Showing posts with label contemporary romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contemporary romance. Show all posts

Early Book Review: Trade Deadline (Hat Trick) by Avon Gale; Piper Vaughn

Trade Deadline is the third book in the Hat Trick series by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn. It is currently scheduled for release on August 17 2020. While it is part of a series, and returning readers will enjoy their previous knowledge and seeing past characters, new readers will be able to fully enjoy the read. 

Daniel “Bellzie” Bellamy should be on top of the world—a Stanley Cup is the perfect topper to his fourteen-year NHL career. But despite the post-win high, something’s missing. When the chance to play for his hometown team, the Miami Thunder, comes along, he’s open to it. And when he runs into an old friend from his past soon after he makes the move, he wonders if it might be kismet. Micah Kelly never thought he’d see his childhood crush—and first kiss—again. Danny Bellamy moved on to bigger and better things when they were teenagers, and the idea that Micah’s relationship with the professional hockey player could be anything more than one-sided Instagram thirst seems too good to be true. Maybe too good to be true is the new reality, though. As the season goes on, Micah teaches Daniel to surf, and Daniel introduces Micah to his lovable pack of rescue dogs and the world of being a hockey boyfriend. Life is good. But when things on the ice don’t go as planned, they’ll have to decide if their rediscovered romance is built to last.

Trade Deadline is a story I have been hoping for, since I have been eager to see the Venom crew find their happy endings. This book did not disappoint, but did introduce me to more characters that I want to see grow and find happiness. Daniel and Micah are both well adjusted and open minded guys that just so happened to be each other's first kiss, and first guy crush. I loved seeing them find each other again- and that friendship was just as important to them as the more physical aspects of their relationship once that began. The open communication, and way consent and talking about what is bothering them- even when it is something completely outside their control and unsolvable in the moment- models healthy relationships in a way that makes me want to shout "read this!" to people that need instruction on the matter. This is firmly a friends to more, with plenty of heart and complications that keep things moving and tension high. I think fans of this author team will be very happy, and get just what they were hoping for from this read.

Trade Deadline is another solid romance with emotional stakes and great communication.

Early Book Review: The Roommate Problem (Mile High Happiness) by Mariah Ankenman

The Roommate Problem is the third book in the Mile High Happiness series by Mariah Ankenman. While having read the previous books will give you a more rounded understanding of some of the characters, this book can stand up just fine on its own. It is currently scheduled for release on August 10 2020. 

To Moira “Mo” Rossi, the world is full of sunshine, goodness, and happily ever afters—so of course she figures finding the perfect roomie will be easy. But after four creepos who ask if benefits come with the room and one woman who claims she’s a vampire, Mo is officially desperate. So what if the guy she agrees to on paper ends up being the Derrick Downer to her Sally Sunshine in person? She’s the queen of making lemonade. August Porter expected his new roommate Mo to be like him—neat, practical, and oh yeah: male. Not the outrageous hippie with more stars in her eyes than there are in the sky. She’s infuriating, exasperating, his exact opposite in every possible way...and the bright ray of sunshine he didn’t even realize his gray world was missing. Suddenly, falling into bed with his roommate isn’t the worst idea he’s ever heard. Just falling in love with her is. But one of them is keeping a secret that could turn their opposite attraction into utter disaster. 

The Roommate Problem is a sweet and fun read. Mo and August are the quintessential odd couple. Mo is all optimism and joy, while August is very reserved and introverted. I loved seeing them get to know each other better and discover how they balanced and complimented each other. Their growth from rather adversarial roommates to a couple was fun and satisfying to read.  Both Mo and August grew, and their interactions varied from serious to seriously funny.  I will admit that I saw they major conflict coming- from far, far away- and mentally urged different choices several times. However, I think the way it was handle and the character development involved kept it interesting and engaging. 

The Roommate Problem is a solid romance that fans of the author and series will definitely want to read. 

Early Book Review: No Offense by Meg Cabot

No Offense
 by Meg Cabot is currently scheduled for release on August 11 2020. A broken engagement only gave Molly Montgomery additional incentive to follow her dream job from the Colorado Rockies to the Florida Keys. Now, as Little Bridge Island Public Library’s head of children’s services, Molly hopes the messiest thing in her life will be her sticky-note covered desk. But fate—in the form of a newborn left in the restroom—has other ideas. So does the sheriff who comes to investigate the “abandonment”.  When John Hartwell folds all six-feet-three of himself into a tiny chair and insists that whoever left the baby is a criminal, Molly begs to differ and asks what he’s doing about the Island’s real crime wave (if thefts of items from homes that have been left unlocked could be called that). Not the best of starts, but the man’s arrogance is almost as distracting as his blue eyes. John would be pretty irritated if one of his deputies had a desk as disorderly as Molly’s. Good thing she doesn’t work for him, considering how attracted he is to her. Molly’s lilting librarian voice makes even the saltiest remarks go down sweeter, which is bad as long as she’s a witness but might be good once the case is solved—provided he hasn’t gotten on her last nerve by then. Recently divorced, John has been having trouble adjusting to single life as well as single parenthood. But something in Molly’s beautiful smile gives John hope that his old life on Little Bridge might suddenly hold new promise—if only they can get over their differences. 
No Offense is a romance that has some of my favorite things. John is a single father that will do anything for his kid, including embarrass himself, and manages to be both protective and awkward. Molly is a bit too stereotype of he perfect children's librarian, and I say this as someone that has worked in the field and also has a slightly unhealthy attachment to some of my books. She is sweet and smart, with a need to help and protect her patrons. I did like the reality of working in a small library was touched on- like staff being the ones to check on bathroom disasters because of necessity, budget, and workplace politics. I liked some of the banter between Molly and John, I found the awkwardness to be charming and just what I remember loving from Cabot in the past. I thought the small town setting was played very well, and I liked the secondary characters. I liked the mystery angle, and thought the understanding and compassion shown in some characters was very well done (although over the top at times), while the judgement of others rubbed me wrong. I really enjoyed some aspects of the book, while others left me a feeling a bit 'meh'. It was still  a good read, and I am glad I requested the book from Netgalley and read it, but I think I might skip any future books set in this small town.

No Offense is a contemporary romance with a nice dose of mystery and a strong small town trope. I did not love it the way I have loved some books from Cabot in the past, but I still enjoyed the read.

Early Book Review: There Are Things I Can't Tell You by Edako Mofumofu

There Are Things I Can't Tell You by Edako Mofumofu is currently scheduled for release on July 21 2020. Kasumi and Kyousuke are polar opposites when it comes to personality. Kasumi is reserved, soft-spoken and shy; Kyousuke is energetic and has always been popular among their peers. As the saying goes though, opposites have a tendency to attract, and these two have been fast friends since elementary school. To Kasumi, Kyousuke has always been a hero to look up to, someone who supports him and saves him from the bullies. But now, school is over; their relationship suddenly becomes a lot less simple to describe. Facing the world - and one another - as adults, both men find there are things they struggle to say out loud, even to each other.

There Are Things I Can't Tell You 
is a friends to more romance in manga format. I found the slow reveal of each character's feelings, and the way they struggle with their own self esteem and attraction to each other is very well done. I also liked the secondary characters and the way the story unfolded.  Kasumi is shy, clumsy, and down on himself for the most part. Kyousuke seems to be outgoing and confident, but he is just as insecure as everyone else- he just hides it behind trying harder to be perfect and staying on what he thinks is the right path. Finding their happy ever after is hard, and most of the obstacles are their own perceptions of happiness and their ideas about societal views of right and wrong. The artwork is very well done, and adds emotion and detail to the story. I will warn readers that this is a romance and there are some sex scenes, which could get awkward if you are reading in public or have someone sneaking peeks at what you are reading. The illustrated format makes them a bit more obvious, so just be aware.

Early Book Review: High Heat (Hotshots, #2) by Annabeth Albert

High Heat is the second book in the Hotshots series by Annabeth Albert and is currently scheduled for release on July 27 2020. While it stands up well on its own, I do recommend reading the books in order for a better understanding of some of the characters.

Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type. Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all.

High Heat is an emotional read. Garrick is dealing with recovering from some serious injuries, and coming to terms with having to ask for help more than he ever. Rain is still trying to find his path and what he wants from the future. He thinks he knows, but is struggling to get where he wants to be. Neither is looking for anything from each other, which of course means they fall madly in lust and love even if they do not want to admit it. I love how discussions about what they want, Garrick's injury and recovery, and consent are all major aspects of the story and relationship. I thought the fears, discussion, and emotion were all realistically and thoughtfully handled. I will admit that I found the pace slowed a little and drifted a little more than half way through the story, but it picked back up and regained my full engagement quickly. I cannot wait for more from Albert.

High Heat is a great continuation of the Hotshots series, and I think fans of the author and genre will be eager for more.

Book Review: The Makeup Artist (Coffee) by Sophie Sinclar

The Makeup Artist is the second book in the Coffee series by Sophie Sinclar. It can be read as a stand alone, but returning readers will be glad to see characters that they know and will have a better understanding of the characters going in.

Sarah Bowen’s life is nothing like she thought it’d be ten years ago. She runs a successful lifestyle boutique with her two best friends, she’s the makeup artist to one of country’s hottest bands, and she’s in love with a womanizing heartthrob who doesn’t give her the time of day. After years of pining after Lex Ryan, she decides it’s finally her turn, even if it might ruin everything she’s worked for. Lex Ryan is the sexy Irish lead guitarist for the hottest country band in the States. He’s known as a serial dater, a commitment-phobe, a player who prefers one-night stands. His wild heart has zero plans of settling down—not even with the band’s makeup artist, Sarah Bowen. He’s vowed to keep his heart from falling for her. Until the band travels to Ireland where his past suddenly crashes into his present. They say wild hearts can’t be tamed. They never said they can’t be broken. 

The Makeup Artist is a well written romance, and a perfect follow up to Coffee Girl. Sarah is such an honestly nice character, with more strength than anyone gives her credit for. I enjoyed getting to know her, and her history, as she finds her footing with Lex. I do think that new comers to the series will see less depth in the relationship between Sarah and Lex than returning readers who have seen the time they have spent on tour together and some of their interactions. I thought that the obstacles that both Lex and Sarah have dealt with in the past, and their fears about the future are well done, and come together with their new conflict well. I like that respect for each other and their feelings runs so strong trough this series. Even when they do something based on fear, or simply foolish, concern for each other is part of the process. There are a few laughs, a few moments when I shook my head and mourned the choices being made, but I was fully engaged and invested in the journey. 

The Makeup Artist is another romance with a good balance of sweet, heat, and feels.

Early Book Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown
 by Talia Hibbert is currently scheduled for release on June 23 2020. Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his, um, thighs. 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a great contemporary romance with wonderfully flawed characters. I love the way even the secondary characters are fleshed out and given significant issues and lives of their own- making them feel real. Dani is a combination of strength, intelligence, and fearful insecurity that she keeps locked down hard. Zaf is my favorite kind of romance character- a sweetheart often more concerned with others than himself but still anxious and thought of as much tougher and hard than he really is. I loved watching the two discover more about each other and take this path together. They discover even more about themselves than each other, and the ride was full of feels. I really adored both characters and how real all of them felt, since none were perfect or unbearably flawed. I was left thinking about this group long after I finished the book, and was left very happy with the conclusion but still wanting more. I will be checking out the backlist and any future books from this author and fully expect to enjoy them just as much.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a friends to lovers romance with all the feels, and plenty of character development. I look forward to any future books with these characters.

Book Review: Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

Conventionally Yours 
by Annabeth Albert is the first book in the True Colors series. Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all, but in reality he's scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control. Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection but even he can't help but feel a little broken inside. When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way—even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

Conventionally Yours is a slow burn, frienemies to more romance. I really enjoyed the slow  reveal of the characters and their individual problems. The getting to know the characters as they really got to know each other was paced very well. Unraveling their fears and problems was intense and I felt for both of them as I took the road trip with them. I found the exploration of new adults facing very different crisis in their lives coming together and getting to better understand each other, and themselves hit me right in the feels. Conrad is always trying to hide his difficulties behind a happy face, not wanting anyone to see what he is going through while Alden just wants to find his place and be accepted as he is without being obsessed with labels. I enjoyed their banter and how well they balanced each other, and I could relate to much of the fear each had about the future and just figuring out who and what they want from it. I thought the neurodiversity and family problems in the book were handled very well, and acknowledged how varied experiences can be, and how people on all sides of the circumstances can react, for good or ill. 

Conventionally Yours is an engaging read with realistic characters. I enjoyed the read and will continue to read anything I find by this author.

Book Review: Honeymoon Alone by Nicole Macaulay

Honeymoon Alone by Nicole Macaulay is a contemporary romance. When irrepressibly romantic Lucy Gray is ditched at said wedding by her date in front of her whole family, the promises of a psychic seem better than her pity-riddled reality. The psychic’s advice seems insightful: stop ignoring fate’s signs – fate will lead you to love. But when “fate” leads Lucy to London, she finds herself tangled in a web of lies. In a story about finding independence and taking chances, Lucy learns that leaving everything up to fate can be dangerous – and jeopardize her chances at happily ever after.

Honeymoon Alone is a story that caught my attention right at the begin. Lucy is sweet, reliable, and tired. Everyone expects her to do what they need and while they care about her they never seem to think about what she wants, only what they think is best for her. I could very much relate to her position and emotional state. She takes a chance, takes an impromptu trip, and comedy, romance, and a dash of danger are the result. I like that all of the conflicts and bumbles felt completely natural, and rather like things that would happen to me. I like how the characters were all well developed an d that the story does not frame Lucy as incomplete without romance, but that it would simple not be unwelcome. In much of the book romance takes a back seat to figuring out just what was going on and enjoying Lucy's discovery of London. For those looking for steam, there is none of that here- nothing more than some kisses- but the journey is very much worth the read.

Honeymoon Alone as much a story about Lucy finding herself and figuring out what she wants. I enjoyed the story and am glad I requested it from NetGalley. 

Early Book Review: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon is currently scheduled for release on June 9 2020.  Samiah Brooks never thought she would be "that" girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she's been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other "girlfriends," London and Taylor, have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status. For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she's always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there's no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

The Boyfriend Project is a romance with extremely well formed characters. Some of the secondary characters, even those we only see briefly, reminded me of people I have dealt with in real life. Even better, I honestly liked Samiah and Daniel, and their closest friends/family, both as characters and people. Both have drive and compassion, wanting to get ahead but also wanting to do the right thing and help people. Seeing their interactions and how they dealt with everything that came their way was compelling and engaging from the very start. The story was very well built, and even when I had a notion as to what was coming next, and how things might go wrong I still very much enjoyed the ride. I am hoping to see more about London and Taylor in later books.

The Boyfriend Project is a practically perfect contemporary romance. I cannot wait to explore other books from the author.

Book Review: In His Kiss (Unrequited) by Ava Alise

In His Kiss is the first book in the Unrequited series by Ava Alise. "This was a mistake" were the words that sunk my entire world. Jordan should have been my first, he was already my everything. My best friend, my secret crush. We were closer than siblings. Our family's weaved together an intricate pattern of lines never meant to be crossed, until that night. We had a bit too much to drink and the heated way he stared at me made me feel that we could finally be something more. Things got a little out of hand and once the kissing started I didn't want it to stop. The time felt right and I gathered courage and told him how I felt. If only I knew how awkward things would be the next morning.

In His Kiss 
is a book that had me almost constantly holding my breath waiting for something horrible to happen- and each time the the issue was less horrible than I expected. It is emotionally charged and draining, but in the best way. Xia and Jordan have been best friends forever, and each crushing on the other almost as long. When things heat up the insecurities and family struggles they each have are the first barriers to their happiness, but not the last. I do love that they talk to each other, even if they delay it too often. There is just so much going on for all the characters, and one of the twists I considered right away- but some of the moments were really unexpected. Their friends and family are also well developed, and have so much going on in their own stories. I will admit that there were moments that I found Xia and her reactions to be immature, but this is also about college age characters and their is self-awareness about maturity levels that really balanced out those moments of annoyance.  I am invested in this circle of individuals, and am very much looking forward to the next book, which the afterward promised me. 

In His Kiss is an intense read with a happy ending. I enjoyed the read and look forward to more.

Book Review: Coffee Girl (Coffee) by Sophie Sinclair

Coffee Girl is the first book in a contemporary romance series by Sophie Sinclair. Mackenzie “Kiki” Forbes finds herself in a pickle. Either become her snarky sister’s nanny, or move halfway across the country to work as assistant-to-the-stylist of a country music star. Neither job sounds ideal, although bedazzling cowboy boots may be a hell of a lot more interesting than ironing her brother-in-law’s underwear. But life on the road as the errand coffee girl for a sold-out tour leaves much to be desired. That is, until Kiki meets her sinfully sexy new boss’s boss. Tatum Reed’s career is flying high. He’s up for country music’s Entertainer of the Year and he’s headed out on a nationwide sold-out tour. So why does he feel like it’s all about to implode? His superstar ex-girlfriend seems determined to make his life difficult, his opening act is a handful, and the new girl on his tour, the feisty brunette, is quickly getting under his skin. In this crazy world of show business Tatum needs to learn who he can trust, but that doesn’t come easily, because the one person who holds all the cards may just throw them down and walk away.

Coffee Girl is a book that captured my attention pretty quickly. It started off great, Kiki and her reactions were both sweet and snarky in turn. Her situation, and reactions, were well done and relatable. I liked Tatum too. He is smart and funny, and despite talking a good game he was sweet and just as vulnerable as Kiki. I liked the set up, and how they handled it. The cast of secondary characters were very well done, and I was engaged in their well-being. I will admit that I shared some of the annoyance as the secondary characters with Kiki's self doubt. and that there were a few moments that I felt like the pacing stumbled. However, I think the characters and the crisis of the romance were very well planned- and I really liked how respect for each other and the bonds of friendship were important aspects of the story.  

Coffee Girl is a solid romance that balances laughs, angst, and heat.

Book Review: Gut Feeling by Victoria Browne

Gut Feeling by Victoria Browne is a contemporary romance. Ashleigh Lands has given up the chance for a new life in America with her family, choosing to stay in London with her boyfriend, Lee Preston. When Lee cheats on her and quickly becomes an ex-boyfriend, Ashleigh loses herself in work and alcohol. Five months later, however, she’s ready for change and decides to reach for a new, empowered self. When window glazier Dave Croft shows up for a job at the dental practice where Ashleigh works, the two hit it off immediately. Ashleigh is elated—has her luck in love finally changed? Can she trust her gut feeling?

Gut Feeling left me with mixed feelings. I like that Ashleigh and Dave are each working towards being better people and opening themselves to each other, and that they both have issues to resolve. I liked the supportive friends and some of the intrigue brought on by the friends, ex's, and siblings. However, I quickly got annoyed with Ashleigh and her constant second guessing herself and putting herself down and equating having a man in her life as success. I understood some of it, and related to some of it. I hate conflict and confrontation too, but there are times when it is the best option for everyone involved- and the soon you do it the better.  They do have heart to heart talks, but the majority of the worries that they each have do not get around to talking about. There were several times that I almost put the book down, but I still have trouble doing that.
Gut Feeling is a romance with plenty on introspection and good secondary characters.

Early Book Review: Finding Mr. Right Next Door (Firefighters of Station 1) by Sarah Ballance

Finding Mr. Right Next Door is the second book in the Firefighters of Station 1 series by Sarah Ballance and currently scheduled for release on May 11 2020. You can read each book as a stand alone, but there a few spoilers if you read out of order.

For Lexi Dean, burning down her kitchen was disaster enough. Agreeing to move in next door with her totally off-limits best friend, Matt Freeman, until her house is livable again? They’ve always been close, but this is ridiculous. If she’s not bumping into him at the refrigerator, he’s at the front door giving her date the third degree. And slipping between his borrowed sheets? That’s about as distracting as listening to his shower run, because suddenly all she can think about is rivulets of water cascading down is spectacular body—the one he seems to be going out of his way to make sure she notices. Not that it matters. He can flaunt his firefighter abs around her all he wants. They already share everything—their jobs, their friends, their backyard, even their dog—and that means only one thing: Lexi is not going to risk losing any of it by dipping a single toe in the temptation that is Matt Freeman. Lexi may not know how to handle a fire extinguisher, but this is one fire that just might burn them both if they’re not careful.

Finding Mr. Right Next Door is a contemporary romance that I have mixed feelings about. I felt bad for Lexi on occasion, her friends seem to tease her constantly and self esteem and having an uncomfortable conversation seem beyond her. Matt is painted as almost too perfect, aside from his worries about losing Lexi's friendship. There are some funny moments, some heat, and lots of me shaking my head. I liked the secondary characters and thought some of the book was very well written. However, despite a few attempts at talking it out that were shot down and avoided, I was so annoyed with the fact that two people that had supposedly been best friends forever could not just sit down and talk. I get the fear of wrecking a friendship with a romantic relationship, but how can you even have a friendship if you are not willing to talk to each other?

Finding Mr. Right Next Door is a friends to more romance that will appeal to fans of the author and series.

Early Book Review: A Secret for a Secret (All In) by Helena Hunting

A Secret for a Secret is the third book in the All In series by Helena Hunting. Each book can be enjoyed as part of the series or on its own. It is currently scheduled for release on May  12 2020. 

My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars. Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie. I got drunk. And picked up a stranger. Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place. She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her. Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team. And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.
A Secret for a Secret is a sports romance with humor, heat, and heart. Ryan looks and acts like a boy scout, but his family life and history is not as perfect as anyone looking at him would suspect. Queenie feels like she is an utter mess, and has little faith in herself. When a one night stand has to change into a working relationship the battle really starts. I liked watching them come together, and get to know themselves and each other better. I could understand both of their frustrations, self doubt, and concern for each other. I did see a couple of the twists coming, but just enough so that I wanted to warn the characters to spare them the confrontations and additional angst.  As a fan of the author I loved getting to see past characters come into play. 
A Secret for a Secret is another great book from Hunting. Fans will need to add this to their collection. 

Book Review: Daisy Does it Herself by Gracie Player

Daisy Does it Herself by Gracie Player is a contemporary romance. When 26-year-old Daisy's life in London comes crashing down around her, the only thing she can think of is getting away - far away. That's how she found herself stumbling off a train in England's picturesque Peak District - 150 miles from home, with no idea why she'd gone there and even less idea how she intended to get home.  But as Daisy explores the gorgeous village of Upper Finlay, she glimpses the possibility of a different life. The Derbyshire Dales offer up new friends, new opportunities, and a distractingly dishy object of attraction in the form of local bookstore owner Alex (and his bumbling Great Dane.) When Daisy discovers Alex’s business is in trouble she steps in to save the day. But London's Calling - literally. The life Daisy ran away from is calling her back. Why then, is she so reluctant to heed its call? 

Daisy Does it Herself is a wonderful look at a woman that has been belittled and talked down to for so long that she has come to believe herself mediocre. A really bad day, and a less than stellar relationship, land her in a used bookstore with a hunky owner, and a new look at life. The story is just as much about Daisy finding herself, making friends and exploring her interests, as it is about her choosing her future. The story is sweet, and has some unexpected plot points along the way. I really liked seeing Daisy decide what she wanted, and explore her passions, rather than just following the path everyone expected from her. I liked the way she developed friendships, not just the possibilities for romance. I would have liked to see some of the story from Alex's point of view. However, since he is fairly straightforward and honest about how he feels throughout the book it was not really needed, but there were some moments that I would have liked to see from his perspective. 

Daisy Does it Herself is a charming read that is as much of a personal journey for Daisy as it is a romance.

Book Review: Savage Hunger (Savage) by Lisa Renee Jones

Savage Hunger is the first book in the Savage trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones. Rick Savage, but they call him Savage and for a reason. He can make you laugh and then rip your heart out. No one knows that more than me, Candace Marks, the woman he left bleeding from the heart. I loved him. Lord help me, I’ve never stopped loving him. Now, I’m engaged to another man, a brutal man I’m trapped into marrying, when to my shock, Savage returns home. Savage who I haven't heard from in years. I want to hate him. I have ever reason to hate him, but I can’t. I still love him and I fear he will save me just to leave me bleeding one last time. He stirs my desires, a dark, delicious, and dangerous man destined to hurt me and leave me. This time I’m not sure I'll survive.

Savage Hunger is a book that started off checking off all the right boxes. The characters were are multidimensional and the second chance aspect and danger were well played. I liked the secondary characters, which fans of the author will recognize from the Walker series. The chemistry level was high, and there was a good balance of sweet and intrigue. However, I was not aware going in that this was not going to be the start of the story. I felt like just when things were starting to click into place and I was really rooting for our couple, and considering finding the other series because I like the secondary characters, the book ended. Not at a happy for now kind of spot, but at the start of an action scene! If the description had warned me, or maybe if I had read the related series, I might have been prepared, but I was not. So, I highly recommend that you pick up the whole series and have the next ready to go if you are going to read this. Now, you have been given the warning I was not. It rather ruined some of my good feeling toward the book and left me a bit frustrated. 
Savage Hunger is a book with plenty of angst, but it is just the start of this couple's story. Be prepared with the following books, or the need to find them.

Book Review: Ruthless Bastard (Dangerous Love) by Stacey Kennedy

Ruthless Bastard is the third book in the Dangerous Love series by Stacey Kennedy. While part of a series, and returning readers will get more out of the read than newcomers, it can be enjoyed as a stand alone as well. Bar owner Kinsley Knight knows exactly what she wants: Rhett West. How could she resist over six feet of hard, trained physical perfection? Never mind that she's been in love with the guy since high school, or that she's the "kid sister" of his best friend. Never mind that one unforgettably intense and heated night they shared-and the unexpected consequences. But Rhett can't afford to get distracted by the mind-blowingly hot night he spent with Kinsley, or the insatiable hunger he still feels for her. She's off-limits. Especially now that Rhett's been investigating the members of a vicious biker gang who have invaded his town, and they're intent on putting Kinsley out of business-permanently. Suddenly, all of Rhett's protective instincts have taken over. Because no one threatens Kinsley on his watch. Not now. Not ever. And Rhett's ruthless enough to protect Kinsley no matter the cost. Even if it means risking his heart.
Ruthless Bastard is a good friends to lovers romance, with plenty of danger and heat to keep readers interested. I have not read the previous books, which is surprising since I enjoy the author's style, so I did not have the background knowledge of the characters. However, I think the book does a good job of illustrating the character relationships and dynamics so that new readers would be able to catch up fairly quickly. I really liked Rhett's character and how he was doing his best and wanted to protect those around him, even from himself. I will admit that I was a little annoyed with the descriptions of Kinsley as so 'not like other girls'. She is low maintenance, understands the demands of law enforcement and the military on others, and owns a bar- so clearly different from all the other girls. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it might not even come across this way to others, but it started wearing on me during the read. I did like the arc of her coming together with Rhett, and I liked the mystery and danger involved. Although, I did make several guesses about who was involved with what early on, and was proven right. The clues to this seemed a little too obvious, but I read almost as many mysteries as romances so I am often looking pretty hard for that sort of thing. As a whole I enjoyed the read, but a couple personal preferences made it an okay read rather than the winner that I was really expecting from the author.
Ruthless Bastard is an engaging contemporary romance. Fans of the author and the series will definitely want to pick this one up. 

Book Review: The Family We Make by Dan Wingreen

The Family We Make by Dan Wingreen is a contemporary romance. Spencer Kent gave up on love a long time ago. As a twenty-eight-year-old single father with a fourteen-year-old son, Connor, he knows his appeal to the average gay man is limited, and when you factor in his low self-esteem and tendencies towards rudeness and sarcasm, it might as well be nonexistent. But that’s okay. A man is the last thing Spencer needs or wants.Tim Ellis’s life is falling apart around him. After four years of hard work at college, he finds himself blacklisted from the career of his dreams by the professor he refused to sleep with and abandoned by the boyfriend he thought he was going to marry. Even though he was lucky enough to land a job at a bakery, he still feels like a failure.Tim and Spencer’s first meeting is filled with turbulent misunderstanding, but Tim makes a connection with Connor through a Big Brother/Big Sister program, and both men put aside their mutual dislike for his sake. By letting go, they may help each other find their way into a life they never could have imagined.

The Family We Make is a sweet romance that spends as much time on character development as it does the romance. I enjoyed how well developed the major and secondary characters were. I also thought knowing the inner insecurities and anxieties of both Time and Spencer made their relationship and interactions even sweeter.  This book ticked all the boxes for what I enjoy in a slow burn, friends to lovers romance, and a single father romance. I loved getting to know the characters, and thought everything was very well done. However, I have to admit that for some reason I just never connected with the story. At about the halfway point I started to get bored. I kept reading, because I did want to see how it all played out and I wanted to see the HEA- but I caught myself skimming descriptions and Spencer's latest worries until the end. I am not sure if I just was not in the mood for the book or style because I could find nothing actually wrong with the book. It just left me a little uninterested by the end.
The Family We Make is an emotional romance that hits several great tropes, and has very well developed characters. 

Early Book Review: She Loves Me (Harmony Pointe) by Melissa Foster

She Loves Me is the third book in the Harmony Pointe series by Melissa Foster and currently scheduled for release on April 21 2020. You do not need to read the series in order to enjoy the read. However, there are connected characters and all of the books are pretty great, so if you enjoy one you might want to read them all anyway.

Something is off in Piper Dalton’s life, and she has a feeling it might just be her. All her siblings are blissfully settled with their forever loves. But while her sisters were dreaming of white weddings, Piper was left heartbroken and commitment phobic by her first love, her best friend’s younger brother. As a woman dominating the male-driven construction industry, Piper has no interest in turning in her hammer for an apron—even if hot and hilarious Harley thinks otherwise. Burly bar owner Harley Dutch has a bum ankle and two preteen nieces to take care of, and having his best friend, tough-as-nails and sexy-as-sin Piper Dalton, come to his rescue is just the remedy he needs. Piper is her snarky self, and she kind of sucks at caregiving, but she’s owned his heart for years, she’s got a way with the girls, and Harley would sure like to have his way with her. As things heat up between Piper and Harley, she warns him not to fall in love with her because she’ll only break his heart. Harley is the right man for that challenge—until he makes the biggest mistake of his life, and they begin to wonder if true love really can conquer all.
She Loves Me is a book I have been eager for, since I have loved the previous Harmony Point books and the related series. I have wanted Harley and Piper's story since I first met them, but readers that have never read a book from Foster will still be able to enjoy the read and get just as lost in their story. I love Piper, she is tough as nails but still so very vulnerable- just so used to hiding it. Harley is a big guy, always looking out for the people in his life, and any underdog. They have been dancing around each other for years, and events finally make it the perfect time for Harley to make his move. I love how they already know each other so well, but readers get a better look at them both. The respect and effort they each show in the process of figure each other, and themselves, out is an engaging story with some heart rending moments but plenty of sweet and heat as well. I simply loved Piper's character so much, her insecurities and less than stellar coping mechanisms spoke to me, as did how sweet and caring she was toward others even when she could not see it herself. There were moments when I thought Harley was a little too perfect, but the teasers for where Foster might focus her attentions next fixed some of that and made me ready to read on as soon as the next book is released.
She Loves Me is a solid contemporary romance with a good balance of heart and heat. Fans of the author will definitely want to read it.