Review: Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Until You
Series: Bachelor Brotherhood, #2
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Never settle down. Ever.

Workaholic Lanie Rogers lives a completely nomadic lifestyle. Her job keeps her on the move, and relationships are a complication she doesn’t need. That is, until she meets Mr. Tall, Dark, and Hotness at a pre-wedding party. Complicated? Maybe. But lately, Lanie’s life has been missing a little something—and sexy playboy Tyler Norris offers something she definitely can’t refuse.

Tyler has always been a little too popular with women for his own good. Ever since he and his buddies vowed to remain bachelors, Tyler figured he was safe from temptation. Lanie and her gorgeous brown eyes are about to prove him so, so wrong. With one kiss, the heat is intense. After one night, it’s pure combustion. It was supposed to be a no-strings fling—until these two commitment-phobes each discover the one undeniable exception to their rule.


I became aware of Denise Grover Swank’s Bachelor Brotherhood series when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for the first book, Only You. I immediately fell in love with her brand of contemporary romance. It was smart, sassy and sexy — three things I’m looking for when I’m reading a romance novel. I was very excited when I saw Until You was available to request on NetGalley. I’ve been waiting for this book since the moment I finished Only You.

In Until You, we get to know Kevin’s best friend, Tyler. Tyler’s a reformed manwhore who’s dealt with his fair share of crazies. Being around Kevin and Holly, and now soon-to-be-married Randy and Brittany, has Tyler re-examining what kind of relationship he really wants in life. Meeting bride-to-be Brittany’s cousin, Lanie, has Tyler feeling things he’s never felt before. It’s a good thing that Lanie is only here for a month. There’s no promise of forever if Tyler acts on his attraction to her.

Lanie lives her life moving from place to place opening up a famous women’s clothing store in secret. She’s doesn’t own a house or a car and she’s completely satisfied with that. Lanie is very excited to have a sex only fling with groomsman Tyler. Or she was until she watched her best friend and cousin get ready for her upcoming nuptials. Now, Lanie finds herself wanting more than her nomadic life. Maybe a chance at forever with a certain sexy groomsman.

Until You was a humorous romance. You had two people who kept getting paired together who were sexing it up in secret. Every interaction they had outside the bedroom had some sort of crazy disaster. I can’t count the number of times I found myself laughing or shaking my head. It was so much fun to read!

I loved both Lanie and Tyler. Both were workaholics who only had time for sex. Luckily, the sex they had together was so amazing that other parts of their lives started drifting together. They were on the same page for pretty much the whole book and I loved that. Their chemistry propelled the entire story forward. I enjoyed every minute of it.

My only complaint about Until You was how the story wrapped up. It was a good, strong ending with as much humor as the rest of the book. I just didn’t like how quickly the conclusion came. Everything fixed itself in one outlandish moment, and I kept thinking to myself that amount of crazy doesn’t happen all at once. It was sweet, though; and entertaining.

If you’re a fan of contemporary romances and haven’t yet read the Bachelor Brotherhood series, I highly recommend you read it. It’s a stellar series wrapped around, but not consumed by, weddings.

Review: Buns by Alice Clayton

Buns
Series: Hudson Valley, #3
Author: Alice Clayton
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.


Lately, I’ve read some contemporary romances that have been good but not great. They’ve just been a bit lackluster and left me craving a really great read. Buns was that really great read.

In Buns, Clara has been given the task of helping make Bryant Mountain House profitable again. She has all sorts of great ideas, but unfortunately the owner’s son isn’t quite on board. Clara knows she’s right and is willing to do what it takes to make Archie Bryant see reason. When some of Clara’s suggestions work, Archie realizes he needs to give her a chance in more ways than one.

Having read the first two books in the Hudson Valley series, I was pretty sure I was going to love Buns. As always, I loved Alice Clayton’s witty writing. It wasn’t as over the top funny as the previous books, but that didn’t bother me. The amount of humor in the story went well with Clara’s personality.  There were still many hilarious moments, but there were also some serious and soul-searching ones. I loved how they balanced each other out.

Clara was a more serious character than her friends. She based her life on the achievements she wanted to complete. Clara had her two close friends, Natalie and Roxie, but other than that she was a lone wolf. She didn’t see love or family in the future for herself. Her career was everything. That made her relationship with Archie come as a shock to her. It was fun to see Clara all flustered at the idea of a relationship with uptight Archie.

I adored Archie. He had a couple hang ups of his own, but for the most part he knew what he wanted. He put faith in all of the things Clara didn’t. I loved how he dealt with Clara’s fears, and didn’t hold them against her. He was just a really great guy. I would have loved to get his perspective on the whole thing, but it wasn’t necessary to the story.

Another really fun thing in Buns was getting to see some of my old Bailey Falls friends. Natalie will always be my favorite Hudson Valley girl, and she added some great moments to this story. I also loved seeing Chad and Logan again. I wish those two would get a book of their own! Oh! I can’t forget this! Fans of Wallbanger will love a visit from our favorite neighbor and decorator, Caroline!

Buns was a great addition to the Hudson Valley series. It was so much fun to explore another part of Bailey Falls and get to know Clara and Archie. I loved the sweet romance wrapped in humor. Buns restored my faith in contemporary romances again.

Review: Hot Shot by Kelly Jamieson

Hot Shot
Series: Last Shot, #2

Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A former Navy SEAL and current bad boy bar owner learns to trust a free spirit in this steamy novel of unexpected romance from the bestselling author of Body Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Marco Solis knows that if he gets too close to people they disappear. His parents were deported back to Mexico when he was fourteen, his fiancée married someone else while he was in the military, and now his business partner’s spending more time with his girl than with Marco. For better or worse, that’s how Marco meets Carrie Garner. She’s legitimately model-hot. She’s also a nut—a wild, artsy, unapproachable nut. So why is Marco so interested in cracking her shell?

Although Carrie Garner is a natural in front of the camera, her dream is to make it as a photographer. Soon she’ll be heading to Spain for design school, and she’ll miss her best friend, Hayden, like crazy. She’ll even miss Hayden’s boyfriend, Beck—but she won’t miss Beck’s partner, Marco. Bossy, brooding, and annoyingly sexy, Marco really pushes her buttons, though he obviously wouldn’t mind pushing her buttons in an up-against-the-wall, hard-and-fast kind of way. The craziest part is, if Carrie lets him do that, well . . . she may never want to leave.


I’m no stranger to Kelly Jamieson’s contemporary romance novels, but this is the first book I’ve read from her Last Shot series. To be honest, it took me a while to become invested in Marco and Carrie’s love story. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the enemies to lovers vibe they had going on. I just didn’t immediately feel their emotional connection. Looking back at the story after finishing, it was probably because there wasn’t an emotional connection between the two for the first half of the book. Everything was based on attraction. It makes more sense to me now, but didn’t help at the time.

Once Carrie and Marco decided to act on their attraction, there became an intense emotional connection between them. They were able to share parts of themselves with each other that they’d never shared with anyone before. It bonded them and deepened their sexual connection. This is when the story took off for me and I fell in love.

Carrie and Marco had some deep emotional scars they were living with. Carrie never felt good enough for her family, or that she was more than a pretty face. She hated Marco because he seemed to only see her for her beauty. Every suggestive comment from him felt like a smack in the face. Carrie didn’t realize Marco found her extremely attractive. Marco felt constantly abandoned. He kept his newer relationships with people on the surface to avoid the pain of losing people. Carrie was the perfect sexual relationship for Marco because there was a time limit. He knew when thing would end and that was safe.

What I liked most about Carrie and Marco’s relationship was that they weren’t looking for it to fix their insecurities. They had plans to do that on their own. In the end, their relationship helped them achieve their goals, but it wasn’t the only thing giving them strength.

Despite its slow start for me, Hot Shot was a great contemporary romance. It had two down to Earth main characters and some very fun secondary characters. While I would have rather it have been in first person, the third person narration was good. After reading it, I would love to finish reading the rest of the series.

Review: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken

The Playboy Bachelor
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona, #2
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .


I love Rachel Van Dyken’s books, but The Playboy Bachelor was not one of my favorites of hers. I found it to be a bit lackluster. It had the whole fluffy contemporary romance thing going, but what it really could have used some new adult emotional angst.

Bentley and Margo have been forced to live under the same roof for a weekend thanks to their meddling grandparents. This wouldn’t be a problem for the former best friends if Bentley hadn’t disappeared from Margo’s life when she needed him the most. Margo hates Bentley and his womanizing ways with a passion, and Bentley has no desire to hang out with the woman who hates him. The more time Bentley and Margo spend together, the more they realize their past may not be what it seemed.

I don’t want to give too much away about Margo and Bentley’s past, but they were best friends until suddenly they weren’t. Their underlying attraction was still there after the ten years they spent apart, but there were so many unresolved feelings between them. The situation between them created so many emotional possibilities for the characters and their romance, but were they were barely brushed over. Just reuniting suddenly seemed to fix everything for them.

I needed more self-discovery from the main characters in this book, especially on Bentley’s part. Bentley was a weak man who used his mistakes as an excuse. He was unapologetic about his use of women. Bentley wasn’t a bad guy, though. He was actually a sweetheart deep down and just needed to get over his past. Margot was a little better. She had a reason to be angry with what life had thrown at her. I liked that she didn’t give into Bentley immediately and made him suffer through her anger. My main issue with Margo was how she approached a sexual relationship with Bentley. It felt so uncharacteristic of her.

While The Playboy Bachelor didn’t accomplish what I wanted emotionally, it was still an enjoyable read. It had a fun, fluffy contemporary romance thing going on. If you liked the first book in this series, chances are you’ll enjoy this one, too.

Review: Wrong Turn, Right Direction by Elle Casey

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

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

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

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

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

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

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

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

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt:

Lucy

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

Maybe we were an accident—a mistake.

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

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

But still, the way he kissed me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’d always be worth it to me.

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

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

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

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

TGOU-AN

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About the Author:

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

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