Review: To Hate Adam Connor by Ella Maise

To Hate Adam Conner
Author: Ella Maise
Publication Date: June 9, 2016
Publisher: Ella Maise
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

*Lucy’s story is a complete standalone*

So you may ask, who is Adam Connor? He is the recently divorced, Academy Award-winning actor who just moved in next door with his kid. He also happens to be an exquisite male specimen and the most infuriating sly bastard I’ve ever come across.

Let’s be honest here, wouldn’t you wanna take a peek over the wall to catch a glimpse of him, hopefully when he is naked? Wouldn’t you melt away after watching him work out as his five-year-old kid cheered him on? Do I even have to mention those abs, the big bulge in his pants, or that arm porn? Oh, wait, you would never spy on him? Sure…

While I was being thoughtful by not breaking and entering and was actually considering going over to offer him a shoulder—or maybe a boob or two—to cry on (y’know, because of his divorce), instead he had me thrown in jail after a small incident. Jail, people! He was supposed to grant me countless orgasms as a thank you, not a jail cell.

After that day, I was mentally plotting ways to strangle him instead of jumping his bones to make sweet love. So what if my body did more than just shiver when he whispered dirty little things in my ear? I can’t be held responsible for that. And when was the last time he’d kissed anyone anyway? Who’d enjoy a kiss with a side of heart attack?

Even if he and his son were the best things since sliced bread—and I’m not saying he was—I couldn’t fall for him. No matter what promises he whispered on my skin, my curse wouldn’t let us be. I wasn’t a damsel in distress—I could save myself, thank you very much—but deep inside, I still hoped Adam Connor would be the hero of my story.


I’ve wanted to read To Hate Adam Connor ever since I read To Love Jason Thorn. I fell in love with all of the characters in that book, and I wanted to get to know Lucy better. Her relationship with Jameson intrigued me, and she made me laugh so much.

I have to admit I was a little surprised when I read the title and blurb for this book. How could Adam Connor be the star of Lucy’s book? I mean, what happened to Jameson? Not to worry, Ella Maise did an amazing job at explaining why Lucy didn’t end up with Jameson. She gave us a much better man for Lucy to fall for.

Adam Connor was the full package. Not only was he an incredibly sexy famous actor, he was also a doting single father. The way he loved his son increased his hot factor by about a million.He was the perfect match for Lucy’s over the top personality. I loved the way Adam and Lucy fell in love. They started out hating each other, and it made watching them fall for each so much fun.

Lucy was just as hilarious as she was in the first book, if not more so. I was surprised to find out how much she hid behind her humor. Lucy was a much deeper character than I expected. She had a past that haunted her. I’m so happy Adam was the man to prove to her that she could break the cycle.

I was also super happy to see Olive and Jason back in this book. They made many little appearances, and their relationship with Lucy made me smile. Lucy and Olive are some hilarious friends.

To Hate Adam Connor was a great hate to love romance. It was also a really fun take on a celebrity romance. If you like both of those romance tropes, you need to read this book! But read To Love Jason Thorn first. You don’t want to miss out on the beginning of Lucy’s (and Olive’s) high jinks.

Review: When I Need You by Lorelei James

When I Need You
Series: Need You, #4
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Rules are tossed aside when a pro football player join forces with a spitfire cheerleading coach in New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James’s brand-new romance…

Heir to Lund Enterprises and ladies’ man Jensen “The Rocket” Lund has three conditions when it comes to dating:
1) No single mothers
2) No cheerleaders
3) No medical personnel
So it makes no sense that he’s wildly attracted to Rowan Michaels, who breaks all three.

Rowan Michaels didn’t pass the rigorous requirements to become an athletic trainer and Vikings cheerleader in the hopes of landing a pro athlete: been there, done that, and she has a young son as proof that football players and fidelity don’t go hand in hand. When Rowan learns her new neighbor is Jensen Lund, the smoking-hot tight end who takes being neighborly to a whole new level, she’s grateful for the team’s strict “no fraternization” policy because the sexy man defines temptation.

But Jensen is intent on rushing straight to the goal line to prove to Rowan he’s much more than just a player…on and off the field.


A month or two ago I read my first book by Lorelei James. It was the first book in the Need You series, What You Need. I enjoyed that book and getting to meet the Lund family. Even though that was Brady’s book, I found myself wondering about his youngest brother, Jensen. I have to admit it’s because Jensen was a football player, and I’m a big sports romance fan. When I saw Jensen’s book was up on NetGalley, I had to request it. I’m so, so happy I did.

I really enjoy Lorelei James’ writing. Sometimes, contemporary romances can feel a bit dated. The characters act more mature than their age and aren’t very easy to relate to. Lorelei James’ books don’t feel that way. The writing feels fresh and new. Rather than use third person narration, she tells her stories in first person dual point of view. It makes her characters vibrant and easy to connect with.

When I Need You was a cool sports romance because it involved two athletes. Jensen was a professional football player and Rowan a professional cheerleader. This book told their love story, but also spotlighted the harsh reality of how cheerleading is viewed in the professional football world. I loved how that was woven into the story and affected the couple.

I loved Rowan. She was a single mother who strove to give her son the best while doing what she loved. If I loved Rowan, I don’t even know how to tell you how I felt about Jensen. That guy was incredible. He made this book. He was a gorgeous sports star with a huge heart. The way he was with both Rowan and her son made me swoon so hard. I couldn’t get over how he dealt with the challenges of dating a single mother. Jensen was all in with them, and it made me so dang happy!

All of the characters in When I Need You shined. It didn’t matter how big or small their part was in the story. They made me want to go back and read books two and three, and also hope there will be more book in this series. This is one of those series I wouldn’t mind if it went on forever because each book can be read as a standalone and doesn’t focus too much on past characters.

When I Need You went above and beyond my expectations for it. I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know how much I would adore it. If you have a soft spot for a sexy sports star falling for a single mother and her son, this is a book you won’t want to miss. It’s such a sexy, sweet story.

Review: Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Damaged Like Us
Series: Like Us, #1
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Don’t date your bodyguard. 
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people who protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca’s other novels.


Thank God they’re back!

I know the blurb says the Like Us series can be read without reading any of Krista and Becca Ritchie’s other books, but let’s be honest. There’s no way anyone who hasn’t read the Addicted /Calloway Sisters series could be near as excited for Damaged Like Us as fans of those series. I binge read the entire series last year, and the countdown to release day began the minute I heard Moffy was getting his own book. I couldn’t wait to be back in that world. When Damaged Like Us finally showed up on my Kindle, I dropped everything to read it because I needed more of the Hales, Cobalts, and Meadows in my life.

I found Damaged Like Us to be just as addictive as Krista and Becca Ritchie’s other novels. I immediately loved adult Moffy. I got to know him a little bit as a kid in previous novels, but it was so rewarding getting to know the adult version in this book. He was exactly who he should have been, who I would have pictured him to be. Moffy had a quiet strength. He was there for his family members in the most unconditional way. He put them first, even when he shouldn’t. Sometimes that meant he suffered, but that didn’t really bother him. Or at least it didn’t bother him until Farrow was assigned to be his body-guard.

Farrow was dreamy. He was tough and tatted on the outside, but kind of a traditionalist on the inside. I loved that about him. I also loved that he knew what he wanted in all aspects of his life and went for it. The way he pushed Maximoff’s boundaries made Farrow a great match for him.

I wanted more of this book. I felt like it flew by and ended before I was ready for it to be over. I know that Moffy and Farrow are getting a second book and that I’ll get more of their story, but I wanted this one to be longer. It left me with some major questions about how things progressed after the end. It’s me being selfish, but I want to know now!

I’m really hoping that this series is not going to be just Moffy’s story, but will also include each of the Hale, Cobalt and Meadows kids. Reading about them again only furthered my curiosity! I am especially interested in Jane’s story. I got to see a bit of her life in Damaged Like Us, but there has to be more to her story! The little I read about her didn’t do her justice. I needed inside her head! Same for Xander. I have so many questions about what’s next for him.

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Damaged Like Us. I’m so, so happy Krista and Becca Ritchie decided to write this spin-off series.

Review: Defy by L.J. Shen

Defy
Series: Sinners of Saint, #0.5
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Defy is a smutty, insta-love, insta-lust short novella. Defy is a prequel to Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1). It is recommended, but unnecessary, to read Defy before reading Vicious.

First included in Hot for Teacher Anthology: 19 Stories Filled with Lust and Love.

My name is Melody Greene, and I have a confession to make.
I slept with my student, a senior in high school.
Multiple times.
I had multiple orgasms.
In multiple positions.
I slept with my student and I enjoyed it.
I slept with my student and I’d do it all over again if I could turn back time.
My name is Melody Greene, and I got kicked out of my position as a teacher and did my walk of shame a la Cersei Lannister from the principal’s office, minutes after said principal threatened to call the cops on me.
My name is Melody Greene, and I did something bad because it made me feel good.
Here is why it was totally worth it.


If you read the blurb for Defy, it mentions that it should be read before Vicious. Well, I didn’t do that. In fact, I read the entire Sinners of Saint series backward starting with Ruckus. I’m glad I did that. Why? Well, to be honest, student-teacher romances are not my thing. I’m not sure I would have picked up this awesome series if I had read Defy first. The only reason I read it was curiosity. Vicious and Ruckus mention Melody and Jaime’s relationship a lot, and I had to know more about Jaime since he’s one of the HotHoles.

Defy was a good read. I still wasn’t 100% on board with the student-teacher aspect, but it was fun to see how Melody and Jaime ended up together. I liked how it played out. I could almost —almost— understand why Melody broke her code of conduct. It helped that Jaime was eighteen, more manly, and more mature than most high school seniors.

The one thing that could have maybe made me fall in love with Defy would have been Jaime’s point of view. Unlike the other books in this series, we don’t get it. 🙁 I liked reading Defy from Melody’s point of view, but Jaime’s would have added so much more to it!

Overall, Defy was a good, short novella that added to my enjoyment of the Sinners of Saint series.

Review: Vicious by L.J. Shen

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emilia

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

Vicious

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


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

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

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

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

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

Review: Ruckus by L.J. Shen

Ruckus
Series: Sinners of Saint, #2
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Rosie

They say that life is a beautiful lie and death a painful truth. They’re right.
No one has ever made me feel more alive than the guy who serves as a constant reminder that my clock is ticking.
He is my forbidden, shiny apple.
The striking fallacy to my blunt, raw, truth.
He is also my sister’s ex-boyfriend.
One thing you should know before you judge me;
I saw him first. I craved him first. I loved him first.
Eleven years later, he waltzed into my life, demanding a second chance.
Dean Cole wants to be my bronze horseman. My white knight has finally arrived. Hopefully, he isn’t too late.

Dean

They say the brightest stars burn out the fastest. They’re right.
She sets my mind on fire.
All smart mouth, snarky attitude and a huge heart.
In a world where everything is dull, she shines like fucking Sirius.
Eleven years ago, fate tore us apart.
This time, I dare it to try.
Getting to her is a battlefield, but man, that’s why they call me Ruckus.
Rosie LeBlanc is about to find out how hard I can fight.
And conquering her will be the sweetest victory.


When Ruckus released last month, I saw a ton of good reviews for it. I had never read L.J. Shen’s books before, so I decided to give Ruckus a try. I downloaded it, but couldn’t get to it right away. This week, I was feeling a bit of a book hangover and decided to start Ruckus. I’m really happy I did. I have found a new author I’m excited to read more from.

Rosie LeBlanc has felt a connection to Dean “Ruckus” Cole ever since she first met his glare in high school. She knew Dean was the one for her at that moment. Sadly, a relationship with him wasn’t in the cards. Dean was her sister’s boyfriend, and that made him off-limits even after they broke up.

Now, year’s later, Dean’s back in Rosie’s life. They live in the same building, and no matter how hard Rosie tries to avoid Dean, she always runs into him and his harem. His blunt cockiness and womanizing ways should make Dean the least desirable guy, but when Rosie’s sister’s wedding requires them to spend time together, she can’t help but be drawn further into his web.

I loved L.J. Shen’s writing style. It’s a little bit dark and a whole lot gritty. I love that she gives a voice to both the male and female main characters. The first person dual points of view are raw and emotion filled. Her characters are alpha males and strong females who won’t step down from a fight. They have something traumatic that pulls them together, while at the same time breaking them apart.

Rosie was an inspiring character. Her life was harder than most due to physical challenges, but she didn’t let that stop her from trying to achieve her dreams. She was so good deep down inside, and saw good in Dean when others wouldn’t have.

Honestly, Dean was a cocky jerk. He may have had a lot going for him career and looks wise, but he wasn’t a nice guy. Dean had moments where his compassion and sweetness showed through, but they were rare. He was pretty messed up, and it took a lot to get him started on the right path. It took me a while to really like Dean. I would have liked to have seen more of the redeemed Dean. I could have used about 5 epilogues to believe he could be who he needed to be — I’m not just saying that because I fell in love with him even more in the epilogue provided.

Rosie and Dean’s relationship was a rough one. There were a lot of barriers trying to keep them apart. Whether it was her health, his addictions or their friends and family, nothing was strong enough to break them apart. Their chemistry and love for each other was too strong. I loved how they fought for their love and for each other.

Since this is the first book I’ve read in the Sinner of Saint series, I feel the need to point out two things. First, the side characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. Hearing about everyone’s combined past makes me want to hurry up and read the other books in the series. I need to know more about the rest of the HotHoles and their women. Second, this book can be read as a standalone. You don’t have to have read the first book to read this one. It might have made it more fun (I don’t know since I didn’t read the other books first.), but it was a great reading experience without having read the other books.

Oh! And I can’t leave out the fact that Ruckus surprised me! I thought I knew what Dean’s secrets were going to be, but I didn’t! I was completely surprised a couple of different times while reading. I loved that!

Overall, I loved reading Ruckus. This enthralling romance was combined with just the right amount of mystery and darkness. It was everything I expect from a great new adult book. I will be immediately reading the rest of the series.

Review: What You Need by Lorelei James

What You Need
Series: Need You, #1
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: January 5, 2017
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

New York Times bestseller Lorelei James introduces a new family for readers to fall in love with in the Need You series. The Lund name is synonymous with wealth and power in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But the four Lund siblings will each discover true love takes a course of its own…

As the CFO of Lund Industries, Brady Lund is the poster child for responsibility. But eighty hour work weeks leave him little time for a life outside his corner office. His brothers stage an intervention and drag him to a seedy night club…where he sees her, the buttoned up blonde from the secretarial pool who’s starred in his fantasies for months.

Lennox Greene is a woman with a rebellious past—which she carefully conceals beneath her conservative clothes. She knows flirting with her sexy, but aloof boss during working hours is a bad idea. So when Brady shows up at her favorite dive bar, sans his usual snappy suit, and catches her cutting loose, she throws caution aside and dares him to do the same.

After sparks fly, Brady finds keeping his hands off Lennox during office hours is harder than expected. While she makes him feel alive for the first time in years, a part of him wonders if she’s just using him to get ahead. And Lennox must figure out if Brady wants her for the accomplished woman she is—or the bad girl she was.


This was my first experience reading a book by Lorelei James. I was excited to have won What You Need because I’ve seen her books around and have wanted to try reading one. I hadn’t talked to anyone before about James’ books, so I didn’t really have any expectations going in. What I found was great writing, intriguing characters and a great plot.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like What You Need. It started out feeling like a stuffy office romance. Brady the CFO was all high and mighty and lowly office floater Lennox was one to challenge authority. That perception only lasted a minute. Once I got to know each character and their thoughts better, I realized they had a lot of depth and so did their love story. It wasn’t simply co-workers falling in love. It was people from two different tracks of life finding comfort and acceptance in each other.

My favorite thing about this book was the main characters. Lennox was buttoned up on the outside, but inside was a wild child waiting to be free again. She was doing everything she could to make a name for herself, even if she had tame who she was to do it. There was so much fight and drive in Lennox despite her rough upbringing. I found her to be so inspiring. Initially it seemed like Brady had life handed to him, but he was more than a man groomed to be CFO. Many thought Brady to be all hard business, but there was more to him than met the eye. He was sweet, caring and had sexy side no one would have expected. What hit me most about Brady was his insecurities. They plagued him even though he had wealth and power.

While each was a great character on their own, I loved Brady and Lennox together. Their personalities matched against each other perfectly. Both liked to get their way. Brady had a commanding side I didn’t see coming. He knew how to take the control Lennox was used to wielding. He was so uptight at work, I didn’t expect him to have a little bit of a dirty side. I found it almost as sexy as Lennox did. Their push and pull of authority was fun.

This might have been my first Lorelei James book, but it won’t be the last. What You Need was a great contemporary romance. It was the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. It made me excited to find out what’s in store for the next Lund son.