Review: Hitched to the Gunslinger (Michelle McLean)

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

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

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

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

There goes his peace and quiet…


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

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

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

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

Review: Exposed (Kristen Callihan)

Exposed
Series: VIP, #4

Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Brenna

There are some people in life who know exactly how to push your buttons. For me, it’s Rye Peterson. We can’t spend more than ten minutes together before we’re at each other’s throats, which makes working together that much harder. Rye is the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and I am his publicist. It doesn’t help that the man is gorgeous, funny, talented, and…never takes anything seriously. Avoidance is key.

But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness. Now the man I’ve tried so hard to ignore is offering me the greatest temptation of all—him.

Rye

Brenna James is the one. The one I can’t have. The one I can’t get out of my mind. Believe me, I’ve tried; the woman loathes me. I managed well enough—until I heard her say she’s as lonely as I am. That she needed to be touched, held, satisfied. And I could no longer deny the truth: I wanted to be the one to give her what she craved.

I convinced her that it would just be sex, mutual satisfaction with nothing deeper. But the moment I have her, she becomes my world. I’ve never given her a good reason to trust me before. Now, I’ve got to show Brenna that we’re so much better together than we ever were apart.

Things are going to get messy. But getting messy with Brenna is what I do best.


I loved this book. Like really loved it. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about Exposed. It was everything I’ve come to expect from Kristan Callihan. The writing and story were fantastic. Rye and Brenna had this enemies thing going on that has steadily built over the last three books and I finally got to find out what was going on in their heads. Their being enemies turned to lovers in the best, unexpected way. Rye and Brenna had a fierce chemistry between them, but also a deep emotional connection. I loved the way they understood each other and the sweet and supportive moments they shared. I was surprised by how vulnerable both characters were (but especially Rye). The fact that the whole Kill John family was there in the background supporting and loving them was icing on the cake. I couldn’t have been happier with this romance. I wouldn’t have minded if it went on for another 100 pages. The only thing I need now is a book for Whip. Please tell me we’re getting a book for him.

Exposed (VIP #4) by Kristen Callihan is now live!

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Website: www.kristencallihan.com

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Meet Kristen

Kristen Callihan is an author because there’s nothing else she’d rather be. She has written New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestsellers. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence and was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, Best Book of Spring 2012 by Publishers Weekly, and Best Romance Book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.

Connect with Kristen

Website: www.kristencallihan.com
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Review: Break Up with Him, for Me (Whitney G.)

Break Up with Him, for Me
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: May 31, 2021
Publisher: WGW Books, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Penelope, I know that it’s three o’clock in the morning, but I have to get this off my chest.

I can’t give you any more advice on landing this other guy, can’t tell you another “sexy” thing that you should do, or suggest a new set of filthy words that you should text him late at night.

As your best friend, I’ve reached my limit, and I can honestly say that he doesn’t deserve you.

I’m not saying all of this because I’m f-cking jealous, or because he had the audacity to say that he makes more money than me. (I still can’t find his name on the Forbes 500 list, and I know damn well that he’s renting that Ferrari, but that’s a story for a different day.)

He’s not who you think he is, and the better man has always been right in front of you…

You have every reason to never give me a chance since you know me better than anyone, and you agree with all the tabloids calling me “The Cocky King of New York,” and the “Untamed Playboy of Manhattan.” But I honestly believe that you’re better off with someone else, and I need you to see.

I’m not asking for too much…I just want you to break up with him, for me.


It’s been a while since Whitney G. gave us a full length romance novel and the wait was sure worth it. Break Up with Him, for Me was so much fun! It grabbed my attention from the very first page and didn’t let go. I had to know what happened to put Hayden in the state he was in during the prologue. It was torturous waiting to find out — even if I was having the best time reading my way through the stages of Hayden and Penelope’s romance. 

Penelope and Hayden started as enemies of sorts. I loved that dynamic and all the mean banter they shared. Once they moved to friends, I could feel the attraction starting to sneak in and it added another exciting layer to the story. The banter also continued to be hilarious.  Penelope and Hayden already had such a strong base and that made the transition to romance natural and sweet. I loved it! Another thing I loved was how this book was set up and the chapter titles. Each represented a different break up for Penelope and helped show how their relationship became what it was. 

Break Up with Him, for Me is proof that Whitney G. excels at enemies, best friends, and brother’s best friend romance. I’m impressed at how she combined those three tropes into one with this book. It also continues her streak of witty banter and using written communication between characters. I love how she does this in her books and the dynamic it adds. Break Up with Him, for Me was another stellar romance from this author in my book. I can’t wait to read what she has coming next. 

 
 
Break Up With Him, For Me by Whitney G is LIVE and available in Kindle Unlimited.

Connect with Whitney G
 
Whitney G. is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author. Her books have been published in twelve languages. Whenever she’s not penning a new novel, you can find her blogging about self-publishing at The Indie Tea, drinking hot coffee, or traveling the world in sweater boots.
You can connect with Whitney on Instagram and Facebook.
 
Instagram: @whitneyg.author
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Review: Grumpy Cowboy (Max Monroe)

Grumpy Cowboy
Series: Single Dad Collection, #3

Authors: Max Monroe
Publication Date: May 22, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

ATTENTION: If you have been a victim of false advertising, you may be entitled to compensation. If you were ever hired to take care of a fourteen-year-old boy’s knee injury on a luxury ranch in the Middle of Nowhere, Utah, but that fourteen-year-old boy ended up being a tall, rough-and-tumble, muscular, one-hundred-percent all-man cowboy by the name of Rhett Jameson, you may have been put at risk for falling in love. Please seek counsel immediately.

Dear Counselor,

It was supposed to be simple favor for my very important boss, Frank Kaminsky of the Salt Lake Slammers professional basketball team—go to his good friend Tex Jameson’s luxury ranch and provide personal medical care for his recently injured teenage son.

I thought it’d be a working vacation of sorts—a chance for my city-girl self to experience something I would never otherwise do—but everything is upside down, and absolutely nothing is as I thought it would be.

For one, this patient is not a teenage boy.
He’s a real-life, blue-eyed, tough-as-nails, thirtysomething cowboy who is so darn strong he looks like he could lift a car just for the heck of it.

He’s also stubborn, rude, and we don’t get along…at all.

Add in the heart-melting vision of him as a single father to the cutest little girl on the planet, and I’ve found myself in a whole different dimension of trouble.

Lust. Feelings. A whole lot of enemies-to-lovers-style complication.

Please help me. My name is Dr. Leah Levee, I am a victim of false advertising, and if I’m not careful, this Grumpy Cowboy might just be the death of me.


Reading a Max Monroe book is one of my favorite things to do. I can always count on them to make me laugh. They definitely accomplished that with Grumpy Cowboy. This enemies to lovers romance was so much fun. Rhett Jameson, grumpy cowboy extraordinaire, put Leah through the rank ringer and it was hilarious. I felt sorry for her at times. She was just trying to do the job she was hired to do, but Rhett was not making it easy for her. I loved the way she handled it. Those two were perfect for each other. I also really loved Rhett’s daughter, Joey. She was so freaking adorable and added so many entertaining moments herself. This slow burn romance was a win for me.

Review: The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating

The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating
Series: The Introvert’s Guide, #1
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Online dating: the act in which you try to avoid the catfishes and D pics. And try not to get caught hooking up with your best friend’s brother.

With all my best friends off the market, it’s time that I, Tori Sussex, join them.
So where better to find my future husband than the internet? It’s great. I get to get all the awkward stuff out of the way and already know if I’m going to like the guy before we meet in person.

It’s a shame nothing is ever that simple.
My relationship with Colton Lane is the very definition of complicated—dirty little no-strings-attached hook-ups we’ve somehow managed to keep secret from all our friends for the past six months. We’re bound to get caught, and if I’m serious about dating, I only have one choice.

Call it quits. End our little covert booty calls for good. Tell him my parking space is off-limits to him.
It should be easy. It should be simple.
And I’m sure it would be… If only I wasn’t in love with him.


After reading Emma Hart’s most recent series, I couldn’t wait to read The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating. Tori and Colton have had this series enemies vibe going on for BOOKS. Yes, books. Their hate is so well known that I just couldn’t wait to find out how that hate would translate to love — thin line between and all that.

My favorite thing about Tori and Colton “hating” each other was their banter. It could be mean and rude at times, but I could feel the undercurrent of attraction. They made such a fun secret couple. All the ups and downs with the secrecy and nature of their relationship felt real. I liked it all a lot. The only thing that didn’t make enough sense to me was the title. There was a little talk of online dating, but it really didn’t play as much a part of this book as I was expecting. Not that I’m complaining. I didn’t need to see Tori and Colton do too much with the online dating thing.

As with all her books, Emma Hart does a great job with the side characters. I loved how all of Tori and Colton’s friends played a part. I also loved the grandparents being involved in the story. I can’t get enough of the wacky grandparents, their hilariously named pets, and the senior center activities.

Overall, The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating was another fun read from Emma Hart. It was low on drama and filled with many laughs. This was a good start to this new series.

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Review: The Temporary Roomie (Sarah Adams)

The Temporary Roomie
Author: Sarah Adams
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What happens when you have to play nice with your greatest enemy? Revenge.

Drew Marshall may have let me move into his spare bedroom while my house is being renovated, but don’t think for one second his kindness comes without strings. Big, ugly, fake relationship strings.

That’s okay, though, Dr. Andrew. I’ll agree to your terms, move into your house, and act like
your girlfriend when the big day comes; but I also plan to make your life miserable—make you pay for what you did to me.

I may not be good at forgiving or forgetting, but I’m excellent at getting even.

Get ready to laugh until you cry with this sizzling, hilarious, closed-door romantic comedy!


Sarah Adams’ books keep getting better and better. The Temporary Roomie made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. It was an enemies to more romance/prank war I couldn’t get enough of. Jessie and Drew hate each other for all the wrong reasons, and what they’re willing to do to annoy each other is hilarious and almost endless. Underneath all that “hate” is a sizzling chemistry and a surprising tenderness. I loved every minute of their shenanigans romance.

Review: To Sir, with Love (Lauren Layne)

To Sir, with Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis: 

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other. 


I’m always excited to find out Lauren Layne is releasing another book. She’s a go-to author for me. I adore her writing style and the contemporary romances she creates. To Sir, With Love was a great addition to her catalog of books. It was another book set in what seems to be Layne’s favorite city of New York, but it was different than many of her other books. It came across warmer and almost had a small town feel despite the big city setting.

So…What did I love about this book? Bubbly & More, Gracie’s family champagne store, was a unique venue. I loved how it fit in with Gracie’s family and her possibly suiter dynamic. The characters were all so fun. I adored Gracie from the minute she came to life on the page. She made me laugh plenty of times. I liked her communications with Sir. Those were fun. Any time emails, letters, texts, etc are in a book it adds to the fun. Gracie’s “enemy” Sebastian was a pleasant suit-type surprise as well. Add in Gracie’s family and co-workers and there were so many great characters to add to the story. It was just a cute story that made me smile the entire time I read it — which was basically in one setting.

There was one weird thing about this book. I don’t know exactly how to classify it. It was probably more women’s fiction than romance, but it still felt like reading a romance. Or I guess it could be considered an incredibly slow, slow burn romance. It doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it because however you want to classify it, it was a great read. I do have to admit I would have liked more time with the couple in this story. There was so much build up and so little time with them. That being said, I still loved every minute reading this book. 

Review: Nate (Tijan)

Nate
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Nate Monson was gorgeous, obnoxiously wealthy, and a player.
He was also the person who could destroy my world with a single decision.

I walked into that bar looking for him.
He saw me. I saw him.
The chemistry sizzled between us, but no.

I hated Nate Monson.
I hated him with everything in me, even though my body did not.
It didn’t matter.

Nothing I wanted mattered.
He thought I wanted to get laid.
What I wanted was for him to disappear.

But first, I had to tell him that he had a daughter.


If you’re a fan of the Fallen Crest High series, Nate is a book you have been waiting a long time for. Or at least I have been. I’ve always been curious about Mason and Logan’s best friend. He went through some STUFF with them and I was curious what went on in his mind. I also wanted him to find a love like Mason and Sam or Logan and Taylor. To say I was excited to get Nate would be an understatement. Did Nate live up to my expectations? That’s a harder question to answer than it should be.

Reading Nate was exciting. I loved where Tijan took the drama. It wasn’t what I expected. There was a family feud like in the other Fallen Crest High books, but it wasn’t with Nate’s family. It all revolved around his daughter and the mother’s side of the family. It wasn’t the same old drama and I appreciated that. Things were handled in a more grown up way, too. It was nice to see the maturity of Tijan’s original characters as they are now adults.

Tijan says in the back of the book that Nate took a long time to speak to her.  This comment resonated with me thinking back on this book. To be completely honest, Nate didn’t have the emotional pull of Mason, Logan, or any of the other guys from Fallen Crest High related books. I loved that he felt an instant love for his daughter and how his love for the person he falls for developed over time. I enjoyed (as always) the comradery between Nate, Mason, and Logan. The moments between Nate and his friends were where his character seemed to flesh out the most. There was something missing, though. I think part of that is that Nate drops us into his adult life. He’s grown up and we get some talk of his teenage years, but I think I needed a little something from that time to tie who he was into who he is now. I guess I’ve always just wondered what was going on with him inside his head and I didn’t get as much as I wanted with that. What I did get was a look into who Nate became. I liked adult Nate.

As for that love interest… I’m not telling. I know there will be some spoilers on who she is, so you can get them elsewhere. I liked her for the most part. She wasn’t what I was expecting. There were some weird vibes that I won’t explain and didn’t love, but her story combined with Nate’s worked for me. They had an instant chemistry and I enjoyed the build up of their relationship.

Nate’s daughter was super cute. For those who don’t like kids in books — she didn’t overwhelm the story. She fit right in at the right moments. I liked how her addition to Nate’s life changed his outlook.

I want to go back and comment on the whole friendship aspect of this book. There were a lot of moments with Mason and Logan and the others, but they didn’t take over Nate’s story. They added to it. We got the fun, the humor, the bada$$ery, and the SBC — basically everything you would want to see from them all together. Those moments were priceless and made me hope that we’ll get more novellas or books about these characters in the future. Heck, I’m still holding out hope for a Matteo/Grace book.

My overall thoughts on Nate are that I liked reading it a lot. I don’t know how other fans of the original series are going to feel about this book, but I thought it was fun and unique enough while staying within the FCH feel. I wouldn’t say I fell head over heels for it, but it was addictive. There a couple of cringe worthy things, but they didn’t break the book for me. Anyways. I liked it. I would rate it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars.

Review: Love at First (Kate Clayborn)

Love at First
Author: Kate Clayborn
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From Kate Clayborn, the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, comes a sparkling, tender novel about bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love . . .

Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw–or rather, heard–the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar . . .

No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting–maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance . . .
 


What a delightful slow burn romance! Everything about Love at First was charming. I loved the enemies vibe it gave off from the beginning. I could feel the spark Will and Nora had through the tension from the moment they met. All the ways Nora tried to fight Will’s determination to rent out his apartment were clever and entertaining. I loved seeing how their attraction turned to more despite their difference of opinion on the apartment. Once it grew from enemies to more, I fell even more in love with the story. Will and Nora were so good together!

I also loved all the side characters. Nora’s “family” was hilarious. Each apartment owner had such a distinct personality that added so much to the story. Same with Will’s doctor friend and his ex-wife. I loved how well they all fit into the story and made Nora and Will stronger characters.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this book. Kate Clayton is one of my new-to-me favorite authors of 2020. I instantly fell in love with her writing in Love Lettering and it became even stronger with Love at First. I would highly recommend this book to romance fans.

Review: The Ex Talk (Rachel Lynn Solomon)

The Ex Talk
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.


I had a hard time figuring out my feelings about The Ex Talk. There were things I really loved about it, but the things I didn’t nagged at me. Here is what I loved and what I didn’t about this book.

What I loved:

  • The Seattle vibe. A lot of the times books set in Seattle focus too much on the well known landmarks and not on the actual vibe the city and the people have. The Ex Talk hit the vibe spot on.
  • The enemies to lovers trope. The banter was real, people. So was Shay and Dominic’s chemistry. I loved it!
  • The public radio thing. I liked both the setting part and The Ex Talk show itself.
  • Shay’s reactions to the conflicts she encountered.
  • The evolution of all the different types of relationships Shay had.
  • Overall, the writing was very good.

What I didn’t love:

  • The whole lying about being exes for the radio thing. That ethical conflict bugged the heck out of me, even if it made for an interesting story.
  • There was a section of the book from 15% to about 30% that I had to push myself to keep reading. I don’t know what was up with the section. Maybe too much set up toward the plot? All I know is that once I got back on track at 30%, things flew again for me.
  • Shay was annoying at time. She could be very self-centered.

Honestly, I think if things hadn’t gotten slow for me for a chunk of this book, I might have rated it higher even if I didn’t love everything about it. It was a good, unique book.