Tuesday, March 21, 2023

REVIEW: Strip by Elisabeth Caldwell


I stumbled across Strip on NetGalley and it immediately reminded me of some of the New Adult reads we read way back in the 20-teens...a time I've started thinking of as the golden age of NA Romance when there were many new adult reads to choose from but they all kinda stayed in the same few trope lanes.  Anyway. Strip sounded like a throwback to those times and I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because it was very much like those first new adult novels I read, just updated to a 2023 sensibility. There was the smoldering, intense boss (Ryker) and the independent, yet vulnerable employee who had a secret reason for stripping (Sage). The moment they run into each other the chemistry sparks and despite him coming off as a closed off prick and her calling him on it, they manage to make a deal--he'll do her a favor for the favor of her company at a few upcoming events. As the days go on and they get to know each other better, neither of them can stop thinking of the other, even though that's (of course) against the deal they made. They trade childhood stories and worries and the fake dates become more and more real, just as suspicious and strange acts amp up. And just when he decides to take the plunge and allow himself to care for her and she decides to open up and tell him all of the truths she's been omitting, the shizz hits the fan and things seem to be over. But as this is a true romance, Ryker and Sage do get a happy ending.

It appears that this is the first of a series and I hope that Elisabeth Caldwell is dreaming up her next story because I enjoyed Strip and would love to see which characters she writes about next. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3JBahzy 


Sage Cashman’s sister suffers from a terrible illness and Sage will do anything to help her, including dancing at a gentleman’s club to support the two of them. Every night, she puts on a show for the customers, and the naughtier and more flirtatious she acts, the better her tips. Sage is just going through the motions until she gets closer to the dark, silent Adonis who lurks in the shadows during her performances. When Ryker Madsen is in her orbit, she doesn’t have to pretend she’s a woman easily seduced.

Ryker Madsen turns out to be more than Sage’s boss—he’s the owner of the club. He’s also involved with the company producing the experimental drug that might be her sister’s only hope. Ryker is as arrogant as he is rich, and it’s no secret that he wants Sage and is determined to have her. He’s intrigued when Sage proposes a deal: companionship for connections. Preferring uncommitted and unemotional relationships, Ryker sees Sage’s proposal as the perfect way to get her out of his system. What Ryker doesn't know is that Sage, jaded from a string of betrayals, has many secrets. Including her identity.

The hotter their relationship gets, the closer the truth comes to the surface. When the skeletons in Sage’s family’s closet start tumbling out, they threaten both her plan to save her sister and her future with Ryker.


Monday, March 13, 2023

REVIEW: Shooters by Julia Boggio


Shooters grabbed my attention with its synopsis: a newbie wedding photographer falling for the rock star (and arrogant) photographer of the stars + comedy + set overseas? Yep, yep, and yep. And while Shooters most definitely had all of those things, it had a little bit more too. 

As the synopsis indicates, Stella is seeking a new career after her previous one blew up in her face. It's a career she has an affinity for and has dreamt of doing for a long time and so even though she enjoyed being lauded for her creative ideas, this seemed like a good change for her. It becomes immediately clear that she's working through some things...things that cause her incredible stress and can even immobilize her, if she's having a particularly rough moment. Not something she enjoys or wants witnesses to; so you can imagine her humiliation when Connor, Mr. Photography, finds her in mid panic attack. It sucks.

Fast forward through a series of funny events and we soon find Stella at Connor's weeklong photography course, where she's vacillating from lusting after Connor and being extremely frustrated by him. This push and pull goes on for quite a while, even after the course has ended. They keep running into each other and either have heated exchanges or try to freeze the other one out. It makes from some funny and, at times, frustrating moments.

Ultimately, Stella works through some of the cause of her stress and Connor works through his commitment-phobia and we finally get to see them together, getting the HEA every romance reader hopes for.

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3yi4lFx


"The photography conference simmered with talent: those who had it, those who wanted it, and those who would always suck no matter how hard they tried. Stella Price wondered where she fell on that scale." Stella is determined to become a successful wedding photographer, even if it means learning from Connor Knight, a wedding shooter with sexy rock star status and an ego to match. Burned by an affair that ended her last career, Stella should know better than to get entangled with Connor during a residential course in a romantic French chateau. But while his arrogance turns her off, his talent turns her on. Their clashes lead to a whirlwind of passion, but Stella struggles to frame a future with a man who's come to distrust "happily ever afters" and hides a softer side behind his image. Can Stella learn from her past mistakes and teach Connor about real love before he disappears from the picture?

REVIEW: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales



Let me state for the record that when I read the synopsis of Never Ever Getting Back Together I mistakenly thought this was about post-college aged characters so I was a little thrown when I realized that we were really looking at 18-ish year olds. The premise (a game show where old flames have a chance to reconnect and maybe get together again) works with a younger crowd but to be honest, it felt a little hard to believe...maybe that's because I teach people around the age of the main characters and some of the conniving and contriving seemed a little much...as did the intensity of their feelings? So while those things didn't necessarily work for me, I enjoyed the writing, the humor, the burgeoning romance, and the ridiculous nature of many of the situations they found themselves in and I would definitely pick up another Sophie Gonzales novel, given the chance. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3Eni6pw


When their now famous ex-boyfriend asks them to participate in a teen reality show, two eighteen year old girls—one bent on revenge, the other open to rekindling romance—get tangled up in an unexpected twist when they fall for each other instead in Never Ever Getting Back Together by nationally and internationally-bestselling and Indie Next Pick author Sophie Gonzales.

“Wickedly funny [and] searingly sexy.”—Kelly Quindlen, author of She Drives Me Crazy

It’s been two years since Maya's ex-boyfriend cheated on her, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country and he captured hearts as her charming younger brother. If the world only knew the real Jordy, the manipulative liar who broke Maya’s heart.

Skye Kaplan was always cautious with her heart until Jordy said all the right things and earned her trust. Now his face is all over the media and Skye is still wondering why he stopped calling.

When Maya and Skye are invited to star on the reality dating show 
Second-Chance Romance, they’re whisked away to a beautiful mansion—along with four more of Jordy’s exes—to compete for his affections while the whole world watches. Skye wonders if she and Jordy can recapture the spark she knows they had, but Maya has other plans: exposing Jordy and getting revenge. As they navigate the competition, Skye and Maya discover that their real happily ever after is nothing they could have scripted.

Monday, March 6, 2023

REVIEW: Bitter Play by Alison Rhymes


Ever since June and Drew came on my radar, I've been curious about Reed (June's brother) and Leighton (her best friend). From book one they've been seemingly at each other's throats while also seeming to be very interested in the each other. Naturally, all of that tension had me curious and I snatched up Bitter Play as soon as I saw it was live. 

The reasons for their animosity and tension become clear, fairly early, and while it may be a little laudable that Reed was doing what he thought was the best thing for both of them, it kinda blew up in his face and the entirety of the novel is mostly him trying to patiently wait for Leighton to trust and believe him when he expresses his desire to be with her. 

Ultimately I enjoyed the novel but I found Reed to be a bit heavy handed and Leighton to be a little flaky at times. I get why they were the way they were but I (maybe unfairly) compared them to the main characters in the previous two novels and those characters were more dynamic and dramatic...so at times Bitter Play felt not as over the top dramatic as I think I was expecting.

Even though this wasn't my favorite book in the series, I'm still enjoying the world that Alison Rhymes has created and I will definitely read whatever she produces next. 

BUY IT HERE: https://amzn.to/3SchpFr


Reed Turner has loved his sister’s best friend, Leighton, for damn near a decade. He’s given her space to grow in her career and her life. Now he’s ready to claim the woman he’s always believed was his. It’s too bad another man in her life keeps getting in the way.

Leighton Ward has never been in love. Now, just as so many things are changing in her life, she finds two men vying for her heart. Both hold strong ties to her future and making the wrong decision comes with heavy consequences.

He knows what he wants.

She’s as confused as ever. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

REVIEW: The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

So I just finished The Candy House and I am hungry to find friends who've read it so that I can hash out all of my thoughts. I don't even know how I feel about any of it and I kinda like that I am this mixed up. On the one had, I really loved the episodic, non-linear experimental way that Jennifer Egan put this together (having not read her other works, I've heard this is just her style?). It kept me on my toes and forced me to stop trying to read it in my normal way. I had to give myself permission to not try and connect all the dots and know all the things; I had to relax and enjoy it for the journey that it was. As much as I enjoyed that, I also was uncomfortable with it. I didn't always like not knowing how the puzzle pieces fit and I hated thinking I was missing something or that I was missing the point because I couldn't see the small picture inside the bigger one. 

Days later, I'm still pondering all the things that The Candy House brought up about technology and relationships and how those work separately and together, about the ripple effect of relationships and how one innocuous moment can influence the entire life of someone, about how the more we progress, we sometimes seem to regress, and maybe at the heart of all of this the ideas of loneliness and grief and loss and desire and love and connection. 

I've talked two of my colleagues and friends into reading The Candy House and I cannot wait to hear what they think and why they think it. 


* Named a Top Ten Best Book of 2022 by The New York Times Book Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Slate * Named a Best Book of 2022 by The New Yorker, NPR, Oprah Daily, Time, Harper's Bazaar, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Vogue, and many more! *

“A compelling read that showcases Egan’s masterful storytelling.” —Time
“Dazzling.” —
“Radiant, exhilarating.” —
“Mesmerizing…A thought-provoking examination of how and why we change.” —

From one of the most celebrated writers of our time comes an “inventive, effervescent” (Oprah Daily) novel about the memory and quest for authenticity and human connection.

The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is forty, with four kids, restless, and desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes.

In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter, and a chapter of tweets. Intellectually dazzling, 
The Candy House is also a moving testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for connection, family, privacy, and love.

“A beautiful exploration of loss, memory, and history” (
San Francisco Chronicle), “this is minimalist maximalism. It’s as if Egan compressed a big 19th-century novel onto a flash drive” (The New York Times).

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

REVIEW: The Baby Blitz by Lex Martin

Title: The Baby Blitz
Author: Lex Martin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers/Surprise Pregnancy
Release Date: February 21, 2023


 What is it about this series that is like my own personal catnip? I'm addicted and I cannot stay away and the absolute worst part is that I read them so dang fast that they're over before I know it and I have to wait months for the next one. It's a great problem to have but also...it's the worst.

Like all of the other books in this series, we have an enemies to lovers, football romance that involves a surprise baby at some point. Why is this my jam? I have no idea because on the face of it, it seems like a hard road for any romance, right? Think about it, you have two characters (Olly and Maggie) who grew up together, had a falling out, and now don't particularly care for each other (even though they actually have been crushing hard for years). So they have to somehow overcome their dislike of each other to fall for each other, plus overcome the other obstacles of being poor college students, striving to graduate (and in Olly's case, be drafted) so that they can financially help their families (the pressure! the stress!), plus deal with the usual BS that comes with college romance (the gossip, exes, rumors, fears, etc). Throw in a surprise baby and you have a hot mess. A hot mess that I cannot stop reading the second I start it. Seriously. I'll forsake the most precious thing (sleep) just to see what will happen next. 

As with all of the previous books in this series, I really enjoyed Olly and Maggie's love story. I loved the backstory, the pranks, and how human they both were. They were both compassionate and hardworking and seriously stressed. Martin wrote them realistically and never made them seem too good to be true--their reactions to some of the good and bad things that happened seemed accurate and believable and I think that's a large part of why I enjoyed reading--I believed in what they were feeling, could sometimes identify (or the very least, sympathize) with various fears and concerns, and overall just felt all the things for them and with them. I also just enjoyed that even with all of the potentially heavy things/issues surrounding them, The Baby Blitz never felt too heavy; there were many moments of levity.

If this series went on forever, or at least for a very long time, I would not be mad about it at all. I'm looking forward to Charlie's story next and while it seems August is a lifetime away, I know it'll be here before I know it.  


Two pink lines won’t change the bad blood between us.

I haven’t always hated my brother’s best friend, but Michael Oliver gets under my skin and brings out the worst in me. He knows how to push my buttons, and I relish pushing all of his. He betrayed my trust years ago, so I’ve made it my mission in life to aggravate him until he admits he was wrong.

When his sister’s wedding brings us together, Michael suggests a truce for one night. If only he weren’t so handsome and smart, maybe I could resist the allure, but I’ve always been a little impulsive, and this man is my ultimate temptation. After years of pent-up frustration and unrequited lust, I finally let down my guard, and that’s all it takes for us to combust.

But like all bad decisions, the morning after brings a reckoning, and I leave his hotel room swearing to never waste another moment of my time pining after him. Who needs that grumpy jerk warming her bed? Not me.

I don’t let myself think about that steamy night together, or how it pained me to hear about his football injury, or how much I know he wants to get drafted so he can help his family. Because I’m cutting Michael out of my life for good.

Only the two little pink lines mean I can’t forget him. Even if I desperately want to.

* * *

The Baby Blitz is a companion standalone to USA Today-bestselling author Lex Martin’s sensational college football romance novels, The Varsity Dad Dilemma and Tight Ends & Tiaras. Readers will love this sensual multicultural romance featuring a scorching-hot college football player and the feisty, but slightly nerdy girl next door—the one he swore he’d never make a move on.

Will Michael make the right decision if he has to choose between Maggie or fulfilling his dream of playing professional football?




Lex Martin is the USA Today bestselling author of The Varsity Dad Dilemma, the Texas Nights series, and the Dearest series, books she hopes readers love but her parents avoid. A former high school English teacher and freelance journalist, she resides in Texas with her husband, twin daughters, and a bunny named Dandelion.



Monday, February 20, 2023

REVIEW: Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma


Dating Dr. Dil was a first for me, I'm embarrassed to admit. I don't think I've read a romance novel with Indian leads and now I just want to know why this is? I won't waste time with a ramble about the hows and whys of this being a first but will say that it most definitely won't be my last. I loved getting cultural insights into Kareena and Prem's family backgrounds and found myself curious and feeling so very ignorant to so many things. Even more than that, I found myself entertained by the hilarity of the friends and family of Kareena and Prem as well as feeling for them as they tried to work around the obstacles in front of them. I loved their friend groups and Kareena's aunties were larger than life--all of them providing lots of giggles and sound advice. 

While both Kareena and Prem had serious end goals to meet in a very short amount of time and lots of pressure, the real story was the story of Kareena's wish for a soul mate who would marry her for love and Prem's struggle to believe in a thing called love. Being on opposite sides of what it meant to connect and be in love made for their impending deadline and possible solution to feel almost impossible and yet, through the magic of Nisha Sharma, it ended exactly as you'd hope. 

Call me a new fan and look out for more reviews featuring Indian-American leads...I can't wait!


"Nisha Sharma's Dating Dr. Dil is what would happen if you put all my favorite romantic comedy tropes into a blender: a frothy, snarky, hilarious treat with a gooey, heartwarming center. The perfect addition to any rom-com lover's shelf." —Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation

Nisha Sharma’s new romantic comedy features enemies to lovers, a cast of best friends, and a gaggle of aunties determined to make a match.

Hi! I’m Kareena Mann. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m looking for my soulmate. In four months. And he must gain the approval of my meddling aunties.

Kareena dreams of having a perfect love story like her parents did. That’s why on the morning of her thirtieth birthday, she’s decided to suit up and enter the dating arena. When her widowed father announces he’s retiring and selling their home after her sister’s engagement party, Kareena makes a deal with him. If she can find her soulmate by the date of the party, he’ll gift her the house, and she’ll be able to keep her mother’s legacy alive.

Hi, I’m Dr. Prem Verma, host of the Dr. Dil Show. Prem means love, Dil means heart, and I’m a cardiologist. Don’t let my name fool you. I only fix broken hearts in the literal sense.

Prem doesn’t have time for romance, which is why it’s no surprise when his first meeting with Kareena goes awry. Their second encounter is worse when their on-air debate about love goes viral. Now Prem’s largest community center donor is backing out because Prem's reputation as a heart-health expert is at risk. To get back in his donor’s good graces, he needs to fix his image fast, and dating Kareena is his only option.

Even though they have warring interests, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he thinks she’s might actually be the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. In this Taming of the Shrew re-imagination, for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.

“Bursting with character, spicy tension and laughs, Dating Dr. Dil is the enemies to lovers dream book!” —Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer

Monday, February 13, 2023

REVIEW: Hiding in the Smoke by Ofelia Martinez

When one of your favorite novelists recommends a novel that's on sale, of course you snap it up, right? Right. That's how I came to find Ofelia Martinez's Hiding in Smoke

This novel had everything I wanted: a strong female lead and ...a German rockstar? 

Sofia owned her own bar and was the queen of one night, no strings, fun with the people of her choosing. She had no desire for a long term commitment while she was busy focusing on running her successful bar. 

Brennan was a famous lead singer for a rock band that started in Germany. He was living a big life and used to the women who fawned all over him. 

You can imagine, then, how surprised he was to find Sofia (who was a plus one to his show) more engaged in texting than paying attention to him when he sat down next to her at his post show meet and greet. He was intrigued but ultimately insulted at her lack of fawning and couldn't decide what to do about it. They somehow ended up at her bar for an afterparty and as things do in romance, Bren and Sofia find themselves together. Over a series of months and meetings it becomes clear that Bren wants to lock things down with Sofia permanently while she's more than content with things the way they are. When things go spectacularly wrong, the heartache that follows them both is devastating. 

It was refreshing to see Sofia and Bren in such role reversals and how the fallout from that devastating night impacted them. It was satisfying to see how they worked things out and the evolution of both of them as the months and years passed. 

I am most definitely interested in the rest of these characters and their journeys to love and will be continuing this series...reviews to come. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3j1oE5N


One night.
No cuddling.
No sleepovers.
These are the rules I live my love life by. Running a business as a bar owner leaves no time for relationships—or their drama. But when I meet international rock star Brenner Reindhart, he makes me want to break all the rules . . .

Industrial November at the top of the best-selling charts for over eight years has taken a toll on me, and I’m ready to slow down.
I’ve been burned by love before, and I’m finally ready to try again. I think Sofia Ocampo might just be 
the one. Only, she has no plans to ever be in a relationship.
Aware she has no interest in it, I still give her my heart.
I can only hold my breath and hope she won’t break it.

***This high-steam, contemporary rock star romance contains adult content with some taboo elements not suitable for all readers. Read responsibly. All novels in the Industrial November on Tour series can be read in any order.***

Thursday, February 9, 2023

REVIEW: Fake Crowne by C.D. Reiss


The Crowne Brothers Series continues with Fake Crowne. I'll be honest, it's been a while since I've been in this world so I didn't remember all of the ins and outs of Colton and how his brother perceived him, though I think I put it together (and honestly it doesn't matter all that much because these all can be read as stand alones). Another bit of honesty is that it took me a minute to settle into this read. Colton was a little discombobulating for me but the more I got to know him, the more I got sucked into his story with Skye. 

Colton feels like the loser Crowne (but I truly think they've all felt like this at some point) because he blew through is money and now lives in his brother's garage apartment, trying to resurrect his career. He is asked to produce Skye as a 'favor' for one of his brothers but doesn't appreciate the pity favor so he declines...until he hears Skye and sees her potential. For Skye's part, she feels like she's running out of time to try to pursue this dream career because she's promised to go to med school if she can't make a go of music and as she's had zero critical success, she knows working with Colton may be her last chance. 

Through a series of well meaning but poorly thought out ideas from his brother, Colton doesn't just end up producing Skye, he also is fake dating her. Except there's really nothing fake about it from day one. Both of them are incredibly attracted to each other, need each other, and see something in the other that seems like no one else can. She sees his heart and desire to succeed and he sees beyond her crippling performance anxiety and together they push forward to try to make something of this opportunity. 

As stated earlier, this wasn't the easiest novel for me to dive into and part of it was being so far removed from the original few books. I think it also had to do with some gaps in the backstories that were eventually, for the most part, filled in and helped me understand their motivations and doubts better, which then helped me connect to them better. This was a super quick read, featuring an insta-connection, and felt like it was just warming up when it was time for it to be over. All of this to say that I became so invested that I was happy to see the HEA but really wanted to get to know them more. Hopefully the next Crowne book will give me more looks at these two; I can't wait. 


Colton Crowne is famous for two things: being one of the music industry’s most talented producers and partying away his massive inheritance.

I’m a singer with stage fright who’s famous for…well…nothing yet. And I promised my family if I didn’t make it big by the end of this year, I’d go back to med school.
My agent thinks Colton and I would be a great team both in the studio, and outside of it—especially if label executives think we’re dating.
The rules? We can kiss in public, but not in private.
We can act like we’re doing the deed, as long as we’re not.
And as far as having actual feelings for each other goes…that’s obviously out of the question.
But after so many late nights in the studio and a bunch of stolen kisses, I start to see beyond his party boy facade to something real underneath. And he believes in me–with his coaching and encouragement, I’m finally overcoming my anxiety and giving the best performances of my life.
If only time wasn’t running out so fast.
Then Colton has an idea to keep us together. It’s terrible, but it’s the only way.
How can I let him destroy everything he’s worked for just to make me happy?

INCLUDES: Hero with a heart of gold, stolen kisses, surprising chivalry, private stuff in a public bathroom, swank parties, grinding it out, stolen glances, and Momma Crowne setting her boy straight. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

REVIEW: Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey


 Secretly Yours features a sweet gardener, Hallie, who is grieving the loss of her grandmother (her mom figure) and Julian, a professor who is home to write a novel. Instantly, they seem completely opposite: she's got this sunny, generally optimistic personality while he's intense and grumpy and super type A. Even with all of their differences, he cannot seem to resist her and she's always secretly had a thing for him. Over the course of weeks, Hallie gardens her way right into Julian's heart and he cannot help but look for her gardening on the grounds, can't help but want to protect and support her, and cannot stop the inevitable fall for her. Meanwhile, Hallie's crush continues to grow into real feelings that she somehow captures in a secret admirer letter to him--a letter she never intends for him to see but after he does, she *facepalm* continues to write them. 

Over a series of events, Julian and Hallie find themselves together and things appear to be going in the right direction, even with some lingering questions about what their future will be. There are a few hurdles--the letters, both of them struggling with career choices, and a major miscommunication--but thankfully, the angsty times are brief and we get to their HEA quickly. 

Secretly Yours is a fun romcom, with a hefty side of steam, that would be a great weekend escape and it looks to be the start of a fun new series. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3kWH74f


Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to their small Napa town. When Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she’ll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly. One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless—and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.

On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt—and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past. Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s grey-scale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her... and her very presence is turning his world upside down.

Monday, February 6, 2023

REVIEW: The Boston Hawks Collection by Gina Azzi


I have no idea how I happened upon The Boston Hawks Collection, though I suspect it was through one of my favorite book bloggers during my Christmas buying frenzy. I'm a sucker for a good sports romance and this collection was on sale, so I grabbed it and read it throughout my Christmas break. The four novels and one novella in this collection follow the stories of 5 hockey players (brothers or friends) and the women they fall in love with....or is it four women and the hockey players they fall in love with? At any rate, this series had that comfort read feel to it--these novels weren't going to shake my foundation with newness but they were going to entertain me and make me interested in the lives of these characters. Each novel had some familiar traits--the characters all bit the corners of their mouths when feeling especially entertained or moved by something, there was some hands to chests, and other physical reactions that seemed the same in all characters and novels. And they all had that familiar tension of should they, could they, would they? Because of course, at some point, all of these characters struggled with whether getting into a relationship with their love interest was something that should happen. Luckily for us, these are romance novels so they did get involved and eventually found their HEA. While each set of characters had their own individual plights and hardships that made the different novels unique, the flow and pace of the story and familiar characters made for easy and fun reading. 

Should you have an opportunity to grab this collection, do it and enjoy a week of hockey players meeting and falling for their perfect matches. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3Hqhba5


Fall in love with the Boston Hawks Hockey Team in this collection of novels including an exclusive, bonus novella!

The Sweet Talker - Book 1
I’ve sworn off hockey players. Until the pregnancy test turns pink. I need to tell Noah the truth. But when I do, will I end up with everything I never knew I wanted? Or on my own?

The Risk Taker - Book 2
My brother's best friend, NHL god Easton Scotch, has always seen me as a kid. Now, I'm his new roommate and I'm determined to show him that Claire Merrick is all grown up.

The Faker - Book 3
NHL hotshot Torsten Hansen is a lot of things. My husband shouldn't be one of them. If I give him my heart, how will I survive our eventual divorce?

The Rule Maker - Book 4
NHL Boston Hawks captain Austin Merrick used to be my boy-next-door. Now, he’s the man on my mind. If Austin learns the depth of my feelings, will he give us a real chance? Or are some rules better left unbroken?

The Charmer - Exclusive Novella
Reese Keller is golden. He’s an engaging and charismatic NHL player who has the potential to make me, a woman with jagged edges, believe in rainbows and sunshine. If I allow myself one weekend with Reese, will I stop fantasizing about him? Or, will I end up charmed by the ultimate charmer?

Monday, January 30, 2023

REVIEW: The Maid by Nita Prose


One of my colleagues recently read The Maid and suggested it as a fun read, so I took her up on it and tried it. The Maid featured a young woman named Molly, who loves her job as a made, has a hard time with social cues, and finds herself accused of a murder she did not commit. The novel follows Molly over the course of several days (and at the end, fast forwards to give us all the follow up answers) and the more you know her, the more you are rooting for her. She's a kind soul who only wants to do a good job and the right thing. While she's definitely quirky and there were times I was perplexed by some conflicting personality traits, I still found her story to be entertaining and an easy one to read. So, if you're looking for a quick, fun, whodunit The Maid is a good one to pick up. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3iiLPbH


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.
“The reader comes to understand Molly’s worldview, and to sympathize with her longing to be accepted—a quest that gives The Maid real emotional heft.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Think Clue. Think page-turner.”—Glamour

The Washington Post, The Guardian, Glamour, Elle, PopSugar, Newsweek, Mental Floss, She Reads, Kirkus Reviews

In development as a major motion picture produced by and starring Florence Pugh

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

Monday, January 23, 2023

REVIEW: Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn


I really enjoyed Georgie and Levi's story--it's the quintessential opposite attracts and it definitely attracted me. She's a creative and a dreamer--she kind of floats rather than walks through the world--and while she may appear to be flighty and unconcerned about what happens next, she' really not. She's a little lost and looking for that something that will launch her on her next thing. 

Meanwhile, Levi is precise and orderly and maybe even a little of a control freak. He doesn't color outside of the lines (anymore) and isn't a fan of surprises...and really of anything. He comes off as a grump. Really he's just been burned so badly, when it comes to love and trust, that he doesn't love and he doesn't really trust. He guards his heart..and everything fiercely. 

So when Levi and Georgie inadvertently have to share a space for a little while, it would seem that disaster would be imminent but crisis is averted when they get to know each other better and can see that neither of them is there to judge the other. As Georgie goes on a quest to find herself, Levi decides to help and inevitably they fall in love. Of course it's not that simple; it never is--there are misunderstandings and hurtful words and hurt feelings--but the ultimate ending really is a happily ever after. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3Wa53yD

Longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie must confront an uncomfortable truth: her own wants and needs have always been a disconcertingly blank page.  

But then Georgie comes across a forgotten artifact—a “friendfic” diary she wrote as a teenager, filled with possibilities she once imagined. To an overwhelmed Georgie, the diary’s simple, small-scale ideas are a lifeline—a guidebook for getting started on a new path.  

Georgie’s plans hit a snag when she comes face to face with an unexpected roommate—Levi Fanning, onetime town troublemaker and current town hermit. But this quiet, grouchy man is more than just his reputation, and he offers to help Georgie with her quest. As the two make their way through her wishlist, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side—if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back. 

Honest and deeply emotional, 
Georgie, All Along is a smart, tender must-read for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away . . .

Monday, January 16, 2023

REVIEW: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid


I've yet to meet a Taylor Jenkins Reid novel that I don't love and Carrie Soto is Back continues that trend. Carrie Soto is this badass tennis legend, made great by her hard work and talent, and by the training and attention to detail of her father/coach. This novel starts us off with her record being overtaken and her decision to make a comeback. It then plunges us into her past and into the making of her into a tennis phenom at the loving hands of her father, Javier. Their relationship is filled with love and opinion and adoration, even in the middle of some of their toughest moments. I truly loved her father--he wasn't perfect but the way Reid writes him, the love he feels for his daughter is all over every page. While he's largely responsible for making her into the intensely focused, stubborn, take no prisoners player she becomes, he's also kind and sees her trajectory, but also sees the bigger picture. He tries, in Carrie's adulthood, to encourage her to see beyond the moment, beyond tennis, but it is a hard ask for her and the vulnerable way it makes her feel, makes it difficult for her to see what he sees. She's created a shield between herself and the world out of necessity and it's difficult for her to live without it, except when it comes to her father. She loves and adores him; wants to please him and make him proud. As noted before, their relationship was not always easy, the deep love and respect they had for each other made me love them. 

While the love story of Carrie and tennis/her career, and the familial love between a father and a daughter, are a huge part of this novel, the addition of Bowe elevates everything. Their tension on and off the court, their friendship, and eventual love softens the edges a little. It humanizes Carrie even more than her comeback struggles and I think I just like that she finds someone who challenges her. 

I enjoyed everything about this novel and I'm truly not doing it justice by not writing about the attention to detail--pertaining to the game of tennis and sexism Carrie has to ignore, just to name two things--but I know that others who are smarter will give that the attention it's due. All I know is that I'm sad that I can't read it for the first time and I'm envious of all of you who can. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3G2TrYL

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.

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