Release Day Review: Cold by Max Monroe

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


O.M.G.

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

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

PURCHASE COLD NOW:

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

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

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

PREORDER FOX NOW:

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

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.

Review: In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec

In Bed with the Beast
Series: Naughty Princess Club, #2
Author: Tara Sivec
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he’s a grump with a secret and an extra room…can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places – the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?


Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever. When I received an email offering to let me read In Bed with the Beast before it’s release, I took it as an opportunity to revisit two characters I love in a new way and to read a new-to-me author. I was pleasantly surprised.

Tara Sivec’s writing was fun in an over the top way. The story was cute, but silly. Belle was a sheltered young woman with an uptight father. Beast wasn’t a beast in looks, but in his gruff personality. Belle leaves her father’s house to explore grown up life, and Beast ends up sweetly taking her in. He has rules for Belle to follow and, well, some of the story imitates but does not copy the original. This take on Beauty and the Beast was extremely entertaining.

Belle made me smile. She was book smart, brainy, and unaware of her beauty. When she got nervous, she rambled off crazy facts. She did it often and at the funniest moments. (Belle almost reminded me of Janie Morris from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid, and that’s a good thing.) The only one who really appreciated it was Beast. He was a stoic man until it came to Belle. I liked what hid between his tough exterior. Beast was surprisingly sweet and kind. Belle and Beast were so cute together!

Not only did I enjoy Belle and Beast, but all of the other Disney-like characters who popped up in this story. All of my favorite characters from Beauty and the Beast are mentioned in hilarious, magical ways. I also liked Belle’s feisty friends, Cindy and Ariel (I’m sure you can guess which Disney favorites they come from). I wouldn’t mind reading their books in this series as well.

In Bed with the Beast was a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I haven’t read before. The story and characters had this over the top humor that didn’t poke fun at the original tale, but made light of it. I truly enjoyed the experience of reading it.

Review: For Finlay by J. Nathan

For Finlay
Series: For You, #1
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Finlay Thatcher is a lost soul, guilt-ridden after the death of her twin brother. When Alabama’s football coach gives her the opportunity to work for him, she knows it’s her chance to move on, even if it means living her brother’s dream.

Caden Brooks is Alabama’s star quarterback. He’s got it all. The attention of adoring fans. A girlfriend who’d do anything to hold on to him. And a future in the pros. He’s getting along just fine until Finlay steps into his life, despising him at first sight and pushing his buttons like no other.

Unfortunately for Finlay, and her attempt to keep Caden at arm’s length, there’s nothing Caden loves more than a challenge. The problem with this challenge is she comes with a secret that has the power to destroy everything.


Recently, I read the second two books of the three in the For You series. The For You series are standalone novels. The characters overlap, but the main focus of each novel is the relationship between the main characters. Nothing is given away about any of the other couples’ stories. I really enjoyed For Forester and For Crosby, so I knew I needed to go back and read the book that started it all. I’m very happy I did because Finlay and Caden’s story wasn’t what I was expecting.

I have to admit that I didn’t love Finlay at the beginning. The memories she had of her relationship with her brother made me judge her harshly. I understood the reasoning for her actions, but knowing Cole died made them tough to stomach. As time went on in the present, I ended up loving her character. Despite her feelings about herself due to her brother, Finlay had a confidence and inner strength I admired.

Caden started off a little rough, too. I could tell he was going to be a good guy, but his initial attitude sucked. I didn’t appreciate his cocky college football quarterback attitude at the beginning. Caden became more endearing as the story went along. I really think it was how he interacted with Finlay and the choices he made along the way that made me respect  (and like) his character.

Finlay and Caden’s romance was a rocky one. It had so many ups and downs. The way Finlay and Caden solved their problems in this book was touching. I loved what they discovered with each other. How Cole was a part of that was really cool. That was my favorite part of this book. In a way, Cole helped Caden help Finlay heal.

Overall, For Finlay was a great new adult sports romance. It was fun to read. It wasn’t overly angsty or dark. Both characters had their challenges, but For Finlay felt uplifting. I loved the themes of this book, and the relationship between Finlay and Caden. Since I have already read the next two books, I can’t say this book made me want to read them, but I do hope there’s a fourth book in this series. Grady needs his own book.

Series Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading the Pushing the Limits series by Kate McGarry. I’ve wanted to go back and read this series ever since I read the Thunder Road series. Rather than do individual reviews, I’m going to one big review for all of them.
Here we go!


Pushing the Limits (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

I was impressed with Katie McGarry’s début novel. It didn’t feel like a début. It was so well written. Echo and Noah were adorable. They both had major family issues they were dealing with. Echo was recovering from an injury that she couldn’t remember. Her injury and memory loss unsettled her family, and caused all kinds of conflict between then. Noah lost his family, and he would do anything to get back the members he can. Echo and Noah were so different, but they related to each other in an important way. I loved how their relationship bloomed, and how they grew together and individually. I was especially fond of Noah. Pushing the Limits was a great start to the series.

Crossing the Line (#1.1) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lila and Lincoln’s story wasn’t long enough in my opinion! I really, really wish Crossing the Line had been a full length novel. I loved Lila and Lincoln. How they met and kept in contact was so special. I wanted to know even more about their family lives and what made them who they were. They had such great back stories! I also wanted more of their futures.

Breaking the Rules (#1.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I don’t know why, but this was the hardest book in the series for me to read. It was hard to go back to Echo and Noah’s relationship. I loved those characters so much, and I guess I wanted to believe they got their happy ending after Pushing the Limits. It was hard to see them struggle again. I don’t mean I didn’t like the story because I did. I loved it. Echo and Noah’s story went in a direction I liked. Breaking the Rules was bittersweet to read, but I loved what Noah and Echo learned about themselves and their relationship.

Dare to You (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★

Dare to You is one of my favorite books in this series. I loved Beth and Ryan’s journeys. Both needed to take a look at their lives and families. Beth needed love, support, and guidance when it came to her mother. Ryan needed the same things, but in a different way. He needed to figure out what his dreams were outside of how he had been raised. Beth and Ryan learned so much together, and that’s what made this book so special.

The only reason this book wasn’t a 5 star was because of all of the mystery around what was behind the door in the apartment. I easily guessed it, but I expected it to be something even worse. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of that part of the story for some reason.

Crash Into You (#3) ★ ★ ★ ★

Here’s the thing… I loved Isaiah and Rachel together. Everything about their relationship was so sweet and cute. I adored how he treated her and stuck by her. I also loved getting to know Rachel’s family. There were several of her brothers I would love to read more about. What I didn’t love about this book was the street racing thing. That’s a personal preference. I’m just not into it. It didn’t have too much of an impact on my enjoying this story, though. Isaiah and Rachel were just that perfect for each other. 😉

Red at Night (#3.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Katie McGarry kills me with these Pushing the Limits novellas. I love them so much, but I always want more story from them!!! Stella and Jonah had such a great, little story. I loved their connection to each other and how it changed both of their lives.

Take Me On (#4)★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Take Me On was another one of my favorites in this series. Haley and West’s story was so much fun to read. I loved seeing the transformation in both their characters throughout the book. West’s were more apparent during the book, while Haley’s came more toward the end. They learned a lot from each other, and it made their relationship stronger. I especially loved West’s discoveries about himself and his family in Take Me On.

Chasing Impossible (#5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This series got better and better as it went along. I loved Chasing Impossible! Logan and Abby totally surprised me! I knew they had great chemistry and already had a little bit of a relationship. What I wasn’t expecting was their back stories! Both surprised me. I loved what the newly revealed did to the story. Chasing Impossible was so much fun to read! This was definitely my favorite book in the series.


Overall, Pushing the Limits was an amazing series. I loved every moment I spent with it. I could go on reading books about every single character in it. I highly recommend reading it.

Review: Something So Unscripted by Natasha Madison

Title: Something So Unscripted
Author: Natasha Madison
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Cover Design: Melissa Gill at MGBookCovers
 
 

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

Oh my goodness the feels in this book! Natasha Madison slayed me with this one! Something So Unscripted is a book that will have your emotions on red alert.

Zack’s life has exploded in the past year. First, his five-year old son Jack is diagnosed with cancer. Then, he finds his wife cheating on him with his teammate. Instead of feeling sorry for himself Zack drops the dead weight, trades teams, and moves to New York where the best doctors are for Jack. One of those doctors is Zack’s new teammate Max’s younger sister, Denise. Denise is the perfect doctor for Jack, and she might just be the perfect woman for Zack.

There were so many things to love about Something So Unscripted. Natasha Madison’s writing was as brilliant as always, but this book stood out from her others. It was so emotionally complex. I loved where she went with this one. Even when it was tugging on my heart-strings, it was still fun to read.

The characters in this book were outstanding. Zack was an awesome father. His dedication to his son was exactly what it should have been. I loved how Jack was his first priority and everything else came after. I loved how he dealt with his wife on everything regarding Jack. Denise was also special. I can only imagine what being an oncology doctor for young children would be like. The care she showed the kids and their families showcased what an amazing woman she was. I especially loved how she adored Jack. Their relationship was so special and sweet. It was more important to me than Denise’s relationship with Zack.

As for Jack…he completely stole the show. That kid was so freakin’ adorable. He may have had cancer, but he didn’t let that get him down. He shared his light with everyone. His part in this romance was something special. I loved him so much!!!

I can’t leave out all of the other awesome characters. Max and Matthew were back harassing each other and now Zack. Their wives and families also made several appearances and made this book feel family oriented. I loved seeing them all again!

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this book! Well, maybe the whole Zack and Jack name thing. They rhyme and I kept getting them confused! LOL. But seriously. Something So Unscripted was utter perfection right through to the epilogue (LOVED it!!!). It was such a great story. I really, really hope this isn’t the end of this series. I want need more books!

One of the most EMOTIONAL romances I’ve read this year! Natasha Madison continues to AMAZE ME with every new release! – Shayna Renee 


Something so Unscripted is so much more than a love story, it is an all-encompassing, engrossing and engaging novel about, love, life and all the moments that make life special. – Denise Shh Mom’s Reading


Something So Unscripted is positively the most amazing book I’ve read. It gives the most heart wrenching story that will leave breathless. – Book Haven Book Blog

Zack

Finding my teammate in bed with my wife made the decision I had been fighting with for years easier.

It’s time to move on. 

A fresh start and a new NHL team in a big city. Most importantly, it’s my son Jack’s best shot. 

It would be both of our best shots. 
Denise

After a bad childhood, I made sure I would succeed, so I lived for my job. 

The problem is I die a little with each patient I lose. It’s part of my career at Hudson Children’s Oncology Hospital, but it doesn’t make the sting of loss any easier. 

Seeking anything other than a life saved isn’t on my agenda until a NHL player walks into my hospital with his son. 

We’re officially off script the moment we meet. 

If this love is anything, it’s unscripted.

 
“Zack.” I hear her voice and just look at my wife. The woman who said she would love me in good times and in bad yet is currently holding a sheet to cover her naked body. The four-carat engagement with matching eternity wedding ring glistens in the light. “It’s just …” she starts to say, and I look over at the man in bed next to her. In our bed. 

“It’s over.” I say the two words I swore I wouldn’t say no matter how hard it got. No matter how much I saw her push me away, no matter that I always suspected she was cheating on me. Then I look over at the man who I called a brother, the man who stood by my side on and off the ice. “You’re scum.”

“It just happened,” Colton says, getting out of the bed. At least he’s wearing boxers. His knee is still wrapped from the operation he had last month, which is why he wasn’t on the road with us, which is how I surprised them.

We were on the road for the whole week and due back tomorrow, but I hightailed it out of there to get home to my family and my son. “It just so happened you walked into my house and slept with my wife?” I ask him, and I have to wonder why I’m not more pissed, why I’m not more angry with them. “You come here and sleep with my wife with my son under the same roof.”

“Zack,” my wife says, and I look over at her again. Tears are rolling down her cheeks, her perfectly made up face now streaked with the black mascara she always wears. “Please let’s …”

I shake my head, putting my hands in my pockets. “Let’s what? Let’s talk about this?” I throw my head back and laugh. “Let’s talk about the fact that our son is in his room dying. Let’s talk about the fact that instead of helping him, you’re just helping yourself. Let’s talk about the fucking fact that instead of being there by his side with me, you chose to escape the fucking reality that our son won’t make it to six years old.”

“No.” She shakes her head, and I know that I’ve about had it.

“I’ll give you an hour,” I tell them both. “One hour and I want you packed and at the door when I come back.”

“But—” she says.

“But nothing, Chantal. You did what you had to do for you, and now I’m doing what I need to do for our son.”

I turn and walk out of our bedroom, then down the winding staircase that leads to the big brass front doors. Once outside in the warm Arizona air, I take my phone out of my pocket and call the only person I know who has my back no matter what. My agent and best friend, Jamie.

He answers after one ring, and it doesn’t surprise me he sleeps with his phone in his hand. “What’s up?” he says, his voice sleepy since it’s four a.m. in New York.

“I want out of Arizona, make the trade. Call the powers that be; I want out,” I tell him, getting into my Range Rover.

“You can’t just demand that,” he says, and I hear sheets rustle.

“Just walked in on Colton fucking my wife, so you can bet your ass I can. Make it happen. Call New York because it’s the only place I’ll go. I don’t care if I take a pay cut.”

“That fucking scumbag,” he says. “I’ll call them now.”

“Jamie, there is a top-notch doctor who specializes in cancer in New York. Max Horton’s sister,” I tell him quietly and slowly drive out of my gate.

“I’ll make it happen,” he says softly. “I’ll let you know what they say.”

“Jamie, I’m leaving here in a week regardless of what they say,” I tell him and disconnect the call. 

“One week,” I say to myself. “One fucking week.”
 
When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
 HOSTED BY:

 

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.

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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.

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Review: What I Never Knew I Wanted by C.L. Collier

What I Never Knew I Wanted
Series: What I Never Knew, #2
Author: C.L. Collier
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
Publisher: C.L. Collier LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

When I went to California to fulfill my mom’s last wishes, I got more than I bargained for. Not only did I meet family I never knew I had, I also met Dax. Our long distance relationship hasn’t been easy, but when tragedy strikes, my priorities become clearly defined. My mom may be gone, but as I rush to the one I love, her dreams for my future replay on a loop through my mind. She wanted me to open my heart to love and have a family of my own. Now, I don’t know if I’ll ever get that chance.


What I Never Knew I Wanted is the conclusion to Amanda’s story that began in What I Never Knew. (In order to enjoy this book to the fullest, you will want to read that book first.) Amanda is reeling from the shock she received at the end of the first book. In this book, she deals with the stress of what happened. Amanda’s also moved on from focusing on her mother’s death to navigating what it means to be in a relationship with Dax. Amanda has some tough decisions to make, and more surprises along the way make things even more difficult. The one thing that holds Amanda together is Dax’s love.

I really enjoyed What I Never Knew I Wanted. While the last book felt more like women’s fiction, this one felt more like a contemporary romance. It still had moments of reflection on Amanda’s mother, but it was more about Amanda and Dax. I loved that. Amanda and Dax’s romance was so sweet. I loved how they navigated a long distance romance and made each other a priority. They faced some tough hurdles, but were made stronger by them.

The only thing that threw me off a bit in What I Never Knew I Wanted was the ending. It was a little abrupt. I was waiting for another big dramatic moment, but it didn’t come. All of a sudden I arrived at the epilogue. It wasn’t that I didn’t like that, I just wasn’t expecting it. I think that’s because I know there is a third book. I thought that one was going to be about Amanda and Dax, but maybe it will be about another couple? (I’m hoping Laura and Chris!) I did love how the book ended, though. Amanda and Dax’s happily ever after was perfect.

Series Review: The Bennetts by Kennedy Ryan

When I read my first KENNEDY RYAN book, I knew I was going to go back and read all of her other books. I was finally about to read her THE BENNETTS series. Rather than review them all separately, I am reviewing them all in this post.

When You Are Mine (Book1) and Loving You Always (Book 2)
Publication Dates: January 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

(I’m reviewing the first two books together because they’re basically one story.)

Synopsis #1:

Forever is a heartbeat away . . .

Kerris Moreton knows how to make things work. Bounced from foster home to foster home as a kid, she adapted; when opportunity arose, she thrived. Now, about to open her own business and accept a marriage proposal, Kerris is ready to build the life she’s always wanted. The only thing missing? A passionate connection with her would-be fiancé, Cam. Kerris wants to believe that sparks are overrated-until Walsh Bennett lights her up like the Fourth of July.

. . . but what about love?

As one of the East Coast’s most eligible bachelors, Walsh enjoys financial independence, fulfilling work with his family’s nonprofit, and plenty of female attention. But lately he’s been distracted by the one woman he can’t have. Lovely to look at and even sweeter to know, Kerris is the soul mate Walsh never thought he would find. The problem is, his best friend found her first . . .

Synopsis #2:

Kerris Moreton should be the happiest woman in the world: She has a successful business and is about to start the family she’s always wanted. But the man of her dreams-the one whose green eyes see straight into her soul and whose gentle hands make her body hum with pleasure-is not hers.

Each secret moment with Walsh Bennett serves to remind Kerris of what she’s missing. And every stolen hour makes it harder to see her future without him. But being with Walsh would betray a sacred promise and upend her perfect life. When tragedy strikes, the razor’s edge between love and loyalty grows sharper than ever. And Kerris must decide where her heart will fall . . .

REVIEW:

I’m not a big fan of love triangles (especially involving friends/family), so these two books aren’t my favorite Kennedy Ryan has written. I wanted Walsh and Kerris to end up together, but I felt really horrible for Cam. Even when he was being a not so good person, I felt like Cam was betrayed in terrible way. I liked how everything worked out in the end, but I still felt bad for Cam.

One thing I want to mention is that these books are written in third person unlike Ryan’s newer books. That wasn’t my favorite, but I was impressed that she was still able to put the same amount of emotions into her characters and their problems that way. Once I got used to the third person, I barely noticed it.

Overall, When You Are Mine and Loving You Always were good books. The love triangle was done is a way that didn’t leave me stressing out about who Kerris would end up with. Her path always felt right. I adored her, Walsh, and even Cam. I was happy to find out the next book is Cam and Jo’s.


Be Mine Forever (Book 3)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can a secret crush . . .

Jo Walsh has loved Cameron Mitchell for as long as she can remember. Whether front and center in her life or on the periphery, the tall, brooding artist has made his presence seductively and irresistibly known. But whenever they start to get close, Cam pulls away. Jo’s tired of keeping her feelings in a box Cam is afraid to open. If he wants her, he’ll have to prove it. And if he doesn’t, Jo will need to know the real reason why . . .

. . . become the love of a lifetime?

How do you walk away from your soul mate? Cam wishes he knew. No matter how far he runs from Jo, he can’t resist looking back at the silver eyes that seem to see right through him. But as well as Jo thinks she understands Cam, the dark truth about his past is something she shouldn’t have to handle. Cam’s sure that setting Jo free is the right thing to do. Too bad his heart has other ideas . . .

REVIEW:

I’m still not a fan of the third person, but Be Mine Forever is classic Kennedy Ryan. It’s deep, dark, gritty, and emotional. It’s also sweet. Despite being kind of a jerk, Cam has a heart of gold. He doesn’t want to drag anyone into his problems, especially someone as special to him as Jo. I loved how he let his guard down with her eventually. Cam had some tough things to overcome and I loved that Jo was such a great support. Jo was such a kind hearted person as well as a strong, determined woman. I loved Cam and Jo together. I loved this book.


Until I’m Yours (Book 4)
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The world knows her face . . .

Mean girl. Goddess. Bitch. Supermodel Sofie Baston has earned those labels . . . yet they don’t scratch the surface of who she really is. Before she can follow her own dreams, Sophie must do her daughterly duty and reel in a “fish” for her father’s business-a tall, brown-eyed entrepreneur who immediately hooks her. He’s a big guy with an even bigger heart . . . but will that heart be open to Sofie once her darkest secret is revealed?

. . . but only one man knows her heart

To Trevor Bishop, Sofie is a beautiful mystery he would gladly spend his life solving. He figures her tough demeanor is armor against a world that’s hurt her too many times. Then Sofie’s deepest wounds are reopened by the powerful, ruthless man who made them. When she musters the courage to take him down, her world shatters. Now Trevor is determined to help Sofie pick up the pieces so they can build a future together. The challenge will be convincing his ice princess that it’s safe to melt in his arms . . .

REVIEW:

This was my favorite book in the series! I’m really surprised because I was not a fan of Sofie from the first two books. She was really horrible, and I found it hard to think she could redeem herself. Getting to know the real Sofie made me fall in love with her. She was as mean as she seemed, but how she ended up being that way made a lot of sense. It also helped that Sofie also had a big heart. Sofie just needed to be loved. She found a special connection with Trevor. I loved him and how he supported her. I’m happy she got a sweet, but emotional story.

Another reason this was my favorite book was because it was in first person!!! The past three books were in third person. It was so much easier to connect with Sofie in this one because of the first person narration. Thank goodness Kennedy Ryan switched things up. I loved seeing how her writing evolved from the first book to the last.


Overall, I enjoyed reading The Bennetts. It was an emotionally charged series. That made it hard to binge read at times, but I’m happy I did. I loved seeing the evolution of the characters throughout the entire series. I also loved seeing Kennedy Ryan’s writing grow.

**One thing I do feel the need to point out is that this series may have some big TRIGGERS for some people. Three of the main characters in this series were raped in the past, so each book has something about that. (You might think that would make the books feel redundant, but it surprisingly didn’t.)