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.

Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

The Good Luck Charm
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This received this book from the publisher. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Is it love, or is she just his good luck charm?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting absolutely delights with this witty and fun standalone contemporary romance.

Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.

Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.

Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.


The Good Luck Charm is a special second chance romance. Ethan and Lilah were first best friends and then high school sweethearts. When Ethan broke up with Lilah eight years ago to pursue a career in the NHL, they were both devastated. Lilah tried her best to move on. She created a whole new life for herself — a life that came crashing down around her the same day Ethan returned to town. Ethan wants nothing more to have Lilah back in his life, but Lilah’s not the same girl she was all those years ago. She’s not willing to be that girl again, and she’s not so sure she could stand to lose him again. Ethan is willing to do anything to prove to Lilah that they belong together.

Ethan and Lilah were a couple who deserved a second chance. From the moment I met them, I could tell how deeply their friendship and love ran. They may have been apart for eight years, but their chemistry was so strong they immediately fell back in sync with each other. Their romance was sassy and fun, but it was also filled with strong emotions. The ups and downs in this book felt like ones that could possibly happen in real life. I loved how Ms. Hunting was able to mix her witty dialog and sexy scenes with ones filled with angst.

One of the things I liked about this book was how easy it was to relate to Lilah and her concerns about losing herself in Ethan. Ethan was a larger than life hockey player whose confident personality easily overtook Lilah’s quieter demeanor. He went big while she went smart about things. That meant that sometimes Ethan didn’t hear what Lilah needed. She was quick it cave into his demands because she loved him. It’s easy to give up parts of yourself for someone you love. I liked how she dealt with it all. It took strength and courage on her part. Some might feel Lilah’s character was too much of a pushover, but I felt that she was actually a very strong person who just didn’t want to lose someone she loved so much. I also liked how this situation affected Ethan and gave him some new insight into their relationship.

Another thing I loved about this book were all the side characters. Ethan and Lilah’s families added so much to their story. I loved how involved they were in it. It made me want their stories as well — especially Carmen’s.

The Good Luck Charm is now my favorite book by Helena Hunting. In my opinion, it was contemporary romance gold.

Series Review: Infamous by N.A. Alcorn

The Infamous Ellen James
Series: Infamous, #1
Author: N.A. Alcorn
Publication Date: February 18, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Meet twenty-eight year old Ellen James. A sarcastic, feisty, foul-mouthed ER Nurse. She is snarky, sassy, and sometimes crudely inappropriate. After a terrible breakup with her fiancé, Ellen has promised herself that she will never make the mistake of falling for another man again… and physicians, well she’s more than written them off.

Once she meets sexy Trauma Surgeon, Dr. Trent Hamilton, this promise is unbelievably hard to keep. This too-hot-for-Ellen’s-own-good man is undeniably sexy and down-right irresistible. He leaves her breathless, speechless, and irritatingly turned on. He makes her fantasize about him in all kinds of dirty, inappropriate ways.

With the help of her obnoxious, and often times hilarious best friend Amy, Ellen will find herself in several crazy, embarrassing situations.

This is a story of friendship, love and how one very sarcastic woman can find the strength to pick up the pieces after having her heart broken.

In her first novel, N.A. Alcorn provides interesting takes on the word vagina, while giving you a reason to re-think your next visit to the Emergency Room. This book is bound to make you laugh, smile, and provide you with enough sarcasm to choke your grandmother. No, N.A. doesn’t want anything bad to happen to your Grandma Ruth, but she does want you to strongly consider re-naming your vibrator after a guy who’s at the top of your spank bank rotation. Be prepared for dripping juice-boxes, awkward pelvic thrusting, and a little suspense to keep your snatch on edge.

My review:

If you didn’t know, N.A. Alcorn is one half of Max Monroe. When I found out this summer who these authors were, I decided I had to read their individual works. I had several people recommend The Infamous Ellen James to me. I am so happy they did because I loved this book so much!!!

Ellen was outrageous. If she was my friend, she would have the nickname Crazy Ellen. She’s that friend who doesn’t mean to do dumb, crazy, funny stuff but always ends up making a scene. The things that happened to her are only things that could happen to Crazy Ellen. (I have a friend like this in real life, so I feel like I could totally see everything going down the way it did!)

Ellen wasn’t alone in her craziness. Ellen had her best friend Amy Jackson to back her up. Some might say Amy is even crazier than Crazy Ellen. (That’s something I will have to come back to when I review Avoiding Amy Jackson.) Ellen and Amy had the best friendship. They got into some insane trouble, but they always had each other’s backs.

Since Ellen was so fabulously outrageous, she needed a special man to fall in love with her. Dr. Trent Hamilton was that man. He wasn’t afraid to embrace the craziness of falling in love with Ellen. He saw her for the true gem she was.

One thing that really surprised me about The Infamous Ellen James was the serious place it went towards the end. It was all fun and games until something major happened. Then it became more emotional. I liked that N.A. Alcorn was able to take a book that was extremely fun and flirty and make it something deeper and more emotional.

The Infamous Ellen James was laugh out loud hilarious. I cannot even put into words how much joy this book brought me. I loved everything about Ellen and Trent. Their story of falling in love was a crazy good time. I can’t believe this was N.A. Alcorn’s first novel. It was so good!


Avoiding Amy Jackson
Series: Infamous, #2
Author: N.A. Alcorn
Publication Date: February 18, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Meet Amy Jackson. An outspoken, raunchy, in-your-face, loudly inappropriate ER Nurse who makes a career out of indulging.

One-night stands have always been her thing.

Commitment and relationships are two words that are not in her vocabulary.

Amy doesn’t have dreams of soul mates and white picket fences. She adamantly refuses to even consider the idea of getting married and starting a family. She’s also obstinate in allowing a certain physician to get on her good side…

James Williams. A cocky, smug, too-damn-good-looking orthopedic surgeon who has his sights set on the very feisty Amy Jackson. He is more than intrigued and ready to do whatever it takes…

“I want this woman. I’m the type of guy who will fight for what he wants until he gets it. I will take my time with Amy. I won’t rush her. I will continue to slowly slide myself into her life until she realizes that I belong there. And then…I won’t let her go.”

My review:

N.A. Alcorn gives a bit of preview of what’s to come in Avoiding Amy Jackson in The Infamous Ellen James. I’m happy she did that because the Amy and James’ story was… Well, I’m not even sure how to describe it! Amy was so angry wi James for turning down her offer of a one night stand that she decided to hate him. She was mean and rude to him. For some really crazy reason, he still wanted to be with her. I didn’t get it, but it made for a great story!

Amy Jackson and Ellen James are two peas in a pod, so I was worried this book could feel like a repeat of the last. It wasn’t. Amy was just as crass as Ellen, but she had her own issues. She didn’t believe in love and she was all about the one night stand. That was bothersome at times to me, but as her issues slowly revealed themselves I began to understand her decision-making process. It didn’t make me feel any better about her actions, but at least I could understand them. She had a lot of pain inside, and seeing how everything played out made me like her more as a person than I did at the beginning.

James was an idiot. Or an extremely patient and nice guy. It’s hard to determine which based on his holding out for Amy. I’m not quite why he continued to pursue her when she was so nasty to him. I did like how he waited her out and used some sneaky tactics to make her fall for him. He was really very sweet to her, and I loved how he treated her. I just didn’t completely get why he did it. That’s okay, though. It made for a great romance.

Now back to Ellen…I was happy she and Trent played such a big part in Amy and James’ story. It gave me the opportunity to get a little more of their love story. It was also fun to see Ellen and Amy back in action together. I also can’t leave out Ellen’s sister Lizzy. I loved the sneak peek at what was going on there. I was excited to see that Lizzy had a book coming — until I remembered that Max Monroe said they’re only writing books together right now and Avoiding Amy Jackson was released in 2014, so I might not get Lizzy’s story. 🙁

Avoiding Amy Jackson may not as been as amazing a read as The Infamous Ellen James for me, but it was still very good. It had humor, deep emotions, and a sweet love story. I’m crossing my fingers that N.A. Alcorn will eventually give me that third book in this series about Lizzy. I’m dying to read it and find out what else is to come in the Infamous world.

Review: The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Allread
Publication Date: May 12, 2005
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, New Adult, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back…and he’s not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.


The Sweet Gum Tree is not a book that I normally would have picked up. Honestly, the cover and title wouldn’t have appealed to me. Luckily, I read a review of it by Stephanie. Her review made The Sweet Gum Tree sound so interesting. I decided I wanted to read it and requested it from my local library. I’m so happy I did! I ended up really enjoying this book. I didn’t want to put it down. I read it one night, and stayed up super late to finish it.
When I first started reading The Sweet Gum Tree, I wondered what I was getting myself into. While the story was written in my favorite first person narration, it was told straight to me by the main character Alix rather than experiencing it with her. That felt really odd to me. I got used to it and kind of forgot about it. It didn’t ruin the book for me.

I loved the setting of The Sweet Gum Tree. I’m a big fan of books set in the southern United States. This one was even more special with it being set in a small town. I could easily imagine how closely tied together all of the characters were.

I really liked how the story started when Alix was a young girl and grew with her until adulthood. This was done in a great way. I got just enough of her story at important times in her life to understand how she ended up where she was an adult. I loved seeing how her relationship with Nick in all those years changed Alix. I adored Alex and Nick’s love for each other. It was so sweet and it grew from a very special friendship.

What drove me nuts about The Sweet Gum Tree was the lack of communication between the characters. That caused the majority of the problems, and showed just how immature the characters were — even into adulthood. Another thing that was a little frustrating was all the cheating involved in the story. It wasn’t described, so that wasn’t the problem. It was the way that the characters all reacted to it. It seemed like no big deal and was easily forgiven. That was just so odd.

Overall, The Sweet Gum Tree was a surprisingly addictive read. It wasn’t perfect in my eyes, but that didn’t matter. It drew me in, kept my attention, and left me satisfied in the end. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, books set in the South, or books set in a small town, you might want to give The Sweet Gum Tree a try. It’s a special book.