WWW Wednesday: September 8, 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. 

WHAT DID YOU JUst FINISH READING?

Alecia from Staircase Reader had me picking up the Havoc Boys series by C.M. Stunich. I’ve been binging and just finished Anarchy (Havoc Boys, #4)

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently finishing up the series binge with Victory (Havoc Boys, #5) by C.M. Owens.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

My plan is to read Relentless (Mason Family, #4) by Adriana Locke next. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Romances Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is: 

Romances Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face

Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams
The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn
The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary
The Bold & the Bullheaded by Willow Aster & Laure Pavlov
Becoming a Vincent by C.M. Owens
The Grumpy Player Next Door by Pippa Grant
Totally Folked by Penny Reid
The Bet by Max Monroe
Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Review: Lord of London Town (Tillie Cole)

Lord of London Town
Series: Adley Firm, #1

Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Genre: Dark Romanc

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Cheska Harlow-Wright was born into a life of luxury and privilege. She has never wanted for anything. A comfortable future as a married London socialite ⁣
awaits her. But since the age of thirteen, Cheska has harboured a secret—an unshakeable fixation on a boy who could never offer her anything close to ⁣comfort. A boy steeped in sin and draped in depravity. A boy born into the possessive embrace of darkness. ⁣

When Cheska’s seemingly perfect world is ripped apart by an unknown but deadly enemy, there’s only one person she can run to. One person in the world ⁣who has the power to keep her safe. The one person her weak and shattered heart craves. ⁣

Arthur Adley. The new head of the most feared crime family in London. ⁣

Forced too young to take the helm of the Adley firm, Arthur has become even more ruthless, formidable, and cold than ever before. His enemies are circling, and he must fight—and kill—to maintain his family’s place at the top of the London crime underworld. There is no room for weakness, emotion, or loss of control.⁣

But then Cheska smashes back into his life with the force of a wrecking ball. She has no place in this dark, vicious, and bloodthirsty world. And worse, she is the solitary chink in his impenetrable armour. He’s already pushed her away once, but this time she desperately needs him. She’s broken, lost, and in danger, and he is the only one who can help.⁣

Arthur must protect her. He must destroy those who dare to threaten her, hunt down those who would take what is his. He would raze all of London to the ⁣ground to keep her safe… but can he also protect himself?⁣

The infamous Dark Lord of London Town faces his most brutal battle yet—the crippling weight of the past, the unrelenting enemies lurking in the shadows… and the havoc that Cheska’s presence is wreaking on the granite fortress that was once his heart.⁣
 


Normally I’m all about the sweet contemporary romances, but every once in a while I get burnt out on those and want something different. That’s when I reach for a thriller or a dark romance. I was feeling this way recently, but couldn’t find books that wanted to read. My ex-blogger friend, Ari, recommended Lord of London Town to me and I’m happy she did. It got me out of the book funk I was in. Here are my thoughts on it:

  • Lord of London Town started out a little slow, but it was setting the stage for what was to come.
  • Arthur was a violent guy. By the time I met him, it seemed like it was more nature than nurture, but as the story goes on I got to learn where his rage and punishment came from.
  • I didn’t exactly like all the violence and gore in this book, but it fit the story so I could roll with it. I definitely said “ew” a bunch of times.
  • Cheska was Arthur’s goodness and also the light of the book. She might have had a posh upbringing and clean upbringing, but she could easily hang with Arthur and his family. I loved her thoughts on everything.
  • Cheska and Arthur’s relationship was full of ups and downs that spanned years. Their time together wasn’t all tender love story. There was a lot of dark moments between the sweet ones. Despite that (or maybe because of it) they made a couple I could root for.
  • Arthur’s family was a great cast of characters. I enjoyed them all, but had a big soft spot for Vinnie. His relationship with Pearl made me both happy and sad. He’s the one I am most curious about what’s going to happen to in the next book.
  • The climax in this book was so good! There were lots of twist. Some I saw coming, others surprised me. Overall, it was a great read.

OMG! That Song Book Tag

When I saw the OMG! That Song Book Tag post Dedra did last week, I knew I had to do it. It combines two of my favorite things: books and music. This tag was originally done by Katesbookdate on Youtube

OMG! That Song Book Tag

My Jam:

A song you have to listen to no matter how many times you’ve heard it before
and
a book you’ll never get sick of:

Robyn’s Dancing on My Own is a song I’ll sit dance through no matter how many times I hear it. 

Fallen Crest High is a book I don’t think I’ll get tired of no matter how many times I listen to or read it. 

THROWBACK:

A song that reminds you of the cringiest time in your life
and
a book you read that you wouldn’t like if you were to read it now:

I think I went through a phase when I was about 20 that I listened to Creed for maybe a month or two. This was a time I would give myself a good shake if I could go back. 

I rated Anna and the French Kiss high when I read it. The more I think about that book, the more messed up I think it was. I think I would hate it if I read it now.

REPLAY:

A recent song that you have on repeat
and
a recent favorite book:

I’m a big Sam Hunt fan, so I was excited to hear new music from him. I’m really loving this collaboration with Sasha Alex Sloan. The vibe is really cool.

Well Matched was so good! It’s my new favorite in the Well Met series.

GETS ME:

A song that is literally me
and
a book that is me in book form:

Blinding Lights is an odd choice. I wouldn’t say that the lyrics or video is me. What is me is the classic, almost 80’s vibe to the song. I’m a huge fan of the way this song sounds like it could be from almost any era. I would like to think that I’m a little old school, but still with it. HAHA

As for The How and the Why… Literally book me was hard to find. Are there books about women who are happily married with kids? Usually there’s some sort of turmoil and all the turmoil I’ve got right now is this dang pandemic. So I went with this book because I have felt what some of the MC felt regarding being an adoptee. 

WUT:

A weird song that you liked anyway
and
a unique book that stuck out to you for some reason:

I Believe in a Thing Called Love sounds like it should be in some weird horror movie or something, but I love it for some reason.

The Lace Reader is probably the first book I read with an unreliable narrator. It made an impression on me and I’ve read it several times since. I always pick up on something new.

LET’S GO:

Pick your best pump up song
and
a book that inspires you:

Are you trying to kill me with best pump up song??? There are so many that I would pick for different reasons! I almost chose I Got 5 On It because my friend and I used to listen to that back in the day before we would go out, but I ended up choosing Ol’ Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis with Got Your Money. It’s such a fun song. 

Do Epic. That’s all I got to say about Bright Side. Live every day to the best of your ability. 

CHILL:

Your best relaxing song
and
a book you’d curl up with on a rainy day:

BIG Ed Sheeran fan here and Thinking Out Loud puts me in a good, calm mood. All of his music does.

The Match because Sarah Adams’s books are light and fluffy, perfect for a rainy day.

ADDICTING:

A guilty pleasure song
and
a light, trashy read you can’t help but love:

Anything by Britney Spears will always be my guilty pleasure music. 

Um… trashy? Not my favorite word for a book. I don’t think any book deserves “trashy” as a descriptor. So Tapping the Billionaire is not trashy. It’s light, funny, and on the steamier side. But NOT trashy. 

NOSTALGIA:

A throwback song you look back on fondly
and
a book you read and loved when you were young:

I was obsessed with 80’s music when I was 18 (still am, but that’s when it started). There was a time when I listened to this song on repeat. I’m sure my parents loved it, especially with the song’s meaning. 

Say Goodnight, Gracie is a book I read as a child or teenager. It’s the first book I can remember loving.

And that’s it! That’s the tag. I’m not tagging anyone. Feel free to do this tag if you want. 

Get Your (Book) Travel On

Summer is coming to an end here in the Pacific Northwest. I am ready for fall, but not quite ready to let summer go. Summer seems to be a time everyone loves to travel, so in the spirit of keeping summer going I’m going to share with you some of my favorite travel romances.

Meghan Quinn takes Bonnie (and us) along to a small Scottish town to find love and purpose.

Jen Frederick takes us along on emotional journey to South Korea to find Hara’s birthparents.

In Karen White’s book we travel to London with journalist Maddie to interview Precious about her life in London prior to WWII.

Robinne Lee takes Solène to many destinations as she embarks on a whirlwind affair with a famous, much younger musician.

There may be trouble in paradise for Chloe Liese’s characters, but visiting the Hawaiian islands is always a good time.

If you’re looking for a more magical destination, I would recommend you visit The House in the Cerulean Sea.

This one is actually set during the holidays, but there are so many fun traditions and places in Germany that Meghan Quinn’s characters visit. It would still make for some summer fun.

Summer trip to New Zealand? Kelly Siskind has got you covered.

Want a family vacation in Hawaii? It won’t be your family, but it will be entertaining.

Feeling like a crazy cruise adventure? Spend a semester at sea with Rebecca Yarros’s extreme athletes.

How about spending the summer in Rome with a friend?

Maybe family time in Hawaii wasn’t for you, but how about a fake honeymoon?

Here’s another one that visits many locations around the world.

Have you read any of these or have anymore ideas for books that will fill our travel wants and needs as fall rolls in?

Review: Totally Folked (Penny Reid)

Totally Folked
Series: Good Folk: Modern Folktales, #1
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee…

Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?

Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.

When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.

TOTALLY FOLKED is a standalone, contemporary romantic comedy novel and book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.


Never did I ever think I would need a Jackson James redemption romance, but Penny Reid obviously knows what I need more than I do. When I saw she had a free prequel novella to Totally Folked, I thought why not read Just Folking Around to see if I really wanted to read this book. Reid got me hooked on Jackson and Raquel being a thing from just that one night they spent together. I couldn’t wait to get to know both of them better in Totally Folked. And now here I am, excited to share how much I adored this book.

Totally Folked was so much fun! It’s one of those books that made me happy from beginning to end. Despite having one night together a few years ago, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was a slow burn. There were a lot of things at play before they could truly be together and, of course, some of those things included hijinks from some of our favorite Winston brothers. The way the Green Valley community was involved was pretty special.

I wasn’t a fan of Jackson James in the Winston Brothers series, but he totally redeemed himself. Getting to know him and what his thoughts were regarding his past were helpful. The soul searching Jackson had done was great, even if it wasn’t always spot on. I ended up loving his character, so that says a lot.

Raquel was the perfect addition to the Green Valley world. I liked her ties to Sienna and Jethro and how being a Hollywood starlet shaped the plot. I loved the discoveries she made about herself, her family, and what she wanted out of life. Green Valley was a great place for her to grow. I also enjoyed how the chapter titles related to Raquel’s Hollywood status.

Like I said before, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was sort of a slow burn thing. They got to get to know each other better, while the chemistry and passion they had in the novella was an undercurrent in the background. I loved the way they bonded and strengthened their emotional connection. It was sweet. They were sweet.

I’ve mentioned the Winston brothers, but there were a lot of other townspeople who came out to support Jackson and Raquel. I loved Jackson’s family and their part in the story. Raquel’s bodyguards were surprisingly fun. Out of everyone, my favorite was Charlotte. She was a good friend to both Jackson and Raquel. I’m so excited that she gets her own story in the next book!

Totally Folked was a big win for Penny Reid. She managed to take a character most of her readers aren’t fond of and make him a star. I was super impressed by this and it has reignited my love of her books (not that she ever lost it, but more just reminded me why she’s such a special author).

P.S. If you’re curious about Jackson and Raquel and aren’t sure if you really want to read Jackson’s book or not, check out Just Folking Around. It will have you racing to read Totally Folked.

Review: Hitched to the Gunslinger (Michelle McLean)

Hitched to the Gunslinger
Author: Michelle McLean
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Genre: Historical, Western Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle—and people always tryin’ to kill you—gets old real fast.

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping.

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement.

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible.

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself.

There goes his peace and quiet…


It’s not very often I stray from contemporary romance, but lately I have been in a reading funk so I decided to branch out. Historical romance sounded like a fun change, and I was excited to try a new author.

Hitched to the Gunslinger was a fun read. Gray was a stubborn, grumpy gunslinger who was looking forward to retirement when he stumbled into a fake fiancé situation with Mercy. Mercy was a determined, strong woman who was trying to hold onto the land she and her father loved so much. Gray was her fake fiancé before Mercy even knew what she was saying. There was a bunch of enemy-like banter for the first part of the book that was highly entertaining. Things didn’t start getting romantic between the two until about the middle and then their relationship was full of a different kind of fire. Mercy and Gray were actually kind of sweet together.

The drama in this book revolved around Mercy’s land and a man who wanted it. It was a predictable kind of drama that added entertainment and not stress. It made the Western part of this historical romance shine. I loved how the entire town was involved and all of the characters in the town. It was a special mix of people, setting, and even bad guys.

My only real complaint about this book was that it was written in third person. I’m not a big fan of the third person, and it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if it was the third person or just a slower start. Other than that, Hitched the Gunslinger was nothing but a good time.

The Last Ten Books Tag

When I read this tag Dini did on Dinipandareads, I knew I had to do it. It was just too fun to pass up. The original tag was created by booktuber Marc Nash. I hope you enjoy reading my answers.

THE LAST BOOK I GAVE UP ON

I felt bad not finishing Tryst Six Venom. I knew going in it was a bully romance, but I just couldn’t stomach the slurs. 

THE LAST BOOK I REREAD

The last book I reread (or actually listened to again) was Broken and Screwed 2 by Tijan. I was in the mood for a Tijan book, so I listened to the series again. 

THE LAST BOOK I BOUGHT

I read the first book in the Deanna Madden series awhile back. I never finished it, but want to. I had to purchase the third book when it was on sale for 1.99. Now, I just need the second.

THE LAST BOOK I WROTE IN THE MARGINS OF

NONE! I mostly read ebooks, but if I’m reading a physical book I don’t normally write in it.

THE LAST BOOK THAT I HAD SIGNED

I had to think hard about this one because the last signing I was at was Book Bonanza 18. I can’t be 100% certain who the last author I had sign a book was, but I think it was Jay Crownover. I had my copy of Charged I had picked up at Powell’s City of Books a couple of years prior to that.

THE LAST BOOK I LOST

I couldn’t tell you that last time I lost a book or what it even was. 

THE LAST BOOK I HAD TO REPLACE

I borrowed this book from my boss years ago. Somehow, the corner got bent. I didn’t want to return it that way, so I bought her a new copy. 

THE LAST BOOK I ARGUED OVER

Argued over isn’t really the right way to describe it, but was the closest I could get to this prompt. I “yelled” at Ari to keep reading when this book was making her mad. LOL

THE LAST BOOK I PRE-ORDERED

I don’t often pre-order, but I did for Main Street Dealmaker because it had a special pre-order price I couldn’t pass up since I want to read it anyways.

TAGGING:

Anyone who wants to do this tag.

Book Recommendations: 5 Star Romance Reads I Didn’t Review

I wasn’t feeling today’s TTT topic, so you’re getting another book recommendations post from me today. This one is for the 5 star reads I’ve read in the past couple of months that I didn’t review, but would highly recommend. 

5 Star Romance Reads I Didn’t Review

Here are ten 5 star reads that I didn’t review on my blog. 

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Maverick by Karina Halle
Break Even by Lisa DeJong
Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow

Fallen Jester by Devney Perry
A Kiss for a Kiss by Helena Hunting
Evening the Score by Jaqueline Snowe
More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Forbidden by Karla Sorensen
The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary

The Bet by Max Monroe
Missing in Action by Kate Canterbary
Luca by Brenda Rothert
Shameless by Lex Martin

Review: The Highland Fling (Meghan Quinn)

The Highland Fling
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Montlake

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

In this steamy tale by USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn, an American searching for her purpose escapes to a Scottish town but finds more questions than answers when she meets a brooding yet handsome handyman.

Freshly fired from her third job in a row, Bonnie St. James has lost her way. So when she and her best friend stumble upon a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands, they apply on a whim. Who knows? Maybe traveling to a new place is just what she needs to figure out her next move.

When the friends arrive in the tiny idyllic town of Corsekelly, they instantly fall for the gorgeous Highland landscape and friendly townspeople. But Bonnie finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman. Busy wrestling his own demons, Rowan’s in no mood to deal with the quirky American—even if she is a bonny lass.

As Bonnie and Rowan’s paths inevitably cross, insults—and sparks—fly. Can the pair build on their similarities to help each other find purpose and direction…and maybe romance too? Or will their passionate tempers fling them apart?


Every time I see Meghan Quinn’s releasing a new book I get excited. She’s one of my auto-buy authors for a reason. I can always count on her to entertain me and make me laugh. That’s exactly what she did in The Highland Fling.

Bonnie was a ray of sunshine. She was awkward in some ways and clumsy, but normal and relatable. She tried to keep an upbeat attitude, even when things were going sideways. I loved being inside her mind. She was hilarious. Rowan was the grump. Life hadn’t been easy under the weight of expectations and tragedy. He was a good man with good intentions and a great set of friends. Bonnie and Rowan didn’t get off the on the greatest of starts, but I loved seeing their relationship go from a strong dislike to an infatuation to love. It was rocky, but so much fun! I adored them together.

The Scotland setting was amazing and perfect for this romance. The town came to life with Quinn’s descriptions. Who doesn’t like hearing little tidbits about Scotland and its history in a fun and entertaining way? I also loved Quinn’s addition of the language — I don’t know if it was correct because I don’t have experience with it, but it was fun so I’m hoping it was.

I said before Rowan’s friends were amazing and they were. I loved the twins and Isla. They built a strong base behind Rowan’s character. The rest of the small town residents added to the fun as well. I also loved how they mixed with Bonnie and her best friend, Dakota. It was fun to see Bonnie and Dakota’s interactions, too. Their friendship was such a special one. It was so supportive.

I don’t have much else to say other than I truly adored this book. Meghan Quinn has done it again! It was a good time from beginning to end. I loved every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. It’s exactly what I would expect from this author.