Geri’s Review: Scoring the Player’s Baby by Naima Simone

SCORING THE PLAYER’S BABY
Series: WAGS #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Naima Simone
Release Date: July 9th 2018

 

After a divorce from her cheating football player ex, PR whiz Kim Matlock would rather drive a pine tree through her walled-off heart than work at the Seattle Wedding Expo.

And the last thing she expects is to be grabbed and kissed breathless by a hot giant of a man looking to fend off a stalker.

She doesn’t want emotional entanglements, but she can’t say no to one scorching night with the sexy stranger.

To her shock, she finds out afterward that a) he’s a pro football player, aka her kryptonite, and b) she’s pregnant.

But nothing could have prepared her for his response…

 

AMAZON

I’ll give you whatever you ask for. Use me in any way you need to erase those shadows in your eyes.”

One of the things that I really like about Naima Simone’s books are her characters. She writes hot-as-sin heroes and gorgeous, accomplished heroines. Scoring the Player’s Baby is no different. It’s a fun, sexy read with a lot of heart.

Ronin Palamo is living a life most men could only dream of. He’s playing for a championship caliber team and he doesn’t lack female companionship. He has it all. But it doesn’t take long for readers to notice that Ronin is hiding a deep wound. One that makes him wary of love and relationship. He doesn’t want it or need it. Or so he thought.

His resolve was tested when he meets Kim Matloc. Like Ronin, Kim is hiding wounds of her own. She was cheated on by her ex-husband who also happens to be a football player. She also issues with her birth father who basically abandoned her and her mother as a child. This makes Kim not trust men in general. She armored herself so no one could ever hurt her again.

I liked Ronin a lot, but I LOVED Kim even more. She’s a successful woman who is constantly underestimated by people. Except for her half-brother, Kim has been hurt by the men in her life and I did not blame her a bit for disbelieving Ronin.

It took me awhile to warm up to Ronin. This is mostly due to personal preference. While I enjoy sexy, gregarious heroes, I don’t really gravitate to them all that much. I prefer a grumpier type hero and Ronin is the exact opposite of that. He’s full of personality which can be overwhelming at times. It was when he shows his vulnerable side that he shines as a character. I also didn’t really like the constant reference to ‘being a pussy’ or the ‘man card’ in his POV. It was very distracting.

Despite those things, I enjoyed the banter between Kim and Ronin. I liked how they resolved their issues, and the grand gesture towards the end was really cute. Although, I must say that Ronin’s come-to-Jesus moment felt a bit rushed considering he seemed hung up on his dead ex-girlfriend. The epilogue, however, leaves little doubt in your mind as to Ronin’s devotion to Kim.

Overall, Scoring the Player’s Baby scored a 100 on the hotness scale. If you’ve enjoyed Naima Simone’s books before, you will find plenty of things to enjoy here.

Geri’s Review: It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

IT TAKES TWO
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jenny Holiday
Release Date: June 26, 2018

In this hilarious romantic comedy, USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday proves that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…
 
All’s fair in love and war
Wendy Liu should be delighted to be her best friend’s maid of honor. But after years spent avoiding the bride’s brother – aka the boy who once broke her heart – she’s now trapped with him during an endless amount of wedding festivities. Luckily she’s had time to perfect her poker face, and engaging Noah Denning in a little friendly competition might just prove that she’s over him for good…
Noah Denning is determined to make his little sister’s wedding memorable. But it seems Wendy is trying to outdo him at every turn. Challenging each other was always something he and Wendy did right, so when she proposes they compete to see who can throw the best bachelor or bachelorette party in Sin City, Noah takes the bait – and ups the stakes. Because this time around, he wants Wendy for keeps. And when you’re fighting for love, all bets are off.

AMAZON

Was this what being in love was like—being in a musical?”

Jenny Holiday is a new to me author that I started reading a couple of months ago. Her new series, Bridesmaids Behaving Badly centers around a group of friends who are bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. I really liked the first book in the series, One and Only, and of the standout characters I enjoyed in the book was Jane’s best friend, Wendy and her unrequited feelings for Jane’s older brother Noah. It Takes Two is their story. And let me tell you: I swooned and cried and smiled all the way because this book was fabulous.

It Takes Two has everything I want in my romance:

Firstly, it features a stubborn, prickly heroine who is hiding a soft gooey center. Wendy has abandonment issues and a slew of other issues that made me want to give her a hug. She’s also smart, loyal, and a good friend to her girlfriends.

Secondly, Noah is a caretaker hero who is endearing and solid, and just an all around great guy to have in your life. Sure, he was a bit clueless in the beginning (hello! He’s a guy!) but I never got the idea that he was hurtful or mean towards Wendy.

Thirdly, and my most favorite of all, is the strong bond between these 4 female friends. I LOVE female friendship in books. Seriously. Romance books should feature more women supporting other women. This book is filled with so much love and affection between female friends. I just loved reading about these girls and their devotion to each other.

And last but not the least, it has two of my favorite tropes: unrequited love and in-love-with-bestfriend’s-brother. I, a seasoned romance reader who loves her tropes, am predisposed to like this book. No question about it. This book was written for readers like me.

My only gripe about this book, and this is a minor one and it’s probably just me, is that the middle and towards the end lagged a bit in terms of pacing. It rebounded with the ending but I just noticed how the story slowed down a bit in the middle. While it didn’t affect my enjoyment for the book that much considering I still really enjoyed it, I’m mentioning it here to give other readers a heads up.

Other than that, It Takes Two was everything I was hoping for. I enjoyed it and if you like the things I mentioned above, you might enjoy this one, too!

Geri & Lana’s Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER
Series: Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sarah MacLean
Release Date: June 19th, 2018

When Wicked Comes Calling…

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain…

Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion…

But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.

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GERI’S REVIEW

Sarah MacLean’s new Bareknucle Bastards series is off to a strong start with Wicked and the Wallflower. It’s a passionate and intriguing tale of three brothers who’re bound by the secrets of their pasts.

“You don’t need lessons in fire. You are an inferno.”

Wicked and the Wallflower is about the first brother, Devon, known as Devil to everyone—friends and enemies alike. Devil immediately captures the attention. At the start of the book, his only goal was to uphold a promise from his past but it’s how he goes about achieving those goals that put him immediately in the anti-hero category for me.

In spite of that, Sarah MacLean was convincing in her campaign to show her readers that Devil deserves the heroine and a HEA. One of the reasons for this is the heroine Felicity Faircloth.

Felicity Faircloth was perfection—the first taste of it Devil had ever had.

She was Devil’s equal and his perfect foil. She is innocent but she’s far from naïve. Felicity is similar to Devil is some ways. She was relegated to the fringes of polite society, just like Devil. But unlike Devil, she wanted to be a part of it. So when Devil offered her a chance to be a part of the ton, she took the chance, not knowing that it’s going to bring her ruination once again.

“If I were going to take advantage of you, I would approach from the front, Felicity Faircloth. In full view, so you would have the joy of expecting me.”

I loved how Devil and Felicity interacted with each other. Brilliantly written dialogue is one of MacLean’s skill, and it’s on full display here. You could feel the sexual tension and the chemistry in each of those encounters. Aside from that, there’s a lot of longing in this book! One of the things that make for a grand romance is to have two characters who desperately want each other but their circumstances and their own fears are keeping them apart. Hence, the longing. Devil and Felicity’s longing for each other will make you sigh and swoon at the same time.

I also enjoyed how Devil’s interactions with his siblings. You can sense their shared pain and history together. Their dysfunction is evident and Sarah MacLean is a master at giving us a taste of what’s coming. And just based on what she showed us about Whit and Ewan and Grace, I’m already mentally lining up for the next books in the series.

“I’m going to steal you,” he confessed again. “I’m going to steal you and make you mine.”

Wicked and the Wallflower is very character driven. Yes, there’s a plot but it’s not what drives the story forward; it’s the characters and their motivations. There’s also a lot of intrigue and secrets that I feel would come into play in later books. The seeds are there, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Fans of Sarah MacLean and historical romances will find plenty of things to enjoy in this book. The characters, the romance and the intrigue will keep you entertained and make you swoon like a romance novel should. I highly recommend it.


LANA’S REVIEW

Felicity Faircloth was perfection—the first taste of it Devil had ever had. She tasted like a promise.

Wicked and the Wallflower is the first installment in a brand new series that’s sure to be a new addiction for me from one of my favorite historical romance authors. However, I’ve been sitting on my rating for this book for a couple weeks now, somewhat stumped in how to rate it. I was completely enamored with the story in the first 15%, then somewhere along the way it began to lose me, only to reel me back in in the second half.

This world is all sin, Felicity, and I am the worst of it.”

I love a broody and broken hero, and Devil certainly fits the bill. This is a man that went through hell as a child, only to come up swinging. Now he’s one of the notorious Bareknuckle Bastards, as rich as he is ruthless, and running a crime ring in the heart of Covent Garden. For years, Devil has yearned for revenge against those that wronged him and his family, and he’s so close he can taste it now. But a woman just may throw a wrench into his hard built plans.

You wish to do the consuming.” She wished to be wanted. Beyond reason. She wished to be ached for. “You wish for him to fly into your flame.”

Lady Felicity Faircloth is in desperate need to wed a Duke. A mistake has now put her on the outskirts of the Ton, and made her into a social pariah. Her only recourse to help herself and her family is to wed a Duke. But Felicity is no vain or mindless twit. This is a woman of passion that will not settle for anything other than true love; no matter how much her incredibly selfish family pushes her otherwise.

For surely, no man on earth should be as handsome as this one. He looked remarkably like his voice sounded. Like a low, liquid rumble. Like temptation. Like sin.

A bargain with the Devil just may be the answer she seeks, but it doesn’t go quite as planned.

I was instantly hooked from the first chapter of this book. I was intrigued by Devil and his story, as well as those of his brothers and sister. This was also the reason for my later struggle. Because while the author paints a beguiling picture with this character, she doesn’t quite give the character development that I yearned for. There’s a lot backstory to him that seems to happen off the pages, things that the reader is told, but you don’t quite feel it. I struggled with this for the better part of the first half of the book. I wanted more of a connection to Devil and his past.

Felicity was a heroine I loved straight away. She’s full of spark and sharp wit. I couldn’t get enough of her. In a world of propriety beyond all, she stood out like a flame. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to voice it or to go after it. She was the perfect balance to Devil and I couldn’t get enough of their chemistry.

I’m going to steal you, instead,” he said then, knowing she’d hear the words as part of the story and not as she should—as the truth. “I’m going to steal you,” he confessed again. “I’m going to steal you and make you mine.” “It’s not theft if I allow it,” she whispered. Silly girl; of course it was. But it wouldn’t stop him.

The second half of the book is where it really hooked me. We get a lot more story on Devil (though never quite as much as I hoped for) and the romance truly begins to bloom.

Sarah MacLean has a way with words that I simply adore, and she has hooked me completely on The Bareknuckle Bastards. I’m captivated and already salivating to learn more about Beast, Cassie, and even more of the naughty Duke himself. The romance here was a slow burn but oh so satisfying. With plenty of chemistry to keep a reader yearning for Felicity and Duke’s HEA. So while it wasn’t quite what I had hoped, it still kept me glued to the pages and eager to see what happens in the end. I can’t wait for more in this series!

#DGRFave & Geri’s Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

RAINY DAY FRIENDS
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 19, 2018

Following the USA Today bestselling author of Lost and Found Sisters comes Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship

Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.

Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

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Jill Shalvis new Wildstone series have been all winners for me starting with Lost and Found Sisters, followed by Good Luck Sister, and now Rainy Day Friends.


I’ve learned that life is a crapshoot, and at any moment someone can walk into it and change it forever.” 

 

I loved this book. I loved it more than I expected I would. That sounds like a backhanded compliment but let me explain. This book was marketed as Women’s Fiction, a genre that I read but not exactly my go-to genre. There’s always a risk of WF to fall short on the romance aspect. Not so with this book. Yes, this book is definitely about Lanie dealing about the death of her husband and the fallout of his infidelities. But what really gave this book its emotional weight was the romance between Lanie and Mark Capriotti.

Their romance made me swoon! It was definitely a huge part of the book, and I’m so happy for that. I need a healthy dose of romance in my WF and Rainy Day Friends delivered. The romance between Lanie and Mark is mature, passionate and emotional. In other words, it has ALL THE FEELS! And you guys know I’m all about the FEELS!

And now he had her in his arms, this amazing, prickly, suspicious, hardheaded woman that he was falling for in spite of himself because she was also sweet and kind and had the biggest heart of anyone he’d ever met.”

Lanie is prickly and suspicious. She’s not there to become part of the Capriotti clan no matter how friendly and inclusive they are. She’s there to do her job and escape dealing with the mess her husband left her with. I love LOVE prickly heroines and Lanie is fits the description to a tee. She’s also hiding a very soft center underneath prickly exterior. I’ve always enjoyed Jill’s uber competent and complex heroines, but Lanie just might be my favorite Shalvis heroine yet. I LOVE HER! I related to her so much. I understood her motivations and her reaction to her husband’s betrayal and other things made sense to me.

Not only did Jill hit it out of the park with her heroine, she also hit a homerun with the hero, Mark. If you love single parent heroes, then you will love Mark! He’s a devoted family man who loves his twin daughters. And while he did the whole, “I’m not looking for love and can’t offer you anything,” shtick for a while, he changed his tune very quickly when he realized his feelings for Lanie might be deeper than he originally thought. His interactions with his twin daughters are some of the highlights in the book for me. So pure and so heart-wrenching, I shed a tear or two.

The chemistry between these two are off the charts. I realize I sound like a broken record but I love how their romance developed. Theirs enhanced Lanie’s journey and the conflict she’s facing, and honestly, it’s the perfect balance between family drama and romance.

He hadn’t seen it coming, he hadn’t seen her coming, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize a good thing when he saw it.”

There’s also a secondary romance here, which I really liked but won’t get into. It’s there and it has its own charm but it didn’t overpower the main romance between Lanie and Mark.

One aspect that I loved about this book was the Capriotti family. I fell in love with the whole lot of them! They love as passionately as they fight. They’re not perfect which made them all the more interesting to read. I really hope Jill Shalvis will continue to write about their family in future books because they got me like they did Lanie. They were that irresistible.

This book also has one of the most emotionally intense confrontation I’ve read in a Jill Shalvis book. I cried for Lanie. My heart broke for her. And what I really liked about it is that it didn’t feel like I was manipulated. The conflict and the road to that confrontation was so well written that it really hits you when it happened. And it’s not just that one moment in particular, it’s the way Lanie processed her emotions when confronted with that something that got to me. That, in my opinion, is great writing.

This is one of the best I’ve read this year so far. Rainy Day Friends delivered on the romance and I’m so happy it did. I highly recommend this book. If you loved Jill Shalvis, then this is a must read. If you’re just starting out reading her books, this is a great book to start. And even though this is technically the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Her life had been a train in a dark tunnel for a very long time. But it was like she’d somehow changed course and now she could see a little bit of light.” 

 

Geri’s Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

OCEAN LIGHT
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 12, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love…

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it.

With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy…

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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tautly plotted with dynamic characters and contains of the highest stakes—both romantic and plot-wise—in the series, Ocean Light will engage not just your mind but your heart as well.

Tonight was their impossible dream.

This book picks up not far from where the last book ended. Bowen Knight survived his assassination attempt but the chip in his brain is still degenerating and with time running out, his sister agrees to a deal with the Blacksea changeling clan to take Bo deep underwater to undergo an experiment that could save his life or end it.

I am so happy that this Nalini continued to build on this universe. We’ve only heard about the BlackSea changelings in previous books but in Ocean Light, they finally take the center stage. And what a fascinating world it is. Ms. Singh’s clever world building continues to fascinate and entranced. The BlackSea changelings have their own quirks that separate them from other changelings but what remains constant is their sense of belonging to a family, a pack, or a clan. This theme has been a constant from the very first Psy-Changeling book and continues with the Trinity series. It is again a huge theme here.

As I mentioned, this book has one of the highest stakes in the series. Don’t get me wrong. The stakes in these books are always high but in Ocean Light it is even more so. With Bo’s life on the line and the Trinity Accord being attacked from the inside, not to mention Kaia dealing with trauma and mental health issues, the characters are in constant state of peril in this book. There’s a sense of urgency and doom that I wasn’t exactly sure how the author was going to resolve everything but she did and did it wonderfully.

The romance between Bo and Kaia was just as satisfying as the mystery and intrigue. Singh is one of the masters of crafting a strong romantic conflict. Bowen is a human, a leader of the Alliance that wasn’t always trustworthy in the eyes of the changelings. He’s made errors in the past but his heart is always in the right place.

Promise me.” He grabbed her hand, pressed it to his cutting-edge mechanical heart that would keep going long after he fell. “If it goes wrong, you’ll walk away. Promise me.”

Kaia on the other hand is a changeling whose past made her distrustful of humans. She sees humans and the land as forces of destruction and loss. Bowen’s presence and her peculiar reaction to him puts Kaia in a very vulnerable position.

I love how the romance developed between them. There’s playfulness to their relationship that I found endearing to read. Their HEA was EARNED and it was SATISFYING.

Ocean Light delivers on the romance along with healthy sprinkling of mystery and intrigue that will hold your attention from beginning to end. This is another win for Nalini Singh, and I highly recommend that you start from the very beginning with Slave to Sensation. Yes, it’s a lot of books and you can probably start with Silver Silence and still enjoy or even love the books but I highly HIGHLY recommend starting with the original Psy-Changeling series.

DGR Fave & Geri’s Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

THE KISS QUOTIENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Helen Hoang
Release Date: June 5, 2018

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan.

The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel.

Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

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All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

Oh my gosh, this book!

I’ve seen my friends gush about Helen Hoang’s debut for a month or so, and being a contrarian that I am, I tried to temper my expectations. I’ve been here before. Everyone I know loved a book and I’m like, ‘meh’. But that’s not the case here.

The Kiss Quotient not only met my expectations, IT EXCEEDED IT!

I finished this book with a huge grin on my face (always a good sign) and full heart. These characters that Hoang brought to life in the pages of her book made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with them.

You’re very good at the talking part.”
“I’ve had sex. There isn’t a talking part.”
A spark danced in his eyes. “There’s definitely a talking part.”

Stella Lane is magnificent as Hoang’s heroine. She’s beautiful, smart, and kind. Her motivations were so wonderfully written and explored by the author that there’s really nothing I can say except, WOW. I just fell in love with her character just like Michael did.

And speaking Michael? Oh man, easily one of the best romance heroes ever. And I don’t say this lightly. Michael Larsen is a cinnamon roll. Sweet and gooey and perfect for Stella! He might be the sweetest and softest hero but he also owns one of the dirtiest mouth out there. In other words, he’s perfect.

Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go.

In all seriousness though, this book is definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. Everything about it worked for me. The romance was excellent. The characters were multi-dimensional, even the secondary ones (please give us Quan’s book, please?), were interesting and had motivations you can relate to.  And lastly, don’t let the pretty pastel cover fool you ’cause this book is super steamy in the best way possible.

So yeah, I dig everything about this book and I hope you would read it and dig it too.

 

Geri’s Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

MAKING UP
Series: London Celebrities #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lucy Parker
Release Date: May 28, 2018

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

AMAZON

 

Lucy Parker became an instant favorite after I fell in love with the first book of her London Celebrity series. She has never fails to deliver on the swoons and the great characters. The third book, Making Up, is no exception.

We’ve met Trix in Pretty Face. She’s a circus artist and Lily’s best friend who was in an abusive relationship with Dan. That abuse took a toll on Trix and the aftermath was even more heartbreaking. She lost confidence in herself and her talents, and just when it seems like her career and life are in the doldrums, an opportunity to take the lead role in the long running show she’s in dropped on lap right along with her old nemesis, Leo Magasiva.

We’ve also met Leo Magasiva briefly in Pretty Face. He’s a make up artist whose Holywood rise was derailed by an allergic reaction mishap. Now back in London, Leo joined Trix’s company as the head make up artist.

Can I just say how refreshing it is to read about a hero who is not a billionaire/Rockstar/biker/soldier but a makeup artist? I loved it. Plus, Leo Magasiva was just divine. Swoon-worthy, creative guy with a heart of gold. He’s the perfect man for Trix, and lord knows she needs someone trustworthy after Dan the snake oil man almost ruined her life.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, Trix.” It was the only thing he could say. It was also a total bloody lie. It was them. It was going to be completely fucking complicated.”

The chemistry between Trix and Leo just leaps off the page and their banter was amazing. Lucy Parker definitely knows how to write banter. The relationship between Trix and Leo was complicated from the start. They had history and they had personal issues to deal with on top of everything. I of course, adored it because I love me some complicated.

It was delightful going back to the London setting of this book. I wish more contemporary romances are set there just to break the monotony of American set romances. I loved that the London described in this book is filled with diverse characters and it felt lived in. London’s West End is in and on itself a main character in the book. And oh, this book was also damn funny. It’s not slapstick humor but the sarcastic, offbeat, and deadpan kind, which I personally prefer.

There’s a new character introduced in this book which I feel readers will either love or hate. I wasn’t sure about it myself but I think I love to read more about this character. Fingers crossed Lucy will have something plan because it’s going to get interesting to say the least.

We do not squee over anything to do with this man, ovaries. Rein in the hormones immediately.”

I enjoyed this book immensely. Although I’ll be the first one to say that it’s far from perfect. I had a bit of an issue with the pacing especially the middle. It was definitely slow during that part but it did pick up and finished strong. And that epilogue!! Loved it.

There is also a scene that might raise some discussion around consent. And after thinking about it and rereading that part again, I personally wasn’t bothered by it. I felt that something was already established between them. So I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m mentioning this, trying to be as vague as possible as to not spoil the book but I also feel that it’s a good point to discuss among readers.

Anyway, I still adored this book. Those little snags weren’t big enough to affect my overall enjoyment at all.

Geri’s Review: Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai

HURTS TO LOVE YOU
Series: Forbidden Hearts #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Alisha Rai
Release Date: March 27, 2018

Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.

Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.

When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

 

Hurts to Love You, the final book in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series, puts the youngest Chandler and Gabe Hunter. It also ties up some story threads from the previous books in the series. It also gave readers all the answers that we’ve been asking ourselves about one particular event that started the Kane-Chandler fued all those years ago.

Gabe Hunter has secrets. Secrets that he has to keep because it could change everything from his standing among the Kanes and his relationships with Jackson and Livvy. And his attraction to Eve complicate things. So he tried to stay away but with Nicholas and Livvy’s upcoming destination wedding coming up, his plans of staying away from Eve became even more challenging.

Eve is shy, a bit timid but not lacking in courage despite growing up emotionally abused by her father. Her long time crush on Gabe is just that: a crush. She doesn’t think he feels that way for her. But Eve is tired of being held back by her past. She has plans and one of those plans involve Gabe. And her brother’s upcoming wedding is the perfect opportunity for her to convince Gabe that she’s not the little girl he once knew.

I felt for Evie’s unrequited feelings for Gabe. I was rooting for her to get the guy. And it was so satisfying when everything finally lined up for her and for him as well. Alisha Rai took her own sweet time with these two characters but the payoff was well worth it. The romance, once it got going, was hot. Gabe was definitely hiding his growly, dirty talking, alpha self underneath his man-bun. The things he said to Eve during their sexy times will make your toes curl.

Overall, I liked how this book brought everything full circle for these two families. After all the betrayals and secrets, it’s nice to see these characters win especially Gabe! His secret was quite obvious to those who have read the previous books, at least to me they are. And that’s quite okay because this book isn’t really about the “secret.” It’s more about the characters and their journey.

Geri’s Review: Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone

SCORING OFF THE FIELD
Series: WAGS #2
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Author: Naima Simone
Release Date: March 12, 2018

Tennyson Clark is getting a life. First step: quitting her job as assistant to Dominic Anderson, star quarterback for the Washington Warriors, her best friend … and the man she’s been secretly in love with for years.

But since the gorgeous, if overprotective playboy has only ever seen her as his BFF, she’s finally ready to relinquish her tattered fantasy and move on.

Enter steps two and three: new job and new man.

Football is Dominic’s life, and with his contract soon up for renewal, all his focus needs to be on the game. But Tennyson—dependable, logical Tennyson— is making that next to impossible with her mysterious new job and her sudden interest in online dating.

He doesn’t do relationships. But the thought of another man touching her sexier-than-hell curves has him suddenly wanting more from his best friend.

Indulging in hot, dirty, what’s-my-name sex with no strings and lots of benefits is simple, uncomplicated…until it’s not.

 

AMAZON

Wowza! This book checked all my boxes!

Sexy.
Steamy.
With the right amount of angst thrown in!!

It’s no secret that I love the two tropes equally: unrequited love and friends-to-lovers. Scoring Off Field has both. So yeah, I requested this baby so fast and [insert squee here] I was not disappointed.

Tennyson Clark has been in love with her best friend, Washington Warrior’s quarterback, Dominic Anderson. Football was Dom’s whole life. His other whole life is his best friend and personal assistant, Tenny. Unfortunately, Tenny just dropped a bomb. She’s moving on and getting a life away from Dom. This decision turned Dom’s world upside down and became the catalyst for their relationship changing.

I loved Tennyson. She had a hard life but she never lost her optimism. She had some emotional scars that came from a difficult childhood so I totally felt for her and understood her decision to walk away from Dom. I applauded her decision despite also wanting them to get together.

While I do think that Dom cared about her even prior to their romance, he took her for granted. Football was his last connection to the family he loved and lost so his decision to make football his lover and mistress was understandable. He was clueless about his best friend’s feelings but he wasn’t intentionally cruel. He did everything he could for Tenny but it wasn’t exactly what Tenny wanted from him. It took a while for Dom to realize it but once he did, he was all in. I also understood Dom.

The transition from friends to lovers can be tricky but it felt seamless here. I was already invested in both Tenny and Dom, so their coming together was something I was already invested in. I loved that despite their physical chemistry, there was still some emotional issues and character journeys that they have to embark on, and it was those issues and character journeys that kept me glued to the book. It was emotionally satisfying to read how these two characters grow and develop.

Naima Simone did an exceptional job with Tenny and Dom. I loved them as individuals and loved them together. I sound like a broken record saying this but the romance in this book was so satisfying. It’s one of those books that puts a smile in your face throughout the day after you finished it. Definitely one of my top reads of the year.

Geri’s Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A PRINCESS IN THEORY
Series: Reluctant Royals #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Alyssa Cole
Release Date:  February 27, 2018

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed.

When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO

A Princess in Theory was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, for good reasons. One. It has a fairy tale like premise: a royal prince looking for his long-lost betrothed who happens to have no idea of who he is and thinks he’s just out to scam her. Two. I’ve seen and read countless of “royal romance” stories in the past year or so featuring princes and princesses from fictional European countries but zero stories from non-Euro fictional kingdoms. A Princess in Theory gives us the fictional African kingdom of Thesolo. And let me tell you right now, after reading the book, I am so ready to book a one-way ticket to Thesolo. Three. The book features a STEM heroine and a prince. I mean, come on. That’s like peak OTP for me.

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So yes, I have high expectations for this book and fortunately, all of it were not just met, but were exceeded by this book. Alyssa Cole created a very colorful and exciting world filled with complex and interesting characters.

“She was fine on her own. She always had been. And if no good guy ever made it past her barriers? Well, that’d be fine, too. Just fine.”

Naledi is right up there as being one of my favorite heroines ever. She’s smart, driven, and a little bit broken. She hides her emotions behind a tough exterior but she’s all gooey on the inside. Her backstory was heartbreaking and explains why she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Prince Thabiso’s arrival challenges Ledi’s boundaries and forces her to change in so many ways. I love where the author took this character. The emotional character journey Ledi went through was so amazing and so worth it.

Ledi isn’t the only thing that made me love this book though. Everyone, meet the Crown Prince of Thesolo, Prince Thabiso.

“But instead of a peeved researcher standing in the doorway, there was the finest man Ledi had ever seen outside of a social media thirst trap pic.”

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Sorry. I didn’t mean to show my thirst like that but oh-em-gee, Jamal aka Prince Thabiso was amazing. And I don’t just say that because he’s hot and he’s a prince. Like Ledi, he went through his own emotional journey.

Thabiso is a prince—the Prince. He’s loyal and he loves his people, but he was also arrogant, privileged and can be dismissive of other people’s feelings. He grew up surrounded by people who’re there to accommodate his whims and desires. He was in for a rude awakening with Ledi though because here was a woman who he thought would fall over herself because he’s a prince. Instead he found someone who not only didn’t know who he is but mistakes him for a hired help.

I loved how he changed from this arrogant prince to someone worthy of Ledi’s love and affection. Their romance just builds off of that initial meeting and went to some really interesting places.

“Her mouth curved up into a smile and something in his chest moved out of alignment.

The romance between Ledi and Thabiso wasn’t all rainbows and roses. Ledi has her own issues while Thabiso wasn’t really being honest. And I admit I was nervous because there’s a chance that Thabiso’s deception would be swept under a rug just because he’s the hero of the story and that the reader and the heroine are supposed to forgive him immediately. Rest assured, Ledi did not make it easy for him. And I liked that so much. Thabiso had to work for her forgiveness and nothing warms my heart more than a hero that grovels.

“Fuckboyism is a fairly common disease in men aged eighteen to thirty-five.”
“What’s the cure?” he asked.
“You’ll have to ask your doctor about that. But I can tell you right now that it’s not me.”

And oh, did I mention that this book was funny? Not slapstick funny but understated-but-still-makes-you-laugh-out-loud funny. Ledi’s Ledisms are hilarious and Thabiso’s stint as a lowly waiter had me rolling.

I also loved the secondary cast of characters from Thabiso’s parents to Ledi’s family and friends. Speaking of friends, Portia, Ledi’s best friend was very interesting. There were moments where I really didn’t like what she did, but I couldn’t help but root for her to find redemption. Her story is next and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to read it.

A Princess in Theory is a breath of fresh air. If you’re looking for a swoon-worthy read, I highly recommend this. This book made laugh and gave me characters I could relate and really root for. I finished this book with a huge smile on my face. I was soooo good, you guys! I highly recommend it.

And Alyssa Cole, take a bow, because A Princess in Theory is one of those books that readers will be recommending and talking about in the weeks to come.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna run out and one-click more Alyssa Cole books. Kthnxbye.

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