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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REVIEW: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle


In Five Years was a gut punch of a read and I hoped (?) suspected (?) that One Italian Summer would also serve up some serious emotional damage, especially after reading the synopsis. And yes, there were definitely some highs and lows, but for me it felt more like an exploration and a chance for discovery that Italy offered Katy. She was so lost and flailing that having this completely magical opportunity to learn a little more about her mother and herself gave her a view of things that staying stateside would have never given her. 

While One Italian Summer wasn't exactly what I anticipated, I really liked what it offered. Not only did I get to read about a deep and abiding love between a mother and a daughter, which isn't something I come across very often, but I also got to ponder the big questions Katy worked through while doing it all in the most divine location (one I'm hoping to see soon).



The New York Times bestselling author of the “heartwarming, heartbreaking, and hard to put down” (Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author) modern classic In Five Years returns with a moving and unforgettable exploration of the powerful bond between mother and daughter set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.

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