Review: Passion on Park Avenue (Lauren Layne)

Passion on Park Avenue
Series: Central Park Pact, #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.


Sigh. I have been struggling a lot with books lately and getting into a good reading mood. Since I have loved and adored every single LL book out there, I decided to give Passion on Park Avenue the chance to get me out of my slump. It did, and yet it didn’t.

There were a lot of things that I loved about this book. At the beginning, it reminded me a lot of the movie The Other Woman. The way Naomi formed friendships with Claire and Audrey was cool. I loved how they supported each other even though they weren’t lifelong friends. I adored Oliver. He was such a great guy. The romance between Oliver and Naomi was sweet. My favorite moments revolved around them. I loved Naomi’s back story and how it related to Oliver and his father, Walter. The way she reacted to everything involving Walter was fun. I also liked Walter as a character all on his own. All these things are why LL is a go-to author for me. Her writing is excellent.

I hate to admit it, but there were things that didn’t work for me in this book. That usually doesn’t happen to me with LL’s books. I had a hard time loving Naomi to start with. She was just so off-putting with her need to reach a certain status or have and wear certain things. That’s not something I care about in life, and it sounded too braggy for my taste. I have a REALLY hard time with books that focus a lot on descriptions of clothing, accessories, etc. I am not a fan of being told what name brands are being worn. I get that a little needs to be done based on where this story is set (effluent NY), but I got tired of it really fast. The other thing that didn’t work for me was the whole TV show/Dylan thing. It just felt weird and out-of-place.

While Passion on Park Avenue wasn’t my favorite LL book, I still ended up enjoying it. It had some amazing friendships and a cute romance going for it. I’m looking forward to reading books about Audrey and Claire. I really loved them, so I am hoping to enjoy their books just as much.

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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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: 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.

Mini Reviews: Rock Bottom Girl & Cruel Sanctuary

Rock Bottom Girl
Author: Lucy Score
Publication Date: March 8, 2019
Publisher: That’s What She Said Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“You may be faking the relationship, but you’re not faking the orgasms.”

Downsized, broke, and dumped, 38-year-old Marley sneaks home to her childhood bedroom in the town she couldn’t wait to escape twenty years ago. Not much has changed in Culpepper. The cool kids are still cool. Now they just own car dealerships and live in McMansions next door. Oh, and the whole town is still talking about that Homecoming she ruined her senior year.

Desperate for a new start, Marley accepts a temporary teaching position. Can the girl banned from all future Culpepper High Homecomings keep the losing-est girls soccer team in school history from killing each other and prevent carpal tunnel in a bunch of phone-clutching gym class students? Maybe with the help of Jake Weston, high school bad boy turned sexy good guy.

When the school rumor mill sends Marley to the principal’s office to sign an ethics contract, the tattooed track coach, dog dad, and teacher of the year becomes her new fake boyfriend and alibi—for a price. The Deal: He’ll teach her how to coach if she teaches him how to be in a relationship. Who knew a fake boyfriend could deliver such real orgasms? But it’s all temporary. The guy. The job. The team. There’s too much history. Rock bottom can’t turn into a foundation for happily ever after. Can it?

Warning: Story also includes a meet-puke, a bouffanted nemesis, a yard swan and donkey basketball, a teenage-orchestrated makeover, and a fake relationship that gets a little too real between the sheets.

My thoughts:

I have been seeing Rock Bottom Girl pop up just about everywhere online recently. I read a couple of great reviews for it, and decided I wanted to read it. I’m so glad I did! I have officially found another author whose back list of books I want to binge read. Rock Bottom Girl was a delight to read.

What did I love about this book? Everything. What really stood out, though, was the way 38 year old Marley was portrayed. Way older than people at this age normally act. It’s like they’re premature 80 year olds or something. Marley wasn’t like that. She was still trying to figure out life and navigate relationships. That’s what people are still going in their 30’s and 40’s, people. She (and Jake) were just so relatable. I loved that! Plus, this entire book was funny. It made me smile so much. It was one of those really enjoyable romantic comedies that I would love to see as a movie. You should read it.


Cruel Sanctuary
Series: Wages of Sin, #1
Author: Tara Leigh
Publication Date: March 22, 2019
Publisher: Tara Leigh Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They say New York City is the Devil’s Playground.
They’re wrong.
This city belongs to me.
And so does Aislinn Granville.

She is a pampered politician’s daughter.
A decorative ornament, raised to smile and nod and do what she’s told.
Except… she doesn’t. Not with me. Ever.

In this city full of thugs and thieves, I’ve kept Aislinn safe.
From my enemies.
From me.

Until now.

My thoughts:

Cruel Sanctuary is a classic dark romance: A good girl gets swept up in a bad guy’s world —  which is actually her world, she just doesn’t know it yet. There’s sex, violence, and a political war waging. I enjoyed reading Cruel Sanctuary. It was fast paced and I liked the plot. The chemistry was there between Aislinn and Damien. My only issue is that things were a little stalky on Damien’s part. It was disturbing, but I have a feeling that the next book is going to explain that and it won’t feel as wrong. Overall, it was a fun dark romance.

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.

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: Well Suited (Staci Hart)

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Well Suited
Series: Red Lipstick Coalition, #4
Author: Staci Hart
Publication Date: May 2, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Chemistry is my love language.

I’ve always been able to separate feelings from chemosignals. A shot of dopamine, a dash of serotonin, and a sprinkle of oxytocin—and bam. You’re in love.

And when egg meets sperm, you’re pregnant.

I couldn’t even be surprised as I stared down at the little blue plus sign, because I knew exactly when and how, and with whom it happened.

When: approximately five weeks ago.
Who: one night stand.
How: prophylactic malfunction.

The upside? I don’t have to go looking for a suitable mate.

Genetically, he’s the cream of the crop. His musculature is a study in symmetry and strength, his height imposing and dominant. He is a man who thrives on control and command, a man who survives on intelligence and resourcefulness. A perfect male specimen.

And the whole package is wrapped up in a flawlessly tailored suit.

I’m having this baby, and he insists we’re well-suited to have it together. And what’s worse? He wants more, in the way of love and marriage.

But love isn’t real. It’s just a product of chemistry.

And if he changes my mind about that, we’re both in trouble.


A couple of months ago, I picked up Staci Hart’s Work in Progress. I hadn’t read any of her Red Lipstick Coalition books yet, but that one called to me. I adored it. At the end of the book there was a preview for Well Suited. I knew once I read the preview that I had no read the book. I was already drawn into the story.

Well Suited was a fun romance between a tightly wound librarian and the man who was willing to accept and love her quirks. Katherine was a woman with rules. Her interaction with Theodore Bane was only supposed to be one night. Now that she’s pregnant with his baby, he’s going to be around a lot longer and that throws everything off for her. Theo accepts Katherine’s quirks and somehow manages to know her every need. It disarms Katherine in ways she doesn’t want to admit. Theo would do just about anything to get her to admit it.

The romantic coupling of Theo and Katherine was perfection. I enjoyed Katherine’s quirks. She did remind me of a couple other book characters I have read before, but she wasn’t a carbon copy. Katherine had a big personality and a ton of entertaining quirks. I loved how Theo accept and loved them. Theo was, for lack of a better word, dreamy. Staci Heart could not have written a better partner for Katherine. Theo was patient and loving, and knew how to approach Katherine. I really adored them together.

If you’re a fan of this series, I am sure you’re going to love this book. I did. If you haven’t read the series yet, I think you could start with this book (although there might be mild spoilers) and then read the rest of the series later. Or start at the beginning and enjoy all of them!

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About the Author

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Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Connect with Staci:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hv5OA5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacihartnovels Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/quirkybird/?hl=en Twitter: https://twitter.com/imaquirkybird Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/imaquirkybird/ Website: http://stacihartnovels.com Stay up to date with Staci by joining her mailing list: http://stacihartnovels.com/get-the-newsletter/ Join Her Reader Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacihart/

Series Review: Broken Hill High (Sheridan Anne)

Lately, I’ve been searching for series that have a similar feel to Tijan’s Fallen Crest High. I miss the emotion and drama of that series. One of the series that popped up when I went looking was Broken Hill High. Since it was available on KU, I decided to give it a try.

Book 1:

Broken Hill High is the first book in the series. It starts when Tora is a senior in high school. Her parents have left the country to take care of her ill grandmother, and while they’re gone Tora is forced to stay with her parents’ friends. Tora is not excited to stay with these friends because they have two sons who hate her. Nate, another senior, is particularly mean to her. You know what they say about boys who bully girls, though. It turns out there’s a very fine line between love and hate for Nate. Soon Tora’s dating the bad boy of Broken Hill High, and life starts to get even crazier. All of the attention has the people who would like to take Nate down gunning for Tora.

I thought this series started out pretty strongly. I liked Tora. I even liked Nate. The beginning of relationship was actually pretty sweet. That sweetness combined with all the over the top drama was a lot of fun.

Book 2:

Broken Hill Halo is really just more of Broken Hill High. Tora loves being Nate’s girlfriend despite all of the drama that brings. Instead of being meek like she was when Nate tormented her, Tora’s learning to stand up for herself. Being with Nate has given her courage. Instead of standing by and watching, she’s dealing out her own wrath. Tora’s changing in little ways in this book. Some of them I liked, others I didn’t.

Book 3:

Things begin to take a turn for Tora in Broken Hill Hurt. The ramifications of her actions have started piling up. Her parents aren’t so sure Nate is the best influence. Tora’s determined to prove to them that he is. The problem is that Nate agrees with them. Now, Tora has to learn how to deal with everything crashing down around her.

Things have turned toxic pretty quickly for Tora. I felt badly for her, but I actually agreed with her parents. I had respect for Nate. I got what everyone was trying to do and point out to her.

Book 4:

In Broken Hill Hearts, Tora is still learning to live without Nate. He’s there, but he’s not. Tora is determined to make Nate see the errors of his ways. It’s hard when she can’t stay out of trouble or drama, but she’s going to do it. I still felt bad for Tora, but I liked the direction she was headed with this one. I felt like she really grew a spine and figured out what she needed to do for everything in her life to work itself out.

Book 5:

Broken Hill Havoc begins a new chapter in Tora’s life. She’s left Broken Hill High behind and is now at Broken Hill University. The setting may be different, but the drama is still abundant. Tora and Nate have settled into their relationship. It’s not so up and down. That’s okay because Tora’s relationship with Brooke is. Honestly, I couldn’t stand that girl and how she didn’t believe Tora. That was the most frustrating part of this book. I did like how all of the storylines wrapped up. It was also interesting to get a chapter in Nate’s POV. It makes me excited for Broken Hill Honor.

Book 5.5:

Broken Hill Honor was a novella in mostly Nate’s POV. It was cute and sweet. It wrapped up this series in a great way.

Overall thoughts:

Broken Hill High is a dramatic series filled with over the top teenage drama. There is fighting, love, sex, partying, violence, and relationship troubles. I would classify it as NA romance or very mature YA romance based on the amount of sex and partying involved. Many of the scenes require maturity to read and process.

I liked that the main character, Tora, who start off as quieter, weaker girl and blossomed into a strong young women. Sometimes I wanted to roll my eyes at her actions and reactions, but I did feel like she reacted like a 17-year-old would react. Her relationship with Nate throughout the books progressed well. I liked the ups and downs of it.

Nate was the classic bad boy who ruled the school. He had nasty habits and was a jerk, but he also had redeeming qualities. He was extremely loyal. Once Tora was his, he was incredibly sweet to her. Nate would have done anything to ensure Tora’s safety. I didn’t always love his choices, but I wasn’t supposed it.

Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of Tora’s friends. They were just kind of there and added a little to the drama. I did really love Nate’s brother Jesse, though. He was a ton of fun. I liked his friendship with Tora. Puck was also another fun friend of Nate’s.

What this book was missing from this series, in my opinion, was emotion. There was emotion written in the book, but I didn’t always feel it myself. I wasn’t consumed by Tora’s feelings. I felt for her not with her. I wanted to feel with her. That’s the only way I can think of explaining it.

Broken Hill High was a fun series to read, but I wasn’t in love with it. I did appreciate how addictive it was, and I think readers who like books with a lot of drama will enjoy it.

Series Rating: ★ ★ ★

Review: The Bride Test (Helen Hoang)

The Bride Test
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #2
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions — like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better— that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working… but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


The Bride Test is a book about a modern-day arranged marriage. Esme has been given the opportunity to leave her humble beginnings in Vietnam to possibly become the wife of an American. She’s excited for what this marriage could mean for herself and her family back in Vietnam. But when Esme arrives in California, she discovers that her could be husband is not so excited to meet her. Khai has no desire to get married. He doesn’t do feelings or love. He doesn’t need a wife to make his life better. Esme knows her summer with Kai is going to be awkward and uncomfortable, but she’s determined to win him over.

Have you ever read a book that made you insanely happy? That’s how I felt while reading The Bride Test. I was completely captivated by it. The writing was fabulous. Like don’t ask me to put this book down because I have become one with the words fabulous. I loved it so much that I don’t feel like I can properly put into words how much I enjoyed it — but I’ll try.

Esme and Khai’s story was… GAH! I loved every single thing about their relationship from their horribly awkward beginning to their slowly getting to know each other to the ending that came all too fast for my liking. I was fascinated by the partnership they built. Esme and Khai had completely different needs when it came to a relationship, but they still managed to build something beautiful together. It wasn’t necessarily easy for them. Khai may not have thought he did feelings, but he had so many in relation to Esme. He also had some specific physical needs thanks to his autism. His needs could have easily overshadowed Esme’s, but they didn’t. Her personal needs were just important. I loved how she was good at voicing them and following through with what she needed for herself. It was so interesting to read about them navigating through it all. It made me think about how every couple has to go through learning moments with their partner both physically and emotionally. All their frustrations and hard work made this book all the more heartwarming and lovable.

I’m sure there were a couple of little things I could nitpick about this book, but I can’t even remember what they would be. I was so into Esme and Khai that nothing really stood out as a major flaw. The Bride Test was one of those books I truly got lost in.

The Bride Test was adorably sweet and subtly sexy, with just the right amount of drama. It was just as much a masterpiece as Hoang’s début, The Kiss Quotient. I cannot wait to find out what Helen Hoang is writing next. (Please, please let it be Quan’s story!)

Review: Wolfhunter River (Rachel Caine)

Wolfhunter River
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #3
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.

Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.

But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.

But it may already be too late. A trap has been set. And it’s poised to snap shut on everyone Gwen loves. Her stalkers are closing in. And in a town as dark as Wolfhunter, it’s so easy for them to hide…


Before I begin this review, I feel the need to mention that Wolfhunter River is the third book in the Stillhouse Lake series. You cannot just pick up Wolfhunter River and begin the series there. I mean, I guess you could, but you would be lost. Wolfhunter River begins where Killman Creek ends. There is some lapse of time, but the characters and their stories continue on.

It was good to be back in the Proctor world. There were still so many things to discover about Gwen, Lanny, Connor and Sam. I didn’t expect there to be so many leftover issues after the last book, but I liked the way the characters had to navigate them and continue to trust in each other. I did get a little feeling of “this again?” at times, but the story didn’t feel redundant.

What I really loved about Wolfhunter Creek was what I loved about the previous books in the series. The characters and their issues were so unique and still eye-opening to me. Rachel Caine’s writing was outstanding. She knows how to set the tone and pace for an intense ride. I was immediately thrust into the thick of the story. The tension was constant and had me wondering if I was going to need to take breaks and throw a romance novel in them.

I had some mixed feelings when it comes to the story. There was so much going on. Really. So. Much. There were two or more plot lines going on at once, and I couldn’t hep but wonder how they would tie together. I was interested in what was going on, but I didn’t always know what to focus my attention on. I guess I couldn’t always pick up on what mattered most in the story. In a way, that was kind of genius because when things did start twisting and turning and being revealed, I was genuinely surprised. Some things I foresaw, others I wondered what the heck? I don’t know how to explain it other than to say the ending was this giant mess that somehow tidied everything up too perfectly. I don’t know if that’s a complaint or positive.

I guess what it all comes down to for me is whether I enjoyed the book or not. I did enjoy Wolfhunter River. It might not have been my favorite in the series, but it kept me guessing and entertained. I was so enthralled with what was going on that I read it in one day. The ending left me wondering if I would be seeing the Proctor family in the future. I hope so, but if not, Wolfhunter River was a strong way to wrap up a great series.