Monday, May 16, 2022

REVIEW: Stone Cold by Winter Renshaw

 

 


OUR REVIEW:

Stone Cold is the second Winter Renshaw novel I've read and I'm convinced that I need to find the time and money to read everything else she's written. In both novels, I found myself immediately absorbed into the story and before I knew it it was time to go to sleep...only to wake up and inhale the last half of the novel.

In Stone Cold, Jovie and Stone are seemingly frenemies. She dated his best friend, Stone seemed to barely tolerate her, the break up happens and they all disappear from each other's lives until years later when a social media snafu happens and these two find each other again. This commences a very slow burn (though to be fair, I read this so fast that it didn't feel all that slow) built off of direct messages, friendly encounters, some reminiscing, and dates that aren't dates but are dates? Interspersed between these scenes is the back story of how Jovie and Stone are connected and how they really felt about each other all of those years ago. 

There wasn't one part I didn't love. I enjoyed their story, their banter, their chemistry, their personality quirks and traits and just how much they each seemed to enjoy and respect each other. Stone Cold may not delve into the deepest of issues but I truly enjoyed the escape that it offered and am looking forward to reading more of Winter Renshaw's work.






Amazon 






















From #1 Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Winter Renshaw comes a scorching hot forbidden romance ...


The most humiliating moment of my life begins with an early morning message from my ex’s notoriously heartless best friend.


Jovie—


In no way does this mean my opinion of you has changed.


I’m reaching out because sometime in the middle of last night you tagged yourself in Jude and Stassi’s engagement photo.


I don’t care if you were drunk or it was unintentional. I suggest you remove it immediately since the wedding is in two months (which I’m sure you know since you were clearly FB stalking them). The damage is done, but no reason to make things more awkward.


You’re welcome.


Stone


I waste no time removing my accidental tag before the sharp-tongued novelist in me fires off a response to the man who harbored extreme and inexplicable hatred of me during the three years I dated his best friend in college.


Only I didn’t expect him to respond.


And nothing could have prepared me for what he would say …


… or for all the ways this gorgeous villain with cruel icy blues would become the biggest plot twist my life had ever known.










Stone



The Hannaford Supermarket is packed on this Friday afternoon. I imagine we’re all doing the same thing; ditching work a couple of hours early, grabbing some dinner items, and heading home to kick off our weekend. I wonder if this is what Paul meant when he told me there’s no such thing as a unique experience.

I tuck a six pack of Heineken beneath my arm and head for the meat counter to grab a porterhouse and half a pound of stuffed mushrooms.

“I mean, what would you feed a dog if you had one?” A pony-tailed blonde in neon blue yoga pants asks a pimple-faced butcher.

“I don’t have a dog, ma’am,” he says, his Adam’s apple bobbing.

“But if you did though,” she says.

“I’d probably feed him kibble, ma’am.” His eyes shift toward the long line forming behind her.

“I guess I’ll just take two sirloins,” she says. “The eight ounce, not the five.”

The young man wraps the steak in brown paper for her before sealing it with a sticker.

“Anything else?” he asks.

“That’ll be all, thank you,” she says before taking the package, turning on her heel—and walking right into me. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.”

In her defense, I was probably standing a little too closer, but the little old lady behind me kept inching closer to me, which made me inch closer to her and it became a big circle jerk of inching.

“Jesus,” I mutter under my breath when our eyes catch.

I’d know those Pacific ocean blues anywhere, the ones so effervescent they almost make me forget it’s been about a week and a half since I ignored her last message.

“Jovie,” I say.

“Stone?” She squints, as if she doesn’t believe her eyes. Then again, I imagine I look slightly different than I did five years ago. Shorter hair. More muscles. Dressier clothes. Bigger big dick energy …

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

The little old lady behind me clears her throat, and I motion for her to go around me.

“I’m watching my neighbor’s dog and he’s refusing to eat. I think he’s depressed. I thought maybe if I got him a steak …” she shrugs. “What are you doing here? I thought you were in Baltimore?”

She remembered …

Our senior year in college, I was accepted into the University of Maryland School of Law that upcoming fall.

“Yeah,” I say. “I was offered a position up here from one of my law professors who was opening a practice here.”

Her lips inch into a wistful yet friendly smile. I’m sure it’s strange seeing me here—of all people. Or maybe she’s looking at me but thinking about Jude. It’s hard to tell. I imagine seeing me all these years later rustles up some old memories she wasn’t prepared to think about at the grocery store on a Friday afternoon.

The last time I hung out with Jovie was before the ill-fated Tulum trip. We were sitting around eating burnt frozen pizza from the campus convenience mart and downing cheap beer. And if that weren’t enough, Jovie forced us to play some God-awful card game where we had to shout certain phrases and clap and make fools of ourselves, but by the end of the night I was drunk enough to actually enjoy it.

The last thing I remember before passing out on the living room couch that evening was Jovie covering me with a blanket before adjusting my pillow so I wouldn’t have a kink in my neck.

I mumbled something to her about not being half bad.

She replied with a coy, “Yeah, I know.”

Everything turned black after that.

Who’d have ever thought that would’ve been the last time we’d hang out, the three of us?

Certainly not me.

I doubt Jude did either.

“You know, I’m still waiting for you to reply to that last message,” she winks and crinkles her nose. “You left me on a cliffhanger.”

“I didn’t feel like answering it.” And it’s the truth.

“That’s your prerogative, I guess.”

I’ll admit, I debated sending her another clever deflection last week, but then I got busy with work and decided it was best just to leave it alone. Besides, some things are better left unsaid.

“You know Jude lives here too,” I say, leaving out any mention of Stassi because it goes without saying.

She lifts her brows. “Okay …”

“You haven’t run into him yet?” I swear he’s never home. Stassi’s always got him running to this festival or that concert or this new restaurant.

She shakes her head, her ponytail flicking over her shoulders.

“I’ve only been here about a year,” she says. “I moved here with my ex … and I guess I haven’t gotten around to leaving yet.”

My chest tightens at the idea of Jovie being with someone new, some faceless pencil dick who probably doesn’t deserve her. From the second time we met, I knew she could never be mine. But even after Jude left her, I never once stopped to picture her with someone new. No need to torture myself.

We linger in silence for a beat, as if neither of us wants to go, yet there’s nothing more to be said.

Her full mouth curls at the sides, flanked by two perfect dimples as she stares up at me through a fringe of curled lashes. I’ve known far too many people who let themselves go after college. The stress of a corporate gig, a robust travel schedule, and a social life that revolves around drinking on the weekends tends to do that to a person. But Jovie looks even more beautiful than she did the night I first saw her.

There’s a calmness about her, as if these last several years in the real world have given her the kind of education she couldn’t get from a four-year institution.

Jovie waves her package of steaks. “I should probably get home and feed Domino.”

“Right.” I rake my hand along my jaw, taking her in for what very well might be the last time.

“It was nice seeing you though.”

Most of the time, when people say that, they never mean it.

“You too,” I say.

She walks away, turning back once more. “You should really think about answering my question …”

“Not a chance.”

She laughs before spinning on her heel and heading to the front of the store to check out.

A moment later, I realize I’m standing there wearing a dopey grin. I’m sure I look like a damn lunatic.

I wipe the expression off my face, get back in line, and order my filet mignon.

Years ago, I used to wonder what would be worse: Jude and Jovie getting married and me having to spend the rest of my life watching my best friend live happily ever after with her? Or Jude sending Jovie packing and me never having to see her again.

It never occurred to me that there could ever be anything in between.

Now I know.

Only I don’t know how I feel about it.

None of these scenarios end with me getting the girl.






















































Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.


And if you'd like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here ---> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

ICYMI COVER REVEAL: Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan

 

"Award-winning and bestselling "powerhouse" author Kennedy Ryan is at her absolute best in this compelling, scorching novel about hope and healing, and what it truly means to love for a lifetime."–USA Today 
Before I Let Go, an all-new compelling second chance romance and the first book in the new Skyland Series from USA Today bestselling and RITA® Award-winning author @kennedyryan1 is coming November 15th, and we have your first look inside this epic romance!

BeforeILetGoCover

Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.

It couldn’t save their marriage.

Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she's finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.

Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another . . . and then more. It's hot. It's illicit. It's all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?

Reserve your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Fk8s6I
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Nook Audio: https://bit.ly/3yfsk9j

Keep reading for your first look inside Before I Let Go

The dress’s zipper stubbornly stays put at the middle of my back.
Screw it.
I’ll ask the hostess to zip me up.
I grab my stuff and leave the bathroom just as the outer office door opens and Josiah walks in. His glance skitters over me, starting with my hair and sliding to my bare toes.
“Sorry. I didn’t realize you were in here,” he says.
Josiah’s face is interesting enough to make handsome look mundane, though the man is undeniably fine. The kind of fine that makes you lose your train of thought mid sentence and bite your lip. Gorgeous dark skin gleams, pulled taut over the high sculpted bones of his face. To be so controlled, nearly austere, there is something boundless about his presence. Standing here with him, that energy, an amalgamation of ambition and audacity and swagger, swirls around us in the office. It’s like being corked into a bottle with a typhoon.
His brows lift, querying. I’m staring.
“Oh.” I turn my back to him, as much to recover my composure as to get my zipper up. “It’s stuck. Can ya help?”
He doesn’t answer, and his steps are so quiet I barely hear him cross the room, so the heat of his body warming my exposed skin startles me. The backs of his fingers brush over my spine as he pulls the zipper. It doesn’t budge at first, so he has to tug. Even just that whisper of a touch reminds my skin how to goose-bump. I glance over my shoulder and up, my breath hitching when our eyes collide. The air around us practically crackles, charged with a familiar current I’d forgotten was even possible.
He clears his throat and slides the zipper to the top. “There you go.”
I turn to face him and am unprepared for how close he stands. I’m barefoot and my view narrows to the broad chest and shoulders of the man in front of me. We’re not alone like this often anymore, leading separate lives that only intersect at our kids and our business. Kassim and Deja are usually around, or staff, friends, coaches, teachers. It’s rarely just us. We used to know each other better than anyone. Now I’m not even sure what he watches in the little free time he has away from this place, or if he even watches TV at all.
“Have you seen Ozark?” I ask.
The thick line of his brows dips. “Nah. Should I?”
“It’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in a really long time. The acting, directing. The writing is stellar.” I’m rambling. I want to shove a sock in my mouth to make it stop running.
“I’ll have to, uh . . . check it out.” He glances at the door. “I need to get back.”
“Yeah.” I reach into the bottom of my suit bag to grab my green heels, bending to slip them on. “I gotta go too.”
He runs a thorough glance from my head to my shoes. “You look . . . nice.”
“Nice?” I scoop up the suit bag, now stuffed with my clothes, and speed to the door, grinning over my shoulder. “Pfftt. I look amazing.”
He shakes his head, allowing a small smile. “You look amazing. Have a good time.”
“I’ll try not to be out too late. And don’t let the kids stay up all night, Si. They have school tomorrow.”
“Like I’m the pushover parent.”
We both know he is, so I just stare at him until his smile broadens to that startling brightness that will snatch your breath if you let it. “Get outta here. I’ll see you at the house.”
The house.
Not home. Not the dream home we worked for and fantasized about for years. Now it’s just the house where the kids and I live. Josiah’s in the same neighborhood, but a few streets over. I’m not sure why my thoughts keep revisiting the past tonight when my reflection, my mindset, everything has “future” written all over it.

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3ygKmIm

Cover Art and Design by Natasha Cunningham

Check out Kennedy’s interview with Entertainment Weekly >> https://bit.ly/3PgLkdS

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® and Audie® Award winner, USA Today bestselling author Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish, and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts. Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, TIME, O magazine, and many others. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

Connect with Kennedy

Text KennedyRyan to 797979 for release alerts!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting

 


OUR REVIEW:

I'm really enjoying these Spark sisters and their sweet romances. In Starry-Eyed Love, we get to know London a little better; we get to see that her creative side is where her heart really is, despite her being the main business/finance person in the trio of sisters. We also discover that that role is a major stressor and one that she no longer wants to really be a part of; but before she can walk away she has to get Avery to agree--seemingly mission impossible. While trying to figure that out, she's offered a fantastic opportunity to pitch to partner their boutique hotel with a huge media company that seems to have the same vision for a greener, more sustainable future. Cue lots of anxious hours of prep for London and a meeting in which a man she turned down at the bar turns out to be the CEO of the company. One pitch later, and may the romance begin! These two could not be more perfectly matched. Their chemistry is immediately evident and it was fun to see the natural evolution of their relationship; to see them both move outside of their comfort zones and allow themselves to finally let someone 'in'. Of course there are some hiccups along the way, some painful moments, but thankfully, those moments were short and led us to a sweet happily ever after. 


In addition to the love story, I really appreciated the exploration of the family business and the stressors it can cause. I also enjoyed the exploration of London's anxiety and her creativity and how those things worked in her life. Rather than sugarcoat everything, Hunting shows us conflict and resolution and how challenging family business can be.


I'm enjoying this series and am really looking forward to Harley finding her HEA.

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/35THHIT

SYNOPSIS:

Having just broken up with her boyfriend, London Spark is not in the mood to be hit on. Especially not when she’s out celebrating her single status with her sisters. So when a very attractive man pays for their drinks and then slips her his number, she passes it right back to him with a ‘thanks, but no thanks’. As the business administrator for their family’s event hotel, the Spark House, London has more important things to worry about, like bringing in new clientele.

As luck would have it, a multi-million-dollar company calls a few months later asking for a meeting to discuss a potential partnership, and London is eager to prove to her sisters, and herself, that she can land this deal. Just when she thinks she has nailed her presentation, the company’s CEO, Jackson Holt, walks in and inserts himself into the meeting. Not only that, but he also happens to be the same guy she turned down at the bar a few months ago.

As they begin to spend more time together, their working relationship blossoms into something more. It isn’t until their professional entanglements are finally over, that London and Jackson are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship. But between Jackson’s secretive past and London’s struggle with her sisters, London must question where she really stands - not just with Jackson, but with the Spark House, too.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

REVIEW: Society of Psychos by Caroline Peckham + Susanne Valenti

 

 
 
Book One: The Death Club 
 

OUR REVIEW: 
 
I don't think I've properly stated this, but reverse harem novels are my absolute jam. I have hardly been reading anything else, with only a few "regular" romances in between and I have to say that I am absolutely obsessed! And no one does this particular trope better than The Twisted Sisters themselves Caroline + Susanne. 
 
This particular novel is part 2 in a duet, so DO NOT READ IT AS A STANDALONE! You will regret it! And you will regret not getting these books ASAP! Because this crew is absolutely psycho and I love it about them! Brooklyn, Niall, Mateo and Angry Jack are the jolliest bunch of assholes I've been in a while, but they're so very unapologetic about it that we can't hardly be mad...and there are much worse villains than them out there, especially in this world (BTW, if you're familiar or even if you aren't Niall is Kyan from Kings of Quarantine's Uncle so we get a little bit of novel world cross over for us and that is just awesome
 
There's madness and mayhem and the best slow burn we've had in a long time, to be honest...but I find that it's been very enjoyable. Brooklyn is a wild card of a girl, but she has an air of innocence about her 
that makes this burn make sense and necessary. Caroline + Susanne really gave us what we want though, and that makes this duet so good! And me obsessed with working through their back log nonstop even if it hurts soooooo goooooood!!! 
 
I don't want to spoil this series, but did you note the part about madness and mayhem? That is Niall in a nutshell, and he is my favorite and I'm sticking to it! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

REVIEW: Reason to Believe by Rebecca Yarros

    

 

 
  REASON TO BELIEVE by Rebecca Yarros 

  Release Date: April 26th   
  AVAILABLE NOW!! Amazon: https://amzn.to/36CZmVn 
  

 

OUR REVIEW:

Reason to Believe was the perfect weekend read. Perfect. I was immediately interested in the story of Knox and Harper and their "forbidden" love story. I appreciated that Yarros gave us a little of their history so that we understood why Knox was so insistent on avoiding his feelings for her but then she immediately put us in present day and plunged us right into the conundrum they found themselves in--she's in his space with two small children--and their inability to resist each other for long. While I tried really hard to appreciate Knox's loyalty to Harper's brother, I was so glad that he decided to sort himself out because there was absolutely no denying that they loved and needed each other--things they freely admitted, even when they hadn't yet made the leap to trying to have a real relationship. Once he figured things out, the transition from friends to lovers was only slightly angsty and so very rewarding. Also rewarding was the very realistic storyline of the boys Harper and Knox agreed to foster. Having a close friend who is living through this process, I really appreciated the attention to detail and the emotion of it all; it all felt very real and hit close to home. Added to all of this, the story of the hot shots and their ongoing journey to get certified and following them as they train and also fight fires, kept the pages flying. All three of these plot points-the romance, fostering, and the hot shots--blended well and held my attention so much so that I don't think I put my kindle down as I was reading. 


This is the first full length novel in this series--there are two novella length reads that have come before and I'll most definitely be circling back to those in anticipation of more of the Legacy Series to come. Reason to Believe is a quick, romantic, five star read. 


  Blurb: “I’ll take them!” That’s what I tell the social worker when my pre-k student and his baby brother need an emergency foster placement. I’ll do anything to keep the brothers from being split up. But my apartment’s flooded and there’s only one house I can take them to on such short notice…his. Knox Daniels, my older brother’s best friend, offers his new place without hesitation. He’s not moving back to our tiny town until next month—that’s when all our hotshot firefighters are returning for their one and only chance to rebuild our fathers’ fallen, iconic crew. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been silently in love with Knox since we were kids. It can’t matter that we pretend that reckless prom night kiss never happened. It won’t matter that my feelings for him could destroy his lifelong friendship with my brother and threaten the certification of their hotshot crew. Because I’ll be out of his house long before he gets back. Except Knox just walked in…a month early. And the icing on this awkward cake? He’s gorgeous as always and I’m covered in baby puke. He takes one look at the boys and tells me we can make this work— We can temporarily fake a relationship to keep them from being separated by the system. Suddenly, everything matters.       

  About the Author: Rebecca Yarros is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, including Great and Precious Things and The Last Letter. “A gifted storyteller” (Kirkus), she is also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series. Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for almost twenty years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with three of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time while guzzling coffee. She and her family live in Colorado with their stubborn English bulldogs, two feisty chinchillas, and a Maine Coon kitten named Artemis, who rules them all. Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October, which she co-founded with her husband in 2019. To learn more about their mission to better the lives of kids in foster care, visit www.oneoctober.org. To catch up on Rebecca’s latest releases and upcoming novels, including The Things We Leave Unfinished, which just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, visit www.RebeccaYarros.com.   

  Connect w/Rebecca: 
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