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: The Pieces of Us by Jennifer Loring

The Pieces of Us
Series: The Firebird Trilogy, #3
Author: Jennifer Loring
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note:
 I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Aleksandr Volynsky thinks he’s experienced the worst life can throw at him, until the most devastating loss leaves him questioning everything…

One year later, Alex and his daughter, Anya, are still picking up the pieces. In the process, he realizes how far apart their mutual grief has driven them and how lonely he has become—especially when the Buffalo Gladiators’ beautiful anthemist, Hannah Kent, finally introduces herself.

Anya Volynsky is a high-school senior with plans—her father’s plans—to become the first woman on a professional hockey team’s starting roster…

But Anya is toying with the idea of staying in Buffalo and caring for her father rather than accept a scholarship to play hockey at Boston College. Her decision becomes even more difficult when she meets her school’s new athletic trainer, Lucas Donovan. Their experience with similar losses draws them together, and soon their friendship blossoms into a forbidden love that neither of them expected.

With lives torn apart by sorrow, Alex and Anya try to restore their bond, but it’s not that easy…

Alex’s attraction to Hannah keeps growing stronger, and he needs to decide if he’s ready to overcome his pain—but also if he’s willing to do it without Anya’s approval. Anya, on the other hand, is headed for trouble, and while Alex tries to do the right thing in order to protect her, all he manages to do is push her further away.

Can Alex and Anya find the courage to pick up the broken pieces of their lives, or will the heartache of the past ruin their chances at finding happiness again?


I’m a big fan of hockey romances. I’ve read so many of them, and yet, Jennifer Loring’s still stand out. The Firebird Trilogy isn’t filled with bubbly, sexy sports romances. It’s filled with deeper situations and an all-consuming love between the main characters.Alex and Stephany drown in each other, and I can’t help but drown in them, too.

The Pieces of Us is different from the first two books in the series. Alex has lost Stephany for good this time, and he’s not sure how to go on without her. He must learn to heal from the pain and be the father he needs to be to seventeen year-old Anya. Anya isn’t having an easy time either. She’s finally fallen in love, but it’s the forbidden type. She knows it’s wrong to love him, but she’s always been told to follow her heart.

Alex and Anya’s journey was emotional. Alex had so much pain he was dealing with. He couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel until he met Hannah. Navigating a new romance was really hard for him, and I felt like Jennifer Loring did an amazing job of capturing what it would be like for someone as devoted as Alex was to Stephany to move on. There were also so many great father-daughter moments between Alex and Anya.

I hate saying this, but I wasn’t a big fan of Anya’s relationship with her athletic trainer. The Student-teacher relationship trope is not one I’m a fan of. Anya’s relationship with Lucas was not quite a student-teacher relationship, but close enough. If it was in college, it wouldn’t have bugged me as much, but she was a seventeen year-old high school student. I didn’t like the line Anya and Lucas crossed. Anya was still so emotionally young. Her actions and thoughts proved it. I didn’t think her relationship with Lucas, who was five years older, was a good thing. I’m happy things worked out for her in the end, but it still wasn’t my favorite storyline.

The Pieces of Us was a story of healing and learning to live life again after a devastating loss. It was a story of finding love again and making mistakes along the way. It was beautifully written, and the perfect conclusion to an amazing trilogy. I highly recommend The Firebird Trilogy to hockey romance fans who like a darker love story filled with heart.

Blog Tour Review: Tempt the Boss by Natasha Madison

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Lauren
Going back to work was supposed to be a painless transition, but when my new boss turns out to be an arrogant, cocky jerk, he quickly turns my professional life into a world of torture. Okay, fine, calling him an asshat before knowing he was my boss wasn’t my finest moment. Hating him should be easy. I just never counted on him being so gorgeous or charming when he’s not annoying me.

Austin
I expected my new assistant to be professional and punctual, but all I’m getting are dirty looks and rude comments. I should fire the little hellion, but instead all I can think about is bending her over my desk and breaking every rule I’ve ever made for myself.

One look. One touch. One night. If we break the rules, our lives will never be the same again.

Good thing rules were made to be broken. And besides, it feels so good to Tempt the Boss.

My Review:

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

I feel like I won the lottery after having been asked to read and review Tempt the Boss. I’ve read a ton of office romances lately, and it is definitely one of my favorites! It was my first time reading one of Natasha Madison’s books, and I was so impressed.

Tempt the Boss had me laughing non-stop. Austin and Lauren started out as enemies barely able to work together. They couldn’t stand each other, but were so attracted to each other. There was a definite love-hate relationship between them that created so many amazing moments. The antics those two got up to were insane! (Side note: If I was Natasha Madison’s friend, I would not wrong her. I would be scared for my life!) I loved every minute of the war they had going on.

The laughs and tension didn’t stop once Lauren and Austin moved from hate to love, but the story took on a more seductive and sweet tone. Lauren and Austin’s were freaks between the sheets! Their passion was so hot and intense. Their relationship wasn’t all about the sex, though. Lauren had kids, and so much of their relationship was about finding balance and creating a family. I loved how seamlessly the author was able to combine both aspects of Lauren’s life into the story.

Lauren and Austin were both amazing characters. I loved Lauren’s tenacity and the way she rebounded from life’s harder experiences. She was a strong woman and a great role model. Austin was a cocky jerk, but he also had a lot of good things about him. He was a much more decent guy than I thought he would be. He really won me over with his approach to Lauren and their life together.

There were so many other great characters in this book, too. I loved Lauren’s crazy sister and all of Noah’s friends. I really need to check Madison’s backlist of books and see if there are any about them. I would love to read more about them!

I honestly don’t have anything negative to say about Tempt the Boss. It pleasantly surprised me, and made me excited to read more from Natasha Madison. I highly recommend this book if you love witty dialog, hilarious standoffs and super sexy office romances.

Lauren
I’m singing along to Maroon Five’s “Don’t Wanna Know” when a call comes in. Penelope’s name flashes on the screen. Penelope is my friend from college, the only friend who I kept in touch with. She runs an HR firm that specializes in placing temps. She is the reason I have this job right now.
“Hello,” I say while I wait for her voice to fill the car.

“Hey, there, just checking in. You ready?” she asks me. I hear her rustling papers in the background, so I know she is already at her desk.

“Yup, I’m on my way there now. I’m so nervous, I may puke, though. But I’ll be on time.” I chuckle at the thought of me barfing all over my new boss. I brake for the traffic that is slowing to a crawl in front of me when I feel my van jerk forward slightly. My head flies forward and then snaps back. Looking in my mirror, I see that someone just hit me.

“Oh my god. Someone just ran into me. Fuck me, P. I have to call you back,” I say, unlocking my seatbelt and climbing out of the car.

I put my Tory Birch sunglasses on top of my head, walking to the back to see the damage. I don’t even have time to get there before I hear a raspy voice ask, “What the hell is wrong with you? You just stopped!” I put a hand over my eyes to block the sun and see him. And boy, do I see him. My heart skips a beat when he whips his aviator sunglasses off his face.

He’s about six feet tall, maybe taller, with dark hair that’s short on the sides and a bit longer at the top, which almost looks like it was combed back by his hands. His eyes are a mossy green with shimmery gold flecks in them that I can see thanks to the sun hitting them just right. A freshly-shaven face that shows off the strong angles of his jaw and hints at where I’m sure a five-o’clock-shadow of delicious stubble will emerge in a few hours.

He’s wearing a suit minus the jacket. His dark blue pants are a perfect fit, molding to him like they were made especially for him, and from the looks of them, they probably were. His crisp, white dress shirt is open at the collar and covers his broad chest and thick biceps. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows and show off a big, masculine silver Rolex watch.

He throws his hand up as he angrily asks, “Is something wrong with you? Are you drunk?”

I take a step back, putting my hand to my stomach. “Are you talking to me?” I look around wondering if there is someone else he could be talking to. “You hit me. You. Hit. Me.” I storm to the back of the car to assess the damage. I see that my bumper is a bit scratched, but his Porsche is going to need some body work.

“I can’t believe this. I can’t flipping believe this! Now I’m going to be late because you were probably too busy on your phone texting to pay attention to the road.” I walk to my car, opening the door and leaning across the seat to grab my purse. Cars pass us slowly, everyone taking a look to see what’s going on.

Looking at the clock on the dash, I see that I have to be at my new job in twenty minutes. Grabbing my license, registration, and insurance ID card, I slam the door and walk over to see him leaning on the side of my car, watching me.

“I’m going to be late. Is there any way we can just exchange numbers and get all the information after?” I ask, looking through the papers.

I hear him huff. “You probably don’t have insurance, which is why you want to call me later so you can get some while I drive around with a missing a light.” He walks over to his car, leans down, and grabs his phone from the driver’s seat.

I look at him. “So, you weren’t on the phone? Riiighhhhttt,” I say glaring at him.

“I don’t have all day. Some of us have actual work to do. What do you want from me?” His tone is snarky.

“Actually, I don’t want anything from you. My car has a scratch, yours is the one that is damaged. Besides, it wasn’t even my fault. Maybe we should call the police to make a report so we can get it on the record that you were driving while texting.” I lean my head to the side. “I’m not a police officer or anything, but I think that’s against the law.”

He snarls at me, “Just give me your number.” I tell him my number, and when he asks my name, I gladly tell him. “The woman whose car you hit because you were texting while driving.” He looks at me and his eyebrows pinch together. “Is that name already taken?” I ask him, waiting for his answer. When I realize he isn’t going to reply, I ask him, “Now, what’s yours?” He shoots off his number, and I store it in my phone.

I turn around to walk away. “Aren’t you going to ask me my name?” He puts his hands on his hips, his biceps bulging and his chest looking impossibly broader.

“Nope, no need. I just put you under ‘Asshat who texts while driving and hit my car.’” I smile at him. “Have a fabulous day,” I grumble, turning around and getting back in the car.

Fuck. I see that I now have ten minutes to get there. I dial Penelope right after I buckle and take off watching the asshole get into his car. “I think I might still make it,” I tell her even before she says hello.

“It’s okay. I called and told them there was an accident on the way, and they said not to worry, that Austin was going to be late, too. So, you’re still good to go.  How’s the damage?” she asks.

“Minivan: 1 – Porsche: 0.” I laugh and tell her I’ll check back in with her at lunch.

When I finally make it to the office building, I check my face and apply lip gloss one more time before walking inside. I look at my phone and notice that I’m only seven minutes late. Not bad all things considered. I walk in and tell the security guard I am there for Barbara at Mackenzie Jacob Associates. When he calls up, he gets the all clear to send me up.

I make my way up to the forty-sixth floor and walk to the receptionist, who is smiling from ear-to-ear. “Hi. I’m here to see Barbara. My name is Lauren. I’m the temp,” I explain as she gets up and comes around to shake my hand, introducing herself as Carmen. She then takes me back to meet Barbara.

Barbara is short with white hair, and her glasses are perched on her nose. “Hey, there, Lauren. I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’ve heard great things from Penelope.” She reaches out to shake my hand and motions for me to sit down.

“Thank you so much, and I’m so sorry I’m late. I was in a little fender bender, and I tried to finish as fast as I could,” I tell her, sitting down in the chair in front of her desk.
“No worries. I heard Austin was going to be about ten minutes late, but he got here right before you did. Now, if you will fill out these papers here, I will get your elevator pass ready for you,” she says while she goes to her cabinet in the corner.

Because this is just a temp job, I don’t have to do much. Just an emergency contact form. “Now, I should warn you that this is the tenth temp we have hired for this position… this month,” she finishes quickly.

I look at her, confused. “But it’s only the seventeenth of November.” My heart starts racing. What if he throws me out? What if he laughs at me since I haven’t worked in ten years?

“Mr. Mackenzie is, um, well… special to work for,” she murmures while looking down at the papers in front of her and not even trying not make eye contact with me.

“Special? What does that mean?” I ask, my eyebrows pinching together.

“Let’s just say that my money is on you.” She gets up. “Shall we?” She points to the door. I nod at her, trying to get some saliva going in my mouth. It’s dry, and my palms are sweating. I think my armpits are actually starting to sweat, too. Oh boy. I can’t do this. I should turn around and run away.

But before I can make my move, we reach a door that is closed. The big brown door is solid, and the windows that look out into the office have their shades drawn. I hear Barbara knock on the door before we enter.

I don’t see much in front of her. I just look around the office at the view of the city, since there are wall-to-wall windows affording it an amazing view. I don’t have a chance to look much further, because all I hear is a raspy voice asking, “Are you fucking stalking me? Did you follow me here?” I whip my head around to look at him.

Just my luck. It’s the asshat from this morning, the one who hit me. Except now, the asshat is sitting behind the desk, the desk that apparently belongs to my new temporary boss.



Austin

I’m already having the shittiest day ever and it’s only fucking eight o’clock. My alarm didn’t wake me at five a.m. like it does every day, so I didn’t have a chance to get my run in before I had to head to work.

Just a quick shower and a coffee before I hurried out. I walked out of my apartment, rushed to the elevator, and ran smack into my ex who, according to her, ‘just happened to be in the area.’

It took a lot for me not to roll my eyes at her. She wasn’t in the area; she’s fucking the dude who lives upstairs. Not that I care. I was the one who let her go. Whatever, I blew her off and headed to my car.

Right as I started up my car, my mother decided it was a great day to call and lay out everything that’s wrong with my life. I’m nearing forty; all I have is my career, blah blah blah. Newsflash, Mom, that’s all I want.

So, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I hit a mini bus, or a van, or whatever the hell it’s called.

I expected a frumpy housewife to get out of the car, but instead I was greeted by a woman who could only be described as sex-on-a-stick, or I guess I should say two sticks, because those legs of hers aren’t something I’ll forget anytime soon. I couldn’t even talk I was so stunned. Then she bent over her seat and presented me with the most perfect ass. I think I actually groaned.

My cock was getting ready to salute her right then and there as she walked back to me from her minivan. The thought that she was someone’s wife and I was jonesing on her made my skin crawl. I may be an asshole, but I don’t fuck with marriages or people in relationships. There are more than enough single people on earth to not get involved with someone who isn’t.

I tried to see if she was wearing a ring, but I couldn’t see anything. I took her number, and she rushed away.

The whole way to work, I replayed the scene in my head over and over again. I tried to think back on anything that I could have said that would have had her reacting so hostilely.

I got to the office just four minutes late. I absolutely loathe tardiness; people who are late drive me nuts. I built this company from the ground up. I am now the most sought-after commercial contract developer in the city, especially when it comes to entertainment establishments. If you want to open a restaurant or nightclub in this city, let’s just say I am known widely as the best choice to make sure it happens.

There is never a dull moment in this business. If I have to get in there and swing a hammer or wash the damn glasses myself, I do it. There is nothing I won’t do to protect my and my company’s reputation. If you are opening a restaurant or a nightclub and you attach it to the name Mackenzie Jacob, chances are it’ll be a hit from day one.

So now, here I am walking into my office a few minutes late. The cute new receptionist, Carmen, is batting her eyes at me as I walk in, dragging out her greeting. “Good Morning, Mr. Mackenzie.” She’s new here, so she mustn’t have heard the news yet, but I don’t fuck where I eat. Ever.

“Morning. Is my new temp here yet?” I ask her, getting right to the point as she hands me my messages. A new temp who is yet another thing I didn’t need today.

Since my secretary retired last month, I’ve gone through six or seven temps…okay, maybe ten. But it’s not all my fault. I can’t take it if they’re stupid and I have to sit there and spell things out for them. I need someone who can take direction, get it right the first time, and just do what I ask the first time I ask it. It’s simple, really.

When I ask you to get me coffee, I’m not asking you to join me for a cup. When I tell you to scan and email something, I don’t need reporting of the task as if you’re waiting for a sticker on your paper. When you have a caller on hold, I don’t need you announcing them to me through the intercom in a singsong voice. I also don’t need you knocking on my door every few minutes to ask me if I need anything. Trust me, when I need something, you’ll be the first one to know.

“Can you tell Barbara I’m in now?” I prompt her, walking away while I pull the collar from my neck, making my way down the hall toward my corner office.

I walk into my office, taking in the view of the city. We are on the forty-sixth floor, so I can see the skyline perfectly, and at night, it’s even better. I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. There aren’t set hours for my work. So, if I have to be at the office for fifteen hours a day, then that’s what it takes. Which is why I don’t need, or want, a wife at this point. I’d just let them down.

I’ve lost count of how many relationships I’ve had that have ended because I wasn’t there when I said I would be. I’m married to my work, and she is my first priority.

Sitting in my chair, I start going through the messages. I flip through them, seeing two messages from Vegas. I’m thinking of branching out and opening an office there, but something is stopping me. I like to stay local. I like to show up during construction. I like to pop in when you least expect it, and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I branched out to Vegas.

I’m about to call them back when there is a knock on the door. I don’t even have to tell them to come in before Barbara opens the door. I look over at her. She’s been here from day one, but she isn’t what I’m looking at this morning; it’s the girl behind her.

Fucking unbelievable! This crazy chick followed me to my work. She is probably coming to sue me. I’ll show her. “Are you fucking stalking me? Did you follow me here?” I growl at her while I stand up behind my desk.

Barbara’s face pales and her mouth hangs open, but not the sassy one behind her. “Follow you? Are you insane?” She looks at Barbara. “I can’t do this. I totally understand why you’ve gone through so many temps. Who would work for him?” She shakes her head. “Not only did he hit my car”—she looks at me—“while texting. The first thing he asked was if I was drunk!” She looks back at Barbara, who then glares at me. Great, just great, she’s on crazy chick’s side. “You would think he would ask me if I’m okay, right? Nope, not this guy. He wanted to know if I was drunk at eight a.m. Who the hell drinks at eight am anyway?” She folds her arms under her breasts, unnecessarily pushing them up. Fuck. I can’t stop the mental image of her standing there, arms crossed under her tits, in nothing but her shoes. I shake that thought from my head.

“Wait.” I throw the messages on my desk. “You, you’re my temp?”

“No, sir,” she says, and fuck me, but does that ever make me want to hold her hands behind her back as I bend her over my desk and pound into her while she calls me sir. “I was your temp.” She looks at Barbara. “I wish you well.” Then she turns and starts walking out the door.

Barbara’s raised voice stops her. “Wait a second!” She looks at me.  “Austin Montgomery Mackenzie, is Lauren telling me that you hit her car and then asked her if she was drunk? I raised you better than that, young man,” she chides in that sharp tone I remember from my childhood. Okay, so Barbara was also my nanny growing up. That was to be expected when you’re the child of world-renowned doctors who jetted around the globe saving lives. One is a cardiologist, and the other is a brain surgeon. They had very little time to raise a child. So, that’s where Barbara came in, and she stayed until I was eighteen. She retired, but when I opened this firm, she was the first one I thought of to handle the HR side of the company, something I knew she would handle far better than me. “Apologize right this second, Austin,” she demands, and I scoff at her. I will not do any such thing.

“She braked suddenly for no reason! There was no one in front of her,” I defend myself. Barbara’s eyebrows pinch together, and she takes her glasses off so they hang on the chain around her neck. I know that if I don’t say sorry, this will just end in her quitting again. Last time, it cost me a month-long Mediterranean cruise. “Fine,” I huff out, “I’m sorry I accused you of being drunk. I should have just called you what you are—a reckless, clueless female driver.”

Lauren stands there glaring at me as Barbara yells, “I quit!” This must shock Lauren, because she immediately goes to Barbara and strokes her back. “Oh no. No, no, no. Please, really, it’s fine. It’s totally okay. I accept his apology.” She aims a glare at me. “I understand now why so many women left, he’s a…” She leans in and whispers in Barbara’s ear. I don’t know what she says, but they both snicker. Great, just great.
   
“Yup, my money is on Lauren.” She looks at me. “You’re lucky she saved you this time.” She smiles at Lauren. “Let’s do lunch tomorrow. Austin’s treat.”

She leaves the room leaving us all alone. “Fine. I guess I’ll try and work with you, for Barbara.” She walks out to the desk facing my office. She puts her purse on it. Turning the computer on, she grabs a pen and notepad and comes back in. “No time like the present to get this out of the way, so why don’t we start with your expectations of me?”

I look at her while she sits in the chair in front of me, crossing her legs at her ankles. I sit down, leaning back in my chair, and start rocking. “Okay, fine. I expect you to be on time. Every day. No exceptions.”

She doesn’t write it down. “That isn’t a problem. I hate when people are late, so you don’t have to worry about that. Unless, of course, irresponsible people hit my car while I’m innocently driving, I’ll be here on time.”

“There is a list on your desk of routine tasks required of this position that you can read. If it’s not clear enough, then come ask me questions. How’s that?”

She gets up. “That sounds like a plan.” She turns to walk away, and I watch her. Every fucking step she takes she swings her hips; the best thing is, she has no idea she’s doing it. She has no idea that I’m sitting here negotiating with myself about my own rule. I’m not sure how I’m going to get anything done, because fucking her on my desk is the only thing I can think of that needs to be done right now.

 

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…

Author Links

Review: Meant for You by Michelle Major

Meant for You
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Single mom Jenny Castelli has a temper to match her red hair. When the former mean girls of her high school insult her son, Jenny fires off a big lie—that she’s engaged to a rich, handsome guy and is bringing him to their ten-year reunion. Now she needs to find the perfect fake fiancé for one night. And only one man fits the bill.

Geek turned tech entrepreneur Owen Dalton already had his heart-broken by Jenny Castelli. Still, he finds himself agreeing to her proposition—even as he struggles to remember that the chemistry sparking between them isn’t real. But when Jenny’s ex makes a play for custody and Owen is forced to deal with the family who always treated him as “second best,” their arrangement suddenly becomes very personal. And that lie they’ve been telling everyone? It isn’t nearly as big as the one they’ve been telling themselves.


I was really excited to win Meant for You in a Goodreads Giveaway. I’ve never had the opportunity to read one of Michelle Major’s contemporary romances, but I have always wanted to. Luckily, luck was on my side.

Meant for You is a second chance romance. Jenny and Owen briefly dated, but when things started to get serious, Jenny made a horrible mistake. They have been able to avoid each other until Jenny tells the resident mean girls from her high school that she’s engaged in an effort to protect her fatherless son. In order to keep up appearances, Jenny must ask Owen to be not only her date, but her fake fiancé. Owen’s not exactly happy with the lie, but he can’t say no to Jenny — if it means she might break his heart a second time.

This book had everything I like in an adult contemporary romance. Michelle Major’s writing was excellent. She had me invested in the story from the moment I met Jenny, and continued to reel me in when I met Owen. It was also a fast-paced read filled with just the right amount of drama. The characters were unique and intriguing. I loved getting to know the mysteries behind their pasts.

Jenny was a great female lead. She was a strong, but delicate woman. She may have had a mouth like a sailor, but inside was a woman wanting to be accepted. Her fears were very real and east to relate to. I adored her relationship with her son, Cooper. They had such a sweet mother-son connection.

Owen was a great guy with a dark past. It wasn’t dark in the he-used-to-be-a-bad-guy way, but in a never feeling like he fit in way. His family was all sorts of messed up. That combined with his first rejection from Jenny had shaped who he was now. Owen had a lot to deal with, and I found this to be one of my favorite parts of the story.

Jenny and Owen’s second chance at romance was bumpy, but cute. I loved how perfectly they fit together as a couple. Owen was someone Jenny could count on, and Jenny was someone who truly saw Owen. Add in Owen’s instinctual fatherly relationship with Cooper, and it couldn’t get any sweeter.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of in Meant for You was Jenny’s betrayal. She was in a state of fear, but it still didn’t jive with my perception of her character. Jenny was a tough, no non-sense person. She ran from her fears, but she wasn’t a disloyal person. It just didn’t seem natural for her take the actions she did. Or maybe it was, and I was just disappointed in her. Jenny was lucky Owen was able to forgive her.

Overall, Meant for You was a well written, entertaining contemporary romance. I’ve read a ton of second chance romances, and this one felt fresh and new. I loved it, and will be checking out Michelle Major’s other books in the future.

Blog Tour Review: The Cad and the Co-Ed by Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway

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The Cad and The Co-Ed, a quirky and sexy romantic comedy from Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway is available now!!

thecadandco-edcoverSynopsis:

THE CAD

Bryan Leech is a cad.

Or, he *was* a cad.

No one is quite certain.

Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.

The only problem is, no one believes him.

THE CO-ED

Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed to put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.

The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.

THE PLAN

Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.

Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.

But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?

Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: I received an ARC from the authors and Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been waiting for The Cad and the Co-Ed to be released ever since I finished The Player and the Pixie. I adored Eilish and her relationship with her cousin, Sean, in it. I was excited she was getting her own book because she was so much fun. She had definitely changed a bit, but I loved the little moments when her personality popped out with Sean or Bryan.

One of my favorite things about this series is the men in them. They always start out as jerks, but by the end they’ve proved what amazing men they really are. Bryan did exactly that. He was definitely a cad at the beginning. I didn’t blame Eilish for any of her decisions. I would have run for my life, too. Who Bryan became by the time Eilish had to face him again was pretty awesome. He still had that bad boy vibe, but he was almost nerdy! It was adorable.

Bryan and Eilish’s relationship developed perfectly. I loved that it wasn’t an instant relationship, but that Bryan really had to prove himself to her. I do have to admit that I’m surprised that Bryan wasn’t hesitant to believe Eilish’s secret, but it did fit with his newfound lifestyle and attitude. I also loved the chemistry they had. The sex in this book was hot!!!

The Cad and the Co-Ed was a delightful read. It was everything I’ve come to expect from Cosway and Reid. Fans of the Rugby series will love it!

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Connect with Penny:

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Meet L.H. Cosway:

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret

music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

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Connect with L.H. Cosway:

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Review: Touching Down by Nicole Williams

Touching Down
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: October 8, 2016
Publisher: Nicole Williams
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.

Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.

They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.


I’ve been on a sports romance reading kick lately. Touching Down has been on my Kindle for a while now, so I was happy to finally get to it. I especially loved that it wasn’t just a sports romance, but a second chance romance as well. Second chance romances are always full of fun surprises. This one certainly was.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Nicole Williams and I enjoyed her writing. She created interesting, flawed characters. I loved Ryan and Grant’s special connection. Ryan’s point of view was emotion packed and interesting. I would have loved Touching Down to have been in dual point of view because I think it would have been amazing to know what was going on in Grant’s head the entire time. They were both such complex characters. I would have also loved more look backs at their time together as teens.

Ryan Hale knew what she was getting herself into when she returned to her hometown after disappearing from her friends’ lives years ago. I didn’t blame her for the choices she made when her reasoning was explained. Her decisions weren’t perfect, but her strength, determination and care for Grant was. I did think she was a little selfish waiting seven years to see Grant again.

Grant Turner was the ideal man. He was successful, sweet and made choices not very many other men would. I was impressed with how he treated Ryan and his ability to let go of the past. I loved him.

I feel like my 3.5 star rating doesn’t tell you how much I actually enjoyed reading Touching Down. I was deeply touched by Ryan and her predicament. (I may have been close to tears a couple of times while reading.) I adored the way she reconnected with Grant, and how he wanted to take care of her. They were a sweet couple. I just couldn’t give Touching Down a higher rating because I felt like there was a big part missing from it. It ended so abruptly. I would have liked more of the current time frame before the huge jump to the epilogue.

Overall, Touching Down was a great read. There was so much emotion woven into this sports romance, and I loved that. Readers who enjoy a fast-paced second chance at love story will enjoy this book.

Review: Every Little Thing by Marie Force

Every Little Thing
Series: Butler, Vermont, #1
Author: Marie Force
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: HTJB, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Grayson Coleman has just moved home to Butler, Vermont after spending years working for a high-powered law firm in Boston. He’s looking for a simpler, less stressful existence in the sleepy little mountain town where he grew up with his siblings and Abbott cousins. Once the holidays are over, he plans to hang out a shingle and open a new general law practice. After helping to raise his seven younger siblings, the last thing on Grayson’s mind is a family of his own.
Emma Mulvaney is enjoying a break from her reality as a busy single mother in New York City while she and her adorable daughter, Simone, spend the holidays in Vermont with Emma’s sister, Lucy, and Lucy’s future in-laws, the Abbotts. After meeting Abbott cousin Grayson Coleman and talking to him for hours, Emma is nervous and excited to have dinner alone with him after sharing her deepest, most personal secrets with him.
Will that first night be the start of something new for the jaded lawyer and the selfless single mom or will a holiday week flirtation turn into something much bigger than either of them ever expected?
Come back to Butler, Vermont for more of the charming Abbott family, their matchmaking father and grandfather and of course, Fred the Moose.


Every Little Thing is a book for fans of Marie Force’s Green Mountain series. It may be labeled as the first book in the Butler Vermont, but it’s really Marie Force’s continuation of the Green Mountain series on her own terms.

Every Little Thing is written in Force’s traditional style of dual third person narrative. Most of the story is told from Grayson and Emma’s perspectives, but there are a few chapters of returning characters’ point of views to catch the reader up on their lives. Third person is not my favorite type of narration, but Marie Force is skilled at making it work for her characters and their stories. My only teeny tiny complaint about the narration in this story is the main characters sounded more mature than I expected. The characters were younger than me, but sounded older. I couldn’t quite identify with the way they spoke. Maybe it’s an East Coast versus West Coast thing. I’m not quite sure.

Emma and Grayson’s whirlwind romance was sweet. They knew from almost the moment they met that there was something tangible between them. They acted quickly on that feeling and found an even deeper connection than they expected. Unfortunately, they had a huge hurdle in front of their possible relationship with the distance in their living arrangements. Emma and Grayson had to decide quickly if their instant connection was worth rearranging the lives they had planned for themselves.

While I found Emma and Grayson’s relationship sweet, I also found it a little too good to be true. Their instant spark felt a little forced to me. I couldn’t believe the lengths both of them were willing to go to after a week together. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them together, I just needed more time for them to truly fall for each other.

I enjoyed the updates on other Green Mountain friends and family, but I couldn’t help but wonder if those chapters took away time that could have been spent on Emma and Grayson’s developing relationship and their backstories. I love seeing them and hearing what they are up to, but there are now so many of them that I feel focus is stolen from the main characters. I would rather see these updates through the current character’s eyes — or have returning characters given another book entirely of their own.

Overall, Emma and Grayson’s romance was a fun return to Butler, Vermont. I enjoyed getting to know them and learning their stories. I know fans of the Green Mountain series will love that it’s being continued and catching up with their old friends.