Monday, August 31, 2020

REVIEW: Drive by Kate Stewart


Drive scooped out my insides and left me hollow; I honestly still feel a little hollow now that it's all over which is weird because I was fine with how it ended. I mean it's a romance and there's an HEA but it felt like I was tormented by the love story all the way to the end and so when I got there I was still all achy and shit. I'm actually still feeling all achy and shit because this love story just fucked me up and I'm not quite ready to let it go. I feel like there's more of their story to tell--though I'm fairly certain by the way Kate Stewart ended it that it's over, I guess I can hope that one of the secondary characters gets to have a story and I can spy on the other characters that way. 

I absolutely love that Kate Stewart made a love story whose protagonist is just like many of us--a huge fan of music--and gave her a storyline that was beautiful and complicated and captured how many of us connect with music and lyrics, how we feel it down to our bones, how we love the back story of a band as much as we love what they show us. I found Stella's plight to be so relatable and heartbreaking and heartwarming that I could not look away from it. 

I absolutely love this novel and I hope that everyone I know who loves music and love stories as much as I do reads it.



Music . . . the heart’s greatest librarian.

The average song is three and a half minutes long; those three and a half minutes could lead to a slow blink, a glimpse of the past, or catapult the soul into heart-shattering nostalgia.

At the height of my career, I had the life I wanted, the life I’d always envisioned. I’d found my tempo, my rhythm. Then I received a phone call that left me off key.

You see, my favorite songs had a way of playing simultaneously. I was in love with one man’s beats and another’s lyrics. But when it came to the soundtrack of a life, how could anyone choose a favorite song? So, to erase any doubt, I ditched my first-class ticket and decided to take a drive, fixed on the rearview.

Two days.

One playlist.

And the long road home to the man who was waiting for me.

Here To Stay by Adriana Herrera



I came for the romance and I stayed many things, y'all.

First let me say that I am new to Adriana Herrera and thanks to Kennedy Ryan's Instagram live author interview series, I knew I had to read a Adriana Herrera novel. I'm so glad I did. 

In Here to Stay, Julia and Rocco gave me all the feels. I loved their work place romance. I loved the passion that both of them felt for all things NYC. I loved Julia's family and how well that worked with Rocco's story. I loved the wacky sisters and the observations of NYC exiles trying to make new lives in Texas. (As a Louisiana resident, I found their observations entertaining and spot on). Also, before I go much further I should say that the slow burn between these two was *chef's kiss* sooo good and when they finally banged: OMG. So hot. SO HOT. 

So obviously, I'm now a huge fan (as you can see from my abundant use of "love" in the previous paragraph) and I'm here for these characters (and truly hope some of the secondary characters have a novel of their own). I not only enjoyed the humor, love, and exasperation that Julia had with her family, I also really enjoyed learning more about a culture that I feel like I really didn't know as much as I feel like I should. Having scenes with holidays, food, and celebrations and how some things are universal and some things are really unique and special to Julia's family and heritage really gave great reference points and context for new learning (for me). I also really really loved the various things that came up with Julia's job and the perspective she offered. 

All in all, Here to Stay was a great read and has me excited to read whatever else Adriana Herrera has for me to buy. 



Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year.

She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.

It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South.

The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.

When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley


This was my last Kristen Ashley novel to read before I've hit the end of the KA road (until she publishes more) and as sad as I am about that--Heaven and Hell was the best way to end it. I felt like KA tackled an issue in this novel that I didn't recall coming across quite like this in her other books: domestic abuse.

Kia was so amazingly wonderful--she worked so hard on herself and she did things exactly as I think I'd do it. She did things for herself to make herself happy after the horror that was her marriage (bonus points for going to Italy). I loved her heart and humor and honesty. She had me smiling and cheering her on the entire time.

And Sam...Sam was also wonderful and very much a KA alpha with his lip twitches and terse, yet funny, answers but he was also one of the few of her male characters who felt so much more damaged than I anticipated. He had some serious work to do, especially in the later half, to get Kia (and me) to trust her/us. Kudos to Kia for standing up to him and for herself.

Not only did I love Kia and Sam and their rom-com-ability; I adored the secondary characters. The friends and family of these two added so much to the already great book and I'm so very hopeful that we'll see them again.

Absolutely a fantastic read and now that I'm finished with them all, I feel the urge to start all over again.



After making a bad decision when she was very young, Kia Clementine finds herself in hell. Then, suddenly, within the time it takes for a shotgun to blast, her hell changes. Completely. Then out-of-the-blue she sees Sampson Cooper, her celebrity crush. A man the whole world knows is decent. A man the world knows is loyal. A man the world knows is good. All of these very unlike her now dead husband.

He’s sitting at a table right next to hers. And she catches his eye.

Terrified of the interest Sam shows in her, Kia finds the courage to go out with him. Not long after, she shares her dark secrets and Sam shares that he’ll stop at nothing to gain her trust.

As Sam leads Kia to heaven, Kia realizes that Sam is living his own hell. But although he gives her beauty and she gives him everything, he withholds his trust.

Even with all the beauty Sam shows her, Kia wants it all. But Sam forces Kia to make a heartbreaking decision and only she can decide. It’s all or nothing.

Monday, August 24, 2020

REVIEW: The Reality of Everything by Rebecca Yarros

  THE REALITY OF EVERYTHING (Flight & Glory #5) by Rebecca Yarros 
Release Date: August 24th   




It's been a few years since I've been in the world of The Flight and Glory series but I've never forgotten how much I loved being in that world. The characters Rebecca Yarros created all those years ago are memorable and so when they showed up again in The Reality of Everything all of their stories immediately came flooding back.

As with all the other novels in this series, there is some serious heartbreak and angst but it's the strength of Morgan and the sweetness of Jackson that really are the heart and soul of this novel. Their love story is one of patience and laughter, sexy smirks and funny quips, and of course chemistry that just sizzles on and off the page. 

I really appreciated how Rebecca Yarros takes the time and space to really delve in to Morgan's evolution of grief. While it was a huge part of Morgan's narrative, it didn't take over the story or drag it down, and it just felt honest with the ups and downs of grieving. I also appreciated how she balanced Morgan's story with Jackson's--while his was also filled with baby mama drama, his lightness and kindness and all around goodness was the perfect pairing to Morgan's story. 

Additionally, their friends and all of the fun (and sometimes baggage) that came with them made this a novel where I laughed more than I frowned. I really enjoyed Jackson's friends and hope that Yarros can build some stories around them. I love a guy in uniform and Yarros really writes them with the swagger, knowledge, and care that must come from her years of being married to a man in uniform. I don't know that there's another writer who does it better. She has be wanting a man in uniform and I'm a happily married woman, so what the hell?! LOL. 

As I said when I started this review, it's been a hot minute or two since I've read these characters but now that I'm back there all I want to do is revisit them all again. The ease in which I just fell right back into their stories and the desire to consume The Reality of Everything as fast as I could while simultaneously putting it down to extend the reading should tell you everything you need to know. Go buy this book--you'll be so glad you did.

  Blurb: Two years after the man she loved was killed in Afghanistan, Morgan Bartley is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. The reno on her dilapidated beach house in the Outer Banks might be just the distraction she needs to keep her debilitating anxiety attacks at bay and begin to heal her heart...if she can ignore the ridiculously handsome guy next door. At twenty-eight, single-dad Jackson Montgomery’s life revolves around his five-year-old daughter and his job as a search-and-rescue pilot for the coast guard. He’s no stranger to saving a damsel in distress, and though his gorgeous new neighbor is clearly in distress, she’s no damsel. She’s stubborn as hell with walls a mile thick, and the dog tags hanging from her rearview mirror give him a pretty good clue as to why. It doesn’t matter that their attraction is undeniable—she swore she’d never fall for another pilot, let alone a military man. There are some wounds time can’t heal, and some fears too consuming to conquer. She’s a barely breathing heartbreak on the edge of recovery. He’s a crash waiting to happen. Together they could have it all...if they can endure the coming storm.  

  About the Author: Rebecca is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, and is always ready to bring on the emotions. She's also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series. She loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for eighteen years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with two 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. She lives in Colorado with her family, their stubborn English bulldog, and a feisty chinchilla. Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October.

  Connect w/Rebecca: 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

REVIEW: So Over You by Kate Meader


I've read a few of Kate Meader's novels and I think this is my favorite one to date. The characters had a nice balance of funny and romantic. There was plenty of chemistry and swoon between them and a good mix of plot and background with several other characters to keep it interesting and curious about what would be happening next with all of them. 
Definitely a fun hockey romance that I'd recommend while you're enjoying the season.


Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels....

Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won Olympic silver, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then... let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless.

Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual.

That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice...

Thursday, August 13, 2020

REVIEW: The Pool Boy by Nikki Sloane



If you know anything about Nikki Sloane's previous books you have to take one look at the title and the cover and know that this book is going to be hotter than hot. SPOILER ALERT: it is. Gah. The other thing fans of her work know is that the hotness is just part of it--it's the story that just pulls you in and keeps you coming back for everything she writes. 

In the case of The Pool Boy, it's really the story of Erika that initially grabbed me. Her burgeoning confidence and confrontation of flaws was refreshing and my favorite thing? Her age. So many times an age gap story line is about an older man and a younger woman. Heck, even in the real world the scandal is less with the older man/younger woman than with the older woman/younger man and it's just so ridiculous and dumb. As long as you're two consenting adults, who cares? WHO CARES?!!! Gah. But it's this stigma and fear of scandal that drives a large part of the emotional conflicts of Erika. It's real and the way that it's handled is just so well done. As much as I appreciate Erika's story arc, I really loved how Troy was written. He was the perfect mate for her and if I had my magic fairy wand, I would have loved for Nikki Sloane to add more chapters to see how things are going for them--I am imagining all sorts of HEAs for them, in addition to the one they were given. 

One final thing--when I was reading, I initially thought the neighbor and their story was a reference to Katee Robert's delightfully naughty Your Dad Will Do (if you haven't read it and you liked The Pool Boy, you definitely should read it!). But I was wrong. Somehow, someway, I never read Nikki Sloane's The Doctor. The neighbor's story is actually told in that one and you better believe, I'm buying and reading that next! And I'm super excited to see they'll be a third novel in this series of stand alones--can't wait to see who's next!

So to sum up, if you're looking for a quick, hot af, age gap read with a lot of heart this is definitely the novel for you.

You're going to get wet...

The Pool Boy by Nikki Sloane is now live!

Nothing says happy birthday like catching your husband in a compromising position with his boss.

His male boss.

Why, hello, midlife crisis. I'm starting over, but this time I'm doing it right. Or at least I'm doing what I want.

Taking the day off from work to hang out poolside? Yup. Do I leave the swimsuit in my house? Sure.

Does my very hot, twenty-something pool boy happen to catch me naked? Oh, yeah, he does. And he likes what he sees... a lot.

My best friend keeps telling me to have a fling and get back out there. But I'm not so sure she meant for me to do it with her son.

  Download today!


Amazon Worldwide:




Google Play:



Troy Osbourne came once a week to service both my pool and the freestanding spa. I’d hired him last year to handle closing and covering the pool for the winter, then reopening it for me last month, and his weekly visits that followed had kept the water crystal clear and the pH perfectly balanced.

My pool had never looked so good.

But Troy always came when I was at work and let himself in through the gate at the side of my fence, so I had completely forgotten his schedule. He must have gone behind the pool house and inside to fetch his supplies, and when he’d rounded the corner and discovered me topless, he’d dropped everything in his arms.

Including the long pole with the net on the end.

It was as if someone had put their foot down on the sustain pedal of a piano, only this piano played the music of time, and the moment suspended with my long, drawn out gasp.

I was topless, and he was frozen, and holy shit, he was my best friend’s twenty-four-year-old son.

It burst from my lips in horror. “Oh, fuck!”

 In my panic, I grasped at my towel to cover myself, only to struggle, hopelessly, since it was pinned beneath my body. I leapt to my feet and yanked the terrycloth up, pressing it over my naked chest.

Troy still hadn’t moved. His lips were open, as if he’d planned to say something, but now he was frozen and unable to do anything. I couldn’t see his eyes behind his mirrored Aviator sunglasses, but he didn’t seem to be breathing.

So, I did what any reasonable woman would when a gorgeous, almost-stranger caught her naked.

I ran.

Meet Nikki

USA Today bestselling author Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there.

Now she lives in Kentucky, is married and has two sons. She is a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA© Finalist, a Passionate Plume winner, a two-time HOLT Medallion finalist, and couldn't be any happier that people enjoy reading her sexy words.

Connect with Nikki







Joining her mailing list:

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

REVIEW: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker


In this second stand alone in the London Celebrities series, we get a sharp, cynical, clumsy and funny Lily and the resident grumpy cat and her new boss, Luc. As you can guess, it's a romance (and comedy) that probably shouldn't happen because of the work situation but I'm so glad it does. Their resistance to each other is short (and futile) which leaves more time for me to chuckle at their quips and, even more interestingly, feel surprisingly wounded when their 'trouble' starts. I liked them together so much that when the inevitable bad thing happened I had to put down the book for a few minutes because I wasn't ready for either of them to have their heart broken. If that's not a great sign of how invested I was in their characters, I don't know what is. Fortunately, the angsty part was over relatively quickly and painlessly and their HEA was just as sweet and funny as I hoped it would be.

Looking for a light, romcom set in the London theater district? This is the read for you.



The play’s the fling

It’s not actress Lily Lamprey’s fault that she’s all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that’s not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn’t so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He’d be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily’s suddenly rising career, it’s threatening Luc’s professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they’re not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

Don’t miss the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker! Order your copy of Act Like ItMaking Up & The Austen Playbook today!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

REVIEW: The One Real Thing by Samantha Young


You know how sometimes you start a book and it's like you're sinking into the most comfortable couch--it's that feeling of warmth and ease that just feels right and makes you want to sit and read for a while? Yeahhhh, that's what I felt when I started The One Real Thing. I immediately sunk into the novel, began feeling curious about Jessica and her story, and was very curious about how finding the person who needed to read those letters would go. Somewhere along the way the letter went on the back burner and I had more of a vested interest in Jessica and Cooper and all the folks on the boardwalk.

This new book by Samantha Young had a little bit of everything--insta-lust/love, insta-best friends, some bad guys, some intrigue, and a ton of fantastic secondary characters--ones I'm hoping we'll get to know more about in future books. This is definitely a great book to have on the weekend--imagine yourself curled up next to a fireplace with a hot cup of something next to you and nothing but time to read this book. Sounds good doesn't it?

Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…
While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life.  Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.
Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations.  But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.
Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

REVIEW: Rock Chick Reborn by Kristen Ashley


First off, KA novellas are never really novellas, they're novels (thank god). 

Second, I'm gonna be in deep recovery after Shirleen's novel because omg, KA held nothing back--she went in deep and she did it fast. Seeing Shirleen fall in love with Moses was hilarious and touching and seeing how deeply she loved her boys and her boys loved her ...well, bring on the waterworks. I teared up a few times in this reading, along with some serious laughting fits. 

I loved their story. And, when you read the epilogue, I can't help but wonder if we'll ever get a spinoff for a few characters (Sniff! Roam! And always, Darius!). 

Friendship, family, laughter and love are the cornerstones of this series and a reason I'll always turn to it for comfort and undying hope that she'll find a way to continue their stories.



As a Rock Chick, Shirleen Jackson lived through all the kidnappings and explosions. Along the way, she also watched the dramatic love stories that came with those rides unfold.

But long ago, Shirleen made her choice. It affected who she was and would always be. She decided to settle for what she had and not want more. She had good friends. She was raising two fine young men who weren’t hers, but she loved them anyway.

She was good.

And then Moses Richardson crashed into her life, literally…and deliberately.

Moses has different ideas about Shirleen. He’s more interested in the Shirleen of now, mostly because she’s interesting. And funny. And loyal. Smart. Beautiful.

But Moses has a big challenge on his hands.

He has to convince Shirleen of all that.

And then convince her she deserves to have more.

Monday, August 3, 2020

REVIEW: Exodus by Kate Stewart

EXODUS, book two, is the explosive conclusion in The Ravenhood Duet from best-selling author, Kate Stewart, is LIVE! Get ready for a sinfully ๐‡๐Ž๐“, ๐€๐๐†๐’๐“๐˜, ๐”๐๐‚๐Ž๐๐•๐„๐๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐๐€๐‹, and ๐“๐—ช๐ˆ๐’๐“๐„๐ƒ love story filled with suspense, a little action, and ๐€๐‹๐‹. ๐Ž๐…. ๐“๐‡๐„. ๐…๐„๐„๐‹๐’! ⁣⁣

EXODUS (The Ravenhood Duet, book 2) by Kate Stewart
Cover designed by: OkayCreations



Sinfully hot?


There are no lies detected in the advertising of this book. This duet, and in particular, Exodus, has got us alllll in our feelings. I know I can speak for both of us when I say we were glued to this duet as it hit our Kindles and stayed up until all hours of the day and night to see what would happen next and how the story of Cecelia, Sean, Dom, and Tobias would end. 

Court: YASS, I literally stayed up until 7 a.m. and finished this book, yelling at my husband and animals that they would not ruin the first time I read this book. It physically pulled me apart from the inside out and I would be dead if I didn't love Shelley and Kate Stewart so much right now, for real. 

Shel: Accurate depiction of us both:

Shel: Without giving any major plot points away, let me just express how many of the texts between us went down:

COURT: Where are you in the book?
Me: tells her.
COURT: ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ
Me: ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

There were also several of these exchanged: 


There was definitely an exchange that was simply:

And there were times...TIMES (note the plural) where we both felt like this:

Shel: The novel is definitely twisty and turny and unpredictable--all things that kept us on our toes, in our feelings, and completely hooked on Cecelia, Tobias, Sean, and Dom. I loved how in depth Kate Stewart went into plot and characters in this novel. We got the past and the present. We got the backstory and how it connected to the events that set this all off. We got actual answers--the hows and the whys. We got our hearts broken and our hearts healed. This duet was so good that we're both hoping that Kate decides to circle back to some of the side characters (and new characters introduced in Exodus) because neither of us are quite ready to leave the world she created in Triple Falls. This duet is so good that with months remaining in 2020, we already know this will be a top read of 2020. This novel is so good that we say it's a MUST READ. 

Court: It is absolutely everything she said and more. I am still dying, and I know it won't be one that leaves me. She found a way to use words to delve way down deep into these characters, and gosh, must have been deep down in herself to give so much life to this duet. I for 100% sure know that I can't tell you the last time a book effected me this way. Book hangover was felt right down to my bones, and I hope you read it. The blurb doesn't give you much, and that is exactly as it should be. There is a lot of thick plot here, folks, and I hope that it makes you stay up all night too! 

Shel: Kate Stewart, we know that many authors these days don't read reviews and we totally get it. But should you read anything in this review, we hope you know how much we enjoyed these characters and how much we'd love to see more of what you built here. And if that's not possible, we just need you to get started on your next novel because you've put us in a desperate place as we wait for what you do next.  Court: Same. We've read a few others, and I loved them, and honestly wasn't sure they could be topped. I have got to stop saying that, because holy crap I was wrong. Keep doing what you do, and we'll keep right on loving every single word of it! 


Can you live a lie?

It’s a ghost town, this place that haunts me, the one that made me.

It’s clear to me that I’ll never outgrow Triple Falls or outlive the time I spent here.

I can still feel them all, my boys of summer.

Even when I’d sensed the danger, I gave in.

I didn’t heed a single warning. I let my sickness, my love, both rule and ruin me. I played my part, eyes wide open, tempting fate until it delivered.

There was never going to be an escape.

All of us are to blame for what happened. All of us serving our own sentences. We were careless and reckless, thinking our youth made us indestructible, exempt from our sins, and it cost us all.

I’m done pretending I didn’t leave the largest part of me between these hills and valleys, between the sea of trees that hold my secrets.

It’s the reason I’m back. To make peace with my fate.

And if I can’t grieve enough to cure myself in my time here, I’ll remain sick. That will be my curse.

But it’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chances because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.

At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.

Because I can no longer live a lie.
Add to your GOODREADS TBR:
๐…๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐ค- (The Ravenhood #1)-⁣⁣
๐„๐ฑ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐ฌ- (The Ravenhood Book #2)-⁣⁣


The Ravenhood Duet Spotify Playlist:

Kate's Newsletter-Get a FREE book!:

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author and Texas native, Kate Stewart, lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance, as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense. Kate's title, Drive, was named one of the best romances of 2017 by The New York Daily News and Huffington Post. Drive was also a finalist in the Goodreads Choice awards for best contemporary romance of 2017. Her works have been featured in USA TODAY, BuzzFeed, and translated in five languages.

Kate is a lover of all things '80s and '90s, especially John Hughes films and rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.

REVIEW: Inked in Lies by Giana Darling

iil bt banner

“Inked in Lies has just nudged its way onto my top readers of 2020 list. This emotional rollercoaster is beautiful, steamy, and utterly breathtaking! Darling has brought her A-game, and delivered a story that packs a whole punch and so much more!”-- Dani Renรฉ, USA Today Bestselling Author

Inked in Lies, an all consuming friends to lovers romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling, is available now!

Our Review: 
Shel: This is the first thing I've ever read by Giana Darling and I had no idea I was diving into an established series but truth be told, it was not a problem. Darling made it easy to track characters and relationships and while I probably missed out on some connections and nuances between characters that a true fan would know, I didn't feel lost at all. Court: Yes, she is so good. I snuck in the first of this series, and The Fallen MC was one it did not take any time at all to fall in love with. This was just another amazing story, and I really enjoyed the writing. I already have another of the series queued up so I cannot wait to get more! 

Shel: The main characters, Lila and Nova, and their love story are the epitome of saga--we get to meet them when Lila is a young girl and Nova is nearing teendom and we follow their friendship/burgeoning love story as they grow into their adulthood. Lila's early story is filled with grief and tragedy--grief and tragedy that Nova takes on as his own to help her shoulder the burdens and to try to shield her from as much as he can. Court: The writing of the past really melted my heart. I didn't know where our story would take us...but this was absolutely necessary for us to really understand these characters and absolutely made this story all the more rich. Their whole family (and can I just say that I want more stories of the Booth boys, right?) 

Shel: To be honest, I was initially a little impatient to get to the part of their story that was the "now" part but I'm so glad that Darling wrote it the way that she did. Having that history really made their adult part of the story more meaningful and understandable. You needed those younger years to understand how and why their relationship would be complicated and yet would naturally progress to the one they had. I know not everyone would like or understand the age gap/love dynamic but the way it was written, it really did work. Court: I agree...I was reading that each of these has quite an age gap (which I remember now from the first book) and I think knowing that is helpful...however, also knowing that no weird shenanigans happen is also helpful! 

Shel: As a newcomer to Giana Darling, I wasn't sure what to expect. I discovered, though, that I enjoyed this new to me world. It's an MC world with alpha males, biker babes, and criminal activity (and not by whom you'd expect it from). The sex is hot, the friendships are fun, and by the time you get to the end, it feels very satisfying. In some ways it reminded me a lot of Kristen Ashley, so if you're a fan of her MC books, I think you'd be a fan of this novel. Court: Yes, I definitely have put this lovely author on our list, and cannot wait to go track down more of her work. This world is sexy and hot but also has a lot of heart with this family of biker's and their babes.

Shel: A few quibbles--I wasn't a huge fan of Nova's dialogue (he drops the letter 'g' and adds the letter 'a' to things)  and there were a few things in the subplot that I felt had holes but that may be due to me not knowing things from the previous novel. But overall, I was invested and entertained all the way through the end and will definitely read more of Giana Darling's backlist and future novels. Court: (Sorry babe, but I think you're right. Having read book 1, I think I had a little better understanding of Lysander and King, and a few more of the bunch.) But...we'll get you all caught up!

IIL cover

He moved in next door. Handsome as sin, older in a way that meant forbidden. He had tattoos on his hands and wickedness tucked in his grin. I was a goner as a girl to a man they called Casanova for a reason. He would never love me, at least not the way I needed him to. I tried to move on. But I couldn’t turn my back on him or The Fallen MC. So when they needed me most, I offered the only thing of value I could use to help them. My body. And when helping them meant putting my life on the line, Nova had to decide just how much he was willing to do to get me out alive.

iil an

Download your copy today! Amazon: 
Amazon Worldwide:
Add INKED IN LIES to Goodreads:

iil teaser

It was a heady fuckin’ thing, bein’ someone’s sunshine, their rain, their entire ecosystem. But it was dangerous too. ’Cause I would raze that all to the ground with one wrong move, one of my stupid mistakes. And it would be gone, laid to waste forever. This was better, rippin’ out the weeds of romanticism I’d been so stupid to sow in her heart. The other stuff, with time, would survive. We’d always be family, and eventually, we’d get back to our friendship. Two years hadn’t ruined us, what was a few more in an effort to heal her heart and give her the chance to win someone better? I sat on the edge of the bed, dressed, boots tied, hands in my hair ’cause I couldn’t shake this feelin’ I was bein’ a fuckin’ dumbass for endin’ it even though I knew it was right. “Sneaking out?” she whispered. I looked over my shoulder at her, the sheet clingin’ to the curve of her hip, the flowers I’d inked on her back vivid against her dark skin and the white covers. My fingers twitched to trace them. “Nothin’ about this is easy, Li,” I admitted. “I feel like I’m hurtin’ you if I do, hurtin’ you if I don’t. I’m just tryin’ to find the best option here. You might not believe it, but I’m tryin’ to do what’s best for you.” She blinked up at me, those wide, long lashed eyes that had stared up at me for years, so trustin’ and lovin’ were now shuttered, guarded against me. My heart rattled against the cage of my ribs, strugglin’ to get out. To get to her. “I know you think you aren’t good enough. I know you’ve always had that kernel of doubt about yourself because you were different, and growing up, people told you that made you bad. I know Meredith solidified that for you. But I want you to think it about it like this,” she took a deep breath, and I braced for her words. “You saying your not worthy enough? It’s like me saying the same just because Ignacio is my father, and I have his blood. I choose every day to be better than what he gave me, Nova, even though he’ll always be a part of me. You could make the choice to be better than what you think you are, for me, if you wanted.” She had a way of sayin’ someone’s name like that. The same way she said the names of flower varieties, as if each word itself was a novel, and she was tryin’ to convey a summary of the entire thing in one word. I’d memorized the way she said Nova, as if it was the great novel ever written. As if it was a sacred text she’d studied, runnin’ her hands over the pages until they went cotton smooth with use and lovin’. I wanted to be that for her, to try for her, to love her better every day, but how selfish would it be to keep her in this life of mine? Lou and Z had been separated for months by prison, Cressida had lost her King. Wouldn’t I just be condemning Li to a similar fate somewhere down the line? “You know, Nova, I’ve loved you all my life. Since the day I first saw you across the street stepping out of that minivan, I thought you were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.” She laughed softly, and I thought I’d never heard a laugh so full of grief and mourning. “But for a pretty boy, you have an ugly heart.” “Lila,” I started, but my voice was wrong, strangulated by the cobra of emotion twined around my throat, squeezin’ the life outta me. “Don’t say that. Not you. I’d fuckin’ rip out my own heart to see you safe, to see one fuckin’ smile on your face.” She was so fuckin’ lovely in her despair, tragic in a romantic way like Juliet before her Romeo. Of course, even my Flower Child made heartbreak look pretty. “That’s just it. You could make me smile every day for the rest of my life so easily. All I’ve ever wanted was your love.” “I love you,” I said instantly, but the words fell flat and heavy when they should have soared, hollow and cheap as a children’s toy dropped to the floor. “Not enough,” she declared with a sad kind of triumph as if I’d put her outta her misery in some horrific way. As if she’d just been waitin’ for me to disappoint her all along. “Not enough,” she repeated softly. “Not enough to even try.” I watched her with my heart in my goddamn throat as she got up, naked and glorious as a nymph crossin’ my path, and went to the bathroom. Before she closed the door, she turned to me and said, “I hope you’re gone when I come back. And you should know, this time? I’m not waiting for you.”

Giana Darling pic

About Giana 
Giana Darling is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Top 40 Amazon bestselling Canadian romance author who specializes in the taboo and angsty side of love and romance. She currently lives in beautiful British Columbia where she spends time riding on the back of her man’s bike, baking pies, and reading snuggled up with her cat Persephone.

Connect with Giana 
Reader Group:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

REVIEW: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren


We've read several Christina Lauren novels but I.WAS.NOT.PREPARED. for how I'd just completely sink into the story of Macy + Elliot. I deliberately drew out my reading experience because I was a) really enjoying their friends to lovers story and also because b) I was a complete wuss when it came to getting to THE PART where all the bad stuff is revealed. It's not like I didn't know it the shit was going to hit the fan...that's just a part of romance...but daaaaang, I didn't want it to happen. I wanted to skip right to the HEA. But, to be honest, the heartache part was what made all of the other things that much better. Truly. The build up to the OMSHIT moment was so deliciously slow and interesting--the past and the present woven together really worked for the story of Macy and Elliot--so by the time I got to THE PART I was ready for it and yet still so sad. And then so happy.

If this were an issue driven book, I might want to see more explored about what happened with Elliot at THE PART of the book that was gah!gah!Gahhhhh! because I feel like there were some things there that went unexplored. This was more Macy's story than his, though, and I understand why going in that direction would've taken this novel in a completely different place. So, while I wish we could've gotten to the bottom of that a little more (that shizz just did not feel right!), I was ultimately satisfied with how everything was resolved. Scratch that. I was elated to see how their story ended and normally this is were I bemoan the fact that the story has ended, but I like to believe these two have the best HEA ever and I'm happy to leave it at that. 

I love this writing team hella much and am eager to read whatever the write next.



Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
© Must Read Books or Die. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.