Monday, May 16, 2022

REVIEW: Stone Cold by Winter Renshaw




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.


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.


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.


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.


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 --->

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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!


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!
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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.

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Cover Art and Design by Natasha Cunningham

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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

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting



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.



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 

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: 



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 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   

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REVIEW: Always You by Samantha Young



The Adair Family Series has been quite the roller coaster ride, which  Always You continues. In this novel, we get the story that's been hinted at for quite a while--the story of Robyn's dad and Lachlan's sister, Mac and Arro. These two have a long and somewhat tortured past together and a large part of this novel is devoted to giving us that backstory and unpacking all of the emotions and feelings that are tangled in. There's quite a lot of angst and back and forth between these two and you just can't help but feel for both of them--they're both carrying around some hefty feelings. As with the other novels in this series, we're grappling with their complicated love story and a threat that hangs over their heads, to keep us all on our toes. This novel also gives us more of a look of the two brothers who've been only been mentioned in passing and a hint of the love and drama coming. 

If you're looking for a series that showcases a strong family connection, complicated and enduring love stories, and the threat from a mysterious force or presence, you'll definitely want to look into all of these novels, starting with the first. 

Always You by Samantha Young is now live!


Arrochar Adair has loved her brother's ex-bodyguard and best friend, Mac Galbraith, for years. Once upon a time, she was too young for him, but now that she's a mature woman in her thirties, Arro can see no issue with their difference in age. Yet something deeper, a problem much more difficult to surmount, is keeping them apart.

Mac Galbraith remembers clearly the night Arro became everything to him, no longer just his best friend and boss's younger sister. However, having made many mistakes over the years, there is one mistake Mac is determined not to make: to believe that he is worthy of Arrochar Adair. Allowing them to grow closer during his daughter, Robyn's, return has proven his undoing. And when Arro forces the subject of their relationship, his response pushes her away. He just never meant for it to destroy them completely.

Devastated by Mac's final rejection, Arro is determined to move on without him in her life, though he seems intent on staying put. And when the Adair family face a new threat, one that may have ties to Mac's past, Arro can't seem to be rid of the man. In fact, Mac will do anything to protect her.

But with so much hurt between them, will Arro let Mac close enough to guard her from their enemy... before it's too late?


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Meet Samantha

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She's been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. Samantha writes adult contemporary and paranormal romance, YA urban fantasy and YA contemporary fiction and is currently published in 31 countries.

She resides in Scotland.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

REVIEW: Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid


Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend, an all-new enemies to lovers romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid, is now live!


Winnie and Byron have got to be two of the most delightfully frustrating characters I've read in a while, which makes them the perfect candidates for a frienemies to lovers plot twist. Truly. These two are both a hot mess and I think it's fair to say that for a minute I wasn't sure if I liked either one of them because they frustrated me so. But, as I got to know them and understand them, I watched them like I'd watch a tennis match--avidly watching them go back and forth with each other and themselves as they tried to find their footing in their unusual, initially tentative, relationship. It was entertaining sport, especially as a bystander. Having the benefit of knowing a little more than each of the characters knew about each other made their struggles to figure things out a little less painful and a little easier to take...though, admittedly, I wanted to strangle them at different points in the novel. 

As I've come to expect and enjoy from Penny Reid, she tortured her characters (and us) to just the right nth degree and then put us out of our misery in a way that had me smiling, happy, and satisfied at the end. 

And, I can't end this review without also extolling her choices of having a STEM female protagonist, having Byron be the one seriously pining throughout the whole novel (with Winnie being the one clueless about it for quite a while), and addressing some things with both characters that I thought needed to be addressed--no spoilers here, just know that the things that may frustrate you about these two get some discussion and acknowledgment by the end. 

Unexpected and refreshing and feeling happy about my latest dose of Penny Reid! (Also as a teacher, thank you so much for doing us justice!)

Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends.

Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. Winnie considers them more like casual, distant acquaintances who find each other barely tolerable, especially when he's being condescending (which is all the time).

The truth is, they have nothing in common. She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author. She loves sharing her passion for promulgating women in STEM careers and building community via social media, and he eschews all socialization, virtual or otherwise. She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?

When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple. Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online.

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend is a full-length, complete standalone, adult contemporary romantic comedy.

Fall in love today!
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Meet Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes kissing books. Penny is an obsessive knitter and manages the #OwnVoices-focused mentorship incubator / publishing imprint, Smartypants Romance. She lives in Seattle Washington with her husband, three kids, and dog named Hazel.

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Friday, April 8, 2022

REVIEW: Famous in a Small Town by Kylie Scott

What chance does a small-town girl have with a world-famous rock star?

Famous in a Small Town, the all-new rock-star-next-door romance, from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is out now!


If you know us, you know that we love Kyle Scott's novels and so I eagerly started Famous in a Small Town as soon as it appeared on my Kindle and I don't think I put it down until I finished. This novel was the perfect balance of humor and romance. Ani, our heroine, had some of the funniest inner monologues I've read in a while and her fellow townspeople were equally funny. I also loved how much she loved her town and wanted it to be the best small town it could be. Garrett, on the other hand, is broody, understandably so, considering, and he's also wonderful. The more you get to know him, the more you see how protective and kind he is...and how he, too, wants the best for his new town. Together they make a great team for the town.

Famous in a Small Town is a whirlwind romance, filled with funny characters and a fast paced plot that will have you turning pages, only to be sad when you get to the end (and, of course, hope that there are more companion novels to come).

Two years after his wife’s death, rock star Garrett Hayes hasn’t moved on. But he has moved out of L.A. Where better to escape his past than a small town in the northern California mountains? If only he could get the townsfolk of Wildwood to leave him the hell alone.

Ani Bennet returned to her hometown for some much-needed serenity. The last thing she needs is a grumpy, too hot for his own good, rich and famous rock star living next door—and rent-free in her brain.

She set her fangirl tendencies aside and deleted his photo from her cell when they became neighbors. But when Garrett asks for help, she can’t say no. The problem is, spending time together is making those fangirl feelings resurface—and bringing them to a whole new level.

What chance does a small-town girl have with a world-famous rock star? It’s time for Ani to set her fears aside and find out.

Rock out today!
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My new neighbor arrived at midnight on a Thursday. First came the moving truck, followed by a Jeep Wrangler. Mrs. Cooper, the former owner of the house, passed a while back. A damn shame. The woman was not only nice, but she made biscuits like you wouldn’t believe. For years the grand old Victorian house sat empty at the end of the cul-de-sac. Not unusual for a small town. Few people wanted to move to the middle of nowhere in Northern California, no matter how picturesque it might be. While the place had been sold not long after listing, there’d been no sighting of the new owner until now.
“What the heck?” I mumbled to myself, standing at the window.
Who moved in the middle of the night? It seemed covert and suspicious. Like something a criminal or government agent would do. Although, maybe they just traveled far and this happened to be the time they arrived. But most people would stay at a hotel and wait for daylight to do this sort of thing. Surely.
The only things ever happening at midnight in Wildwood were: 1. Harry, the town drunk, performing Bob Dylan classics in the middle of Main Street. 2. Me, an insomniac, wandering aimlessly around my house. That was it. Everyone else in the whole wide world—or our corner of it—was fast asleep.
Half hidden behind a curtain, I watched the truck being unloaded. A full moon shone down through the pine trees as the moving men hauled stuff inside. The first guy, the one who drove the Jeep, went straight into the house. He was tall and wore a ball cap. That was about all I could see. Maybe he was setting the place up for his wife and family. Maybe he had a boyfriend. He couldn’t possibly be single, heterosexual, under sixty, and emotionally mature. My luck just wasn’t that good. Not that I intended to date again in this lifetime.
Whoever he was and whatever he was doing, it would all be known in due course. Such was the joy of small-town life.
Once the furniture was moved inside, things got a little dull. There’s not much you can tell about a person from their boxes.
I took the opportunity to once again check the locks on all my windows and doors. After that, I made a cup of chamomile tea. Neither of these things helped me sleep, but the rituals were soothing. Mom always said I had a busy mind. I didn’t necessarily think about anything useful, I just thought a lot. At night, I tended to think about books, bad memories, and ex-boyfriends. The last two were often one and the same.
As a child, I was the daydreamer who got busted humming in class when everyone else was concentrating. (Like anybody actually needed algebra. If you can work out the discount at a sale, you’re good to go. Then again, this attitude might explain why my life had gone approximately nowhere.)
I returned to the window just in time to see my mystery man reappear. The new neighbor strode out to the Jeep and opened up the back. When he once more headed toward the house, the ball cap was gone and his short hair was on display. In each hand he carried a guitar case.
I perked up. Musicians were cool. Unless he owned electric guitars and believed in turning the volume up to eleven. That could get old fast.
As he got closer to the house, the porchlight hit him and…huh. Something about his profile tugged at a memory.
Guess he felt my gaze, because he turned toward my place. And whoa. His lips were a thin line, his jaw set to cranky, and none of it mattered—the man was beautiful. Though he really was strangely familiar.
Meanwhile, with only a lamp on behind me, I couldn’t have been more than an outline. A shadowy person lurking in the dark. Great. Nothing like being spied on to make you feel welcome in your new neighborhood. So much better than a casserole or cookies.
Wait! I knew where I recognized him from. Only it couldn’t be, because that would be crazy. Absolutely fucking wild. Yet there he stood.
“Holy shit,” I whispered.
My new neighbor was a goddamn rock star.

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About Kylie Scott
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

NEW: Love on the Lake by Helena Hunting


Love on the Lake, a beautiful small town standalone romance filled with laughter and tears from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, is live now!

Teagan Firestone has always been the dutiful daughter, especially since her mom died. But as her father finally begins to move on, it’s her turn to do the same. Her destination: Pearl Lake, a close-knit community with an entrepreneurial spirit and secrets of its own.

One of them is Aaron Saunders, who dropped out of college to work construction for Pearl Lake’s upper class. He’s a mystery and has a playboy reputation—that is, until he meets Teagan. Neither of them is looking for love, but in a town this small, it’s hard not to let your heart get involved.

As their romance heats up, Aaron’s elusive past comes to light and Teagan is there for him, bringing them even closer together. But when Teagan is forced to face her own demons, her inability to accept the support of friends and family threatens the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Can Aaron love her, even when she can’t love herself?

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She crooks a finger, beckoning me closer. But there’s only six inches separating us. If I take a step forward, my boots will touch her toes. So I bend instead, until my ear is next to her lips, like I’m waiting for her to tell me a secret.
For a moment I consider the fact that I’ve been up and down the stairs to the loft at least a dozen times. The only air circulation in here is from a portable fan, so I’ve been sweating and shirtless for several hours. I might not smell all that fresh.
But that thought disappears when her fingertips drag along my collarbone and I feel the warmth of her breath at the edge of my jaw.
Her palm wraps around the back of my neck. So soft. So warm.
I swallow and grind out, “I’m listening.”
Her thumb finds that spot between my ear and my jaw, and she presses, gently at first and then more firmly. Her lips brush the shell of my ear, and she whispers, “Look at me.”
I feel like a marionette, and she’s pulling all my strings. I turn my head toward her, and her lips brush across my cheek, sending a hot shiver down my spine, lighting me up like a pinball machine.
Teagan Firestone is a dangerous woman. Sweet, beautiful, broken, and yet . . . bold and resilient. She’s a lethal combination, and it’s all compounded when those soft lips meet mine.
I don’t even know what’s happening. Well, I know. I’m kissing her. Or she’s kissing me. She definitely started it.
It’s like an explosion. Like an entire warehouse of firecrackers igniting at the same time. I groan into her mouth and wrap an arm around her waist, pulling her flush against me.
Our tongues tangle, and her other hand grips my biceps, sliding up and over my shoulder. She knocks my hat off my head, and it drops to the floor behind me. And then both of her hands are in my hair, sliding through the damp strands, gripping at the crown, angling my head farther to the side. Deepening the kiss.
Dragging it out.

About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

REVIEW: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller



Y'all, this probably won't be the longest, grandest review in the history of reviews. Really all I can say is that The Song of Achilles was such an unexpected surprise. I've had a sporadic interest in Greek mythology and am in no way proficient in the stories of the gods but I'd heard fantastic reviews from this novel from my students and colleagues, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did. The story of Patroclus and Achilles is one of friendship, pride, war, horror, devotion, and love. It's beautifully and simply written, easy to follow, and easy to get caught up in, even for someone like me who doesn't normally read mythology. If you're at all a little curious abut this novel, don't let any lack of prior reading or knowledge prohibit you--you'd be missing out on a really beautiful read. 


SYNOPSIS: A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

Monday, March 7, 2022

REVIEW: Taste by Melanie Harlow

TASTE, an all-new enemies-to-lovers, small town romantic comedy filled with emotion and laughter from USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author Melanie Harlow is live now!


In the last six months, I rediscovered Melanie Harlow's novels and I want to kick myself for not reading every single one as they released previously. There's almost an entire series I somehow missed and while I'm excited to have something of hers to read to tide me over until her next novel, I still wish I hadn't missed them at all. That being said, I *am* really enjoying getting lost in her cross over world she's created with the children of some of my original favorite characters. This is especially the case in Taste with Gianni and Ellie. 

I knew when I saw them sparring in Ignite that I would have so much fun reading their love story and I was not wrong. Their bickering is fun to read, even if it's not always fun for them to experience, and it makes their chemistry that much stronger, explosive, even, at times, when they finally can't deny the *thing* that exists between them. And as much fun as the building tension is, it's even more fun to read their eventual capitulation. They both try to talk themselves out of the things they're feeling, trying to blame things on this or that but ultimately, they're just meant to be and no amount of trying to ignore or avoid it won't work...though Ellie really does try very hard to put her head in the sand. Giving credit to where credit is due, Gianni smartens up much quicker than I think anyone would expect, is sweeter than I thought he would be, and is exactly the man Ellie needs. Ellie, meanwhile, is fierce...fiercely protective of herself, the biggest grudge holder, and the holder of a flame for Gianni that burns so hot, I don't think she even realizes it until it's almost too late. 

Loved these two together, especially when their story involves one of my favorite tropes, and I'm hoping the next book in this series comes out soon because I'm addicted to these characters and this series. 

The last person on earth I want to be stranded with is Gianni Lupo.

But thanks to the blizzard of the century, I’m trapped in a roadside motel room with that cocky bastard for two straight days.

With one small bed.

Some women might thank Mother Nature for delivering a polar vortex that maroons them with six feet of solid muscle, those deep blue eyes, that sexy grin--but not me. I’ve known Gianni Lupo all my life, and he’s never brought me anything but bad luck and trouble.

So when the tension between us explodes with enough fiery heat to melt my icy defenses, I should have known what the disastrous end result would be--

A big fat plus sign.

After the snow melts, I’m left with more than just memories of the night we spent keeping each other warm. And he might be a rising star on the culinary scene, but he’s got no idea how to handle this bun in the oven.

He says he wants to do the right thing, but I’m not about to spend the rest of my life feeling like someone settled for me.

But just when I think I’ve got Gianni Lupo all figured out, he gives me a taste of the man he could be, of the family we could become, of the way he could love me if I let him.

I’m terrified of falling for him.

But one taste might be all it takes.

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About Melanie Harlow

USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Ted Lasso, Schitt’s Creek, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the BELLAMY CREEK series, the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, and the FRENCHED series. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

REVIEW: The Billionaire by Marni Mann


The Billionaire by Marni Mann is now live!



As noted in my reading of The Lawyer (the first book in this series), the books in this series are hot hot hot erotica and that's established quickly between Jenner and Jo within the first pages. These two have an instant chemistry that easily evolves into a genuine comradery and enjoyment of each other's company. But these Jenner boys have some serious issues with denying their feelings and so there's a lot of obvious feelings between Jo and Jenner and an equal amount of denial for Jenner.  Jenner should've realized that like this brother, he might as well just capitulate and let himself enjoy things with Jo but nahhhh, he has to pretend that this thing between them is a casual fling. Oh how the mighty fall, though. LOLOLOLOL. And thank goodness for Jo. She has patience and understanding and only hopes that he will too, when the thing she's not said, finally is said. They do get their happily ever after and the wait for that doesn't take too long; making the ending just as sweet as spicy as you'd expect with these two. 

I've always been a good girl.

But the second I walk into the hotel bar, I see temptation.

The man sitting there is delicious. Older. Experienced. Once our eyes meet, I know I'm not walking away unscathed. I've heard about men like Jenner Dalton--richer than God and hotter than sin. He's got heartbreak written all over him.

But it only takes fifteen minutes before we're headed up to his room.

I've never done anything like this before, but something tells me he's worth it. Every swipe of his tongue feels electric, every kiss sets me on fire, and his experience has me begging for more.

And more.

And more.

In one week, I'll return to college in Miami.

He'll go back to being LA's most eligible billionaire.

The miles and years between us are just too many for this to mean anything.

So, between now and then, I plan to spend every moment being anything but good ...

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Meet Marni

USA Today best-selling author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Marni was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts unique stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotions. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida, with her husband and their yellow Lab. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling, or devouring fabulous books.

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