Review: The Dugout (Meghan Quinn)

The Dugout
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Let me ask you a question:

If someone is vying for your spot on a team and just so happens to injure you during practice, would you believe it was on purpose?

Word around campus is . . . it was no accident.

That injury has cost me everything; my starting position, my junior year—and the draft. Now, I’m a senior fresh off recovery, struggling to find my groove, until the day I run into a nervous, fidgety, girl with freckles, in the dining hall.

They call Milly Potter The Baseball Whisperer, The Diamond Wizard, and The Epitome of All Knowledge. She believes in baseball. She breathes it. She’s the queen of an infamous dynasty, but no one actually knows who she really is, and she plans to keep it that way.

One mishap in the panini line, one miscommunication in the weight room, and many failed attempts at an apology equal up to one solid truth — Milly Potter never wants to speak to me again — no matter how good my forearms look.

Little do we both know, she’s about to become more than just my fairy ballmother.


If you’re looking for a new adult romance that’s low on agnst, step right up to The Dugout. The Dugout is a college baseball romance. Carson Stone is a second baseman who is trying to claw his way from injury to drafted in his senior year of college. Milly Potter is a baseball fan. She’s not a groupie, but a woman who knows everything there is to know about the sport. When Carson needs help with his swing, Milly steps in and the rest…Well, you just have to read it for yourself. It’s so stinking funny and cute.

My favorite thing about The Dugout was Milly. She was this adorable tomboy-ish young woman. Baseball was her thing and she didn’t let anyone’s opinions about that sway her. Milly worked hard towards her goals. She was also hilariously awkward. Certain people made her nervous and it was so funny to watch her struggle for composure. There was this time with a cookie that had me roaring with laughter. I simply adored Milly. She made the book.

Carson wasn’t all that bad either. I really liked how he saw beneath Milly’s awkwardness and layers of clothes. The way he pursued Milly was so sweet. I couldn’t do anything but like him after that.

Carson and Milly’s romance was smooth sailing for the most part. Actually, it wasn’t really smooth sailing for them — things were awkward (see Milly above) and unclear for them, but smooth reading for me. Their relationship was so much fun to read. Yes, there was some drama. This is a romance novel after all, but it was low on the angst. That made it feel light even when things were getting stressful.

The only thing I would have liked to see more of was the end of the story. Everything wrapped up so quickly. I wanted more time with Carson and Milly. Maybe that’s just selfish of me, but I loved them so much. I needed more of what their HEA looked like because I absolutely loved their road to love.

Bravo, Ms. Quinn. Bravo. I hope there is more to come in this baseball world. I would love a book about each Potter brother, please.

Review: Jock Road (Sara Ney)

Jock Road
Series: Jock Hard, #3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: September 5, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

EAT. SLEEP. FOOTBALL.

Those are Jackson Jennings, Jr’s three mantras . His entire life, he’s been a trained athlete with only one end-game: the Pro’s. No girls. No parties. No alcohol.

EAT. SLEEP. FOOTBALL.

Repeat.

Every Friday night, Triple J cruises the strip on campus, bored, lonely and conditioned not to party. But the night he meets Charlotte Edmonds on the side of the road, he wonders if his three mantras will ever be enough.

BIG. DUMB. JOCK.

Charlie has no time for Jackson’s antics. Not when he’s stealing her food or teases her to no end, making her tingle in all the right places. But if she’s ever going to have a boyfriend, she’d choose one who isn’t a Neanderthal. One with manners and actual time to spend with her. Not a hulking man-child who cruises the strip at night, in his Big. Dumb. Truck.


Cute. There isn’t a word to better describe Jock Road. It’s a cute college romance between a big, dumb jock and a girl who wants nothing to do with him. Or at least that’s how it starts out. Jackson (or Triple J as he’s sometimes called) isn’t all that dumb. He’s actually sweet and has Southern charm to boot. Charlotte (or Charlie as her friends call her) just thinks Jackson’s an oaf until she gets to know him. Jock Road is really all about Jackson and Charlotte getting to know each other, dealing with their preconceived notions and pasts, and falling in love.

I loved Charlotte and Jackson. They had some great almost enemy type banter going on at first. Then things started to get cute with some fun text messages. In the end, there was a very sweet and slightly deep love story. The progression of their relationship felt normal and not at all instant. I loved that about it.

I really love what Sara Ney has done with this Jock Hard series. Every book, including this one, is super cute and funny. There’s little drama and no angst. The entire series is pure fun. I loved this addition to the series.

Available HERE:Amazon
Free in KU

Meet the Author:
 
Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives in the Midwest, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British. 
 
For a list of cities/venues Sara will be signing at, or to purchase signed books, please visit her website at www.authorsaraney.com
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Review: I Hate You (Ilsa Madden-Mills)

I HATE YOU BLOG TOUR BANNER.jpg

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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About Ilsa Madden-Mills

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

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Review: The Bromance Book Club (Lyssa Kay Adams)

The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


Okay, guys. Get ready for me to gush about The Bromance Book Club! There wasn’t a thing I didn’t love about it, so this one is going to be a fun review to write / read. I don’t even think I can fit in everything I loved about it without giving you a play by play, so I’m going to try to break it down a bit. Here we go!

The writing: I am not one for third person narration, but it worked for me in this book. The transitions between points of view were smooth and there was all the emotion I normally only get from first person.

The characters: I really loved Gavin’s character. He wasn’t perfect. He had some hard truths to face in this book, but I loved how he was willing to do anything and everything to save his relationship with Thea. Thea was a little harder to love only because I wanted her to give into Gavin so much earlier. The reasons she didn’t were important, though, and I liked how she also had some things to learn. The character development was great.

The story: I liked how real and raw the story felt. Gavin and Thea were married, had small children, and some of the possible issues that come with that. Gavin finding out that Thea had been faking it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but there was so much more to what was going on in their marriage. They had bigger issues to deal with.

Both Gavin and Thea needed to not only work on their marriage, but themselves as well. Thea needed to take a deeper look at herself. I could relate to some of Thea’s thoughts and feelings. It’s very easy to “lose yourself” when devoting all your time and energy to your children. I can see how it would be even more overwhelming when your partner travels most of the time for work. Gavin needed to listen to Thea and think about why he reacted to things the way he did. It was all so true to what happens in many marriages. I loved that.

Their family: Thea and Gavin’s twin daughters were adorable! I love how they worked into what Gavin and Thea were going through. Thea’s sister, Liv, also played an important part of this story. Her character was spot on. She resembled the friend or sister everyone has one of when going through a breakup. I also really liked Gavin’s dad.

The Bromance Book Club: “But wait!” you say, “What about the book club?” The Bromance Book Club was such a clever thing to have in this story! I loved how Gavin was initiated and how these guys helped him out. It was funny and cool to read about these super successful men reading romance novels to understand their wives.

Overall: This book deserves all the hype it’s getting. The Bromance Book Club was a delight to read. I basically read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It was both adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. I loved every moment I spent with it. I am really hoping this book is the start to a series because I would love to read more set in this world. I found a new book to add to my favorites of 2019.

Review: Heartache and Hope (Jay McLean)

Heartache and Hope
Series: Heartache Duet, #1
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: June 28, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


From the blurb, it sounds like Heartache and Hope is an enemies to lovers (for a lack of better word for a YA book). The line “Maybe first impressions don’t always last…” is accurate and this story quickly shifted away from that trope. Heartache and Hope was really about two high school students who have heavy burdens to carry. Ava and Connor should both be avoiding distractions, but they can’t get past their attraction for each other. Their relationship can’t be what a normal high school relationship should be, so there’s some heartache and some hope.

Since this is a duet, I don’t want to say too much about the plot. What I will tell you is that Jay McLean is back in a big way. She’s given us an emotionally charged romance filled with angst. There are so many ups and downs my head was spinning. I have to admit the angst was hard for me at times — but that’s because of some stuff I have going on in the background, not the book.

Ava and Connor… Man, their lives were tough. They each had something big they were dealing with and I was actually pretty amazed at how they handled things. I don’t know that I always agreed with their decisions, but I understood them. They were a very sweet couple.

As for the rest of the gang, there were characters I loved and characters I loved to hate. Trevor, Rhys, and Corey were my faves. Peter needs to go. I don’t like him and his being involved in the story makes me nervous.

Heartache and Hope ends in a cliffhanger. It wasn’t one that completely shocked me, but it did make me wish I already had the second book to read. I’m very curious to find out where things are going to go for Ava and Connor. I’m not just talking their romance. I am curious how life is going to evolve for them separately as well.

Review: Superfan (Sarina Bowen)

Superfan
Series: Brooklyn Brusiers, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.


Reading a Brooklyn Bruisers book by Sarina Bowen is like meeting up for a coffee date with an old friend. There’s this comfort to them both, but also excitement and fun. The setting and characters aren’t entirely new, but their story is. Reading Superfan made me so happy!

I loved Superfan from the very beginning. (If I’m being honest, I knew I was going to love it from all of the Silas and Delilah hints dropped in the previous books in the series.) I loved how it started with fame, television, hockey, and Twitter. It was just so much fun! I also enjoyed how it took me back to Silas and Delilah’s first meeting and the kiss that started it all. The set up for Silas and Delilah’s story was perfect.

Despite having the feeling I was going to love Superfan, I was a little nervous about Delilah’s rock star status. Rock star romances can be hit or miss. Superfan was definitely a hit. Being a rock star didn’t consume Delilah. Even though she was a hit singer, she was very down to Earth. What she did for a living didn’t have a too much of an impact on her personality when it came to her interactions with people. That made her character all that more likable. Delilah was super sweet. I loved her.

Silas was cute. His obsession with Delilah’s music is even more adorable now that I know all the reasons behind it. He was also a nice guy who truly cared about people’s well being. He showed that over and over again when it came to Delilah. I loved that he wasn’t a macho, cocky guy despite being a professional athlete. There really wasn’t anything not like about Silas.

In some ways, Silas and Delilah’s relationship felt like a slow burn romance because of the bits of the past included. In reality it was more of an instant love. They had this instant chemistry and connection. Some of their first interactions in the present almost seemed too fast and out of character for them. The more time I got to see them together, the more I understood that their feelings for each other may have been instant but they were lasting. Silas and Delilah truly did take time to get to know and trust each other, too. So, yeah. Their connection was instant, but their love was almost slow burn.

One of the pleasures of reading a series with this many books is the little snippets of old character friends one gets to see again. I adored getting to see Castro and Heidi again. Georgia and Leo, too. They all helped Silas in some fun ways. Oh! I can’t leave out Nate and Becca. Those two were made me smile so much!

There were also some new friends I found myself loving. First of all, Becky. Can Becky or Sarah get a book? Please, Sarina? I think your next Bruiser needs to fall for one of those girls. I also really liked Charla the manager. She was a force.

Superfan was just so much fun to read. I loved being back with this family of characters. Silas and Delilah added another couple to my favorites list with their story. It was just so dang sweet! I know there’s already several Brooklyn Bruisers books, but it’s a series I don’t think I will ever get tired of. I hope there are more books to come. Cough Bayer Cough

Review: Teardrop Shot (Tijan)

Teardrop Shot
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: June 24, 2019
Publisher: Tijan
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I asked for his criteria for bed buddies-that’s the PG version.

He swore at me and said he didn’t do groupies. And just like that, our friendship was off to a great start.

Reese Forster was the starting point guard for the Seattle Thunder.

Gorgeous. Cocky. Loved by the nation.

He’s also attending preseason basketball training camp where I used to work.

Correction: where I work again, because I was fired from my last job.

And dumped.

And I might have a tiny bit of baggage, but that’s normal. Right?

Reese and I shouldn’t have become friends. We shouldn’t have become roommates.

And we really shouldn’t have started sleeping together … (Except we did.)

I’m adorably psychotic. He’s in the NBA.
This is not a disaster waiting to happen, at all.


I feel like Tijan heard my prayers and answered with Teardrop Shot. I have been rereading and revisiting her published books over and over again this spring. I love the affect her writing has on my emotions, and I have been really into that lately. Teardrop Shot gave me a new book of Tijan’s to fall in love with.

What made me love Teardrop Shot? Pretty much everything about it. It had that Tijan infused emotion I was begging for. What impressed me was that the heavy emotions didn’t take over and make this book depressing. There was a lightness and fun to it despite what the characters were feeling. It was uplifting rather than depressing.

When I first met Charlie’s character I was a little worried I wasn’t going to like her. She was odd. Charlie grew on me quickly, though. She had this question thing going on that I adored. It kind of made the book. Her truths truly surprised me and shaped this story in an unexpected way that I loved. I have to admit I shed a few tears over what went down with Damien.

Reese… You’re going to love him. That’s probably all I need to say about him.

Another major player in Teardrop Shot were the settings. I loved the camp setting. It made for such a great introduction between Charlie and Reese. Plus, it enabled me to get to know both Charlie and Reese’s friends at the same time. Those friendships were so special and fun. The only bad thing about camp was Charlie’s boss. I hated that guy!

Teardrop Shot also took us to Seattle. Being from Western Washington, it was fun to see Seattle get a basketball team. We (the people of Seattle) are still not happy with the Sonics’ move to Oklahoma. Which leads to me to my biggest beef with this book — Tijan, how could you make the team name the Seattle Thunder?!?! That was just wrong! It’s either got to be the Sonics or a made up team.

I guess I can forgive that Seattle Thunder thing, though, because I loved every minute I spent with Teardrop Shot. It’s a must read if you like sports romance.

Giveaways:

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Review: In It to Win It (Kelly Jamieson)

In It to Win It
Series: Wynn Hockey, #2
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

JP Wynn: I admit, I’ve made some bad choices—on and off the ice.
Now all I want to do is show my team I can control my emotions while I’m playing and redeem myself with my family, especially with my brother, Théo.
I hate that I hurt him and I’m determined to stay out of trouble.
But the hot bridesmaid at Théo’s wedding is tempting me into another bad decision.
A little flirting and a hook up with Taylor seem harmless . . . until Manny Martinez jumps me on the dance floor and starts beating the crap out of me.
And just like that I add one more bad decision to my résumé.

Taylor Hart: I always thought hockey players were hot. Now I think they’re crazy.
Manny broke my heart when he got traded to another team and left without even a goodbye.
Then he showed up at my best friend’s wedding. All I wanted to do was show Manny that I was over him.
And the groom’s sexy brother, JP, seemed more than willing to be my distraction.
But after the way everything went down, I want nothing to do with any of them.
Easier said than done. Especially when Lacey’s new brother-in-law is always around. . . .
And I keep thinking about the wedding night, when we snuck away to his room for the best sex of my life.


When I read the first book in the Wynn Hockey series, there were two things I wasn’t impressed with: JP Wynn and the big Wynn family tree I had to learn. I’m happy to say both of those issues were resolved in In It to Win It.

In It to Win It is JP’s book. JP wasn’t the jerk I wasn’t expecting him to be after getting to know him in book 1 as the guy who stole his brother’s girl. He was just a guy who made some poor decisions. I loved how this book had him examining his actions and trying to do better. I loved how he actively worked on making his relationship with his brother better. I also liked his choice in women.

Taylor as JP’s love interest was a surprise to me. Last I knew she was into Manny. I had been pulling for her and Manny, so I wasn’t sure I would buy into a relationship between her and JP. She was just too nice. Once I started this book, I totally got her reasons for hooking up with JP. Taylor and her motives were so easy to relate to. I also found myself a fan of their chemistry and relationship. I loved how it grew — even when it was filled with so much up and down drama that sometimes I felt like I was getting whiplash.

As for the crazy Wynn family tree, now that I knew what was going on with them, it took less explaining and time away from the story. I loved seeing bits and pieces of the family. They became more endearing. I can’t wait to see how some of those relationships work out and the single family members find love.

Overall, In It to Win It was another fun contemporary hockey romance by Kelly Jamieson. I would recommend it to sports romance lovers.

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.