Review: Run Away With Me by Mila Gray

Run Away With Me
Series: Come Back to Me, #3
Author: Mila Gray
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but just as their friendship starts to morph into something more, a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them. Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.

Seven years on and Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping her family run their outdoor adventure company. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembered and on the cusp of a bright sporting future—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate summer romance that neither of them wants to end.

But if they’re to have any kind of future, they’re first going to need to confront the past, a past that most people want to stay buried.


I have been a fan of Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me series since it was released. I love the physical and emotional healing that takes place in her books. The first and second books in the series were military based, so I was surprised to find that Run Away With Me was a sports romance. The writing had the same new adult angst feel, but otherwise the story felt different. The wounds of war were gone, and in their place were those of a different kind of tragedy.

In Run Away With Me, Jake has just returned to Bainbridge Island to make things right with Emerson. He couldn’t move past his childhood friendship and crush. He felt like something was missing from his life, and he needed to find out if it was Emerson. Their reunion wasn’t exactly a happy one. Emerson wasn’t exactly on board with it. She had a lot of anger deep inside that needed to be dealt with. There was a lot of healing to be done between the two of them.

Emerson and Jake had a shared history. I enjoyed the way it was unraveled. What happened to separate them in the past was a little bit of a mystery. There were some major revelations given throughout the story, and I liked that it was done through separate flashbacks. Getting to know what happened to both of them that way was really profound. Their experiences were so different and they both felt the fallout from what happened when they were fourteen. I was happy they could eventually get past the heart ache and find happiness with each other again. They both deserved to get their friendship and the possibility of more back.

One of my favorite things about Run Away With Me was the setting. The way Mila Gray described Bainbridge and the surrounding islands was beautiful. I felt like I was right there with the characters. I’ve been to Vashon, but never Bainbridge. This book made me curious to explore it since it’s not too far from backyard.

Overall, I really enjoyed this romance. It was full of deep emotions and strong bond between the characters, but also had a light summer feel to it.

Review: The Real Thing by Melissa Foster

The Real Thing
Series: Sweet Lake, #1
Author: Melissa Foster
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?

Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?

Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.

Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.


Willow has always longed for her older brother’s best friend, Zane. They had a night together back before Willow left for college, but their relationship went no further. It left Willow with feelings of anger and resentment toward Zane — especially when he became a womanizing famous actor. Now, Zane’s back in town and looking to change his image. He needs Willow to help him do that by pretending to be his fiancée. The arrangement is something Willow should know better than to say yes to, but she still can’t resist Zane.

The Real Thing was a fun fake fiancée romance. It’s been a long time since I read a book by Melissa Foster. I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. She’s an author who knows how to write third person point of view. A lot of the time, it takes me a while to be able to get into third person narration. It wasn’t that way with The Real Thing. I didn’t even notice it. Third person felt just as easy as reading first person in this book. I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that both Willow and Zane’s perspectives were included.

Willow and Zane were a cute couple. She was independent, loyal and fiery. He was overconfident, but deep down had a big heart. All of those things fit really well and complimented each other. I loved that they had been pining over each other since high school. It made their love story all the sweeter.

I do have to admit there was something that bugged me about this book that I couldn’t let go. Willow’s hatred and distrust of Zane didn’t make complete sense. I understand that she’s mad that he moved on, but she set things up that way. He truly didn’t do anything that set out to hurt her or break her heart. Plus, it had been like ten years and she was still holding onto to her anger. It seemed weird since she had been in contact with him at least monthly and had seen him several times over the years. Maybe I was missing something. Maybe I needed more than just a snapshot of the aftermath of their teenage decision.

One of my favorite things about this book was the cast of secondary characters. Willow had an amazing family. Each was an individual with a strong personality. Meeting them made me very excited for what’s to come in this series. I hope they all get their own books. I’m really hoping to see more of Ben and Amelia!

Overall, The Real Thing was a sweet contemporary read, and an entertaining take of a celebrity fake relationship.

Mini Romance Reviews: Hot Cop, Sex Symbol and Dr. ER

Good morning! Today, I have three mini reviews for three hot romances for you!


Hot Cop
Authors: Laurelin Paige, Sierra Simone
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

You have the right to remain sexy.

Anything you say can and will be used to get you in my bed.

You have the right to use my body to give yourself a delirious, life-changing orgasm.

If you have trouble…don’t worry, I’m a bit of an expert in that department.

There’s nothing ‘thin’ about my blue line, if you catch my drift, and trust me, I know how to put those handcuffs to good use.

***

Livia Ward wants a baby before she’s thirty.  And even though Officer Chase Kelly is exactly the kind of cocky jerk this librarian has sworn off, he is undeniably hot.  Both of them think they can give each other what they want–a few nights of fun for Officer Kelly, a no-strings baby for Livia–but this hot cop is about to learn that sex, babies, and love don’t always play by the rules.

My review:

I was excited to learn Laurelin Paige and Sierra Simone were releasing another book together. I read Porn Star when it came out, and thought it was a lot of sexy fun. Hot Cop was just as fun. I loved the dynamic between the characters, their witty banter, and the off the charts hot sexy times. Man, those sexy times were great!

There was one little negative thing that kept popping up in my mind while reading Hot Cop. It reminded me of another new release that I recently read. Both books have women who are looking for a sperm donation and use it as a bargaining tool to satisfy the guy’s need to have sex with them. They weren’t exactly the same story, but they were pretty similar. I couldn’t help comparing the two, but I loved both books so I’m not sure why I’m even pointing it out.

This book was a great romantic escape. It’s not a book you’ll want to read when little eyes can peek over your shoulders, but that’s part of the fun of it!


Sex Symbol
Author: Laurelin Paige
Publication Date: June 28, 2017
Publisher: Paige Press LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Micah Preston is Hollywood’s #1 sex symbol.

A rich and famous actor who has sworn off any serious relationships, the playboy is the media’s favorite bachelor.

But he wasn’t anybody when Maddie Bauer met him seven years ago. Then he was just the hot guy at the party who gave her an amazing orgasm and never called her again.

Now her job as a camera assistant has landed her on the set of his latest movie, and despite her vow to ignore his charm, she finds him pulling her focus.

She just has to make it through the shoot without landing in his bed. But when the legendary bad boy sets his sights on her, how can she possibly resist?

The book was previously published under the title Take Two.

My review:

Sex Symbol was an entertaining celebrity romance. Maddie and Micah had met at a party in their early twenties and immediately hit it off. He promises to call her after the party but doesn’t because his agent suggests he stay single to make it to super stardom. Years go by before they see each other again, but the spark is still their between them.

I loved the way Sex Symbol started out with Maddie and Micah meeting in their early twenties. They had that instant-attraction thing, but I could also feel a real connection between them. (I almost wished seven years hadn’t gone by between their contact because I think there could have been a fun story that way, too.) Their reconnection 7 years later was full of sexy fun. I really enjoyed how their story played out. It’s another book I’d recommend if you’re looking for hot sexy times.


Dr. ER
Series: St. Luke’s Docuseries, #2
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dr. Erotic.
That’s what they’ve decided to call me, Scott Shepard, the head of St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Department.
Just thinking about it makes me smile.
As the new face of the reality docuseries, The Doctor Is In, I plan to take his power and recognition right to the streets of New York City and into the pants of willing women.

Well, that was my plan.

Until her—feisty, beautiful, and addictively sexy Harlow Paige.
A gossip columnist that just loves writing about yours truly, she’s everything I thought I never wanted and then some.
She drives me crazy.
Problem is, she doesn’t want to be anything when it comes to me—not friends, not lovers, not even adversaries.
God, I love a good challenge.
Get ready, Harlow. Love is contagious.

My review:

I can’t get enough of Max Monroe’s writing. They are my favorite romantic comedy duo at the moment. Everything they write has me laughing uncontrollably. Dr. ER was witty, fresh and so sexy! I have no how they come up with the stuff they do, but I love it!

Dr. ER. Scott’s pursuit of Harlow was so much fun to read. His cocky confidence in his abilities was perfect for Harlow. She had spunk and wasn’t going to let his ego get away from him. Their strong personalities could have clashed, but instead created an insane chemistry.

One thing that really surprised me about Dr. ER was the twist in the story. I wasn’t expecting it. There were signs, but I somehow I missed them. I liked where the twist took the story.

If you’re looking for a humorous romantic read filled with a lot of amazing sexy times, look no further than Dr. ER or any of Max Monroe’s books.

Review: Jilted by Sawyer Bennett

In this fun, flirty second-chance romance from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett, an aspiring starlet reconnects with her first love.

“Sawyer Bennett never fails to deliver heroes I fall hard for and heroines I adore.”—Violet Duke

SYNOPSIS

Eden Goodnight went to Los Angeles to make it big, not to be publicly humiliated by her cheating fiancé at a red-carpet premiere. But when Eden returns to her hometown to put the scandal behind her, she can barely find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Turns out the locals are worse than the paparazzi, and they all think she’s turned into a spoiled brat. But in a strange twist of fate, the one person who seems to understand what Eden’s going through is Cooper Mayfield . . . the boy she left behind.

Small-town charm is no match for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. At least that’s what Coop’s been telling himself all these years. As Eden’s old flame—and the landscaper for her family’s historic home—Coop feels some responsibility for getting her out of her funk. But as soon as he sees that million-dollar smile, he’s a goner. Soon they’re making out like teenagers again. But when a life-changing role falls into Eden’s lap, Coop just hopes she doesn’t give up on a love that’s meant to be.

MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Sawyer Bennett romance. I had forgotten how much I love her writing. Her characters are fun, the plot interesting, and the sexy times are always hot.

Jilted is a second chance love story. Eden and Cooper broke up in college when their lives took a drastically different path. Eden went on to fame and fortune in the world of modeling and acting. Cooper got his college degree and took over his dad’s landscaping business. The two haven’t seen each other for fourteen years, but the scar their break up left still haunts both of them. When Eden returns to their hometown of Newberry, they are forced to face their past and their unresolved feelings for each other.

I loved Jilted. It was exactly the type of romance I’m looking for when I want a sexy escape. Eden and Cooper had amazing chemistry. It didn’t matter whether they were loving or fighting, their dynamic was intense. I could feel the sexual tension rippling off of them pretty much all the time. They put that sexual tension to good use, too. Those love scenes were hotter than hot.

The sexual escapades weren’t the only thing enjoyed about Jilted, though. It was a really sweet love story. Eden and Cooper hadn’t found anyone quite like each other after breaking up. Their connection ran deep, and I loved that.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about Jilted. It truly was a fun second chance romance. Fans of Sawyer Bennett are sure to enjoy it.

BUY NOW

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | BOOKBUB |
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | INSTAGRAM

Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Hello Forever
Series: Pay it Forward, #2
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: July 14, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance,  LGBT+
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME CHANGES EVERYTHING…

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of Goodbye Paradise will get to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.


Hello Forever is a second chance love story. It’s the story of two men who fell in love as teenagers, but were forced apart by the expectations of others. Neither Axel or Cax thought they would ever see each other again. Then, Axel spots Cax on a televised college basketball game. Seeing his first love again inspires Axel to accept a position at the very same school. Axel hopes he’ll run into Cax again, and that they will be able to rekindle what they almost had.

Their reunion isn’t exactly what Axel had hoped. The same demons that drove Axel and Cax apart are still at play in Cax’s life. As much as Cax wants what Axel is offering, he may not be able to accept it. Some things in Cax’s life are more important than his love for Axel.

After reading Goodbye Paradise, I had very high expectations for Hello Forever. I loved that first Pay it Forward book so much, and I wanted to have a similar experience with this book. Hello Forever was a great book, but not quite as amazing as Goodbye Paradise. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that was. The only thing I can think of was that it took me a little longer than usual to connect with the characters. A lot of the beginning was Axel setting up his history with Cax. It wasn’t until Cax and Axel were back in the same room that I felt engaged with the story.

I don’t want you to think I didn’t love Cax and Axel’s story. I did.Their second chance at love was sweet, sexy, and had just the right amount of drama. Cax having to decide if his personal happiness was more important than his devotion to his family was a really great story line. It was a tough choice for him, but I loved the way it all played out. It was fun to read. I especially loved the ending!

It was exciting to be back in Josh and Caleb’s world. I loved seeing them again and how they worked into Cax and Axel’s story. I also liked the other new characters I met. I’m hoping some of them (Jason) will get their own stories in the future.

Overall, Hello Forever was a great M/M romance. It’s one I would recommend if you’re a fan of M/M romances, Sarina Bowen or new adult romances in general.

Review: 27: Dropping the Gloves by Mignon Mykel

27: Dropping the Gloves
Series: Enforcers of San Diego, #1
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: July 5, 2017
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Hockey defenseman, Jordan Byrd, has made some mistakes. Not fighting harder to be in his daughter’s life was one, but the other was thinking that life would be somehow better without his best friend in it. However, as badly as he’d like Marlo back in his life, the last five years showed him a side of her he never imagined possible.

At twenty-two, Marlo Byrd unexpectedly finds herself divorced and raising an infant on her own. Jordan had been her everything—her family and her protector—until one day he decided he wanted out. No calls. No letters. Nothing. She managed to find solace in the team that was once his…until five years later, when Jordan’s traded back.

Back in the Enforcers locker room, Jordan is quickly put in his place—he may have a spot on the team, but his ex has a spot in the “family.”

Everyone has an opinion on what happened between Jordan and Marlo.

Did Jordan leave Marlo, and never look back, wearing the ‘deadbeat dad’ label?
Or did Marlo hold back on Jordan, wanting to hurt him the way he hurt her?

Gloves will be dropped.
Fights will commence.
But who will come out the victor?


Hockey romances are my favorite sports romances. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but the guys in these books make me swoon hardcore. One of my newer favorite hockey romance authors is Mignon Mykel. I enjoy her writing style and the characters she brings to life. I love her Prescott Family series, so I was excited to read 27: Dropping the Gloves, the first book in her new Enforcers of San Diego series.

27: Dropping the Gloves was a harder read for me. It started out in a devastating way and immediately broke my heart. From the prologue, I felt sad for both Jordan and Marlo. In one way, I felt like Jordan might have done the right thing at first. In another, I thought he was an idiot. Then, I got Marlo’s perspective, and things got even more emotional. These two went through some major stuff together and apart. I was so happy they were getting another chance to be together.

While I loved this second chance romance, but I did have some things I wanted from 27: Dropping the Gloves that I didn’t get. It all comes down to the length of this book. I wanted it to be longer. It was only 140 pages long, so more of a novella in length. That didn’t give enough time for Jordan’s grovelling in my opinion. Marlo was quicker to accept Jordan back than I liked. The guy needed to grovel longer and harder. That was really my only complaint about this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first look at the Enforcers of San Diego series. I loved the characters, and I’m excited to see what next for the Enforcers players.

Review: Vicious by L.J. Shen

Vicious
Series: Sinner of Saint, #1
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.
The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.
He is a brilliant lawyer.
A skilled criminal.
A beautiful liar.
A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist.
Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.
Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.
She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.
So she hates me. Big fucking deal.
She better get used to me.


This book totally did it for me. I’m not really sure how or why, but it did. I think it may have had to do a little bit with having read the second book in this series, Ruckus, first. I got a little bit of a preview of Emilia and Vicious’ relationship in that book. It made me really curious to how they ended up together. I loved discovering how it all happened.

Without any prior knowledge of Emilia and Vicious’ tumultuous past, I’m not sure I would have fell in love with Vicious like I did. Vicious is a tough character to love. He’s a complete alpha male with control issues. He wants everything done his way and in his time. There’s so much hate living inside him, and it’s constantly spewing out. It’s directed at everyone and everything. I hated him most of the time. Well, all of the time except for when it came to Emilia. I didn’t always like what he did to her, but his heart was its purest when he was giving into his feelings for her. It gave me hope for Vicious. And when I learned his story, I couldn’t help fall all the way in love with the jerk.

Emilia may have been artsy fartsy and put her family’s needs first, but that didn’t make her a wilting flower. She was a tenacious and strong woman. Emilia had no problem standing up to Vicious and challenging him. I loved how she brought out his soft side. Their love-hate relationship created a potent chemistry. It didn’t matter whether they were loving or fighting, there were always sparks.

One thing I really enjoyed in Vicious was getting to see more of the past I got a glimpse of in Ruckus. Learning about what went down in high school from Emilia and Vicious’ point of view was very different from learning it from Rosie and Dean’s. I got to see more sides of the story and how it wove together. I loved that. I made me even more curious to read Jaime and Melody’s story in Defy.

If you’re a fan of dark and gritty new adult romances, I highly recommend Vicious and the Sinners of Saint series. It’s a series I’ve fallen in love with.