Review: Take Me Back by Meghan March

Take Me Back
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Publication Date: March 20, 2017
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

We fell in love on a beach, got married in paradise, and I carried her off into the sunset. It should have been perfect, but saying “I do” doesn’t guarantee a happily-ever-after.

Two years later, I barely recognize either of us behind the walls we’ve built.

It’s time to bring it full circle. Back to a tropical paradise. Back to find out if we can still make this work.

I’m not willing to give her up, but to save us, I have to risk everything.

Two damaged people.

Countless secrets.

The fight of our lives.

We might be broken, but we’re not done.


This winter I’ve been binge listening to Meghan March’s books. I love her writing style and the voices she gives her characters. I also love the narrators she uses for her audiobooks. Listening to them is such a joy.

That being said, most of the books I’ve read of March’s have been contemporary romances. Usually there is a little mystery involved, but it’s not one that’s super suspenseful. That’s one way Take Me Back differs from the previous books I’ve read. It had me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book! I was surprised by how much I liked that. Normally, I’m not a big fan of romantic suspense plots, but it really worked in this book. I loved the entire plot!

Another way Take Me Back was different was the type of relationship featured. Cat and Dane were an established married couple. Their relationship had started to fall apart of the past year, and they were embarking on a vacation to try and salvage what was left of it. This was another good surprise. I liked how they each had things they needed to tell the other, and how they both wanted to make things work. It was refreshing to read about them both putting in the effort to make their marriage better.

These two difference made Take Me Back standout — not only among Meghan March’s many titles, but among contemporary romantic suspense novels. I loved listening to this book and I think other will really enjoy it, too.

Mini Reviews: God-Shaped Hole, The Art of Running in Heels, & Beneath the Truth

God-Shaped Hole
Author: Tiffanie De Bartolo
Publication Date: May 1, 2002
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If your intentions are pure
I am seeking a friend
For the end of the world

When Beatrice Jordan meets the unpredictable Jacob Grace, the two wild souls become instant allies. Together they discover an escape in each other’s creativity and insecurities, while running from secrets they cannot seem to shake – or a fate that could throw them to the ground…

Review:

Huh… I’m not really sure what to say about God-Shaped Hole. I had a hard time deciding if I loved or hated it. I’m leaning heavily toward loved. It was so…odd. Well, not really. It just made me feel odd. The characters were kind of off-putting but somehow endearing. I can’t even explain it. It’s definitely one of those books that left me thinking after I finished it. I imagine I felt somewhat like Beatrice did in the end.

If you’re curious about this book and thinking of reading it, the writing is really good. It reminds me of a “lighter” Tarryn Fisher book. That’s high praise from me.


The Art of Running in Heels

Series: Chinooks Hockey Team
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Running in five-inch stilettos is an art form

Leaving your fiancé at the altar on live television is a disaster. Lexie Kowalsky thought she was ready to get married in front of millions of people, but at the last minute she fled the set of television’s hottest reality show, Gettin’ Hitched. Wearing a poofy white dress and a pair of five-inch sparkly shoes, Lexie hopped a float plane for Sandspit, Canada. She figured no one would find her there. But she was wrong.

Sharing her flight was the Seattle Chinooks biggest star, Sean Knox. Lexie wasn’t just a reality-show runaway, she was his pain in the butt coach’s daughter. She was chaos and temptation and definitely off limits, but getting her luscious body out of that wedding gown, he couldn’t resist getting her in his bed for one amazing night.

Then a photo of Sean and Lexi breaks the internet—and suddenly they’re both swept up in a crazy plan to spin the whole story. But you can’t run from love—

Review:

It’s been years since Rachel Gibson released a Chinooks Hockey Team novel, and I had forgotten just how much I loved this series! I was really impressed with how it moved into present day. It incorporated some of my favorite characters along with awesome new ones. I loved Lexi and Sean’s romance. The reality T.V. show and hockey aspects of this story were so much fun! I laughed so many times at all of the crazy things that happened. If you’re a fan of the this series, you’ll love returning to it. If you haven’t read Rachel Gibson before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

P.S. I feel like I need to point out that this book is written in third person. Normally, that’s not my favorite style of writing, but Rachel Gibson makes it work. I didn’t even notice it! That shows what a great writer she is.


Beneath the Truth
Series: Beneath, #7
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Sebastian York, Andi Arndt
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Meghan March
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From author Meghan March comes the final sexy stand-alone set in the Beneath world of New Orleans.

I used to believe there were lines in life you don’t cross. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Until I learned people don’t always practice what they preach. I turned in my badge and gun and walked away from everything. Then I got the call no one wants, and I’m back in New Orleans. What I don’t expect is for her to be here, too. Another line you don’t cross? Don’t touch your best friend’s little sister. She’s always been off-limits. Too bad I don’t follow the rules anymore.

Review:

Beneath the Truth carried on the Beneath series tradition by keeping things a little suspenseful, a lot sexy, and wonderfully narrated. I liked getting to know Rhett Hennessy better. Ariel was the perfect match for him. I loved that she was his best friend’s younger sister. That was cute. The romantic suspense part of this book was done well, and parts of it shocked me. Overall, this was another fun addition and great ending to the series.

Review: Jock Row by Sara Ney

 

Scarlett is always the sensible one: The sober driver. The planner. The one holding your hair back while you’re worshiping the porcelain gods.

Week-after-week, she visits Jock Row with her friends—the universities hottest party scene and breeding ground for student athletes. And if keeping her friends out of trouble, and guys out of their pants, was a sport, she’d be the star athlete.

Being a well known jock-blocker gets her noticed for all the wrong reasons; just like that, she’s banned from Jock Row. NO GUY WANTS A GIRL AROUND WHO KEEPS THEIR JOCK FRIENDS FROM GETTING LAID.

“Rowdy” Wade is the hot shot short-stop for the university’s baseball team—and the unlucky bastard who drew the short straw: keep little Miss Goody Two-Shoes out of the Baseball House.

But week-after-week Scarlett returns, determined to get inside.

PURCHASE LINKS:

ADD TO GOODREADS

REVIEW:

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

Oh my goodness! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored Jock Row! I was expecting it to have a similar vibe as the How to Date a Douchebag series. It was in the way of hot, cocky college athletes and smart women, but it was also different. Jock Row was more of a sweet, almost slow burn romance. Scarlett and Rowdy took their time getting to know each other, and the result was utterly swoon worthy.

Scarlett was this smart, feisty girl. She wasn’t into landing a sports star. She was all about keeping her friends safe. Rowdy may have been helping his teammates — no matter how stupid he thought they were being– but he wasn’t into girls who wanted nothing but his status and possible pay check. He was a good guy with ambitions beyond hooking up. Both were good, strong characters who knew what they wanted in life.

That’s why Rowdy and Scarlett were so perfect for each other. Neither of them were actively looking for someone else. They were confident in their own skin. They had already figured themselves out, and that made it even more exciting to experience them figuring each other out. I loved how they got to know each other. I also loved how there wasn’t much drama to their relationship. That made this an incredibly fun read.  Scarlett and Rowdy were so stinkin’ cute together. Seriously. They made me smile so dang much!

Another thing I adored about this book were the side characters. All of the baseball players I met were exactly what I expected (Rowdy excluded). They brought the feel I loved from the How to Date a Douchebag series. My favorite side characters, though, were Rowdy’s parents. His mom was especially cool. I could have read more of her interactions with Rowdy and Scarlett.

Jock Row was everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in a college sports romance. It was sweet, a little sexy, and amusing. I couldn’t get enough of Scarlett and Rowdy. This is my new favorite Sara Ney book. I’m so sad I’m done reading it, but I am so excited to see what’s to come in the Jock Hard series.

EXCERPT:

Jesus Christ, she has a dimple in her damn cheek.

I’m a sucker for those.

She shoots me a tentative smile, ass parked on the stoop, back propped against the wooden siding of the house.

It’s obvious that she’s blushing by the way she ducks her head, glancing down at the floor, the soft glow from the two busted lamps illuminate the crown of her head.

The porch lights are busted and rusty, needing their bulbs changed, one flickering—the other just about to burn out. It makes the entire place look like a goddamn Halloween fun-house, casting a weird glow on the girl’s smooth, pale skin.

And her pretty dimple.

Stop staring at it, dipshit.

I cast my glance at her outfit, doing my best to analyze her under the dim lights; she must have been sweaty inside the house; I got a good look at her before convincing her to follow me, but still study her as if seeing her for the first time.

Both of her boots are tucked under her legs, and she sits, cross-legged on the ground. Blows out a frustrated puff of air that translates into a billowing stream of steam.

“So.” She wraps her puffed sleeved arms around her knees, hugging them tight. Shivers. “Now what?”

Her prim ponytail is jaunty, bobbing when she tilts her head to gaze over at me.

“Now I babysit you.”

“Lovely. We can bond.”

I position my large body against the railing, giving it a gentle shake to make sure it’s sturdy before supporting all my weight on it. It’s solid and secure and is going to get real uncomfortable real fucking fast if I have to stand here all night.

The girl raises her brows at me. They appear black in this light; full and arched expertly. “Have you babysat anyone before?”

“No one I managed to keep alive,” I joke. “A few cousins my parents forced me to watch a few times; never would feed them but would occasionally throw out a dog bone so they wouldn’t get hungry.”

She smiles, dimple denting the smooth right side of her face. “Is that what you have planned for me?”

I raise my empty hands. “I’m fresh out of Scooby snacks. Guess we’ll both have to starve.”

“Sorry you have to sit out here.”

“Really?” I sound hopeful. “No one is forcing you to sit out here.”

Her light laugh is quiet. “Fine. I guess I’m not that sorry.” She bites down on her lower lip. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying your discomfort—just a little bit.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

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Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

The first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.


Love and Other Words is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. If I had to pick a favorite right at this moment, this book would be it. Hands down.

I cannot even begin to describe how good this book was. From the moment I started listening to it, I knew I was going to be in for an emotionally bumpy ride. Macy was filled with so much angst. I wanted to know so badly why she was the way she was. I couldn’t understand it. Elliot seemed so amazingly awesome. Knowing where Macy and Elliot were now in their lives made experiencing their past even more excruciating. They were so dang perfect for each other that it was hard to imagine where things got off track for them. I had my predictions, but I couldn’t have guessed how their falling apart went down. The path to those revolutions was so engrossing. I didn’t want to stop listening. I was frustrated that I didn’t have the time to listen to the audiobook straight through. When I finally learned the entire truth behind Macy and Elliot’s past, I was even more devastated for them than I had been before.

My heart ached for Macy and Elliot this entire book. It was such a bittersweet story, but it was so good. I loved the way Love and Other Words was written. The past and present were woven together perfectly. The right amount of information was given at the right time. It was utter perfection. I cannot express how beautiful this book was. Go read it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Review: I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills brings you a brand-new heartfelt, sexy contemporary romance with I DARE YOU is LIVE!

Bad Ass Athlete: I dare you to…
Delaney Shaw: Who is this?

The late night text is random, but “Bad Ass Athlete” sure seems to know who she is…

Delaney Shaw.
Good girl.
Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars.
Curious.

His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is.

She knows she shouldn’t, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine’s Day?

One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret’s out.

Maverick Monroe.
Bad boy.
The most talented football player in the country.
Just ask him.

Too bad for him Delaney’s sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak.

But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders.

After the semester ends, will the bad boy land the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep from each other separate them forever?

Review

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

Ilsa Madden-Mills pleasantly surprised me with this one! I was expecting one of her angsty, emotion filled NA books. What I got was more of a romantic comedy. Both styles of story suite her writing.

I Dare You was a fun read. Delaney was that awesome “nerdy” girl everyone loves. She had no clue how cool she actually was, and I liked that. That little bit of insecurity made her character feel more real. Maverick was the cocky, but almost secretly super nice guy. I loved the way he pursued Daleney. He wasn’t too over the top or alpha. I also adored his relationship with his sister. How much he cared about her was not only admirable but cute.

Daleney and Maverick’s relationship was filled with ups and down. I loved that because it felt like when two people are truly trying to figure out who they are together. There were doubts and insecurities, but there was the excitement of new love. One of my favorite things about I Dare You were the text exchanges between Delaney and her badass athlete. They set the pace for this flirty story. It was all so fun and cute.

Fun and cute. I keep using those two words because that’s exactly what I Dare You was. I enjoyed reading it, and I’m very excited to see where this series goes. I have a feeling Jensen’s roommate’s story is going to be just as entertaining as his character was.

Excerpt

Prologue
Freshman year

Delaney

Welcome to Magnolia, Mississippi, where locusts are as big as your hand and iced tea comes with a double helping of sugar.

It’s also home to the best damn annual bonfire party at prestigious Waylon University, which is currently happening right now in the middle of a cotton field.

But…

I shouldn’t even be at this party.

It’s mostly for Greeks and jocks and popular people, yet here I am, a mere freshman, hanging out with my bubbly redheaded roommate, Skye.

“See?” she says as we take in the bonfire. “Isn’t this better than watching cat videos on a Saturday night? What do you want to do first?”

I sigh, feeling nervous. Ever since I moved here from North Carolina, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. Might as well put a crazy college party on that list. “Let’s get a drink.”

She claps and excitedly replies, “Done. Alcohol at two o’clock.” We weave through the crowd, headed in that direction, and eventually we reach the bar, which is really just a long collapsible table someone set up. On top are various bottles of alcohol, and I grab the Fireball to pour shots. I’ve just tossed mine back and set down my cup when a prickling sensation washes over me, giving me goose bumps.

My gaze moves across the crowd, stopping on a tall guy with dark blond hair, broad shoulders, and a cocky smile. Aha. He’s been staring at me, and now that he’s caught, he raises his glass as a half-grin crosses his face.

I blush wildly as I adjust my black cat-eye glasses. I’m not used to such blatant male attention.

Skye—who’s followed the trajectory of my gaze—spits out part of her drink. “Oh my God, do you know who that is?”

“Obviously I should,” I say dryly.

Her mouth flops open. “You really need to get out more.”

My eyes drift back to him but keep moving as if I’m not staring. “So who is Mr. Hottie McParty Pants?”

“If you don’t know him, you don’t deserve to know. But, he’s H-O-T—like Chris Hemsworth hot. I dare you to flirt with him.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me, knowing full well that for some reason, I can’t resist a dare. Normally rather reserved, a dare gives me permission to be someone I’m not.

So does Fireball. I sling back another shot.

“I’ll bring you a donut every day for a week if you flirt with him,” she adds, watching me.

My ears perk up. “The ones with edible glitter?”

She nods, and I toss a quick glance back to him. Our eyes collide again, and a zing of connection fires between us. He has a strong, handsome face and a stance that has masculine written all over it. A smile tips up his full sensuous lips, and—

Two brunettes—twins, no less—approach him, one on either side, and wrap their arms around his waist. He smiles down at them. Oh. Well then.

I turn back to Skye and frown. “Player. Not interested.”

She waves her hands in my face. “He likes you—I saw it on his face.”

I snort. “Probably gas pains. Your dare is not accepted.”

We hear our names being called from the other side of the party and turn to take in the helmet-haired Martha approaching us, which is taking some time due to the fact that she’s wearing stilettos and a slinky halter dress. She carefully picks her way through the crowd, nudging people out of her way—sometimes rudely—as she focuses on us. Great.

“Incoming mean girl,” I mutter under my breath.

Like us, Martha Burrows is a freshman and lives on our floor. Rather full of herself, she announced within a week of meeting us that she’d no longer answer to anything but Muffin, a nickname she’d given herself.

She eyes us both, a look of superiority on her pretty face. “I didn’t know you two were invited to this little shindig. Obviously, I know all the right people, so I’m always invited.” Her gaze zeroes in on my outfit and she rears back. “What on earth are you wearing, Nerd Girl?”

“Clothes.” I stiffen at her name for me as I tug on my fitted Star Wars shirt and the pleated red miniskirt I made from a man’s shirt. My long pale blonde hair is up in curled pigtails, and I went a bit heavy-handed with the shimmery eye shadow and red lipstick. It’s not your typical look for WU—which is anything monogrammed—but I’m learning to ignore the raised eyebrows.

Skye, the peacemaker among us three, clears her throat and nods her head at the guy who’s been staring. “Delaney has an admirer, but she doesn’t know who he is.”

Martha-Muffin follows Skye’s gaze, eyeballing the mystery man over my shoulder. She gives me an exasperated look. “That’s Maverick Monroe, you idiot. He’s the biggest football star in Mississippi and the freshman recruit of the year. Word is, though, girls like you aren’t his type—not at all.” Her hand flicks a stiff honey-colored curl over her shoulder.

My teeth grind together. “Martha, if you think I care what you think about me and whether or not a quasi-famous football player is interested in me, then you are confused.”

Her lips tighten. “It’s Muffin now, and why do you have to use such big words? What does quasi even mean?” is her cutting reply.

Skye’s eyes get as big as saucers, and I assume it’s because Martha-Muffin and I are about to finally have it out. I can’t stand her, and she can’t stand me. We just…clash.

But that isn’t what has Skye in such a titter.

She points over my shoulder, and I get it.

It’s the person standing behind me, the one I can’t see. I feel a nervous sneeze coming on and—thank God—I somehow push it down.

A husky voice reaches my ears. “Quasi means seemingly or supposedly. What she means is I’m probably not a famous football player but rather one that’s been highly touted but is without merit.”

Oh, shit. The voice is rich and smooth with just enough southern drawl to make a girl swoon. He also sounds halfway intelligent.

I turn around slowly. Mr. Tall, Blond, and Football is right in front of me wearing a cocky smile.

How in the hell did he get over here so fast?

You know that moment when everything stops and the next breath you take is the first one of the rest of your life? That’s what it feels like as Maverick Monroe stares at me with his piercing blue eyes.

I glance down and take in the sculpted chest and hard biceps.

I look back up and see a chiseled jawline that’s defined and lined with a slight scruff. I see the thin pink scar that slices through his left eyebrow, and it does nothing to detract from his appeal.

He’s perfection.

He’s air.

Which I desperately need right now, because I can’t breathe.

He smirks, as if reading my mind, and I scramble to pull myself together. Someone calls his name—it’s a girl’s voice, probably one of those twins—but he doesn’t budge.

His eyes rove over my skirt, glasses, and lips. “The question is…do you even know what makes a good football player?”

“Nice hands?”

His lips twitch. “Hardly.”

“A tight end?” I smirk, feeling sassy…which is weird. I don’t know who I am right now, but it’s like my mouth has a life of its own, saying things I normally wouldn’t.

Martha-Muffin chokes on her drink at my remark and Skye watches me with glee, clearly excited that I have the attention of someone who is apparently very important at Waylon.

I put my hand on my hip. “The question is…why do I need to know?”

“You don’t. All you need to know is I’m the best.”

I suck in a little breath at his arrogance.

A guy walks past us and claps him on the shoulder. “Badass game last week, Mav. Rock on.”

“Thanks, man.” Maverick acknowledges the compliment and lifts his chin, his eyes never straying from mine.

“What position do you play?” I ask. “Quarterback?”

He smirks. “Middle linebacker—defense.”

“Sounds fancy.”

He laughs.

Skye, who’s been eavesdropping unabashedly, sighs with a dreamy expression on her face. “His stats are the best in the country.” She clears her throat. “I-I only know that because my brother is a huge fan, I swear.”

“Hi, Maverick,” Martha-Muffin says as she edges closer to him, nudging me out of the way with her sharp shoulders. “Remember me?”

He focuses on her. “No.”

She glowers. “I was in your dorm room with your roommate last week. You said hello to me.”

He shrugs. “A lot of girls come through. I can’t remember them all.”

Oh. My. God. He is arrogant, but I like how he just shut her down.

Martha-Muffin’s face reddens and she mutters something under her breath, flips around, and flounces off. Good riddance.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Skye is drifting away too, giving me a thumbs-up.

Whatever. I am not going to flirt with this guy…am I?

He’s definitely got something about him, something that makes my body buzz. I tilt my chin up, taking in how tall he is. He has to be at least six-four.

His gaze drifts over my face. “You know there’s a legend here at Waylon about our famous bonfire party?”

“Oh?”

He smiles, a flash of white on his handsome face. “Legend says the first person you kiss at the party is the one you’ll never forget. It might be years later, and still their face is the one you dream about.”

“Sounds like hocus-pocus.”

He lifts that mesmerizing left eyebrow. “I like to believe in legends—after all, I am one.”

I smirk. “Probably a game made up by some frat-boy-slash-jock wanting to kiss all the girls.”

He pauses for a moment as if thinking, and then he steps in closer, so close that I can see the varying shades of blue around his pupils. “May I?”

My heart does somersaults.

“May you what?” I ask, my voice low, but I know what he wants. My body is already leaning toward him, wanting it too.

“This.” He kisses me, an almost imperceptible touch as he brushes his full lips against mine. The contact of our mouths is electric, sparks of fire skating along my skin.

As if from a distance, I hear someone calling his name. It’s a female, and she’s pissed.

It’s one of the twins probably.

And I’m jealous.

But, I don’t look. We pull away, and I stare at him as he stares right back. A stillness settles over the party, although I don’t think anything’s actually changed. The music is still playing. People are still talking. Beers are being passed around.

Yet…

We’re connected.

Two stars in the black velvet sky.

Two ships passing in the night.

Oh, fuck, stop the nonsense, I tell myself.

“What was that?” I ask, my voice breathless.

“That’s your first kiss of the bonfire. Now you’ll never forget me.”

And then, before I can think of a reply, he’s gone.

I watch him go back to the twins, frustration coiling inside of me as I exhale.

It would be two years before I kissed him again.

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About the Author


Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Review: 25: Angels and Assists by Mignon Mykel

25: Angels and Assists
Series: Enforcers of San Diego, #3
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: April 29, 2018
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the author of Prescott Family, comes the next installment in the Enforcers of San Diego interconnected series, featuring a widower father who learns: sometimes forever has been in front of you all along…

After growing up in a household without a mother and with a father who could not care less, Mikey Leeds took his world into his own hands. Being drafted into the Ontario Hockey League at seventeen, then the National Hockey League at eighteen, should have been the height of his dreams…but that was only the icing on the cake.

Moving to Canada for hockey was only the beginning of the good life. It also brought him Trina Perri.

Life was good.
Life was perfect.

And it all came crashing down one night in late December.

Year after year, the twenty-second of December brings darkness into Mikey’s life. He can’t catch a break.

This December, he’s taking a page from his own book. He’s going to take back his life, and not let hockey superstitions hold him back.

He has an angel on his side, while another has always been in front of him.
He just needs to see the assist for what it is, and not let her go…

Again.


Mignon Mykel is one of the authors I wish more romance readers knew about. I love her writing. All of her characters have interesting stories that are emotionally deep. I especially love her hockey romances. 25: Angels and Assists is one of my new favorites of hers.

25: Angels and Assists had my emotions on high alert from the beginning. I had no idea Mikey had been through so much! The loss of his wife was so devastating. I hurt for him and what his loss meant — but I loved his new love interest. Molly was his wife’s best friend / his son’s nanny. Even when they weren’t together, they created a special little family. Their relationship started out rocky and was an emotional rollercoaster, but the pay off was worth it! Mikey and Molly were perfect for each other. I loved every minute spent with them.

Another thing I loved in this book, as well as Mykel’s other books, was the attention given to the sport. 25: Angels and Assists had some great professional hockey scenes. I felt like I learned a few things about the sports that I didn’t know before. It’s always fun to learn something new.

If you’re a fan of hockey romances, you really need to check Mignon Mykel’s books! They’re emotionally raw, filled with great characters, and wonderful love stories.

Release Day Review: Six Feet Under by Whitney Barbetti

Six Feet Under
Series: Mad Love Duet, #1
Author: Whitney Barbetti
Publication Date: April 25, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Six wasn’t the hero I needed.

But he was the man I wanted.

And it was my selfish craving, the desire to own him, that would be our undoing.

No one tells you that love is a disease. An infection that tears your heart apart, leaving you half the person you were before. A malady that leaves open wounds. An invisible disorder tracing scars in the places you couldn’t see if you weren’t looking for them.

I was sick, but love didn’t heal me.

Instead, it festered in my marrow, and drove me to unforgivable mistakes.

Six was my first mistake, but he wouldn’t be the last.


I’m not quite sure where to start with this review, so I’m just going to jump right into it. Six Feet Under was painful to read. The angst was so heavy and the content so dark that it affected me physically. I was tight, tense, and agitated while reading it. I was so uncomfortable at times that I thought I might need to put the book down, but the thing was, I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t put it down even though I was miserable. I couldn’t put it down even though I knew there was going to be a next book, that I was going to be left most likely reeling by a cliffhanger. I had to know what was going to happen to Mira with all her issues and Six with his unending compassion.

This book was long. The story is not a simple one. Mira is a drug addict with mental health issues. She lives by the day, her vices helping to ease her pain. Mira’s unapologetic in her abuse of drugs and use of others. She hides her feelings and refuses to acknowledge them. Her decaying lifestyle hits a bump when she meets Six. Six comes striding into her life like a white knight. He isn’t fearful of who Mira is. Her attitude and lifestyle don’t frighten him away. Six is nothing like Mira. He’s strong where she is weak, and yet, he stays. He’s what Mira needs to survive — if her brand of crazy doesn’t push him away first.

Oh, man. I hated Mira. She made me so angry because all I wanted was for her to love and value herself. I wanted her to get help. I wanted her to survive. There were so many things I wanted for that chick, and she refused to give them to me. She refused to give them to Six, and that made me so damn sad. I wanted Six’s love to be the thing that ultimately saved her. For the majority of the book, I had those feelings. Then, something shifted in Mira. I found myself actually rooting for her.

I want to say I loved Six. Maybe I would have if his point of view was included. (I really wish his POV had been included!) Instead, I found myself wondering what the heck he was up to. I felt like there had to be angle with all the stuff he was doing for Mira. I loved what he gave both emotionally and physically to Mira, but did he truly love her? Why? What was so attractive about her? I honestly didn’t get it. Still, I liked him being around. I liked what he did. I wanted to know more about his secrets. Six seemed like a really great guy.I need to know him better.

Mira and Six’s relationship was the definition of complicated. There’s really nothing better to say about it. It had its ups and devastating downs. Just when I thought I was truly getting to know them as a couple, the story ended. That dreaded cliffhanger appeared, and I didn’t know what to do with thoughts about them.

I had to think long and hard before giving Six Feet Under a rating. I hated how this book made me feel, but the story was so…I don’t know. It left me almost speechless. (Which is totally weird because this review is beginning to feel long.) I finished shortly before bedtime, and I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about it. The ending and the preview to the next book in the series wouldn’t let my brain quit. The frustrations I had and the anticipation to know what comes next was on a loop in my head. No matter how I felt about the book or the characters, the inability to let go of Six Feet Under proved to me what a powerful book it was. I planned on giving it 3 stars, but I knew it deserved 4.

It sounds like I don’t have anything positive to say, but there a lot of things I liked about this book. I feel like listing the things I liked will give away stuff I think other readers should experience on their own. I guess I’ll give you three things: Norah, Griffin, and George.

Now, I know you’re wondering after this weird review whether you should read Six Feet Under. I want to immediately respond with yes. The problem is that it’s not that simple. Six Feet Under is a dark read. It’s a romance, but it’s also more than that. It deals with untreated mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s real, raw, and gritty. It’s long and drawn out. There is nothing pretty about it. This isn’t the book you read for a happily ever after. If you can stomach that, then I recommend you pick up Six Feet Under. It’s an experience you won’t be able to stop thinking about — or at least I haven’t been able to.

Review: Scandalous in a Kilt by Ana Durand

Scandalous in a Kilt
Series: Hot Scots, #3
Author: Ana Durand
Publication Date: April 20, 2018
Publisher: Jacobsville Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A free-spirited American. An uptight hot Scot. When passion ignites, no rules can survive the heat.

An office drudge by day, a free spirit by night… For Emery Granger, getting laid off from her job as a computer programmer liberated her from imprisonment in an office cubicle. The problem? She has no career and almost no money. Desperate to forget her quandary for one weekend, she takes off on a spontaneous trip to New Orleans — where the unconventional American collides with a sizzling-hot Scot.

Uptight lawyer by day, steamy seducer by night… After surviving three disastrous failed marriages, Rory MacTaggart has no desire to get entangled in another relationship. But with his two brothers now living in wedded bliss, he’s enduring the well-meaning pestering of his entire family. Rory’s solution? Get himself a trophy wife.

A one-night stand leads to a marriage of convenience, and a culture clash when Emery must adjust to a new life in Scotland and her new husband’s need for rules. When Rory’s ordered life explodes, the reluctant husband may just have met his match in the passionate, adventurous wife he swears he will never love.

Scandalous in a Kilt is the third book in the award-winning, bestselling Hot Scots series of contemporary romances. Catch up with the MacTaggarts in the first two books, Dangerous in a Kilt and Wicked in a Kilt.


Scandalous in a Kilt was my favorite in the Hot Scots series. It was one of those books that’s pure fun. The story is fairly light and very entertaining. Emery and Rory have an immediate, intense sexual attraction. That attraction leads to a one night stand. Both are thrown off by a chemistry that is off the charts. They don’t plan on seeing each other again, but are soon in a contract marriage. Of course, the marriage ends up being more than just a contract. I would like to say it’s not all about Emery and Rory’s intimate endeavors, but it pretty much is. There’s not a ton of depth to the characters, but there’s enough to make the story believable.

Overall, Scandalous in a Kilt was scandalous (like it’s title), and an enjoyable read. It’s one to add to your TBR if you like hot Scots, men with accents, and steamy scenes.

Review: Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Love Songs & Other Lies
Author: Jessica Pennington
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.


Every so often I read a tweet or blog post by someone wanting a young adult novel set in college. Love Songs & Other Lies might just fit the bill for those people. It’s set in two different time periods. The present is the summer after Vee and Cameron’s freshman year in college when they are 19 years old. Vee has been conned into touring with Cameron and the rest of her friends in the band. That wouldn’t be so horrible if Vee and Cameron hadn’t had a rocky break up a couple of years ago. The second is when they’re seniors in high school. That part is the story of how Vee and Cam got together and then fell apart. The mix of these two ages give the book a not quite YA but also not quite NA feeling. It’s actually a really great mix of the two genres.

It’s not very often you get a second chance romance in YA. Normally, there’s several a break up spanning several years before the characters get back together. I like that Vee and Cam didn’t have to wait that long. Both of Vee and Cam’s love stories were good. I liked getting to know how their relationship began, ended, and then began again. I also liked their individual back stories and how it affected their relationship. They were great characters.

I only had one problem with it all. The story started out great. I was instantly drawn into Vee and Cam’s lives. I was invested in their characters within a short period of time — in the present. I liked what was happening in the past, but I got frustrated with how slowly that part unraveled. What it comes down to is that Love Stories & Other Lies didn’t give me what happened in the past quickly enough for me to know why I should want Cam and Vee together. Their original love story was still unfolding — way too slowly and almost boring. I needed to know what the problem was so that I could root for them to get back together.

Once everything was out in the open, I was back to being entranced with the story. I loved the last third of the book. I felt like I was back in my YA summer contemporary happy place. I could forgive the moments of boredom in the middle because everything turned out exactly right. I gave it 4 stars because by the time I finished reading it, I was in love with Love Songs & Other Lies. 

Release Day Review: Cold by Max Monroe

Cold
Series: Stone Cold Fox
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: April 22, 2018
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I wanted a second chance. What I got was a repeat.

She was too beautiful. Too smart. And her emerald green eyes saw too much.

I wanted space—she took it away.
I craved her lips—she gave me her kiss.
I screwed it up—she got smart.

Avoiding me is the right thing to do. I’m messed up, tortured, and probably always will be.
But I still want her.
Her mind. Her body. Her heart.
I want it all.

And this time, I’m in control.
No matter what I have to do, I will make her mine.

Note: Levi and Ivy’s story will continue in Book Three—Fox.

Disclaimer: Pregnant women and people with health conditions should use caution when reading Cold. Early readers complain of dehydration due to the inability to stop reading to rehydrate, occurrences of near heart-stopping angst and fevers stemming from too much sexual tension heat.

Disclaimer for the disclaimer: This is a book, not a ride at an amusement park, and is no actual threat to your health.


O.M.G.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book! Cold surprised me in ways I wasn’t prepared for! The romance between Ivy and Levi was there as expected, but there was an evil lurking in the shadows that I didn’t expect. As I got further into the book, I could see where the story was headed, but not the outcome… I’m so shocked! Max Monroe sure knows how to leave a lady hanging. I need Fox right now because I’m dying to know how this story ends!

People, you need to read this series now. Seriously, it’s a well written, addicting ride. It’s totally different from what I’ve read from Max Monroe before. It’s more serious and suspenseful, but it’s still got their romantic genius behind it. I have loved every minute of reading it, and I think you will, too!

PURCHASE COLD NOW:

Amazon US:  http://bit.ly/Cold_aa
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Cold_uk
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Cold_au
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Cold_ca
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Cold_iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Cold_Kobo
Nook: http://bit.ly/Cold_Nook
GP: http://bit.ly/Cold_GP

STONE COLD FOX TRILOGY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST:  https://goo.gl/tcha9q

FOX (Book #3): Release date May 20th, 2018

PREORDER FOX NOW:

Amazon US:  http://bit.ly/Fox_aa
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Fox_uk
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Fox_au
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Fox_ca
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Fox_iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Fox_Kobo
Nook:  http://bit.ly/Fox_Nook
GP: http://bit.ly/Fox_GP