Review: Love In Transit

LOVE IN TRANSIT ANTHOLOGY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Find out what happens when you give six authors the SAME blurb and they write their OWN story.

The blurb:

You know those people that have a house full of motivational slogans? Embrace Every Moment, stamped on their coffee mugs. Always Kiss Me Goodnight painted above their perfectly made beds.

I’m not one of those people.

This morning I overslept, then slipped on a stray sock and banged my toe into the nightstand. The elevator in my building broke and I had to run down six flights of stairs. And then my local coffee shop was closed. For health code violations.

What’s that? Not the end of the world? You want me to suck it up?

Did I mention I’m wearing a wedding dress… on the subway?

It’s a Good Day for a Hot Mess.

Someone embroider that on a pillow.

AMAZON

One blurb. Six different authors. Six entirely different and unique takes. What does it add up to? A super entertaining read! My review is for:

(1) The Hammersmith & City Line by Kitty French= 4 STARS

and

(2) The Loop by BJ Harvey= 4 STARS


The Hammersmith & City Line by Kitty French

We’re going to go out there and be enemies for the purposes of the show, and I’m going to beat you this round. And then once the camera stops rolling, I’m going to get you out of this dress, spread your legs, and give you the fucking of your life. Your clit’s gonna remember me forever.”

What could possibly go wrong when you let your best friend and bridezilla convince you to don a tacky wedding dress to go head to head with two other women on a TV show for the chance to win a dream wedding? Well… a lot. One, the women you’re supposed to be competing against are actually two men. One is a future groom competing on his bride’s behalf, and the second is his BFF and the man you shared an intense moment of sizzling attraction on the subway. Sparks fly. Sassy TV show host snark. And passions ignite in this super entertaining novella.

This was so much fun to read. I adored these two characters together. I loved how well Kitty French managed to develop them in so few pages. There’s plenty of depth and a perfect amount of humor to go with this super cute story. If you’re a fan of Kitty French, this is not to be missed!


The Loop by BJ Harvey

If I’ve only got ten hours to change the course of her life—and mine—then I’m damn well going to make the most of it.

BJ Harvey delivers a sizzling second chance romance featuring Sarah and Cameron. They fell in love as teenagers and then Cam left her heartbroken when he broke things off and went off to the army. The last time he saw her was when he left his privileged life behind for basic training. But not all is at it seems for Cam and his family. Now having severed all ties with his philandering father, he’s back in Chicago and a chance meeting with his first love allows him to finally right a wrong and get her back.

I love a steamy second chance romance and this one certainly fit the bill. In usual BJ Harvey fashion, the heroine was full of sass and the book a mix of humor and steam. I have to admit that I struggled a bit to understand why Cam took so long to seek her out since he’s been back in town and his reasons didn’t mesh with me. On the one hand, I got it. On the other hand, it also didn’t. If that even makes sense.

Ultimately this was still a fun and steamy novella and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I plan on reading the rest of the stories in the anthology eventually as well, but being a huge fan of these two authors, I had to read their stories for. A definite rec from this girl!

Jenn’s Reviews: Sutphin Boulevard by @santinohassell

SUTPHIN BOULEVARD
Series: Five Boroughs #1
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Santino Hassell
Release Date: July 31, 2015

Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.

AMAZON

There once was a dude named Santino……..

…..who wrote like a badass motherfucker.

The End.

Ok. I can’t just stop there. Santino, you make my heart….beat. It beats for your words. It beats for these characters. I lapped up this book like it was my oasis in the Sahara. Where have you been all of my life?

Reading Santino Hassell is a delicious, mouth-watering, guilty pleasure (not guilty, just pleasure).

à la Mode St. » fashion

”Go to bed,” he whispered. “Before I fucking rape you.”

Yep. Felt that one in my ovaries.
à la Mode St. » fashionEverything that came out of Nunzio’s mouth, I just want to frame on my wall. This whole book consisted of me squeezing my legs together and holding my breath.

Nunzio!!!!! Gah! What dream boat. Sarcastic. Snarky. Italian. He has loved Michael his whole life, even though Michael has no idea. I mean, Michael is in the dark for most of this book. We watch through Michael’s eyes, as Nunzio pines for him through everything. I kinda wish there were flashbacks to when they were younger because I would have eaten all of it up. There is a reason why Michael doesn’t see Nunzio’s love for him. They have been best friends their whole life, and Michael has some serious personal issues that he has to deal with. I actually really enjoyed the last 25% of the book….Fuck it, this entire book just surprised the hell out of me.

I thought it was brilliant that this whole book is written from Michael’s pov. I could feel Nunzio’s longing the whole book, and it was just so heart-breaking, and fulfilling at the same time, hoping beyond hope that Michael would wake the fuck up and see how much Nunzio felt for him!

And the writing is so smart. An intelligent author is my everything. I love how he pushes the boundaries of….everything. Love. Relationships. And you don’t even see it coming.
THE FEELS! All kinds of unrequited juicy-ness. I don’t even like angst, and you made me looooove it, Santino!!!
à la Mode St. » fashion

He couldn’t be the crutch I held on to only when I felt unsteady.

à la Mode St. » fashionI could go on….. 🙂

Review: Open Hearts by Eve Dangerfield

OPEN HEARTS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Eve Dangerfield
Release Date: April 25, 2017

Ash Bennett’s had enough. She’s not wasting any more time longing for Prince Charming and getting stuck with Prince ‘Babe, What’s For Dinner?’

If she can’t find a respectable, self-sufficient man to start a family with she’ll just do it by herself. It’s better than pinning all your hopes on a guy who’s never going to make you happy. Take Dean Sherwood, sure he’s stupid hot but that doesn’t pay the bills or remember to pick you up from the airport. No, they’re just having a little fun until Ash can find a donor. Right?
If only it was that easy…

Everyone loves Dean. He’s easygoing, a great footballer and always up for a beer or sixteen. He also has the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel on MDMA, but that’s never been a problem where the opposite sex is concerned. At least it wasn’t until he met Ash. Beautiful, driven and wild in bed; she’s all he’s ever wanted in a wife.

Unfortunately, he’s far from what she wants in a husband, what with his perpetually empty bank account and inability to cook anything other than bacon. When she tells him he’s not baby-daddy material, Dean vows to become the man she needs, whatever it takes.
Open Hearts is the sequel to Locked Box. It features angst, bogans, hot sex, naked snowboarding and the triumphant return of Max and Julia who are dealing with a romantic dilemma of their own.

AMAZON

 

She kissed Dean, no, she attacked Dean, sinking her fists deep into his hair and claiming him like she was a Viking warrior and he, a helpless English milkmaid.

If you were to tell me before I started this book that I would fall fast and hard for a lovable doofus ginger of a hero, I’d have laughed in your face. If you were to tell me that this lovable doofus also happens to have a VERY unorthodox kink in the bedroom, I’d have run for the hills. But I’m here to tell you that it’s exactly what happened. If there’s one thing I love, it’s out of the box characters. Characters that are different from the status quo of romance novels, and this story should be a how to on how to pull it off. Eve Dangerfield did a flawless job delivering main characters that have more flaws than I could count, yet are so incredibly endearing, you can’t help but love them.

God, he was something else. A big dumb sweetheart. Ash just wanted to take his hand, tell him everything was going to be okay, gently steer him towards a quiet room and fuck the shit out of him.

Ash is tired of dating losers. She doesn’t remember what it’s like to be on her own but one disastrous relationship after another has burned her out. After the rough upbringing in the slums that her and her sister had, all she wants is a family, a baby. And if she can’t find a man responsible enough to give one to her and hold down a job for more than a day, she’ll make it happen on her own.

Dean is her sister’s boyfriend’s best friend and as ditzy as they come. He hasn’t held the same job for longer than a year, has the attention span of a fly, and doesn’t take much seriously. The sparks fly between them right away, but where Ash knows he’s everything she’s sworn off and wants him anyway even for just a mutually satisfying tumble, Dean wants forever.

There was a sharp tug on his hair. “Red?”
“Yeah?”
Ash’s eyebrows were raised. “You just made a face. What are you thinking about?” She looked so stern he couldn’t help but blurt out the truth.
“My grandad.”
“What the fuck!” Ash pushed his head away from her. “Ew!”
“Sorry! I mean because he has these flowers that smell kinda like your pussy and I was wondering what they were called, but I can’t ask my grandad because he might be jealous and then I was thinking about him eating pussy. And then I kind of grossed myself out, but it was only thinking about other things I was trying not to bust in my—”

Dean was this adorable fluff of a man. He has a heart of gold and he means well, but he’s also like a rabid squirrel. Nothing keeps his attention for long and he’s in his middle thirties and still doesn’t have his own place or a job to support himself. He wants to be the man for Ash but Ash is determined that he’s everything she’s sworn she’ll never go back to.

Ash was a great heroine. Can I say how refreshing it is to read about a heroine that’s not a blushing near virgin. Here’s a woman that owns her sexuality and makes no qualms about it. She enjoys sex and doesn’t berate herself for it.

Her looks, mother and housing situation, meant she was getting called a slut before she’d so much as kissed a boy. Ash had decided not to bother trying to make anyone see her differently. Instead, she got on the pill, bought the Kama Sutra (the only sex book she’d heard of) and reinvented herself as the David Bowie of fucking. People waited for her to get pregnant or some nasty STD. Instead, she got her Kingswood, modelling campaigns, a nursing degree, and a collection of knobbish but undeniably attractive ex-boyfriends.

What made these characters so endearing is the amount of depth they had. They weren’t surface personalities, there was a reason for all of their personality quirks that ran deep into their past. The more you read, the more you connect with them, and the more you root for them. You want Dean to get his shit together and get the girl. You want Ash to get her baby and a man that loves her beyond reason.

This is a follow up book to Locked Box, which I haven’t read yet (but will definitely make a point to now) and I had no problem connecting with the secondary characters that starred in that book. I loved getting that continuation to Jules and Max’s story.

Thank you. And Connor?” “Yeah?” Max said hopefully. “You are in the doghouse. There will be no coming near my labia for a month. It’s total labial recall.” Max let out a howl of misery.

This book was nothing what I’d typically gravitate to but I loved everything about it. I’m so happy I took a chance on this new to me author because I’ve found myself a new author to read. This woman is going straight to my auto buy list and I’m going to stalk through her entire backlist now.

Geri’s Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

WHEN IT’S REAL
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: May 30, 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt is the perfect, romantic, fluffy summer read.

Oakley Ford is a teen celebrity whose early rise to fame and penchant for trouble has attracted a slew of negative publicity. Desperate to rehab his image before he becomes a washed-up has-been at 19, his management suggested that he dates a normal girl to not only rehab his tarnished image but to also help him land the next producer for his album.

Vaughn Bennett may be a “normal girl” by Hollywood’s standard but her life hasn’t a bed of roses. Orphaned and desperately helping her sister raised her younger siblings made Vaughn’s decision to be Oakley Ford’s fake girlfriend a no-brainer.

Despite a rocky start, Oakley and Vaughn found themselves becoming friends. But paparazzies, jealous exes, Hollywood gossip, nosy publicists and crazy fans are just few of the things that Oakley and Ford had to contend with. They also had to deal with their growing feelings for each other, which makes things a little bit more complicated.

I appreciate how the authors didn’t just focus on the growing romance between Vaughn and Oakley. It also focused on Oakley’s growth from being a spoiled brat musician who had fame way too early in his life to a mature young man whose passion and love for music was unquestionable.

Even though this premise has been done a lot in the past, I still enjoyed this book immensely. I liked that this was different from their other series. Low drama and low angst but still in keeping with the Erin Watt tradition of having smart, capable teenage characters that would appeal even to older readers.

And what makes me even more excited was the fact that I could share this book with my nieces. This is a true YA book, not just because the characters are in their teens but also the way it’s written which means no explicit or overly sexy scenes. So yes, you could recommend this to a younger audience without fear of being accused of corrupting them.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for smart, romantic YA reads.

Review: The Story of Us by Tara Sivec

THE STORY OF US
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tara Sivec
Release Date: June 13, 2017

From USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec comes an emotional, breathtakingly romantic new book about the power of first love and the promise of second chances.

How much can a man take before he breaks?

1,843 days. That’s how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I’ll do anything to get back to her.

Only Shelby Eubanks isn’t the girl I left behind all those years ago. She’s someone else, a stranger. My Shelby-my little green-eyed firecracker-would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother’s ambitions. But I won’t give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

I wonder if she still thinks of me as much as I do her. I wonder if she knows she’s the only reason I’m still breathing, still fighting, and still holding on.

It’s been a while since Tara Sivec wreaked havoc on my emotions with Fisher’s Light. Now she’s completely destroyed me with The Story of Us. And no, these stories are not connected by anything other then the fact that they both equally broke me. I mean, God. GOD! This story. This incredibly poignant and powerful story of love and second chances. This gripping, emotional, utterly heart wrenching story. My heart will never be the same. I was a complete and utter mess at the end. I love a good second chance romance, but when that also comes wrapped in a story that’s as powerful as it is emotional, I’m putty. Total putty.

How much can a man take before he breaks? When do the dreams stop giving him comfort and he has to accept that he’ll never see her again, touch her again or hear her say “I love you” again?

Eli has lived through hell for the past five years. The only thing that kept him going through the daily beating and torture as a POW are thoughts of his one true love. When he’s rescued and returns home where everyone mourned him and thought him long dead, the only thing on his agenda is to make things right with the woman that he walked away from due to circumstances out of his control.

I’m broken and scarred and half the man I used to be, but if she’ll let me explain, I hope to God she can put me back together again.

But the girl that he fell head over heels in love with before he left for his overseas tour, is not the woman he comes back to. Shelby is now completely under her mother’s thumb of political ambitions and image. She’s buried her dreams of dancing and moving away from this town to live in New York. She’s engaged to a man who has political ambitions that may be grander than her mother and someone she feels no passion towards. She’s a pawn in a game she wants nothing to do with, mourning a man that she believes dead, walking around a shell of the woman that she used to be.

Eli may be scarred as much inside as he is outside, but nothing will stop him from bringing back the sunny, beautiful girl that whose dancing stole his heart almost as much as her smile.

I hug him tighter, one last touch of his warm body against mine, one last second of feeling his heart beating with mine. I take it all in and shove it into the compartment in my brain reserved just for him, where I can take it out whenever I want and remember this moment. This one moment where I could pretend, for just a few seconds, that this could be my life. Wrapped up in this man who went through hell and found his way back to me.

There is a lot of things that happen in the story outside of this couple. THere’s so much going on that happened to set the gears in motion for a lot that happened to them. As they try to navigate to the truth, they also find peace again in each other’s arms.

He makes me feel whole, he closes up wounds while at the same time ripping them wide open…and I never want it to stop. 

I loved the letters that Eli wrote to Shelby and the way she experiences reading them. I love the way he fought for her and my heart absolutely broke for everything he’s been through.

I would do anything for Eli, anything he asks, and that includes breaking myself wide open and letting him see all of my scars, inside and out.

Nothing is as it appears and soon the puzzle pieces begin to click together. But can Eli and Shelby survive the truth when it finally reveals itself?

This was such an emotional and gripping story. The only reason that held it back from being a full 5 stars for me was the amount of almost soap opera like intrigue and drama at the end. It was one thing after another and while it all does come a full circle, I felt like it didn’t have to get that crazy to be just as powerful. That certainly didn’t diminish my enjoyment much, because I truly did love it. Tara Sivec is such a versatile author; she can write romcoms that make you cry laughing and then turn around and write something that will punch you right in the feels. If you’re looking for a powerful second chance romance with plenty of feeling and steam, you seriously can’t go wrong with this one.

Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

SHACKING UP
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: May 30, 2017

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

This man is like a nuclear bomb of sexy, just waiting to go off. I’m honestly surprised women aren’t super-gluing themselves to his body like in one of those men’s spray deodorant commercials. He may actually need women repellent.

Girl, you tell NO lie. Bancroft “Bane” Mills was a whole different level of hotness and I’d lick the hell out of him….erm…LIKE. LIKE. I mean like the hell out of him. OK. No. I didn’t. But whatever. Moving on.

Every time I pick up a book with a ridiculously hot cover, I’m always extra nervous. Is the story going to live up to the cover? Is it going to overwhelmed by too much sex with a hot half nekkid dude on the cover. Yes, I just asked that. Quit giving me the stink eye. Even us perverts have standards. For the most part. Anyway. Moving on again.

I’m happy to report that the story was even better than the cover, and that cover is pretty freaking spectacular. It’s full of zingers, hilarious banter, slow burn romance, adorable pets, and awesome chemistry.

Did you kiss him back?”
I shrug.
“You didn’t even know who he was!”
“I was caught off guard. He’s a good kisser. And have you seen him? That man could revive a corpse with his hotness.”
“Sometimes you’re very creepy, you know that?”

Ruby is determined to make her dream of starring on broadway happen. But being a triple threat and the daughter to the man running a pharmaceutical empire hasn’t given her a boost. She walked away from everything to chase her dreams, even her father’s financial support. Everything is riding on her making the audition the next day…until a sexy, drunken and sick stranger proceeds to kiss her and sneeze on her, effectively infecting her with the flu from hell.

When Ruby realizes that the sexy stranger is none other than her best friend’s finance’s cousin, uber rich, ex Rugby superstar Bancroft Mills, she’s not exactly thrilled. But she’s also now homeless with no roles in prospect and no job, and Bane happens to have her solution in his very sexy hands; move into his apartment to take care of his pets while he’s away on a business trip. Sounds simple, right? Until their shacking up leads into an unlikely friendship with a heavy underlying of sexual chemistry that’s so thick, it’s practically suffocating. Add into the mix Tiny the tarantula and an adorable ferret, an it’s a recipe for a laugh out loud romance.

I love a good slow burn and the one here was perfection. Ruby and Bane’s relationship goes from texts to FaceTime to something much, much more…

Bancroft shirtless is a vision. Bancroft naked is damn well fucking phenomenal. “Oh God, that is huge!” I say when I finally reach the visual destination of Erectiontopia.

With just the perfect amount of steam, Shacking Up was a laugh out loud, feel good romance sure to put a goofy smile on your face and a swoon in your heart. Helena Hunting effortlessly mixes humor with undeniable chemistry and endearing characters to create one delicious story that enjoyed from cover to cover.

Review: The Opposite Of You by Rachel Higginson

THE OPPOSITE OF YOU
Series: Opposites Attract #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Rachel Higginson
Release Date: March 30, 2017

I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive boyfriend to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.

I want the opposite.

AMAZON 

 

He’d told me I was bright, but not compared to him. He was the sun, and I was a flower turning my face to his heat. He was the stars in the clear summer night sky, and I was the stargazer mesmerized by the mysterious beauty I would never fully understand.

Well color me giddy, because I just found a new author to love. I love a good opposites attract story almost as much as I love an enemies to lovers one and this book combined both into one witty romance packed with plenty of feeling, charm, and swoon.

Date him?” I laughed. “Hardly. And not just because I’ve sworn off men for the rest of all eternity. He’s too… He’s too familiar. I don’t want a guy like Killian Quinn. I want the exact opposite of him.”

Vera bet everything on a man once…and lost. Now back home to lick her wounds and start over, leaving her potential dream of becoming a famous chef behind, she’s starting from the ground up. She still has dreams of having her own kitchen in a fancy restaurant one day, but for now she has Foodie the food truck. Her brother is even letting her use the parking lot across from his shop rent free. The only problem? That problem is right next to one of the best and most well known restaurants in town. It’s a restaurant where she would have loved to work, and also one where the kitchen is ran by the renowned and super grumpy Killian Quinn. World famous chef and notorious pain in her ass. Killian is less than thrilled about her food truck darkening the parking lot and he doesn’t hesitate in letting her know…at every opportunity…what he thinks about it.

Sparks fly between these two from the very first insult and keep sparking hotter with each additional encounter. What begins is a hilarious back and forth that’s had such a potent sexual tension beneath it that I thought I’d catch on fire with every page I read.

He threatened everything. My business. My sanity. My vow of celibacy. The carefully constructed walls I’d built around my heart. My fragile courage I’d only just regained. He’d bulldozed into my life and shaken up everything I’d thought was true about men and chefs and people.

Now I love food, so I absolutely loved how engrained the story is in food and cooking. I felt like I was right there in the kitchen along with the characters. But beyond that, I simply loved the slow burn romance that starts as an unwilling friendship. These two seriously burned up the pages with their chemistry. So much so, that I didn’t care that this wasn’t my typical steam packed romance. It had just enough of a taste to satisfy but the budding romance is truly what took center stage here and I appreciated that so much.

The writing is witty and engaging and full of humor. The characters are phenomenally developed and full of depth. The romance is swoony and the story completely unforgettable.

As soon as I opened the door, you became more. You were significant and important and right. You settled inside me like you were always meant to be there. I found you, Vera, because I was supposed to find you.”

I’m thrilled that this is the first in the series and can’t wait for more. Especially knowing that the mysterious Ezra is next. I can’t wait to see what happens with him and Vera’s BFF. Or at least that’s who I’m assuming will be the one to bring the grumpy millionaire to his knees.

Review: Enemies Like You by Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers

ENEMIES LIKE YOU
Genre: MM Romance, Suspense, Erotic
Authors: Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers
Release Date: May 15, 2017


They’re dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.

Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal.

The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. And Will can’t seem to resist him.

A simple command in Kit’s cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts.

Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting.

And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive.

 

This is a stand-alone contemporary M/M romance.

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I like my sex like I like my grenades: simple, fast, and furious. One-time use.

That. Was. So. Freaking. HOT.

No seriously. That was SO FREAKING HOT. I don’t think I even bothered to read the blurb for this book before jumping at the chance to read it. While I haven’t had a chance to read anything by Joanna Chambers prior to this (which I’ll be rectifying quickly), Annika Martin has been an auto-buy for me for years. But really, this book couldn’t have been more custom written for me if it had my name on it.

Enemies to lovers? Check!
Sizzling hot MM? Check!
Suspense interspersed with smoking hot sexy times? Check and CHECK!

Will is a man on a mission. With the CIA at his side, he knows that he’s on a suicide mission that no one expects him to come out of alive. But he also knows that he’ll stop at nothing to kill the man that’s responsible for the single event that still haunts him to this day. Nothing short of feeling his blood seeping through his fingers will make Will rest. There’s only one thing in the way; his target’s ruthless and unstoppable bodyguard.

Their attraction is unexpected. Their connection is dangerous. And their inability to stay away from each other just may cost both of them their lives.

He takes my mouth again, snarling against my lips as his hips pump. His strong fingers intensify their grip. It’s wild and animalistic. And I love it. Kit’s civilized demeanor has fallen away completely, exposing the passion that lies beneath the cool, icy surface.

Enemies Like You was one twisty and sexy ride. I didn’t expect what I got and what I got was entertaining as hell. I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but not everything is what it seems and man did I love that particular twist to the story. But the twists don’t stop. The authors hit you with them from every corner, until your mind is spinning so hard you feel like the lid will explode.

There were a few points that I felt were underdeveloped but it wasn’t anything that took away from my enjoyment of the book. And boy did I enjoy it. THOROUGHLY. It was deliciously naughty and full of action and suspense and with two characters that I couldn’t get enough of. This book is like GI Joe and James Bond came together to make a sexy MM baby. Does that even make sense? Whatever. Just go with me here.

 Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.

Connect with Joanna:

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Geri & Lana’s Review: Curveball by @MariahDietz

CURVEBALL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Mariah Dietz
Release Date: May 18, 2017

Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and tragedy in humor.

My life proved his theory as fact.

At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in return.

Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.

Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most situations.

My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.

My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in both our lives.

But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh round of heartbreak.

Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.

Would history repeat itself?
Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?

AMAZON

LANA’S REVIEW

Will you keep looking at me like I’m yours if I tell you there’s nothing to worry about?”
“You just haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been looking at you like you’re mind since I first saw you.”

Holy. Wow. How is this the first book I’m reading by this author? I’ll fully admit that I was hooked by the blurb with a promise of an angst fest. Being the angst addict that I am, I was ready to have my heart ripped out…
But that’s not at all what I got.

This book was nothing what expected and yet exactly what I needed. I loved the flowing, almost lyrical writing style. I loved the characters and most especially the incredible hero. I loved the character driven story and the pacing. I loved the slow burn romance. I loved the lack of unnecessary drama. I loved Elle and Coen’s connection and their journey from friends to lover. I loved Elle’s adorable little boy. I just loved it. I loved everything about it.

I feel the blurb is a bit misleading, or maybe it was for me. Because this is not an angst fest. It’s a story that’s full of depth and feeling, but there’s no crazy drama or angst. It’s a story of a woman that made a mistake when she was young and naive and now learning to move on with her life. Elle fell for a man when she was a teenager that irrevocably changed the course of her life. Now 9 years later, she’s come a long way from the naive 17 year old girl she used to be. Being a single mother that’s balancing raising her son and a full time career leaves no time for her love life. She inevitably allows her best friend to set her up on a string of horrible dates from a dating site she’s on, fully convinced she’ll never meet the man she wants.

The last thing she expects is to form a connection with her best friend’s new neighbor. Coen is everything that she’s sworn off; a firefighter and off limits because her best friend is interested in him. He’s also endearing, thoughtful, sweet, and is incredible to her little boy. What starts off as an almost unwilling friendship, soon begins to develop into something much more.

She squares her shoulders when I take three measured steps that bring us toe to toe and the flame in her eyes smothers me as it spreads like a wildfire, heating me, filling me with a fight or flight instinct that has me reaching up to grab a handful of her dark hair and lean forward until my lips steal her breath and give her my own.

Coen.

SWOON. All of the swoon! This man was perfection. He’s fiercely protective, sweet, thoughtful, and he cares for Elle’s son as much as for her. I loved seeing the development of the connection between the three of them. I loved the way that Coen demolished every wall that Elle has built around her heart through the years.

There was no crazy drama or angst and it’s not even a little smutty. It was simply a story of a love in the most unlikeliest of place. Elle and Coen complimented each other so perfectly. Coen lifted Elle up in her weak moments and Elle stood by Coen in his. It was poignant and touching and I absolutely adored it.

My only quibble is the twist in this book that made things a little too convenient in how some things played out. But other than that, I enjoyed this book immensely. I’m seriously kicking myself for not reading this author before but I’ll be rectifying it by reading every future book this woman releases.

GERI’S REVIEW

I love him because he saved me. Because he makes me acknowledge my feelings rather than feel ashamed of them, and he makes me feel calm and safe. Two things I haven’t felt since I was seventeen.❞

This was my very first Mariah Dietz book and certainly won’t be my last.

Curveball was a pleasant surprise. I was kind of expecting angst on top of angst, which I admittedly am all for on some cases, and Curveball isn’t quite the angsty read I was expecting. But it nevertheless, captured my attention and I was able to fell in love not only with the story overall but with the characters.

Speaking of characters…Coen, Coen, Coen. He made this book for me. Just an amazing hero. He had me swooning right from the get go. He could’ve easily become an indecisive character with two beautiful women vying for his attention but he’s not. I loved his steadfastness and resolve. He’s definitely worthy to be called a hero in every sense of the word.

I also loved Ella. Her journey is quite heartbreaking. I liked how the author showed the toxic kind of love that Ella had with her ex and how it can happen even to a person like Ella who had a great family and friends, etc. Her reactions and her fears felt real to me, and I really enjoyed seeing her character evolved from the beginning of the book until the end.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was how rich and complex the secondary characters are. They’re not just there to serve the hero or the heroine. They definitely have their own personalities and quirks.

That said, I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and conflict resolved a little too quickly. Some people got away with some things and there were some confrontations (which I won’t divulge here because it’s a spoiler) that I would’ve loved to see.

But overall, this was a very solid, heartwarming read. And yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Dietz.

Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.

Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: By The Hour by @roniloren

BY THE HOUR
Series: Pleasure Principle #2
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Author: Roni Loren
Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of Off the Clock comes a story of love, hate, and the fire that ignites when the two collide…

Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.

Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.

After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?

Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO 

Elle paced her floors and shook out her hands, trying to get rid of the nerves that had insisted on stalking her as soon as she walked into her house. She never got nervous about things like this. It was only sex. Since her divorce, she’d had her fair share of it with a number of men. Some better than others. This would just be another hookup. A one-night stand.So what if she’d have to see Lane again at The Grove? He didn’t work on the rehab wing, her domain. He was easily avoided. Plus, she was a grown woman who could separate business and pleasure. She’d compartmentalized the hell out of Donovan. Compartmentalizing was a long-practiced art of hers. This would be no different.

If she were really that worried, she would lock her door. Shut down the possibility for good. Because she knew Lane would hold true to his threat. If she locked it, he’d never look her way again. She put her hand on the lock briefly, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn it, not with her blood pumping this hard and the silky panties she’d changed into already clinging to her. She wanted this.

But after twenty minutes of pacing, her focus switched from worrying about the possibility that this would happen to worrying that Lane wouldn’t go through with it, that it had been a tease. A joke.

So when she heard the back door click open, she had to bite her lip to keep from making a sound of relief. He was here. This was happening.

She halted in the spot where she was in the living room, waiting in the hazy gray moonlight that filtered through the curtains. She wouldn’t go to him, wouldn’t reveal how eager she really felt.

Heavy footsteps sounded on the wooden floorboards, the one in the hallway creaking beneath his shoe, and then he stepped into the doorway of the living room. Somehow he looked even bigger here in her house. Over six feet of man filling up the unevenly framed antique doorway. The stained-glass pane above the door showered pale, colored light onto his shoulders and left his face half in shadow.

Her throat went tight, bone dry. “It took you long enough. Decided to stay for dessert?”

His mouth curved as he stepped forward, absorbing her sharp tone like she’d said something sweet. “No. I’m having you instead. Hope you’re worth skipping bread pudding.” He eyed her. “Frankly, I have my doubts.”

The jab made her pull up short. But instead of it pissing her off, a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding released, the insult somehow softening the edge of her nerves. “Screw you, Cannon.”

Amusement crossed his face. He was close now, almost within arm’s reach, making her step back. “That’s the idea, sunshine.”

She licked her lips and her back pressed against the wall. “No one knows you came here?”

His hands planted against the wall on each side of her shoulders, caging her in and enveloping her with his scent, his…bigness. “No, don’t worry. No one knows you’re slumming it. That you’re horny and hot for the institute’s hooker. Your dirty secret’s safe.”

She winced. “I didn’t mean—”

“Yeah, you did,” he said. “But it’s all right. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I’m here either. I’ve got my own reputation to keep.”

She narrowed her eyes. “What? For only fucking people who pay you?”

He smiled, a wickedness to it. “Oh, people don’t pay me for this, sweetheart. This isn’t for sale.”

Before she could register what was happening, he spun her around, pinned her against the wall, and pressed his body along her back. His erection pushed hard and heavy against her and a hot shudder of need chased down her spine. She had to fight not to whimper.

“Give me a safe word, McCray,” he said, his voice low and serious against her ear. “Because I’m about to give you what I know you want, but I’m not gonna do it without one of those. Your attitude’s got me wanting to do bad things to you.”

She closed her eyes, heat flooding her sex and making every part of her prickle with awareness. She said the first word that came to her head. “Birthday.”

He pressed his nose to her hair, inhaling. “Good girl.”

“No.” She tensed, the endearment scraping across her psyche and making her stomach clench.

He stilled. “No, what?”

“Don’t call me that. Ever.”

He was quiet for a second, and then his hand coasted down her bare arm in a soothing touch, like he was trying to calm a skittish horse. “Got it. That’s all you have to say to me, all right? Anything that’s out of bounds for you, just tell me and I’ll respect it.”

She took a deep breath, hating that she’d reacted so strongly, that the demons floated so close to the surface. That her ex-husband’s old endearment would get to her. She was off her game tonight. He was putting her off her game. “I don’t need your therapy mode, Lane.”

“This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a responsible dominant and human being.”

A dominant? Great. Of course he was. “I’m not submissive.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

He chuckled behind her, his breath tickling her neck. “I’d like to see you try.”

GUEST POST

DGR: What was your favorite scene to write in this book?

RL: Writing an enemies-to-lovers story is actually way too much fun. The scenes feel like they write themselves sometimes because it’s all this verbal sparring and banter, which is one of my favorite things to write. Both the hero and heroine are smart and sarcastic, so they can hold their own with each other. The opening scene in the book was so much fun because Lane, the hero, is trying to do a favor for a friend by talking to Elle, but Elle does everything she can to insult him and get him to go away. Lane is impervious to it. In fact, her attitude and insults amuse him greatly. So he just keeps prodding her more. It results in way more than either bargained for that night.

Excerpt:

She sat up straighter in her chair and crossed her arms, sending the go away signal with a bullhorn. That always worked. She had a Ph.D. in that signal.

Lane ignored it. He grabbed the chair next to her, slid into it, and then plunked the glass of wine he’d been carrying onto the table in front of her. When she didn’t reach for it or acknowledge him, he draped his arm over the back of her chair as if she’d invited him there. He didn’t touch her, but his body heat warmed her neck as he stared out at the group like she’d been doing.

“You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

She didn’t look his way and tried to keep her expression smooth as he did the man-spread next to her—knees wide, big body taking up too much space. He smelled like laundry soap and dark, rich beer. And when the side of his knee bumped against hers, soft jeans brushing bare skin, an uninvited spark of awareness shot straight upward, announcing his presence to her renegade lady parts.

She cleared her throat. “Brave of you to be a test subject.”

His lips quirked in her periphery. “I saw you give the death ray to Donovan earlier. Figured if he survived, I was safe.”

She frowned, hating that any of her emotions about Donovan had slipped through, hating that she even had emotions about Donovan. “Don’t be too confident. If you’re coming over here to tell me to smile or join the party, I may dial the look up to eleven.”

“Ouch, Spinal Tap level.” He took a drag off his beer. “But no. You do your thing. I don’t need you to smile and fake it to make me comfortable. I’m good.”

“Because you’re comfortable anywhere,” she said, not hiding the wryness in her tone.

He shrugged. “Pretty much.”

She grabbed the wine and sipped, enjoying the smooth warmth of it and hoping it would settle the jumpy feeling Lane’s presence was causing. “Must be nice.”

DGR: What was the inspiration for this series?

RL: Before I was a full-time writer, I was a clinical social worker. I worked at a state mental health hospital and provided therapy to children and their families, so it wasn’t the same environment as The Grove by any means (which is exclusive and caters to celebrities and such.) But it was its own social world. Psychologists, social workers, doctors, nurses, and other staff all working together for long hours in high stress situations. Plus, all the patients have their own interesting stories. So, I thought it could be a good setting for a series. Like Grey’s Anatomy but with a lot less blood and more sex, lol.

She wanted a hate fuck? He was ready to deliver.

What can a previous escort turned sex surrogate and the brainy and standoffish doctor possibly have in common? A whole lot of chemistry!

I’ll be honest, I hated and I mean HATED Elle in the first book. She’s rude and cold and she certainly doesn’t mince words or make friends. She’s an ice queen in every way and there’s only two sides to her; the professional and the woman you don’t want to be on the wrong side of. I wasn’t sure I’d ever like her, but Roni Loren proved me wrong in just one chapter.

By The Hour gives the reader a whole different side of Elle; the side that tells you why she is the way she is and you can’t help but feel for her. Whether it’s sympathy or pity, you understand her and the depth of her hurt. This is a woman that suffered the worst sort of betrayal from someone who was supposed to love her and she never recovered for it. She lashes out before anyone gets close. She’s closed off and rude. She’s the one everyone avoids at a party…except for Lane Cannon.

You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

Lane is a man who has his own demons from the past. A previous escort, he’s working hard towards his dream career. He’s damn good at what he does now, even if the snobbish doctor never ceases to remind him how little she thinks of his lowly sex surrogate ways. But one vulnerable moment leads to some sizzling hate sex and things are irreversibly changed between them forever.

The best part will be when I’m deep inside you and you’re riding your edge, begging for this guy you hate to give you exactly what you need, to drive you so out of your mind that you have no choice but to forget everything except the way I’m fucking you and how good it feels and how much you want it.

There’s quite a bit of back and forth that goes on between Elle and Lane. Elle struggles with letting her walls down and in her hard shell of self preservation, hurts Lane on more than one occasion. As much as I wanted to rage at her or judge her, it’s tough, knowing her history. This is a woman that has every reason to lose her faith in men and love, so she struggles deeply with accepting Lane’s affection.

This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a reasonable dominant and a human being.”
“I’m not submissive.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

What I really appreciated about her is she was never simpering or whiny about it. She’s tough as nails and she certainly gives as good as she gets. She’s mouthy but she’s also funny and has a soft side to her that she hides beneath her hard layers.

I loved the chemistry between her and Lane. Their hate lust was entertaining….

Are you feeling tempted to beg? Because, boy, would that be a feather in my cap.”
“Fuck you.”
“Already doing that. Effectively, based on the look on your face.”

But what really sold me was watching the development of their relationship. It’s a slow build and they each have their own insecurities that they battle, but they also help balance each other out. I loved how understanding Lane was with Elle and I loved watching Elle’s fierce protectiveness and caring heart come out more and more when it comes to Lane.

What are you doing to me?”
“Bad things.”
“They don’t feel bad,” she said softly.

By The Hour was a fantastic addition to this sizzling series. It was packed with just as much feeling as steam, and it was a book that kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her cooking, watching reality television, or picking up another hobby she doesn’t need–in other words, procrastinating like a boss. She is a RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

Places to find Roni Loren:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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