Review
Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQA+, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Studious by Leslie McAdam

Studious; IOU #2
(Standalone within a series)

Publication Date: October 7, 2022

Genre/Tropes: MM Romance/Opposites Attract

Author: Leslie McAdam

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
My heart overflowed with joy as I turned each page and my smile only grew bigger as Alden and Danny grew closer to finding their HEA together.

Leslie has a way of crafting words that go beyond classifications and break through stereotypes. She’s built a world of inclusion where anyone feels loved and accepted and it truly made my soul sing.

Alden Meyer reminded me so much of myself. Awkward and socially inept. He’s so sweetly adorkable I wanted to wrap him up in a hug only because I saw so much of myself in him. Alden doesn’t people and in social situations he tends to panic which only makes his humaning worse. I adored him so much, but also emphasized with his social shyness. It’s an awful feeling when you have soooooo many feelings, but they tend to burst out at the wrong times or stay bottled up behind the lump in your throat. Oh, sweet Alden. He deserved all the best in the world and that’s exactly what Danny saw in him, which made their unique situation so much harder as they grew closer.

Danny Villasenor, was a known player, but he lived that life for a reason. His backstory is heartbreaking and I’ll leave for you to read, but this kind, caring, and sweet man is so easy to like. His in between player years are so easily forgotten, that Danny won me over in a heartbeat and I fell like a ton of bricks.

Since Alden has been so awkward, up to this point in his life, he’s had zero experience in the dating or relationship field. When he meets Danny, and hears about his past, he asks him to help him be confident, break out of his shy shell, basically be a player, but the more time they spend together, the more time they just want to spend together and not spend with other people. It’s not what they initially agreed upon, but could it be what they both want in the end?

Enter the small angst…which was brief. Their story was beautiful and perfect and I basked in their glow.

This book is all about finding YOUR person. While they both had a transformation of sorts, finding the person who loves you for you is what finding your other half is all about. They make you better, they make you want to be better and being that best version of yourself is what other people see when they see a person happy in love.

Synopsis:
After a disastrous high school game of spin the bottle, I gave up trying to get a boyfriend and spent my time studying instead. Now I’m twenty-four, and I’m not only a virgin, I haven’t even been kissed.

When I meet Danny, a handsome legal hotshot, he catches my eye. Right before I trip on flat ground.

Ugh.

He’s got a massive … reputation. He’s the most popular guy in the club, a total playboy with a new conquest every night. There’s no way he’d be interested in me.

But one night after I imbibe too much, he winds up taking care of me. And when I ask for his help with my travesty of a social life, he agrees to teach me how to be less awkward with men … if I let him document my progress so he can win a bet with his best friend.

Even though he’s just my love tutor and I’m just his apprentice, this starts to feel like more.

Too bad it can’t be anything but a high-level seminar in how to seduce someone else.

Studious is a sweet and sexy contemporary opposites-attract m/m romance about a suave attorney who’s scared to love and the shy, nerdy bookkeeper he’s teaching how to be a player. Cue makeover montage and a smoldering first kiss. These heroes most definitely are not falling in love. (Okay, heartwarming HEA guaranteed.)

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Review
Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – For Your Eyes Only by Tia Louise

For Your Eyes Only; Blurred Lines
(An interconnected standalone)

Publication Date: October 13, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Boss-Employee/Forbidden/Suspense Romance

Author: Tia Louise

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I love a book that empowers one’s self identity to grow and Gia embodies that journey from beginning to end. Between the gorgeous symbolism with all of the butterflies and Gia’s personal story of spreading her wings, this story is not only steamy hot, but it’s beautiful as well.

I don’t know why it took me several chapters to realize that Trip was a secondary character from the past few books of Tia’s, but probably because this book stands completely his own. While Hana and Blake do pop up as timelines cross, I really enjoyed getting to know Trip as his own man.

Trip is a wealthy man. He owns multiple businesses, one happens to be a gentlemen’s club, but ironically he isn’t all that into strippers. His mind tends to wander as to what hardship might have brought them to the point of stripping, or if they have a hard life, etc…instead of enjoying the entertainment. That is until Glitter Girl takes the stage and suddenly he can’t take his eyes off of her.

Coming to America is nothing like Gia expected. Her dream job went belly up, she’s about to be homeless, and her fiancé is no longer her fiancé, but still her best friend since he is also looking for his own Prince Charming. When she feels like she’s run out of options she’s given a chance to dance, but it requires taking off her clothes, she’s hesitant, but it’s beats living on the street, so Glitter Girl is born.

Could Trip be her new Prince Charming or like all of her other American dreams will it go belly up? Can she trust her instincts and spread her wings or will Trip only be interested in her mystery and allure?

I loved their dynamic between her seductive innocence that was also super sweet – yes it totally makes sense – and his dirty beast side mixed with a big heart.

Synopsis:
Can you love what you can’t touch?

No touching.
It’s the only rule in this business, and trust me, with my money and power, “hands off” is not a problem.
I don’t need the women I employ to satisfy my needs…
Until her.
She’s different than the other girls, innocent, intoxicating, impossibly seductive.
I can’t take my eyes off her, and it’s not long before hot looks turn to hotter touches.
I’m the boss, after all, I call the shots.
And nothing’s more fun than breaking the rules.

I came to this country to pursue my dream… but it was a lie, a scam that quickly fell apart.
Desperate, I took the only job I could with no work visa.
They promised no one would know.
They promised no touching.
Until I saw him.
Dark scruff shading an arrogant grin, lean muscles stretching expensive fabric, eyes like twilight sending electricity from my stomach to my toes.
He’s my boss, but the way he watches makes me do dirty things.
For his eyes only, I’m uninhibited, experienced, a seductress.
Only, our game turns dangerous when a watcher threatens everything, and my hands-on hero vows to save me.

(FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is a stand-alone, extra-spicy romantic suspense with forbidden touches, organized crime, and a virgin heroine. No cheating. No cliffhanger.)

WIDE READERS–Please Pre-Order now!
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*Will release live to Kindle Unlimited and be AMAZON EXCLUSIVE upon release. Wide readers, please pre-order now!

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Book Reviews, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Of Truths and Bonds by Zavi

Of Truths and Bonds; Elysian Gods #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Fantasy/Mythology/Fated Mates Romance

Author: Zavi James

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
There were parts of this book I enjoyed, but other parts I struggled with.

Normally I love stepping into fantasy worlds, learning new creatures and what powers they have, but for some reason I struggled with the layers and the constant barrage of different characters I was introduced to.

Granted, I will take some of the blame, I jumped into book two, without having read the first book, but I tend to catch on to most things I read and this particular book I…just…didn’t.

So, let me focus on the parts I did enjoy…I loved the chemistry between Gray and Quen. When they were on and truly focused on each other, it was hot and blazing. The love they shared was intense and fated mates are truly magical. So…YES, give me more of that, I was all in.

I also loved the fluidity of the Gods and Goddesses when it came to love. As far as most mythology goes, when it comes to who they play with they tend to be gender neutral when it comes to their sexualtiy and I’m glad that Zavi kept with that theme. Especially with today’s relationships and hopefully everyone opening a bit more to the concept of fluidity I certainly appreciated it.

Like most mythology, there is a lot of politics, especially with Quentin’s life on the line, but we all know Gods love to play with fate and especially in human or even half-breed lives. Quen is no exception, as she has to prove why she should be allowed to live, even when she’s mated to the God of Chaos.

So, like I said, there was a lot to like and most of what I personally struggled with, were truly my own issues. So if you enjoy mythology and fated mates, start with book one and enjoy Gray and Quen.

Synopsis:
“You’re a scientist, Quentin. One microlitre. One milligram. One decimal point. The smallest fraction can change the course of your work and endanger lives, no?”

Grayson thought he could break his host – the non-believer with an iron will – until he discovered they were soulbound. By saving her life, he’s hung a death sentence over her head. All the careful plans he laid out must be pushed aside in order to convince the council that her existence is valuable. But the God of Chaos isn’t known for his congeniality.

Quentin never trusted the Gods, and they have proven her right. Half of them lied to her about what she truly was, and the other half want her dead because of it. Time is running out before the council reconvene, and she has a lot to learn. For once, the books won’t help her, and she must rely on the Gods more than ever.

As Quentin learns to control her powers and accept her heritage, a series of truths come to light and leave her questioning everyone around her. Elysian politics are far more complicated than she imagined, and she’s landed in the centre of it all. There are no safe bets in the heavens. Everyone looks out for themselves.

The Gods aren’t what they seem, but they know how to put on a show. Can you survive?

*This book contains sexually explicit scenes, mature language, discussion of deceased parents and sexual assault. Not intended for readers below 18. Reader discretion is advised.*

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – The Wren by Penelope Black

The Wren; #1 of the Wren and Wild duet
(#1 within a duet)

Publication Date: September 28, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Book Duet/Dark/Arranged Marriage/Reverse Harem/Mafia Romance

Author: Penelope Black

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Gripping storyline with strong female leads. While this is The Wren’s story, we get to meet all the King women and let me tell you, they are amazing!!

Maeve King is the oldest of her five sisters and at an early age takes over the role of protecting and watching over her younger siblings. When Maeve learns she is set up for an arranged marriage, only to further gain her father’s control in the Syndicate, Maeve takes things into her own hands. Because even though the thought of marrying someone she’s never met enrages her, she refuses to let one of her sisters take her place.

Nico, Tommy and Romeo never see her coming and they each, individually meet Maeve all through separate occasions. I love, love, love how everything in this book plays out and how Maeve, The Wren, individually meets each of her love interests, but never really gives them much of a second thought. This is not your typical RH, at least not yet it seems. I’m not going to say too much about anything else, but I do love her individual interactions between each brother.

I can hardly wait for the next part of this duet because everything in this first half has been absolutely great and unexpected.

Synopsis:

As the firstborn King, I should be the heir to the Irish Syndicate.

Instead, my father wants to marry me off to the highest bidder to fund a war I don’t believe in.

My carefully controlled life starts to unravel, spiraling out of control faster than I can stop it.

And then I meet them, and I can breathe again.

Tall with perpetual smirks and covered in tattoos, they remind me what it feels like to live.

Remind me that I don’t need someone to save me.

I’m a King. I can save myself.

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Review
Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Vicious Lies by Rachel Leigh

Book Cover

Vicious Lies; Bastards of Boulder Cove #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 30, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Antihero/Dark/Reverse Harem/Secret Society/Bully Romance

Author: Rachel Leigh

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Things are heating up and getting more twisted as the plot thickens. It’s delicious and suspenseful and you won’t be able to put it down.

While there have always been intense feelings between Jagger, Crew, Scar and Neo, whether it was anger, hate or something else now that Crew and Scar have become an official couple Jagger is wondering if he should have made his feelings known sooner.

Vicious Lies dives deeper into the past relationship between Jagger and Scar as well as how he could potentially fit with Crew and her now. He isn’t there to mess up what they have, but he also isn’t willing to walk away from what he feels for her, what he’s always felt for her.

I love Jagger and how he handles his friendships along with his feelings for Scar. She too doesn’t back down with the intense emotions she’s feeling for both guys and stirring deep inside, and I mean deep down inside is something else for the third guy in residence, Neo. Mostly it’s hate, but you know right there next to hate…well, we’ll just have to see.

For Scar, there is a really nice balance between a sweet and loving Crew, a spicy and protective Jagger and I can just picture a total Dom of an alphahole in Neo, but I’m totally here and ready to find out.

Plus…the mystery of who is stalking Scar and wanting to bring everyone down, I can’t wait to find out how it all ends.

Synopsis:

At Boulder Cove Academy, three things are certain:

The Lawless Rule.
The games are dangerous.
Nothing is as it seems.

I came here expecting to face my bullies with an iron fist.

I played their games and won.

Now that I’ve earned my place, at the academy and in their home, I should have nothing to fear.

But with every past there is a shadow and mine is drawing closer with each step I take.

I thought The Lawless were the ones I should fear, but someone far more vicious is watching.

The games should be over, but it seems they’ve only just begun.

The Bastards of Boulder Cove series must be read in order:
Book Cover Book Cover

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Heart of Stone by K.K. Allen

Heart of Stone; Camp Bexley #3
(#3 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Contemporary Romance

Author: K.K. Allen

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Grab the tissues and also prepare to smack Benson Bexley around a little bit because Heart of Stone is quite the emotional roller coaster ride, but an amazing ride it was!

When this book first started I did not like Benny Bexley very much. He was a bit skeevy and totally conceited, but I also knew beneath all of that bravado he was hurting. While all of the Bexley brothers went through a great tragedy years ago, Benson lost even more, as he lost his twin brother. Carrying this grief around for the past decade, having it weigh down on his shoulders only made him harden his heart to those around him, living life on the surface and never digging deep, but as the story went along and Benson dug into those long buried emotions….wow, he is one really great guy, with a really dirty mouth. I totally fell in love.

Brooklyn Kennedy had a major crush on Benson back in high school and he had no idea she really existed, at least not the real Brooklyn. It was unstandable considering those were the darkest days of his life, but she didn’t really understand back then. Fast forward to the present and Benson is back in town, a place he never thought he’d return to, but to pass the time he signs up for an art class, one that Brooklyn is teaching. All I’ll say is Brooklyn isn’t exactly happy to see the man who doesn’t remember her one bit.

I adored Brooklyn and her smart, feisty spirit. She also has the perfect softness to loosen up Benson’s hardness. He’s been going at the same speed for so long, it isn’t until he is challenged by Brooklyn that he actually slows down and softens up. Those moments require tissues, on the flip side there are also lots of moments where Benson’s sweetly, dirty mouth comes out to play and you might need a fan to cool down instead.

Heart of Stone and Benson Bexley have become my favorite Bexley book, but I do have a feeling that the youngest brother, Cayson, has a strong shot of over taking all of his older brothers.

Synopsis:
Benson Bexley always had a heart of stone.
Apparently nothing changes.

When he returns home after a decade gone, I recognize him right away.
How could I forget him?
He’s the same cocky flirt who slid dirty poetry to me in art class.
With the same stone-cold stare that shielded his soul from the world.
And that same sharp-edged jaw that cut straight through my heart like a dagger.

Fortunately, this time I see right through his arrogant charm.
Even better, he doesn’t remember who I am.
And I have no intention of reminding him.
After all, it’s only a matter of time until his nomadic life takes him away again.
When his poetic charm strikes again, I play along.
But maybe it’s time he got a taste of his own medicine.

Revenge
It’s not in my nature.
But Benson Bexley deserves nothing less.
It’s time for that heart of stone to shatter.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Dirty Crazy Bad by Siobhan Davis

Dirty Crazy Bad; Dirty Crazy Bad #1
(#1 within a duet)

Publication Date: September 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Reverse Harem/Secret Society Romance

Author: Siobhan Davis

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Steamy, steamy, oh so steamy, and all the dark and dirty, twisted up plottiness in this amazing new secret society series.

Siobhan has blown my mind with this new Luminary world. Plus, she didn’t just create a dark and depraved world, but it’s interconnected, in these little ways, to several of my other favorite worlds she’s created that made my heart burst with joy every time they were mentioned.

Ashley is the center of three men’s world, but those three men do not all get along and they all have their own secrets. The secrets throughout the book not only tear relationships apart, but they also bring others together. It’s great and tore me apart all at once!!

While this is a why choose book, it’s not quite cut and dry. What am I talking about? This isn’t a typical reverse harem where all of Ashley’s love interests have been friends for years or have grown up together. Her particular situation is very unique and I totally loved their dynamic which not only spiced up the tension, but also made for lots of a new plot twists. I switched on which guy I was rooting for, at which point in the story, multiple times. I LOVE when Siobhan does that to me.

This book is full of so much and yet it’s only the first part of the story. I’m dying over the cliffhanger and can’t wait to return to find out how it all ends!!

Synopsis:
A new dark college reverse harem romance from the USA Today & WSJ bestselling author of The Sainthood Series.

In the secret society of The Luminaries, no sin will go unpunished…

Sleeping with my boyfriend’s best friend, behind his girlfriend’s back, probably wasn’t my smartest idea.

But Jase is mine, and it’s about time Julia knew it.

Attending Lowell University was supposed to be a fresh start. A chance to end all the sneaking around and make our relationship official.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Julia is digging her claws into Jase.

My boyfriend, Chad, is getting in deeper with a local gang.

And my loathsome new stepbrother, Ares, has just moved in.

Ares despises Chad and Jase, and the feeling is mutual. As their rivalry escalates, Ares seems determined to use me as a pawn, and I’m trapped in the middle. It doesn’t help that he’s hot AF, knows exactly how to push my buttons, and my body hasn’t gotten the memo he’s off-limits.

I wish that were the least of my worries.

Pride. Wrath. Lust. Envy. Greed. Gluttony. Sloth.

My life turns upside down the moment the dark secret society of The Luminaries is revealed to me.

Everything I thought I knew was a lie.

Now, I have lost all control over my future, and a heart-breaking new reality emerges.

One where lovers become enemies, enemies become allies, and corrupting sinners to sin is my only way to survive.
***
This is a 138k-word full-length novel and book one of two. It cannot be read as a stand-alone, and it ends with a cliff-hanger. This book contains mature content including cursing and graphic scenes with some dub-con/non-con. This is a dark romance, and it may contain triggers for some readers.

Available to preorder now
US➡️ https://bit.ly/DCB1EBUS
UK➡️ https://bit.ly/DCB1EBUK
AU➡️ https://bit.ly/DCB1EBAU
CA➡️ https://bit.ly/DCB1EBCA
Universal➡️ https://mybook.to/DCBeBook

Preorder book 2 in the duet: https://mybook.to/DCB2eBook

Book Cover

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Book Reviews, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – A Stolen Suit by Angela Casella

A Stolen Suit; Fairy Godmother Agency #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy

Author: Angela Casella

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
It’s reading slapstick comedy!! The Fairy Godmother Agency strikes again and it’s hilarious!!

When Nicole and Damien decide to help out Grace Donnelly with her problem, her ex who is now living in her town and basically haunting her after six years, they take her case to…well….cause him some strife…that’s the best way to put it. It’s basically hilarious and best read to find out exactly everything that happens to Enoch, but is it really fair once you know his story? Sure, every ex needs just a little strife in their life.

Grace has been working as a PA for a romance author for the past six years, instead of doing, one…working in business, which is what her degree is in or two…being a published author herself. Call Enoch surprised when he rolls into town and talks to her again, but especially when she won’t talk to him. It’s been six years and he did sort of take her job, but she wanted to write books, so call him perplexed…really, really perplexed.

Enoch Laskin is in town working with Grace’s employer, helping her rebrand her image, but he also his his own reasons for taking the job and they might all revolve around his old flame. Poor Enoch and his all the karma coming his way….he’s sweet and extremely good natured, with a cremudgend father and adorable, can I still say adorable when they are sixteen, nephew living with him.

Actually all of the secondary characters are fantastic and bring the comedy to life. A Stolen Suit is fun, light, and just all around will bring a smile to your face. Pick up this second chance, laugh out loud romance for pure reading enjoyment.

Synopsis:
I hate him…but I also want to touch his abs. Is that normal?

Grace

My boss, the famous romance novelist, always said she’d open doors for me when I finished writing my first book. Only I have…and she hasn’t. Worse, I just met her new brand manager, and I know him.

Enoch “the Suit” Laskin made my life miserable in business school, right up until he seduced me. Then he took an internship with Parker Brand Management, working for my father, the other man I hate.

Enoch is a traitor. He’s a jerk. It’s torture to be around him.

Lucky for me, the Fairy Godmother Agency, a husband and wife P.I. team who help women in dire straits, have offered to make me their next client.

The Suit won’t know what hit him.

Enoch
I sold my soul to John Parker, and I still haven’t gotten it back.

Grace thinks I betrayed her. She’s not wrong, but she doesn’t know the full story.

Through a few twists of fate, I’ve become the caretaker of my grumpy father and teenage nephew. I’m determined to prove myself to Grace, and to them, but everything keeps going disastrously wrong.

If I were a more superstitious man, I’d think someone was out to get me.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Off Sides by Ella Kade

Book Cover

Off Sides; Willow Bay #4
(#4 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 26, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Second Chance/Forbidden/Sports Romance

Author: Ella Kade

Review Rating: 4.5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Light on drama, but not light on heavy topics. This is a second chance, forbidden romance that discusses mental health in a positive way.

Danica transfers to Willow Bay, where her brother attends school, in her senior year. It may not seem like the smartest move, especially when she’s been working her entire school career towards making the Olympics, but for her mental and physical health, it was the move she needed to make to save her life. She may be farther away from her dreams, but at least she’ll live another day to make some new ones. Her friends and family are now around her and support her every day to make sure she’s mentally and physically stronger to make it through her senior year, she just never expected to run into her ex-boyfriend at her new school. The last thing she knew about him, he was playing soccer in Spain…now he’s her asst. coach here. What is happening?

Declan never saw his life coaching girls soccer, especially when his own soccer career had barely started before he was majorly injured. Except, here he is…having moved back in with his sister, in Willow Bay, with one skill under his belt. When he didn’t think his life could get anymore out of control, Daniela walks onto the field. He basically thinks he’s dreaming. She’s supposed to be far away, living her best life and making her own dreams come true. Instead she’s thin, glaring at him, and on his soccer team. What is happening?

Both Daniela and Declan have had their lives flipped upside down by life and what I loved about this story is that they both had a strong family base to help them get back on their feet. That no matter what happened between them their mental health, along with their physical health, always came first. I appreciated a story that brought a strong foundation of how to keep this healthy first and a forbidden relationship between them second. Well done. A 4.5 read over all.

Synopsis:

Danica
I never thought I’d have to start over.

Let alone my senior year in college, but without my twin brother and my best friend, my life fell apart.

Now I was finally healthy and ready to meet my new team. That was until I saw who the assistant coach was. What was my ex, pro soccer playing boyfriend doing in Willow Springs? You know what? I didn’t care. He dropped me like yesterday’s garbage after he told me nothing would break us apart. Not even an ocean.

He was a liar.


Declan
When I took the job as assistant coach, I never thought I’d see Danica Francisco. I knew her brother lived here, but not her. Why wasn’t she three hours away?

I was finally getting my life back on track after what I thought was the worst time of my life. Except now, I was thinking taking this job was the worst decision I’d ever made with the exception to cut Danica out of my life.

Too bad she looks like she wanted to kill me and put my body through a wood chipper every time she looked at me.

How was I going to survive being so close to her and yet being so far away?

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – The Fling by Jennifer Bernard

The Fling; Lake Bittersweet #2
(#2 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Grumpy-Sunshine/Opposites Attract/Second Chance/Small Town Romance

Author: Jennifer Bernard

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Sweet, sweet, sweet with just a dash of bittersweet made The Fling a perfect reading romance.

The Fling is filled with super sweet moments, lots of giggle out loud times, reflective moments, steamy occasions, steamy times that also included laughing-which are my absolute favorite things to read or participate in…okay TMI…but seriously, when you meet the person you can laugh with in ALL occasions, that is truly your person.

The Fling included every possible element I love to read in a swoonworthy book and I couldn’t put it down for even one moment!! This book is a fated destiny, grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract kind of romance and I loved every page.

Conor Gault is a total workaholic and has worked hard to be the total opposite of his rockstar father who was a rebel in just about every aspect of his life. Conor spent the majority of his formative years with his socialite mother and she worked hard to keep him on the straight and narrow, but when Emmaline meets Conor in Hawaii, not while he’s on vacation mind you, his life is irreversibly changed when he spends the afternoon in her presence.

Now remember how I mentioned that Emmaline and Conor are destined…well what a small world that these two would meet in Hawaii when she’s from the small town of Lake Bittersweet and Conor is sort of from there as well, at least his famous father is.

It’s just a fling…that’s what they both agreed to…no identifiers, nothing that would give them away, just a lovely afternoon spent between two strangers. Fast forward six months and Conor is back in Lake Bittersweet settling his father’s affairs and who happens to appear like a beautiful Hawaiian dream?  The woman who hasn’t left his thoughts.

Conor and Emmaline are absolutely delightful together. This entire story, with their family and friends made my heart sing, especially how Jennifer wrote about Henry. My heart overflowed so many times when he was on the page.

The Fling is fun, but it’s also a great story of growth and change, like if you are a workaholic who might need to take a breath.

Synopsis:
It all started that summer in Lake Bittersweet…

Emmaline Curtis has never been outside the state of Minnesota before, so winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii is a dream. Back home, working the family farm and caring for her brother means precious little free time. So when she meets an intriguing hottie at the resort, she’s ready for anything. No last names. No personal details. Just two willing strangers enjoying each other in paradise; then Emmaline can go home with good memories and no chance of awkward future run-ins with Conor.

Conor Gault’s business trip turned sensual excursion is cut short by devastating news—his rock star father has unexpectedly passed. Suddenly he’s heading to a town he’s avoided for seventeen years. Lake Bittersweet, Minnesota. The place where one long-ago disastrous night changed the course of his life. The last person he expects to run into is Emmaline, the quirky knockout who’s been living rent-free in his head ever since Hawaii…and who just happens to be a local.

Before long, their sizzling attraction heats up again. Their worlds couldn’t be more different—he’s a wealthy financial whiz, she’s a farmgirl. But in a startling twist of fate, Conor and Emmaline discover their pasts are linked in ways they never imagined. Ways that may ensure their fiery affair will never be more than a temporary fling.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Silent Chaos by Nikki Ash

Silent Chaos; Love and Lyrics #2
(An interconnected standalone within a series)

Publication Date: September 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Hate to Lovers/New Adult/Second Chance/Rock and Roll Romance

Author: Nikki Ash

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Silent Chaos is a hard fought road to finally reach a place of forgiveness, trust, peace and love.

We begin the story six years ago and get a really good look inside at the beginning relationship of Braxton and Kaylee. How they fell in love and all those new beginning butterflies, first dates, and first moments that shaped their relationship. They had such a strong foundation, a lasting kind of love, I really did wonder if I was reading the wrong couple because I knew the end was coming and that everything was going to fall apart. I was holding my breath for that devastating moment because Nikki…darn it!! I hated to see it all shatter. The really high high made for the perfect rebuilding that this couple needed to fix.

Fast forward six years and Raging Chaos, the band formed with Braxton and his best friends, is famous and on tour and currently in need of a PR manager. While the rift between Braxton and Kaylee is huge, she went to school for this very thing and she could really use the job. While Kaylee’s not thrilled to be on tour with her ex just as much as he is, being professional is her top priority. Braxton just makes her job a little harder than it should be.

Their hate to passion back to love road is not an easy or straight line. It’s hard and hurtful and lots of tears between them as these two have quite a few bumps on their road and demons to face before any type of HEA can occur. It tests them to the point of wondering if they should pursue any kind of relationship, even friendship, once the tour is finished.

The close friendship with the band is special and I love to see how they are a found family, always there for one another, which also includes the Blackwood parents. It’s all that love among their friends and their family that truly shines and holds everyone together, book after book and what I love returning to.

Synopsis:
Braxton

Our senior year, I promised my girl forever.

Forever, as it turned out, wasn’t enough. She told me so in her actions. When she took a match to my life, burning it to ash.

I headed to LA with my band—Raging Chaos—like we always planned, while Kaylee went to college, taking my damaged heart with her.

This was where our story was supposed to end.

Only six years later, our lives collide again.

Kaylee is the only thing I ever loved more than music, and I wish I could hate her for it, but the line between love and hate is thin, and often straddled.

And the thing about collisions? They result in deadly debris.

Kaylee

When you love someone, you let them go. But what I did was so much worse.

Because instead of pushing him away, I shoved Braxton straight over the edge.

I’ve spent the past several years avoiding him, trying to make things right.

When my reputation has been dragged through the mud, and I’m given the opportunity to clean it up, I have no choice but to cross paths with him again.

Being around Braxton is a harsh reminder of the way I lit his life up in flames, but I’m not sure he knows I’ve been burned, too.

If suffering in silence is the cost, I’ll pay the price to make things right.

I just hope our history won’t play on repeat and he’ll see me as more than the stupid girl with the lit match.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Like real life, the characters are far from perfect, make morally gray decisions, and deal with subjects that may be sensitive for some readers. If you are looking for a safe romance, this series is not for you. Trigger warnings (which contain spoilers) can be found on my website.

Preorder at a special price: https://amzn.to/3rqZ9vT
Add to your TBR: https://bit.ly/LoveandLyrics

🎧 Audio is in production be narrated by Avery Reid and Gideon Frost.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Tysin by Brooke O’Brien

Tysin; A Rebels Havoc #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 24, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Brother’s Best Friend/Second Chance/Rock and Roll Romance

Author: Brooke O’Brien

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Tysin is a heartbreaking, second chance story with a lot of ups and downs.

Tysin and Kyla have a lot of history, aside from just their brief summer fling. They grew up together and Kyla’s brother is one of Tysin’s best friends. These kind of forbidden tropes are always heart-pounding.

When the Rebels Havoc need a tour manager, last minute, Madden-the drummer-suggests his sister, Kyla, for the job. Even though she knows it will test her limits, being close to the one man who broke her heart, she takes it. She’s now engaged to a perfect man and her best friend will be on board since she’s dating the lead singer, Brix. Everything should be fine. No problem at all. Cool.

Tysin is anything but cool having a happily engaged Kyla living on his tour bus. He lashes out, treats her horribly, and does everything he can to make her life miserable, but that’s because he’s been miserable since he let her go two years ago. It’s not really her fault, he’s damaged and wouldn’t be good for her, but he doesn’t like seeing her happy with someone else either. He just can’t seem to help himself when it comes to Kyla.

Tysin’s story is full of heartbreak and reconnection and I enjoyed how Brooke covered several sensitive topics.  It may have taken a while for this book to be published, but it was worth waiting for the perfect story.

Synopsis:

USA Today Bestselling author Brooke O’Brien takes you on tour with A Rebels Havoc in this close proximity, brother’s best friend rock star romance. Grab your copy at the discounted pre-sale price!

Tysin Briggs is a player.

He’s cocky, selfish, and sexy as sin. I’ve heard the rumors, and it’s no secret, he’s just as talented in the bedroom as he is on the guitar.

As the lead guitarist for A Rebels Havoc, and my brother’s best friend, Tysin has heartbreak written all over him. We were asking for trouble sneaking around behind my brother’s back. It still didn’t stop me from spending the summer with him or from falling in love with him.

Two years have passed since he destroyed my heart, crushing it into a million pieces. A lot has changed since then, including the ring on my finger. When my brother asks for my help filling in as the manager of their sold-out tour, it’s an opportunity I can’t refuse.

I should’ve known the past wouldn’t stay in the past.

But what I didn’t count on was how hard it would be to resist him.

Author’s Note: Tysin is a standalone and can be read without reading any other books in the A Rebels Havoc series. If you prefer to read in order, start with Brix as the stories do interconnect.

*Please be aware, this book does contain subjects that may be sensitive for some readers, including pregnancy loss and cheating. If you’re looking for a safe story, this book is not for you.

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2022 New Release/Release Day, Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, New Adult, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Releases - 2022, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Vile Boys by AJ Merlin

Vile Boys; Knot Their Toy #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: September 19, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Omegaverse/Reverse Harem/Bully Romance

Author: AJ Merlin

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
This is unlike other omegaverse books I’ve read before. These alphas, betas, and omegas aren’t completely overrun by their baser instincts. Instead, their senses are more like sizzling under their skin instead of a constantly raging inferno, if that makes sense.

The entire book is told from Mercy Noble’s POV. This is her first year attending Winter Grove University and she’s one of the very few students there on scholarship. While she gets some snide comments about it, Mercy has a great outlook and instead reverses a lot of bad behavior directed to her because she’s super smart and earned her spot at a top rated university. She also has a hearing impairment, which she wears aids for, but instead of letting it get to her she tackles every challenge head on. She’s an amazing lead character, especially when she begins to get bullied by three boys and she doesn’t back down.

Dorian, August & Foster are their own pack, but when Mercy makes a mistake they don’t easily forgive, nor do they her life any easier for it. The buildup to what will happen between them kept the pages turning and how they would torment her until things got heated.

Because this wasn’t like other omegaverse books I’ve read with the normal base instincts that would drive alphas and omegas crazy, it made this plot completely unique in reading. I’m highly curious where these characters will go in another book, because again I’m completely intrigued.

Synopsis:
Winter Grove University is the dream school for anyone who wants to get somewhere in life, no matter if you’re an alpha, beta, or even an omega.

It’s almost impossible to get in. So when I beat the odds, I know it’ll be life changing.

I just don’t expect death on campus during orientation, or a warning to stay in my lane if I want to get through the next four years successfully.

Not that I’m worried, or anything.

That is, until the three most influential boys of Winter Grove decide to dedicate the semester to making my life a living hell for reasons that probably aren’t my fault.

Foster, Dorian, and August know how to hold a grudge. And they’re not willing to let me forget any slight I may have committed against them. Now, with three boys making my life hell and bodies piling up around campus, I have to wonder if maybe I should stop worrying about my grades and instead focus on the two alphas and a beta who can’t seem to leave me alone or the killer who might be closer than we thought.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Irresistible Trouble by Pippa Grant

Irresistible Trouble; Copper Valley Fireballs #4
(#4 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy/Sports/Second Chance/Rock and Roll Romance

Author: Pippa Grant

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
#TeamWoorperly and do you know what makes that ship name even cuter? Cooper Rock himself is the one who coined it. All the heart emoji’s…drop dead in all the cuteness…Cooper Rock is one ooooey, gooey man ball of falling in love.

YES!! Cooper Rock is finally here!! He’s been evading us with only cameos and fun loving easter eggs, but it’s finally time and his story is perfectly perfect for the rock god of baseball.

Cooper Rock is famous, or is it infamous when your team has been the loseiest team in baseball history? Regardless of how bad the Copper Valley Fireballs have been, Cooper Rock hasn’t given up on them. He’s probably one of the happiest-go-lucky guys you will ever run across and he always looks on the bright side. But, when he runs across Waverly Sweet, the only one who ever made him think long term…well, let’s just say that Cooper’s happy-go-lucky gets a little twisted in the jockstrap.

Waverly Sweet is a huge, international pop star, which unfortunately means her face is super recognizable and keeping up that image is a full time job. When she runs back into Cooper Rock, a man she’s never forgotten and with the incredible stress she’s under…Cooper Rock is the one man who could give her a HUGE stress reliever…except, the ramifications of Waverly Sweet sleeping with a notorious serial dater like Cooper…she’s not sure her image could withstand it, but she’s also not sure her emotions can stand walking away either.

Cooper and Waverly are adorably sweet falling for one another as they work around their insanely crazy schedules. This story also includes members of Coopers baseball team that are fun and crazy and Waverly’s team that are just a little crazy. The absolute best part is Coop’s family which is a whole side of crazy family love, that I would totally love to be a part of, especially with the giant heart of unconditional love that they all have for one another. Lastly, the text convo’s, no matter if it’s with family, or #TeamWoorperly, or just between friends, they were all insanely hilarious.

Basically this book is fun no matter how you slice it, especially while I got to enjoy two people who desperately deserve to fall in love with one another.

Synopsis:

I, Cooper Rock, baseball god, worshipper of women, hometown hero, beloved son and brother, and owner of a well-deserved ego, have always reached for the stars. Usually in baseball.

In love? Nah. When you’ve played the field as much as I have and haven’t been bit by the bug, you’re immune.

Or so I thought until she walked back into my life.

Waverly Sweet. Pop music sensation. Universally beloved for good reason. She’s freaking awesome. Kind. Funny. Talented. Sexy as hell. Real. And still completely out of my league.

But I have been hit by the Waverly Sweet tour bus of love, tumbled head over heels, and come up in a field of Waverly-scented roses. This is it. She’s my one and only, and this time, I won’t screw it up.

I’m cleaning up my reputation. I’m ignoring the doubters. I’m channeling everything I have into proving to her that I can be the man she deserves.

No matter what else I have to sacrifice for love.

Including baseball.

Irresistible Trouble is a hilarious home run of a romcom about a baseball player whose ego is catching up to him, a pop star who’s a bit of a hot mess when the cameras aren’t looking (and sometimes when they are), and the kind of family and teammates that everyone deserves… in small doses. While this laugh-out-loud romance stands alone with a sweet-swoony HEA, you won’t go wrong if you dive into the entire Fireballs series, starting with Jock Blocked, first. And for more Cooper Rock cameos, check out Master Baker (a standalone featuring Cooper’s brother) and the Bro Code series.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Knot a Chance by Sinclair Kelly

Knot A Chance; Knot Yours #2
(#2 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Omegaverse/Fantasy/Reverse Harem Romance

Author: Sinclair Kelly

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Knotty good times, along with lots of crying over the emotional ones. I thoroughly enjoyed returning to this universe.

I’m trying to think of a better term than saying, Arden works through her grief, or comes to terms with her grief, or even struggles with her grief because none of those truly fit. Grief is not only an emotion that has its own timeline, but it’s also an emotion that really never goes away. As a culture we don’t really handle grief well, but essentially grief is something that stays with you forever. It’s not bad or shameful, it’s an emotion that is tied to the person you lost. It’s really okay to be sad and have memories over that person, but grief, unlike love that grows with time, lessons with it.

Arden is consumed with her grief at the beginning of this book and even though that grief has eased with time, Arden does not feel she is ready to move on and meet a new mate. Grief and time tend to go hand in hand, but there is no set clock when the heart is ready to love again. However, when Arden meets Cohen and then Bastian, two Alphas, her biology might make that final push for her, but what she wasn’t prepared for is her best friend who’s always been by her side, the man who’s held a flame while he stood in the shadows until she was ready finally, a beta with the biggest heart, who wasn’t about to let two alphas step in while he finally has a chance to declare his love.

Knot a Chance deals with some pretty heavy topics and I know I had to stop and wipe several tears from my own eyes so I could continue reading. However, Locke, the big hearted beta, wasn’t too far behind to make me smile and laugh to brighten my spirit right back up. Arden is one lucky girl, she has the best of three wonderful men who, once they decide to all get with the program, and Arden finally makes that leap to love again…well, it’s full knotty steam ahead.

Synopsis:
Time heals all wounds…

Yeah, I call bullshit. My grief still bleeds out each and every day no matter how much time passes.

I’ve managed to make a new life for myself by helping my bestie run TheOmegasGuide—our viral social media account. We support freedom of choice for all designations.

Though I’m starting to wonder if having a choice is really all that great. Locke’s up my ass more than usual, acting weird, and…is my hulking Beta friend flirting? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly hope he’d ignore that whole friend-zone thing. Then there’s Cohen—the commanding, broody Alpha who wants nothing to do with me, but that I can’t stop thinking about. Of course, I can’t forget Bastian—the sexy stranger I ran into—literally. With his big, warm, mouthwateringly gorgeous body and haunted brown eyes, I’d love the chance to get to know him better.

The intensity of our chemistry is explosive, but they’re not a pack, and I’m not looking for another forever….right? No. It hurts too much and goes against everything I believe now.

No relationships. No commitments. This Omega needs to rediscover just who she is and can’t fall into anything serious.

Nope. Knot a chance.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Cruel Saint by Luna Kayne

Cruel Saint; Vicious Empire #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Dark/Second Chance/Intrigue/Mafia Romance

Author: Luna Kayne

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Cruel Saint is the first in the series with a continuing storyline that will follow through the rest of the books, but this particular story focused on the love interests between Ryder Saint and Amara Scott.

Ryder and Amara have a lot of unique twists wrapped up in their second chance love. Amara was sold into an arranged marriage with Ryder, but they were already in a secret relationship before either one of them discovered this news. However, their contract was dissolved when her father died and she actually moved away crushing them both. Now it’s a few years later and Ryder is back to claim the woman who has always been his, but Amara doesn’t feel quite the same.

There are a whole lot of secrets and twists wrapped up in Ryder winning her back and that is only part of the story. On top of this romance battle there is an ongoing investigation into her brother’s murder which is also part of the series continuation plot, but there is also mystery surrounding members of their own family. I have to say I loved the intrigue and trying to unravel who could potentially be behind all of the upcoming plot twists.

Within this first book we do get to meet, on some sort of level, all of the Saint family members, along with Amara’s family. There are also a few additional people sprinkled in that give extra twists to this angsty book which I’m already loving. Have we meet everyone who could be a suspect yet? I’m not entirely sure, but I love trying to unravel all the leads that could lead me to the possible killer.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next book, which will focus on another Saint brother and his fall into love, but will also continue this ever evolving plot into the intriguing mystery.

Synopsis:
HE WAS HER FIRST FOR EVERYTHING.
NOW HE’S DETERMINED TO BE HER LAST.

RYDER SAINT
Amara is my dark obsession. She was promised to me in a deal she knows nothing about.
Four years ago, I sent her away to protect her from the life I live as the son of a crime lord.
Now her brother—my best friend—is dead, and though I wasn’t there for him in the end, I intend to look after his little sister.
I should stay in the shadows, let her live the life her brother wanted for her, but she’s in trouble in more ways than one, and I’m the only one who can save her…but I’ll have to break her first.
Good girls keep their promises, and it’s time Amara came home—to me—where she belongs.

AMARA SCOTT
As far as I’m concerned, Ryder let me go four years ago, and I never looked back.
Now he shows up demanding I come home, and I have no choice but to return when he forces my hand.
The Saints never pay for their crimes. They take what they want and discard the rest. Like me…
But I’m not a weak girl anymore, and I’m packing some secrets of my own.
I’ll use my time to find out who killed my brother…then I’ll destroy them.
Even if that man is Ryder himself.

* Cruel Saint is the first book in the Vicious Empire dark romance family saga series.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Hating the Player by Rebecca Jenshak

Hating the Player; Campus Wallflower #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Second Chance/Sports Romance

Author: Rebecca Jenshak

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Sweet, slow burning, second chance romance set in Jenshak’s Valley U world.

Stepping back into Valley U felt familiar and comfortable, like putting on my favorite sweatshirt. Reading Gavin and Violet’s story was very much reading a comfort story, one without a lot of conflict, but instead focused on rebuilding their relationship, first through friendship and then finally falling back in love.

What we know going into this book is that Gavin Leonard is the worst. What we don’t have is all the facts into why Violet thinks this way. This is the building storyline on why Gavin has to rebuild his reputation with Violet and why exactly he even wants to give it another try.

Instead of painting Gavin in a horrible light, this story is actually really sweet. I love that Rebecca focuses on the present and how much Gavin is into Violet, along with how much Violet is into Gavin as well, but she’s just fighting it with every ounce of willpower she has…for good reason.

This is a super slow burn romance, but it doesn’t lack chemistry or time spent together. Violet doesn’t easily forgive so their relationship changes throughout the book, but it’s fun and sweet and just so lovely. AND….the epilogue…oh, my heart….pure sweetness!!!

Synopsis:
Gavin Leonard is the worst.
He lives in the best party house off campus at Valley U, overrun by jocks galore.
I live next door, watching Jane Austen adaptations with my sketchbook in hand.
He stays on his side of the fence.
I stay on mine.
Now we’re accidentally on a camping trip together, but there’s only one tent left.

Gavin Leonard is the worst.
And he’s the last guy who broke my heart.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Devil of Dublin by B.B. Easton

Devil of Dublin
(A standalone)

Publication Date: September 22, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Anti-hero/Dark/Mafia/Fairy-Tale Romance

Author: BB Easton

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
A dark, but beautifully magical tale that had me transfixed by these two broken soulmates.

Once I opened the pages to Devil of Dublin I never once set it back down. I was transported to the Emerald Isle of mystical tales where anything is possible, especially where two souls like Kellen and Darby overcome such incredible odds. I loved every word.

It’s hard to describe the magical beauty alongside the darkness of this book, but both made this story unputdownable. Kellen and Darby meet when they are children in Ireland. Kellen lives there while Darby is only there visiting her grandfather for perhaps a week at a time. Over multiple years their meetings are brief, but life altering as Darby comes back to visit, until one year she doesn’t.

Years pass and both Kellen and Darby change and go through life altering events, but when Darby returns to the once magical land where her life held such possibilities, the adventure of her life really begins.

Devil of Dublin is full of dark moments, non-stop action, and very emotional connections, but at the heart of the story is this deep rooted connection between two soulmates. Their tale is sprinkled with Irish folklore that made the dark moments just a little bit lighter and certainly gave credit to the notion of eternal love.

My heart was filled with joy over their story and cemented the notion that no matter what they suffered, together they were the balm to help heal one another, a rock to lean on and a hand to hold.

Synopsis:
From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of 44 Chapters About 4 Men (inspiration for the Netflix Original series Sex/Life) comes a dark mafia romance steeped in Irish folklore.

I can’t remember anymore if my grandfather’s eyes were blue or green, but I’ll never forget the way they wrinkled at the corners when he laughed at one of his own jokes. Or the way they sparkled with mischief when he told me tales about the magical creatures that dwelled in the forest behind his humble Irish sheep farm—shy fairies who liked to eat tea biscuits, cruel witches who liked to eat children, a moody lake spirit with a taste for expensive gifts.

As a child, I believed every fantastical word. But when he warned me about the mute boy who also lurked in those woods, the one the priest had declared to be the spawn of Satan himself, I refused to listen. Kellen wasn’t evil. He was kind, and beautiful, and special, and hurting. He was my friend. And with every summer I spent stolen away with him in those enchanted woods, he grew to become so much more.

But when I return to Glenshire as an adult, grieving and engaged to someone else, all those legends quickly morph into nightmares.

My grandfather had been right about everything, especially the boy.

If only I had listened.

WARNING: If you are a sensitive reader or find certain topics to be emotionally triggering, please exercise self-care and select a different book. Devil of Dublin is intended for mature audiences who enjoy dark subject matter, tortured anti-heroes, explicit adult content, graphic violence, heart-pounding suspense, fairy-tale worthy love, and gorgeous Irish scenery. If that sounds like you, then welcome to Glenshire!

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review- Two For the Show by Skye Warren

Two For the Show; One For the Money #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Midnight Dynasty/Fake Dating/Billionaire Romance

Author: Skye Warren

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Turmoil and emotional upheaval is ripe in the second book of this series. My heart ached for both parties as they struggled with their current fate and it also leapt with joy for those who surround them. Warren truly pulled at my emotions with this latest addition to the Midnight Dynasty series.

In this latest book, Eva Morelli proves over and over again how she is the master of holding the entire Morelli family together. She is calm, cool, and collected in every situation, even when her own life feels like it could collapse at any moment. Upon finding out she is pregnant with Finn Hughes baby, a child he didn’t know about when they parted ways, but one that he was very clear about in never wanting, Eva knows she is keeping the child. Considering Eva has always put her family above her own needs, even above dating, she looks at this child as a blessing and perhaps her one chance to have a family of her own, even if it doesn’t include the father.

Eva’s strength throughout the book is something to behold. Not only is she there for her family, and I LOVE the special moments with her family…they are probably my favorite of any book within the Midnight Dynasty series yet. Eva is strong when she’s with Finn and his family too. She is a woman who could take on the world with poise and grace and I totally adore her character.

Finn on the other hand, is beside himself throughout this entire book. He’s always known about the genetic possibility of falling into his family’s curse and he’s never wanted to pass that along to a child of his own. When he does find out that he’ll be a father, the emotional war upon himself is brutal. In turn he lashes out and isn’t the fun loving man we’ve come to know. He’s sinking and his normal ways of coping aren’t there because he’s done the one thing he also never thought he’d do…fall in love.

Two For the Show is brutally emotional and raw, but also full with some beautiful family moments. There is still more to come as this book ends on a cliffhanger. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Synopsis:
Pregnant. Alone. And heartbroken. The only thing Eva Morelli knows for sure is that she wants this baby. She learned how to depend only on herself a long time ago.

The father, however? He made his position on marriage and children very clear.

Finn Hughes has fought his fate for years, but it’s finally catching up to him. Duty took away his choices. How can he hope for forever? He already knows how this ends.

There’s only one thing worse than having a family.

Losing them.

Welcome to the Midnight Dynasty… The warring Morelli and Constantine families have enough bad blood to fill an ocean, and their brand new stories will be told by your favorite dangerous romance authors.

WARNING: This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – God of Pain by Rina Kent

God of Pain; Legacy of Gods #2
(Standalone within a series)

Publication Date: September 15, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Anti-hero/Mafia Romance

Author: Rina Kent

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Take my breath away – stupendous reading!! Every single time Rina writes a book I’m blown away!! Her crafted writing and flushed out characters continually slay me.

From the quiet and aloof Creighton King we were previously introduced to, I fell in love with the multitude of brilliance and depth that fascinated me not only in his singular focus of topics or subjects, but also in his awareness of everything or everyone around him. His passion for caring may have only extended to those in his very small circle and he may have seen those certain traits about himself as flaws, but what I love about finding the person who completes you is they don’t see your flaws, they recognize their other half. Creighton was so much more than I was expecting and I love those kind of surprises.

Annika Volkov is bright and shiny and loves to fill the quiet with talking. She is the total opposite of Creighton is just about every way except she’s completely drawn to him like a moth to a flame and even when Creigh gets up and walks away repeatedly from her, he still can’t stop thinking about her.

What makes Annika such a unique character is that she’s grown up in a mafia world. Her father is not a soft man, he’s ruthless and hard, except when it comes to loving his wife-that is his one exception, but Annika is very aware of the world she comes from. Yet, she herself is quite the opposite when you think mafia princess. Her favorite color is purple, she’s outgoing and friendly and she wants to experience everything life has to offer, even quiet and sometimes harsh Creighton King.

I don’t want to color Rina’s book in a rose colored way, but I do adore that she so brilliantly matches her characters in a way that every crack they have in their armor or every flaw they possibly possess, their soulmate fills up those cracks and is drawn to the other even more so because of their flaws. It’s why her anti-villains are so easy to fall for and so easily forgivable. While Creighton does warn her off, Annika is quite stubborn in her pursuit, and it doesn’t take long for Creighton to stake his claim. Prepare for steam, steam, and more steam.

What I love about these Legacy of Gods books is the interaction with other family members. Basically everyone is related or interconnected in someway throughout all of these books and finding that string to the connection is half of the fun. We were introduced to everyone in the first book, but only had a deeper dive into some of the cast members, but now with two new leads who have different best friends and family members, we got an intimate look at several more of the cast members. That part was definitely delicious, for instance; Eli and Creighton and Jeremy and Annika. I loved reading their interactions and can’t wait for more in this world. There is was also interaction with their families in general, which is great for fans or even new readers to get to know who the original Gods are. Probably my favorite moments were glimpses into those family times and hearing myself say, you fall for someone just like your parent, and for these two star-crossed lovers where the book had lots of heavy deep moments, that saying made me chuckle several times.

Once again, Rina’s writing is absolutely brilliant and her books continue to astound me.

Synopsis:
I made a terrible mistake.
Being a mafia princess, I knew my fate was already decided.
But I went ahead and longed for the wrong one.
Creighton King is bad news with a gorgeous exterior.
He’s silent, brooding, and obviously emotionally unavailable.
So I thought it was over.
Until he awakens a beast inside me.
My name is Annika Volkov, and I’m Creighton’s worst enemy.
He won’t stop until he breaks me.
Or I break him.

God of Pain is a complete STANDALONE and can be read on its own.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Dash by Kayley Loring and Connor Crais

Dash; Rushing the Play #2
(Standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 15, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy/Sports Romance

Author: Kayley Loring and Connor Crais

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Dash begins as sort of a Big D…but oh my heart…he is the biggest cinnamon roll. I love a book that can produce characters with growth and I’m not just talking about Dash’s muscles, while I do love how strong he is, his character is one to deeply fall in love with.

Charlie and Dash initially begin as oil and water and while we get a glimpse of their fiery past before jumping back into their present, it’s their present where I truly fell in love. Dash has major character growth and that man…sigh…he is fantastic. Once he realizes that it’s Charlotte that he wants, his entire life changes. I’m not sure he realizes consciously that she makes him a better man in his everyday life, but it’s all the little things that push him to just be better. It’s really hard not to like the big guy.

Charlotte, or Charlie as her friends call her, has always dreamed of dancing in NY. Like Dash she is driven, hard working and doesn’t give up easily. Hence, a lot of the friction between these two, but that is also what makes their love affair so spicy. She brings out the best in him, while he also does the same for her.

To reiterate, I loved, loved, loved Dash, especially when he became a father, but overall his tender moments were so sweet. The writing really reflected just how big and tough Dash was, he’s a defensive lineman in the NFL and those guys are not tiny, but when it came to caring for his loved ones it truly reflected his gentle heart and that is why this new series written with Kayley and Connor is absolutely fantastic!!

Synopsis:

#99 Dash Taylor. Rookie defensive end for the Boston Tomcats. 285 pounds of fast-twitch muscle. Nickname: Big D.

I’ve been sacking quarterbacks since junior high and causing trouble since I was born.

My college coach thinks I have a bad attitude, so he makes me take ballet lessons as punishment. If I don’t turn things around on the field next season, he’ll bench me. I have no idea what ballet has to do with football, but it turns out the real punishment is that the beautiful dance teacher refuses to get involved with me.

Two years later, we cross paths again, and it’s not the other team’s offensive line who brings me to my knees—it’s a hundred-pound ballerina.

She doesn’t think I’m boyfriend material, and I used to think that too.

I’ve been a beast on the field and in the bedroom, but now I’m going to prove that I can be a man for her…and for our surprise baby.

I thought I was all about the smash and dash.
But getting Charlie Bardot pregnant changed everything.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQA+, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Unmanageable by Leslie McAdam

Unmanageable; In Vino Veritas #3
(#3 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Contemporary/Single Dad/Age Gap/MM Romance

Author: Leslie McAdam

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I love a well written story where two opposites attract. Unmanageable is the perfect grumpy/sunshine book to bring a smile to your face.

Scott and Luke are polar opposites, but match very well together. Luke is all work and no fun and Scott is all romantic ideas with his head in the sky. Together they balance each other out and offer one another the realism of fun that the other needs, without burning out in either category. They needed one another in more ways than one and it was beautiful to read how they opened each other up.

Luke was so stuck in his grouchy work-filled ways that he forgot to have a life, or that he really had a family. He was missing out on his adorable daughter and that she was growing up during the sweetest time in her young precious life.

Scott on the other hand was so far up in the clouds that he didn’t want to pay his bills or worry about a real job that his life was about to crash in on him. He was about to be evicted from his apartment and didn’t know how to begin paying his bills so he just avoided them all together….Oh, Scott.

Everyone needs that balance in their life. Everyone needs that person to pull them in from self destruction and everyone needs THEIR person. I loved how they still organically fell for each other, even with their close circumstances. Unmanageable was light hearted and full of steam, but also sweet with moments that involved their dates and especially when Scott was playing with Luke’s daughter.

Synopsis:
I’ve never been romantic. Just ask my ex-wife.

Since she broke up with me, I get my needs met any time I want, without putting my heart on the line. Exactly how I like it.

But when she is called overseas and leaves me with our child, my bachelor lifestyle ends faster than you can say, “Daddy, I want a pony.”

I need help.

Problem is, help’s come in the form of an incredibly hot nanny.

My employee.

Who is much younger than me.

And also … a guy.

I watch Scott care for my kid and can’t help feeling like he clicks into place in her life.

When he looks at me, though … I get an entirely different feeling. One that makes me long for things I can’t have.

Like him.

Unmanageable is a contemporary m/m age gap romance about a starry-eyed nanny who wants hot-air balloon rides and singing telegrams and a grumpy single dad who most definitely does not.

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Book Reviews, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – The Chameleon Effect by Joe Arden

The Chameleon Effect
(A Standalone)

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre/Tropes:  Romantic Comedy

Author: Joe Arden

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
A great first book for Joe Arden and a cute story about how a little white lie can turn into a life changing big deal.

Will O’Connell has been working for years on being a paid actor. He’s a bit of a chameleon, in that he’s great at accents and can switch at the drop of a hat, but he’s been looking for his big break in Hollywood for years and fears that it will never come. However, one fateful conversation opens up a can of worms to an idea that once he jumps in, he can’t just as easily jump back out of.

Basically…Will’s argument is that all good roles go to actors with foreign accents. How is he, an American, supposed to get a job when he is already typecast? That is when Liam O’Connell is born with an Irish accent. Brilliantly when he goes to audition Will has a gorgeous Irish accent during introductions, but he flawlessly switches to an American accent during the scene, wowing everyone – especially the director. This is when Will opens a giant can of worms and they begin to dig a giant hole in his life.

Will’s first worm problem; he never expected to run into the girl of his dreams while he had to use his Irish accent and a background he doesn’t exactly want to lie about.

Will’s second worm problem is how easily his jobs are now stacking up. He’s now beginning to wonder if he’s always been this good of an actor or if it’s truly just the accent driving his career.

The holes the worms keep digging just get bigger and bigger, but how does he get out of the lie both driving his big break and his love life?

The Chameleon Effect is adorable and full of good natured fun. A total win for Joe’s first solo book.

Synopsis:
Lights. Camera. Action…

I’ve got everything it takes to make it in Tinseltown: confidence, charisma, and a killer chin. Now all I need is a chance.

But Los Angeles is full of hot, young hunks, and talent might not be enough to separate me from the cookie-cutter crowd.

Well, you know what they say: fake it till you make it.

So I devise a wild scheme to get noticed. Pretend I’m someone I’m not—goodbye Will O’Connell of Cincinnati and hello Liam O’Connell of Dublin.

‘Liam’ and his talent with accents is enough to get my foot in the door, but I never anticipated meeting the woman who has me more worried about keeping my foot out of my mouth.

Enter Raven Locke, the dark-haired bombshell who puts the ‘tude in tattooed.

On set, she’s the costumer tasked with fitting my pants, but all I can think about is how to get into hers.

As my—I mean, Liam’s—budding career begins to heat up, so do our feelings.

While Raven pursues her passion for fashion; I chase her heart.

Our picture-perfect screenplay seems sure to send us riding off onto Sunset Boulevard… Until Raven finds out that Comedy and Tragedy aren’t the only masks I’m wearing. Our romance might be destined for the cutting room floor, unless I can salvage our story with a plot twist she won’t see coming.

*This first-person, male-POV rom-com has it all: lots of heat, plenty of heart, and a Hollywood-worthy HEA.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQA+, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Force of Nature by Skye Warren and Amelia Wilde

Force of Nature; Deserted Island #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Midnight Dynasty/Suspense/MFM & MMF Romance

Author: Skye Warren and Amelia Wilde

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
The first part of this book contains the prequel, The Crash, so if you missed it, don’t worry, but if you’ve already read it you can jump right into the action and begin reading Force of Nature.

Never once does this book let off the gas. Carter and June are fighting to stay alive throughout the entire story and that fight is not only from human targets, but from the jungle itself. Carter Morelli may be a genius professor in biology, but there is vegetation even he is not aware of and just like people, not all plants are good.

While the mystery man of the island is introduced, he is still a bit of a mystery and we are left on an intense cliffhanger, so I do not want to give away anything that could be misleading.

Jane Porter is sweet, but has a tougher background than she initially portrays. Her fighting spirit is going to go far in this unforgiving environment.

Carter Morelli is so different than he’s come across in other Midnight Dynasty books, but that is also the cover he likes to portray. I, for one, love the intrigue of his background and the intensity he brings.

Force of Nature is fast, intense, and still insanely hot. There is so much more story to tell for each of these characters and I am so here for it. I can hardly wait for the next part of this series.

Synopsis:
Carter Morelli survived a dark childhood and dangerous missions. But when he emergency lands a small aircraft on the ocean, he faces something worse: having someone depend on him. He has to keep innocent June Porter safe on the deserted island.

Except they aren’t alone here…

A man hides among the broad leaves. He’s almost feral.

There are secrets in his cabin. Desire, too.

Carter doesn’t want to care about beautiful June. He doesn’t want to care about the mysterious and sensual man who’s almost part of the wilderness.

Scorching chemistry draws all three of them deeper.

They already survived the plane crash, but will they survive the fall?

Welcome to the Midnight Dynasty world… The warring Morelli and Constantine families have enough bad blood to fill an ocean, and their brand new stories will be told by your favorite dangerous romance authors.

WARNING: This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – No Time to Lie by Lexi Blake

No Time to Lie; Masters and Mercenaries Reloaded #4, M&M #25
(#4 within a series, #25 within the entire series)

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Suspense/BDSM/Intrigue Romance

Author: Lexi Blake

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
The big, loud, and fantastic McKay-Taggart family is back and I love every single time they are all together on the page. This time CIA operative Drake Radcliffe is front and center, but since he’s worked with McKay-Taggart and this particular op is tied heavily to one of their own, of course they are right there lending a hand and lending all kinds of love and life advice to Drake and his beautiful love interest, Taylor Cline.

Drake is looking to finally bring in Julia Ennis, dead or alive. She’s done a lot of damage to several ops at McKay-Taggart since her resurrection from the dead. That’s right, Julia was thought to be dead, but it turns out she is very much alive, and she is also Drake’s sister and was also Kyle’s partner. Soooooo many ties begin to come together, or perhaps unravel, either way you look at it, it’s a dream come true for a FANatic like myself.

While the team is working on this huge op, Drake is also working on his second opportunity with the woman of his dreams, Taylor Cline. She is the one who got away, or perhaps the one that he fudged up with when he let his job get in the way. Now he finally has a chance to get things right and even though they are chasing down the same bad guy or girl in this case, he’s not letting opportunity pass him by and he’s set on winning a place back in her heart.

Drake is one big, sappy puppy when it comes to Taylor most of the time, but he’s also the perfect Dom when the time comes for it. Basically he’s pretty perfect and I love every inch of his character. Taylor is a great match for him on every level and I look forward to seeing how their relationship molds and shapes in future books.

Speaking of the future, or maybe more like the past…hmmmm….I loved the past characters that popped up in this book and the body positivity that always shines through, no matter what age or length of marriage, it’s probably one of the biggest things that draws me back to Lexi’s books over and over again. Her characters are not only bada$&, but they are empowering. Ian’s speeches, usually about what his employee is doing wrong always make me laugh, but he also tends to be right, just not in a subtle way – at all. Another thing that draws me back to Lexi’s books is Ian’s humor, which I could read over and over, but he might get an even bigger head if we let him have his way too much. Lastly, there is nothing more endearing than having that special place for people who feel like a misfit or outcast and Ian Taggart, or should I say, Lexi has built a world where everyone fits in and is accepted. Her books have a way of doing just that and no matter who you are or where you’ve come from there is a place within the big, crazy family of McKay-Taggart.

Synopsis:
A grandmaster of lies and deception

Drake Radcliffe has spent half his life in the shadows. Recruited by the CIA when he was barely out of high school, Drake doesn’t know how to have a normal life. While most people his age were playing sports or video games, he was playing spy games with the world’s most dangerous adversaries. It has been a life filled with thrills and adrenaline, but it’s also been lonely. All that might change when a mistake from Drake’s past rears its ugly head and he’s forced to face the only woman he ever loved—the one he pushed away.

A beacon of love and compassion

Taylor Cline committed the cardinal sin for an analyst—she fell for the operative she was working for. Drake was everything she wanted in a man, until he broke her heart. She had one unforgettable night with him and then he never looked back. Her career threatened, she shut down and moved on, hoping to never see him again. Just as she is beginning to put it all behind her, a critical assignment puts her under his authority and right back in his arms.

A deadly mission that brings them together

From the wilds of Wyoming to the glittering cities of Europe, Drake and Taylor must race against time to uncover the truth and expose an evil organization. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If they fail, the world could crumble. If they succeed, they could finally have everything their hearts desire.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, LGBTQA+, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Warped Minds by Elena Lawson

Warped Minds; Boys of Briar Hall #4
(#4 within a series)

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Reverse Harem/Gang/Suspense Romance

Author: Elena Lawson

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Full of tension, high stakes, and death defying situations, Ava Jade, Grey, Rook and Corvus make this final book a nail biting until the very last page.

From the very start of this series, Ava Jade has been a powerful force. She’s never let someone walk all over her and she’s tackled every challenge that’s been thrown her way. All of her strength, both mental and physical, comes into play in this final showdown and once again she proves to be one bada$$ woman.

Corvus, Rook, and Grey each have their own struggles in this final book, and individually those will tear at your heart. It’s quite evident that this foursome doesn’t work unless they are together, but with a madman on the loose, will everyone survive?

Warped Minds is a wild ride from start to finish. It’s dark and should not be read as a standalone.

Synopsis:
One, two, the Crows are coming for you
Three, four, time to settle the score
Five, six, Rook will get his fix
Seven, eight, accept your fate
Nine, ten, this is your end.

Warped Minds is the fourth and final book in the Boys of Briar Hall series and should be read after Twisted Games.

Warning: This series contains foul language, graphic depictions of gang violence, references to past trauma, and jealous/possessive themes. Please read responsibly.

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – 50 Ways to Win Back Your Lover by Kelly Siskind

50 Ways to Win Back Your Lover; The Bower Boys #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy/Small Town/Second Chance Romance

Author: Kelly Siskind

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
ALL the big heart-googly eyed emojis and stars for 50 Ways to Win Back Your Lover!!! One of the most adorable, completely male POV, books I’ve read in a long time!

I can already tell that the entire Bower family is going to worm their way into my heart and reside there until the end of time. Edgar has already set up shop and made a permanent residence in there, pink couch and all…I’ll let him explain the princess decor, don’t worry, he makes it look very manly. But, back to Edgar and his 50 ways to win back his girl…he is one of the most likeable and relatable characters that I’ve instantly fallen in love with basically from page one in awhile. He’s filled with quirky humor and tons of internal freak outs that made me giggle over and over. He’s also totally sweet and adorkably charming in his own way…seriously, what’s not to like…aside from the fact that he completely and totally disappeared ten years ago and broke his girlfriend’s heart, but hey, he’s back and trying to make amends.

Delilah Moon – great name by the way – is still residing in their small hometown of Windfall and she has that small town on her side when Edgar comes back. I love small town books because of the close-tight knit communities and this book does it justice.

Seriously, or maybe, not so seriously, 50 Ways is filled with tons of humor, great secondary characters, and a likeable guy who feels really deeply about pretty much everything and everyone in his life. Winning back his first love should be a piece of cake-right?

I can’t wait to return to Windfall and see how each of Edgar’s brothers fare as each of them return to their former lives after a decade of being gone. The giddiness makes me chuckle everytime I think of it.

Synopsis:
From Kelly Siskind comes a slow-burn romantic comedy about one man’s creative attempt to win back his high school sweetheart after a change in fortune gives them a second chance at love.

Growing up, I had it all—my art, close friends, a gorgeous girlfriend who owned my heart—but then my life exploded.

Turns out my father was laundering money, and my whole family got shoved into witness protection. No notice. No chance to explain. I was ripped away from beautiful, blue-eyed Delilah Moon, shattering both our worlds.

A decade later, fate has given us a second chance.

The cartel my father worked for has been wiped out. I’ve returned to my hometown, determined to win back the love of my life. But Delilah is engaged.

Or . . . is she?

I’m almost positive she’s lying about her fiancé to protect her heart. Which means I need to up my game.

I’ve made a list of fifty ways to prove we’re meant to be. Except Delilah’s barely looking at me, never mind swooning. I have a feeling my disappearance scarred her more than she’s admitting, and no one in town will tell me what happened . . .

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Stealing Bama by Hannah Gray

Stealing Bama; Florida East University #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 1, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Sports/Second Chance Romance

Author: Hannah Gray

Review Rating: 4.5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
At the heart of this new adult romance, is a story about forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes, minor ones all the way up to major ones that you can’t take back and alter the course of your life, but everyone has the power to forgive and it’s up to you whether you decide to live with anger, grief, and resentment or forgive not only yourself, but those around you.

Beau “Bama” Bishop and Mila Hardy grew up together. Their father’s were best friends, along with their mothers, they were next door neighbors and business partners. Basically it was inescapable when one wanted to go somewhere without the other, that is until the day that Beau’s father was killed in a car accident. An accident that Mila’s dad survived. Needless to say all of their lives changed and Beau blamed the Hardy family and broke all ties. Soon after they moved not only away as neighbors, but out of state. Mila’s first crush made a statement loud and clear, but she is a girl who doesn’t take rejection quietly. Beau has been attending Florida East University and that’s where Mila has her sights set for college. Bama Bishop better watch out, Mila is racing in hot on his tail.

I waffled back and forth on these two while reading. There was a lot I liked about them, but there was also a lot I didn’t. While I understood the grief and resentment that Beau held onto and seeing Mila only brought on the memories of the night his father was killed, I wasn’t always thrilled about how Mila went about gaining his attention. This is a girl who is fearless on the racetrack and some of her antics just seemed a bit childish. However, when these two moved past the juvenile behavior, their deeper moments truly resonated and flushed out who they were as a character.

Stealing Bama does cross timelines with other books by Hannah, but this book can be read as a complete standalone.

Synopsis:
I never imagined that one night could end the friendship Beau Bishop and I’d had since birth and sever all ties between our families. Especially when less than an hour prior to that tragic accident at the racetrack that night, he had confessed his love to me under the bleachers. A bond I’d thought could never be broken was smashed to smithereens in an instant.

He left Alabama, hightailing it to Florida without so much as a good-bye.

Two years later, we’ve crossed paths again. Only he’s no longer known as Beau Bishop. No, now, the boy that I’ve been in love with my entire life is called Bama. And Bama is a cocky, closed-off jerk.

As much as he tries to push me away, he should know how persistent I am when it comes to something I want. Losing is never an option. Just ask all of the guys I’ve raced to become number one.

Getting everything I’ve ever wanted is finally so close I can almost reach out and grab it. But you know that saying—waiting for the other shoe to drop? Yeah … well, those words were always in the back of my mind. Knowing it seemed too good to be true to finally have Beau Bishop in the palm of my hand.

And I was right. Because once again, I was alone.

Sometimes, fear makes you do stupid things when it comes to the ones you love. We were a walking example of that.

This is book two in the Florida East University series.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Resisting the Grump by Ashley Munoz

Resisting the Grump
(Standalone)

Publication Date: September 2, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Small Town/Contemporary Romance

Author: Ashley Munoz

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
A fantastic small-town book with a lovely romantic twist. Resisting the Grump completely melted my heart and wrapped my up in all the warm fuzzy feelings of perfectly matched love.

Rae and Davis are soulmates, but their road to getting there, while completely endearing and paved with all the butterfly feelings that constantly gave me giddy emotions, was not full of sunshine and magic. However, their story was a pure reading delight and Munoz brought her A game in crafting it.

When love is right and two people are meant to be together there sometimes are barriers to stop that from happening. Sometimes it just takes timing and the right placement for everything to line up accordingly, which Rae and Davis discovered along their journey.

Five years younger than Davis, Rae was infatuated with him at a very young age. Davis, however, did not find the crush quite as cute, but he also had his reasons for being a huge grump. Fast forward several years and the tables have turned. Davis doesn’t recognize Rae as the young girl who used to follow his every move, she’s now a beautiful young woman and he can’t stop thinking about her, too bad this time around she wants nothing to do with him.

Resisting the Grump is sweet and adorable, while also incredibly steamy…Davis is one dirty AF talker, oh my….it’s also full of emotions from both Rae and Davis. I’ll let you in on one little tidbit…Davis isn’t the only grumpy gus in this book, but the two of them verbally sparring…I’ll just call that foreplay.

This book definitely falls into the must read category. It’s a feel good, don’t miss kind of story.

Synopsis:
Ashley Munoz, brings a deliciously fun small-town romance, full of hilarious antics and a grumpy recluse-with no idea he has to not only win the girl but redeem himself in the process.

Stalking the town recluse wasn’t exactly wise.

Davis was five years older than me…antisocial and temperamental. And there was the little fact that he didn’t know I existed.

Still, I gave him my heart, and he crushed it.

So I picked up the pieces and ran away to New York City. I had a plan that would keep my heart intact for years.

But one phone call changed everything.

Returning home meant facing the past…and the man who ruined me.

I had hoped that the mountain had swallowed him whole.

But, as I set out to help my parents, I discover he’s not only alive and well, but that they apparently love the jerk.

He has no idea that we have a past, which is both a relief and salt in the wound.

I promise myself I’ll ignore how his eyes linger on me, or how his touch feels like a live wire, and I’ll remember that once upon a time he broke me, and for that, I refuse to fall for him again.

But I can’t control that he seems to be falling for me this time.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Judgment by Willa Jade

Judgment; Sons of Sin #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: September 2, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Age Gap/Dark/Mafia Romance

Author: Willa Jade

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Judgment was a total surprise. I loved how the entire book kept throwing out surprise after surprise after surprise which compelled me to keep reading until the very end.

This was a new author for me, but from the very beginning I was drawn into the compelling story by characters that were really flushed out and had fantastic energy.

At first, Paisley comes across as a scared, doe-eyed, completely naive virgin, but it doesn’t take long to realize that she is so much more than the stereotypical role she has been cast in. I loved how quickly her bravery showed through, along with her utter passion to do whatever it took to save her family, which is what makes her shine to a man like Andre. I really admired her determination and street smarts.

Andre is not, by society’s standards, a good man. He’s definitely an anti-hero, but when it comes to Paisley, his Duchess, he bends the rules over and over again. He finds he even bends his own rules as life as he knows it changes the moment he meets her. Like most anti-heroes Andre is stubborn, demanding and has high caveman tendencies, but it’s in his tender moments that blew me away.

Then we get to the best part, aside from the hot, sizzling moments….it’s the banter between these two. It. Is. AMAZING!!! Every chapter, every time they are together, they pop. Now I can mention their chemistry which is always set at a constant boil…these two just have IT!

This is a series I look forward to continuing and an author I look forward to reading more of and since this is just the beginning of an interconnected series between Andre’s brothers, I’m super excited to continue down this path of reading more about them.

Synopsis:
Andre Valinov owns a piece of me.
A piece he refuses to take.
But a deal’s a deal. One I intend to honor.
Even if I made it with the devil.

I thought I was being smart.
Thought I could play a game I’d been watching my whole life.
I was wrong.
Andre is not the kind of man I expected to be taking me home.
I’m nothing more than a pawn to him. A way to prove he holds New York City’s underworld in the palm of his hand.
His power is immense. His control unyielding.
Everything he wants becomes his.

But someone is out to take it all away from him.
The power.
The control.
And me.

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