Review: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

Beauty and the Mustache
Series: Knitting in the City, #5; Winston Brothers, #0.5
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humor

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.

This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the ‘Knitting in the City’ series.


Beauty and the Mustache is pretty much the reason I began reading the Knitting in the City series. I’ve wanted to read this book since I started the Winston Brothers series earlier this year. Since it was a part of another series, I felt like I wanted to read the books in that series in order as well.

So far, Beauty and the Mustache is my favorite book in the Knitting in the City series. There are several reasons for that:

  1. It crosses Knitting in the City and Winston Brothers characters. I love how quirky everyone is, and how well they combined into one story.
  2. I got to hear about those devilish Winston boys growing up straight from one of their own. I loved how Ashley got to experience them as if for the first time.
  3. Mama Winston.
  4. The knitting girls.
  5. Stoic Drew. That guy was the glue that held the Winston family together when they needed it most. He would have done anything for them — especially Ashley.
  6. I finally got to know Ashley and Drew’s story. I knew how in love they were and how perfect for each other they seemed, but I didn’t know how they ended up together. I loved every moment of their journey together!

I’m so happy I got to know Ashley first through her friends’ eyes and now on her own. She was a special character, and her story was so much fun to read.

Review: Behind the Bars by Brittainy C. Cherry

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Behind the Bars, the first beautiful and emotional standalone in the all-new Music Street Series from Brittainy C. Cherry is available NOW!

Behind the Bars Wrap

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.

The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.

Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.

And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.

She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.

Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

When we met again, she was the darkest storm.

review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

When I read the title for Behind the Bars, I thought this book was going to be about a girl falling in love with a criminal. Even after I read the blurb, I still had it in my mind that was what this book was going to be about. Was I ever wrong! Those bars? Let’s just say they have to do with music.

Jasmine may be the school beauty queen, but life isn’t easy for her. With a mom pushing her to become pop music royalty, her life is dictated by all the things it takes to make it big. The only thing Jasmine has for herself is school. While school is Jasmine’s safe haven, it’s Elliot’s nightmare. He lives in fear of constant bullying. The only thing that Elliot has to look forward to is his music.

When Elliot and Jasmine meet outside of school on a New Orleans’ street, music bonds them together. First as friends, and then possibly as more. Just as soon as Jasmine and Elliot are brought together, they’re torn apart. It’s years before they will see each other again. When they do, neither of them is the same.

I absolutely loved how Behind the Bars was built around music. It was a common thread between almost all the characters. Music shaped Jasmine and Elliot’s lives, and it brought them together in many different ways. It was so beautiful…and genius!

I also loved how this book was written in two parts. The first part details how Jasmine and Elliot met in high school, and how their bond formed. It was extremely emotional. I have to admit it upset me at times. I hurt for both Jasmine and Elliot. The second part was Jasmine and Elliot finding each other again. This part was just as emotional, but in a different way. I hurt for them, but it was more in a frustration type of way. I wanted them to hurry and be together!

Jasmine and Elliot were magic together. It totally had to do with their musical connection, and the way they cared so openly and whole heartedly about each other. I feel like I should write more about the characters and their story at this point, but I hate to give anything away. I don’t want to take away the emotional impact of the story from anyone. Sorry.

What I will say is that this story was over before I wanted it to be. I wanted to be in Jasmine and Elliot’s world a lot longer. I loved them together, and I wish I got more time with them that way. So much of the story was them finding their way to each other and to themselves. I wanted to spend more happy time with them!

Once again, Brittainy C. Cherry wrote a book wrought with emotion. I felt so many different things throughout this book. There were moments of happiness, sadness, guilt, frustration, hurt, awe, and love. My feelings were almost on overload. Behind the Bars was such a beautiful book. I highly recommend it.

Excerpt:

By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.

“I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.

“What? How? Why?”

He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”

“What was it?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Eli,” I started.

He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”

I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.

Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”

“I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”

He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.

And there it was.

So small, so tiny, so real.

Love.

It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.

I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.

I knew Elliott Adams was love.

And I was falling into him so fast.
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Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Review: Sleighed It by Max Monroe

Sleighed It
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys, #3.7
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: December 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of TAPPING THE BILLIONAIRE comes a Billionaire Bad Boys Holiday Novella.

Question: What would you do if every holiday you ever spent with your family ended in disaster?

I’ll tell you: you’d cry.

I know, because each and every celebration with my family ends in chaos—and I’ve had more than my share of mental breakdowns because of it.

But I’m done with the tears, the insanity—I refuse to take it anymore.

This Christmas is going to be perfect.

I’ll put Thatch in a fluffing Santa Claus suit and have him tap dance to Jingle Bells, if I have to. I deserve Christmas smiles and that feel-good Christmas high I’ve been missing.

My name is Georgia Brooks, and by Christmas night, my husband, my kids, and my closest friends will be thinking only one fluffing thing…

She Sleighed It.


Max Monroe cannot go wrong with the Billionaire Bad Boys series. Every single book and novella they put out in it is so much fun! I especially loved this holiday novella. It was filled with hilarious antics. Poor Georgia couldn’t catch a break. I was laughing and smiling non-stop reading about her trying to have the “perfect” Christmas.

Sleighed It definitely put me in the holiday spirit. If you’re a fan of the Billionaire Bad Boys series, you won’t want to miss this novella. If you haven’t read the series yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s some of the funniest contemporary romance I’ve read.

Review: Over Us, Over You by Whitney G.

Over Us, Over You
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: December 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Whitney G. comes a falling for my older brother’s best friend romance.

Subject: Delete this message after you read it…

Dear Hayley,

I’m assuming you’re still hungover, so I’ll make this brief.

Last night, you slipped under my sheets (without my permission), and we almost had sex. I got the hell out of the bed once I realized it was you, and I took you home.

That’s the story.

The end.

Period.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, you’re my best friend’s little sister. We will never be anything more. (We can’t be anything more.) Our previous friendship is still unresolved–or “over” in your terms, so I’d prefer if we worked on becoming ‘just friends’ again since you’re in town.

Nonetheless, I’m not a man who leaves questions unanswered–even the drunken ones, so to properly close our inappropriate conversation:

1) Yes, I liked the way your lips felt against mine when you were on top of me.
2) Yes, I do “prefer” rough sex, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t rough with you.
3) No, I had no idea you were still a virgin…

This message never happened,
Corey


I have loved the novellas Whitney G. has released in the past year or so, but I’ve been craving a full length novella from her. I was so happy to hear that was what Over Us, Over You was going to be.

Over Us, Over You was a love story in true Whitney G. fashion. It had her normal sexy humor and witty banter, but it also contained a lot more tenderness than her most recent novellas. Corey and Hayley had a deep back story that was shared throughout the book. Their teenage friendship shaped who they were, and helped showcase their current connection to each other.

Corey was a standard Whitney G. man. He was successful, confident, and not the nicest. Despite his initial cockiness, I found him to be a great guy. He tried to do the right thing for himself, Hayley, and Jonathon.

Hayley was a bit of mess. Well, actually, she was a huge mess. Surprisingly, that didn’t bother me. Everything that was going on in her life led her back to Corey, so I can’t complain about it. I loved their relationship, so Hayley being a disaster at times didn’t matter. What mattered to me was her feelings, and I could feel every one of them through Whitney G.’s talented writing.

What I loved most about Over Us, Over You was that it was a friends to lovers romance. Corey and Hayley had hard times growing up, and the bonds they built during those times were so sweet. The fact that love grew from their shared hardships made this book that much more swoon worthy.

I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoyed reading Over Us, Over You. I know I”m not giving it the review it deserves. It was such a great romance. I want to write over and over that I loved this book. I highly recommend reading it whether you’re a fan of Whitney G. or have never read her books before.

Reviews: A Holiday for the Books & From the Beginning by Mignon Mykel

A Holiday for the Books
Series: Prescott Family, #2.5
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: December 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

This holiday season is not so merry and bright…

San Diego’s favorite hockey family is going home for Christmas—and the last minute change to travel plans is only the beginning of the holiday mess.

Caleb and Sydney Prescott have been the face of happy, but this season has the facade crashing down. What once was perfect, was challenged by the loss of their daughter—and life hasn’t been the same since.

Porter and Asher Prescott have adjusted to life with twins—or so Porter thought. He’s come home one too many times to his wife’s exhaustion, though, and quickly learns that the only thing going well was his wife’s ability to hide things from him.

As for Jonny Prescott…he’s just everyone’s favorite uncle.

Can going home for Christmas be what these hockey boys need? Or will this be the holiday that goes down in the books as worst Christmas ever?

* A Holiday for the Books is meant to be read before From the Beginning. It is not recommended to be read as a standalone.


The blurb starts out by mentioning that not everything is merry and bright with the Prescott family. Man, do I wish I had read the blurb before I jumped into reading A Holiday for the Books! I love Mignon Mykel’s writing so much that I didn’t stop to read the blurb before starting the book, and that made the book shock me a bit. I wasn’t expecting the beginning to be such a downer.

Life was at a hard stage for some of the Prescotts. Caleb and Sidney were still trying to get back on track from the death of little Bri, and it was taking a toll on their relationship. Asher was trying to be the perfect mother to her twins, and Porter was trying to get her to let go a little. Jonny wishes he were in a different place in his life. Noah and Ryleigh are getting their kids together for Christmas while hiding a secret. It was all kind of sad.

Mignon Mykel did an excellent job making the Prescotts’ journeys feel real. It was a little painful for the characters at first, but Christmas (luckily) was a turning point for all of them. Being back in Wisconsin put everything in perspective and I loved how the story ended. Fans of the series will like being back with their favorite hockey family at the holidays.



From the Beginning
Series: Prescott Family, #2.75
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Before the Prescott name became big in the hockey world, there was just Noah Prescott, fighting for a spot on an NHL roster. Never did he imagine a simple note from a shy fan would speed up his world.
Join Noah on his recollection of the years he had with the love of his life—before the NHL contract, before the kids, before going back home.

This is Noah and Ryleigh from the beginning.


From the Beginning was a novella about the Prescott family matriarchs, Noah and Ryleigh. I loved learning how they met and fell in love through Noah’s eyes. He reminisced about all the important moments in their lives. It was so sweet!… And it was a little sad. There were many moments where I found tears in my eyes.

From the Beginning was a very emotional read. I would highly recommend it to readers who love the Prescott Family series.

Review: So Over You by Kate Meader

So Over You
Series: Chicago Rebels, #2
Author: Kate Meader
Publication Date: December 4, 2017
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels….

Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won Olympic silver, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then… let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless.

Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual.

That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice…


Earlier this year, I read the first book in the Chicago Rebels series. I liked Irresistible You, but so much of it was a setting up the Chase family drama for books to come. I felt like Harper and Remy’s relationship took a back seat, and I didn’t connect to them as much as I wanted. I finished that book wondering if Isobel’s story would feel the same way.

It didn’t. Isobel and Vadim’s story felt more like their own. There wasn’t as much family drama, and what there was fit into their lives. It made it easier to connect with them and their love story — which I adored.

Isobel and Vadim had a lot in common. They were both in love with playing hockey, both had previous injuries, and both were strong-willed. The first two things bonded them. The third had the potential to destroy them. Every interaction between them was passionate. I never thought coaching someone in drill could be fiery, but I was wrong. I loved how their shared hockey experiences connected them.

The sisters weren’t quite as involved in this story, but the moments they were together were magic. Instead of bonding, they had moved onto a deeper relationship. They were there for advice and friendship. It wasn’t such a struggle for them anymore. I liked that.

I also liked Vadim’s family dynamic. It was almost as scandalous as the Chase family. His relationship with his sister was so sweet. (Can she grow up and get her own book?)

Overall, So Over You was a fun second chance romance. It moved the Chase family onto a new time in their hockey owning career while spotlighting a special relationship.

Review: Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

Bad Princess
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: November 27, 2017
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.

But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.

Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?


I don’t always read princess stories, but when I do they’re by a trusted author. I had faith that Julianna Keyes could make me fall in love with her bad princess, and she totally did! Bad Princess was delightfully fun.

Princess Brinley wasn’t a horrible person, she was just a young woman who acted on her impulses. Sometimes they were good, most of the time they didn’t work out so well for her. Hence, her nickname Bad Princess. I loved that no matter what, Brinley stood true to who she was.

Prince Finn came across a little stuffy, but there was more hidden beneath his rule following exterior. I was surprised by how much I ended up loving him. All of the moments between Finn and Brinley were special and sweet. I didn’t expect their story to be what it was, and I loved that.

Another thing I loved were all of the side characters. They were all so animated. I could easily imagine them in my heads. The one that ended up shocking me the most was Princess Elle. I didn’t expect her at all. I’m hoping we get a story about her some day.

Bad Princess was a fun, fast-paced read filled with a lot of tenderness and little bit of sexiness. It would be a good starting point for those mature enough to advance from YA to NA royalty.