Double Cover Reveal: The Royal Arrangement & Rebel Queen by Jeana E. Mann

A billionaire prince searches for a new wife in this intriguing tale of power and seduction from USA Today bestselling author Jeana E. Mann.


THE ROYAL ARRANGEMENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jeana E. Mann
Release Date: September 17, 2019

When I walk into a room, people look twice. Once because I’m the Crown Prince of Androvia, and twice because I’m that guy—the one who makes your panties wet with just a smile. My life is grand until the unexpected death of my father. To claim the throne, I’ve got to find a wife in twenty-four hours or be forced to marry the woman who cheated on me.

A chance encounter with the daughter of my sworn enemy changes everything. The first time I saw her, she was chained to a dungeon wall. The second time I saw her, I took her to my bed. The third time, I proposed marriage. If she accepts, I’ll rule her body the same way I intend to rule my kingdom—with an iron hand and no mercy. The stakes are high for both of us. If she turns me down, I could lose the throne to my traitorous uncle. Even worse, if she accepts, I might lose my heart.

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THE ROYAL ARRANGEMENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jeana E. Mann
Release Date: October 15, 2019

“Shall we begin?” When spoken by my new husband, these three little words fill me with terror and anticipation.

In private, King Henry rules my body like he rules his country—with unrelenting control and passion. I crave his orders, his punishment, his commands. Outside the bedroom, we’re strangers caught in a web of lies and decadence.

Our marriage is a sham, a business arrangement devised to save my life and secure his crown. He doesn’t love me. He loves my body, controlling it, shaming it, worshipping it. To survive the dangers at court, I need to be smart, but it’s hard to think straight with a man like Henry between my legs.

Each night, he locks the bedroom door, determined to teach me a new lesson. Obedience, patience, trust. I lie awake in bed waiting for the sound of his footsteps and the latest installment in pleasure and pain. My heart pounds when the hinges creak and his broad shoulders block the door. I’m not ready, but I can’t wait to feel his hands on me. He shoves his bowtie into my mouth, binds my hands to the headboard, and whispers in my ear

“Shall we begin?”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeana is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author from Indiana. She gave up a career in the corporate world to write about sexy billionaires and alpha bad boys. With over twenty books and several awards beneath her belt, she’s never regretted her choice to live out her dream. She’s a free spirit, a wanderer at heart, and loves animals with a passion. When she’s not tripping over random objects, you’ll find her walking in the sunshine with her rambunctious dogs and dreaming about true love. 

You can follow Jeana here: 

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Cover Reveal: Half Truths by Claire Contreras

Half Truths is an upcoming book from Claire Contreras. It releases on Sink or Swim will release on October 21st, 2019 on all book retailers.


HALF TRUTHS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Claire Contreras
Release Date: October 29, 2019

You’ve heard of these groups – the secretive ones that only the crème de la crème are invited into, the ones outsiders speculate about for centuries – I’m the second in my family invited to attend, but to them, I’m fresh meat. New blood. New money, too.

They think they’ll elbow past me, that I’m here for their amusement, for them to walk all over, they’ll find out soon enough that I’m not.

I may look like one of them, with my designer bags and clothes straight from the Parisian runways, but I’m not. I’m here for answers, to take revenge for blood spilled on their centuries-old Persian rugs.

I transferred here in search for answers about what happened to my older brother, who hightailed out of here, and my friend who seemingly disappeared into thin air. I certainly wasn’t here for the attention of the star hockey player, regardless of how much he willed my eyes his way. I wasn’t here for his scrutiny or his judgment or to read into his mysterious aura. I was here for the society, because only they held the answers I needed. That was, until I found out that in order to get those answers, I needed to go through him. He’s saying if I want in, I have to play by their rules, follow their lead.

It’s a game I’m willing to play.

I may be the second person I know of to be invited into their society, but I’ll be the first to make it out intact.

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Review: Fortuna Sworn by KJ Sutton

FORTUNA SWORN
Series: Fortuna Sworn #1
Genre: Fantasy
Author: KJ Sutton
Release Date: July 1, 2019

We were meant to be seductive. We were designed to lure humans in.

Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.

Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him.

The bleak pattern goes on and on… until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.

He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible.

So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power.

It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.

 

AMAZON


Nightmares may be lies, but we don’t have to be liars.”

Fortuna Sworn is book one of a new fantasy romance series by KJ Sutton. Right off the bat, I was intrigued by the blurb of this book.  Fortuna has been looking for her missing brother for two years so when she’s approached by a powerful faerie offering information about her brother in exchange for marriage, Fortuna went with him.

This book started off with a bang. Fortuna is a heroine with a really unique and scary power, and we are instantly treated to what she can do in the first chapter. I was intrigued and was instantly hooked especially when we meet Collith, the faerie king who seems to genuinely want to help her. It especially got interesting when Fortuna got to the Unseelie Court but this is also where pacing issues started to plague the book.

But aside from the pacing, I wasn’t too crazy about the drama and the fact that this could go into love triangle/love square territory. There isn’t one yet but the fact that there are 3 men vying for Fortuna’s attention, I could see it going that way. And while I don’t exactly hate it, I’m just over that trope. I’m tired of it because I would rather see other male characters be her friends and allies instead of her love interest?

It didn’t help that I disliked all three male lead characters at this point. I don’t know if this feeling will change in the next books but right now, I am somewhere between bored and actively hating all three of them. But this is just me being a hero-hater. I’ve seen other readers who’ve read this book loving and favoring one or two heroes vying for Fortuna’s attention.

That said, I enjoyed Fortuna’s trials immensely. It was, in my opinion, the best parts of the book because it showed readers her power and her potential to be a power player.

I won’t go into anymore details about the story but if you like faeries and faerie courts or love triangles, then I would recommend this book.

<i>Thanks to KJ Sutton for providing a copy of the book available for this review.</i>

 

Geri’s Review: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

THREE LITTLE WORDS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jenny Holiday
Release Date: January 29, 2019

 

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell.

Stranded in New York with her best friend’s wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car.

Looks like she’s in for one long road trip with the sexiest – and most irritating – Southern gentleman she’s ever met…

Bennett’s pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his “no flings” rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she’s stubborn. She’s also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross.

While Bennett doesn’t do casual, Gia doesn’t do “relationships.” But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

 

AMAZON

The setup was perfect to ask for something dirty. That’s what you did when you played truth or dare in the dark with boys, right?

 

Jenny Holiday delivered another delightfully swoony romance in the final installment of her Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. I adored all the previous couples in this series but Gia and Bennett might be my favorite. 😍

I’m not a huge fan of models, actors or entertainment persons in books so I was wary because Gia is a model. Tall, beautiful & unattainable. Something that I always find hard to relate to. But Ms. Holiday proved me wrong because I ended up loving Gia. She’s complicated, pricky, high maintenance & in Gia’s own words, unlikable. But I adored her. She has no illusions about herself and what other people thought of her. Despite that, she’s very loyal to her friends.

Bennett as a sweet, charming Southern gentleman, always atoning for his past mistakes was the hero we all deserve. At first glance, they couldn’t be more opposite. But as the book progresses, we get to see them in their element and realize that they actually fit. Bennet might be sweet but he was no pushover. He had to deal with his own issues in the book, and I must say that some of the most emotionally charged scenes come from Bennett.

Overall, this book was a delight from start to finish. The romance was top notch & steamy. I highly recommend this whole series not just for the romance but also for the friendship between the four women!

DGR’s 2018 Favorites: Geri’s Picks

I know, I know. It’s 2019 already and everyone and their mothers have already published their list. BUT I am a firm believer of the BETTER LATE THAN NEVER mantra. So here you go! Here are my picks for best books of 2018 in no particular order.


GERI’S FAVORITES OF 2018


MAGIC TRIUMPHS by Ilona Andrews


You and me, Kate. We’re forever.

I think I have run out of words to describe how much I love Ilona Andrews. They have forever changed my reading life for the better.

Magic Triumphs delivered an ending to my favorite series that I will not soon forget. Ilona Andrews had painstakingly laid the foundations of this finale over the course of 10 books and several novellas.Everything that happened in this book was foreshadowed in previous books and delivered in a way that only Ilona Andrews can. I finished this book satisfied and yet oddly, craving for more.

I’m gonna miss Kate and Curran and the whole gang but knowing Ilona Andrews, they’re going to be writing more stories, and I’m gonna be ready to read them all.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


REBEL HARD by Nalini Singh

Forget about internet dating. All this traditional meet and greet and reject stuff was brutal.

There isn’t a sub-genre in romance that Nalini Singh can’t do.

I was blown away by just how good she is the moment I started reading Rebel Hard. It is, hands down, my favorite Nalini Singh contemporary to date!

The romance between Raj Sen and Nayna Sharma will make you swoon and will put a dopey smile on your face. Seriously. This book is one of those books that makes go, “This is why I read and love romance!”

Rebel Hard was a joy to read from start to finish. Hilarious, poignant, and sexy, Rebel Hard is everything I wanted in my contemporary romance. Nalini Singh’s writing shines through as she takes us through Nayna and Raj journey to HEA.

Seriously. You guys need to read this book!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


A DUKE BY DEFAULT & A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole

“You’re my liege. You’re the person I’m fighting for.”

I LOVED THIS SERIES with all my heart!

Alyssa Cole quickly became one of my favorite authors after delivering not one, but two favorite books on this list.

A Duke by Default captured my heart from the get go. Not only does it have a swoony, Scottish hero in Tavish, but it has one of my favorite heroines ever in Portia! I ADORED Portia Hobbs so much. The way Ms. Cole wrote her struggle with ADHD, her relationships with her friends and family and Tav were the best things about this book.

The tone, the chemistry, the banter — all of it was perfectly done. My one wish for 2019 is that more readers will discover and love Alyssa Cole she’s a talented writer who writes unique stories about unique characters.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


IRON AND MAGIC by Ilona Andrews

This marriage is in name only.” 
“Sweetheart, you couldn’t pay me enough.”
Pink touched her tan cheeks. “If you betray us, I’ll make you suffer.”
“We haven’t even married yet, and I’m already suffering.” 
“We have that in common,” she snapped.

Listen. I’m not into anti-heroes at all. I’m not the kind of reader who falls for the villain. But if there’s an author who can manage to make me root for the villain, it would be Ilona Andrews.

It would be an understatement to say that I hated Hugh D’Ambray in Kate Daniels. I hated him. Loathe even. But by goddess, Ilona Andrews managed  the impossible. They actually made me like the bastard. I’m so offended by this, I can’t even. Also, how in the hell did they manage to take a loathsome character like Hugh, give him a character arc, a heroine to match and make him sympathetic? It’s magic, really.

Well the authorlords certainly knew what they were doing with this book, and I cannot wait to read more of Hugh and Elara!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


WHAT KIND OF DAY by Mina Esguerra

Mina Esguerra continues to wow me with her stories. It’s one of the reasons why she continues to be a mainstay in my end of the year lists.

What Kind of Day reads to me like a love letter to the city of Manila. The heroine, Naya, run a specialized tour around the city. Ben, the hero became one of her passengers after getting fired from his job as a political aide. Sparks fly and the rest, as they say, is history.

I adored both Ben and Naya. Loved their HEA, but there’s another character in this book that captured my attention: Manila. The city that is. I feel like Manila was the third main character in this book. It came alive in Mina’s descriptions that I actually promised myself to find a similar tour that Naya runs and just explore the city that way.

I adored this book. The writing, the characters, the city…it just all came together perfectly for me.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


RAINY DAY FRIENDS by Jill Shalvis

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

This book also has one of the most emotionally intense confrontation I’ve read in a Jill Shalvis book.

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.

Rainy Day Friends also delivered on the romance and I’m so happy it did. I was wary because this was marketed as women’s fiction but my wariness was unfounded because there’s a lot to swoon over in this book.

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.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | MY REVIEW


SCORING OFF THE FIELD by Naima Simone

No commitment.
No relationship.
No changes.
Just sex.

Wowza! This book checked all my boxes!

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

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 no secret that I love the two tropes equally: unrequited love and friends-to-lovers. Scoring Off Field has both. So yeah definitely one of my top reads of the year.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


BEST OF LUCK by Kate Clayborn

She’s handed my heart back to me, and I’m unsure of how I’ll handle its new broken rhythm. 

Best of Luck is the third book in Kate Clayborn’s Chance of a Lifetime series about 3 friends who won the lottery together. It has one of my favorite tropes: best friend’s brother and filled with flawed, complex characters. It’s emotional and sexy, sweet and funny, and so well written.

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series so I expected to enjoy the third one too. But I was unprepared by how much this book spoke to me on every level. I liked Kit & Zoe but Greer…oh man, Greer I understood so much.

I won’t spoil the story or the journey she went through but let me just say that I love her so much. And Aleksandr 😍 I love him too. His vulnerability and his flaws makes him one of my favorite heroes ever.

There are not enough words to express how much I love this book. Go forth and read it!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang

“I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

Oh my gosh, this book!

The Kiss Quotient not only met my expectations, IT EXCEEDED IT! Not an easy feat considering my expectations were sky high!

These characters that Hoang brought to life in the pages of her book made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with them.

This book is definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. Everything about it worked for me. The romance was excellent and the characters are interesting. It’s no wonder that this book has been making the rounds lately. It’s an excellent debut by Helen Hoang and the accolades are well deserved.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


That makes it for me, dirty birds! I’d love to hear about some of your top year favorites in comments below. And may 2019 bring us all plenty of books to rave about.

Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

HATE NOTES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Authors: Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
Release Date: November 6th 2018

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…

AMAZON

I tried. I really did. I DNF’d but decided to finish it anyways despite my reservations.

Yeaaaahhh. It went over as expected lemme tell you.

The most interesting thing about this book was the blurb and the whole “found a wedding gown with a romantic personal note in it that touched me.” In theory. But the story was boring and contrived. Things happen because they had to and the characters react to them because the story needs them to no matter how confusing and illogical it is.

The heroine acted like a creep stalking the hero on his social media and then his job because she wants to believe that romance isn’t dead. I have so many things to say about this but I’m gonna refrain. For now.

The heroine is…incompetent but she’s pretty and cute. I guess her incompetence is supposed to be cute and endearing but it ended up really annoying. Like who the hell air types when they’re angry? I have no idea if the author was going for because if it was humor, then she failed.

Anyway, Ms. Incompetent was embarrassed after being thrown out by the hero (gee, I wonder why) and because she is the heroine, she meets a wonderful old lady who offered her a job because grandma apparently has a good feeling about her. *sigh

Guess who old lady actually is? That’s right. She’s actually a high-powered CEO who just happens to be the hero’s grandma.

Anyway, Ms. Incompetent suddenly becomes uber competent (don’t ask me when the changed happen because we weren’t exactly shown this in the book either) and indispensable to the hero because the story needs it, you see. No need for character development. There’s no need to show us either, I guess, just make her do stuff because the plot needs it. Easy peasy.

So yeah, this book is contrived as hell. The characters were bland with no personalities whatsoever. I can’t even remember the name of the hero or what he looks like. All I know is that he’s hot and rich and an asshole. The hero is exactly the same iteration as the other heroes these authors have written before. Different names but they’re essentially the same character.

These characters are there to serve the plot and the plot was to get them to fall in love despite his “secrets.” Which brings us to the worst thing about this book that I’ve really come to despise: the secret, or the nature of the secret. I won’t spoil it (unless you guys ask) but can we stop using illnesses as a plot device in the year of our Lord two thousand and eighteen? I mean, it’s great if you want to highlight an illness to bring awareness into it but this ain’t it.

Geri’s Review: Consumed by JR Ward

CONSUMED
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: JR Ward
Release Date: October 2, 2018

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

 

This book has a lot of the elements I usually go gaga for. It has a competent but prickly stubborn heroine, a compelling but flawed hero, and a cast of interesting secondary characters. Unfortunately, it failed to capture my attention. I found myself struggling to finish each chapter that I wish I just DNF’d it. But this was a JR Ward book! So I kept reading, hoping that things will turn around but it didn’t happen. And so here we are.

So why did I struggle with this? I can give you three reasons why.

One. The slow-moving plot. And when I say slow, I meant SLOOOOWW. Not just the romantic element, which I’ll go into later, I’m talking here the overall plot. It was drawn out and bloated and it finished the same way. And the suspense element that was promised in the blurb didn’t materialize until after way past 50% in the book.

If you guys don’t know yet, there are two prequel novellas that were released for free prior this book. It pretty much sets up the events in this book and it gives readers an idea of why Danny and Anne’s relationship is the way it is in this book. After reading the prequels, I had assumed that since much of their past were already set up, this book would pick up the threads of their story and run with it.

Uhhh, that’s not exactly what happened because instead of running with it, this book walked… okay, that’s not exactly right, it’s more like crawled. In circles. Twice. To get to the point.

And what is the point? I’m still not quite sure really because even the resolution was meh. By the time, Anne and Danny got their act together, I was over it. I was over their romance. I was over the whole thing. I just didn’t really care anymore. Which brings us to my second point.

Two. The romance was lackluster. The romance aspect of this book was something I was looking forward to since reading the prequels. The first two novellas did a good job setting up Anne and Danny’s relationship from the get go. Unfortunately, the romance in Consumed did not live up to its promise.

Listen, I love me some slow burn romances as much as the next reader, but how can it be a slow burn when there’s no heat between the two character? Whatever chemistry they had, they left it in the prequels. Like the overall plot, the romantic conflict felt drawn out too. There wasn’t really any progress in Danny and Anne’s relationship. The push and pull worked for about a second but then it just started to get annoying. Just when you think there’s positive development in the relationship, it goes back to zero again because of their stubbornness, pride, miscommunication or misunderstanding. It’s exhausting.

And last but not the least, Consumed had too many POVs I didn’t really care for. Sometimes, multiple POVs can serve the story well. JR Ward certainly has done it successfully in the past. But it failed here mainly because those POVs didn’t really move the plot or show us anything about Anne or Danny, the two characters I do care about. The other POVs felt like fillers. It added pages to the book but not necessarily the story. By the time, the plot got going and our characters got their act together, I just lost interest.

Consumed had a lot of great elements going for it but it was bogged down by the pacing, the lackluster romance and the multiple POVs that I didn’t really care for.

Geri’s Review: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

INTERCEPTED
Series:  Playbook #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Alexa Martin
Release Date: September 11, 2018

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

 

AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | B&N

 

Intercepted was an enjoyable sexy romp from start to finish! One of the most enjoyable aspect about this book was the author’s voice. This is Alexa Martin’s first book, and I can’t wait to read more from her because I absolutely enjoyed her voice in this book. It’s snarky but it also has a lot of heart.

When we first met Marlee in the book, her identity is pretty much tied to her status as the girlfriend to an NFL player. She has some dreams of her own, but she had to put them to the side in order to accommodate her boyfriend’s whims and desires. It wasn’t until she broke up with Chris after finding out he’s been cheating on her, that we finally get to see Marlee live her life according to her own rules. Her breakup with Chris also opened up the possibility of a romance with the new team quarterback, Gavin Pope.

Gavin Pope was a revelation! I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing and perfect this character is for Marlee. Sports romances tend to have playboy heroes until the heroine with his lifestyle being part of the conflict. But Gavin was not like that at all, which was refreshing. He is not without flaws but it was fantastic to read about a hero that’s actually a good and solid guy.

But the star in this book was Marlee. I think readers will love being in Marlee’s head. Her snarky commentary about her life was refreshing. Alexa Martin’s stylistic choice of having Marlee mentally hashtagging significant moments in the book worked really well. It’s fun and it’s so Marlee. However, I feel like this choice would date the book. And as much as it feel fresh and new now, I don’t think it will age well. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This book feels like an inside track into the lives of the women behind the scenes. I’m not a huge fan of reality television that follows the same broad ideas as this book, but it worked for me here. Maybe because the scope is smaller, and Marlee is such a sympathetic character that you immediately root for her. My only complaint about this one was the antagonists. They weren’t very developed or interesting for that matter.

Despite those issues, this was such a joy to read, one that I would highly recommend for readers who love sports romance.

Geri’s Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

REBEL HARD
Series:  Hard Play #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: September 18, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned…

Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.

Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rulebreaker in the making.

He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.

 

 

AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | B&N

 

There isn’t a sub-genre in romance that Nalini Singh can’t do.  I was blown away by just how good she is the moment I started reading Rebel Hard. It is, hands down, my favorite Nalini Singh contemporary to date!

Forget about internet dating. All this traditional meet and greet and reject stuff was brutal.

The romance between Raj Sen and Nayna Sharma will make you swoon and will put a dopey smile on your face. Seriously. This book is one of those books that makes go, “This is why I read and love romance!” Because it’s true. Rebel Hard is tropey, and it employs a trope that you don’t see often in romances nowadays, or at least not as well done: the arranged marriage trope.

Raj and Nayna both came from Indian families who believes in tradition, and that includes arranging marriages for their kids. I loved how Nalini Singh tackled this trope in relation to Indian family culture. Singh makes you understand and accept arrange marriages as reality and even gets you invested in them.

The very things that centered Raj were her worst nightmare.

It is often said that a book is only as good as its central conflict. And there is no better conflict than a conflict of ideology. I think that can to romance as well. Raj, because of his experience being abandoned as kid, wanted nothing stability offered by his tradition, and that is finding a wife who will keep the house and raise the kids. It’s the exact opposite of Nayna’s point of view. She grew up under her beautiful but rebellious shadow. When her older sister eloped with a guy their parents did not approve, Nayna overcompensated by being a good daughter, stifling her dreams in order to please her family.  So while she was attracted to Raj, she couldn’t commit knowing that Raj wanted something she might not be able to give. The conflict, and how Nalini Singh chose to resolve it gave me all the feels. Even though in the back of my mind, I know they’re going to have their HEA but the journey they had to travel to get there was best thing to read ever.

It’s easy to root for a character when that character is like Nayna. I was rooting for her to find love with Raj without sacrificing who she is and her dreams. No one should give up who they are because of a guy no matter how gorgeous and amazing they are. And Raj is amazing. Singh did a phenomenal job of showing Nayna’s strength and vulnerability. Her motivation was clear from the onset, which is why for me, her doubts and fears about commitment made sense. She’s definitely one of my favorite Nalini Singh heroines ever.

Raj is the perfect hero for Nayna. I really don’t know how Nalini Singh does it but once again, she gave us another hero to swoon over. I probably sound like a broken record now but Raj is amazing and one of Singh’s best contemporary heroes ever. He’s far from perfect. He’s stubborn and he had some pretty weird ideas about and love and marriage I did not agree with. But what made me love him was how he slowly realized that he was wrong and how he changed his behavior. Most of all, Raj is just gone for Nayna. He fell so hard for her and the length he went through to show Nayna that was adorable. And the sexting!!?! Omg, it was so hilarious.

“I got the Pride and Prejudice audiobook and listened to a chunk of it while working on a site today. Mr. Darcy is kind of a dick.”

The other element that added to my love for this book was the Indian family dynamics and culture. I love that the characters 90% of the characters in this book are Indian living their full happy lives in New Zealand. I’ve been gravitating to non-US set, diverse books as of late and Rebel Hard definitely fits everything I’ve been craving for in my romance. While showing the characters cultures isn’t really a requirement for me in order to enjoy my romance book, I appreciate it when it does. And this book shows a lot of Nayna and Raj’s culture. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction Nayna and Raj had with their families and community. It made me appreciate and love the characters even more.

Rebel Hard was a joy to read from start to finish. Hilarious, poignant, and sexy, Rebel Hard is everything I wanted in my contemporary romance. Nalini Singh’s writing shines through as she takes us through Nayna and Raj journey to HEA.

Geri’s Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC TRIUMPHS
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: August 28, 2018

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

AMAZON

Goodbyes are hard, and it’s even harder when you’re saying goodbye to a series that you’ve lived and breathed for the last year or so. I never expected how much this series would come to mean to me when I started reading Magic Bites last year. After 9 books, several novellas and one spin-off later, we finally get the final book in Ilona Andrews’ wildly successful Kate Daniels series, and they delivered!

“You and me, Kate. We’re forever.”

Magic Triumphs delivered an ending I will not soon forget. Ilona Andrews had painstakingly laid the foundations of this finale over the course of 10 books and several novellas.Everything that happened in this book was foreshadowed in previous books and delivered in a way that only Ilona Andrews can. I finished this book satisfied and yet oddly, craving for more.

Kate has come a long way from a prickly mercenary who had no friends to a being a loving wife to Curran and now mother to Conlan. But Kate and Curran are on borrowed time. Roland has been relatively quiet after the events in Magic Binds but the specter of his presence has never left Kate or Curran. As long as he is alive he continues threaten the lives of those that Kate loves. This time, there’s even more at stake because Kate and Curran just had a baby, and we all know how Roland likes shiny new things, and Conlan is that shiny new thing that Roland wanted. Honestly, I couldn’t really blame Roland for wanting Conlan because this kid is seriously one of the best addition to this series.

But Roland isn’t the only power threatening Atlanta. An old nemesis is back to settle an old family score. And when I say old, I mean, really, really OLD. I got to say that out of all of Kate’s enemies, this enemy is probably the most powerful. Kate had battled a lot of super powerful beings, including Roland, but this enemy is on another realm in terms of power and the depth of its cruelty. This is the first time where I felt like Kate can’t win, not without Roland’s help. I was so anxious while I was reading it for the first time that after I was done, I couldn’t think straight. I had to reread the entire series and then reread Magic Triumphs again just to give myself time to take it all in because I felt like I missed a lot of things. Boy, was I glad I did that because everything made even more sense.

As I mentioned, everything that happened in this book has been set up in the earlier books. I was lucky enough to be able to re-read the whole series including some of the novellas before I read this book, and it really hammered home the level of dedications the Andrews have to building this world. The level of foreshadowing and call backs they employed throughout the series was nothing short of amazing. So a word of caution. If you’ve missed a book in the series, you better hurry before this one comes out because Magic Triumphs is the third act in the Kate and Roland saga, it wouldn’t make much sense if you haven’t read the rest of the series. This is the culmination of everything so it would be a mistake to read this book without reading the first nine books that came before it, including Iron and Magic.

I’m not going to go into plot details because I think you guys should experience that first-hand, but let me just say that this book packs a wallop. But because Kate’s world is so large now, it’s understandable that some characters get lost in the shuffle or don’t get as much page time as others. Rest assured that the major players are there front and center though. Some notable characters for me aside from Kate, Curran and Conlan are Dessandra and Adora. Man, I really want a Dessandra book now. It’d be hilarious and full of inappropriate things. Adora really surprised me here. I ended up really enjoying her character even more.

And to answer the question on everyone’s mind right now: are there any deaths? Yes, there are notable deaths. And yes, I said “are” so multiple characters are going to die. There’s one death that was kind of disappointing only because we didn’t get to see it but other than that, I have no complaints.

Reading Magic Triumphs was such a rewarding experience from start to finish. The amount of time I’ve invested in this series was so worth it. As much I would love to continue reading about Kate, I’m glad Ilona Andrews decided to end this part of her journey because while I would miss the feeling of looking forward to a new KD each year, Kate deserves her rest and her HEA.

“I promise you this morning wouldn’t be the last time,” he told me. “I keep my promises.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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