Reviews: Kings of Rittenhouse & Shameless King by Maya Hughes

Kings of Rittenhouse – A Shameless King Prequel
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #0.5
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Declan and Mak have been at each other’s throats since sophomore year and now it’s time for the party to end all parties for the seniors of Rittenhouse Prep.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Long live the Kings…

Review:

A new college hockey romance? Yes, please. As far as prequels go, this one was epic. It snagged my attention and never let go. It made me pre-order the first full length book in the series, Shameless King. I loved the drama and the introduction to all of the characters. I know I’m in for a fun ride with Mak and Declan. Funny thing, though, I’m almost more interested in finding out what Emmett and Avery’s story is! I have a feeling I’m going to be waiting a few books for that epic saga.


Shameless King
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #1
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Declan McAvoy. Voted Biggest Flirt. Highest goal scorer in Kings of Rittenhouse Prep history.
Everyone’s impressed, well except one person…

After a blow out in high school, Makenna Halstead and I were happy to never have to cross paths again. Except life has a way of knocking you straight in the teeth with a puck when you least expect it. She hasn’t just returned to my life, she crashed into it like a wrecking ball…into my college kingdom, into my class, and smack dab into the seat next to mine. My new lab partner to be exact.

For years we hated each other… I may be King on the ice, but she is the Ice Queen. She has no problem calling me out, doesn’t back down, and her piercing blue eyes have me picturing more than than just my arms wrapped around her.

Now we’re stuck with each other and there’s no getting around that fact that we have to work together. My hockey career hangs in the balance. Problem? Oh, yeah.

I can’t deny it. I want her. More than I ever thought I could want a woman. I’ve got one semester–only four months–to convince her everything she thought about me was wrong.

Will my queen let me prove to her I’m the King she can’t live without?

Only one way to find out…

Review:

With the strong start set up in the prequel, it was easy to jump right into Mak and Declan’s book. It was an incredibly fun and addicting enemies to lovers romance. Their bickering and obvious attraction to each other was so entertaining. Once they took the step toward being something more than frenemies, the story took on a sweet and sexy tone. I liked that. I also liked both of their back stories and the emotion they brought to the story line.

I loved everything about this book except for one thing. Mak and Declan were college seniors. I feel like I missed out on three years of fun with them. I was hoping all the books would be set in the college atmosphere, but I know they won’t be. That makes me sad.

Overall, Shameless King (with its prequel) was a great beginning to what’s shaping up to be a fun new adult series. I’m looking forward to reading more about these kings.

Blog Tour Review: Broken Love Story by Natasha Madison

Samantha:

I had the perfect life; a husband who loved me, and two kids who were my world.

Until someone else answered his phone and my perfect life shattered.

When he died, I was left with answers he couldn’t give me and a box full of lies.

He left me broken.

 

Blake:

I fell in love when I was fifteen, knowing she was the one.

For five years, she was my everything—my every breath, every heartbeat, every thought.

She made me promise to move on, promise to find love again, but I broke those promises because I can’t move on.

 

Two broken souls brought together by tragedy and heartbreak.

Can a broken love story be fixed?

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

Review:

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

I am a fan of Natasha Madison’s writing, but the Love Story series hasn’t been my favorite of hers. I’m not sure exactly why. It’s filled with great characters, interesting plots, and big emotions. There’s just something I haven’t connected with — until now. Broken Love Story was my favorite of the three books.

What was it about Broken Love Story that made it so good? For starters, there was the fact that the first two books set this one up beautifully. Some of the same events occurred as in the first book, but from a completely different perspective. I didn’t feel like I was re-reading the same book. Samantha and Blake’s story felt fresh and new.

Then, there was the way I connected with the characters in Broken Love Story. I felt a deeper connection to Samantha than I did to Hailey. Her anger made more sense to me than the way Hailey reacted, I guess. I also loved how Samantha’s relationship with Blake came about. It felt natural. Blake was a good guy from the start who wanted to help. There wasn’t any real tension or jerky moments. That was refreshing. I liked how supportive he was. Blake had his own troubles in the past, but they didn’t encroach on the present really, and that made his quick fall for Samantha easier to believe. He was ready for a relationship.

All of the supporting characters were very well written. I adored Samantha’s daughters and Blake’s parents. I hated Eric’s family. The way they all interacted was perfect.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars was a shocker near the end. I wasn’t expecting it, and it went a little overboard in my opinion. It was entertaining, though!

Overall, Broken Love Story was a great read. It was an emotional story of healing and fining love again.

Excerpt:

Samantha

Standing in front of the full-length mirror in my room, I smooth down my black skirt. My blond hair is tied up in a ponytail, my cheeks are sunken in more than normal, and the blackness around my eyes indicates I haven’t slept well since this whole thing happened. Since I found out that not only did my husband die, but that he also married someone else.

I sit on the made bed and look down at my wedding band. My thumb of my right hand touches it, and the lone tear that falls out of my eye lands straight on it. “Mommy.” I look back at Lizzie, who is standing in the doorway wearing a black one-piece dress similar to mine with ballerina flats.

My mother-in-law went shopping yesterday and bought us all new outfits for today. “We need to put our best foot forward,” she said as I watched her walk in with the six bags. “We can’t let people talk.”

I turned around and walked out of the room, going upstairs. Shutting myself in my bathroom with my back against the door, I cried quietly, trying to hide my sobs. “We can’t let people talk,” I whispered to myself. The hatred I had begun feeling when I remembered my husband.

Lizzie walks to the side of my bed and sits next to me. “I hate this dress,” she says when I put my hand around her shoulder and bring her to me, kissing her head.

“I know, baby,” I whisper, “but after today, it’s going to be all over.”

“That’s what Grandpa A said.” She mentions the name she calls my father-in-law. Grandpa A because you can’t get better than an A.

“Is everyone ready?” I hear Ethan yell from downstairs. “The limo is picking us up in twenty.”

“Let’s go, baby,” I tell her, getting up and holding her hand while we walk downstairs. My in-laws are both sitting in the kitchen. My mother-in-law in a black skirt and top while my father-in-law has on a black suit. “Where is Daisy?” I ask them.

“Elliot is upstairs changing her. She spilled milk on her dress,” Judy tells me, looking at Lizzie. “You look like such a big girl.” She blinks her tears away.

Elliot comes down the stairs with Daisy on his hip, smiling at me when he walks in. “Okay, you girls go sit in the living room while us grown-ups talk,” my father-in-law says, and the girls both know to leave the room. When he knows they are both out of earshot, he starts. “Today is going to be tough, tough for us all, but we have to stand together. We have to be the family that we are.” I lean against the counter while he talks. “The situation with the other one has been taken care of, and she has been served papers.” I look at him and then at Elliot and Ethan, both of them looking down when our eyes meet. It’s almost as if they feel guilty for meeting this woman. My father-in-law continues, “After all this is done today, we are meeting with the lawyers in person, so we can go over the will, start the paperwork for the insurance, and make sure she doesn’t touch a thing that belongs to him.” I stop listening at this point, turning to look out the window at the backyard.

The swing set that he built in one day to make sure the kids could use it when he left the next day. The patio set he had delivered to us, so I could have somewhere to sit while I watched the girls while he was living with another woman. I shake my head, walking out of the room. I sit on the couch, and the girls come to sit next to me, one on each side. “Today is going to be really hard,” I whisper to them, “but we have to be strong for Daddy.” They both look at me, their eyes exactly like their father’s. “But, if at any time, you need to leave or you need me… I don’t care who is talking to me or who is around; you come and get me.”

“Grandpa A said we had to sit and wait,” Daisy whispers just as Elliot comes into the room and kneels in front of us.

“What is this meeting about?” he asks, smiling at us. The circles around his eyes are just as black as ours. He hasn’t left our house since this happened.

“Mommy said if we need her that we can go to her,” Daisy says, looking at him and then me, “even if Grandpa A said no.”

He leans in, whispering, “You can come to me too, and I’ll make sure that you get Mommy.”

“Okay,” Lizzie and Daisy both whisper at the same time, and then the doorbell rings.

We get up, put our jackets on, and one by one file into the black limo that has come to take us to the funeral home. We arrive before everyone else. “We get an hour with him, and then they will open the door,” Adrian says as Judy grabs her tissue and dabs her eyes.

I look around the funeral home. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, not sure where he is. I haven’t seen him since he kissed me goodbye four days earlier. His last words to me were, “Call you when I can.” That phone call never came.

I follow my in-laws to the big brown door that is closed. “I want to go in before the girls.” Everyone turns to look at me.

“We can keep them in the lobby,” says the lady who greeted us at the door. She told me her name, but I just didn’t listen.

I nod at her as she turns to ask the girls if they want hot chocolate. Daisy’s eyes get big as Lizzie turns to look at me. I nod my head, giving her permission, so she can go with the woman.

The doors open, and I don’t even know what to expect. I’ve never been to a funeral. Never known anyone well enough to pay my last respects. Judy and Adrian walk in first, followed by Ethan, and Elliot waits with me. I step foot into the room, and it’s so cold that I shiver. The smell of flowers hits me right away, making me turn my head. The number of flowers and wreaths shocks me; the whole room is almost full. Some wreaths blocking others. Rows and rows of brown chairs line the room, all facing toward the front of the room. My eyes land on the brown wooden casket at the front of the room. The open half showing you the white satin inside. I walk down the aisle toward him, and then my eyes land on him. Eric. I can’t take another step forward because my knees give out, and I fall. Elliot isn’t fast enough to hold me up, and my knee lands with a thud. But the pain doesn’t matter because nothing could take the place of the pain in my heart. The sound of wailing fills the room as I look up at my dead husband.

I feel arms around me; I feel myself lifted; I feel myself almost floating. He isn’t the Eric who kissed me goodbye; he isn’t the Eric who I made promises to; he isn’t the Eric who made all my dreams come true. This isn’t him.

The man with makeup caked on his face isn’t my Eric. My sobs overtake my body as I look at him, expecting him to open his eyes. Expecting something, anything but this. “I want the casket closed,” I say, my voice soft. “I want it closed.”

“Samantha,” my father-in-law starts, “it’s—”

I shake my head. “I don’t want the kids to see him like that,” I say softly. I know that for me they wouldn’t even consider it, but for the girls, they would move heaven and earth. “They need to remember him alive and smiling, not like that,” I say, pointing at the casket.

“Dad,” Ethan says after me, “I agree.”

“Me too,” Elliot says from beside me. “Close it.”

He just nods at us, then walks to the man standing in the corner. The man looks at him as they have a hushed conversation and then just nods his head. “Do you need some water?” Ethan says to me, and I nod. I don’t bother listening to what else he says; instead, I get up and go to the casket. Standing before the brown box, I look at him, really look at him. You see some bruising under the makeup, and his nose is a little swollen. His hands are folded over his stomach, resting on his black suit. The suit he wore when we got married. Why? I ask him in my own head. Why did you do it? I ask him, hoping I can hear him whisper something to me, whisper anything back. To answer my questions, to give me something; anything to make me understand why he did what he did. Why he left me with so many fucking questions and not one answer.

The man comes over to close the casket. Eric’s face disappears slowly, the shadow filling his face till the casket finally shuts. “I’m sorry for your loss,” the man says, nodding at me. “If at any time you want it open, we can open it back up.” I turn around now, looking at the chairs that will fill up as soon as the people start coming in. Ethan consoles my mother-in-law, and Elliot stands where we were just sitting, his hands in his pockets.

“I’m getting the girls,” I tell them and then walk out with my head held high but my shoulders slumped. Defeated is a word that you use so many times not really understanding what can actually defeat you. I know now, my husband dying, him cheating on me, my kids without a father, my dreams of growing old with him gone. Beaten straight down to my core, straight down to my bones.

I walk over to them as they look up. “Let’s go, girls,” I tell them as they both get up and walk to me. Lizzie takes one hand, Daisy takes the other, and we walk back into the room that holds a piece of our hearts. The room where their father lies, with no answers and no tomorrow.

We stand in that room for four hours while people come up to me and give me their condolences. I nod my head and play the part of the grieving wife. I am the grieving wife, but I’m also the wife whose husband didn’t love her enough to just be with her. The wife who knew her husband was slipping away but couldn’t catch it in time. The wife he said he would love and protect. The wife who stands here between his girls wishing that for one second he suffered horribly. The wife who has to pick up the fucking pieces and lie to her girls about what a great guy he was. The wife who, at the end of the day, just wasn’t good enough.

We listen as people tell us how amazing he was, how much he loved his family, and how much he loved his girls. The whole time, I’m yelling on the inside, ready to stand in the middle of the room, throw my head back, and yell at the top of my lungs. But I don’t do what I want. I don’t tell them what a fraud my husband was. I don’t tell them that it was almost all lies. I don’t tell them that the day he died, they called his other wife and not me. I don’t tell them that I wasn’t the one with him when he died.

I stand here thinking about this other person—his other wife—and wonder how she would handle this. How she would be with my in-laws. Would she just let them control her and do everything for her? Would she want it to be open and weep for him beside the casket instead of standing next to it?

I look around the room at all the people who came to pay their respects, and my eyes find someone I’ve never met before. Someone I’ve never seen before, and our eyes connect. His green eyes stare into mine as I watch him nod to me and turn to walk out. As he walks out of the crowded room, I strain my neck to watch his back. I don’t have long to think because Elliot comes up and whispers, “It’s time.”

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
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Blog Tour Review: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

Sometimes you need to find a boyfriend-for-hire in the most unusual of places…

What do you get when you mix a bad boy with a heart of gold and a smart & sassy heroine with a desperate need for a fake relationship? THE REAL DEAL, a brand new, standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely! Get a copy of your next favorite feel good rom-com now!

✮✮✮THE REAL DEAL is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on GigsForHire since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE!

Amazon Kindle Amazon Paperback Books-a-Million

IndieBound iBooks Kobo B&N Google Play

 

Review:

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

The Real Deal was adorable. I don’t think I’ve read a Lauren Blakely book quite like it before. It had her sassy humor, witty dialog, and amazing characters, but it felt much sweeter. I liked how surprisingly low drama it was.

The fake relationship in The Real Deal stood out from others I’ve read. Theo was hired through a Craigslist ad. He wasn’t someone April already knew. Normally, fake relationships tend to fall in the friends to lovers category and I liked that this one was different. I didn’t feel like I was re-reading a book I’ve already read. (I hate to say it, but that happens sometimes!)

Theo and April were fun characters. Theo was a reformed bad boy with a shady past who was trying to stay afloat. April was a sweet, almost innocent, woman trying to avoid her family’s meddling. Their agreement to pose as boyfriend and girlfriend helped them each reach a certain goal. They wanted to keep their relationship professional, but their attraction to each other took over.

I absolutely adored the getting to know each other part of this book. Theo and April’s real and fake stories of how they met and fell in love were perfect! They made me laugh and smile so much! I couldn’t get enough of how they fed off each other and bonded. It made their falling for each other seem destined and utterly perfect.

Another thing I loved about this book were all the side characters. There were so many of them with the whole family reunion thing going on. It gave the book such a fun, loving feel to have all of these family members play a part in Theo and April’s love story. Plus, they added a ton of entertainment.

Obviously, I couldn’t get enough of this book. It was just so dang sweet and fun to read. It’s the perfect summer romance to escape in. I hope Lauren Blakely will write more books set in the town of Wistful. I would not mind returning to it.


✦The audiobook is narrated by Zachary Webber and Erin Mallon! ✦
✦ Audio ➜ http://blkly.pub/RealDeal-Aud


ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

“This book was yet another true LB masterpiece, romcom meet fake relationship meet romantic af = perfection!

~Elsa Gomes, Bookish Aurora~

“I loved every word on every page of this story. I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling like a dork. If you were to say #JustBecause or #DoYouRemember? I might just melt into a puddle on the floor, because I do remember…sigh. I want more Lauren Blakely, I’m addicted. The line forms here…”

~Rosa Sharon, iScream Books Blog~

“The Real Deal was a sweet, sexy, hilarious, and entertaining standalone romantic comedy, and I absolutely loved it!”

~Julia, The Romance Bibliophile~

Excerpt:

~THEO~

I can be anyone you want.

I can transform into the boss you’re banging, your hot nerdy coworker who’s only a friend, your best friend’s brother you’ve had it bad for since he danced with you at prom way back when, the guy next door everyone adores since he mows your lawn, fixes your car, and repairs the sink. I can also pull off a fireman, a soldier, a cop, a billionaire, a rogue, an athlete, a pirate—yes, some women like to play with buried treasure—and the bad boy who will drive your family bananas.

How would you reach me if you needed me?

It’s not that hard. You just have to know what you’re looking for and plug the right terms into that trusty old search engine. You might even find me the next time you’re hawking a Cuisinart or hunting for a used exercise bike on GigsforHire. There, you’ll discover a menagerie of roles I can take on, characters I can play for you. The assignments rotate depending on the season, the needs, and what’s in demand for weddings, reunions, Christmas parties, barbecues, and any other occasion where you might need a date.

I’m not an escort, a gigolo, or a stripper. This isn’t about fluid exchange. My job is to become your arm candy, and you can pick the flavor you want. I’ve played them all.

And there’s one role that outsells all the others. By far, the most popular part has been the bad boy.

Trust me when I say I wasn’t your average bod boy. I was the goddamn dictionary definition, and this ad was my golden ticket:

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m Your Man

I’m a good-looking 28-year-old ex-con. But I swear the time I got nabbed, it wasn’t my fault. I was framed. I can play anywhere from 19 to 31, depending on if I shave or act like I love Ed Sheeran music. My most valuable possession is a scratched-up motorcycle one year younger than me that’s painted like a snarling leopard. I’m a bartender and work till 2 a.m. at a dive bar. If you’d like to have me as your date for a wedding, reunion, or work soiree, I can pretend you picked me up when my shift ended and I banged you in the bathroom or that we’re in a serious and committed relationship. Your choice.

✮✮✮Reader’s Choice Giveaway!✮✮✮

Everything you need for Date Night except the date:). Find the perfect date in the Real Deal! $100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, $50 gift card to the movie theater of your choice, and $50 gift card to the retailer of your choice. ($200 value)

https://laurenblakely.com/readers-choice-giveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal 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 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional second chance romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

The Accidentals
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul. There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.


Welcome to YA, Sarina Bowen!

Sarina Bowen is one of my most favorite NA/Adult contemporary romance writers. When I learned she was going to be writing her first YA novel, I was really excited. Based on what she’s done in NA/Adult, I could only imagine what type of YA novel she would write. I knew it was going to be amazing, and I was right!

The Accidentals is the story of a teenager who finally gets to meet the father she’s only known through the press after her mother dies. It’s a bittersweet pill for Rachel to swallow. She can’t help but feel guilty over the joy of meeting the man her mother wanted to keep her away from. As Rachel gets to know her father, she meets Jake. Jake is perfect for Rachel, if she doesn’t let her past ruin her present.

I was immediately impressed with The Accidentals. It had me hooked from page one. The story was so emotional. Being in Rachel’s shoes would have been so hard. I can’t imagine having my biggest dream fulfilled while losing the most important person in my life. It would have been devastating, and it was to her. Her sense of guilt and loss radiated off the pages.

The rest of the characters were just as well written as Rachel. Frederick was the perfectly flawed musician. Rachel’s relationship with him developed in a guarded way that I really enjoyed. I also liked how her friendships went through ups and downs. The one with Haze was especially interesting to me.

What was surprising to me was the romance in The Accidentals. It took a backseat to everything else going on in the book. I was expecting the story to revolve more around it, but was glad that it didn’t. I liked Rachel’s romance with Jake, but the relationship with her mother and father were more important. I loved that was the focus.

As far as I’m concerned, Sarina Bowen’s first step into the world of YA was perfection. I absolutely adored The Accidentals. I hope this was just the first of many YA books to come from Bowen.

Audiobook Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient
Series: This Kiss Quotient, #1
Author: Helen Hoang
Narrator: Carly Robins
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…


How can this be Helen Hoang’s début novel? It was a MASTERPIECE!

The Kiss Quotient follows two unique characters as they fall in love. Stella, an econometrician with Aspberger’s, is unlucky in love. She decides to hire an escort, Michael, to teach her how to seduce a man. Stella’s hoping Michael will be able to teach her what she needs to know about sex and relationships, but what Stella doesn’t count on is falling for Michael in the process.

The Kiss Quotient was perfection. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like it. It was the most adorably sweet and subtly sexy romance I’ve ever read. That’s crazy, right? The hero is a male escort. You would think this book would be filthy. It wasn’t, though. It was so tender and moved at a pace that went perfectly with Stella’s character. Michael got Stella in ways no one else did. Stella saw things in Michael he couldn’t see for himself. Their entire relationship was so sweet and made me swoon the entire time I was listening to it. I couldn’t get enough of this book.

There’s so much more to say about this book, but I just can’t put it into words. The Kiss Quotient is my new favorite book of 2018. It was so well written and heart warming. I absolutely loved it! I want everyone to read it. If you want an extra special experience, I recommend listening to it. The narrator did an amazing job bring the characters to life.

Review: Pucked, Pucked Up, & Pucked Over by Helena Hunting

Pucked
Series: Pucked, #1
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: May 3, 2015
Publisher: Helena Hunting
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

Review:

I’m not quite sure what to say about Pucked. It wasn’t quite the writing I’m used to from Helena Hunting. I’m guessing that’s because this book was published years before the ones I’ve read. It wasn’t that the writing was bad. I actually really loved the Violet and Alex’s story line. It was mostly Violet. I’m all for quirky characters. They’re usually really fun, but Violet was quirky in more of an irritating way. It was mostly the choice of words used for her. There were WAY too many beaver and MC references. They were funny the first couple of times, but then just got annoying. Overall, I enjoyed this one, but not as much as I could have. I’m still planning on continuing the series.


Pucked Up
Series: Pucked, #2
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: October 25, 2015
Publisher: Helena Hunting
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Miller “Buck” Butterson has been banging his way through life ever since a puck to the face fixed his messed up front teeth, and he was drafted into the NHL during his first year of college. After five years of deflecting goals on the ice and scoring them with puck bunnies across the Continental US and parts of Canada, Miller is ready for a girlfriend. A real girlfriend of the non-bunny variety. One he takes on dates and doesn’t jump into bed with after five seconds of conversation.

Miller thinks he’s found that woman in his teammate’s sister. Except, unlike Alex Waters, center, team captain and all round nice guy—who happens to be dating his step-sister—Miller’s manwhore reputation is well-earned, and not blown out of proportion by the media. Beyond that minor detail, Miller doesn’t know the first thing about having a girlfriend. But he’s determined to make it happen.

What he doesn’t take into account is the amount of time and effort relationships require, or that constantly letting bunnies take selfies with him to post all over social media isn’t going to win him any points in the boyfriend department. Miller learns—not so quickly—that if he wants to make Sunshine “Sunny” Waters fall for him, he going to have to do a whole lot more than show her his stick skills in the bedroom.

Review:

The words used in Pucked Up were way less annoying than Pucked, but the characters drove me nuts in this one. Miller and Sunny’s story just didn’t work for me. Miller made some dumb decisions and mistakes. I know he had some learning disabilities, but that wasn’t an excuse for putting himself in the positions he did. Sunny, for being as “sweet and innocent” as she was, played way too many games for my liking. I understood her jealousy and her resistance to trusting him, but that whole aspect of the story was dragged out too much for me. In the end, I didn’t truly believe she loved Miller. Pucked Up was just an okay read for me. I’m still continuing the series, and I’m looking forward to Lucy and Randy’s book!


Pucked Over
Series: Pucked, #3
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: January 22, 2016
Publisher: Helena Hunting
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Lily LeBlanc isn’t versed in the art of casual sex, but after seven years in an on-again, off-again relationship, she’s definitely willing to give it a shot. And who better to try it with than her best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend? What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all.

NHL player, Randy Ballistic, lives up to his last name on the ice and in the bedroom. His best friend and teammate has recently given up the puck bunnies and traded them in for a real girlfriend. And she just happens to have a seriously feisty, extra-hot best friend on the rebound. Randy’s more than happy to be Lily’s spring board back into the dating scene.

Casual sex is only casual until those pesky things called emotions get involved. Once that happens, someone’s bound to gets pucked over.

Review:

This series is getting better as it goes along. Pucked Over was less kooky than the first two books. The characters and their dilemmas  were more realistic. I wasn’t much of a fan of Lily or Randy in the first couple of books, but I loved them in this one. They were a really cute couple. I also found Violet, Alex, Miller, and Sunshine’s craziness easier to tolerate as side characters. Oh, and I can’t leave out Daisy. It was so much fun to see Alex and Daisy’s mom through someone else’s eye who had known them forever. I loved reading Pucked Over. It’s made me excited to continue this series!

Review: Disgrace by Brittainy C. Cherry

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Disgrace, an all-new romantic and emotional standalone from Brittainy C. Cherry is available NOW!

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Synopsis:

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After fifteen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too closed-off for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me.

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch…

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

DISGRACE_AVAIL NOW KU

Download today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2tyiVaM

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/DisgraceBC

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Review:

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

You know those books that make you feel all the feelings? That’s exactly what Disgrace was. It was a raw and gritty book filled with a surprising amount of hope. Disgrace was a story about so many things: love, trust, betrayal, forgiveness, finding oneself. It was slightly predictable at times, but the emotion infused within Brittainy C. Cherry’s words made it shine. There are very few authors I know of who can inspire such deep emotions with their writing the way she does. Her characters come to life, and I feel what they feel.

Grace and Jackson weren’t characters I immediately loved. To be honest, they frustrated me in two completely different ways. Feeling what the they felt in Disgrace was hard. I lived all of Grace’s moments of doubt and frustration. I lived Jackson’s anger and hurt. The further I got into their story, the more I started to love and respect them. I felt both of their pain and ached for them. Their heartbreaks were mine…so was their relief. Grace and Jackson’s growth throughout the story moved me. I loved how their lives intersected at such an important time. I fell in love with them as they fell in love with each other.

Once again, Brittainy C. Cherry wrote a book that touched my heat. I couldn’t put Disgrace down. I was completely sucked into this book and its characters. If you loved emotionally charged romances, you won’t want to miss Disgrace.

Excerpt:

Jackson

“I’ve read about boys like you in books, ya know,” she whispered, her fingers slowly spinning spirals on my chest.

“Oh, yeah? What did those books teach you about boys like me?”

“Well…” She bit her bottom lip, and with a small inhalation, she whispered, “They taught me to stay away.”

“Then why are you so close?”

She tilted her head up, looking me straight in the eyes. “Because in those stories, the heroine never ever listens.”

“And then there’s trouble?” I asked.

“Yes, and then there’s trouble.”

From the way she said those words, I knew trouble was exactly what she was in search of. We were the classic cliché. She was the good girl next door, I the monster from around the block. We were perfect opposites for the perfect storm, and she was asking me to be her next flaw, her greatest mistake.

And, well, who was I not to live up to her request?

“I could destroy you,” I warned.

“Or save me.”

“Is it worth the risk?”

“Isn’t it always worth the risk?”

The more she touched me, the more I wanted to touch her back. I wrapped my hands around her wrists flipping us around so she was now against the wall with her hands above her head. “I have rules.” I leaned in closer, lightly brushing my lips against her neck. God, she smelled good, like peaches and my next sin. “You can’t break these rules, either.” My tongue rolled from my mouth and circled against her neck before I gently sucked her skin.

She shivered at my touch. “What are they?”

“Rule one,” I whispered, my mouth moving across her collarbone. “You never stay the night.”

“Check.”

“Rule number two,” I said, dropping her left arm to the side. Taking my hand to the bottom of her blouse, I slowly raised it up and massaged her skin. “You never develop feelings.”

“That’s easy enough,” she replied, her breaths uneven as I teased at the top button on her jeans. “I don’t believe in feelings anymore.”

I didn’t know why, but that made me sad for her. I, too, didn’t believe in falling for people, but that was my norm. Grace seemed the type to believe in something bigger than love, so the fact that her belief was completely gone was a bit surprising.

Maybe we had more in common than I thought.

“Rule number three…we don’t talk about my life.”

“Like ever?”

“Never.”

“Okay.”

“And lastly, rule number four…” My mouth brushed against hers, and I slid my tongue slowly across her bottom lip. “If your favorite pair of panties get ripped, don’t expect me to replace them.”

About the Author:

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: Nine by Elizabeth Reyes

Nine
Series: Boyle Heights, #3
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Publisher: Elizabeth Reyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

After years of gravitating to douchebag players with no more to offer than a wildly good time and zero promises, single mom Drew has graduated to dating a real man. He’s the responsible, mature kind—willing and able. To offer her and her daughter a real future.

Then along comes Nine.

More like a ten, is her first thought when introduced to the tatted-up, foul-mouthed, unapologetic player. The guy might’ve been her kryptonite five years ago.

But she has a child to think about now.

With every new encounter she has with Nine, she begins to realize there’s so much more to him than just good looks and his bad boy image. She sees a vulnerability in him she never expected. Worse yet, he’s sending out vibes that whisper of promises he’s never made to any girl before.

Is she willing to trade in Mr. Perfect for someone who’s one impetuous decision away from proving that her first impression may have been heartbreakingly spot on?


After having spent a little bit of time with Nine and Drew in Beast, I was excited to read their book. Nine was everything I was expecting it to be. It was classic Elizabeth Reyes. It had her signature alpha male and strong female with a plot that kept me reading.

Nine was the typical single man who wasn’t looking for commitment…until he met Drew. She was his game changer. He didn’t know how to show her he was willing to change his ways for her, but Nine was going to do everything he could to convince her. I loved what softie he was under his tough exterior.

Drew was a woman whose heart and mind were at war. She thought she knew what she needed and wanted, but Nine threw a wrench in her plans. I loved her relationship with her daughter and her ex. It was so sweet. I also loved how her attraction to Nine questioned her beliefs.

Nine and Drew’s journey to love wasn’t simple. It was filled with real life situations and problems. I really enjoyed how their story unraveled. If you’re a fan of the Boyle Heights series, you’re going to love seeing Nine and Drew give in to their temptations.

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

One Small Thing
Author: Erin Watt
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.


There are so many collaborations in the book world these days. One of my very favorites is Erin Watt: Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick. Their writing together is seamless and outstanding. In One Small Thing they weave romance, emotion, and surprise in the entertaining way they have become known for.

For those who have previously read Erin Watt’s books, I’m sure you’re wondering whether One Small Thing closer to The Royals series or When It’s Real. I would say it’s closer to When It’s Real, but that it does have some elements of The Royals mixed in. It’s a darker, more emotional story. I really liked the journey it took me on.

One Small Thing is the story of a girl just trying to live her life after her older sister’s death. Since the moment her sister died, Beth’s parents have been controlling her every move. Beth’s started doing things against her parents’ wishes in order to reclaim her freedom. When she sneaks out to a party, Beth meets Chase. He’s a bad boy right out of juvie. Beth should stay away from him, but she can’t get past their night at the party together. Their romance would be forbidden, but Chase is the only one who truly sees Beth.

Beth was a great female YA character. The way she approached her problems wasn’t always healthy, but she was willing to stand up for what she believed in. I loved Chase and his willingness to accept fault. He didn’t blame others. He accepted responsibility and tried to move on. Beth’s relationship with Chase wasn’t easy, but it was right. I loved how they helped each other heal and find direction in their lives.

There were a ton of other great characters in this book, too. Most of them weren’t ones I fell in love with, but I appreciated their part in One Small Thing. They helped the plot go in the direction it needed to.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading One Small Thing. It made me feel so many different emotions. I loved how it dealt with forgiveness, grief, understanding and love. It was a unique love story that I feel will resonate strongly with readers.

Audiobook Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat
Series: Creekwood, #2
Author: Becky Albertalli
Narrator: Shannon Purser
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—now a major motion picture, Love, Simon—we follow Simon’s BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.

She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high.

It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.


I might be the only one who feels this way, but I thought Leah on the Offbeat was even better than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I loved Simon, but it took me almost until the end to appreciate it as much as I did.

I was in love with Leah from the beginning. She wasn’t perfect. Leah had some major flaws, but they made her easy to relate to. Her world was changing. Even when she was fighting those changes or making dumb decisions, I could understand why she made the choices she did. Leah was afraid to put herself out there and get hurt or hurt her friends. I loved the reality of those situations. I’ve felt that way so many times in my life.

What struck me most about Leah and this book were the relationships in it. Everything that happened with Leah and her friends reminded me of some of my own school friendships. There’s always drama and ups and downs with friendships in high school. This book did an excellent job portraying friendships and how they evolve. It was my favorite part of the book. Well, besides Leah’s relationship with her mom. I loved that. Leah wasn’t the nicest to her mom, but when are we ever the nicest to the people who love us unconditionally when growing up? It was a good reminder to me that our parents are people, too. I still forget that even as an adult sometimes.

Overall, I adored listening to this book. Becky Albertalli’s writing was as amazing as always. Her characters were complex but easy to love. Shannon Purser brought life to Leah in an unforgettable way with her voice. Leah and the Offbeat is one of my favorite YA audiobooks I’ve read so far this year.