Review: Finding Me (Kelly Gunderman)

Finding Me
Author: Kelly Gunderman
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?

Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.

At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.

Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.

Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?


When I first started blogging, one of my first blogger friends was Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings. When she mentioned she was publishing a book, I was excited to read it. Her book reviews are always so eloquent. I imagined the writing I enjoyed in them would transfer well to a book. Even so, I have to admit I was a little nervous before reading Finding Me since I personally know the author.

Claire is a sixteen year old who lost both the use of her legs and her mother in a car accident. She’s forced to change schools when her father dumps her on her grandmother’s doorstep. Starting a new school and making friends is hard enough without the added pressure of being around Todd, the son of the man who put Claire in a wheelchair and killed her mother. Claire’s just made friends and figured out that she might have more in common with Todd than she thought when her father reappears and wants her to move away with him. It’s all more than Claire thinks she can handle.

Claire’s story was emotionally packed. Her world had completely crumbled two years ago, and she was already having to rebuild it a second time since then. All of her relationships were changing. Some were in a good way, others in a bad one. Throughout everything, Claire had this quiet strength. She didn’t always hold it together, but she grew and fought for herself. She was a lot stronger that she thought she was. I loved the progression of her character.

I have to go back to that first comment I made about Claire’s story being emotionally packed. Finding Me was filled with emotion. Moments in Claire’s story brought tears to my eyes. I feel that it’s important to mention this because that doesn’t happen often. I was pleasantly surprised Kelly was able to do that with her first book.

As for the rest of the characters, they were perfect for this story. I loved Claire’s new friends Lisa, Mark, and Dillon. I also liked Todd and how he fit into the forgiveness aspect of Claire’s story. I adored Claire’s close relationship with her grandmother. I even found myself liking bubbly Sara. The only person I didn’t like was Claire’s dad. My dislike for him surprised me because his character was someone I didn’t expect.

The one thing that made me think a bit when reading this book was Claire being in a wheelchair. I had to remind myself that she had been in one for a couple of years now, so maybe some of the daily details of her life in the wheelchair wouldn’t be a big deal to her anymore. There were some mentions of the things that had to be accommodated for, but I guess I thought there would be more frustration or emotional reaction to them.

Finding Me was a great début novel. I was impressed with the writing. Sometimes the writing in a début novel can rely a lot on telling instead of showing, but that wasn’t the case here. It was as good as I was expecting it to be. There was plenty of dialog, the writing moved at a pace I liked, and I was completely pulled into Claire’s world. I can’t wait to see what Kelly writes next.

Review: Letters to Molly (Devney Perry)

Letters to Molly
Series: Maysen Jar, #2
Author: Devney Perry
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Devney Perry
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Molly Alcott didn’t expect to open her mailbox one summer morning and find an old letter stuffed between bills and a supermarket flyer. Penned in familiar handwriting, dated over fifteen years ago, the letter was written to Molly after her first date with the man she’ll never forget.

Week after week, new letters appear. Each marks an event in the history of their epic love affair. Each heals a wound. Each holds the confession of the man who still owns Molly’s heart.

The letters are full of promise, hope and love, but truth be told, Molly wishes she could unread them all.

Because the man who wrote these letters is not the one sending them.


Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading my first book by Devney Perry, The Birthday List. That book made me an instant fan of Perry’s writing. She’s in a special group of authors whose writing moves me, makes me feel genuine emotion. Perry did that with The Birthday List and she’s done it again with its sequel Letters to Molly.

Letters to Molly is a different kind of second chance romance. It’s the story of a divorced couple in their late 30s. They have been divorced for six years when letters Finn wrote Molly during their relationship start showing up in Molly’s mailbox. The letters, along with some other stuff, shake the fragile balance Molly and Finn have set up when they swap kids or interact in social settings.  The letters stir up old feelings that have both Molly and Finn examining their past and what led to their demise.

What did I love about Letters to Molly? Everything.

As someone closer to Molly and Finn’s age, I appreciated that Perry didn’t make them seem like “old” people. So many times authors who write characters over 35 make them sound much older than they are. I still feel like a 20 something sometimes and this book made the characters feel young but also gave them the needed maturity of their age.

I have never been divorced, but I could still find things about Molly and Finn’s relationship to relate to. There were things about Molly and Finn’s story that made me think about how my own relationship weathers hardships and changes with the addition of children, etc. Relationships evolve over time and communication is key. I liked how that was a big piece of this puzzle, and how the letters Finn wrote to Molly made that stand out. Finn and Molly wanting to do better made me think about how I can do better in my own marriage.

One of the things that really got me thinking while reading this book was the subject of blame. Finn and Molly both had ideas of who and what was to blame for the demise of their marriage. Being the age that I am, I have seen several friends go through divorce. It’s easy to point blame at one person for a divorce. I always try to remind myself that there are always two people involved in a relationship. Letters to Molly was a great reminder of that. There are always two sides to a relationship or story. This book did a great job showcasing that.

Letters to Molly probably sounds like a really heavy book the way I’m describing it. It was…and it wasn’t. It was actually a very inspiring read. It had heart even when I felt like it might gut me. It was such a beautiful story. I’m so happy Perry’s fan pestered her to write Finn and Molly’s story. I loved it even more than The Birthday List and that’s saying a lot.

Series Review: The Ones Who Got Away (Roni Loren)

My blogger friend Ari has been after me to read Roni Lauren’s The Ones Who Got Away series for a while now. With a bunch of ARCs off my TBR shelf and the fact that the third book in this series showed up from the library, I decided to finally jump in and binge read the series.

What’s it all about?

This series is about four friends. Olivia, Rebecca, Taryn, and Kincaid were not friends in high school, but after they survived a high school shooting they formed a bond. Time has gone by and they haven’t quite kept in touch as much as they promised. All of that changes with a documentary to commemorate the anniversary of the Long Acre tragedy. Now they’re back to make good on things they promised themselves and the students lost in the shooting.

The Ones Who Got Away, book #1 – ★ ★ ★ ½

The first book is Olivia’s story. Liv was the poor girl in high school who didn’t quite fit in, was a little wild and looked the part. Back then, she had a secret romance with popular football player Finn. That ended with the tragedy. When the documentary pulls adult Liv and Finn back to Long Acre, they find that their attraction to each other never went away.

Liv and Finn’s second chance romance was sweet. Both had turned into hardened versions of their younger selves. I loved that being together softened some of those hard spots. I also loved how they were given the chance to right wrongs between them and be the positive influences on each other to finally help them deal with their loses and move on.

The One You Can’t Forget, book 2 – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

First we got Liv’s story, now it’s time for Rebecca’s. Rebecca is a divorce lawyer who is good at her job. She works for her dad and lacks passion in her life. That changes when Rebecca is saved from a mugging by a dog and a chef named Wes. Rebecca quickly realizes Wes is man whose ex-wife she helped. Wes and Rebecca don’t like each other, but they have a chemistry they can’t step away from. The more they learn about each other, the more they realize maybe they aren’t the people they thought they were.

I’m not going to lie, I was surprised at how much I liked Rebecca’s story. I wasn’t a big fan of her character in the first book. I ended up really liking her in this book. She and Wes had this great enemies to more thing going on. I loved how much both Rebecca and Wes grew in this story. Rebecca found her passion and Wes learned to let go of his past. There was also an interesting story with one of Wes’ culinary students that I thought made this story even more emotional and important. The One You Can’t Forget ended up being my favorite in the series.

The One You Fight For, book 3 – ★ ★ ★ ★

Taryn didn’t really stand out for me in the first couple of books. I didn’t really remember anything about her. This book made her shine, though. I loved her relationship with Shaw. I can’t believe that Roni Loren was able to pull off uniting the brother of a school shooter and one of the victim’s sisters. It was pretty amazing the way she did that — and in a way that was respectful and honest. I really liked this book.

Overall…

I kind of just gave you a basic wrap up of my thoughts on the love stories of each book. What I left out was the role of the friendships in them. I really loved how the women rallied around each other. They gave advice and pushed each other out of their comfort zones. The event that bonded them was ugly, but the friendships that came out of it were lifelong.

I feel like need to point out this entire series is written in third person. That’s not my favorite, but it worked because Roni Loren is a talented writer. I didn’t even notice it. That’s high praise from me.

The only thing that I would complain about in these books is that they were slower reads for me. There were lulls in each book that had me pushing myself to read. I don’t know if it was the length of the books or just me at the moment. These were all very emotional and maybe binging them took more out of me than I expected.

Finally, my favorite thing about this series is that it wasn’t about the actual shooting. It was about the aftermath years later. I was shown how the characters tried to move on, their challenges, and feelings about everything. That was smart because it brought to attention something that isn’t done in books on the subject very often or at all.

Now, I just need that fourth book to come out…

Review: Drummer Girl (Ginger Scott)

Drummer Girl
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date:
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He was the words.
She was the rhythm.
Together, the told one hell of a story.

Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance by Ginger Scott. This book
features garage bands, drug use, sexual situations, and honest talk
about mental health. Full blurb to come.


I like to read Ginger Scott’s books because I never know what she’s going to throw at me. Each book is something new and completely different. Her writing is always amazing, but it’s her stories that hit me hard.

Drummer Girl surprised me in more than one way. I knew it was going to be about music, but I didn’t realize it was going to deal with mental health. The combination of the two made for an explosive story. I liked the narrative Ginger Scott created around it. Some parts were brutally honest, while others almost secretive. There were things I didn’t see coming, but probably should have.

I have to admit that while I really liked Drummer Girl, I wasn’t 100% sold on Jesse and Arizona’s relationship. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a healthy relationship for either of them. I was surprised by how accepting their parents were of it. That being said, I loved how they communicated. They didn’t hold back. Plus, they truly supported each other.

One of my favorite things about Drummer Girl were the friendships. Ari and her best friend reminded me a bit of the relationship I had with one of my closest growing up. We were different in some of the same ways, but had that same close connection. I also really liked Jesse’s friendship with Rag. Rag had Jesse’s back when others wouldn’t have.

Another great thing about this book was that both Jesse and Arizona’s parents were involved. Since this story was in Arizona’s POV, we mostly saw her parents. I didn’t like how they were at first. I understood their protectiveness, but thought they were a little too overbearing. By the end, they had won me over — especially her dad.

Drummer Girl is one of those books I like even more the longer I think about it. When I was wrapped up in the story, I felt a little off-balance and not sure what to think about it. Having finished it, I know that was the genius of Ginger Scott’s writing. She made me feel Arizona’s feelings and I didn’t always realize it right away.

EXCERPT:

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019

“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.
I wish for him.
“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Review: Say You Still Love Me (K.A. Tucker)

Say You Still Love Me
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.


I have mixed feelings about Say You Still Love Me. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. As always, I loved K.A. Tucker’s writing. I appreciated the emotion of it. There were just some things that didn’t work for me personally.

Let’s start with what worked for me. Like I said above, I loved the writing and the emotion of the story. I easily got caught up in the “Now” part of the story. I was curious about where Piper and Kyle’s relationship would go with all their history. I loved the last part of the book after all the revelations. I loved the ending and how everything wrapped up.

Where this book lost me was all of the flashbacks. I am not the biggest fan of flashbacks used in books. Sometimes they work for me, most of the time they don’t. I usually like the present better than the past and I just want to know what’s going to happen, not be thrust back into what did happen. This book had a ton of flashbacks — pretty much every other chapter. Just when I was getting into the present day story, I was pulled back to the past. I didn’t really like either character in the past, so I didn’t enjoy those flashbacks much. I was curious to know what happened to them, but I would have liked it to have just been a prologue or something. So basically, I loved half of this book and didn’t really care for the other half.

Review: The Rebel of Raleigh High (Callie Hart)

The Rebel of Raleigh High
Series: Raleigh Rebels, #1
Author: Callie Hart
Publication Date: April 27, 2019
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

* The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first book in the Raleigh Rebels Series. Please be advised, this book comes with a trigger warning. Intended for readers 17+ *

Silver

Hit me.
Kick me.
Hurt me.
Hate me.

There’s nothing that the students of Raleigh High can do to Silver Parisi anymore. Over the past year, she’s had to endure more pain and suffering than most people are asked to bear in their lifetimes. She’s a pariah, an outcast, a ghost. She’s also never been one to take shit lying down, though…despite what half the football team might say.

With only one hundred and sixty-eight days left of the school year, it won’t be long until graduation, and Silver’s planning on skipping town and leaving Raleigh firmly in her rearview mirror…

Until he comes along…

Alex

Orphan.
Degenerate.
Reprobate.
Deviant.
Alex Moretti’s earned most of his labels, and he’s not ashamed of a single one of them. He’ll earn far worse before he’s finished with his new found ‘friends’ at Raleigh High. Having spent years being ground down under the boot heel of society, it’s time for a little payback. And if exacting revenge upon the heads of the Raleigh elite means he can also help the beautiful girl who hovers in the shadows, then that’s all for the better.

Oil and water. Fire and ice. The differences between Silver and Alex are broader than any chasm. To reach one another, they must take a leap of faith and fall into the divide.

And falling?

Nothing good ever came from falling.


Ever since I finished the Fallen Crest High series I have been looking for a book that gives me the same combination of drama and feels. While I have found ones that capture the same level of drama, I haven’t found one that captured the feels. The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first one that’s not only captured all of the drama, but also the feels.

Silver is the girl who was once at the top of the popularity chain, but now is considered dirt at her high school thanks to the friends she once reigned with. She terrified every day she goes to school. Silver’s perfected keeping her head down until new bad boy Alex comes to town. Alex sees her in a way she doesn’t want anyone to.

I think this was supposed to be kind of a bully romance, but it wasn’t at all. It was actually a really sweet story about a girl who has been through hell and is trying to make through each day until she can get out-of-town. She’s in a lot of emotional pain, so she doesn’t realize just how strong she is. Alex is the one who shows Silver she’s got more backbone than she knew. He’s got problems of his own, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on hers. Silver and Alex have this really sweet romance.

The Rebel of Raleigh High isn’t all sweetness, though. There is a TON of drama. It’s peppered throughout the story. Some of it was typical high school popularity stuff. Much of it was much more than that. There is more than one situation that could be a possible trigger for someone. There’s a least two different ones. The last one came out of nowhere and shocked the heck out of me. It’s pretty timely with the state of the some things, but it also was hard to read. I was very surprised the author chose to go this direction. It felt more like shock and awe than a learning moment, which bugged me a bit. This book would have been at least 4 stars for me without that whole thing.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this one. I got swept away in the emotions and story. I am glad the author has decided to give us a second book about these characters. I wish it would hurry up and get here!

Mini Reviews: Bad Apple & One Night of Scandal (Elle Kennedy)

Bad Apple
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A flirty standalone novel* from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy!

One night with him will change her life…

Between her waitressing job, volunteer work, and college classes, there are never enough hours in Maggie Reilly’s day. Especially not for a relationship. Luckily, she’s got the perfect arrangement: a lover she meets three or four times a year. But when she shows up at the hotel expecting to hop into bed with one man, she accidentally ends up with another—Ben Barrett, Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy.

Ben, determined to lay low after another scandal, just wants some much-needed sleep. What he gets is a scorching make-out session with a gorgeous, naked redhead. He won’t accept her apology, but what he will accept is a place to hide out…and if there’s some hot, no-strings sex involved, why the heck not?

But Ben soon discovers that one week with his sassy, bed-hopping waitress is definitely not enough. He wants more. A lot more.

Now he needs to convince relationship-averse Maggie that a bad boy might be oh so good for her—and the best thing that’s ever happened to both of them.

* Previously published in 2008, Bad Apple (formerly Midnight Encounters) features almost entirely new content, including a point-of-view switch. Enjoy this new version of an old favorite!

My thoughts:

I really liked Bad Apple. It was a lot cuter than I thought it would be. The synopsis sounds like it would be a sexier read, and it was, but Ben Barrett brought a tenderness to it. I loved how he knew he wanted more than a few nights with Maggie and set out to prove to her a relationship was worth it. Bad Apple was one of those fun, quick reads that are perfect for a hot summer night. I never read the original release of this book, but whatever Elle Kennedy revised or added to it made for a great story.

One Night of Scandal
Series: After Hours, #2
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: September 8, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

The wrong man never felt so right…

Ex-fighter Reed Miller has been secretly lusting over his best friend’s girl for months, but he refuses to jeopardize a friendship over a woman—especially one who doesn’t like him all that much. Now that Darcy’s on the market again, it’s even more imperative to stick to his strict hands-off policy. But the sizzling attraction between them is too powerful to ignore, and once he’s had a taste of her…all bets are off.

Darcy Grant is tired of walking the straight and narrow path. She’s on the hunt for passion, and there’s no denying Reed is just the man to give it to her. Although she has no interest in dating a bad boy, and certainly not her ex’s best friend, it’s impossible not to melt beneath Reed’s skillful touch. Now it’s just a matter of setting a few ground rules—and hoping her rule-breaking, sweet-talking bad boy agrees to follow them. But if she lets Reed into her bed, does she stand a chance of keeping him out of her heart?

My thoughts:

I’ve read several of Elle Kennedy’s books and I always love her writing. This After Hours series is one of her older ones with Brazen. It’s written in third person, which isn’t my favorite but worked for me in this one. I loved the chemistry between the characters. Darcy and Reed were on fire. I liked how Darcy’s ex was Reed’s best friend and what that brought to the story. The only thing I was big on was the drug plot. It just seemed not very hard-hitting and like something extra added just for drama. Overall, this was one of those fun, flirty reads.

Review: My Brother’s Billionaire Best Friend (Max Monroe)

MBBBF - BT banner

One minute, I’m a woman trying to find her way in the world, and the next, I’m the sender of six of the most embarrassing text messages that have ever been sent in the history of time—or the cell phone.

Whatever.

My Brother’s Billionaire Best Friend
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: July 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mabel “Maybe” Willis died a virgin at the very young age of twenty-four. She leaves behind her parents, Betty and Bruce, her brother, Evan, a laptop filled with one too many Jason Momoa memes, and a Kindle library with more books than one human being could ever finish in a lifetime.
Cause of death: a text message.

Okay. So, I didn’t die.
But I may as well have.

One minute, I’m a woman trying to find her way in the world, and the next, I’m the sender of six of the most embarrassing text messages that have ever been sent in the history of time—or the cell phone. Whatever.

We’re talking code red, send a flipping mayday, the apocalypse is coming kind of texts.

And I didn’t just send them to some random person I’ll never see again.
No. That would be too easy.

I sent them to Milo Ives.

The man who played a starring role in all of my teenage fantasies—and my brother’s lifelong best friend.
And, boy oh boy, has he grown up.
He’s hard-bodied, blue-eyed, jawline-of-stone handsome, crazy successful, and has more money in his bank account than my brain can fathom.

Deflower me, please? I said.

Yeah. Send help.


Adorable.
Hilarious.

Those are the two words that first come to mind when I think of My Brother’s Billionaire Best Friend. From the minute it started I knew I was in for another entertaining read by Max Monroe and they delivered big time.

What did I love so much about it? It was all based on Mabel “Maybe” Willis sending her older brother’s (billionaire) best friend some rather incriminating texts while under the influence. Those text messages were everything. Maybe was so awkwardly adorable with all of her actions I couldn’t do anything but love her. Then there was Milo. He was the classic older brother’s best friend who just couldn’t help himself from falling first in lust and then in love with Maybe. Add in some funny and lovable side characters to up the entertainment factor and it was pretty much not stop smiles and laughs.

My Brother’s Billionaire Best Friend was all so hilariously Max Monroe while being so classically the older brother’s best friend trope. There really wasn’t anything for me not to love in this book. It was such a good time! I am loving this series of standalones. I can’t wait to see what Max Monroe has next for me with Cap’s book. It’s guaranteed to be a good time.

MBBBF - AN 12.09.21 PM.jpg

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/30FAALT

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/MyBrothersBestFriend

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/317HY3w

Excerpt:

Maybe Here I rest, you guys. I. Mother-flapjacking P. to me. And now, I’m coming to you live from what I believe is the afterlife. Just think of this as that morning show with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, Live with Kelly and Ryan. Only, change the name to DEAD with Maybe, take away the celebrity guests, and fill the audience with people who don’t mind witnessing a full-on embarrassment-fueled emotional breakdown. Good God, if I would’ve known I was going to kick the bucket right before I reached twenty-five, I sure as shit wouldn’t have spent the last six years of my life slaving away at Stanford for a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English Lit. I would’ve partied in college rather than studying until my eyeballs bled. I would’ve danced on bars. Flashed some nip for beads at Mardi Gras. Actually gone to Mardi Gras. I would have indulged in unlimited pasta night at the Olive Garden instead of counting carbs, and I wouldn’t have stopped binge-watching Game of Thrones on season flipping six. I would have tongue-kissed loads of guys and spread my legs like a contortionist for any of them who seemed reasonably adept. You know, a little bam-bam in my ham-ham. Some not-too-big, but not-too-small P in my V. A good old-fashioned pants-off dance-off… Sex, you guys. I’m talking about sex. And if you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down from my delirious ramble, I’ll lay it out for you. I’ve yet to be sexed up by anyone. That’s right. I have officially bought myself a one-way ticket to the afterlife as a virgin for-freaking-eternity. And now, I guess I’ll never know how it feels to have an actual penis rub up against my G-spot because, you know, I’m dead. And I’m pretty certain God probably frowns upon people flashing their boobs at the angels and public displays of leg-spreading and definitely the unchaste actions of a desperate-to-bone but unwed woman. No way. Heaven’s strictly G-rated. I put it all off. I figured I had time. I mean, I thought I’d at least get to see The Office do a reunion special before I went lights out for good. Although, my parents’ flower shop feels more like purgatory than heaven, and I thought for sure I’d be wearing something other than jean shorts and Converse when I headed to meet the Big Guy upstairs. Honestly, the afterlife feels eerily like real life, and I’m not one to be dramatic, but I have to be dead, you guys. Seriously. Because no one could live through what I did. I’m talking a 10.0 on the Richter Scale of embarrassing and awkward. A Category 5 hurricane of humiliation. A twisting, catastrophic EF5 tornado of comedic disaster. No freaking way I survived that…right? Okay. Fine. So, I can be a little dramatic sometimes… And maybe, just maybe, I’m exaggerating things a bit here, but I’m doing it in the name of self-preservation. Because, trust me, if you did what I did, you’d let yourself mentally pretend to be dead for a little bit too. Because if I’m not dead, I’m going to have to face the consequences of my awful, humiliating, cringeworthy actions. I’m going to have to face him. Milo Ives—a tall, handsome, unbelievably sexy drink of water. A man I’ve known since I was a prepubescent girl. A man I’ve basically been crushing on my whole damn life. A billion-dollar-empire kind of successful man who just so happens to be my brother’s best friend. I’ll say it again for the folks in the back. Milo Ives is my brother’s billionaire best friend. And I’m in way over my head.

About Max Monroe:

A secret duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far. ​

Connect with Max Monroe:

Website: https://www.authormaxmonroe.com/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/max-monroe

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ReoxkK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormaxmonroe/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormaxmonroe/

Stay up to date with Max Monroe by joining their mailing list today: https://www.authormaxmonroe.com/newslette

Review: The Bromance Book Club (Lyssa Kay Adams)

The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


Okay, guys. Get ready for me to gush about The Bromance Book Club! There wasn’t a thing I didn’t love about it, so this one is going to be a fun review to write / read. I don’t even think I can fit in everything I loved about it without giving you a play by play, so I’m going to try to break it down a bit. Here we go!

The writing: I am not one for third person narration, but it worked for me in this book. The transitions between points of view were smooth and there was all the emotion I normally only get from first person.

The characters: I really loved Gavin’s character. He wasn’t perfect. He had some hard truths to face in this book, but I loved how he was willing to do anything and everything to save his relationship with Thea. Thea was a little harder to love only because I wanted her to give into Gavin so much earlier. The reasons she didn’t were important, though, and I liked how she also had some things to learn. The character development was great.

The story: I liked how real and raw the story felt. Gavin and Thea were married, had small children, and some of the possible issues that come with that. Gavin finding out that Thea had been faking it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but there was so much more to what was going on in their marriage. They had bigger issues to deal with.

Both Gavin and Thea needed to not only work on their marriage, but themselves as well. Thea needed to take a deeper look at herself. I could relate to some of Thea’s thoughts and feelings. It’s very easy to “lose yourself” when devoting all your time and energy to your children. I can see how it would be even more overwhelming when your partner travels most of the time for work. Gavin needed to listen to Thea and think about why he reacted to things the way he did. It was all so true to what happens in many marriages. I loved that.

Their family: Thea and Gavin’s twin daughters were adorable! I love how they worked into what Gavin and Thea were going through. Thea’s sister, Liv, also played an important part of this story. Her character was spot on. She resembled the friend or sister everyone has one of when going through a breakup. I also really liked Gavin’s dad.

The Bromance Book Club: “But wait!” you say, “What about the book club?” The Bromance Book Club was such a clever thing to have in this story! I loved how Gavin was initiated and how these guys helped him out. It was funny and cool to read about these super successful men reading romance novels to understand their wives.

Overall: This book deserves all the hype it’s getting. The Bromance Book Club was a delight to read. I basically read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It was both adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. I loved every moment I spent with it. I am really hoping this book is the start to a series because I would love to read more set in this world. I found a new book to add to my favorites of 2019.

Review: Making Up (Helena Hunting)

Making Up
Series: Shacking Up, #4
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world.


Making Up was so much fun to read. It had the same feel as Shacking Up or the Pucked series. Basically, it had the over the top humor I’ve come to love from Helena Hunting.

Cosy wasn’t quite a Violet, but she had a quirky sense of humor and self-confidence. I didn’t expect her to be as mature as she was, and I loved that. Her romance with Griffin was adorable from the start.

Griffin came across as slightly uptight, but only because he was wealthy and established. Oh, and like ten years older. The age difference between the two of them was smart. It added this fun aspect to the story. It gave Cosy a way to make Griffin slightly uncomfortable.

The romance between Cosy and Griffin wasn’t quite a slow burn, but things happened slower than I expected. I loved that their relationship had a natural feel to it. Things progressed in a believable fashion and they really got to know each other before diving deeper. There were some predictable parts of their relationship, but there were also some big surprises.

Making Up is the fourth book in the Shacking Up series, but it did feel like a standalone novel. Sure, there were cameos by some previous characters. Their presence wasn’t a walk down memory lane, though. They popped in to help Griffin out and that was it. It was fun to see them, but a reader could totally start the series with this book and be good.

Overall, Making Up was super entertaining and filled with characters I adored. It’s one of my new favorite Helena Hunting books.

Purchase Links:

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250253378

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Helena Hunting Blog Tour Q&A MAKING UP

  1. What inspired you to write Making Up?

I’d introduced Griffin in the previous Shacking Up Series novels, Shacking Up and Hooking Up—he was a bit of a mystery for readers because he was talked about, but not really present. I had a very clear picture in my mind of who he was, and the kind of woman who would end up being the perfect fit for him, and it was not his fiancé from the previous books. 

2. Introduce us to your main characterGriffin Mills is the oldest of the three Mills brothers. At thirty-three he’s had several very long term relationships and was formerly engaged, but that relationship went up in flames. He’s gorgeous, smart, loves the numbers side of the family business he’s part of—a chain of hotels he’s set to inherit with his brothers. Also, he’s a little awkward, which I love, because there’s nothing quite like a hot guy who doesn’t have all the lines and fumbles a bit when he’s dealing with someone he’s attracted to. It makes for some hilarious banter with his love interest, Cosy Felton. Our heroine is a twenty-two year old who has been a bit of a nomad for most of her life, but is finally finishing school and happens to work at an Adult Toy Store part time. It’s definitely not her favourite job, but it pays the bills. She’s sassy, not much of a planner and definitely more than Griffin bargained for.

  1. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

Just keep writing. Every day put words on the page and surround yourself with positive people who are there to support you. Ask questions, join book groups, be an avid reader and an observer.

  1. How is Making Up different from your other books?

Making Up has a trope I’ve never really explored or played around with before, so it was a lot of fun to write. While I’ve written age gaps before, it hasn’t been a key part of the storyline, or had a significant impact on how the characters perceive the relationship. Griffin and Cosy are from two very different worlds and balancing their expectations and insecurities was one of my favourite parts of writing their story. Making Up has my signature quirky, sassy heroines and I love writing heroes that are sexy, yet a little awkward. While it’s a light read, there’s some drama, and some heavy baggage, which I think grounds the story and balances out the hilarity.

  1. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’ve been so lucky to read so many amazing books this year but I’m going to go with Broken Knight by LJ Shen which releases this August. I love YA/NA romance and angst, and she knows how to deliver both flawlessly.

  1. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

We all need a little escape from our own realities once in a while and Making Up is a fun, sexy romance that’s perfect for the summer. Also, Griffin is hot, and not particularly suave at times. I think we can all appreciate a guy who doesn’t have all the lines, especially if he looks like he should.

  1. A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters from Making Up. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

This is always a fun question and I’ll be 100% honest, I never actually look at actors prior to writing a story because I generally have a picture of the character in my head. But, I went on a Pinterest mission and Alex Morgan (she’s a soccer player, not an actress) would make a fabulous Cosy if she suddenly switched career paths. Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) is super sassy, and could definitely play up the humor in this story, so she would be a legitimate actress choice. Gabriel Macht has a great smolder and can rock a seriously sexy suit, so I think he’d be great as Griffin.

  1. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in Making Up?

Making Up is definitely a rom-com with some incredibly hilarious moments, but Griffin has some heavy baggage, which means there are also serious moments, and this is one of my favourites: “Talk to me. Fall apart on me. Show me your weakness so I can give you my strength.”

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to write, but finding time was a challenge during university and then afterward I was building a career and we renovated a house down to the studs—which takes up a lot of time and doesn’t leave much of an opportunity for putting down words (but it was an amazing experience). When I gave birth to my daughter she struggled to sleep—or rather stay asleep—and that meant I spent a lot of time awake in the middle of the night. So I started writing again during those late nights, and finally penned my first full novel.

  1. What is a typical writing day like?

I usually start with a run and then copious amounts of coffee while I manage the administrative side of things—ie emails, social media posts etc. But when I sit down to write I have a playlist I put on repeat, more coffee, sparking water (so I can stay hydrated) and my cat Pumpkin generally lies on top of my closed laptop and supervises me for the day.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

I listen to the same playlist while I write a novel. So if it takes me two months, then I listen to the same set of songs for two full months. I’ve destroyed A LOT of albums for my husband over the past several years. I just need the background noise, and listening to the radio or unfamiliar songs can be distracting.

  1. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author?

I’ve only been in the industry for five years and there has been so much change, learning to adjust and adapt and just staying true to your personal goal is really the most important thing I’ve learned. I think when you start out there are just so many unknowns, and taking risks can be scary, but if you don’t take those risks, it’s hard to grow as an author.

  1. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I have one more book in The Shacking Up Series, HANDLE WITH CARE, which releases at the end of August! Griffin’s cousin and best friend, Lincoln Moorehead, is the hero and if you didn’t know, he is also Armstrong’s brother. Lincoln is the polar opposite of Armstrong so it was so fun to write. I can’t wait for people to meet Griffin and Cosy and Lincoln and Wren.

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

They can connect with me all over social media! (add links)

Website→   http://www.helenahunting.com/

Amazon →  http://amzn.to/1y6OBB7

Twitter → http://bit.ly/HelenaHTwitter

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Facebook Reader Group  →  http://bit.ly/TheBeaverDenHH