and books. She’s a go-to author for me when it comes to contemporary romances. I always look forward to her new releases. I was especially excited to find out what she had in store with Eye Candy. I loved the premise behind this book. Co-workers and friends to more? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, Eye Candy didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the sparks between Jackie and Vince or that I didn’t like them. I thought they were both fun characters who fit perfectly together. I absolutely loved Jackie and Vince together. What bothered me was the way they got together. I was all about the initial push Vince had for making Jackie ask the hot runner out, but once that part was over I didn’t like his “coaching”. It cheapened their experiences together for me. I also didn’t love the big problem in their relationship. Part of it felt like it fit their histories and part of it seemed kind of out there.

I hate sounding negative because I did have fun reading Eye Candy. It’s still a book I would recommend to contemporary romance fans. I’m planning on reading the next book in the series, Arm Candy. Personally, I just wish I would have fallen more in love with Jackie and Vince’s story.

Cover Reveal: Hard Wood by Lauren Blakely

HARD WOOD is coming October 23, 2017! A standalone romance told from the male Point-of-View, HARD WOOD is the final hot and hilarious book in the Big Rock series. Pre-order your copy today! Kindle users—stay tuned for the preorder right before release! And don’t miss the hot, new cover below!

Cover Design by Helen Williams with Photography by Wander Aguiar Photography

About HARD WOOD:

Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.

That’s why I’m quite a catch— good, hard, loaded, and wait for it…I’m ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with is precisely the one I need to stay far away from.

After that fantastic night with Mia Summers, I’m ready to give her many more. But there’s a hitch in my plans — she just hired my company. If there’s one thing I’m committed to, it’s running a squeaky clean adventure tour business. One of the iron-clad rules?

Don’t screw your customers.

I can follow my own guidelines. After all, it’s only a week-long trip with Mia and her employees over the trails and down the hills I guide them on. I can obey the rules—even if it’s hard in the woods.

I’m about to give myself a badge of honor when the storm of the century hits, sending everyone else running for cover, but us—my biggest temptation and me, alone for a long weekend. You don’t screw the client, especially when you’re already in love with her . . .

But what’s a guy to do when she’s so hard to resist?

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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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 September, she’ll release MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY, a standalone sports romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Ready to Run
Series: I Do, I Don’t, #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


Jordan Carpenter has spent her entire adult life running from her small town roots only to end up smack in the middle of another small town. She wants nothing more than to get back to her life in New York, but first she has to talk firefighter Luke Hollow into starring in her new reality TV show.

It should be easy, but Luke isn’t who Jordan imagined him to be. He’s not easily swayed by reality or fame. He’s actually a decent guy who has no interest in reliving his three failed attempts at getting married on TV. There’s more to his story than Jordan expected, and getting to know Luke has Jordan reconsidering her city girl ways.

Once again, Lauren Layne has proved to me why she’s one of my favorite contemporary romance writers. Ready to Run was a delight to read. This romantic comedy was a fresh take on the whole bride/wedding genre. It really was a combination of The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride, but it didn’t feel like a copy of those two. Ready to Run was a story of its own. I loved very minute of it!

Jordan and Luke were such fun characters. They had an amazing love-hate relationship going on. Jordan was sassy and head strung. She knew what she wanted and had no problems going for it — until she got to know Luke. Luke was a total surprise to Jordan. He had the looks she was expecting, but his story wasn’t what it seemed. He resented Jordan invading his life, but he couldn’t stay away from her. They had some serious sparks and it made this romance exciting.

Ready to Run wouldn’t have been quite as entertaining as it was if it wasn’t for Luke’s amazing small town friends and Jordan’s big city sidekick. All of the people in Luke’s town had big personalities. They weren’t over the top, but perfect to showcase the tight-knit community Luke lived in. Jordan’s co-worker and bestie Simon added to the fun with pushing and prodding of her. Everyone was just so much fun!

Obviously, I had a fantastic time reading Ready to Run. It was exactly what I love in a contemporary romance, and it started out the I Do, I Don’t series in the best way possible. Bravo, Lauren Layne! I can’t wait to read the next book!

WWW Wednesday: July 19, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

The Iron Tiara
Dear Agony
Atheists Who Kneel and Pray
I Hate Adam Connor

Click on the book title to be read my review.


Currently Reading

I’m still listening to the third book in the After series. I’m hoping my request for the e-book comes in soon because the audio version is 24 hours long.

I’m also reading For Forester (For You, #2)


Reading Next

Next up is When I Need You (Need You, #4).


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂