Mini Reviews: Salt to the Sea & More Than Word

Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrators: Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating yet unknown tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning , Erik Larson’s critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff–the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray,, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Review:

Salt to the Sea is my first Ruta Sepetys novel. I was so very impressed by it. It was such a heartbreaking, beautiful story. I loved the way it switched back and forth between the characters. The way their sad stories intertwined was special. I truly loved listening to the way the narrators brought life to the story. Whether you read or listen to this book, you’re in for an amazing book.


More Than Words
Author: Mia Sheridan
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.

Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.

But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

Review:

Years ago, I read Archer’s Voice. That book broke me. I have several other of Mia Sheridan’s books, but have yet to read them. I guess I’ve been scared of the emotional impact. I decided to brave her writing again with More Than Words. There were several things I loved about this book. That initial connection between Jessie and Callie was so sweet. I loved that fate brought them back together, and that they got more than one chance to be together. I also loved how Jessie’s job and her interpretations paralleled with her relationship with Callen. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was Callen’s womanizing and drinking. I guess I’m just over that in romances right now. It made it harder for me to emotionally connect to Jessie and Callen’s relationship. Other than, I enjoyed reading More Than Words.

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. 

Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Making Up
Series: London Celebrities, #3
Author: Lucy Parker
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…


Making Up is my first Lucy Parker book. My blogger friends Nick, Ari, and Cristina have all been raving about this series, so I jumped on the chance to try it out with this book. I’m very happy I did.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the circus aspect of Making Up. It’s not a setting I’m normally drawn to. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. It was so different from the romance settings I normally read, and I really enjoyed that. Trix’s and Leo’s jobs were so interesting and fun to read about.

Not only did I love the setting, but I loved the characters. Trix was this fiery little sprite, but her self-confidence had been beaten down. The anxiety and self-doubt she experienced were easy to relate to. The emotional journey she went through in Making Up was an important one I think many readers will identify with. Leo had the confidence Trix was missing and more. He had his own problems, but they weren’t as challenging as Trix’s seemed. I loved how he supported Trix and helped her deal with the emotional challenges she was facing.

My favorite thing about this book was the second chance romance. Trix and Leo had a tumultuous past. They had different ideas of what created the hostility between them, and how they figured things out for the future was fun. I loved their hostile banter, but I loved it even more once it took on a sweeter manner.

I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, so I didn’t have too many thoughts on the characters who made appearances from them. I was interested in them enough to want to go back and read their books, though. I hope I’ll get a chance to do that in the future.

The one teeny tiny complaint I have about Making Up is the third person narration. Third person always takes me a while to get used to. It’s just harder to make the transitions between characters when reading. The third person didn’t really bother me much, but I feel like I would have loved the story even more if it had been in first person.

I’m so happy that I finally got the chance to read one of Lucy Parker’s book. I really liked her writing. Like I said above, I’m hoping to get to read more of it in the future.

Mini Reviews: Playing Hurt, My Way Back to You

Playing Hurt
Series: Aces Hockey, #6
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s playing hurt. She’s laying low. And they’re both flirting with disaster.
 
“Kelly Jamieson is my go-to author for hockey romance.”—Jami Davenport
 
Chase: The last thing I’d ever want to do is let my team down. After overcoming my bad-boy reputation, I was dominating on the ice. But things aren’t going so well this season, and even my parents think I’m partying again. Now I’m really worried about my career. The only bright spot in my life is the Twitter flirtation I’ve struck up with pop princess Jordyn Banks. Turns out she’s a huge hockey fan—and she’s willing to wager a date on her favorite team. . . .

Jordyn: Even though I’m an L.A. fan now, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Aces, since I grew up in Chicago. Then I lose a bet to Chase Hartman, and suddenly I’m up close and personal with a pro athlete who’s anything but soft. Not only is Chase the hottest guy I’ve ever met, he’s secretly super sweet. As if I had time for a relationship . . . yeah, right. But when I suddenly have nothing but time on my hands, he’s the only one who understands. Now, with both of our careers at stake, Chase is tempting me to put my heart on the line too.

Review:

Playing Hurt is my new favorite Kelly Jamieson book! I absolutely loved how Jordyn and Chase’s interactions started over Twitter. Their flirting was cute and funny. I could imagine a real relationship starting between two celebrities exactly this way! It was so much fun! Once they actually meet in real life, the story gets even better. Chase and Jordyn really had to work to make their relationship work with the spotlight on them. It wasn’t easy. I enjoyed how each had their own struggles and things to deal with. Their growth individually made their relationship stronger. I loved how it all played out. Playing Hurt was truly a delight to read.


My Way Back to You
Series: Second Chances Duet, #2
Author: Claire Contreras
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Book 2 in the Second Chance Duet . . .

Love isn’t always about timing.
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and roll with it.

I admit I wasn’t ready.
I know you don’t want to look at me, let alone talk to me, but please, let me explain.
Let me tell you all the ways my heart broke when you walked away.
Let me show you what our years apart have done to me.

Give me a chance to find my way back to you . . .


My Way Back to You begins a while after the cliffhanger from The There Was You. It’s a little disorienting for a couple of chapters figuring out where the story was now, but once I had everything straight I was pulled into the story. I liked it a lot better than the first book. That book was one big set up for this one. I wish they had been one book with some of it condensed down because My Way Back to You was really the fun, meaty part of the entire duet. I really enjoyed reading this one. The only thing that I would have changed in this one was that there should have been more time of anger between Rowan and Tessa. They forgave each other too quickly and easily in my opinion. Still, it was a good read.

Review: Licks by Kelly Siskind

Licks, an all new standalone Second Chance Romantic Comedy by Kelly Siskind is NOW AVAILABLE!

36 hours is a short spell when racing the clock.
2,160 minutes is an eternity for old friends to fall in love…

August Cruz is the only man I’ve ever loved.
He’s the one who got away.
He’s the one I totally screwed over.

Now he’s standing on my doorstep, nine years later, but he’s not the only thing that turns up. My mother’s lost diary is in my hands, and it might lead me to my father. A possibility I wished for one year ago, at my last birthday.

I have 36 hours to fulfill that wish.
I have 36 hours to drag August on a wild scavenger hunt.
I have 36 hours to protect my heart before I lose him again…because there’s something he’s not telling me.

LICKS is a full-length, standalone Sexy Second Chance Romance with a swoony Happily Ever After.

REVIEW:

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

If you’re a fan of second chance romances, you’ll want to read Licks. It’s unlike any second chance romance I’ve read before. It takes place over 36 hours and is a mad dash to achieve Gwen’s birthday wish. Gwen wants to find her father, and the only person she wants to help her is her ex-best friend August. Gwen and August have a convoluted past. Each harbored a secret crush on the other growing up, but one giant mistake ruined their friendship and the possibility of anything more. They didn’t talk for nine years, but now August is back to help make Gwen’s dream come true.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Licks. Every book in this series has been so different, yet encompassed the same goal of achieving the birthday wish. Licks was my favorite of the three books in the series because it was so cleverly written. It was full of surprises. I expected Gwen and August to fall in love again, but I didn’t expect them to have to forgive and forget things that were so painful. I also didn’t expect the outcome of Gwen’s wish. The entire story was so cool and fun to read.

I do have to mention that at a couple of points in the story I questioned Gwen’s sanity. She had some weird thoughts about August knocking her up that rubbed me a little wrong. She wasn’t acting on them or anything, but it kind of weirded me out. Maybe it was just the intensity of them. But really, it was such a small thing and didn’t really change my reading experience.

Licks was a great read. It was a fun, fresh take on a second chance romance. It was also an outstanding ending to an entertaining series.

Grab Your Copy Today!

Free in Kindle Unlimited
Add to Goodreads – https://bit.ly/2GEuXr7

About Kelly Siskind

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—gummy bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.

Follow Kelly Siskind

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Review: The World’s Worst Boyfriend by Erika Kelly

From award-winning author Erika Kelly comes her brand new, smoking hot series about four elite athlete brothers raised in the Tetons by their eccentric, billionaire dad and uncle, The Bad Boyfriend Series! Don’t miss your chance to meet the sexy and extreme Fin Bowie in THE WORLD’S WORST BOYFRIEND! Order your copy today!

Six years ago Fin Bowie made a decision that cost him the love of his life. Now his ex is coming back to town for her brother’s wedding, and he can finally make things right. Except, right before the event, a text he sent goes viral. Overnight, he becomes an international meme. And it’s hard to win your woman back when the whole world’s calling you The World’s Worst Boyfriend.

The last thing on Calliope Bell’s mind is getting back with Fin. Not when her life’s just gone sideways, forcing her to spend the summer in Calamity, Wyoming. She can’t be away from the New York art world this long, so she comes up with the idea to turn the hottest pop culture event of the moment into a museum exhibition.

The two have every intention of avoiding each other–until the county judge sentences Fin to community service…helping her exploit the meme he’s trying to make go away.

Order THE WORLD’S WORST BOYFRIEND in ebook or paperback, releasing 4/3/18

 Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

REVIEW:

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

The World’s Worst Boyfriend was a second chance romance between childhood sweethearts. Fin and Callie broke up when their lives took different directions after high school. Both were left shattered. Fin escaped through spending time with winter sports and his snowboard. Callie ran off to New York to become an artist and reinvented herself. When they both arrive back home years later for Callie’s brother’s wedding, seeing each other sends their worlds into a tailspin.

What I loved most about The World’s Worst Boyfriend was plot. I’m a sucker for second chance romances, and this one was a lot of fun. I loved how the whole meme that got Fin into trouble ended up pulling Callie and Fin closer together. I loved reading the letters people replied to the meme with. They were sad, but funny in a way. I just thought the whole set up of this story was cool.

Fin was my favorite character in this story. Yes, he made some pretty big mistakes, but he never seemed to do it out malice. He was a nice guy who had a lot to learn. I loved the way he didn’t give up on Callie. Callie wasn’t my favorite at first. She was just a little too shut down for me. That made her character seem snobby. The longer she spent at home, the more I liked her, though. I ended up loving Callie and Fin together.

Another thing I loved — the ending! It was a shocking cliffhanger!!! I really can’t wait to read the next book. I need it now!

I do have to admit their were a couple of things kept me from giving this book five stars. First, the pace was slower than I would have liked. I felt like I was struggling through it at a couple of points, which was weird because Erika Kelly is an amazing writer and I liked the story. Second, it was written in third person. Erika Kelly can pull off third person narration like no other, but in this situation it made it harder to connect with the characters.

Overall, The World’s Worst Boyfriend was a cute romance with a fun story line and a cast of characters I’m excited to read more about.

Erika Kelly’s THE WORLD’S WORST BOYFRIEND – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

March 26th

A Novel Glimpse – Review

Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt

Obsessed with Romance – Review & Excerpt

Ree Cee’s Books –Review & Excerpt

March 27th

Books and Things Blog – Review & Excerpt

Flo Grugel – Review & Excerpt

Logan’s sports book section – Review & Excerpt

Sincerely Karen Jo – Excerpt

March 28th

Beware Of The Reader – Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Rachel Loren’s Love of Reading – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

March 29th

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

IrishdaisylovesRomance – Review & Excerpt

OMGReads – Review & Excerpt

March 30th

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

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March 31st

Beneath The Covers Blog – Excerpt

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt

Summer’s Eve reads – Review & Excerpt

April 1st

A small girl, her man and her books – Review & Excerpt

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

What I’m Reading – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Book Magic – Under a spell with every page – Review & Excerpt

My Book Filled Life – Review & Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

We Do What We Want Book Reviews & More – Review & Excerpt

April 3rd

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

Princess Reads – Review & Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review

April 4th

Books, Coffee & Passion – Excerpt

Gavinsmommaloves2read – Review

Rockchick Addiction Reviews and Blog – Review & Excerpt

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April 5th

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

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April 6th

Book Bitches Blog – Review

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From the TBR PIle – Review & Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Excerpt

April 7th

Crystal’s Book World – Review & Excerpt

More Books Than Livros – Review & Excerpt

StarAngels Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Audio Killed the Bookmark – Review & Excerpt

Books After Fifty – Review & Excerpt

Book Lovers Reviews and Recommendations – Review & Excerpt

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April 9th

CJR The Brit – Excerpt

Tangents and Tissues – Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 10th

A British Bookworm’s Blog – Review

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April 11th

Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

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Livres Recommende – Review & Excerpt

April 12th

For The Love of Romance Books Blog – Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Review & Excerpt

Reds Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Shelf life – Review

April 13th

Miranda’s Library – Review & Excerpt

Reads & Reviews – Review & Excerpt

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About Erika Kelly:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

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Blog Tour Review: The Hook-Up Experiment by Emma Hart

1.Hate-screw my high school nemesis.

2.Remember to hate him.

3.Prove my brother wrong.

It should be easy.

It isn’t.

As the owner of Pick-A-Dick, New Orleans’ premier hook-up website, my job is simple. Connect two people for a no-strings, no-expectations hook-up. The plus for my clients is that I’m the one who gets to sift through the dick pics—except this time, they’re required.

My problem? My brother, co-owner of Pick-A-Dick’s sister dating site, doesn’t believe it’s possible to hook up with someone three times and not fall in love.

I disagree. I know it’s possible.

And my disagreement is exactly how I end up reconnected with my high school nemesis, Elliott Sloane. The guy who asked me to junior prom and then stood me up. Who egged my car when I rejected him, and convinced my senior homecoming date to ghost me.

It should be easy to hate-screw him. If only he was still that person, instead of a hot-as-hell single dad, working as a builder to make ends’ meet, fighting for custody of his daughter.

Not to mention packing in the pants department…

Three hook-ups.

One outcome.

Right?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

FIND OUT MORE: http://www.pick-a-dick-net

MY REVIEW

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

I absolutely adored this book!!! It was so, so good. The Hook-Up Experiment was fun and flirty…and a little bit dirty. That combination created so many hilarious moments! There was some spectacularly witty dialog and a bunch of swoon worthy moments. Emma Hart’s writing seriously shined.

Peyton and Elliot were so adorable! It was almost a second chance at love story mixed with an enemy to lovers vibe. Everything about their hook-up was so much fun. I loved how they ended up on a date together, and how that worked out for them. Their story was surprisingly sweet and cute. I loved them both.

Another person I loved? Briony. That little girl was so dang cute! She stole the show. Or the book. However you want to say it. Briony upped Elliot’s hotness factor in a very great way. Emma Hart knows how to write awesome children and singe fathers.

Now I didn’t read The Upside to Being Single, so I had no prior knowledge of Peyton or her friends. That didn’t matter at all. This book can be read as a standalone. Meeting all of these characters did make me want to go back and read that book, though! I loved them all so much! I now need to read Mellie’s story. I want to know how she ended up with Jake. I also can’t wait for Chloe’s book! I have a feeling that one is going to be extra special and funny.

I couldn’t get enough of The Hook-Up Experiment! If I could have stayed up any later, I would have read it in one sitting. It was just that good. If you’re a fan of humorous contemporary romances, you won’t want to miss this book!

EXCERPT

“Is she okay with that juice?” Peyton watched her go.

I selected the Blu-ray from the cupboard and shot a smirk her way. “Sorry to break it to you, but you’re getting a juice box.”

“I can live with that.”

I turned away and hit the eject button on the player. “You didn’t have to say yes to her, you know.”

“Of course, I had to. Have you seen those eyes? How do you say no to her, ever?”

“I think of all the times she screams and swings her arms like a tiny terrorist, and it’s pretty easy.” I put the disk in and turned around.

Peyton had one eyebrow raised. “See, now, I’d think that’s reason to say no.”

“It depends on the day. Sometimes it results in her being put to bed to calm down, which means she ends up taking a rare afternoon nap, and I get some peace and quiet.”

“That’s a thing around her? She was talking to me for thirty minutes flat about what I did and didn’t like.”

“Only thirty minutes? Lucky you. She has about three hours of material of that.” I took a seat on the sofa, making sure to leave space between us for Bri. “Did she get started on hedgehogs yet?”

Peyton looked a little confused. “Hedgehogs?”

“YouTube is the devil.”

“That…was quite the jump in subject.”

I laughed as the main menu music hit on the TV. “I’m going to preface this by saying kids are weird.”

“Some get that from their parents.”

I blinked at her for a second. She wasn’t wrong if half these people who had a mini-career opening fucking toys on YouTube were parents.

“There are a bunch of stupid videos on YouTube, and apparently, watching people open toys is thrilling.”

Now, she looked really confused.

“And on one of those she watched, the person had a pet hedgehog who wasn’t having the nonsense of her opening a Hatchimal on camera, so it stole the egg.”

She blinked several times in quick succession. “I have no idea what you just said, and if I’m honest… Please don’t explain it.”

I laughed and hit play on the TV.

“Here’s your dooce-box,” Briony said, handing Peyton two. “And das mine. I can’t do the straws.”

“Oh. Right. Okay.” Peyton looked at the two juices that had been thrust at her.

Smiling, I took one from her. I pulled the straw off the back, out of the tiny plastic slip, and poked it through the foiled hole in the top. “There you go,” I said to Briony. “What do you want for dinner?”

She put the straw in her mouth and pursed her lips as she sucked the juice up. Peyton watched her, lips twitching, as she put her straw in place.

“Pizza!” Briony announced.

Oh no. I’d eaten too much pizza lately.

Was there such a thing as too much pizza?

Maybe if the toppings were changed up…

“Peydon, do you want pizza?” Bri asked, leaning right into her.

“I like pizza,” she replied, smiling sweetly down at her. “What’s your favorite?”

“I like spots and cheese.”

“Spots?”

I coughed on my water. “Pepperoni,” I explained. “They look like spots on the pizza.”

Peyton’s eyes met mine for a minute. Silent laughter shone back at me. That really was toddler logic at its finest.

“You know,” she said, looking down at Peyton. “Spots are my favorite, too!”

Once again, Briony gasped. “Reawy?”

“Really, really. I love spots.”

Oh, Jesus.

It might have been a mistake introducing these two. Not only was my daughter becoming increasingly obsessed with someone who seemed to be a brunette, adult version of her…

No, that was the problem. Peyton was the brunette, adult version of Briony, attitude and all—and if there was anything my daughter didn’t need, it was someone who could teach her a thing or ten about sarcasm.

“I’ll order pizza,” I said, going to stand.

“Oh, you got it last time. I’ll go call them.” Peyton put her juice on the side table and tried to move, but Briony stopped her.

“No. Mimi told me that only gentlemen buy dinner. Princesses sit and look priddy.”

Peyton looked down at her. “Sit and look pretty? I like to buy my own pizza sometimes, and that’s okay.”

Without missing a beat, Briony said, “Princesses sit and look priddy so the mens buying dinner don’t know dat we can kick dere butts.”

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Review: Then There Was You by Claire Contreras

Then There Was You
Series: Second Chances Duet, #1
Author: Claire Contreras
Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Love and the right timing were two things I didn’t believe in.

Love is about walking to the edge of the cliff and taking the leap together.
Timing was never on our side.
My first mistake was hooking up with my best friend.
My second came years later, when we met again, and I fell for her.
My third was letting her go, because I had to. Because a love like this wasn’t built to withstand the winds coming in our direction.

Love and timing.
I didn’t believe in either.
Then there was you . . .


Hmm… This is a tough review for me to write. I love Claire Contreras’ writing, but I didn’t exactly love this book. It wasn’t the story that rubbed me the wrong way, but the tone of it. Really, it was because of Tessa. I had a hard time connecting with her character. She was so hostile and angry for the majority of the book. Her anger and resentment made me feel those exact emotions while reading. It was so uncomfortable! That’s actually a compliment to Claire Contreras’ writing. She’s so talented that she made me feel what her characters were feeling. I just didn’t like feeling that way, and it affected my reading experience.

That being said, there were some great things about this book. The plot was unique and very good. I couldn’t have guessed where the story was headed, even though I did guess what the big shocker would be at the end. The last third of the book was definitely my favorite part of the story because of everything that went down. It’s made me excited for the next book in this duet.

I also liked Rowan. Many of his decisions drove me nuts, but he tried to do what he thought was the right thing. His relationship with his family interested me. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to know. I was especially curious about his relationship with his brother.

While I didn’t love this book, I think it was well worth reading because I have a feeling the next book in the duet is going to be epic. I really, really want to know what’s to come!

Mini Reviews: Scoring Wilder, Do Over & Burn for Me

Today, I have three short book reviews for you. Two are books I read after reading reviews from other bloggers. I was reminded I wanted to read Scoring Wilder by reading Corina‘s review. I found out about Do Over from Nick and Nereyda‘s review. Thanks for the recommendations, ladies! One is a book my book club is read.


Scoring Wilder
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: June 15, 2014
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”


Around the time of the last Olympic summer games, I read R.S. Grey’s The Sumer Games series. I really enjoyed Settling the Score, and wanted to know more about some of the characters mentioned in that book — they were part of Scoring Wilder. I had completely forgot they were part of this book until I read Corina’s review.

Despite being a little uncomfortable about the coach/player situation in this book at first, I really enjoyed Scoring Wilder. I loved Kinsley. She was just so cool and confident. I also loved Liam, and how he put Kinsley first. Their romance was so cute! Another thing I loved were all the aspects of training for a college soccer team that were included. Scoring Wilder was a fun book to read, and fans of NA sports romances are sure to enjoy it.



Do Over
Author: Serena Bell
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Toe-curling? Check. Sheet-twisting? Check. But is that enough for a second chance?

Jack: I’m pretty much as tough as they come. But when a woman comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. Scratch that—when Maddie Adams comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. That’s how we ended up making our incredible son five years ago, and that’s why I practically beg her to move in with me when she’s in a tight spot. Of course, the last time I got the chance to be the hero, I let her down, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time, I’m going to be the man she deserves—and then I’m going to lay every ounce of sexy on her until she lets me back into her heart.

Maddie: Jack Parker is hot, and he knows it. What he’s not is a family man, something this single mom had to learn the hard way. Still, moving into his place until I get back on my feet makes all kinds of sense. He’s an old friend. He’s, ahem, the father of my child. And let’s face it, now that I’ve just been colossally dumped, we’ve got nowhere else to go. The truth is, I never could resist Jack. Living under the same roof puts dirty thoughts in my head. And when my brilliant plan backfires, my whole body is begging for a do-over. . . .


Do Over is the first book I’ve read by Serena Bell, but it won’t be my last. I adored this book. It was a second chance romance between childhood best friends — who already had a 5-year-old son together. Both harbor secret feelings for each other but are worried the other doesn’t feel the same. I loved how their son helped bring them even closer together. It was so cute and pretty funny. I smiled many times while reading it. I am so happy I spent time with Maddie and Jack. This is definitely a book contemporary romance readers will love.



Burn for Me
Series: Hidden Legacy, #1
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renée Raudman
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Rating: DNF 20%

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.


Burn for Me was a book chosen by my book group to read for the month. Since fantasy/paranormal romance isn’t really my thing, I decided to listen to the audio version. Sometimes, that makes it easier for me to get into a book in a genre that’s not my favorite.

All that being said, listening to Burn for Me didn’t work out for me. There were just too many things at play. One, I had a hard time connecting to the characters. I think part of this has to do with the narration of the story. Some of the characters sounded ancient when they weren’t past their 40’s. Two, there was a lot of world building to build the foundation of the magical story. That’s probably normal, but I wanted to get to the romance part of the book. The MCs were just meeting at 20%. Three, not only was it fantasy/paranormal based, there was a romantic suspense element to it. Those sub genres combined were an even worse fit for me.

When I found out I wasn’t going to be able to attend my book group, I decided to go ahead and let go of listening to this book. I’ve read several positive reviews, so I’m sure it’s a good book. I admit I might not have given it enough time, but with so many other books I need/want to read it just wasn’t worth going any further on for me.

Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Long Way Home
Series: Thunder Road, #3
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.


Utter devastation. That’s what I’m feeling right now. I am so, so sad the Thunder Road series is over. Done. Caput. No more books. Finishing Long Way Home has given me book hangover.

Long Way Home was just as amazing as the first two books in the Thunder Road series. The plot was brilliant, the characters continued to shine, and it was just so much fun to read. My experience with reading it was a little different from my experience with the first two book because I listened to them. I enjoyed both formats. I do have to admit that I did miss listening to the narrators’ accents, though. They made the first two books exceptionally fun.

Katie McGarry had to up the ante in Long Way Home. We don’t just get one Reign of Terror / Riot plot with this one, we get two. Violet and Chevy face a life changing ordeal together. It faces them to deal with lingering questions they’ve had over the years. Each forced to deal with an issue they have regarding the clubs they’re dealing with. This made Violet and Chevy’s book more stressful than the last two books.

I can’t say I was particularly a fan of Violet in the past couple of books. I felt a dedication to the Reign of Terror like the other characters did. I wanted her to get over her problems with them. Long Way Home had me rethinking my judgement of Violet. I finally understood her point and got it. She was right in a lot of ways I didn’t realize. I loved how Violet stood her ground and didn’t back down based on tradition.

Chevy was as lovable as I knew he would be. He had a happy-go-lucky feeling to him. I enjoyed getting to know him better. I loved the realizations he came to in this book. He really matured from a teenager to a young man during Long Way Home.

Violet and Chevy’s relationship had a special magic to it. They were childhood best friend, practically siblings, who grew to love each other. I hurt for them when they weren’t together, and knew how tough their decisions to be apart and together were. Their love was cemented down deep, and I couldn’t imagine them not ending up together.

As for the other series characters, don’t worry, they make appearances. There were some great moments between both Violet and Eli. I especially liked the touching moments between Violet and her mom and Eli and his mom and Cyrus.

The only slight frustration I had with Long Way Home was some unanswered questions that lingered after finishing it. I had some confusion surrounding Issac’s mother in relation to his father. I didn’t how she ended up somewhere based on his job. It didn’t add up to me. Also, who was the new prospect mentioned toward the end that was mentioned with Addison? I really needed the fourth book we didn’t get to make things clearer for me. Dang Harlequin Teen for keeping it from me! 😉

Long Way Home was everything I expected it to be. It reunited Violet and Chevy in the best way possible. It was a fitting ending for the series, even if I wanted more. I guess the sadness of losing this series will motivate me to read the rest of McGarry’s books (I didn’t really need motivation. Her writing speaks for itself.).