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.

LRH-AN (1)

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About the Author

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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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Review: I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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I Bet You
Series: The Hook-Up, #2
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: October 25, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.

Sexy Athlete: I bet you…
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.

The text is random but Penelope figures out exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn’t take his wager.

Ryker Voss.
Football star.
Walks on water and God’s gift to women.
Just ask him.

His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he’ll realize what he’s missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?

Penelope Graham.
Virgin.
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.

Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.

Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secrets mean everyone loses this game of love?

*Author’s Note: This is a standalone sports romance with an HEA.

**You do not have to have read I Dare You, although you should if you love jocks and nerdy heroines.


I Bet You was a fun new adult sports romance. The main character, Penelope, was a little quirky and a whole lot sassy. She had a thing against football players and knew that she wanted a smart, nerdier type of guy in her life. That was all blown to pieces when Ryker Voss inserts himself into her life and offers to help Penelope get the guy.

Ryker was the college’s well-loved quarterback. Despite being a cocky jock, he was actually a nice guy. Penelope wasn’t the type of girl he normally went for, but the more time he spent with her the more he wished it wasn’t someone else she was pining for.

I really liked both Ryker and Penelope. My issue with I Bet You wasn’t their romance, but a bet that was going on in the background. It was predictable and made it hard for me to read the book at times. I knew what was going to happen and I hated it. BUT I ended up really liking how it was all handled and explained at the end.

One of the great things about this book were the supporting characters. I loved Penelope and Ryker’s friends. Charisma, Margo, and Blaze were so much fun! I also liked the bad guy in this book. He was just the right amount of scummy. LOL. Oh, and I really liked everything that went down with Penelope’s family situation. That was a great story line.

Despite the moments I spent worried about what was going to happen, I enjoyed reading I Bet You. It was a light, fun new adult romance.

IBY-AN

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Love football heroes and nerdy heroines?

Start the series of standalones today with I DARE YOU.

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About the Author

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Review: Muffin Top by Avery Flynn

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Muffin Top
Series: The Hartigans, #2
Author: Avery Flynn
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The only thing about me that’s a size zero is the filter on my mouth. I’ve got a big personality, a big rack, and a big number on the scale. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

But when some random guy suggests I might not be eating alone if I’d ordered a salad instead of a hamburger I’m shocked silent, which is a feat, trust me.

That brings us to one sexy fireman named Frankie Hartigan. He’s hot. He’s funny… And he’s just apologized for being late for our “date” then glared at the fat-shaming jerk. Next thing I know, he’s sitting down and ordering himself dinner.

I have no problem telling him I don’t need a pity date… unless of course it’s to my high school reunion next week. Oops where did that last bit come from? And what do I do now that he’s said yes?!

Because this is no make-over story, and I think Frankie is using me for something. I just have to figure out what…


I was excited to read Muffin Top for two reasons. One: I have heard great things about Avery Flynn’s writing, but hadn’t read one of her books yet. Two: I loved that Lucy was a heroine who is larger in size than most romance novel women. My experience reading Muffin Top didn’t work out for me the way I was hoping, though. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. In order to simplify my reasons why, I’m going to break this review down into what worked and what didn’t for me.

What worked:

  • Avery Flynn’s writing in third person. I am not a fan of third person, but it worked in this book. I was able to build connections with the characters and easily follow the switch between points of view.
  • Frankie’s character. I loved this guy. He had his hang ups, but he was comfortable in his own skin. Plus, I adored how stood up for Lucy in the best possible ways.
  • All the family moments in this book. Both Frankie and Lucy’s families were awesome.
  • Lucy’s acceptance of her weight, her frustration with those who judged her, and her struggle to let go of her feelings about it. She was such an easy character to relate to.

What didn’t work:

  • You know how I listed all that stuff about Lucy and her weight above? Well, those struggles she had were on her mind ALL.THE.TIME. It’s really hard to “hear” someone beat themselves up as much as Lucy did. I know most of us have been in Lucy’s shoes with the self-doubt and anger about either our own weight or another issue, but I got tired of it. I don’t felt like it was truly resolved or lessened either. Her problems with Frankie were taken care of, but I wanted Lucy’s fragile self-esteem dealt with deeper.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Muffin Top. It will definitely resonate with readers who are looking for a heroine who is “plus” size.

 

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Excerpt:

The temptation to say “Yes, Frankie, please squash him like a bug while I clap and watch” was so, so strong—like, the guys who pull semi trucks with their teeth strong. Instead, Lucy played along with her best friend’s fiancé’s brother— OMG, that was now the name of her imaginary all-girl ska band—and smiled sweetly up at him.

“He was bothered by my dinner order, honey.”

“Really?” Frankie looked down at her plate, over to the dipshit, and then right at her. There was no missing the devil in his eyes right before he turned his attention back to the other man. “What’s wrong with what my girl’s eating?”

Mr. In Her Business blanched. Literally. The color drained out of his face so fast that he resembled one of those swipe right before and after photos on makeover blogs. How in the hell she managed to not laugh out loud she had no frickin’ clue.

“N-n-nothing,” the man stuttered.

Nope. He was not getting off that easily.

She looked up at Frankie, still standing next to her chair, his big hand braced on the back of it, and said in the clueless voice that anyone with a brain would know meant there was danger ahead, “He said I should have ordered a salad, then I might have a chance to move from a five to an eight. I’m a five because I have great tits.”

Thunderous didn’t begin to describe the dark look of pure vengeance that crossed Frankie’s face, making even the freckles that crossed over the bridge of his nose look scary. Mr. Buttinsky made a little squeaking noise that reminded Lucy of the sound of air coming out of a balloon when someone pulled the tip taut as it was deflating. Frankie took a step forward, menace vibrating off of him in waves. The other guy didn’t bother to say a word, he just took off, weaving his way at a fast clip through the crowded bar and out the front door. Lucy liked to imagine that he peed his pants a little as he did so.

“Thanks, Frankie,” she said to the man still staring at the departing figure of Mr. Peed His Pants. “I owe you one.”

Her ginger knight in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt made some kind of noise that maybe was a response in the affirmative. It sounded kinda like “no problem.” Whatever. She was used to that from guys. She was only of interest until a hotter, skinnier, or prettier woman came along. It

was the universal fat chick cloaking device.

Determined not to let it annoy her as much as it usually would, she turned back to her jalapeño cheeseburger, spicy fries, and soda. Now she could finally enjoy her dinner in peace.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Frankie clunked down a three-fourths filled mug of beer on the other side of her table, pulled out the chair across from her, and sat down. Before she could even ask what he was doing, he waved the waitress over and told her he wanted whatever Lucy was eating, plus an extra order of fries and another beer. Once she’d left, he turned his attention to Lucy and gave her what could only be described as a vibrator smile. She named it that in her head—thankfully only in her head—because she now had a desperate need for her vibrator and maybe a fresh pack of batteries.

“You’re not gonna make me eat alone now that we’re on a date, are you?” he asked, swiping one of her fries.

About Avery

USA Today bestselling romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name.

Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their ahem other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

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Review: Royally Yours by Emma Chase

Royally Yours
Series: Royally, #4
Author: Emma Chase
Publication Date: October 30, 2019
Publisher: Emma Chase, LLC
Genre: Romance, Fiction, New Adult, Historical Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.

It’s a big deal.

When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.

What she isn’t… is married.

It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.

Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.

Even Queens. Especially them.

**

Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.

And a sacred promise keeps him there.

To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure.

**

Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.

Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.

This is theirs.


This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t read the blurb for Royally Yours before I started reading the book. I just saw a new book in the Royally series being released and jumped on it. For some reason, I thought Royally Yours would be about one of the kids from the first three books. I was wrong. Royally Yours is Queen Lenora and Prince Edward’s story. It is all about how they meet, fall in love, and start the Royally dynasty.

Royally Yours was a great addition to the series. Emma Chase came up with a great back story for them that made me fall in love with their characters. Queen Lenora was the same and different from what I expected. I loved getting into her head and being able to look back to the first three books in the series and know why she made the decisions she did. It was amazing!

I don’t remember Edward as much from the first three books, but he was a fun character. I enjoyed meeting him first in his letters and then in person. His adventurous nature brought a light to Lenora’s life. I loved how he challenged her, yet supported her. Edward was a great prince, and an awesome husband.

I adored what Emma Chase did with Lenora and Edward’s relationship. How they fell in love was so special and sweet. It was so much fun to read. If you’re a fan of this series, you won’t want to miss this short but sweet addition.

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Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

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Review: The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan

The Boy I Grew Up With
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I have loved Channing Monroe all my life.

In first grade, he asked for my Trapper Keeper.
I hit him in the head with it.
Third grade, we were best friends. We kissed in seventh grade.
Eighth grade, he turned into a bad boy and the rest was a tumultuous storm.

Growing up, the problem was never love for us.
Bad times. Good times. There were times when I felt our love in every inch of my body, vibrating, making me feel like it could bring me back to life.

The problem was us.

The problem is that we’re living in two different worlds now.
Fallen Crest and its millionaires for me. Roussou and their criminals for him. I was thriving in mine and he was running his.

But…

But there were nights I felt we couldn’t be further apart than we were, and there were nights I felt we shared the same heartbeat.

When was it time?
When was it time to either sacrifice, make a change, or walk away from the boy I grew up with?


I have all the feelings, guys. All of them. I don’t even know how I’m going to write this review because I’m a little hung over from all of the feels. I’ll give it a shot, though. Forgive me if this seems like one big ramble.

The Boy I Grew Up With is a spin-off of the Fallen Crest High series. It revolves around Samantha’s best friend, Heather and her on-again off-again boyfriend, Channing. (If you have read Crew, but not the FCH series, you will recognize Bren’s older brother Channing and his girlfriend Heather as well.) You don’t necessarily have to read either of those books/series to enjoy this book, but it definitely helps. I would recommend to those who have read the FCH series to going back and read the last couple of chapters of Fallen Crest Forever just to refresh your mind of where things left off in that series. It’s not super important, it’s just something I wish I had done. That being said…

This book was EVERYTHING for a fan of the Fallen Crest High series. The Boy I Grew Up With had all the angst, anticipation, and emotion of that first series. I loved being back in Heather’s world. I know everyone has wanted to know what really went on between Heather and Channing the entire time we were reading FCH, and now we finally have answers!

Since these are characters I already knew and loved, I am not going to go into much about their separate attributes. They weren’t much different from the last time I saw them. Heather and Channing had some surprises in store, but deep down they were the same tough, loyal, independent people. What I will talk about is their relationship. Channing and Heather had such a special connection and history. There were so many things I knew before, but didn’t really know about them. They had such an intense love and devotion. It went deeper than I had originally thought, and it made me so happy to finally understand why. Reading this book made me love Channing and Heather’s characters more than I already did.

Honestly, I loved this book. I loved how it went back and forth between past and present. I could have read more of it. I wanted more of it. I could have kept reading it well after it ended. In fact, I wouldn’t have been mad if Tijan had made this a series rather than just one book. I would have been fine reading Channing and Heather’s entire history from first grade through present over several different books. I didn’t get that, and that’s okay. Instead, I got an amazing journey that brought everything between Channing and Heather full circle. It wasn’t always pretty, but is was beautiful. The Boy I Grew Up With is a MUST READ for Heather and Channing fans.

Now, Tijan, is it too much to ask for a book for Nate? Pretty please with sugar on top…

Review: The Day the Jerk Started Falling by Max Monroe

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Rule number one: don’t fall for your best friend’s brother.

Rule number two: don’t fall for jerks.

But rules go out the window the day the jerk starts falling…

The Jerk Duet is complete!

The Day the Jerk Started Falling
Series: Jerk, #2
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: October 25, 2018
Publisher: Max Monroe, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Oliver Arsen, but my mates call me Ollie.

I live hard and love harder, and it’s love that usually gets me in the most trouble.

According to the greater population, I’m the ultimate jerk.

My affection tends to be short-lived—a quality I’ve been assured multiple times by the fairer sex isn’t becoming—and the leaving part of loving and leaving has always come natural.

At least, it used to.

Until her.

Luciana Wright.

She’s an American bombshell and my sister’s best friend—a woman so wrong for
me, it’s written in the waves.

And she’s the reason we’re all here.
The reason I have to go back to explain how it all went wrong.

To the day the jerk started falling.


The Day the Jerk Started Falling is the second book in the Jerk duet. The first book, The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks, begins the duet. It’s written in a podcast format that our heroine, Lucky, gives about falling for professional surfing jerk Ollie. The Day the Jerk Started Falling is Ollie’s response to Lucky’s podcast. The first half of the book is in podcast format. The second half of the book takes place in the present. I loved the podcast format, but I also loved getting to know where Ollie and Lucky were now.

Ollie’s podcast surprised me a bit. It wasn’t a complete retelling of Lucky’s. Ollie responded to Lucky’s admissions and also gave us some of his own. I liked knowing what the jerk was up to all that time. I loved getting his reactions and feelings. I wasn’t expecting to be so swayed by them. Dare I say Ollie wasn’t really a jerk? Anyway. It was fun to be in those first days of their relationship and to see how Ollie saw it collapse.

What I loved even more than the podcast was what happened after. It was a wild ride in only the way Max Monroe can take us on one. There was humor, emotion, and well, more humor. It was really delightful. I wish things would have stayed in this moment for a while longer. Before I knew it, we stepped a bit into the future and were back to podcasts. They were cute and I loved them. I just would have liked some more non-podcast time with the couple. It was special in a way you can’t always get from the podcast format.

The Day the Jerk Started Falling was a fun way to end the Jerk duet. I loved getting closure to Ollie and Lucky’s relationship. I truly enjoyed the podcast format of this series and how it made it stand out from others. It’s definitely a must read.

 

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Start the Duet with The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks!

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Excerpt:

Podcast Series: The Day the Jerk Started Falling with Oliver Arsen

Dating is easy, mates. The women are plentiful, the opportunities abundant, and the fun endless.

I’ve taken a woman night surfing—only to end up using the board and the motion of the water for another purpose—jetted over to New Zealand for a two-day holiday with another, and given more than one a fair tour of my bedroom.

No effort overspent, I enjoyed every moment of it.

I live hard and love harder, but it’s the second one that usually gets me in the most trouble. My affection tends to be short-lived—a quality I’ve been assured multiple times by the fairer sex isn’t becoming.

Basically, according to the greater population, I’m the ultimate jerk.

And if you grouped the lot of my past conquests together and set me ablaze, not one of them would piss on me to save my life.

Taking the next step, having a long-term relationship, has never been my forte.

Commitment is hard. The thought of a one-woman wank for the rest of my life has barely ever been conceivable, let alone possible, and I have to blame that for how badly it all went.

When I look back at my behavior, there has to be a reason.

A reason, friends, that when it came to Luciana Wright, I fucked it all up.

I’ve been cursed out, stomped on, slapped. Had my balls volleyed, spat on, and punched. And even, on one occasion, nearly run over by a car with a madwoman behind the wheel.

But I’ve never been through the brutal torture of love.

Until Lucky.

She’s an American bombshell and my sister’s best friend—a woman so wrong for

me, it should be written in the waves.

And she’s the reason we’re all here.

The exact reason why I strong-armed the lovely, albeit slightly hard-ass, editor of this fantastic website to let an Aussie bloke like me prattle on about his love woes.

[chuckles]

Vanessa, if you’re listening, I’m certain your balls are bigger than just about every man out there. And trust me, that is a compliment.

[chuckles again]

Also, thank you for your hospitality via podcast permission. It is much appreciated.

And you, dear listeners, you should know that for the next God only knows how many episodes of this podcast series, I’m going to spend my time talking directly to Lucky. If you’re not her, but you’d like to keep listening, I urge you to help me. Help me by hearing me out. Help me by relating to my story. Help me plead my case. And to really prepare yourself to get the whole tale from both sides, listen to her podcast first.

[distinct pause]

I had you in my grasp, Lucky, but now it’s fallen apart.

And in order to explain how it happened—to explain myself—I feel like I have to go back to the day it all began.

To the day the jerk started falling.

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

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

Review: Reveling in Sin by Meghan March

Reveling in Sin
Series: Sin, #3
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Red Dress Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Whitney Gable is the kind of woman you fight to the death to protect.
To keep.
To cherish.
I’ve finally learned my lesson, and it’s time to prove I’m the man who’s worthy of her.
I don’t care what it takes, because failure is not an option.
No matter who or what stands in our way—this time, she’ll be mine forever.


Meghan March is known for her amazing cliffhangers and jaw dropping reveals. In this final installment of the Sin series, she delivered on those reveals. If you could see my face now, you would see a look of shock and surprise. I was expecting something big to happen, but I was not expecting so many different things! The newly exposed truths and twists in the story blew my mind. I did not see most of them coming. I also didn’t expect a couple cameos by some of my favorite Meghan March characters. Reveling in Sin was an exciting end to Whitney and Lincoln’s saga.

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A New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels, Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had.

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Review: Big Stick by Kelly Jamieson

Big Stick
Series: Aces Hockey, #7
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A brooding hockey hunk learns to embrace life—and love—from a single mom who takes the world one puck at a time.

Big move . . . Jodie’s motto is “Don’t wait for the perfect moment – take the moment and make it perfect.” And that’s just what she decides to do when she moves to Chicago with her two-year-old daughter. Now all Jodie needs is a place to live, and her best friend’s boyfriend has just the answer.

Big stick . . . Nick Balachov has zero interest in socializing, partying, or flirting right now. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He loves them. It’s just that hockey, casual hookups, and hanging out at home are enough for him these days. Now Nick has a big problem – because the woman living in his empty coach house is a major distraction.

Big deal? The more Nick tries to keep his distance, the more Jodie needs him – around the house, that is. First he helps with the snowstorm, then the power outage. Nick even finds himself trying to impress her little girl. What the hell is wrong with him? Jodie represents everything Nick doesn’t want. But maybe she’s just what he needs. . . .


Big Stick is the seventh book in Kelly Jamieson’s Aces Hockey series. This time it’s Nick’s time to shine. When Nick and Jodie meet at his buddy Hallsy’s party, neither is particularly impressed with each other. Jodie’s too talkative for Nick, and Nick’s too grumpy for Jodie. When Hallsy asks Nick to help Jodie out by letting her and her daughter stay in his coach house, he isn’t exactly ecstatic about his new neighbors. Slowly, as he gets to know Jodie and Zyana, his feelings start to change.

It was so great to be back in the Aces Hockey world. Kelly Jamieson’s writing is always impressive. I’m not one for third person point of view, but somehow she writes it so that I don’t even notice it! I love how she makes what could be a light and fluffy romance a little deeper and more emotional. Her characters in Big Stick were special ones.

I adored Nick’s character. He was a grouchy grump and it came across cute in this story — especially with Jodie’s daughter Zyana. He thought he was mean and nasty, but he was actually a gentle giant. I liked how both Jodie and Zyana brought that out in Nick. Nick had his issues, but in general he was a great guy.

What made this book cool in my eyes was Jodie. She was a smart, independent woman who went after what she wanted. She owned a successful business and was a single mother. Jodie had her family with Zyana (I’m still not sure how to pronounce that one!) and was content. She didn’t need a man in her life, but she wouldn’t mind finding a partner in life. I liked her attitude about romance and her relationship with Nick. It was refreshing.

I can’t leave out Zyana. Zyana was a doll in only way young children can be. She was sassy, smart, and a total nightmare at times. I loved the part she played in Jodie and Nick’s romance. It was so sweet! I did have a couple of questions about her abilities, though. I think it was mentioned that she was 2 years old at one point. She seemed older than that to me. I would have guessed 3 or maybe even 4 years old. Maybe I’m just forgetting how toddlers act or maybe Zyana was ahead of the curve. I don’t know. I just remember being a little shocked at how young she was.

If you’re a fan of hockey romances and have yet to read one of Kelly Jamieson’s, you’re missing out. She’s a fantastic writer who creates strong characters with a lot of heart. Her stories are easy to fall in love with. Big Stick was one those.

Review: The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks by Max Monroe

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The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks
Series: Jerks, #1
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: October 18, 2018
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I’m Luciana Wright.

Everyone calls me Lucky, but when it comes to love, I’m anything but.

I have a long history of dating the wrong men.
You know the ones I’m talking about.

The beautiful, charming guys who are quite literally too good to be true.

The ones who are impulsive in love and prefer short flings over long-term relationships.

I’m talking about the jerks.

The guys who taste so good, but are so very bad.

After going through the most ridiculous breakup in the history of breakups, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I officially put myself into jerk rehab and committed to changing my ways.

But, let’s be real here, love is never that easy.

Especially when an arrogant, charming, he-devil of a sexy alpha man gets involved.

Aussie accent.
Tanned skin.
Muscular, surfer bod.
Gorgeous brown eyes.

And the kind of sexy smile that brings women to their knees.
Oh, did I mention that he’s also my best friend’s brother?
Yeah. This story, my story, it’s a real doozy you guys.

The day I stopped falling for jerks, I met Oliver Arsen—the biggest jerk of all.


The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks was classic Max Monroe. It was a romantic comedy with a new twist in the way it was told. The entire story was doled out to the reader in podcast format by Lucky. This form of delivery was incredibly cool. Even though I was reading it, I felt like I was listening to it. That probably sounds weird, but it was awesome.

Lucky was an easy character to relate to. Her thoughts and behavior reminded me of my own navigation through the ups and downs of relationships. I loved how she realized that she had a broken picker set to jerk mode, but realized it and made an effort to change her ways. I also just really liked her character in general. She was slightly uptight, but also fun. I liked how the podcast gave life to her mannerisms. It was just fun to experience a character this way.

Ollie…Well, I loved what I got to know of him. Ollie was that cool guy that everyone loves, but there was more to him than his cocky confidence. He had a sweet side that was..well, sweet. Ollie seemed like a guy who knew what he wanted and went after it. I loved the way he pursued Lucky. It was a lot of fun.

There were a lot of other fun things about this book, too. The setting was amazing and inspiring. I loved both Lucky and Ollie’s jobs. The combination of them was cool. I liked how they fit both their personalities and their relationship.

While The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks was an entertaining read, it was also filled with emotion — especially toward the end. I was surprised by it. I guess I wasn’t really expecting it. I should have been because this is the first part in a duet. I wasn’t, though. It hit me harder than I expected. I was left needing to know how Lucky and Ollie’s relationship plays out rather than just wanting to know. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book! I’m looking forward to answers and getting Ollie’s perspective.

I adored The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks. Max Monroe books are my reading happy place. I know other Max Monroe addicts will love this book as much as I did.

Everyone calls me Lucky, but when it comes to love, I’m anything but.

The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks, the first in the fun and flirty Jerk Duet from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe is available NOW!

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Excerpt:

The Day I Stopped Falling for Jerks podcast

Episode 1: “Is this thing on?”

Hi, everyone.

I’d like to welcome you to episode one of my very first podcast.

[quiet, hesitant laugh]

I’m a little nervous, so please bear with me as I try to figure out how to podcast.

See, I’m more a writer of words than a podcaster of words, but what I’m about to tell you is honestly too damn big to fit into one of my columns.

Way too big.

It’s a real doozy, guys, but I have to get it out.

And I’m hoping, once I finish recording this—since my boss says I might start feeling symptomatic of, say, poisoning, if I ruin this new venture—I’ll actually be able to upload it to Scoop’s website. Apparently, I’m told, podcasting is the wave of the future, and if we—meaning Scoop—don’t get our foot in the door first, we—meaning I—might as well find another room. Room meaning office.

I’m pretty sure she’ll fire me, okay?

Still, I figure pouring my guts out to a bunch of strangers has to be at least close to therapeutic, so consider my fingers and toes crossed that my technical inability doesn’t mean it’s for nothing.

[mumble from producer]

Oh, good. I’m told the uploading portion of this podcast will be taken care of by someone else. Smart move, guys.

[laughs again]

Okay, so where do I even begin?

[long, audible sigh]

Well, I guess my love life would be a good start, huh?

I mean, it’s the whole reason I’m here, ready to pour my heart out to you.

The past.

The present.

The future, as I’ve sworn and promised it to myself.

They’re all kind of a hot mess, but it’s really the chaos I’ve gotten myself into this time that made me decide to take action.

Think of a woman trying to stand up in a hammock during an earthquake, and then throw in a writhing pit of cobras dancing below it for good measure. Add in the task of juggling several oddly shaped objects and a horrible lack of hand-eye coordination, and you might have some idea of what I look like while trying to navigate lust, like, and love.

Relationships, dating, finding love…God, you guys, it is so hard.

I envy those people who manage to find the love of their lives on a first date or—even more mind-blowing—a chance encounter a la love-at-first-sight that blossoms into a long-term courtship.

Like, how in the hell does that even happen?

It feels like some trippy, magical unicorn kind of stuff or, worse yet, an evil consecration for those with a special, dark gift. And I’m not exactly comfortable exploring how many pagan gods I’d have to promise ill-willed deeds to in order to experience the easy road to love.

Heck, even the hard road.

As long as it didn’t end in disaster, I’d be ahead of where I am now—where I always seem to be.

See, I’ve been a serial dater, a constant cultivator of bad relationships, for as long as I can remember.

Even my kindergarten boyfriend, Kenny, is a prime example of what I’ve come to know as normal.

He was a swoony little guy, even at the ripe age of nearly six, and I was a naïve five-year-old, hungry for pure love. We were happy for about a day and a half, but when another skirt-wielder, Amber Carter, ran by, the apparent love of his life—Kenny’s description of me—wasn’t the only twinkle in his mossy green eyes anymore. One push off the monkey bars, and my first official relationship promptly ended in what would be one of many breakups for me.

Think of all the very worst guys to date—the players, the weirdos, the clingy momma’s boys, and the jerks…good God, picture the jerks.

Do you have those men in your head?

Well, I, Luciana “Lucky” Wright, have dated them all.

It might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I’ve been there, done that, written the book, and filmed the Lifetime movie.

And all those good-for-nothing men left me with were weeks filled with Netflix binges fueled by ice cream and the same question rolling through my mind—Where are all the good men?

You know, the men who are actually worthy of us. The men who know what they want and have good intentions to boot. The ones who know how to truly love a woman, one woman, for the rest of their lives.

Are they underground somewhere? In one of those highly discriminatory bunkers from the movie Deep Impact, perhaps? Do I actually have to discover the meaning of life to get the password?

I honestly don’t know. But I believe, in order for you to truly understand my frustration, I need to show you the final straw in my never-ending cycle of dating jerks. The moment that made me say “Sayonara, Jerks!” and write them off for good.

It’s going to feel like some serious Romeo and Juliet kind of stuff, but I can tell you, a Shakespearean love story it is not.

Keep listening. You’ll see.

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 | BookBub | Amazon | Facebook | Instagram | Mailing List