Review: Faker (Sarah Smith)

Faker
Author: Sarah Smith
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Debut author Sarah Smith nails this fun and sexy multicultural romance where two office foes hammer out their differences to build a love that will last…

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.


Faker is Sarah Smith’s début novel, and it’s a strong one. I was very impressed with the writing. It pulled me in right away. I loved the banter between Emmie and Tate. Their relationship was definitely solid in the hate to love game. I liked how things changed for them in a way that felt natural. I enjoyed reading their romance.

There a couple of things that bothered me, though. One was Emmie’s attitude toward Tate. I got why she put up a front with him, but I didn’t always like the way she antagonized him. I loved that she played a part to keep her co-workers respecting her in a predominantly male workplace, but a lot of the time Tate didn’t deserve what Emmie was dishing out. The second thing that bothered me was the twist. It’s not a twist I like in romance novels. I was disappointed that the author took the story there because there were a couple of opportunities for other twists that would have been less…disturbing?

In the end, I did enjoy Faker. Things ended in a way that I was good with and that brought back some of the happier feelings I had in the middle of the book. Emmie and Tate’s relationship was really cute for the most part. I’m looking forward to see what is next for Sarah Smith.

Review: Well Met (Jen DeLuca)

Well Met
Author: Jen De Luca
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.


Well Met is a book I picked up because all of my romance reader friends have been raving about it. Since they all loved it, I figured I would as well. I was right! It was so good. I couldn’t believe Well Met is Jen DeLuca’s début novel. It was so well written. It felt like a book by a seasoned author. It packed so much emotion — it even brought tears to my eyes. I was impressed by this début.

Normally, I like my romances to have dual points of view. Well Met didn’t have that. The entire story was told through Emily’s eyes. I was surprised at how well this worked for me. I think it’s because the romance, while a big part, wasn’t the complete focus of the story. It was more about how Emily was healing from a break up, moving to a small town, reuniting with her sister and niece, and working through what was next for her. I loved experiencing her figuring it all out.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the Renaissance Faire theme. I wasn’t sure if this setting would work for me or not. It did. I found myself loving the scenes at the faire. They added another level to Emily and Simon’s relationship that I wasn’t expecting.

As for Emily and Simon… I really liked them together. I liked them together so much that I was a little sad that there wasn’t as much to it as I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of deep and important moments between them. It’s hard to explain, but their romance was a slow burn that felt kind of like insta-love. It took a while for them to get together, but they were in love the minute they were finally together. I felt like I missed something in between those stages. Maybe I just had a hard time combining their acting at the faire with their real life romance.

Overall, this was a strong début novel. It was filled with memorable characters and a great story line. It’s made me very excited to find out what’s next for Jen DeLuca. Selfishly, I’m hoping this novel becomes a series and I get to know more of the other characters better.

Review: That Forever Girl (Meghan Quinn)

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That Forever Girl
Series: Getting Lucky, #2
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn’s second book in the Getting Lucky series brings heart, humor, and heat back to Port Snow.

There are two little words every small-town man dreads:

She’s back.

Harper Sanders, the girl who was supposed to be my forever, has returned to Port Snow, Maine, for good—and she’s bringing back memories of our shared past.

We once had a bright future together, but when tragedy struck, I threw it all away and pushed her out of my life. People in our small town think I’m cursed, but I know better. I did it all to myself.

And now she’s creating a life of her own in the place where we first fell in love. I can’t fight my feelings for her—or the strong attraction that keeps pulling us together. But after all this time, can she forgive the past and fall in love with me all over again?

Everyone hopes to find that forever girl…I just hope I haven’t lost mine for good.


Meghan Quinn is one of my auto-buy authors. I pick up her books because I am a big fan of the humor in them, but every once in a while she sneaks in a story that’s more emotional than humorous. That Forever Girl was one of those books.

That Forever Girl is a second chance romance that has an enemies to lovers vibe. Rogan and Harper were childhood friends turned high school sweethearts. They were even engaged at one point until Rogan tore them apart. After they split up, Rogan returned to Port Snow while Harper toured the East Coast. Now Harper’s back in Port Snow and invading the quiet life Rogan made for himself. All he wants is for her to leave…or is it?

I have to admit this book started off a little weird for me. Rogan’s emotional state kind of drug me down. He had so much anger and hate inside of him. It was hard not to feel those emotions right with him. (Bravo to Meghan Quinn for emoting through her writing, though!) I couldn’t decide if I even liked Rogan and wanted him to win Harper back. It wasn’t until about half way through that I found some of that humor I was looking for to help pick up the feel of the story. It also helped once the past started to be divulged and I could understand Rogan’s state of mind.

The past was a cool aspect of this book. I am not always a big fan of flashbacks in books. Usually it takes too long for them to go anywhere or the scenes they give me detract from what’s going on in the present. The flashback chapters in That Forever Girl were good ones. They quickly showed how Rogan and Harper fell in love and then the demise of their relationship. The flashback chapters were actually pretty adorable for the most part. They also did a great job of helping move the story in the present forward.

As for Rogan and Harper’s second chance at love… It wasn’t a smooth journey. It was filled with ups and downs. I liked that because it mirrored a real second chance romance. It also gave them a lot of time to work through their problems. Once they did, I got the adorable romance I was expecting from Meghan Quinn. I loved the person Harper’s love made Rogan.

This wouldn’t be a Meghan Quinn novel if there weren’t some amazing side characters, too. They definitely showed up in this book. Once again, the Knightly brothers were the stars of the show. They had a group text that made me laugh. I also loved the advice they gave. It made me excited to find out which brother is getting the next book. I think I saw a couple of love interests for the last two brothers, and I can’t wait to find out how it all goes down!

I’m surprised to say this, but That Forever Girl is now my favorite book in this series. It is also going on my list of favorite Meghan Quinn books. She really impressed me with this book and all of the emotions she made me feel. I ended up truly loving Rogan and Harper’s romance.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42600605-that-second-chance?ac=1&from_search=true

⭐⭐⭐FREE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!!!!! ⭐⭐⭐
UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK: mybook.to/ThatForeverGirl
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AUTHOR BIO:
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.
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Review: I Hate You (Ilsa Madden-Mills)

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I Hate You
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There’s a fine line between I hate you and I want you.
Once you cross it, there’s no going back.

Blaze Townsend: I hate you.
Charisma Rossi: I hate you more.

She’s been expecting this ever since their latest showdown. She had good reason.

Hottest guy she’s ever seen.
Former fling.
Dumped her in front of all her friends.
At her own party.

So no, she’s not about to forgive and forget just because he sits next to her in class. He thinks all he has to do is turn on those baby blues, and she’ll melt right back into his arms. Please. She’d be crazy to let this cocky player affect her again. (Tell that to her body.)

Charisma Rossi.
Nerd girl with a dash of bad.
The one who got under his skin.
The one he cut loose.

Blaze knows she’s the riskiest prospect at Waylon University, but none of the interchangeable girls he hooks up with have ever made him feel the way she did. There’s absolutely no way he can have the girl and the game.

So why can’t he stop trying to win her back?

Can this wide receiver score the girl or will he make the biggest fumble of his life?


I Hate You wrapped two tropes into one. It was both an enemies to lovers and second chance romance. Charisma and Blaze had a thing for three weeks last semester. Charisma thought it might have turned into a relationship (despite her rules to prevent one) until Blaze publicly dumped her at her sorority’s party. Charisma was devastated and still hasn’t quite recovered from the humiliation when the new semester starts. She’s turned that embarrassment into hate. Blaze may have been the one to break up with Charisma (for his own “good” reasons), but seeing her again makes him question his decisions. He hates her for the way she makes him feel. Seeing each other again promises a big explosion between the two.

There were so many things I loved about this book. First, the writing. Ilsa Madden-Mills is gifted in mixing just the right amount of drama and angst into a college romance. In this book, she actually went lighter in that area. I appreciated that because it gave the story a more lighthearted feel than some of her others.

Another thing I loved was the characters. Charisma was this feisty young woman who had lost her confidence in the breakup. I loved seeing her fight to get it back. It was easy to relate to her feelings after being dumped and the way she compared herself to other girls. Blaze knew he was a big shot on campus due to his football player status, but he had insecurities as well. His broke my heart. At first, they both had valid reasons for not being in a relationship. I liked that they had a common issue with different reasoning. I liked how they had to work out their issues together. Plus, they had amazing chemistry.

It’s always fun to see characters from previous books in a series, and a bunch showed up in this one. I liked that I could remember them and catch up, but they didn’t take up a lot of time and you wouldn’t miss anything if you hadn’t read the first couple of books. My favorite returning character had to be Vampire Bill. (A parrot, not a real vampire.) He brought his touch of humor with him and made me laugh.

The English series used to be my favorite by Ilsa Madden-Mills, but I Hate You has now dethroned it. This book was new adult college romance magic. I loved everything about it.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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About Ilsa Madden-Mills

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies. Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online. . Ilsa head shot-2

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Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate (Nina Bocci)

On the Corner of Love and Hate
Series: Hopeless Romantics, #1
Author: Nina Bocci
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne comes a delightfully sassy and sexy romance about a campaign manager who reluctantly works with the local Lothario to help revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections, only to discover that he’s hiding something that can turn both their lives upside down.

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

A perfect blend of humor and heart, On the Corner of Love and Hate is the first in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci.


Today, I have a book I’m excited to share with you for a couple of reasons. If you’re a romance blogger like me, you have probably communicated with Nina Bocci or at least heard of her in some way. It’s always exciting to see a name you’re familiar with publish a book. Or maybe you’re like me in another way and became a fan of Nina Bocci’s writing with her collaboration with Alice Clayton on Roman Crazy. Either way, I was excited for On the Corner of Love and Hate for both of those reasons. Here is what I thought of Nina Bocci’s solo début.

What I liked:

  • I knew I liked Nina Bocci’s writing based on what I read in Roman Crazy. I wasn’t sure how that would translate to a solo novel. I was very happy to find that her writing felt just as strong by itself.
  • Emma was a strong female character. She was successful in life. She didn’t need a man to hold her hand through life. I liked that when she finally had a man in her life, it was because she wanted one instead of needing one.
  • Emma’s family. Her relationship with her dad was sweet, but her relationship with her mom was sweet and funny. I loved the texts they shared.
  • Emma’s friends were adorable! I loved Nick and Henry! I can’t wait to see them again.

What I disliked:

  • There was too much going on. There were three big things going on all at once and it was a little overwhelming. I didn’t know where to focus my attention: the mayor’s race, Emma’s tense relationship with Cooper, or Whitney?
  • The lack of Cooper’s point of view. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of Cooper because all I got to see through Emma were the bad things. Even when she moved from hate to love, it was hard to understand why. There wasn’t much to show their love for each other. It was so slow burn, the romance was almost non-existent.

Overall, On the Corner of Love and Hate was a strong solo début for Nina Bocci. It made me excited to find out what’s next in the Hopeless Romantics series.

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Review: One Little Lie (Whitney Barbetti)

One Little Lie
Author: Whitney Barbetti
Publication Date: June 27, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Blurb:

Adam Oliver hated me. Loathed my very existence. He had every right to, but that didn’t make my life any easier the afternoon I had to rescue him on the side of the road. But worse than rescuing a guy who hated me to his core was the lie I told my parents. Because I’d just told them that my long-term boyfriend was finally back in town. My long-term boyfriend who didn’t actually exist. The one named Adam Oliver—the guy I’d crushed on all through high school. So the real Adam had no idea that he and I were engaged in a years-long, committed, serious relationship. And, somehow, some way, I needed to convince him to play along with my one little lie.


I have been obsessed with Whitney Barbetti’s writing since I read her Mad Love duet. I was so impressed by that duet that I read some of her back list books. I’ve also kept an eye out for her new releases. When I read the blurb for One Little Lie I knew I had to read it. I love enemies to lovers romances and this one sounded pretty epic with that one little lie.

Ms. Barbetti’s writing was just as addictive as I remembered it being. I was immediately wrapped up in the characters and the emotions of the story. The tension between Hollis and Adam was palpable. The angst… There was just the right amount of it. I didn’t feel too overwhelmed by it. It was spread pretty evenly throughout the book and only really amped up in the right moments. There was also a ton of fun banter to even things out and bring a lighter feel when needed.

I really loved both Hollis and Adam. Hollis was the good girl from a rich family that did as she was told. She didn’t seem to have much of a backbone, hence the one little lie. I liked how she grew throughout this book and learned to be her best self. Also, her crush on Adam was super cute. Adam was Hollis’ opposite. He was a guy who dealt with the hardships life tossed at him. He stood up for his beliefs without worrying what others thought. He also had this huge chip on his shoulder.

Hollis and Adam’s fake relationship felt different from ones I have read before — even the enemies to lovers one. I think that’s because it felt more slow burn. It wasn’t just slow burn in the romance department. It was slow burn in the tension between the characters and Adam getting over his feelings of being wronged by Hollis. He really held onto his preconceived notions for a long time. I liked that because it made the story feel more real. People can hold grudges. They don’t always hold them for very long in books. Adam was the exception and his reasoning was easy to relate to.

Another great thing about One Little Lie was the secondary characters. I loved how Hollis and Adam were connected through their friends. I really liked Keane and Navy. I’m hoping they will each get a book. I also really loved Adam’s sweet relationship with his sister Casey and his grandmother.

There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about One Little Lie. It was just such a great enemies to lovers romance. You won’t want to miss it if that trope is your jam.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

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Review: The Wedding Party (Jasmine Guillory)

The Wedding Party
Series: The Wedding Date, #3
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.


The Wedding Party was one of those books that was a joy to read. It was so much fun. I loved how Maddie and Theo had this previous dislike for each other that resulted in some heated chemistry between them. Their little pact to keep things simple and away from Alexa was entertaining. I loved all the ups and downs that created. I also loved how their personalities fit together and how their relationship evolved. Even their little bit of drama was enjoyable to read.

There were a couple of things I found a little odd about this contemporary romance. It didn’t feel like a true enemies to lovers romance. I think that’s because their time as enemies was in another book. In this one, they were immediately attracted and started hooking up. It also had several kind of “fade to black” sexual encounters. That’s not something that bothers me, but it felt weird in this book because it’s about two people whose relationship is based on hooking up when their best friend isn’t around. It just struck me as odd. I’m also not really complaining about these two things because they didn’t ruin the story. I more thought they were interesting choices for the author.

The Wedding Date was a great summer read. It was a lighthearted romance that would be perfect for the pool or the beach, or just simply read at home.

Review: The Billionaire Boss Next Door (Max Monroe)

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The Billionaire Boss Next Door, an all-new hilarious romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe, is available now!

The Billionaire Boss Next Door
Authors: Max Monroe
Publication Date: May 16, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

My new boss has it all. In spades.

Gorgeous green eyes? Check.
Hard-and-sexy body? Check.
Intelligence? Check.
Success? A big fat billionaire… Check.

Too bad I haven’t started out on the best foot.

My big mouth has already turned him against me, and tempting good looks and success aside, Trent Turner is no peach either. He’s stubborn and thick-headed, and son of a fruitcake, he thinks he knows everything there is to know about the hotel business.

With him running the development of the new Vanderturn New Orleans Hotel and me doing the design, our work relationship is far too intimate for two people who absolutely despise one another.

But that’s not all.

See, he isn’t just my billionaire boss from hell. He’s my new neighbor, too.

Same city.
Same building.
Same floor.

Trent Turner is my billionaire boss next door.

Holy moly, let’s hope my career—and hormones—can survive.

Disclaimer: If you generally love to suffer, hate fun of any kind, and are allergic to laughter, this book is not for you.


If you are a fan of Max Monroe’s contemporary romances, you are in for a treat with The Billionaire Boss Next Door. It’s filled with classic Max Monroe goodness.

First, there is Max Monroe’s trademark humor. The Billionaire Boss Next Door was a little silly, pretty witty, and a whole lot of fun. I always wonder how they come up with such humorous antics and banter. It was great in this book with the way Greer and Trent started out hating each other. Max Monroe does enemies to lovers in the best way.

Second, Greer and Trent were the kind of characters you expect from Max Monroe. Each was slightly nutty in a humorous way. Greer was this outspoken, almost awkward, constantly late woman who you wish was your friend in real life. Trent was an uptight prick who was hiding a nice guy underneath. They were so “extra” in completely different ways.

Third, there’s tight, envy creating friendships. Greer and Emory were BBFs that I would be jealous of in real life. They had this tight friendship where they just got each other, and pushed each other when needed. Trent’s friendships were even more fun. Do I dare say the Trent – Caplin – Quince triangle reminded me a bit of the Kline – Thatcher – Wes friendship? It kind of did! (MM said Trent’s their new favorite over Thatch. I don’t know… I think if anyone is going to dethrone Thatch, it’s going to be Cap!) I loved how a couple of these friends even got a chapter or two in their point of view. Those chapters added so much and were perfect for this book!

Last (but not least), I have to talk about Greer and Trent’s relationship. I loved it. Somehow, their “extra” personalities made the a fascinating couple. Even while they were hating each other, I never doubted how perfect they would be together. They were so much fun to read about.

I know I just spent the last four paragraphs gushing, so I guess I should also mention a couple of the things that bugged me a tad. (Don’t worry, there’s not many.) It took me a few chapters to become invested in The Billionaire Boss Next Door. I won’t give too many details, but it takes some time to get things set up for Greer and Trent. At time I was reading, it had me wondering why I didn’t feel that initial connection to the story. Once the reason become apparent, I didn’t mind that the interaction between the characters took a little longer to take place than I expected. The other thing was The Billionaire Boss Next Door felt more slow burn and PG-13 than I was expecting from Max Monroe. I’m not really complaining about that. It was just enough different from their other billionaire series that is surprised me. I think some readers might be sad it’s not spicier.

Overall, I found The Billionaire Boss Next Door to be a delightful romantic comedy. It was had everything I’ve come to love in a Max Monroe novel. I’m very excited to find out what’s next to come in this series of standalone billionaire romances. I have a feeling Milo will be next, but I seriously can’t wait for Cap’s book.

 

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Vy4KOk

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

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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/

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Review: Hollywood Dirt (Alessandra Torre)

Hollywood Dirt
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: September 7, 2015
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there’s a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year.

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.


Alessandra Torre is an author I’m slowly discovering. The three books I have now read written by her have all been different. Moonshot was romantic suspense. The Ghostwriter was a psychological thriller. Hollywood Dirt was a contemporary romance. I think I can safely say that Torre’s writing can’t be confined to one box. She’s able to crossover genres and write just about anything. I love her writing style no matter what she’s writing.

As I was saying, Hollywood Dirt is a contemporary romance. It’s set in the small town of Quincy, Georgia where there are a bunch of Coca Cola stock millionaires. The heroine, Summer, is not one of those people. She’s a young woman who hasn’t had the best of luck. Summer is the town outcast until Cole Masten comes to town. Cole is a uber famous actor who is making a movie about the history of the town. Summer and Cole are fireworks from the start. They don’t get off on the right track and quickly become enemies, but there’s that thin line between love and hate…

What I loved about Hollywood Dirt is that I was instantly drawn to Summer and all things Quincy. I loved the small town feel of the book and all the little things went into living in Quincy. I loved slowly discovering Summer’s history with the town. Her inner strength and how she was capable of standing her ground no matter who she was dealing with was awesome. She had spunk and I loved it. Summer wasn’t perfect, though, and her doubts and insecurities were so relatable.

My relationship with Cole Masten was much like Summer’s: it was love-hate. I didn’t particularly like him at first. He had the ego to go along with his celebrity status. I did like how his character grew and reexamined his choices, though. He ended up being a good guy in the end. I think my biggest issue with him (and this book) was the way he approached a part of his (non-)relationship with Summer. His actions were just sketchy and kind of skeezy.

Overall, I really enjoyed Hollywood Dirt. It had a great summery feel that would make it a fun beach read. I can easily see why it was made a movie.

Review: Pretty Reckless (L.J. Shen)

Pretty Reckless
Series: All Saints High, #1
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: April 21, 2019

Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an intense, high school enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist.

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.


Pretty Reckless is the first book in the All Saints High series. This series is a spin-off of the Sinners of Saint series. You don’t have to read that series to read this one, but since Daria is the daughter of Melody and Jamie from Deny, it doesn’t hurt to know their back story.

The connection between All Saints High and Sinners of Saint is actually the reason I chose to read Pretty Reckless. I was a little on the fence because of the reviews I read. They were either completely gushing or completely negative. There wasn’t really an in between and worried me for some reason. I loved those Sinners of Saint books, so I didn’t want to hate Pretty Reckless. Weird rationalizing, I know. As you can tell, I decided to give it a go. Here are my feelings about it.

What I liked:

  • Daria’s relationship with her mother, Melody. To be honest, it was a horrible relationship. What I liked about it was that it was a real relationship. Both had made mistakes over time with each other, and it was interesting to see how they maneuvered through the tension.
  • Daria’s relationship with her father, Jamie. This was actually really sweet. I liked the support system he was for her.
  • Via. That girl was the perfect girl to keep Daria on her toes. I loved hating her.
  • Daria was another girl I loved to hate. This MC was HORRIBLE. I mean, wicked. I thought I was going to hate her, but I grew to understand her. Her backstory really set her up well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, which is saying something considering the terrible things that came out of her mouth.
  • Penn. His situation was messed up, which made him messed up. I loved his truths, though.
  • The enemies to lovers thing Daria and Penn had going on. The story behind it all and their current situation fascinated me.
  • The ending. I liked the trajectory of the story, and everything it took to get to the ending.
  • Seeing all of the Saints’ kids. I am looking forward to reading all of their books.

What I didn’t like:

  • Daria is the child of one of the toughest, most ruthless men in town. I knew her book was going to be dark like his. What I wasn’t expecting was there to be so much shock value. It was like L.J. Shen threw in every twisted scenario she could think of. There was almost too much. I think what threw me over that edge was this secrets thing. I won’t go into it, but it brought this cheesy feel to something that was super dark… Maybe that’s what gave this book the YA feel it needed.
  • YA. Yeah, this categorization is pushing it. Pretty Reckless was set at All Saints High, but with all the nasty things going on it felt more like one of Shen’s NA novels. The reader would have to be a VERY mature YA reader to read this one, in my opinion. (Re: Sex, partying, emotional/physical abuse, etc.)

Overall, I enjoyed being back in the world of the Saints. Pretty Reckless was a dark but surprisingly uplifting teenage romance. It has me excited for what’s to come. This new generation at All Saints High is going to be about an interesting bunch of teenagers.