Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Narrator: Eileen Stevens
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.


Hmm…This is going to be a tough review to write. Get ready for a long one.

Dumplin’ started out strongly. I loved Willowdean and her declarations about weight. I imagine anyone who has ever been overweight or self-conscious can relate to many of her thoughts and feelings. But…there were so many things that bothered me.

Willowdean’s negativity about herself and others got to me quickly. Her thoughts made me uncomfortable. Listening to them was rough. Mostly, I hated how she thought about and treated people.

I hated how she discounted Mitch and his feelings. Mitch was a nice guy. He didn’t deserve to be led on by Willowdean. She used him for his companionship, and I think she generally liked him, but she let him think they were more than they were. That made me sad. I don’t get why she didn’t feel a spark for him. I felt like there was a spark between them.

I hated how Willowdean thought about all of her new friends. She looked down on them. I didn’t get why she thought she was so much better than them. They were there for her when she was friendless and supported her. I was happy she learned what great people they were, but her thoughts were hurtful and upset me.

I hated Willowdean and Bo. There were some sweet moments between them, and they were a good couple. I just didn’t like how she thought of herself in relation to Bo. I didn’t understand her embarrassment of being seen with him. I get not liking to be the center of attention, but I figured she was be elated to be seen with someone who was so good-looking. (I only say that due to her low self-confidence and how she talked.) It was like being with Bo made her feel bad about herself, and that’s not healthy. Mitch didn’t have that same effect on her.

Last, I hated the way Willowdean handled everything with Ellen. I completely understood it because I’ve felt the way Willowdean felt at times in my life, but I feel like she should have apologized a whole heck of a lot sooner. Friendship is worth more than how she treated it.

This has been really negative so far, so let me tell you some of the things I loved.

I loved Willowdean’s new friends. They were all good people. They added so much to this story.

I loved Willowdean’s rocky relationship with her mom. I could relate to both Willowdean and her mother. You always want what’s best for your kids — want more for them than you had yourself.

I loved Mitch and all of his wisdom. He was a great human being who deserved more.

I loved Bo’s step-mom. She was a little kooky, but sweet.

I loved the performers and bouncer from the gay bar. Oh, and I can’t leave out Dolly. I loved all the Dolly Parton stuff.

I loved the narrator and the way she voiced Willowdean.

I loved how Elle and Willowdean worked out their friendship.

I loved how everything worked out with the pageant and her mom.

Most of all, I loved the many times Julie Murphy gave incredible thoughts and insight.

Despite all of these great things, reading Dumplin’ made me kind of miserable. Maybe it would have been better to read than listen to it. I don’t know. I felt consumed by Willowdean’s negativity and that was just so hard. I don’t know what else to say about this book. I think it will probably resonate differently for each person who reads it.

Review: Three Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn

“Good Morning Malibu, it’s another beautiful day on the west coast! I’m Noely Clark, your host: and I’m in the market for love…”

When the publicity team of the new local restaurant, Going in Blind, began their search for a hot, local celebrity to promote the wildly popular eatery, they couldn’t have found a better person than me.

Outgoing? Check.
Single? Check.
Open to finding love? Check.

I signed up immediately.

A hopeless romantic with an exceedingly demanding schedule, I’ve found it impossible to find the man of my dreams—so Going in Blind seems too good to be true! That’s until they start setting me up on dates—three very different, very attractive, very distinct blind dates—and only one thing is for certain . . .

I’m in big trouble.

Good Morning Malibu,
I’m Noely Clark, and I have a choice to make.
The question is who will I choose; the suit, the rebel, or the jock

AMAZON | AMAZON PRINT | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA

MY REVIEW

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

Meghan Quinn surprises me with each new book she writes. Her titles are always a little shocking and worrisome, but the way she twists her stories to fit them is phenomenal. I have to remind myself of this every time a new one is released because I get hesitant when I read a title or blurb that has the possibility to make me uncomfortable.

Three Blind Dates had both the blurb and title to scare this romance reader who is not a fan of love triangles (or possible square in this case). I would have passed on the chance to read this book if Meghan Quinn wasn’t the author. I’m so glad I didn’t. Three Blind Dates wasn’t what I expected at all. Yes, the main character Noely goes on three blind dates, but they don’t create the love triangle you’re thinking of. I don’t want to explain things too much because I want you to experience this book yourself. Just know that guys don’t necessarily overlap, and the story is done in a really cool way.

There was so much I loved about Three Blind Dates. Like I said before, it had a format that I really liked. There was Meghan Quinn’s hilarious humor and her crazy, fun characters. It also had a really cool tie in to the movie You’ve Got Mail. I loved how the little references were worked into every aspect of the story.

I do have to admit there were a couple of things that bugged me in Three Blind Dates. They were both near the end of the book. I guess I was just a little shocked by something that occurred at Noely’s work. Then, there was the direction the story went. Things didn’t go as I expected, which was cool, but also surprising. It made me a little unsure of how much I felt about this book at first.

Overall, I enjoyed Three Blind Dates a whole heck of a lot. I loved the blind dates with “The Suit”, “The Rebel”, and “The Jock”. (I may have also been a little partial to one of the male characters, but I refuse to tell you who until you read this book!) I liked how Meghan Quinn spun the story. Most of all, I loved the humor.

Oh! I can’t leave out another thing I loved! Three Blind Dates is actually the FIRST book in a SERIES!!! (If you haven’t read this book, and don’t know who won Noely’s heart, don’t look up the other books! It will ruin the surprise!) I’m so excited to read the rest of the series and find out who steals the other men’s hearts.

I didn’t realize how close I was to the restaurant because I’m ten minutes early. Does that make me seem desperate? No, I chastise myself. It shows that I respect the other person’s time . . . right?

God, dating is the worst. There are so many unspoken rules you have to follow to not look desperate, or to not look like a psycho, or a creep, or horny, or—

“Can I help you, miss?”

Straightening up, I turn toward the hostess stand, which is a beautifully carved piece of wood. Standing behind it is an exotic, tall woman with long black hair, stunning grey eyes, and a massive engagement ring on her hand. Please tell me she got that rock from dating someone in this program.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that happiness for my life is dependent on getting married, but to see a success story in the flesh—particularly for me—would be encouraging.

“Hi, yes, I’m Noely Clark. I have a date at seven tonight with”—I lean forward, feeling silly and whisper—“with WindsorKnot.”

Her smile is kind and reassuring, making me feel a little calmer. “Yes, Miss Clark, I have you here for seven. You’re date hasn’t arrived yet, so can I show you to the bar for a drink while you wait?”

“That would be lovely, thank you.”

With my clutch tucked under my arm, I follow tall, dark, and beautiful to the bar where a very handsome Asian man is standing with a towel draped over his shoulder and a bright grin on his face. He’s wearing a button-up shirt with rolled sleeves, a brown vest covering his chest, which totally channels his inner Justin Timberlake.

“Danny, this is Miss Clark. She has a reservation at seven. Would you be so kind to make her whatever drink she would like?”

“Of course.” He winks at the hostess who presses her warm hand on my arm.

“Enjoy, Miss Clark. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. My name is Veronica, this is Danny, and we will be happy to serve you in any way.” With a parting grin, she moves back to her hostess spot.

Well, she’s nice.

“Miss Clark, please take a seat. What would you like?”

My tight, formfitting red dress makes my hop onto the bar stool a difficult task, but with a pleading prayer to the dress gods and a swift jump, I situate myself, only breaking a minor sweat.

I let out a sigh of relief and place my hands on the bar in front of me, scanning the glitzy bottles of “muscle relaxant.” “Hmm . . . how about a Moscow Mule?”

“Coming right up.” He gets to work and I watch as he magically floats around the bar, pulling the ingredients. “We recently bought new copper mugs, and I’ve been dying to use them.”

“Yeah? Am I the first?”

Winking, he says, “You are.”

If I didn’t know any better, I would say Danny is a bit of a flirt. Either that or he’s super friendly. Or simply made to be a bartender.

From beneath the bar, Danny pulls out a shiny, hammered-copper mug, and I’m instantly taken by the design. So sleek, just like its surroundings. The restaurant, with its white exposed brick, natural wood features, electric colors, and stone tabletops, is sexy, yet inviting. The friendly waitstaff is an absolute bonus. Every table is cornered off in its own spot, never getting too close to the other tables around it, and the mood lighting is on point with dim Edison bulb lights hanging from the ceiling and tabletop candles. I’m feeling the mood.

Despite the welcoming atmosphere, I can’t help but feel nervous, even after my brief exchange with WindsorKnot. There’s something to say about a blind date: the anticipation, the unknown, the knowledge that you’re having dinner with someone to possibly form a romantic relationship. It’s intimidating, but exhilarating all at the same time.

Could this be the last time I ever go on a first date? Will he like me? Will he want to get to know me?

Butterflies float around in my stomach and my cheeks heat as Danny places a napkin in front of me, topped by my drink with a lime slice on the side.

“Here you go, Miss Clark. Please enjoy.”

I smile politely. “Thank you.” When I take a sip, I’m instantly assaulted by the ginger-lime combination. Perfect. “This is fantastic.”

“Good.” Danny winks again and like an old-time bartender, starts drying a tumbler with the towel hanging over his shoulder. Eyeing me for a second, he asks, “A little nervous?”

After taking a sip from my drink, I lick my lips and nod. “Just a little.” I scrunch my nose, squinting ever so slightly. “Is it obvious?”

“Nah, you look pretty chill compared to a lot of blind daters I see come through the door.”

“Oh, I’m sure you see a lot of different reactions to these dates.” I lean forward, the cold wood of the bar cooling my sweaty hands, and whisper, “Any good stories you can tell me?”

Danny chuckles quietly and leans forward himself, taking a look from side to side before answering. “Plenty, but looks like your date just arrived.”

My date just arrived?

The temperature in the room seems to go up a thousand degrees as my body seizes and my shoulders tense. “Oh God, can you see him? Is he hot? What does he look like? Should I turn around? No, I shouldn’t, he would know I was checking him out.” Whispering a little louder, I ask again, “Just tell me, is he cute?”

Danny’s eyes scan over my head and his smile stretches across his face. “That’s for you to judge, not me.” Damn you, Danny.

Oh Christ, I’m not ready.

That’s right, I’m not freaking ready for this.

I get it, I know I said I was ready, that I wanted to do this, that I was all-in, that I wanted to find my soul mate, but now that I’m here, seconds from meeting “the one,” I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw up. Yep, I’m going to throw up. I can feel it rising.

Oh God, I’m going to retch all over him, right on his shoes. I know it. It’s bound to happen.

“Relax, you’re going to have fun,” Danny whispers before he turns to the bottles behind him.

As if the light hairs on my arm can sense it, they stand at attention as the sound of faint footsteps come closer.

Click, click, click. The cement floor leaves zero room for sneaking up on anyone.

Don’t throw up, don’t throw up. Think compliments, think pleasantries, think—

“Hello.”

Smooth molasses drips over my shoulders as the most velvet of voices I’ve ever heard echoes behind me, pulling me away from the death grip on my copper mug and turning me in my seat to face one of the most handsome and polished men I’ve ever seen.

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

Facebook | Follow on Goodreads | Website | Amazon Author Page | Instagram | Follow on BookBub

Release Day Blitz & Review: Three Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn

We’re celebrating the release of THREE BLIND DATES by Meghan Quinn! ONE-CLICK your copy TODAY!
PURCHASE HERE–>
Add it to your TBR–> http://bit.ly/2zY0Zuf
“Good Morning Malibu, it’s another beautiful day on the west coast! I’m Noely Clark, your host: and I’m in the market for love…”

When the publicity team of the new local restaurant, Going in Blind, began their search for a hot, local celebrity to promote the wildly popular eatery, they couldn’t have found a better person than me.

Outgoing? Check.
Single? Check.
Open to finding love? Check.

I signed up immediately.

A hopeless romantic with an exceedingly demanding schedule, I’ve found it impossible to find the man of my dreams—so Going in Blind seems too good to be true! That’s until they start setting me up on dates—three very different, very attractive, very distinct blind dates—and only one thing is for certain . . .

I’m in big trouble.

Good Morning Malibu,
I’m Noely Clark, and I have a choice to make.
The question is who will I choose; the suit, the rebel, or the jock.

MY REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC provided by WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Meghan Quinn surprises me with each new book she writes. Her titles are always a little shocking and worrisome, but the way she twists her stories to fit them is phenomenal. I have to remind myself of this every time a new one is released because I get hesitant when I read a title or blurb that has the possibility to make me uncomfortable.

Three Blind Dates had both the blurb and title to scare this romance reader who is not a fan of love triangles (or possible square in this case). I would have passed on the chance to read this book if Meghan Quinn wasn’t the author. I’m so glad I didn’t. Three Blind Dates wasn’t what I expected at all. Yes, the main character Noely goes on three blind dates, but they don’t create the love triangle you’re thinking of. I don’t want to explain things too much because I want you to experience this book yourself. Just know that guys don’t necessarily overlap, and the story is done in a really cool way.

There was so much I loved about Three Blind Dates. Like I said before, it had a format that I really liked. There was Meghan Quinn’s hilarious humor and her crazy, fun characters. It also had a really cool tie in to the movie You’ve Got Mail. I loved how the little references were worked into every aspect of the story.

I do have to admit there were a couple of things that bugged me in Three Blind Dates. They were both near the end of the book. I guess I was just a little shocked by something that occurred at Noely’s work. Then, there was the direction the story went. Things didn’t go as I expected, which was cool, but also surprising. It made me a little unsure of how much I felt about this book at first.

Overall, I enjoyed Three Blind Dates a whole heck of a lot. I loved the blind dates with “The Suit”, “The Rebel”, and “The Jock”. (I may have also been a little partial to one of the male characters, but I refuse to tell you who until you read this book!) I liked how Meghan Quinn spun the story. Most of all, I loved the humor.

Oh! I can’t leave out another thing I loved! Three Blind Dates is actually the FIRST book in a SERIES!!! (If you haven’t read this book, and don’t know who won Noely’s heart, don’t look up the other books! It will ruin the surprise!) I’m so excited to read the rest of the series and find out who steals the other men’s hearts.

 
EXCERPT:

NOELY

“Just state my name?”

“Yeah. Gives us a quick rundown on who you are, what you do, your interests, and what you’re looking for in a man.”

I nod and clear my throat. Sitting tall, my hands resting in my lap, I speak directly into the camera . . .

“Hi, I’m Noely Clark, and I’m one of your Good Morning, Malibu hosts. As you know, I’m single and in the market for love. As a twenty-seven-year-old woman who has had her fair share of rotten relationships, hookups, and dates, I want to try something new. I want to be thrust into a program where my celebrity status isn’t the first thing someone knows about me, where I can be known for who I am as a person rather than how I’m represented on TV.”

“And who is the person you want to be known for?”

Tilting my head to the side, I purse my lips, thinking of my answer. “Just a regular girl who loves Tom Hanks, would do just about anything adventurous, and would rather be seen eating nachos at a hockey game than enjoying a chardonnay during a classic night at the opera.”

“And what are you looking for in a man?”

Taking a deep breath, I look straight into the camera. “Someone who will cuddle on my couch and watch a classic romcom with me. Someone who will challenge me. Someone who is respectful and courteous to others but also has no qualms about shouting at an official while pounding on the glass at a hockey game. We don’t have to be a perfect match, because when is that really the case? But I want our match to be close with a little bit of wiggle room for some give and take, because what’s love without a little bit of compromise, without being able to adapt to your partner and love what they love? It’s the people in our life who mold us, and I’m far from being molded completely.”

 
About the Author:

Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Will dance for laughs, won’t eat anything spicy because you asked, but will squeeze boobs in replace of a hug. Grew up in Southern California (Temecula, anyone? Anyone?) lived in New York (the armpit of NY, not the city) and now resides in Colorado with my wife, son, two dogs, three cats, and my multiple book boyfriends. Loves love, anything romantic, and will die if I ever meet Tom Hanks. Yay, books!

Find me on Goodreads:
Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/

 

Mini Reviews: Perfect Ten: A Rockstar Romance and Forgetting You, Forgetting Me

Perfect Ten: A Rockstar Romance
Author: Kelley R. Martin
Publication Date: October 1, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Novella

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First comes marriage. Then comes love.

His band’s record went platinum ten times.
I’ve known him for nine hours.
Our wedding ceremony lasted eight minutes.
Last night I must’ve had seven shots.
When our nuptials are accidentally live-streamed, I wake up to six voicemails.
He gave me five toe-curling orgasms.
His tour lasts for another four weeks.
He says he can’t wait to turn us into a family of three.
He’s only in Vegas for two more days.
His name is Tennessee King, and I’m absolutely terrified he might be the one.


I wasn’t immediately drawn into reading Perfect Ten by the blurb. I’m not always big on rockstar romances, but I decided to give it a shot because I am a fan of Kelley R. Martin’s romances. I loved Knockout Love series. I was pleasantly surprised by Perfect Ten. Despite sounding like it might completely revolve around sex, there was a ton of courting and build up. I was amazed at how much considering this was a novella.

Perfect Ten was really cute, kind of sweet, and pretty funny. It was a blast to read. I would recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, fun romance to read.



Forgetting You, Forgetting Me
Series: Memories from Yesterday, #1
Author: Monica James
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

My name is Lucy Tucker, and my life…it was perfect.

I worked the dream job. I had the most incredible family and friends. My home, Whispering Willows, a ranch in Montana, was everything I could ever wish for. My adoring fiancé, Samuel Stone, loved me unconditionally.

I had everything a girl could ever want.

But one fateful event shattered my perfect life. It’s unimaginable how simple, ordinary words can change a person’s life forever. For me those words were, “There’s been an accident.”

I thought Sam was my forever, but that forever came to a close the day Saxon Stone, Sam’s identical twin brother, came back. Saxon returned to Montana to help save Sam, however, the moment he entered my life, he turned my world upside down. But through chaos I somehow found clarity—clarity of who I was meant to be.

As time progressed, as seasons changed, and as a fire began to burn, I soon realized that Saxon was there for another reason…he was there to help save me.


I’m not a big fan of love triangles — especially involving siblings — but this one kind of worked for me. Monica James did an amazing job of making me not care about the love triangle, but about Lucy’s entire journey. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. There was a good amount of angst and emotion throughout it. I did wish the author hadn’t left the end the way she did. I needed a more concrete HEA. I’m guessing that’s not coming until later on in the series.

Review: Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Spider
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: November 13, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s a British rock star.
And my stepbrother.
What can go wrong?

He called himself Spider. I just knew him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate sat next to me on the airplane. I didn’t know who he really was…rock star…my stepbrother.

He kissed me because he thought we’d never see each other again. We would.

Everyone warned me about him.
They said he was ruthless and cold and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.

Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built up a fortress to keep him out.
But I crumbled instead.

Some have said there’s an unbreakable thread that connects those who are destined to meet. If that’s true, then the moment he sat next to me, we were bound together forever.

He just had to figure it out before it’s too late…


I almost didn’t read Spider. I saw “step-brother” in the blurb, and was like no thank you. Then, I reconsidered. I love Ilsa Madden-Mills’ writing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to miss out on one of her books. When I realized Spider was part of the KU program, I went ahead and downloaded it.

I have some mixed feelings about Spider. I liked it for the most part. The whole step-brother thing wasn’t an issue for me. Rose and Spider are newly acquainted step-siblings. They didn’t grow up together. Their attraction preceded their knowledge of their new familial status. I liked their connection and most of the scenarios they ended up in.

My biggest problem was Rose’s age at the beginning. She was only seventeen, not quite an adult. Spider didn’t know this at first, but once he did I felt a little uncomfortable with his attraction to Rose. He wasn’t that much older, but it still kind of bugged me. Luckily, not all of the story was in this age gap.

Another thing I had issues with was Trenton. I’m not going to say what went down, but I was a little disappointed in Rose. It was all resolved well, but still. She was too good of a person for it.

Despite this all sounding negative, I did enjoy reading Spider. The story kept my attention, and I loved the ending. I just wish those couple of things didn’t bug me so much.

Review: The Other Brother by Meghan Quinn

THE OTHER BROTHER by Meghan Quinn is finally here! Check out the excerpt and teasers!

THE OTHER BROTHER
NA Romantic Comedy
Model: David Harris
PREORDER HERE:
SYNOPSIS:
I got the call. The dreaded call every child fears. My dad wasn’t well, and the man who had always been my everything needed me.
There was only one thing to do; pack up and head back to my hometown. I had finally made my dream life in the city with the great job and loving boyfriend. But was there really a choice not to go?
I found a wonderful job, a quaint house to rent, my boyfriend was working on joining me in Binghamton, and my favorite pizza place was only miles away. Life was good.
Until I met my neighbor.
It’s been three years since I’d seen Aaron Walters, and my God is he all kinds of sexy gorgeous. Figures. He was supposed to be my forever, the man I grew old with, but he had different plans. How can a man who ripped my heart apart still trip me up? How can he make me still want him now more than ever?
I’m tempted, I’m drawn toward him, I’m completely and utterly unaware that I’m dating his biological brother.
Now two men own my heart. The question is, which brother will I choose?
REVIEW:
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an unbiased review.

When I first read the title and synopsis of The Other Brother I was a little leery. I am not a big fan of love triangles, and one that included brothers seemed like a big no-no. Then, I reminded myself that Meghan Quinn was the author. If she could make falling in love with a best friend’s ex okay, I was positive she could put the right spin on a brother love triangle.

I loved The Other Brother. There might have been a couple of moments where the Aaron-Amelia-Trey connection made me cringe, but for the most part it wasn’t an issue. The Other Brother was definitely Aaron and Amelia’s second chance at love. They had an undeniable connection and chemistry. I loved how they began and even ended up loving how they found their way back to each other. There story was so sweet.

There was so much to learn about Aaron (Smalls to My Best Friend’s Ex and Twisted Twosome fans). I knew he was a Little Debbie lover, great friend, and all around guy. I had no idea the depths of his past. He had been through so much in his lifetime. The way his family life shaped his relationship with Amelia was heartbreaking. I felt for Aaron and rooted for him to win her back the entire time.

I loved Amelia! I wasn’t sure I would with the whole dating the other brother thing, but she was a stand up person. She was there when her family needed her, and made some really good decisions throughout the book. Amelia was true to her heart and her relationships.

Of course, one of my favorite things about this book was getting to see the gang again. Racer and Tucker brought some amazing humor to the story. I can’t get enough of their friendship. I hope I get to see them again in future books.

As you can tell, there were so many amazing things about The Other Brother. Don’t let the love triangle scare you off. This book is so worth reading!

EXCERPT:

Why? Why does he have to magically appear in my life? Moving back to Binghamton, I thought about the possibility of maybe running into him, but I thought it unlikely, something that would never really happen.

Boy, was I wrong.

What a sick joke life is playing on me.

Aaron Walters, the boy who broke me into pieces is my neighbor.

I can’t fathom the impact I feel already.

Seeing him in hip-hugging jeans and a tight, plain shirt did a number on me. It kept me up all night as memories of what we used to have flooded my mind.

His voice.

His stature.

The way he used to kiss my neck.

The way I felt so protected in his arms.

Too bad his arms couldn’t protect me from his devastating, heart-breaking self.

And hell, he looked good. Too good.

He’s always been tall with handsome features and a chiseled jaw, but now he’s bulked up to the point that I could see his abs flexing under his shirt, the same shirt that stretched over his biceps.

But it wasn’t his muscles or handsome features that once again made my heart ache, it was those eyes. So bright, so blue, so kind, but still so sad. It reminded me of the first day I met him, of the day he stole my heart from every other man on the market.

Broken, unsure, yet yearning for love. It was all there, and like experiencing a moment of déjà vu, I was transported back into a time when I felt invisible, like I could conquer anything with him at my side.

Once again, I was wrong.

About the Author:
Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.
Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
 Find me on Goodreads:
 Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/

Review: Guy Hater by J. Sterling

Today we have the blog tour for GUY HATER by J. Sterling! Check it out and grab your copy today!

Title: GUY HATER
Author: J. Sterling
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Day: October 9th

About Guy Hater

From New York Times Bestseller, J. Sterling, comes a sexy new STANDALONE romance novel.

Frank Fisher is quiet, pensive, and sexy as hell. He’s also stuck in a loveless relationship, bound by a promise he made years ago. It’s one he intends to keep, no matter the cost.

The night Claudia walks into his bar, both his life and his perspective are forever changed. She’s feisty, strong, independent and everything he never knew he needed. She’s also everything he never knew he wanted, and now he’s torn.

Will Frank follow his heart, or will guilt and obligation continue to rule his life? Choices aren’t always easy, especially when you’re a man, and Frank’s indecision may cost him more than he’s willing to lose.

Buy Now

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MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating Guy Hater since I read the first book in the series. I wanted to get to know Nick’s older brothers better. Their owning a trendy bar together and having so many cool things about it made for an amazing setting. I couldn’t wait to be back in that world.

Which makes me a little sad to say I didn’t absolutely love this book. It was a fun, quick read. I had a fun time reading it. There was just one major problem with it for me: a love triangle. Well, not exactly a love triangle, but Frank was already in a long-term relationship. He wasn’t happy, but I still didn’t love the fact that meeting another woman was what sparked him into break up action. I understood Frank’s situation and even could even sympathize with him, but I still didn’t like it. I wished he would have been free and clear before beginning even a friendship with Claudia. He was supposed to be such a good guy, and the way he handled it all didn’t say “good guy” to me.

Claudia was a cool chick. I felt bad for her at the beginning of the book. I could see the let down coming for her, and it made me sad for her. I loved the way she handled the entire thing. Her forgiveness was hers to give, and I like that she didn’t take it lightly. Claudia had a backbone and wanted to do the right thing. I am so happy J. Sterling gave her those characteristics.

Despite Frank being an idiot for half the story, I still loved the connection between Frank and Claudia. They had great chemistry. You could feel their attraction and the way they got each other immediately. The relationship they began to build felt strong and right.

Another thing I really loved the camaraderie between friends and brothers in Guy Hater. Claudia and her roommate had a fun relationship, but they were also there for each other when they really needed it. The same can be said for Frank and his brothers. I loved that they helped talk some sense into him.

Overall, Guy Hater was a good read. I loved being back in the Fisher brothers’ world. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the last brother to find love, Ryan. I know his story is going to be epic.

Giveaway

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About the Author

I got fired from my last job.

It’s true.

I know you’re sitting there thinking, “Jenn, how could anyone in their right mind fire someone like you?” And I’d love to give you a good reason, but the truth is that sometimes being all sorts of awesome isn’t fun for other people. They don’t always tend to like it. lol

So I picked my pride off the floor, bought a laptop and started writing my first book. And you know what I realized? Writing stories that meant something to me was a million times better than working my ass off for someone who didn’t really care about anything other than the bottom line.

My soul has never felt more satisfied.
My heart has never been more full.
I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but I love every second of it. I truly do.
It is SO worth it.
All of it.
Every moment.

The journey it took to get to this point- I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Release Day Review: Bourbon Sins by Meghan Quinn

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On the streets of New Orleans, sins are committed every night.

My name is Jett Colby and I save tarnished souls.

In the downtown, under the glittery lights of Bourbon Street, I found her in cheap lingerie, flaunting her body for callous men and money.

From the lace of her cheap lingerie, to her garter belt, I knew she had to be saved.
She had to be mine.

Broke and destitute with no way of out, she had no choice but to come to me and into my club.

She had no other choice but to become a Jett Girl.

But see, that’s the thing about this city; you might think that under the dazzling lights and illusion of salvation, she’s the one that needed saving.

When the glitter fades and the dirt is washed away, the one worth saving just might be me.

*Formerly known as Becoming a Jett Girl. Add it to your TBR–> http://bit.ly/2foiqfA
My Review

Rating: ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an unbiased review.

If you’ve read my blog in the past year, you know what a big Meghan Quinn fan I am. The lady can do rom-com like no other. She makes me laugh constantly with her wit. I always wonder where she comes up the amazing things she does. I love her books SO much. That is why I decided to sign up to review her erotic rom-com novel Bourbon Sins even though I’m not normally an erotica reader. If this book was as funny as the rest of the ones I had read, the erotica wouldn’t be too much for me.

Bourbon Sins had a hint of the Meghan Quinn writing I have come to love, but the story didn’t hit me right. I didn’t fall in love with the characters and their story the way I wanted to. The only reason I can pin point is that Bourbon Sins felt a little cliché. A billionaire sweeps a down on her luck girl off the streets to better herself. In this version, Goldie has the opportunity to leave her crappy strip club waitress job behind to work at Jett’s super classy strip club where everything is hands off. The only stipulation is that Goldie belongs to Jett now.

The whole scenario didn’t completely work for me. I wasn’t a fan of Jett’s connection to the other Jett girls no matter how superficial it was. I also didn’t like his best friend, Kase, and how he was around Goldie. His involvement felt like a love triangle. Combined with the other Jett girls, it pulled the focus too far from Jett and Goldie for me. I guess I wanted a simpler romance and connection between them.

I don’t mean for this review to sound entirely negative. There were some things I did enjoy about Bourbon Sins. I liked Jett and Goldie’s pasts. I would have liked to get to know the pasts on some of the other characters, too. I also liked the connection between Jett and Goldie. I felt the bond they had. My favorite parts of this book were their moments together when they were getting to know each other. I enjoyed the story more toward the end of the book.Oh! I can’t leave out the humor. Meghan Quinn made me laugh like always.

When it comes down to it, I appreciated that Meghan Quinn brought the rom-com to erotica. Bourbon Sins probably just wasn’t my thing. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a big billionaire erotica fan.

The walls of my club hold many secrets. Depravity. Sin. Justice.

Come in; debauchery can be yours for the cost of a lap dance and a night of pleasure.
And I own every last part of it.
But she’s my weakness, and thankfully she followed me through the insolvent streets of New Orleans, giving me her loyalty and her heart.
My desire for her dominates my every thought, but my broken past could destroy us.
There are people trying to bring me down.
Two malicious men stand in the way of what I want: to own it all.
It’s either Lot 17 or Goldie, my Jett Girl.
I have to make a choice and for once, it won’t be easy.
*Formerly known as Being a Jett Girl. Add it to your TBR–> http://bit.ly/2xhO31t
Under the neon lights of Bourbon, money is everything.
Justice, faith, and power. They’re the key to my empire and she holds them all in the palm of her hand. Falling for her was a mistake; she stole my heart and consumed me. I was addicted, and she left me weak and vulnerable to my enemies.
They’re everywhere.
Now she’s gone, turning to my enemy’s business partner; the man I’ve hated my entire life. She said she’s protecting me. She said it won’t be forever.
But how can I believe her?
Lies, deceit and deception. They’re the sins driving us apart.
In a city that never sleeps—in a place where scandal hides behind every dark corner, my Jett girl might never be mine again.
*Formerly known as Forever a Jett Girl. Add it to your TBR–> http://bit.ly/2wLsFgL

Every choice you make in life comes with a consequence.

I was once on top, I was the professional boxer to be afraid of. I had everything I could possibly hope for. I was happy, satisfied, content . . . until one night.

One off day.

One wrong reaction.

I killed a man. The sound, the blood, the stagnant air, it’s forever imprinted in my mind and now dictates the way I live my life.

Desolate with nothing but my penance to pay, I didn’t expect to have my world flipped upside down when Lyla seductively strutted into my life.

I want her. I need her. I crave her.

But I don’t deserve her.

People like to celebrate the day they were born, I like to celebrate the day my soul died.

This is my story of repentance.

*Formerly known as Repentance. Add it to your TBR–> http://bit.ly/2xtvpTx

About the Author:
Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.
Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
Find me on Goodreads:

 

GRIP REMIX Tour Reviews: Flow and Grip by Kennedy Ryan

Grip Remix Banner.jpeg

“…one of the most engaging and well-written romance books I have read…It’s like nothing you’ve read before. It touches the issues no one talks about in our community. And it’s a MUST-READ.”

LJ Shen, Amazon Bestselling Author

GRIP, Kennedy Ryan’s sexy, emotional Amazon Bestseller,

is available now for only 99¢!

Scroll all the way down for an excerpt and to enter the

$25 Gift Card Giveaway!

GRIP COVER SALE

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

Read GRIP today for only 99¢ or FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US ➜ http://amzn.to/2gsx1mB

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Add to GoodReads ➜ http://bit.ly/2k1T1rL

FLOW, the FREE prequel, MUST BE READ before GRIP!

Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/2lAhSSC

Amazon UK➜ http://amzn.to/2xSpMMS

WATTPAD ➜ http://w.tt/2kUo8Yk

MY REVIEWS

Before I start my review, I must thank Ari @ The New Romantics for encouraging me to read the Grip series. It was her encouragement and love of the series that lead me to sign up for this blog tour. Ari knew I would love Grip, and she was totally right. Okay, now for my reviews…

Please Note: I received Flow and Grip from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

FLOW (Grip, #0.5)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Kennedy Ryan is a phenomenal writer. I’ve never read a novella packed with such depth and emotion as FlowFlow didn’t just feel like an introduction to the characters love story. It felt like a window into Grip and Bristol’s souls. It was really beautiful, and I loved every minute of it.

I do have to warn readers that there is a MAJOR cliffhanger at the end of Flow. It changes everything and would be a killer to be left with if Grip wasn’t yet written. Luckily for us, it has been written and released. Thank goodness because I had to start Grip the moment I finished Flow.

GRIP (Grip, #1)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

If I thought Flow was full of depth and emotion, I had NO IDEA what I was getting into with Grip. Grip was a masterpiece. It was Grip and Bristol’s amazing love story, but it was so much more than that. It was a commentary on today’s social and political atmosphere. It beautifully encompassed so many important issues like racial profiling, interracial relationships, family and forgiveness. It taught me so much while making me feel so much. I can’t begin to explain how much Grip touched me personally.

Grip is not just one of the best romance novels I’ve read in 2017, but one of the best books I’ve ever read. I cannot give it enough praise. I absolutely loved it, and think everyone should read it. I now understand why so many readers are impatiently waiting for its sequel, Still.

STILL, the sexy and emotional final installment of The Grip Series,

releases September 24th!

Preorder STILL Today!

Amazon http://amzn.to/2jAkJNT

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Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2wmWoRR

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Add STILL to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2vBiUWN

GRIP SERIES REMIX SALE

Click here to enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Excerpt

“Neither of us has been in a serious relationship in years.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.” I stand and slide my feet into the Jimmy Choos. “You haven’t exactly been waiting around, have you?”

“Damn right I haven’t been waiting around.” He doesn’t get up, but his firm hold on my wrist stops me from walking away. “I’m not Rhyson.”

I look down at him, frowning my confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Remember when Kai put Rhyson in the friend zone?”
Of course I do. For a long time, my sister-in-law Kai denied the attraction between her and Rhyson.

“Yeah, so?”

“When Kai wasn’t checking for Rhys, I assumed he had to be sleeping with other girls.” Grip shrugs. “I mean, he and Kai were just friends. But, nope. He said he only wanted Kai and didn’t sleep with anyone else.”

“Then you’re right.” I tug at my wrist, but he holds on tight. “You’re definitely not Rhyson.”

“It was months, Bristol. She shut him out for months. Not years.”

“I’m not shutting you out.” I release a tired breath. “I’m living my life, and you’re living yours.”

“Right.” He nods and turns his mouth down at the corners. “So, if you won’t be with me, then I’ll fuck whoever the hell I want. If you have a problem with that, you know what to do about it.”

For a moment, our eyes tangle in the dimness. His words sink into my flesh like briars. Every word out of his mouth only proves that I’m right to get out of here. That I’m right not to give in. If I ever gave him a chance and he fucked around on me . . . I’ve seen what that looks like. It looks like a woman as strong as my mother reduced to pathetic, teary drunkenness.

“It’s none of my business.” I shift my eyes away from him and to the glittering city skyline just beyond the rooftop.

“It’s none of your business until you say it is.”

I force myself to look back.

“Don’t hold your breath, Grip.” I say my next words with deliberation. “I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting around saving it, either.”

He pulls me forward, and I press my hand to the hardness of his chest so I don’t fall into him. My knee supports me, pressed against his on the couch.

“Are you poking me?” One strong hand wraps around the back of my thigh, anger marking his expression. “Do you want to know if it bothers me when you fuck other guys?”

I just stare at him unblinkingly. He presses my leg, urging me forward until I’m fully on the couch, fully on him, one knee on either side of his legs, facing him. Straddling him.

“It makes me want to set the world on fire.” His words come softly, but the truth roars in his eyes. “To think of you with them.”

Find the GRIP Series On Audio!

FLOW ➜ http://bit.ly/FLOWAudiobook

GRIP ➜ http://bit.ly/GRIPAudiobook

Join the GRIP Discussion Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1891983067712410/

Image-1.jpg

Click here to enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Kennedy Ryan

About the Author:

Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.

Connect with Kennedy:

Order Signed GRIP Series Paperbacks:

http://kennedyryanwrites.com/signed-paperbacks/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KennedyRyanAuthor/

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681604768593989/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kennedyryan1/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kennedy-ryan

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2x0qCtC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kennedyrwrites

YouTube: http://bit.ly/2gsAGkp

Website: http://kennedyryanwrites.com

Review: Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken

Fraternize
Series: Player’s Game, #1
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.


I am normally a big fan of Rachel Van Dyken’s new adult novels. I love the heart she brings to them. However, I was not a big fan of Fraternize. It was well written and entertaining, but I had a lot of little problems with it. (Caution – SPOILERS AHEAD).

First, I am a native Washingtonian. I grew up and live about 40 minutes from downtown Seattle and Bellevue. I had a hard time buying into a Bellevue Bucks  AND a Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise. Seattle and Bellevue are a measly ten miles apart. There is no way the area could support another NFL team. Traffic is bad enough as it is. I did appreciate all the Russel Wilson love, though. And I loved how parts of the game of football and grueling practices were included in the book.

Second, I didn’t love the love triangle between Miller, Emerson, and Sanchez. It made me very uncomfortable. Everyone was too close for comfort. Miller and Sanchez were teammates, neighbors and friends. Emerson had a past with Miller that she wasn’t over. Sanchez was overly aggressive in his attempts to woo Emerson, even though he knew Miller had a past with Emerson. Miller and Emerson had been best friends and then more. The had a very intimate emotional connection. I could feel their bond, and I wanted them to be together. That’s not what happened. Emerson ended up with Sanchez.

Third, my biggest problem was I didn’t care for Sanchez. Like I said, he was overly aggressive when it came to Emerson. He had a filthy mouth when it came to his attempts to get her to go out with him, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was disrespectful and made me uncomfortable. I get that underneath it all, he was a nice guy. I just didn’t get that from him until the end.

There were some things I did like about Fraternize. I liked how Emerson wasn’t the standard NFL cheerleader. I loved that she was fit even though she wasn’t a size 0,2, 4, 6, 8…I also loved that she loved food. Emerson’s confidence was cool. Another thing I loved was the ending. The one about Miller. It leads into the next book, and I’m actually really excited to read it. I loved Miller, and I am hopeful Rachel Van Dyken will give him his happy ending.

Honestly, Fraternize was a good book that just wasn’t for me. I’m sure there are going to be lots of people who fall in love with Emerson and Sanchez.