Review: Wrong Turn, Right Direction by Elle Casey

Wrong Turn, Right Direction
Series: The Bourbon Street Boys, #4
Author: Elle Casey
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tamika Cleary takes a wrong turn up a one-way street—and straight into Thibault Delacroix’s leg as he steps into the road. But Mika’s in a hurry, and she certainly doesn’t have time for a guy who can’t even look both ways before crossing, even if he does have a cute face, a body to die for, and the darkest, thickest eyelashes she’s ever seen.

Unfortunately for Mika, fate has other ideas. When she’s threatened by her employer, a Russian mafia boss known as “The Thief”, she’s forced to accept Thibault’s help. As the co-owner of the Bourbon Street Boys security firm, he believes he can keep her safe. But Mika has a whole load of trust issues—and the pushier Thibault is about helping, the more stubbornly she tries to resist.

Mika may have taken a wrong turn the day they met, but will she finally let someone steer her in the right direction?


I love Elle Casey’s writing, but The Bourbon Street Boys series has been a little hit or miss for me. Wrong Turn, Right Direction was in the miss category. I wouldn’t say that it was horrible or that I didn’t enjoy reading it, it was just missing something major.

Wrong Turn, Right Direction started out strong.Tamika is trying to get out from under her horribly corrupt boss and ends up in a medical situation that has her turning the wrong way and into Thibault. Thibault wants to do anything he can to help the beautiful and tentative Tamika get on the right side of the law, but first he has to get her to trust him. Tamika’s background and current situation were very interesting and I wanted to know more about them. They made the plot of this story entertaining. I liked how Tamika’s involvement with her boss worked meshed with the Bourbon Street gang.

Where the story lost me was the romance between Tamika and Thibault. I didn’t feel any sort of connection between them at all. I know Thibault was there for Tamika during the most personal experience of her life, but I didn’t feel an emotional connection made at that moment. Nor did I feel one later on as they got to know each other. Tamika was too reserved and kept too much from Thibault. I didn’t understand how he could fall for someone he knew was constantly hiding something. She was so standoff-ish. Their relationship just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t believe it. That was where this story failed for me. I wanted a stronger relationship for Thibault.

Despite not falling in love with Thibault and Tamika’s relationship, I did enjoy the twists and turns of the story. I also loved seeing the rest of the Bourbon Street gang and hearing what they were up to. So, overall, Wrong Turn, Right Direction was a good read.

Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.


I’ve been wanting to read one of Helena Hunting’s books for a while now. I was excited to find Shacking Up on NetGalley. It sounded like a lot of fun, and it totally was. I loved the witty, sexy banter and all of the hilarious moments between the characters.

Ruby and Bancroft’s relationship started off in a really fun way. It was a slow burn relationship that started with a mistaken kiss and morphed into to pet-sitting. Pet-sitting turned to phone flirtation, and then to full on love. The transitions felt quick, but were spaced out over weeks and then months. The time gaps made what could have felt like insta-love feel real in progression.The first person dual point of views added so much to the reading experience.

When I first opened the book and started reading, I had an “oh no” minute. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Ruby. She had a little bit of a snarky entitlement thing going on. The further I got into that first chapter, the more I realized she wasn’t a rich princess. Ruby was a young woman struggling to prove her father wrong and make it on her own. I loved her tenacity and willingness to make the best out of her situation. I also loved her snarky, but caring personality. She was an incredibly fun character.

So was Bancroft. He had it going for him in every way possible. He had a hot body, a new lucrative career, and a great personality. Bancroft might not have been in the financial mess Ruby was, but he was still trying to find his place in life.

Both Ruby and Bancroft were trying to navigate the changes in their lives, while trying to figure out what their attraction to each other meant. I loved the evolution of their relationship and their characters. The heat between them was palpable. The build up to their crossing the sexual line made the moment it happened so much more intense and sensual. It was off the charts hot.

My only teeny tiny question about this book was Amalie. I felt like her story was left as a lose end. Like there should have been more to it. Ruby commented so much on her best friend’s relationship, that I wanted to know more. I’m guessing that’s another book, though!

Shacking Up is the perfect book for readers who like their dialog, characters and romance super sexy. I loved every minute of this book and can’t wait to read the rest of Hunting’s books.

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame
Series: Love Unexpectedly, #4
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.


As always, Lauren Layne crafted a beautifully written, entertaining story. I liked the way the narration in Walk of Shame was set up. Most of the story was in Georgie’s first person perspective. She had this fun, overly cheerful way of presenting everything. It was a privileged but down to earth perspective. I don’t know how Lauren Layne was able to combine those two things, but she did. Other, smaller parts of the story were told from Andrew’s point of view. Instead of being in first person, his was in third. I liked the way Andrew’s third person contrasted with Georgie’s first.

The love-hate thing Georgie and Andrew had going on was awesome. I loved every minute of their witty banter and comebacks. The progression of their relationship was perfect. It was a sweet slow burn.

Georgie was your typical famous heiress. She didn’t have a day job. She sent most of her time shopping, doing charity work, maintaining her beauty regimen, and partying with friends. Georgie could have easily been shallow, but she wasn’t. She appreciated her life and was constantly examining it. There was a depth to her I wouldn’t have expected. Georgie was always trying to prove herself.

Andrew reminded me a tiny bit of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory without all of the crazy ticks. He was a thinker. Everything was looked at logically, and his decisions were based on fact not feeling. Andrew was smart in everything except people skills. He had no clue what to make of Georgie, and his figuring it all out was so much fun. I would have liked a little more insight into Andrew’s cynicism. I felt there should have been more to it than just his job.

I loved every minute of this cheeky romance. Walk of Shame was ridiculously fun, fresh and exciting. I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one night. Fans of Layne’s Love Unexpectedly series are sure to fall in love with Walk of Shame.

Blog Tour Review: The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

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The Gravity of Us, an all-new gripping and emotional standalone from Brittainy C. Cherry is available now!

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The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

Release Date: April 13th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

My Review:

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

I’m really disappointed in myself. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Brittainy C. Cherry. I should have been devouring her books. I had forgotten just how amazing her writing is. Every word feels special, every sentence bringing something magical to the story.

The Gravity of Us was not what I expected. The blurb was entirely true, but it leaves the plot shrouded in secrecy. I loved that. It made the story, which was somewhat predictable at times, more moving. For that reason, I’m not going to go into the plot much in this review. (Sorry, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.) Just know that I absolutely loved The Gravity of Us. I didn’t want to put the book down, and every moment of it tugged at my emotions.

Like the blurb says, the two main characters aren’t made for each other. Graham is a cold man. He has no room in his heart for love. Lucy is the exact opposite. She’s warm and wild, freely giving her love. I loved the way their personalities and beliefs contrasted each other. When the two are thrown together, sparks ignite and it’s really beautiful.

The Gravity of Us was perfect. The characters were wonderfully flawed, the story was engaging. It respected boundaries that some books wouldn’t, and I really respected and enjoyed that. New adult romance fans will eat this emotional story up. I did.

Excerpt:

Lucy

We didn’t know how to act with one another after our first kiss. Our situation wasn’t the norm when it came to building a relationship. We did everything backward. I fell in love with a boy before our first kiss, and he fell for a girl who he wasn’t allowed to have. Our connection, our heartbeats, matched one another in our fairytale world, but in reality, society deemed us as an awful accident.

Maybe we were an accident—a mistake.

Maybe we were never supposed to cross each other’s paths.

Maybe he was only meant to be a lesson in life and not a permanent mark.

But still, the way he kissed me…

Our kiss was as if heaven and hell collided together, and each choice was right and wrong at the same exact time. We kissed as if we were making a mistake and the best decision all at once. His lips made me float higher, yet somehow descend. His breaths somehow made my heart beat faster as it came to a complete halt.

Our love was everything good and bad wrapped in one kiss.

A part of me knew I should’ve regretted it, but the way his lips warmed up the cold shadows of my soul…the way he left his mark on me…

I’d never regret finding him, holding him, even if we only had those few seconds as one.

He’d always be worth those tiny seconds we shared.

He’d always be worth that soul-connecting feeling we created when our lips touched.

He’d always be the one I spent my nights dreaming of being near.

He’d always be worth it to me.

Sometimes when your heart wanted a full-length novel, the world only gave you a novella, and sometimes when you wanted forever you only had those few seconds of now.

And all I could do, all anyone could ever do, was make each moment count.

After we went home that night, we didn’t talk about it at all. Not the following week, either. I focused on Talon. Graham worked on his novel. I believed both of us were waiting for the right time to come up for us to speak about it, but that was the tricky thing about timing: it was never right.

Sometimes you just had to leap and hope you didn’t fall.

TGOU-AN

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

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Review: I See You by Ginger Scott

I See You
Anthology: Love Happens
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date: April 24, 2017
Note: I received an ARC of this short story from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this must-have short-story collection, Melanie Moreland introduces us to Ethan Thomas in When Love Blooms. Melanie Harlow shares her novel, Some Kind of Love. Molly McLain and Rhonda James share Luke and Mia’s no strings weekend that could lead to love. Claudia Burgoa visits New York City in How We Met. Leap with Dylan Allen to London where we meet Cara’s dream man. Emery Jacobs revisits the Beautiful Torture Duet. Go on vacation with the beloved characters of the Unspoken Series by Gabbie Duran. I See You is based on secondary characters in Ginger Scott’s How We Deal With Gravity. Fall in love with Jeanne McDonald’s Shadow Kingsley in All Of Me. Lisa Kamps takes us to the ice arena with First Shot At Love (A Baltimore Banners Story). Bad girl Delilah meets Lance, her total opposite, in Wild Pumpkin by Martha Sweeney. Mia Kayla brings us Kent and Beth from Marry Me for Money, a couple with different views in All Work And No Play. In Love on The Edge, Molly Lee’s Dash and Blake from the Edge of Chaos spend their honeymoon chasing storms. Rockstar Silas Palmer finds love on the side of the road in Hitch by S.M. West.

Fifteen authors come together to celebrate Autism Awareness month with proceeds benefitting SARRC and Myles-A-Part.

Love Happens features stories about finding love, falling in love and being in love.


The Love Happens anthology is a bunch of short stories by favorite authors put together to support Myles-A-Part and SARRC. SARRC is an autism organization that Ginger Scott volunteers for. The money made from this anthology will go to do some amazing things for families and research. (Pre-order it HERE!)

I had the pleasure of reading Ginger Scott’s short story, I See You, from this anthology. I See You is based on secondary characters from How We Deal With Gravity. If you loved How We Deal With Gravity, you are going to love catching up with Claire and Cole in I See You. (You’ll also love seeing where Avery, Mason and Max are now!)

It had been a while since I had read the original book, but I immediately remembered Claire. She was always so supportive of Avery and her son, Max. I was so excited for someone so special to find her someone special. I loved every minute of the tension between Claire and Cole. Their attraction sizzled.

I See You was a fun, explosive short romance. Fans of How We Deal With Gravity and Ginger Scott’s writing are going to love this short story. It’s an amazing way to support a great cause.

Review: Confessions of a Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny
Series: Taking Shots, #4
Author: Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: May 8, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.


I couldn’t resist reading Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny. The title and the idea of a former puck bunny confessing her sins really appealed to me. Plus, the book was from an author and series I enjoy, so I knew it was going to be a lot of fun.

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny stars Lindsay and Ryder. Lindsay is a former puck bunny who fell in love and got burned. Since then, she’s done everything she can to stay away from hockey and its players. That worked well until she needs help passing math class. The only tutor she can understand just happens to be the hottest guy on the ice. Ryder would do anything to get a chance with Lindsay including giving up some of his precious time to tutor Lindsay in math. He’s hoping that spending time with him with show Lindsay that he’s not just another heartless hockey player.

Out of all the Cindi Madsen books I’ve read, Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny is my favorite. I loved the first person dual points of view, and the direction the story took. All of the little confessions sprinkled through the story were cute and fun.

Ryder, or “Ox” as some people call him, was a sweetheart. He knew what he wanted (Lindsay) and went for it. I loved how he didn’t let anything or anyone stand in his way. The way he treated Lindsay was really special.

Lindsay had so much inner strength. She wanted to change her life and did everything she needed to make that happen. I couldn’t blame Lindsay for wanting to stay away from hockey players, but I’m so happy Ryder weaseled his way into her heart. They were perfect for each other. I loved their romance.

I also loved seeing my old friends from the previous Hot Shots books. Catching up with them was fun, and I loved what they added to Lindsay and Ryder’s story. And I can’t leave out the hockey. There were some very fun hockey scenes in this book!

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny was everything I hoped it would be based on its title. It was a great college hockey romance that fans of sports romances will love. I did.

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?


I’m going to admit something very crazy. I had never read a book by Morgan Matson before Since You’ve Been Gone. I don’t have any good excuses. Since You’ve Been Gone has been sitting on my shelf for well over a year. I’m just happy I finally read it.

Since You’ve Been Gone is a coming of age novel about finding yourself. Emily has lived in her best friend Sloane’s shadow for the past two years. That’s been fine with Emily. She was more than happy to be the sidekick. But when Sloane suddenly disappears at the beginning of summer break, Emily’s distraught. Not only is she concerned about and missing Sloane, she’s suddenly all alone. The only thing Emily has left of Sloane is a random and scandalous list of things Sloane wants her to do. As Emily begins to work on completing the list, she find herself making friends with a guy from school, Frank Porter. Frank surprisingly offers to help Emily complete her list. As the summer goes on, Emily discovers more about herself and the world around her.

My love for Since You’ve Been Gone wasn’t immediate. To be honest, Emily really annoyed me at the beginning of the book. Her continued whining over Sloane and her absence drove me nuts. I know it was because I hadn’t gotten to know her before Sloane’s disappearance, but it grated on me for a bit. It wasn’t until she started working on the list and all of the supporting characters started showing up that I started to fall in love with the story.

Once I got past the beginning, I absolutely loved Since You’ve Been Gone. I was surprised to see a lot of my younger self in Emily. I, too, had a friend whose shadow I was content to live under in my school days. I empathized with Emily’s discomfort when she had to figure out how to be without Sloane, and make new friends. I can remember going through that and how tough it was. But, just like Emily, once I had been through it I was a stronger me. I loved the way Morgan Matson portrayed Emily’s growth as a person throughout this story.

Another thing I loved about this story were the other characters. Every one of them was so vivid and entertaining. I loved Collins and his absurdity. Frank was my favorite, though. His friendship with Emily was really sweet. He was a stand up guy. I loved their running program and the playlists they shared.

Since You’ve Been Gone may not have started strong, but it definitely ended that way. It had a great message and was beautifully written. It’s a book that I would highly recommend to teenagers (and adults!). I loved it.