Review: The Girl He Used to Know (Tracey Garvis Graves)

The Girl He Used to Know
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Narrators: Fred Berman, Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Historical, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.


The Girl He Used to Know was one of those books I wanted to read but didn’t really see myself getting to any time soon. After reading some great reviews for it, I decided to request the audiobook version so that I could fit it into my reading schedule faster. I’m happy I did that because I enjoyed listening to it.

The way this story told made it perfect for audio. Both Annika and Jonathan had their own points of view. Annika’s was set in both her 1990’s college years and 2001, but Jonathan’s was only in 2001. I liked that because of the way the story was set up and how the revelations were given. I think limiting Jonathan’s POV gave Annika’s more depth. It just worked so well.

Another great thing about the audio was the narrators. The narrators of The Girl He Used to Know were fantastic! Fred Berman embodied the calm Jonathan well. He (along with the author) gave him a tenderness that I loved. I was especially impressed with Kathleen McInerney as Annika. I couldn’t imagine Annika read any other way. She took on every essence of the character and made her feel like a real person.

As for the story itself, I liked it a lot. Annika was on the autism spectrum. The way her thoughts, emotions, and reactions were processed was interesting and a learning experience in a way. I loved seeing how she related to people and relationships with them. Her relationship with Jonathan fascinated me. I was even more interested in how Jonathan reacted to things she did and didn’t do. I loved that he loved her for the things that made her Annika. It was such a sweet love story with so many surprises.

Annika’s relationships with the other people around her also interested me. I loved her relationship with Janis and her mom. I also loved how her relationship with her brother, Will, played out. The relationships that were harder to like were those with people who didn’t understand her or treated her badly. I hated when she was hurt, but it also made me think a lot.

The thing that surprised me the most about The Girl He Used to Know didn’t really have anything to do with the relationships of this book. This book has a 2001 setting. I didn’t really connect that to September 11th when I started reading. That horrible date in history and the days after are featured toward the end of this book. It might be too much or too soon for some readers. For me, having lived through that time and remembering it now, it was a little hard. It brought back waiting to hear from my close friend who was a United Airlines flight attendant at the time and my husband (then fiancé) who was in Pennsylvania not too far from where the plane went down there. Those worries and disbelief of what was happening being replayed in my head was a little jarring.  It was also fascinating because I felt like the author gave a different look at the topic than some of the other books I’ve read who have broached that time frame. It was uncomfortable, but also something I respected the author for going there and bringing back into focus what people went through at that time in history (like how books do with WWII). It’s important to remember.

Overall, I found The Girl He Used to Know to be an emotional and unique listening experience. I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Fixing Us (Miranda Elaine)

Fixing Us
Series: Fixing, #3
Author: Miranda Elaine
Publication Date: May 16, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Gabriel Starr is the love of my life, even if he breaks my heart time and time again.

Like a fool, I keep going back, so I’ve made a promise to myself—one final night and then I’m done.

One night of passion.
No pressure. Most importantly, no future.

One month later, a positive pregnancy test tells me different.

Our only option is to raise this baby as friends, but how can we make it work when we can’t even keep our hands off each other?

We finally have the chance to be the family we never imagined we could be.
But first we need to focus on Fixing Us.


Fixing Us is the third book in the Fixing series by Miranda Elaine, but it’s the first book I have read by this author. What originally drew my attention and made me want to read Fixing Us was the blurb. I was very interested how things were going to work out for high school sweethearts turned exes turned hook ups to have a baby together and, of course, fall back in love. As you can tell by my 5 star rating, it worked out well for them and me.

Leigh Ann and Gabe were high school sweethearts until Gabe ruined their plans for a life together after graduation. Despite their breakup, Leigh Ann and Gabe have had a hard time staying away from each other — it’s a small town and all that. They have never been able to work out their differences, but that doesn’t stop them from hooking up when the need arises. That is what has finally got them into trouble 10+ years after high school. One night of passion has turned into an unplanned pregnancy. It’s life changing for both Leigh Ann and Gabe, but in different ways. Leigh Ann was ready to move on. Now she’s tied to Gabe for at least 18 years. Gabe never planned to have a family. Now he has to come to terms with the fact that he will. Leigh and Gabe have a lot to figure out in the 9 months before their baby is born.

I was fascinated by Leigh Ann and Gabe’s relationship. It had this air of sadness. It was easy to tell they both truly loved each other, but they had different ideas and plans for life. I felt bad that Gabe thought about himself the way he did, but I also applauded him for trying to do what he thought was right. I loved the moments where he learned and grew. Leigh Ann I just felt horrible for. That woman was trapped by her love for Gabe. I could empathize with her about trying to move on. Despite what he said or did at times, Gabe didn’t really allow for it. That didn’t mean that Leigh Ann didn’t have strength. She was an incredibly strong, smart woman. I was actually impressed by the way she handled everything — especially her unplanned pregnancy. Leigh Ann and Gabe were just in this weird, uncomfortable non-relationship that was complicated even more by the pregnancy. It all felt true to a real life relationship and situation. I loved how their relationship evolved and how everything worked out in the end.

I was super impressed with Fixing Us. This is Miranda Elaine’s third book, but her writing feels more seasoned than that. She made each of her characters shine with their distinctive voices. The story moved smoothly and kept me enthralled. The biggest compliment I can give this book is that it made me feel everything the characters were feeling. When a book can do that, I’m impressed. I will definitely be going back and reading the first two books in this series. I am excited to learn more about those characters.

If you’re interested in reading Fixing Us, it can be read as a standalone novel. Characters from the previous books show up, but I wasn’t confused by that. This book had a story of its own.

Review: That Second Chance (Meghan Quinn)

That Second Chance
Series: Getting Lucky, #1
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn delivers a smart and cheeky romance about love’s power to lift hearts . . . and curses.

It was supposed to be an innocent night, celebrating my brother’s birthday. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. We’d vowed to be on our best behavior after all . . .

But it only took one rowdy night with my brothers to flip my world upside down. One unlucky encounter saddled us with a family curse and the promise of doomed relationships. I laughed it off immediately. “Yeah, right,” I thought. “A love curse. Ha!”

Boy, was I wrong.

Word spreads quickly in a town like mine; rumors about that night soon made us the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine. As a subject of endless gossip and speculation, I could kiss my dating life goodbye.

It would have stayed that way if Ren Winters, the new girl in town, hadn’t crashed into my life. Brave, beautiful, and smart—her vivacious thirst for a fresh start has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can have one too.

Everyone wishes for that second chance . . . but could this really be mine?


I have been eagerly waiting for That Second Chance since I read Two Wedding Crashers. I was eager to get back to Port Snow and those Knightly brothers. And what a fun return it was!

Meghan Quinn is one of the most versatile romance writers. There really isn’t a style she can’t write. I have adored her romantic comedies, become shattered by her deeply emotional contemporaries, and now relaxed with her classic contemporary romance. That’s what That Second Chance was in my opinion, a classic contemporary romance. I would put this book in the same category as a good Lauren Layne or Jessica Lemmon romance. It was a fun read. There were some deeper emotional things going on for the characters, but I never felt a deep level of angst. I appreciated that.

Okay, back to those Knightly brothers. That Second Chance was a great introduction to them. I’m happy Meghan Quinn started with the eldest brother, Griffin. I loved Griffin. He was the eldest who was so put together and did everything for the right reasons. His story started off a little sad. Griffin had previous lost his childhood sweetheart and wife (I am the only one who wished they also got a book about this relationship? You know, kind of like Meghan did with her recent duets?). He wasn’t looking for love, but it when he was least expecting it. This story was about Griffin moving on from the past and learning to love again. He was lucky to do so with Ren Winters.

Ren was sunshine in a subtle way. Like when the clouds just start to move out. She had this easy-going quality despite having been through some tough stuff herself. (Again, I wish there was a book about Ren before because I was curious about what happened prior and her parents and a lot of stuff.) I liked what she brought both Port Snow and Griffin.

Ren and Griffin’s relationship was sweet. It moved slowly and quickly all at the same time. They developed this cute friendship first. Nothing can go completely smooth in a romance novel, though, so it was fun to experience them navigating all of the issues that came from their backgrounds and thoughts. It was also fun that it happened in such a small town setting. I loved how Griffin’s family didn’t hesitate to butt into their budding relationship. That Second Chance was a lovely small town contemporary romance. 

Back to those other Knightly brothers. I liked the glimpse of each character I got. They may have looked similar, but they had distinct personalities that I’m very excited to get to know in their upcoming books. I just know Meghan Quinn has great love stories coming for us.

Get To Know Author Meghan Quinn

  1. In the past few years you have written dozens of novels! First off, how do you find the time? And second, how has becoming a bestselling author changed your life? 

I have the best partner in life ever that helps out with everything around the house, including the kids. I also have a very overactive imagination so when I get into a scene, my fingers fly, giving me high word counts in a short amount of time. Even though it looks like I’m working all the time, I make sure to make time for my family, ending every day at five at night. And hitting the USA Today bestselling list was a huge goal of mine I had ever since I started writing. It meant everything to me.

  1. What can you tell us about the first time you sat down to write with the goal of completing a novel? 

I was a maniac. I wrote the book in a week. Yes, a week. It was insane. I had so much to say because I was thinking about it consistently while commuting an hour and twenty minutes one way to work. When my fingers hit the keyboard, it al flew out of me.

  1. What is the best part about being a romance author? What is the most difficult part? 

The best part is constantly being able to create, break it up, and then find it again. It’s such an old, classic formula, but it’s my favorite of all time. The most difficult is trying not to gross people out with terminology during sex scenes. There are only so many words that are on the OKAY list. Sometimes it can be restricting. 

  1. What draws you to writing romance novels? Specifically why is it important that your characters have happily-ever-afters? 

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved love. Instead of going out in high school, I would stay at home and watch romantic comedies. I was fascinated with falling in love and the heartbreak, and then the make up. I love everything about it. I think we all deserve a HEA, why not give it to our characters too?

  1. Even though you include realism and heartbreak in your books, the thing readers really takeaway is sense of fun you pack into the novels. How is it you (and your characters) are able to find humor in everyday things? 

I’ve always found myself to live in the clouds, in a land of cupcakes and fun, it’s just my personality so whenever I’m in a situation, I usually can find the fun in it and of course, I’m really good at embellishing. 

  1. Give us a quick snapshot of your newest novel That Second Chance

Four brothers, small town romance, all single, all cursed. Will they be able to find love, even though they’re the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine?

  1. What makes Ren and Griff’s story special to you? 

Their meet cute is probably one of my most favorite of all time. Wayward moose, volunteer firefighter, a crazed woman new to town, looking for help. It’s all charming, funny, and perfect. 

  1. What’s next for this series? 

Rogan!!! AND OH MY GOD!!! His story is . . . gah! I can’t even tell you how in love with it I am. There is mystery, intrigue, questions that need to be answered and so much swoon you might just fall off your chair while reading. 

Author Biography

USA Today bestselling author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. An author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

Social Media Links

Website: https://authormeghanquinn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormeghan.quinn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMegQuinn
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7360513.Meghan_Quinn

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Review: 99 Percent Mine (Sally Thorne)

99 Percent Mine
Author: Sally Thorne
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.


99 Percent Mine was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I read Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game last year and adored it. I was bummed when I started reading a lot of reviews saying this book didn’t even compare to The Hating Game. Despite the negative hype, I decided to read 99 Percent Mine anyways.

I have to admit that 99 Percent Mine didn’t start off in the best way. Darcy, the main character, rubbed me the wrong way immediately. The vibe she gave off was not a good one. Darcy’s very brash and bitter. It was hard to connect to her for a large part of the story because her motivations are completely unclear. Even when they are, they seem juvenile. She always seems to be punishing herself in negative ways.

When Tom, Darcy’s childhood friend, shows up things start to get even more confusing. I don’t understand the dynamic between them. There’s not really much to tell me what happened between them in the past. It takes a while to learn that information, and when I finally do, I have no clue why Tom is attracted to prickly Darcy. He is this nice, quiet guy. If Darcy is a jalapeno pepper, Tom is milk.

Another negative factor in 99 Percent Mine is Jamie. Jamie is Darcy’s twin brother. He’s a complete jerk. He is so horrible. Darcy acts like he’s the better person, but he’s not. Jamie makes Darcy look less bitter and I actually felt bad for her when it came to him.

The entire first half of this book was filled with negative emotions and characters. I wasn’t having a great time reading, but I was curious enough to find out what made these characters tick. I’m glad I kept reading because the second half of the book was much better than the first.

I was surprised to find Darcy growing on me. I think that can be attributed to the revelations about her life, her illness, and her friendships. Once I understood her, she became more palatable. I wish some of the information would have been revealed early on. I also found myself liking Tom and Darcy’s dynamic. I could finally see what drew them to each other. I loved Darcy’s friendship with Truly and would have liked seeing more than that. I even, at the very end, started to like Jamie.

99 Percent Mine started out rough, but it ended up winning me over in the end. It wasn’t my favorite book, but I didn’t hate it. It’s one that if you push through the awkward, uncomfortable beginning, you will find a sweet love story and a TON of character growth. My advice going into reading it would be to go in with lower expectations (if you have read The Hating Game) and not give up on it too soon.

Review: Eleanor & Grey (Brittainy C. Cherry)

E&G - BT banner.jpg

Eleanor & Grey
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: April 8, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Greyson East left his mark on me.

As the young girl who first fell for him, I didn’t know much about life. I did know about his smiles, though, and his laughs, and the strange way my stomach flipped when he was near.

Life was perfect…until it wasn’t, and when we were forced to go our separate ways, I held on to our memories, let go of my first crush, and wished for the day I’d find him again.

When my wish came true, it was nothing like I imagined.

I couldn’t have known when I took the nanny position that it would be his children I looked after, that my new boss would be that boy I used to know, that boy who was now a man—a cold, lonely, detached man.

The smile and laugh I had loved so much were gone, now distant memories. Every part of him was covered in a fresh pain.

When he realized who I was, he made me promise to do my job and my job only.
He made me promise not to try to get to know him, not to recall the memories I’d treasured all this time.

But, sometimes, I saw the boy I’d once known in his stormy eyes. I saw the Greyson who smiled and laughed, who had stolen a young girl’s heart, and there was no doubt in my mind that this boy was worth fighting for.

I was given a second chance with the one who’d left his mark on me. All I hoped was that somehow I’d leave a mark on his soul, too.

**Eleanor & Grey is a complete Standalone novel**


If you haven’t yet read one of Brittainy C. Cherry’s books, I cannot even begin to explain how mesmerizing her writing is. She’s in a league with very few writers whose words come to life in the most beautiful, touching way. The only way I can think to describe it is to compare it to music that brings chills to your skin or tears to your eyes. Ms. Cherry’s words make me feel so much. While I am reading her words, I feel like her story is growing and taking place all around me. I felt this way while reading Eleanor & Grey.

Eleanor & Grey should have been named How Many Times Can Brittainy C. Cherry Make Me Cry in One Book? The emotions in this book! It’s a second chance romance, but Eleanor and Grey’s relationship is rooted in loss. All of that loss and grief hit me hard. Imaging myself in their places was so painful. It broke my heart over and over and over. Is it weird to say I enjoyed every minute of that? I shouldn’t have, but I did.

When Eleanor and Grey originally meet, there is an instant connection and understanding between the two of them. They have been in similar places in life. I adored the way Grey supported Eleanor. Their teenage like for each other is sweet and innocent. It was so adorable! I really wanted their relationship to keep progressing, but the loss of each other feels like a natural progression. I was sad for this change, but knew it was coming so I wasn’t mad.

Even reading the blurb, it was hard to know that Grey and Eleanor had lives apart for years. It felt a little weird to read about Grey’s relationship with someone else and his two daughters at first. I was surprised he wasn’t pining for Eleanor all of those years. Or maybe that’s just what I wanted him to be doing. The more I reflected on Eleanor and Grey’s time together, the easier it was to come to terms with that.

It wasn’t just Grey’s past I had a hard time imagining either. It was Eleanor’s, too. I could guess some of the reasons she grew as a person, but I really wanted more of a snapshot of what happened to her during all those times apart. Even though Eleanor mentioned some of the things that happened, I felt like I was missing a piece of her story.

I really liked that when Eleanor and Grey’s paths collide again, things have flip-flopped. It’s now Eleanor’s turn to support Grey. She brought in this breath of fresh air neither Grey nor I knew was missing. What developed from there was… Well, I’ll let you read the book and find out.

There were a ton of other amazing characters in Eleanor & Grey. Eleanor’s parents were too cute. I adored Claire and her supportive but suggestive ways. Grey’s daughters were perfect. Karla was that angsty teenager I like reading about, but hope I never have. Lorelei stole the show with her utter cuteness. The strength of all of these characters helped make this book the emotional masterpiece it was.

There was something so magical about this book. I mean, I feel that way about all of Ms. Cherry’s books, but this one really resonated with me. I felt Eleanor and Grey’s heartache and loss so deeply. I didn’t want to imagine being in their shoes, but that’s what I was doing. I was happy-sad when Eleanor & Grey ended. I was happy because I loved the book, but I was sad because I wanted more. I wasn’t done with Eleanor and Grey. It’s my favorite book by Brittainy C. Cherry yet.

E&G - AN

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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

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E&G - Teaser 2 AN.jpg

About Brittainy:
Author Brittainy C. Cherry is an Amazon #1 bestselling author.She has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing.Her novels have been published in 18+ countries around the world. Brittainy lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin with her fur babies.

Connect with Brittainy:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Fc8izo

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Review: Text Me Baby One More Time (Teagan Hunter)

Text Me Baby One More Time
Author: Teagan Hunter
Publication Date: February 11, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A second-chance romcom.

I love you, he said.
Forever, he said.
Turns out, he lied.

When he leaves me high and dry after a cross-country move, I push him out of my life as much as I can, which is hard to do when the guy who broke your heart also happens to be the most famous dude in town.

After a disastrous year, he’s aiming to rehab his reputation, and I just so happen to be aiming for a promotion at the paper.

So, we strike a deal, and it’s a win-win all around.

Besides, what’s the harm in a few dates to charity galas anyway?

He’s arrogant, a total jerk. There’s no way I’ll fall for him…again.

I used to love him. Now I hate him…I think.


 I was excited about Text Me Baby One More Time from the moment I heard about its release because (one) the title is a spoof of one of the titles from my favorite guilty pleasure singer Ms. Spears, (two) I absolutely adore this series of standalone romances, and (three) it’s a second chance romance! I was also super curious to find out who this book was going to be about. Now that I know, I’m even more excited about that piece. Which is weird because I’m done reading the book, but IT WAS JUST SO UNEXPECTED! (Yes, that needed shout-y caps!)

Oh my goodness! I’m so excited to tell you all about this book! There’s these two people, let’s call them Cap and Bucky. Cap and Bucky have this text relationship going on (Is this a spoiler? This whole series is based around texts, so I’m going with no.) and then a bunch of stuff happens. Cap and Bucky’s relationship blows up (see second chance romance up in the blurb). They later reconnect and strike a deal: an interview for a few dates to charity galas. It’s not all fun and games, but there are a lot of hilarious and swoon worthy moments. That’s all I can really say about the plot because Cap and Bucky are not to be spoiled for you.

I adored this book. It was simply charming. I was having such a good time reading it, that it drove me nuts that I couldn’t figure out who Cap was at first. I remember Cap’s name, but not the back story. Once I remembered it all, my perceptions of everything changed a bit. It was eye-opening and I couldn’t decide if I loved or hated Teagan Hunter for this. I’m going to go with loved because like I said, I adored this book.

As much as I loved Cap and Bucky, I must say there was another star of this book that might just have stolen the spotlight: Steve. Steve made me so happy. Steve made Cap look good, and that was only part of his appeal. Bucky was so dang cute with him. I couldn’t handle all the cuteness! Gah! I loved it!

Anyways. Sorry, this review is so rambly. I guess what is left to say is that if you loved the rest of this series, you will love Text Me Baby One More Time. If you haven’t read this series yet and are interested in this book, I highly recommend you start at the beginning with Let’s Get Textual and read all of the books. Characters and situations pop back up and you don’t want any spoilers. Trust me on that one!

Add TEXT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME to your Goodreads TBR!

Get TEXT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME on Amazon!

 Don’t miss the other books in the Texting series!

Let’s Get Textual | I Wanna Text You Up | Can’t Text This | Text Me Baby One More Time

About TEAGAN HUNTER

TEAGAN HUNTER is a Missouri-raised gal, but currently lives in North Carolina with her US Marine husband, where she spends her days begging him for a cat. She survives off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. She enjoys cold weather, buys more paperbacks than she’ll ever read, and never says no to brownies. For more information, please visit www.teaganhunterwrites.com. Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Twitter | Instagram | Book+Main | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

Mini Reviews: A Bunch of Them!

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


Hired
Author: Zoey Castile

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

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

Play to Win
Author: Kelly Jamieson

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

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


For Emery
Author: J. Nathan

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

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

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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


Love the One You’re With
Author: Lauren Layne

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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


Now That You Mention It
Author: Kristan Higgins

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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

Review: I Want You Back (Lorelei James)

I Want You Back
Series: Need You, #5
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James kicks-off her Want You Series with a Lund family cousin hot enough to melt the ice and mend a broken heart.

Former NHL star Jaxson Lund has returned to the Twin Cities, but he’s at loose ends, unsure if he belongs at Lund Industries, or where he stands with Lucy, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Mimi. Despite the signs she’d like to leave him in the penalty box, the attraction burning between them reinforces his determination to prove that he deserves a second chance…

Lucy Quade is in a good place with a steady job, a nice apartment, and a well-adjusted daughter, which is why she’s hesitant when Jax insists on co-parenting. It’s not that Lucy doesn’t trust Jax…she’s just unconvinced he can handle multiple responsibilities when he’s been singularly focused on playing hockey. But when issues arise with Mimi, Lucy’s shocked at how levelheaded and paternal he acts, giving her a glimpse of the Jax she used to know, the sexy, sweet man she fell for years ago.

Once Lucy lets her guard down, Jax goes all in to show her how good they are together, but will their past remain too large an obstacle to ever overcome?


If you have read the Need You series like I have, you have probably been curious about Jaxson Lund and Lucy Quade’s relationship. Well, we are finally getting their book!

I Want You Back is a second chance romance. Jaxson Lund has retired from hockey. He’s determined to turn his life around. He is no longer the alcoholic womanizer he used to be. Jaxson has come to recognize what a horrible boyfriend, father, and person he was while he drank. He wants to make that up to the two most important people: his daughter and her mother. Lucy is not sure what to make of the changes in Jaxson. He’s trying so hard to be a father to her daughter. She loves what she sees, but she’s not sure she can ever trust him enough to let him back in completely.

I went back and forth on what to rate this book. I enjoyed reading it, but it was a little slow at times. I guess that might not have bugged me if I wasn’t expecting a slow burn romance, but I wasn’t with the chemistry these two had. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the flashbacks of Lucy and Jaxson’s prior relationship. I think it was because it was only the good times and none of the bad? I liked getting to know how they fell in love, but I also wanted to know more about how they fell apart. It was also a little jarring to go from present to past and back in this book for some reason. I’m not sure why.

What I did love was the way Jaxson worked to show Lucy that he was back for good and in all the ways that mattered. I loved the way they worked through the hard parts of co-parenting. I loved how Lorelei James dealt with Jaxson’s issues with alcoholism, infidelity, and safe sex. That whole mixture really surprised me. I have never read a romance that touched on those topics all together. It made me think it should in more books. I wish more time would have spent on it in this book even though I thought it was well done.

Oh! I can’t leave out that I liked that Lucy wasn’t perfect either. She may have been wronged by Jaxson, but she had some issues of her own. I loved that Jaxson didn’t let those things slide, and that they worked together to both make changes.

Obviously, this book had a couple of ups and downs for me, but over all was a great read.

Review: Fireworks by Sarina Bowen

Fireworks
Series: True North, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Tuxberry Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s willing to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. She can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and slide back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

But things go sideways the moment she steps over the county line. Her stepsister is running from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke Skye’s teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.


Every time I hear Sarina Bowen is going to add another book to her True North series I get super excited. I adore this series for not only its love stories but the tough situations and topics it has dealt with. This time, Ms. Bowen tackles a sexual predator who holds a powerful position in the Vermont small town I’ve come to love. (Timely, right?)

Fireworks was a good addition to the Truth North series. It wasn’t my favorite addition, but I really enjoyed reading it. Sarina Bowen’s writing was just as stunning as always. I loved being back in the beautiful Vermont setting and getting to revisit several of my favorite characters. I loved the plot of the book, and the suspense of it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times! I loved the romance at the heart of it all. I loved how it flowed from past to present. What kept me from announcing it as my new favorite in the series? Well, it had to do with one of the characters.

Skye is truly what kept me from being able to give Fireworks 5 stars. I had a hard time connecting all of her parts into one person. In the past, Skye was a fearful teen facing down a predator. She was also a young woman trying to unsuccessfully trying to understand her sexuality. In the present, Skye was an insecure and slightly immature adult. She was also a strong, capable, independent woman. None of those things (past and present) are exclusive of the others, but they didn’t always meld seamlessly into one character. Does that make sense? I had a hard time understanding some of Skye’s current feelings and choices based on her past ones. Something was missing for me in the picture of Skye’s character. Despite that, I still liked her. I liked her relationship with Benito and their backstory.

As for Benito, I loved the guy. I’ve been wondering what kind of story Sarina Bowen would come up with for Benito since they day I met him. He’s always been a bit of mystery in the True North series, so it was fun finally getting to know what this guy was up to. I really loved his job and how it fit in with the whole plot of the story. I also really liked his personality. He was one of the good guys. My favorite thing about this book was the care he took of Skye. It was so sweet. He did have a few moments of stupidity that had me cringing, though. It was easy to forgive him, though, based on the timeline of the book.

Despite my issues with Skye, I still really enjoyed this second chance romance. Fireworks had the perfect mixture of swoon worthy and intense, emotional moments. Sarina Bowen tackled a tough topic that’s relative to today’s social climate and did it in a uniquely satisfying way.

Review: Long Road Home by Stacey Lynn

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Long Road Home
Series: Love in the Heartland
Author: Stacey Lynn
Publication Date: November 5, 2018
Publisher: Stacey Lynn Books
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I left home ten years ago, promising myself I’d never return to the place where I had never been accepted. I was despised and ridiculed for circumstances completely beyond my control.

But when my grandmother passes away, I’m forced to return to Kansas. I will have to face everyone who hated me. But they’re not who I’m most afraid of.

My biggest fear? Facing him.
Jordan Marx.
The boy I once loved more than life itself. The boy who defended me from them. The boy I’d disappeared on, leaving him nothing more than a horrible nasty lie and hastily scribbled note.

When Jordan finds out the secret I have carried for so long, I’m in for the battle of my life.
Or so I thought.

I might have wandered for years on a path riddled with thorns but with Jordan by my side, taking the long road home means more than reuniting with the only man I’ve ever loved. It might just mean finding myself, and the family I never thought I could ever have along the way.


This is the third book I have read by Stacey Lynn and it is by far my favorite of hers. It’s a second chance romance between high school sweethearts. Destiny and Jordan were deeply in love when they were teenagers. Jordan was shocked when Destiny broke up with him days after graduation and took off. Destiny had her reasons for running away, and they become obvious when she returns to town after her grandmother dies. Jordan is extremely angry with Destiny, and he has every right to be. Unfortunately, he’s forced to reconnect with the woman who broke him.

Okay, so I don’t want to spoil what this book is about for anyone. What I will say is if you think you know what Destiny has been hiding for the past ten years, you’re probably right. It’s such a huge part of the story and I really, really want to say more! Instead I’ll tell you what made this book stand out more than some of the other second chance romances I’ve read.

First, I loved that forgiveness and trust took a while between Jordan and Destiny. Jordan had every reason to be mad at Destiny or hate her. I loved that his anger didn’t easily dissipate. The fact that despite his continued attraction and love for Destiny he held onto that anger for a while made this story feel real. He took his time figuring out his feelings and deciding whether he could forgive her not. I loved that.

Second, I really enjoyed was how Destiny was able to return to her childhood home and face her demons. I loved that she got the chance to stand up to the people who tormented her as a teenager. It was also great how returning to town and the person who loved her gave her a new perception of the situation. It was just really cool.

Third, Destiny and Jordan’s relationship was so sweet. I loved how despite their years apart there was still a deep connection between them. They had to learn new things about each other, but it was more about building on their past than starting all over. I also loved the thing that tied them together. That whole dynamic was awesome. The only little thing that bugged me was how quickly things moved once they did reconnect.

Finally, I loved all the family that was included. Jordan and Destiny’s families weren’t the most supportive in the past, but they really showed up for them in Long Road Home. Their friends were also a big part of that. All of these people made it easier for Destiny to return and take her place next to Jordan. I was so curious about some of them that I’m going to look into reading the first book in this series.

Long Road Home was a great second chance romance. I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t wait to read more books in this series now.

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About the Author

Stacey Lynn Author Photo

When Stacey Lynn isn’t conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or behind closed doors, imagining the next adventures she’ll soon write.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

Stacey Lynn lives with her husband and children in North Carolina.

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