Tuesday, April 25, 2023

REVIEW: Archer's Voice & Travis by Mia Sheridan



I've had Archer's Voice purchased and downloaded for YEARS. I have no idea what took me so long to read it but I do know that it was the acquisition of Travis that prompted me to read it. I know I've read at least one other Mia Sheridan novel and I really enjoyed it so I'm not sure why I haven't read more of her work but...*shrugs* better late than never?

Let's start with Archer's Voice. This novel was a great surprise; all these years later it still holds up-there's nothing that really dates it. In this novel there's Archer and Bree--both victims of incidents out of their control and both destined to be together. 

Bree has arrived in Pelion after a traumatic event has destroyed her life. She's searching for some peace and stability and an escape from the life she's left. She finds it in her cottage, her new job, her neighbors and new friends, and in Archer. Archer, a lifetime resident of Pelion, is somewhat of a pariah in the community-to no fault of his own; he, too, was a victim of a traumatic event that determined the next decades of his life. No one really knows much about him, other than his tragic story. They think he's a mute idiot and basically treat him that way...including his brother, Travis :/

Bree and Archer have a quick run in and it left an impression on Bree; but before she could pursue it, she had the attention of Travis and while she wasn't sure if she was interested, she went on a few dates to see if there was a spark. As evidenced by the title, there wasn't. 

Archer's Voice had the early 20-teens angst and bullying but ended with a very satisfactory ending and it had me intrigued by what Sheridan would do with Travis.

BUY ARCHER'S VOICE HERE: https://amzn.to/3GGCzqF

When two troubled souls collide in New York Times bestselling author Mia Sheridan’s emotional, heart-wrenching love story, can they break the silence of the past to find hope, happiness, and love?

A Goodread's "Top Romance Novel of All Time"
New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller

I wanted to lose myself in the small town of Pelion, Maine. To forget everything I had left behind. The sound of rain. The blood. The coldness of a gun against my skin. For six months, each breath has been a reminder that I survived -- and my dad didn't. I'm almost safe again. But the moment I meet Archer Hale, my entire world tilts on its axis . . . and never rights itself again.

Until I trespass into his strange, silent, and isolated world, Archer communicates with no one. Yet in his whiskey-colored eyes, something intangible happens between us. There's so much more to him than just his beauty, his presence, or the ways his hands communicate with me. On me. But this town is mired in secrets and betrayals, and Archer is the explosive center of it all.

So much passion. And so much hurt. But it's only in Archer's silence that we might just find what we need to heal . . . and live.

Includes an exclusive extended epilogue from Archer's POV!


Travis is the story of Archer's brother and sometime antagonist. In Archer's Voice, Travis is such a dick. He's manipulative and mean and it was only toward the end of the novel that he redeems himself. That being said, I wasn't entirely convinced that I'd like Travis because of his dickish behavior but it turns out that Mia Sheridan knows exactly what she's doing; she not only redeemed Travis, she made me like him. 

Very early on, we get some insight into why in the world Travis would be the way he was. While his behavior isn't excusable, it's a little more understandable and then we get to meet Haven. Haven is the calm to his storm. While she's similar to Bree in that she's arrived to the Pelion area in a temporary fashion, it's her brother's current happiness and friendship with Travis that causes her to stay. 

Haven and Travis meet when he pulls her over for some reckless driving. They meet up again at his gym and their friendship begins with lots of barbs and snark and an eventual understanding, despite her brother's shenanigans. Haven's running from a past that has damaged her, as is Travis. Neither of them wanted or expected to find their person, but that's exactly what's happened--it just takes a little while for them to get there. Between him being her wing man, their illicit affair, and a colleague of his who goes way off the rails, it's a bumpy road to their HEA. Thankfully cooler and humble heads prevail, and we get to see a future for Travis and Haven that is settled and happy. 

While Travis contains a little less angst, it's definitely a fun weekend read. 

BUY TRAVIS HERE: https://amzn.to/3GGCzqF

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mia Sheridan comes the emotional, highly anticipated follow-up to Archer's Voice, following Archer's troubled brother Travis.

Perhaps Travis Hale's past is riddled with regrets, but his future looks limitless. He's the police chief in idyllic Pelion, Maine, women are regularly falling at his feet, and his family has mostly forgiven his mistakes. But when the new guy in town crosses him, things start to look shaky—especially when he meets the stranger's smoothie-making, birdseed-eating sister.

Haven Torres's life fell apart. Or, rather, burned to the ground. At the time, it seemed like a solid idea to jump in her car, her brother a mostly-willing co-pilot, and embark on a cross-country adventure for the summer. Especially if she can catch the attention of Pelion's most eligible bachelor, Gage Buchanan, before she goes. And after the local police chief tells her of her brother's scandalous misdeed, she knows without a doubt that Pelion is just another town where their stay is best short-lived.

Still, she and Travis form an unlikely friendship, and at first, it seems simple enough. She'll help him make her brother sweat a little, and he'll help her win over Gage. But then Haven starts to see the man beneath the brooding, and Travis starts to see the woman beneath the mess. 

However, Haven refuses to be tied to Pelion. And Travis has vowed never to be second best ever again.

Before they know it, simple has started to look pretty complicated.


Monday, April 17, 2023

REVIEW: Scandalized by Ivy Owens


I really, really enjoyed reading Scandalized. It reminded me of the books Court and I read when we first started this blog (a zillion years ago?). It captured the magic of young professionals and that whirlwind times of their lives colliding with the magic of a whirlwind love affair. 

Gigi is coming off a mentally draining investigative reporting job in London and a delayed flight that just extends her exhaustion as she waits to make her final connection home. Alec is also waiting on that connection that gets delayed overnight. They both end up at the same hotel, desperate for a bed to sleep in, when Gigi finally realizes she recognizes Alec as a childhood friend. When Alec snags the last room and offers Gigi a place to take a quick shower before she hunts for a room of her own. One thing leads to another and a drink turns into a night that romance novels are made of. 

When they land in LA and Gigi learns who Alec is to the rest of the world, she has some decisions to make. Of course she decides to see where things go and gahhh I just loved their romance journey. I loved their getting to know each other again, their covert meetings, their chemistry, the way they see each other, appreciate each other, support each other--I love it all. Plot-wise, I liked how their separate lives intertwined, even as they still had very different lives and livelihoods. Their jobs were definitely front and center as a major component of this novel and yet, I really felt that my focus was always drawn to their burgeoning love--something that seemed so improbable given their careers and the short amount of time they had to spend with each other. So, I obviously detested that they had to hurt before they could heal but I knew it was coming and, thankfully, Ivy Owens didn't leave me hanging for long before she got us to their HEA. And while I enjoyed the ending, I couldn't help but wish for more because I was that invested. 

I realized I'm late to this party; this novel has been out for a while now but when it went on sale this week, I snatched it up to see what all the hype was about and I truly was not disappointed. I am eager to see if/what Ivy Owens publishes next. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3I15GGq


A one-night stand between two old childhood friends turns into something more, but when a scandal threatens to tear them apart, they must decide how hard to fight for love—a steamy romance written under the pseudonym Ivy Owens by Christina Lauren coauthor Lauren Billings.

Exhausted and on deadline with a story that could make or break her career, investigative journalist Georgia Ross is on the verge of a meltdown when a cancelled flight leaves her stuck in the airport overnight. But when a familiar face appears—the older brother of her childhood friend—and offers help, Gigi seems to have caught a break.

Alec Kim is handsome, humble, and kind—exactly the sort of man that Gigi has forgotten existed after her own painful heartbreaks. An evening of reconnection followed by a night of no-strings-attached passion with Alec feels like a gift—that is, until Gigi finally realizes that their childhood connection isn’t the only reason he seems so familiar to her.

Alec is determined to prove to Gigi that he is truly the man she thinks he is, even if it means coming clean about his fame—and his family’s connection to the story Gigi’s been working so hard to break. But as their feelings for each other grow deeper, Gigi and Alec must navigate a new reality…one where both of their hard-won careers are put directly in the path of an international scandal.


Monday, April 10, 2023

REVIEW: The Nanny by Lana Ferguson

I can't remember which author or writer raved about The Nanny but I'm so glad they did; it's because of their enthusiasm that I decided to check it out and I'm so glad I did. On the surface it's exactly what you think it is: hot nanny + hot single dad = explosive chemistry and eventual hook up. It was so much that and so much more, though. It's the story of Cassie, a student who desperately needs money to finish her last year of school. She's smart and independent and absolutely wonderful with her new charge, Sophie. It's also the story of Aiden, a chef who has newly acquired full custody of his daughter--a daughter who spent the first ten years of her life spending very few days with her dad--and who's trying really hard to be a good dad while not screwing up his career. He's juggling it all and feels like he's dropping all of the balls, until Cassie arrives and helps keep all of the balls in the air. 

It's also the story of vulnerability. Aiden feels really insecure in his ability to parent and needs someone who can not only bolster his spirits as he tries but also kicks him in the butt when he's letting his insecurity get in the way of what he should be doing. Meanwhile, Cassie has some insecurities of her own, thanks to her horrible parents and the humiliation of being stood up by someone she'd grown to feel for...who turns out to be Aiden (see the blurb, I promise I'm not spoiling things). 

Between Cassie's secret, Sophie's aunt who seems to know exactly when to cause problems, and Aiden and Cassie's chemistry, I did not stand a chance. I inhaled The Nanny in hours and was completely satisfied with all aspects--the plot, the building angst, the injection of humor at the most ideal moments...it all just worked and I didn't want it to end and am now looking forward to what Lana Ferguson writes next. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3hEjCLZ


Suddenly unemployed and on the brink of eviction, Cassie Evans is left with two choices: get a new job (and fast) or fire up her long-untouched OnlyFans account. But the job market is terrible, and as for OnlyFans. . . . Well, there are reasons she can’t go back. Just when all hope seems lost, an ad for a live-in nanny position seems like the solution to all her problems. It’s almost too perfect—until she meets her would-be employer.
Aiden Reid, executive chef and DILF extraordinaire, is far from the stuffy single dad Cassie was imagining. He shocks her when he tells her she’s the most qualified applicant he’s met in weeks, practically begging her to take the job. With hands that make her hindbrain howl and eyes that scream sex, the idea of living under the same roof as Aiden feels dangerous, but with no other option, she decides to stay with him and his adorably tenacious daughter, Sophie.
Cassie soon discovers that Aiden is not a stranger at all, but instead someone who is very familiar with her—or at least, her body. Given that he doesn’t remember her, Cassie is faced with what feels like an impossible situation. As their relationship heats to temperatures hotter than any kitchen Aiden has ever worked in, Cassie struggles with telling Aiden the truth, and the more terrifying possibility—losing the best chance at happiness she’s ever had.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

REVIEW: Just a Fling by Katherine Grace



Honestly, this cover wasn't the thing that grabbed me; it was the synopsis that reminded me of those early New Adult romance days of our blog. It looked like it had that love-hate that can really make things entertaining. So while the cover wasn't doing it for me, the two for one story really did. 

The story of Dawn and Callan starts in present day--a year after they had an intense summer love affair--and all we know is that something went terribly wrong and Dawn is a bundle of hurt and angry feelings. We quickly learn that Callan carries a lot of guilt and continuing infatuation of Dawn and when he initiates contact, things get tense very fast. After one really heated and angry/sad exchange, we get flung into the backstory, hence the two for one story. 

A vast majority of the midsection of this novel shows us the story of how Dawn and Callan met while she was studying abroad in Oxford. Their attraction is instant and what starts as a fun fling-y type thing, it slides into a thing that has growing feelings, much to their consternation. Dawn is really into the idea of continuing the relationship, though hesitant to bring it up due to Callan's weirdness about certain things. And Callan tries very hard to be in denial that this is anything but a fling even though it's glaringly obvious that he cares for her...is probably in love with her but cannot let go of his tragic past to see a future with anyone, including Dawn.

Once we get that story, we return to present day where we understand, now, why she's so pissed and he's so flaky. It seems like normally, this would be where their story zooms to a quick conflict/resolution but Katherine Grace gives us even more story...and I'm really glad she did; I wasn't ready for their story to end. Their present day story isn't any less complicated, though they try to make it easy, and before you know it, they are saying hurtful things and we're back to hurt feelings and silence. All of that builds to a final scene that finally gives these two the happiness they so desperately deserve. 

I really enjoyed Just a Fling and am looking forward to the next book in what looks to be a series (maybe Gemma's next?). I appreciated the time and space Katherine Grace gave her characters to allow them to develop. 

A great weekend read.

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3F361Go


A Modern Second-Chance Romance
Law student Dawn Mathison's steamy summer romance with solar developer Callan Marlowe is just a fling...until it isn't. Swept off her feet-and into lots of different positions-by the sexy Brit, Dawn believes Callan is The One...right until he dumps her. But that was last summer. Now, she is living her dream with a kick-ass job in New York City and couldn't care less about Callan. Not one bit. 

allan left Dawn broken-hearted, confused, and pissed-off. But, dammit, he doesn't do serious relationships. Not after his past. It doesn't matter anyway because he'll never see Dawn again. Which is for the best. 

When a twist of fate brings Callan back into Dawn's life-and into her office-their sizzling attraction reignites. Maybe this time around, they won't get too serious. But fate has a sense of humor. Because Callan thinks Dawn is The One who can help him. And maybe turn their hot affair into something more?

Monday, April 3, 2023

REVIEW: The Plus One by Mazey Eddings


The Plus One is a serious and funny frenemies to lovers novel in the A Brush With Love series. In this story we get to know Indira and Jude: she's crashing with her brother after a bad break up and he's crashing there to help with the upcoming wedding of Indira's brother (aka, Jude's best friend). Their first scene together really showcases that frenemy part--they're like snarling cats with each other and their traded insults are hilarious. That veneer of funny is threaded throughout the entirety of the novel which is good because the serious PTSD he seems to be experiencing and her lingering abandonment issues are pretty heavy. Every chapter explores their individual fears and hurts while also putting them in situations that force them to acknowledge what they've both been denying--they're attracted to each other and one slam, bam, thank you ma'am is not going to be enough. They try to sell it to their friends and family as a convenient fake dating thing but that sham of a story doesn't last long.

Mazey Eddings is definitely good for an exploration of mental health and neurodivergence and it's refreshing. While her characters and their journeys could easily become heavy and hard to consume, she has a nice balance of serious and lightheartedness that keeps me coming back to her books.

What starts out as a fake wedding date turns into something these childhood enemies never expected in The Plus One, a sparkling romantic comedy by Mazey Eddings.

She’s not looking to fix him. She’s looking to love him, if he’ll let her in.

Some facts are indisputable. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. Gravity exits. Indira doesn’t like Jude. Jude doesn’t like Indira. But what happens when these childhood enemies find the only thing they can rely on is each other?

On paper, Indira has everything together. An amazing job, a boyfriend, and a car. What more could a late twenty-something ask for? But when she walks in on her boyfriend in an amorous embrace with a stranger, that perfect on paper image goes up in flames.

Jude has nothing together. A doctor that’s spent the last three years traveling the world to treat emergencies and humanitarian crises, a quick trip home for his best friend’s wedding has him struggling to readjust.

Thrust into an elaborate (and ridiculously drawn out) wedding event that’s stressing Jude beyond belief and has Indira seeing her ex and his new girlfriend far more frequently than any human should endure, the duo strike a bargain to be each other’s fake dates to this wedding from hell. The only problem is, their forced proximity and fake displays of affection are starting to feel a bit…real, and both are left grappling with the idea that a situation that couldn’t be worse, is made a little better with the other around.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

REVIEW: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld



This is the first Curtis Sittenfeld novel I've read in a very long time and I'm now asking myself why it's been so long? There was so much to enjoy in Romantic Comedy. As you can see in the synopsis, it's about a writer for a sketch comedy show (think SNL), Sally, and a famous musician, Noah, who guest hosts and how they fall for each other. The novel spans about 5 years and is broken up into three sections. Section one begins in 2018 and is what I'd consider a perfect sneak peek of what it might be like to work as a writer on a show like SNL. It's fast paced sleep deprivation with a staff and cast that function like a dysfunctional and lovable family. I really enjoyed this section and getting that behind the scenes feeling. I also enjoyed Sally work through her crush for Noah. Section two picks up two years later during the initial stages of the Corona Virus and they enter into a pen pal email situation, instigated by Noah. It's in this section that you get a feel for what he's feeling for her and what kind of person he is, as well as more of sense of Sally and her backstory. And section three is where they reunite weeks after the beginning of their email and all of their feelings and insecurities come out to play. I can't decide which section I like best because they all offer a different feel and look at these characters and the novel wouldn't be the same if any piece or part had been eliminated. 

As much as I enjoyed this novel, I'll admit that there were times I had some frustration, mostly with Sally's character (and I think that we're supposed to feel that). She's outwardly confident and snarky and so sure of herself and yet when confronted with something that I think she really wanted, her first instinct was always to self-destruct. I know it's not fair to expect her to be as inwardly confident and sure of herself as she projected, nor would this be as interesting if she didn't have the flaws that she did, but I really really wanted her to be. She was so self aware about many things and could mock society and herself but sometimes I just wanted her to see herself the way Noah did and not doubt it. Luckily my wish was granted and I got the HEA I wanted for these two and now, of course, I'm deciding which Curtis Sittenfeld I'll be reading next. 

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3FGZbpN

A comedy writer thinks she’s sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star flips the script on all her assumptions—a hilarious, observant, and deeply tender novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Eligible, Rodham, and Prep.

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for 
The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every SaturdayWith a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.

But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.

Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?

With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.

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