Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting


When Sparks Fly 
(A standalone)

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Friends-to-Lovers/Close Proximity/Contemporary Romance

Author: Helena Hunting

Review Rating: 4.5 Gold Stars4.5 stars



When Sparks Fly is Hunting’s contemporary side mixed with her light humor. This had more of a realistic twist infused with Hunting’s fantastic romantic flare and dusted with her wit and charm.

This book takes two emotionally damaged people, given real life drama and solutions and then they still have to figure out if they are better off together or apart at the end.

Declan and Avery have been best friends since college and have been living together has roommates for the past couple years since graduation. They have been through a lot together, but have never dated or even crossed a line into indecent waters. They both have been able to put each other in a friendship box with absolutely zero trouble, but when Avery gets seriously injured and needs help with basic needs, some shall we say, lines have to be crossed just so Avery can use the bathroom or take a shower. The proverbial box is opened and it’s hard to close once things have been released.

Declan is there for Avery- 24/7 . As her caregiver, he will do or give Avery whatever she needs, literally anything to make sure she heals properly. He can’t even imagine what he would have done had she not survived her accident so he truly becomes a hovering, over protective stalker. While he knows it’s not healthy, he also can’t stop and while Avery isn’t in a place to help herself he’s fine, but when she begins to heal…Declan slowly unravels, but remember that opened box…yeah it’s trouble for both of them.

These two may have known each other for years, but when their relationship begins to change neither are prepared for the emotional pileup that is coming for them. Deck is a normal self-saboteur and Avery never lets anyone in emotionally. While these two think their friendship basis is strong enough to handle everything, hopefully it will be enough to withstand their heartbreaks.

This book is different than a lot of Helena’s other works, but it is still crafted with her great writing and fun wit. It’s a 4.5 overall only because Deck was a bit of a hard sell for me personally. I normally love Helena’s hero’s, even her jerky ones which I seem to love more (like Shippy), but again this was just my personal opinion on Declan.


Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.

But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – Bastard Bartender by Jeannine Colette and Lauren Runow


Bastard Bartender; Falling For The Stars – Gemini 
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: May 23, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Friends to Lovers/Contemporary Romance

Authors: Lauren Runow and Jeannine Colette

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars



A fun and flirty, with a rush of adrenaline, contemporary romance.

Another great addition to the astrological stars series by these two great writers. Each one has been extremely different and this setting in Sin City with a alphabet dating theme was a really fun twist. Evette and Nic both live in Las Vegas and know how hard it is to actually meet someone, not that Nic is actually looking, but he does sympathize with Evette when she comes to the bar he works at on the night she is searching for her “P”.

You see most people in Las Vegas are there for vacation or a weekend/business trip, so finding someone to really connect with for the long haul is tricky. Evette doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to men ,so with the help of her best friend, they came up with dating rules which include dating men according to the letters of the alphabet. Evette was all the way down to the letter P when she meets Nic, already past the letter N, because Nic is a fun guy, but being the helpful bartender he is, he also joins in on her adventure and becomes her extra wingman thus beginning their friendship.

Even though Evette is attracted to Nic and multiple times wishes she hadn’t already met an “N” man, Nic is also the kind of man she is trying to avoid.  Nic is fun, flirty, loves adventure, isn’t clingy, obviously has a job, loves his family…however, aside from not falling into the correct letter of the alphabet when she needs it…he’s also a huge commitmentphobe. He believes in living life to the extreme and that means no relationships and unfortunately that is why Evette is searching through the alphabet. She’s tired of being alone, so she refuses to give up on her quest.

No matter how much fun these two have as friends and circle each other, is there any real hope of a future when they both want different things?

I love to read each month and see what these two authors have cooked up as this series continues. Each one is a complete standalone and the only recurring theme are the traits around the astrological sign. They are all so different and I love it!


Meeting a man in Vegas is easy. Finding one to settle down with? Not so much.

When I relocated to Sin City for my job, I decided this was my fresh start to get away from old habits, including my penchant for dating the wrong type of guy. Namely, bad boys.

So, I came up with an experiment to make me expand my dating horizons. I can only talk to men whose name begins with a certain letter of the alphabet. After I meet them, we hang out, and we might date for a short period of time, but if he’s not the one I move on to the next letter. It’s easy, and it leads me to meeting all kinds of new men until one night at the bar, a very sexy bartender discovers my little plan.

The cocky bastard of a bartender is Nicolás Antonio Santiago, and he’s as gorgeous as his name.

Enthusiastic, charming, and clever, Nic takes to my love life with interest and helps me with my pursuits. We become fast friends, and he whisks me on his wild adventures. His impulsive ways become addictive, and while I’ve been trying to stay away from bad boys, I find myself falling for one.

As our relationship grows intense, I have to push my desires aside and stay the course. Nic doesn’t do love or relationships. Even if the sexual tension between us is palpable, I have an experiment to finish, and the next letter in my list is far from N.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. My fear is when I leave, my heart will stay here too.

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Blog Tour - 2021, Contemporary Romance, Year in Releases - 2021, Year of Reviews - 2021

Blog Tour – Matchmaker by Ivy Smoak

Today we are celebrating the release of EMPIRE HIGH MATCHMAKER by Ivy Smoak! This is a contemporary romance, standalone title that is available now in Kindle Unlimited. Join Ivy’s Group for access to bonus content from the book.

Read it Here (Kindle Unlimited)

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Empire High Matchmaker by Ivy Smoak

A Contemporary Romance | Available now in Kindle Unlimited

Add it to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Matthew Caldwell is NYC’s most eligible bachelor.

Great with kids.

Sixteen years ago he lost everything. He made a vow to never love again. But suddenly everyone in his life is acting like a matchmaker. He can’t help but wonder if a broken vow is better than a broken heart.

There’s just one problem. Only one woman in the city has caught his attention. And it’s the only woman he can’t have.

Read it Here (Kindle Unlimited)

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★★★★★ “My favorite book this year!!”
★★★★★ “Gahh! My heart. I adored this book.”
★★★★★ “Oh my, plot twist! I did NOT see that one coming!”
★★★★★ “It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to put down.”
★★★★★ “Buckle in for this emotional roller coaster!”

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Read Kay’s Review: Matchmaker



Ivy Smoak is the international bestselling author of The Hunted series.

When she’s not writing, you can find her binge watching too many TV shows, taking long walks, playing outside, and generally refusing to act like an adult.

She lives with her husband in Delaware.


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