Review: Just One of the Groomsmen (Cindi Madsen)

Just One of the Groomsmen
Author: Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Addison Murphy is the funny friend, the girl you grab a beer with—the girl voted most likely to start her own sweatshirt line. And now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. She’ll get through this wedding if it’s the last thing she does. Just don’t ask her to dive for any bouquet.

When Tucker Crawford returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see the nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Certainly doesn’t expect to feel his heart beat faster when he realizes they belong to one of his best friends.

If he convinces Addie to give him a chance, they could be electric…or their break-up could split their tight-knit group in two.

Hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him—he was just too stupid to realize it—now she’s leaving to follow her own dreams. He’s going to need to do a lot of compromising if he’s going to convince her to take a shot at forever with him—on her terms this time.


It’s been a while since I have read a book by Cindi Madsen. I can’t even remember why really. I think there were maybe one or two books of hers that weren’t my thing, so I just didn’t pick up her next release or something. I’m really regretting that decision right now.

The title and cover of Just One of the Groomsmen caught my eye and my attention. I was really curious what being “just one of the groomsmen” meant. When I read the blurb, I knew I had to read. It sounded adorable! I love a good romance about best friends falling in love. I also loved the fact that Addie was “one of the guys” and how that affected the whole wedding.

Addie is one of my favorite characters I’ve read recently. She’s definitely not a demure little thing. She holds her own with the four guys she’s buddies with. I loved how she was both confident in herself, but also a little worried about being unnoticeable. I loved watching the wedding plans unfold through her eyes. It was also really entertaining when she figured out she might just have feelings for one of her best friends.

Tucker surprised me. There was more baggage in his past than I expected and it was interesting to see how that influenced the choices he made. What surprised me the most was that I expected him to be more oblivious than he was. He seemed to pick on things faster than Addie did. That was really cool. I loved that he loved Addie for who she was.

Addie and Tucker’s friendship was cool, but their falling for each other was amazing. The history they had made every little thing that went on between them mean that much more. I liked how they had to navigate their changes in feelings for each other. Not only did they have to worry about their own friendship, but the other three guys they were friends with too. It added that much more pressure to the situation and fun to the story.

As for those friends… I wanted to be friends with them, too! They had this tight bond that was just so cool. They all respected Addie and included her as one of the guys. They didn’t think she was any lesser than them in any way. I liked how everything played out between them all. I want to read books about each every one of them! (Is there a Shep and Lexi book I missed? I’m super curious about them now.) I liked how their different personalities stuck out even though they didn’t get a ton of times to show. I also loved how Lexi was instantly included and how Addie got to know her. Such good stuff in the friendship department in this book!

I can’t leave out the setting. This book was set in a small town. That small town had a life of its own with all the characters in it. I adored the gossiping women, Addie’s Nonna, and all the other people who made appearances. They made the book that much more fun!

Just One of The Groomsmen has to be one of the cutest contemporary romances I’ve read in a long time. It was right up there with my favorite Lauren Layne, Jill Shalvis, and Kristan Higgins romances. I absolutely adored it!

Review: The Roommate Agreement (Emma Hart)

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Let your homeless best friend stay with you, he said. Being roommates will be fun, he said. It’s only temporary, he said.

He never said I’d fall for him.

The Roommate Agreement
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A brand new best-friends-to-lovers romcom from Emma Hart.

Let your homeless best friend stay with you, he said. Being roommates will be fun, he said. It’s only temporary, he said.
He never said I’d fall for him.

You know what isn’t ‘temporary?’ The endless stream of dirty socks in my bathroom and empty food packets under the sofa—and don’t even get me started on the hot guys who take over my living room every Sunday to watch sports.
I can’t take anymore.
So I propose a roommate agreement. One that will bring peace and order back to my life, complete with rules that might just stop my newfound crush on my best friend in its tracks.
After all, there’s only so many times you can see your best friend naked before you start to lose your mind.

Rules. They’re meant to be broken… Aren’t they?


The Roommate Agreement is a messy story about best friends who live together and are secretly in love with each other. It’s a messy story because both characters are a mess and the entire thing felt chaotic and out of control.

To be honest, I didn’t particularly like The Roommate Agreement when I started it. I felt confused by it. Shelby and Jake were already living together and they drove each other nuts — and not in a good way. She complained about his housekeeping skills and the things he did made her so angry. Jake seemed to be somewhat oblivious to Shelby’s frustrations or just didn’t care. It felt more like Shelby and Jake were going to kill each other rather than fall in love. They irritated each other so much that when they started waxing on about their secret crushes on each other inside their heads, it didn’t feel right.

I also had a hard time connecting to the characters. Shelby and Jay were individually a freaking mess. Shelby was a walking contradiction. She was a writer who let her personal hygiene get sketchy while getting on Jay for absolutely every lazy thing he did. I would have been as annoyed as she was, but it felt like before the book started she was enabling him. I don’t know. I just had a hard time believing someone who wanted everything so clean and tidy would go five days without washing her hair and not care if she got stinky. Jay also didn’t sit perfectly with me either. He ran a gym, yet couldn’t do his own laundry or pick up after himself? He had very attentive parents. I don’t see them not teaching him simple life skills and then entrusting a business to him. With all the complaining about each other, I just didn’t get the attraction.

The Roommate Agreement started to win me over when Shelby and Jay started to move from friends/roommates to more. Shelby and Jay were cute once they decided to make their feelings known and act on them.  I liked how they decided proceed with their relationship. They ended up having way more chemistry than I expected after the beginning. It was fun how their families and friends got involved. Jay’s grandma was a hoot. I also loved his mom and dad. Shelby’s parents were equally as fun. It was also cool that their other best friends were in a relationship and how that affected theirs. I liked the relationship part of the book. I would have liked more of it and less of the roommate part.

So, yeah… This was an extremely hard book to rate for me. It felt chaotic and I was unsure if I was going to like it. I probably would have given it two stars if it hadn’t ended so strongly.  I guess it won me over in the end.

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About Emma Hart

Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels and has been translated into several different languages. She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs. Emma prides herself on her realistic, snarky smut, with comebacks that would make a PMS-ing teenage girl proud. Yes, really. She’s that sarcastic. EmmaHart.jpg

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Mini Reviews: A Bunch of Them!

I haven’t been in the mood to write lengthy reviews lately, but I wanted to be able to share some of the I’ve read lately. That means that  today you’re getting a bunch of mini reviews from me! The format is going to be a little different from my normal mini reviews because of the number of them. You can find more information by clicking on the title of each book which will link to the Goodreads page for that book.  Many of these books are off of my TBR. Here we go!


Hired
Author: Zoey Castile

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★

I don’t know…I feel like I should have liked this one more than I did. I was a big fan of the first book in the series, but Hired fell flat for me. It took me a really long time to become invested in the story. Aiden and Faith were both interesting characters enough on their own. I loved that they were an interracial couple and all of the different social issues the author delved into. I just didn’t love their relationship until like 75% into the book. They just didn’t have a big enough spark or something. I was bored too much with the majority of the book. Sad, but true. I’m still planning on reading the next book in the series because I do think the author is talented. This one just wasn’t for me.

Play to Win
Author: Kelly Jamieson

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I love a Kelly Jamieson hockey romance, and I was so excited to get to read the first book in this new series. It had everything I love about Jamieson’s books: gripping writing, two amazing characters, a fun plot, and a love story to swoon over. The only thing that bothered me at times were the myriad of new characters. The Wynn dynasty is a large on and keeping everyone straight was tough. There was a helpful family tree at the beginning, but that’s kind of a pain to flip to on a Kindle version. I’m sure as the series goes on I’ll get to know everyone better. I also wasn’t sure by the end of the book who the next one was going to be about. There were kind of two options. I would be fine with either, though. Overall, I loved reading this book and I’m happy Jamieson is giving us more hockey romance.


For Emery
Author: J. Nathan

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

For Emery is the fourth book in the For You series. It can be read as a standalone novel, but some of Grady’s personality and character traits are woven throughout the series. That is important because Emery is from further back in Grady’s past and his previous behavior is a reflection of their relationship. Emery was a great match for Grady. Her story was actually more interesting to me than his. I actually didn’t fall quite in love with Grady’s character as I hoped. There were just some times that I didn’t like him and that made me question how much I liked Emery’s relationship with him. Overall, it was a good romance. I loved how it ended.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Authors: Meghan Mullally, Nick Offerman

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is probably one of my favorite celebrity memoirs ever. If I had to describe it in one word it would be fun. That’s what the entire listening experience is. These two were candid, funny, and a good time to listen to. If you like either of these two actors, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend the audio version so you can listen to them tell their stories — they even describe the pictures in the book for you so that you’re not missing out on anything.


Love the One You’re With
Author: Lauren Layne

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I have so many reasons to be happy I finally read Love the One You’re With. It’s my last book in this series to read, my last LL book that I hadn’t read yet, and it’s the book that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest! Now those are all great reasons, but the biggest reason I’m happy I finally read this book was because I loved it. Grace and Jake were so much fun! They got up to some crazy antics and I loved how entertaining it all was. I also loved Grace and Jake together. They made a sweet couple.


Now That You Mention It
Author: Kristan Higgins

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

What I want to know is why did I wait so long to read this book? I have loved every single Kristan Higgins book I’ve ever read. I’m so mad that I put this one off because it was a great book about healing. Nora has been through several tough times in her life. The latest one sends her home to an island in Maine. There she not only confronts her present situation, but her past and her possible future. Kristan Higgins’s writing was amazing as always. I loved all of the quirky characters and things that happened to get Nora where she needed to be.

Review: The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister (Meghan Quinn)

The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: January 3, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

How do you date your best friend’s sister? Easy.

Step one: Pretend you want her to set you up with someone else. That will bring the two of you closer.

Step two: Go on date with lots of random women, proceed to get stupid drunk and talk about your best friend’s sister, thus gaining the courage to finally make a move.

Step three: Randomly show up at her apartment and confess your love. Women love that, right?

It all seemed so simple. A fool-proof three-step process that will guarantee the love of you life to fall madly in love with you.

At least–that’s what I thought was going to happen. But my attempts to win over Julia Westin backfired in more ways than I can count. The thing about Julia? She’s smart–really smart–and her wicked gaze cuts through all the charm I’ve tried slinging her way. She’s not interested in games, my gifts, or my stories. She might want me too; but she’s not giving in that easy…


Meghan Quinn is starting 2019 off right with her newest release The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister. This book was all kinds of fun. It combined falling in love with the best friend’s sister, friends to lovers, and romantic comedy all in one great package.

Bram and Julia met back in college when Bram and Julia’s brother became best friends. Bram had always carried a torch for Julia, but Julia was unattainable as Rath’s younger sister. Now that the two (or three) are all grown up and successful in their careers, Bram has decided it’s time to go after the woman he has wanted for the past ten years. It’s time for him to pull out his secret plan to date his best friend’s sister.

I loved how this book was set up. It goes back and forth in time between Bram and Julia’s college years and the present. (Those college flashbacks were some of my favorite parts!) Both Bram and Julia get their own points of view in both timelines. Their takes on what they thought the other person was thinking and feeling were entertaining. I don’t want to give much away, but this book almost felt like it had three different parts. I thought it was very smart how Meghan Quinn had the story and character’s relationship evolve.

As for the characters, they were a good match. Julia had this ultra serious, intelligent thing going on while Bram was a cross between an overgrown frat boy and a stealthy businessman. Their personalities complimented each other in the best way. The more I read about them, the more I loved them. The only itty-bitty problem I had with either of them was with Julia. Sometimes she grated on me. Her character had moments where she was stiff and oblivious to social ques. Those times didn’t always feel particularly right to me. I can’t put a finger on why, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Bram and Julia’s relationship might have been overshadowed a bit by another dynamic duo. Bram and Julia’s brother Rath had a major bromance going on. I honestly could have read an entire book on their friendship. They also had this friend Roarke who was amazing. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get a book for both of those guys.

So, yeah. I loved reading The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister. It was a good time in the way that only Meghan Quinn romances can be. If you’re a fan of hers, you’ll be a fan of this book. I was.

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USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book. Facebook | Follow on Goodreads | Website | Amazon Author Page | Instagram | Follow on BookBub

Mini Reviews: Hotshot Doc, Not So Nice Guy, & Arrogant Devil (R.S. Grey)

Hotshot Doc
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: December 6, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

My thoughts:

It’s been a while since I’ve read an R.S. Grey book, and Hotshoc Doc reminded me why I enjoy her writing. She excels in combining wit, romance, and emotion into an addictive story. Hotshoc Doc just became my new favorite of hers. There was almost an enemies to lovers vibe that created a fun push and pull between Matt and Bailey. They had great chemistry inside and outside of the operating room. I also enjoyed how both of their siblings were involved in the story. Hotshot Doc made me so happy that I am immediately picking up another R.S. Grey novel.


Not So Nice Guy
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: August 9, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Oh my god. Who is that?”
I get asked this question a lot.
“Oh him?” I reply. “That’s just Ian.”

Just Ian is the biggest understatement of the century.
Just the Mona Lisa. Just the Taj Mahal. Just Ian, with his boring ol’ washboard abs and dime-a-dozen dimpled smile.

Just Ian is… just my best friend.

We’re extremely close, stuck so deep inside a Jim-and-Pam-style friendzone everyone at works assumes we’re a couple – that is until one day, word spreads through the teacher’s lounge that he’s single. Fair game. Suddenly, it’s open season on Ian.

He should be reveling in all the newfound attention, but to our mutual surprise, the only attention he seems to want is mine.

He’s turning our formerly innocent nightly chats into x-rated phone calls. Our playful banter sports a new, dangerous edge.

I want to assume he’s playing a prank on me, just pushing my buttons like always – but when Ian lifts me onto the desk in my classroom and slides his hands up my skirt, he doesn’t leave a lot of room for confusion.

I’m a little scared of things going south, of losing my best friend because I can’t keep my hands to myself. So, I’m just going to back away and not return this earth-shattering kiss – oh who am I kidding?!

Goodbye Ian, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal!

Helloooo mister not so nice guy.

My thoughts:

Not So Nice Guy might just be the cutest friends to lovers book I have read recently. It was so dang cute! Ian and Sam were these best friends who everyone assumed was together but weren’t. They both secretly had crushes on each other, but neither thought the other was interested. Their journey from friends to more was so cute and funny. I couldn’t get enough of it. I adored every minute I spent with this book. It made me want to continue with my R.S. Grey binge read!


Arrogant Devil
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: May 10, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. Physically, I get it: he’s tan and fit, with coal-black hair that’s clearly been scorched by hellfire. Oh, and his personality? It burns just as hot.

When I show up on the doorstep of Blue Stone Ranch, I’m run-down and rockin’ my last pair of underwear. I’m hoping for a savior, but instead, I find him.

My opinion of Jack is marred by a dismal first impression, but his opinion of me is tainted even before I arrive. He’s heard I’m a spoiled princess there to take advantage of his goodwill. To him, I’m more trouble than I’m worth.

Our button-pushing banter should get under my skin. His arrogance should be a major turn-off. Problem is, devils are known to offer their own form of temptation.

Every one of his steely glares sends a shiver down my spine.

Every steamy encounter leaves me reeling.

Sure, it could be the Texas heat messing with my head, but there’s no way I’ll survive the summer without silencing him with a kiss and wrestling him out of those Wranglers.

Who knows…going to bed with the devil might just be the salvation I’ve been looking for all along.

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. This one was a ton of fun. It was all about two people who started out clashing in a major way and then fell for each other. I really enjoyed it.

Series Review: Beautiful Hearts Duet (Emma Scott)

When the Beautiful Hearts Duet released this past summer I wanted to read it, but I was hesitant. I know the power of Emma Scott’s writing, and I was scared to feel what her words would invoke. I also knew it had a love triangle of sorts, and I hate those. In the end, I gave in and read the duet because I knew it would be good and all of the reviews were coming in with high praise.

Bring Down the Stars ★ ★ ★ ½

I have to start out by saying that the acknowledgements and dedications at the beginning of this book had me in tears. That didn’t bode well for my emotions. I have to be honest and say I didn’t love this book. It made me mad because of the love triangle built on lies. I was so frustrated with Weston, Connor, and Autumn while reading it. Weston made me mad because of his dedication to Connor. Connor made me mad because of his attitude about just about everything and his poor decisions. Autumn I wasn’t really mad at. I was more irritated because I wondered how she could really be so blind…but then aren’t we all when we’re falling in love?

Overall, the writing was beautiful. The poems in this book…WOW. The emotions brought on by this book…WOW. The ending…DANG. There’s no way I could take a break between books 1 and 2.

Long Live the Beautiful Hearts ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I don’t even know that I have the words to tell you how much I loved this book. This one starts off emotional and strong. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I ended up loving the direction Emma Scott took this story. I grew to really love Autumn, Weston, and Connor. How everything worked out wasn’t always easy, but it was perfect. The easy moments were almost too easy, but I didn’t mind that because I felt everything come full circle. Bravo, Emma Scott. You did your readers, yourself, and your precious daughter right.

Review: The Fire Between High & Lo (Brittainy C. Cherry)

The Fire Between High & Lo
Series: Elements, #2
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: March 25, 2016
Publisher: BCherry Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

Logan Francis Silverstone was the complete opposite of me. I danced while he stood still. He was quiet, and I was always running my mouth. He struggled to find a smile while I refused to frown.

The night I saw the darkness that truly lived inside of him, I couldn’t look away.

We were broken together, yet somehow whole. We were wrong together, but always right. We were the stars that burned across the night sky, searching for a wish, praying for better tomorrows.

Until the day I lost him. He threw us away with one hasty decision—a decision that changed us forever.

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

And for a few breaths, a few whispers, a few moments, I think he loved me, too.


The Fire Between High & Lo is a book that has been on my TBR for a few years now. It is the last book I needed to read in the Elements series. I am happy I finally got to read it because it was an experience I enjoyed.

From the beginning, The Fire Between High & Lo hit me hard emotionally. The story followed Alyssa and Logan through their friendship, falling in love, falling apart, and finding each other again. It wasn’t a simple or happy story. Alyssa and Logan were not perfect people. Drug abuse and poor decisions played a huge part in everything they went through. Alyssa and Logan’s experiences were high emotion and filled with angst. I felt every one of their feelings in only the way a truly outstanding writer can make me feel. I didn’t always love what I was feeling, but I loved that I could be made to feel that way.

While Alyssa and Logan’s relationship was the most important and center stage, there were several other relationships that made this book. Logan’s relationship with his brother, Kellan, was beautiful. Beautiful doesn’t really even describe it, but I couldn’t come up with another word. They way the supported each other was everything and added another great layer to this story. I also loved Kellan’s relationship Emily. Emily wasn’t fond of Logan, so it added some extra drama. Plus, Kellan and Emily had some stuff to get through of their own that touched me and made me love this story even more than I already did.

One relationship in this book frustrated me, though. Logan’s relationship with his mom made me sad. Julie was a mess. No, wait. She was more than a mess — she was a rotten person. I am sure underneath it all Julie had a good heart, but drugs took that away. She didn’t deserve any of the attention or devotion her children gave her. She made me so mad. I just didn’t understand how her children could be so forgiving and loving.

Brittainy C. Cherry is one of those authors who excels at bringing on “the feels”. She did an exceptional job at showing how families and relationships can be affected by drug abuse. While this wasn’t the happiest of books, I truly loved reading it.

Review: The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan

The Boy I Grew Up With
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I have loved Channing Monroe all my life.

In first grade, he asked for my Trapper Keeper.
I hit him in the head with it.
Third grade, we were best friends. We kissed in seventh grade.
Eighth grade, he turned into a bad boy and the rest was a tumultuous storm.

Growing up, the problem was never love for us.
Bad times. Good times. There were times when I felt our love in every inch of my body, vibrating, making me feel like it could bring me back to life.

The problem was us.

The problem is that we’re living in two different worlds now.
Fallen Crest and its millionaires for me. Roussou and their criminals for him. I was thriving in mine and he was running his.

But…

But there were nights I felt we couldn’t be further apart than we were, and there were nights I felt we shared the same heartbeat.

When was it time?
When was it time to either sacrifice, make a change, or walk away from the boy I grew up with?


I have all the feelings, guys. All of them. I don’t even know how I’m going to write this review because I’m a little hung over from all of the feels. I’ll give it a shot, though. Forgive me if this seems like one big ramble.

The Boy I Grew Up With is a spin-off of the Fallen Crest High series. It revolves around Samantha’s best friend, Heather and her on-again off-again boyfriend, Channing. (If you have read Crew, but not the FCH series, you will recognize Bren’s older brother Channing and his girlfriend Heather as well.) You don’t necessarily have to read either of those books/series to enjoy this book, but it definitely helps. I would recommend to those who have read the FCH series to going back and read the last couple of chapters of Fallen Crest Forever just to refresh your mind of where things left off in that series. It’s not super important, it’s just something I wish I had done. That being said…

This book was EVERYTHING for a fan of the Fallen Crest High series. The Boy I Grew Up With had all the angst, anticipation, and emotion of that first series. I loved being back in Heather’s world. I know everyone has wanted to know what really went on between Heather and Channing the entire time we were reading FCH, and now we finally have answers!

Since these are characters I already knew and loved, I am not going to go into much about their separate attributes. They weren’t much different from the last time I saw them. Heather and Channing had some surprises in store, but deep down they were the same tough, loyal, independent people. What I will talk about is their relationship. Channing and Heather had such a special connection and history. There were so many things I knew before, but didn’t really know about them. They had such an intense love and devotion. It went deeper than I had originally thought, and it made me so happy to finally understand why. Reading this book made me love Channing and Heather’s characters more than I already did.

Honestly, I loved this book. I loved how it went back and forth between past and present. I could have read more of it. I wanted more of it. I could have kept reading it well after it ended. In fact, I wouldn’t have been mad if Tijan had made this a series rather than just one book. I would have been fine reading Channing and Heather’s entire history from first grade through present over several different books. I didn’t get that, and that’s okay. Instead, I got an amazing journey that brought everything between Channing and Heather full circle. It wasn’t always pretty, but is was beautiful. The Boy I Grew Up With is a MUST READ for Heather and Channing fans.

Now, Tijan, is it too much to ask for a book for Nate? Pretty please with sugar on top…

Series Review: Jackson Boys by Jen Frederick

Before I start my reviews for the Jackson Boys series, I need to give you a little background information in case you’re unfamiliar with Jen Frederick’s novels. The Jackson Boys series is a spin-off of the Woodlands series. Nathan and Nick are the offspring of Noah and Grace. Charlotte is the daughter of Bo and AnnMarie. You don’t have to read the Woodlands series prior to reading this book. The older characters show up, but their stories aren’t really revealed in this new series.

The Charlotte Chronicles
Series: Jackson Boys, #1
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: December 8, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Charlotte Randolph was only fifteen when she fell in love with her best friend’s gorgeous older brother—but she wasn’t foolish enough to hope he could ever love her back. Nate Jackson always viewed her as a pesky kid…until the day she got sick. The one bright spot during her illness? He realized she was all grown up. But just when she allows herself to believe that dreams can come true, Nate disappears from her life, taking her heart with him.

Nate knows he lost more than his best friend when he deserted Charlotte to enlist in the Navy. He thought he was doing the right thing, sparing the girl he loves from the shame and humiliation of his actions. Nine years later, it’s time to right his wrongs. He returns home determined to win back his first love…only to find that Charlotte’s moved on without him.

But if there’s one thing that being a Navy SEAL has taught Nate? Never give up, even when all hope seems lost. And Nate’s never going to give up on Charlotte. Ever.

My Review:

The Charlotte Chronicles is one of those books where I feel like my rating for it doesn’t quite jibe with how much I enjoyed reading it. I loved Charlotte and Nate. Their story was emotional from the start. The writing was great, but the actual story didn’t flow as well as I wanted it to.

My frustration with The Charlotte Chronicles was how the story was set up. The only way I can think to describe it is that it felt like three books in one. It starts out when Nate and Charlotte are seventeen and fifteen. The story surrounding Charlotte’s illness is sad, but also sweet because of Nate. They have such a pure love for each other. It really made me fall in love with both of their characters.

While Charlotte’s fighting her illness, Nate takes off and joins the Navy. This begins what feels like a new book. It’s a bunch of letters from Charlotte to Nate while he’s serving. She writes him for YEARS with no response. Her letters are sweet, desperate, and heartbreaking. I am so angry with Nate throughout this section of the book because I have no clue what he’s thinking and I can’t believe he would abandon someone he loves so much during the hardest time in her life.

Time then fast forwards again. The story changes format again. It’s been nine years since Nate and Charlotte last communicated with each other. (I guess they had a few run ins during that time, so I don’t get why they didn’t talk then?) We’re back to both Nate and Charlotte’s perspectives, and they’re older so they almost feel like different people. Nate finally gets to explain himself. He basically ignored her for a VERY STUPID reason for NINE YEARS. I struggled with the length of time the characters were apart and the flow of the story. I think if it had been shorter this separation and reunion would have been more believable to me. I just couldn’t get over the fact that they both held on for almost a decade. Nate was so lucky Charlotte hadn’t moved on.

I think my issues with The Charlotte Chronicles wouldn’t have been issues if it wasn’t for that nine-year separation. I would have found it more understandable/believable had it been three or even five years. I did like everything else that happened in the story, so that’s why I feel so conflicted. It’s still a book I would recommend. I’m excited to read Nick’s book and get to know him more.

Be Mine
Series: Jackson Boys, #2
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: October 3, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

At twenty years old, Lainey Wilson has made enough mistakes for a lifetime. She’s gotten herself knocked up by a cruel, uncaring man, lost her home, and found herself outside of a ramshackle bar with a crying baby and a broken purse.

When Nick Jackson, the Mustangs’ new rookie quarterback, swoops in like her savior, all she wants to do is fall into his arms. There’s just one problem… she’s sworn off football players and men for good.

He’s charming, eager, and sexy as hell, but Nick’s not the man for her. No matter what her body says.

Besides, she’s got bigger problems to fix such as how she’s going to feed her child, where she’s going to lay her head, and how to stay hidden from her ex. There’s no room for flirtation, a hand on the small of her back, or even the way he makes her daughter smile.

Nick Jackson isn’t in her plan now or ever.

Right?

My review:

Having read Be Mine immediately following The Charlotte Chronicles had me a little confused. Be Mine is Nate’s brother Nick’s and Charlotte’s friend Lainie’s story. In The Charlotte Chronicles, Lainey and Nick seem to have a frenemies thing going on. They were standoffish with each other, and Nick butted into Lainey’s life in weird ways. It made me expect an enemy to lovers story. That wasn’t what I got at all in this book.

Nick and Lainey actually had a very different start to their friendship/relationship than I was expecting. Nick and Lainey’s friendship actually came before Charlotte and Lainey’s. I didn’t find the animosity between Nick and Lainey that I thought I would. When it did pop up, I didn’t understand it. It was all on Lainey’s part, and didn’t make sense. Nick was nothing but a sweetheart to her when I thought he would have been a jerk at times. It threw me off — especially when the timelines for The Charlotte Chronicles and Be Mine overlapped. I don’t want to go into too much and ruin anything for anyone. If I hadn’t just read The Charlotte Chronicles the little changes might not have been so noticeable.

Despite all the questions that arose from reading the books back to back, I did really love reading Be Mine. It was an entertaining love story. Nick and Lainey were a cute couple with interesting obstacles to overcome. I liked the twists involving Lainey’s baby daddy. I loved Nick and Cassidy’s relationship. It also had a very sweet epilogue. Be Mine probably would have been a 5 star read for me if I hadn’t had so many little questions about the possible discrepancies between it and the first book.

Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author that “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly) comes a sexy romantic comedy about online dating, and its many, many fails.

With a world-famous speaker at their university, Millie Morris and her four woefully single male colleagues make a pact that they’ll all find dates. Unfortunately, Millie has more success helping them make matches online than she does navigating the onslaught of lewd pics in her own feed. But when she creates a fictional name for a new account, Millie finds herself vying for the online attention of a man she sees every day in the flesh.


2018 has been a great year for Christina Lauren. They have graced readers with the emotionally gripping Love & Other Words and the hilariously entertaining Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. Now they are releasing their third book of the year, My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand had a lot to live up to after the two completely different and amazing books Christina Lauren released earlier this year. To be completely honest, it wasn’t as good as Love & Other Words or Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. I’m not saying that to drag My Favorite Half-Night Stand. It was still a great book. There were just some things that drove me a little batty at times.
The story starts off with the reader getting to know five friends and co-workers: Millie, Reid, Chris, Alex and Ed. Millie is the only girl in the group of guys, and she’s never thought of having anything, but a platonic relationship with any of the guys…until that one night when suddenly she’s noticing things about Reid she hasn’t noticed before. Just when Millie is considering new feelings for Reid, the group decides to sign up together for online dating. As they create profiles and being receiving matches Millie, Millie decides to create an account with a fake name. She’s immediately matched with Reid under her new persona. Unsure of how to proceed, not-Millie sends Reid a message and what follows could be a reality television show.
Let me start out with my favorite thing about My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I adored the friendships. They were so special. Millie and the guys had this amazing camaraderie and support system going. I loved how they played off each other. I honestly could read a separate book about each and every one of them. I was kind of sad that I only got Millie and Reid’s story because I wanted to know more about all of them.
Another thing I loved about this book was that it was written in dual point of view. I loved being able to see what was going on in both Reid and Millie’s heads at different times. I think if I only had Millie’s perspective, I would have been angry a lot of the book.
Okay, I have to deviate from what I liked to what I didn’t like after mentioning Millie’s POV. Millie drove me batty. I couldn’t believe for someone so smart she made such a horribly mean decision. She deserved what ended up happening to her relationship with Reid and her friends. I understand why she did what she did, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t really like her…until the end. Once she finally let all those bottled up emotions out and became real, I loved her. I wish I would have loved her the entire time.
Back to things I loved! REID! The guy was amazing. He had patience of a saint when it came to Millie. I was surprised given how emotionally in touch he was that he was okay taking what Millie would give him for as long as he did. I loved reading his thoughts and his online dating communications. He was the main star in this book for me — quickly followed by all of his friends.
I want to keep gushing about the friendships in this book! Partly because I love them, party because without them this book might have tanked for me in the middle when Millie was being dumb. I’m really happy they helped carry that middle because I absolutely adored the end of My Favorite Half-Night Stand. It was so sweet and vulnerable. It pretty much made me forget how irritated I was with the decisions Millie made before it and made me like her. The ending brought the story full circle in the best way possible.
So while My Favorite Half-Night Stand wasn’t a Love & Other Words or a Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, it was a good romance with some of the best side characters I have read in a long time. It is worth reading simply for the friendship aspect.