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

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

One night with him will change her life…

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts:

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

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

The wrong man never felt so right…

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

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

My thoughts:

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

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

MBBBF - BT banner

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

Whatever.

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

I sent them to Milo Ives.

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

Deflower me, please? I said.

Yeah. Send help.


Adorable.
Hilarious.

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

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

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

MBBBF - AN 12.09.21 PM.jpg

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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

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

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

Excerpt:

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

About Max Monroe:

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

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

Connect with Max Monroe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: The Bromance Book Club (Lyssa Kay Adams)

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Making Up (Helena Hunting)

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links:

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

About the Author:

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

Helena Hunting Blog Tour Q&A MAKING UP

  1. What inspired you to write Making Up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

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

  1. What is a typical writing day like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

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

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

Amazon →  http://amzn.to/1y6OBB7

Twitter → http://bit.ly/HelenaHTwitter

Facebook  → https://www.facebook.com/helena.hunting69/

Pinterest →  http://bit.ly/1oQYRVN

Instagram →  http://instagram.com/helenahunting
Goodreads→ http://bit.ly/GoodReadsHH
NEWSLETTER  → http://bit.ly/HelenaHnewsletter

Bookbub →  http://bit.ly/BookBubHH

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

Review: My Crazy (Sick) Love (Drica Pinotti)

My Crazy (Sick) Love
Author: Drica Pinotti
Publication Date: March 14, 2019
Publisher: Adriana Da Silva Gomes
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Amanda Loeb is a single, intelligent New York City attorney coming up on the eve of her thirtieth birthday. With a stable job, circle of supportive friends, and close relationships with her mother and sister one detail sets Amanda apart from others – she is a hypochondriac. Her medicine cabinet is home to a stock of medications sourced from an actively managed A-Z list of the best doctors in NYC. When Amanda meets Brian Marshall, a handsome and charismatic restaurant owner, her heart beats in undiagnosable somersaults. As their relationship develops Amanda learns the intricacies and complications love brings may be the cure-all ‘pill’ she needs to free herself from the affliction – for the rest of her life.


My Crazy (Sick) Love exhausted me. One of the reasons I read it was because I was curious about Amanda’s hypochondria. I know I have had moments where I was filled with anxiety and worried that something was wrong with me, so I thought it would be easy to relate to. I was also curious how this mental illness would work in a romance. Unfortunately, it didn’t work all that well for me in this case. Amanda’s suffering was completely overwhelming. Her thoughts took over the whole story and made it hard to focus on any other aspect of it. I didn’t find anything about it humorous.

That’s not to say that writing wasn’t good. I thought it was very good and felt like it was well researched. I also really liked Brian’s character. My Crazy (Sick) Love might just be one of those books that works better for others than it did for me.

Review: The Prenup (Lauren Layne)

The Prenup
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother’s best friend. I haven’t seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother’s quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He’s far from Charlotte’s dream guy as but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte’s inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning…


The Prenup is the perfect example of why I love Lauren Layne’s writing. The minute I started reading The Prenup I had a huge smile on my face. I was immediately addicted to the story. Plus, her words are so much fun. That may sound like a weird way to put it, but the way she puts sentences together somehow infuses them with happy emotion. I don’t know how Lauren Layne does it, but I love it.

What made The Prenup so great was chemistry between the characters. They were opposites in demeanor. Charlotte could be described as a little materialistic, upbeat, and a lot stubborn. Colin was uptight, quiet, and intense. They rubbed each other wrong, but somehow it was so right. They had this fun banter — if you can call it that because Colin was sometimes a silent communicator. Every interaction between them was highly entertaining. I truly felt like I was watching two people fall for each other.

I always enjoy Lauren Layne’s books, but I found a new favorite in The Prenup. It was everything I expected from LL and more. I highly recommend it for fans of fake relationships or romantic comedies. It was so much fun!

*Spoiler Free* Review: Better Than This (Beth Flynn)

Better Than This
Series: A Nine Minutes Trilogy Spin-Off, #3
Author: Beth Flynn
Publication Date: July 8, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes they just scab over.

Haunted by memories of a failed marriage, trauma surgeon Barbie Anderson escapes to her hometown for a fresh start. But the quaint community of Pumpkin Rest has memories and failures of its own that should stay buried.

When Barbie runs into ex-con biker Jake Chambers, he stirs up anger and resentment in her that she doesn’t want to face. He reminds her of the one man she’s never gotten over and dredges up decades-old heartache. With his rugged criminal exterior and gentlemanly demeanor, the silver fox may have the other women in Pumpkin Rest falling at his feet, but not Barbie.

She refuses to let her guard down and have her heart broken again. When a series of revelations come tumbling forth, Barbie is forced to confront her past and trust Pumpkin Rest’s most sought-after bachelor where she’ll soon learn that love wears many faces.

Will secrets from the past destroy their future or will old wounds finally heal, allowing her to love again?


Before I begin my review of Better Than This, I feel the need to point people in the right direction if they are not familiar with Beth Flynn’s writing. Beth Flynn has an insanely good dark romance / psychological thriller trilogy called Nine Minutes. It’s really the place you need to start when reading her books. Every book that comes after the original Nine Minutes has been slowly revealing itself since then. Better Than This doesn’t exactly continue storylines from the original trilogy, but there are some surprise references to people and events from it that build to make this book what it is. I highly recommend starting with Nine Minutes and reading Ms. Flynn’s books in the order they were released. If you’re interested in my review for the first book, you can find it here. Now for my review…

Better Than This had a slightly different feel than Beth Flynn’s other novels. This one didn’t jump around in time as much. There were a few scenes that took us to the past, but the majority of the book was in the present and focused on Barbie and Jake’s romance. Barbie and Jake’s romance differed from others in this series because it was a more mature romance. The characters are in their 50’s. It’s not very often I come across a romance with characters this age that feels fresh and not antiquated. The characters had moments where they felt the things you feel when you grow older, but they also had a youthfulness to their thoughts. Getting older myself, I liked this because you still feel like you’re young at heart even when your body isn’t. Barbie and Jake’s romance was also more of a slow burn than the other novels in this series. Given their age, that was surprising. I liked the reasoning behind it.

Now that I’ve said Better Than This was mostly romance based, I need to backtrack a little on that statement. If you have read Beth Flynn’s books, you know that it’s not all about the romance. I probably shouldn’t have said it was. There’s always a gigantic mystery to unravel. That’s another thing that made this book (and all of her others) so special. I was constantly playing detective. Each little hint had me thinking back to things that had been said or done. Usually it just left me with more questions than answers, but it was so much fun and kept me glued to this book.

When I started reading Better Than This I was very curious to find out how Barbie and Jake tied into the original Nine Minutes Trilogy. They weren’t characters I remembered, but there are so many characters I could have easily forgotten them. I kept waiting for some clue to connect them. In true Beth Flynn fashion, things took a while to come together. That’s what’s so amazing about her writing, though. Every little twist, turn, and revelation gives you some new piece of information to fit together. The result is a fabulous puzzle and a huge pay off. I definitely got one of those with this book. Some of my lingering questions from previous books were answered and it was utterly satisfying. There are still more questions now, but I’m hoping Beth Flynn will keep the spin-offs coming and the next book will answer them.

Review: First and Forever (Jay McLean)

First and Forever
Series: Heartache Duet, #2
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: July 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet, and must be read after Heartache and Hope.

Duet Synopsis:
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet. It is the conclusion to Ava and Connor’s story. You have to read Heartache and Hope prior to reading this book because First and Forever picks up where the story left off.

Connor and Ava’s relationship was full of ups and downs. There were lots of moment of back and forth in relationship status. It was both frustrating and understandable. As high school students, they lacked the maturity their situations called for at times. I got frustrated with Connor for keeping important secrets. I was irritated with Ava for avoiding everything she should have been facing head on. Even though I thought the characters needed to grow up, I understood their immaturity and struggles. I liked how they shaped the story. They both learned some valuable lessons.

First and Forever made me love Connor even more. I didn’t always get his dedication to Ava, but I loved the way he supported her. He stood by her when others had walked away. He developed an amazing relationship with her mother and it wasn’t just to win Ava over. I loved that he was always looking at his end game.

Ava wasn’t my favorite, but she grew on me. Like I said before, she was good at avoiding. Some of the things I learned in this book helped explain her, and I was able to make some connections with her actions.

I have a couple of things I want to say that don’t really fit well anywhere in this review. The first is that I didn’t like how the whole Peter thing was dealt with. There was a big build up to it, but when it came time to go into it I was told rather than shown. I wish there had been more attention on that moment. Second, Heartache and Hope was definitely YA. First and Forever felt liked it moved from YA to NA. It was definitely a more mature read.

First and Forever was a great ending to the Heartache Duet. It brought Ava and Connor’s story full circle in a way that felt organic to the characters and the story. Jay McLean did a great job with Ava and Connor’s end game.

Download your copy today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

• Add to TBR: http://bit.ly/2PY7y5U

Heartache and Hope
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacHH
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day
of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

First and Forever
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacFF

About the Author:
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New
Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator. When she’s not doing
any of those things, she can be found running after her three little boys, investing
way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make
her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is
loud and laughter is louder.

For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic) Film or television, please contact
her
agent Erica Spellman-Silverman, at Trident Media Group.
Writer • Reader • Mom • Wife • Master of Awkward Sarcasm. 
Contact Jay:

Review: Past Perfect Life (Elizabeth Eulberg)

Past Perfect Life
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?


Past Perfect Life is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Eulberg. I was drawn to it after reading my friend Stephanie’s review. I also liked the comparison to Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree, which I adored. I probably would have compared it to Benways’ Emmy & Oliver as well. I’m really glad I had the chance to read it because it was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention and had me not wanting to put it down. The writing was that good! I loved the story and all of the characters.

Ally was easy to relate to. I can only imagine what it would be like to find out the life you were living was real, but also a lie. The problems she had accepting all of the changes was understandable. I liked the way Ally coped with everything and all of the choices she made.

One of my favorite things about this book were the side characters. Ally had a really amazing group of friends who were more like family. I loved her relationships with each and every one of them, especially Neil. Their new-found romance was adorable. I also really loved Ally’s new relationships. Her step-father was so understanding and cool.

Ally’s relationships with her parents was so interesting to me. I could easily put myself in both of their places. As a parent, it was hard to look at Ally’s dad in a negative light even though I didn’t condone what he had done. I found myself frustrated with her mom while understanding her actions. I felt so torn over everything.

There was only one thing keeping me from giving this book 5 stars: the ending. Everything wrapped up so quickly. It was too quickly for my taste. I was left with so many unanswered questions. I needed at least an epilogue. Don’t let detour you from reading Past Perfect Life, though. It was so very good and definitely worth a read. I’m looking forward to reading more of Elizabeth Eulberg’s books.

Review: Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center)

Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


How to Walk Away was one of my favorite books from 2018. When I heard Katherine Center was releasing another book, I knew I had to read it. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I was expecting. The writing was brilliant. the characters were fleshed out and lovable. The story and drama were entertaining and pulled me in. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love.

Cassie was this tough as nail firefighter who didn’t want to stand out in the crowd of firefighters. She tried to blend in as much as could with her fellow male counterparts. While I was impressed with her ability to do so, I was sad that she had to do that in 2019. I know a lot of women do, though, in many jobs. It added a very interesting aspect to this love story. It made Cassie’s feelings for the rookie a tad bit stressful and emotional in a way I couldn’t have seen coming.

I loved everything about Cassie and Owen’s (non-)relationship. The way everything built between them was perfect. I felt their connection. I enjoyed how Cassie tried to avoid it. It was just really cute…and emotional. I won’t go into why it was so emotional because I don’t want to ruin anything, but Cassie had some healing to do where love was concerned. I enjoyed how she worked through her issues with love.

Part of those love issues for Cassie had to do with her mom. I adored her mother in this book. I get why Cassie had to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness was a huge part of this book, and I liked how it was done — with one exception.

One of the biggest villains was forgiven more quickly than I liked. The severity of the hurt they caused felt almost brushed over by the rate of forgiveness. I am glad this person was forgiven, but I wanted more legal retribution. This person didn’t have to deal with their actions in the way I thought they should have. I did like how they atoned and made a huge effort to apologize, though.

Other than that, this story was perfection in my eyes. It was a great inspirational story that has me eagerly anticipating Katherine Center’s next book.