Review: Hate Me by A. Jade

HATE ME
Genre: Dark Bully Romance
Series: (Standalone in the BLACK MOUNTAIN ACADEMY)
Author: A. Jade
Release Date: January 28, 2020

A Stepbrother Bully Romance

I’m the whispers in the dark you can’t ignore.

The bully you can’t run away from.

I’m the tormentor who makes your life a living hell.

The villain you love to hate.

I’m the vicious stepbrother sleeping in the next room.

The one who knows all your secrets.

And I’ll stop at nothing to make you pay.

 

 

WARNING: This book is recommended for mature readers due to graphic language, sexual content, and dark elements.

AMAZON

Sheridan is nothing more than a pretty little pawn. A means to an end. A heart I intend to shatter into a million jagged pieces. I won’t hurt her physically.
Frankly, that isn’t my style. But I will ruin her.
I’ll ruin her for any other man.

The second I read this blurb, I was salivating for this book. SALIVATING. I’m a sucker for a second chance romance and this one sounded utterly delicious. Admittedly, the blurb is deceiving. Because it wasn’t quite that. And while I did enjoy this book for the most part, there were a few parts that just didn’t live up to the promise of the blurb for me.

The premise of the story is amazing. Sheridan and August are the children of families with a long and dark history rooted in lies and pain. August is the youngest son and doesn’t take much seriously. But when he catches the daughter of his family’s enemy in his pool, he’s determined to make the best of it. He sets out to make her pay for what her father did to his family, or at least what he thinks he did. But it leads to something that neither of them expect.

Sheridan fights the allure of August for as long as she can. He’s the epitome of forbidden fruit to her. His family ruined hers, after all. But August is determined and chases her until she gives in. Thus begins their tumultuous secret relationship.

Now, I loved the complexity of their family history and both Sheridan and August’s characters. The secrets that lie between their families was alluring and had me turning the pages to figure it all out. What left me a bit disappointed was the timeline. August’s fall seemed sudden and quick. It wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped considering the set up where he wants to make her pay and be the pawn. It seems the second he first sleeps with her, all of it is forgotten. It just didn’t seem fleshed out enough to be satisfying for me. I love when the bad boy falls, especially when it’s in spite of himself. And while the set up alludes to that, it didn’t end up that way.

The other piece of it is the blurb. The blurb alludes that they fall apart to crash back together. And while it did happen, sort of, it wasn’t quite as satisfying as it seems. Their separation is really over the span of a few pages and ultimately lasts just a few months. It’s barely fleshed out and happens in the blink of an eye towards the end of the story. I was hoping for a big falling out and a falling back together. But really, they reunite at the end and then just face some family drama. The blurb just felt a bit…deceiving to me. It set up my hopes to one story, but this turned out different.

Did I ultimately enjoy this book, yes. It wasn’t quite what I thought, but I did like it. It was my first book by this author but certainly won’t be my last. I had my quibbles with it, but those things aside, it was a nice read.

Review: Enemy Dearest by Winter Renshaw

ENEMY DEAREST
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Winter Renshaw
Release Date: January 14, 2020

I loved him. I lost him. And now he’s back.

August Monreaux was a stormy sea of a man, the dark between the stars, an electric chill cutting through a crowded room—all wrapped into one wicked, beautiful package.

He was also off-limits.

My entire life, I was kept a safe distance from the notoriously virulent Monreauxs, banned from so much as breathing the same air. And like the good daughter I was, I obeyed those rules.

Until the one time I didn’t …

Only while I sampled him, he devoured me like the forbidden fruit that I was. And in the blink of an eye, my worst enemy became my first love. His poison became my antidote. His touch, my addiction.

After we severed our ill-fated ties, I thought I’d never see him again.

Until he crashed back into my life at the worst possible moment—and asked me to marry him.

But it wasn’t that simple.

It never is.

Turns out marrying a wealthy powerhouse of a man comes with a price.

But walking away, could cost me everything.

AMAZON

Sheridan is nothing more than a pretty little pawn. A means to an end. A heart I intend to shatter into a million jagged pieces. I won’t hurt her physically.
Frankly, that isn’t my style. But I will ruin her.
I’ll ruin her for any other man.

The second I read this blurb, I was salivating for this book. SALIVATING. I’m a sucker for a second chance romance and this one sounded utterly delicious. Admittedly, the blurb is deceiving. Because it wasn’t quite that. And while I did enjoy this book for the most part, there were a few parts that just didn’t live up to the promise of the blurb for me.

The premise of the story is amazing. Sheridan and August are the children of families with a long and dark history rooted in lies and pain. August is the youngest son and doesn’t take much seriously. But when he catches the daughter of his family’s enemy in his pool, he’s determined to make the best of it. He sets out to make her pay for what her father did to his family, or at least what he thinks he did. But it leads to something that neither of them expect.

Sheridan fights the allure of August for as long as she can. He’s the epitome of forbidden fruit to her. His family ruined hers, after all. But August is determined and chases her until she gives in. Thus begins their tumultuous secret relationship.

Now, I loved the complexity of their family history and both Sheridan and August’s characters. The secrets that lie between their families was alluring and had me turning the pages to figure it all out. What left me a bit disappointed was the timeline. August’s fall seemed sudden and quick. It wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped considering the set up where he wants to make her pay and be the pawn. It seems the second he first sleeps with her, all of it is forgotten. It just didn’t seem fleshed out enough to be satisfying for me. I love when the bad boy falls, especially when it’s in spite of himself. And while the set up alludes to that, it didn’t end up that way.

The other piece of it is the blurb. The blurb alludes that they fall apart to crash back together. And while it did happen, sort of, it wasn’t quite as satisfying as it seems. Their separation is really over the span of a few pages and ultimately lasts just a few months. It’s barely fleshed out and happens in the blink of an eye towards the end of the story. I was hoping for a big falling out and a falling back together. But really, they reunite at the end and then just face some family drama. The blurb just felt a bit…deceiving to me. It set up my hopes to one story, but this turned out different.

Did I ultimately enjoy this book, yes. It wasn’t quite what I thought, but I did like it. It was my first book by this author but certainly won’t be my last. I had my quibbles with it, but those things aside, it was a nice read.

Review: Filthy Rich Prince by Lynn Raye Harris

FILTHY RICH PRINCE
Series: Filthy Rich Billionaires #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lynn Raye Harris
Release Date: January 26, 2020

He’s rich, ruthless, and royal. He will make her his wife…

Single mother Lily Morgan knows what it’s like to struggle. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t work hard to survive. But when she’s thrown in jail in a foreign country, she has no idea she’s about to come face to face with the prince who took her virginity and left her pregnant two years ago.

Nico Cavelli might’ve released Lily from his dungeon, but he’s not letting her go. She stole his son and heir, and he can’t forgive that. He’ll make her his princess – and he’ll make her pay for keeping his child a secret.

What he will never do is show her any mercy.

Or fall in love with her…

NOTE: This is a Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella romance with an alphahole hero who is transformed by love in the end. If you don’t like angsty reads with dramatic conflict, best keep scrolling! There will be some bad decisions. There will be bossiness. And there will be groveling by the end. You were warned.

*This book originally published by Harlequin as Cavelli’s Lost Heir. It has been revised and expanded with new scenes and characters. If you read the original and enjoyed it, you don’t need to purchase this one. But if you want an expanded story, then this is the book for you. And if you’ve never read it, then you definitely don’t want to miss it! Rich and royal, reunion, forced marriage, secret baby romance!

AMAZON

I love Lynn’s military heroes and sinfully hot romantic suspense. But when I saw the blurb to this book, I’m pretty sure I may have salivated a little. It’s a bit of a change of pace to what I’m used to from her, but no less satisfying. This was such a fun harlequin-y type of romance that hit the spot from beginning to finish.

Reeling from a devastating loss that’s still fresh, Nico Cavelli is now the crown prince but with a reputation of a hellion. He’s the tabloid’s bad boy, always with a different woman and never with any complicated entanglements. But then a blast from his past ends up in his prison dungeon and with a surprise to boot.

Now I’m not usually a fan of the surprise baby trope. Especially if there’s been some time that’s passed without the father knowing. Usually this is because I simply don’t buy the reason that the child was kept a secret and it drives me nuts and makes me resent the heroine. This was not the case here. I completely understood why Lily kept her son a secret. Lily is not usually the type of heroine that I gravitate towards, but she really grew on me here. She’s a little innocent and a touch naive, but she’s no less fierce.

Nico is a ruthless a-hole for the majority of the book and I was so here for it. I was especially here for his ultimate fall. And is there anything more satisfying than the bad boy falling for the good girl? I think not.

This was a fun little book with plenty of feels and a splash of angst. I did wish for a slightly bigger grovel, but you can’t have it all. This was a guilty pleasure sort of read that you certainly need to suspend your disbelief for but will leave a smile on your face when you’re done. I really enjoyed it.

Review: Dominate by Pam Godwin

DOMINATE
Series: Deliver #8
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: January 26, 2020

There are many reasons to jump off a bridge, but Rylee Sutton only needs one.
Her husband’s betrayal.
Just before she leaps, she receives an email from a stranger.
The boy’s message is meant for his dead girlfriend, but his anguish speaks to Rylee.
It saves her life.

Over the next decade, Tomas Dine continues to email his dead girl. As he evolves from a teenager into a hardened, vicious criminal, Rylee is there, reading every intimate word.
He doesn’t know she exists.

When she comes forward, he despises her, his cruelty unforgivable. But she doesn’t back down. In a carnal battle of punishment and passion, hatred dominates.
Until he loses her.
Amid looming danger and unsolved murders rises a devotion forged in strife.
Love is lethal in his ruthless world. To survive it, they must fight for answers—and each other.

DELIVER series (HEAs with no cliffhangers – must be read in order):
Deliver #1
Vanquish #2
Disclaim #3
Devastate #4
Take #5
Manipulate #6
Unshackle #7
Dominate #8
Complicate #9

AMAZON

 

Lethally gorgeous. Impossible to look away. He was violence and sex and salvation.
Salvation for trafficked women, not for her.
For her, he was corruption.
Damnation.
Death wasn’t off the table.

This series has quickly become an obsession for me. I live for Pam’s dark and gritty words. Tommy’s book has been a much anticipated one for me. Partly because it’s an age gap with an older woman, and partly because I’m not THIS much closer to Cole’s story.

Interestingly enough, I found this book to be the least dark out of the entire series. And considering how dark the rest of this series is, don’t think this one is sunshine and butterflies. It had just the right amount of intensity to it, but without the pit in the stomach feeling I normally get.

Before Tommy was a ruthless vigilante, he was a 17 year old boy that lost his beloved girlfriend and broke in a way only a teenage boy could break. The only thing that kept him going through it all were the secret emails that he kept sending to his long dead girlfriend. The last thing he expected was for those emails to end up in the possession of another woman, but fate had other plans. Rylee was older and reeling on the betrayal of her husband. About to take her life, the email of a then 17 year old Tommy made her realize that maybe it’s not all bad. Years later, those emails have kept her going but she’s never been foolish enough to give her heart away again. She’s ready to make contact, determined to help Tommy in his mission. And while she expects his anger and resistance, nothing could prepare her for his response.

The one thing that I love about Pam’s writing, is that all of her alpha males have this electric sort of intensity to them. They practically crackle on the pages and Tommy was no exception.

This virile, handsome devil was a dangerous vigilante and killer. He was also a sexual deviant, a kinky freak with an insatiable appetite, who’d lured hundreds of unsuspecting women into his bed.

Pam is also the queen of redeeming the irredeemable. And what Tommy does in this story could surely be just that. Completely irredeemable. He puts Rylee through hell in his search of answers. But through it all, there’s a sexual tension that sizzles between them. And the fourteen year age gap just adds a little spice to the mix. Because while Tommy may be the younger man, he more than makes up for it in dominance and intensity.

I struggled with my rating on this one in all honesty. Like all of Pam’s books, this was a book I devoured in one sitting. It kept me turning the pages well into 3 am and I couldn’t stop. The one quibble that I did have was the relationship development. It went from one extreme to the other in what seemed to be the blink of an eye. Truth be told, I struggled with this a bit. I couldn’t fully buy Tommy’s turnaround. He went from being her captor to being in love and there just didn’t seem enough progression in between to land him there. Rylee also forgave him way too quick for everything that happened.

But ultimately, even with my quibble, I could barely find enough in me to care. Because I was simply that invested in this story and all of the revelations that happened. There’s so many secrets that get revealed, and if you’re a die hard Cole fan like me, you’ll be foaming at the mouth by the end. And the preview into his book? I. AM. DYING.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.
Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.
Join my Facebook Reader Group: here

Other Books by Pam Godwin

Tangled Lies Series
ONE IS A PROMISE (#1) – FREE
TWO IS A LIE (#2)
THREE IS A WAR (#3)

Deliver Series
DELIVER (#1) – FREE
VANQUISH (#2)
DISCLAIM (#3)
DEVASTATE (#4)
TAKE (#5)
Manipulate (#6)
UNSHACKLE (#7)

Trilogy of Eve
HEART OF EVE – FREE
DEAD OF EVE (#1)
BLOOD OF EVE (#2)
DAWN OF EVE (#3)

Stand-alones

🎼 STUDENT-TEACHER ROMANCE 🎼
DARK NOTES

🏍️ ROMANTIC SUSPENSE 🏍️
DIRTY TIES

🎸 ROCK-STAR DARK ROMANCE 🎸
BENEATH THE BURN

👄 CELEBRITY ROMANCE 👄
INCENTIVE

 

Review: The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis

THE FOREVER GIRL
Series: Wildstone #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: January 12, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis does it once again with a heartfelt story of family, forgiveness, and secrets that have the power to change the course of more than one life.

When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.

Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.

Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.

AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | B&N | B-A-M | BOOKSHOP

Because, Maze?” “Yeah?” “You’ve never been ‘just’ anything in your life.”

You may not believe this, especially me being a self proclaimed angst-addict, but I do read non-angsty books. Sometimes. Not often. And when I do, Jill Shalvis is my go to.

Whenever I’m in the mood for a read with plenty of feels that will give me a butterflies and a satisfied smile in the end, a Jill Shalvis book is a no brainer. The Forever Girl was a beautiful story of a family formed in bond rather than blood, second chances and growth.

Maze is an orphan that’s seen the ugly side of family before learning the ugly side of foster homes. She’s never healed her mental scars and she’s never stopped running because leaving is easier than being left behind. She comes back to town for the wedding of her foster sister and gets reunited with her foster family that she left behind but never in her mind. They were once as close as they can get, until tragedy tore them apart. There’s Caitlin, the sweet bridezilla, Heather the baby sister, and Walker, the man that held her heart.

First of all, if you love swoon heroes, it just doesn’t get better than Walker. He’s the silent protector. An FBI agent and a man with a heart of gold but with plenty of his own demons. I fell fast and hard for him. And when we start getting more and more insight into his connection with Maze, I couldn’t get enough of it. Maze is a runner. She runs from her feelings and she runs from her guilt that she continues to harbor years later.

This is a heartfelt and beautiful story of the family you build and forgiveness. It’s a story of growth and second chances. It’s also a story of a once in a lifetime kind of love. You get multiple POVs including Maze, Walker, and Caitlin. There’s also a secondary and incredibly satisfying story for Heather which I absolutely loved.

If you’re looking for a sweet and incredibly fulfilling read, look no further. This one will bring all of the feels.

CHAPTER 1Now

Twin piglet-like snorts distracted her, and she looked down at her fiancé’s “babies.” The pug brothers had huge buggy black eyes and little round bodies and vibrated like they needed their batter- ies changed. Roly was black and Poly tan, both with black faces, black curly tails, and little black feet.

They snorted at her until she gave in and scooped them up, one in each arm, having to smile at their smushed-in faces. “Okay, guys, listen up. We’ve got a lot to do today.” She took a good, hard look around the old cabin that had been in her family’s possession since the early 1900s. It sat right on Rainbow Lake, about twenty minutes outside of Wildstone, a small ranching community on California’s central coast. She had a lot of good memories here: visiting her grandparents, learning to swim . . . she’d even run away here a few times in her dramatic teens.

Her grandparents were gone, and her parents now lived in South Carolina, where both of them were college professors. They were thinking of selling this place, but had agreed to let her live here until her wedding. At least that was the official reason. The unofficial one was that she was losing her collective shit and had needed the safety net.

The problem was that there were still a few vital pieces missing from the puzzle of Caitlin’s life: the most important pieces, the corner pieces, the ones you couldn’t do without. And since Michael was an angel now—and damn, her heart still squeezed painfully every time she thought about him, which was a lot— she was really counting on the wedding to bring the other vital pieces back to her. Those pieces named Heather, Walker, and Maze.

The estrangement between them all felt like a huge, gaping hole. It’d started at Michael’s grave three years ago and had only gotten worse. Hence the thing she’d done.

No one was going to thank her. And it was entirely possible it would all blow up in her face. But she’d had to try. Just thinking about it had the butterflies in her belly escaping and taking flight in her nervous system, giving her the shakes. But that might have been the five cups of coffee she’d consumed. She set down the pugs, much to their snorting, squealing dis- pleasure, and got to it. Running around like a madwoman for the next few hours, she changed the sheets on the beds in the spare bedrooms, swept the wood floors, washed the towels so they’d smell fresh . . . all while fielding call after call from her boss, Sara.

Cat managed the Wildstone deli that Sara owned. Cat also made all the hot food, which was actually the only part of her job she enjoyed, because the deli itself was a nightmare. She’d taken three weeks off for the wedding, but Sara, who’d missed her calling as the passive-aggressive queen of the universe, had been in contact almost every day in the guise of needing something, while really just wanting Caitlin to know of her every little mistake or misstep.

So when her phone buzzed in her pocket yet again while Cat was folding clothes in the laundry room, she ignored it.

“Caitlin?” came Dillon’s voice. “Can you bring me my laptop?”

She transferred another load into the dryer, turned it on, blew a stray hair off her sweaty face, and poked her head out of the laundry room to find Dillon sitting on the couch in the living room, feet up on the coffee table, Roly and Poly curled up on his lap.

“Are you kidding me?”

He flashed her the charming smile that had caught both her attention and her heart a year ago. “Sorry,” he said. “But my ankle’s bothering me again. Do you mind?”

Hard to, when his twisted ankle was actually her fault. She’d seen a Cosmo post online titled “The Top Ten Ways to Spruce Up Your Sex Life.” Feeling ambitious, she’d gone with number one: “Seduce Your Man in the Shower.” What could she say? The illustrations had looked intriguing.

Turned out attempting intriguing things in the shower was dangerous.

Feeling guilty, she ran up the stairs and got his laptop, stopping to straighten out the mess he’d left on the desk. When she got back downstairs, he was standing at the front door with his golf bag slung over his shoulder.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Just got a call from Mom. Her golf date bailed and she needs me to do the back nine with her.”

“But your ankle.”

“We’ve got a cart.” He handed her the pugs.

Juggling the soft sausage loaves while trying to avoid the inevitable face kisses—a big no-thank-you, since they had a fondness for licking each other’s butts—she stared at Dillon. “You said that you’d be here to meet my family and have dinner with us.”

“Babe.” His face softened. “I’m your family. Me and my mom, and your parents.”

“You know that’s only technically true,” she protested. She and Heather and Walker and Maze might not be blood, but they were something even deeper. A self-made family, and yeah, okay, maybe it was a very dysfunctional one, but it felt more real than anything else in her life.

“Come on,” Dillon said, putting his hands on her hips and giving her a frustrated smile. “When’s the last time you heard from Maze or Heather”—he set a finger against her lips when she tried to speak—“where you didn’t contact them first. I mean, have they offered to help you with the wedding? They’re in it—you insisted on them over your local friends—so . . . where have they been?”

She could admit that he had a point. They hadn’t been together since their fight in front of Michael’s grave. Heather had vanished, just gone dark for a whole year before suddenly responding to Caitlin’s texts again as if nothing had happened. But she still hadn’t been back to Wildstone and wouldn’t give Caitlin much in- formation other than that she was okay and “working on things.” Whatever that meant.

Caitlin hadn’t seen Maze either, and not for a lack of trying. But they’d texted and had a few strained calls. And to give Maze credit, she always responded when Caitlin reached out, even with her busy life that was now in Santa Barbara, two hours south of Wildstone.

But Caitlin had, however, seen Walker. Sparingly, but he’d been gone on the job nearly nonstop the past three years. She missed him. She missed all of them and wanted them back together.

 And as the self-appointed bossy older sister of the fam, she was determined—and, okay, also slightly desperate—to make it hap- pen. And yeah, maybe, maybe, she’d rushed her wedding along, knowing it was the one thing that could bring her siblings of the heart back together. She couldn’t help herself. For whatever rea- son, the four of them had synced and melded into a core family that long-ago year, but they were losing each other, and that scared her. She’d already lost Michael; hell if she’d lose the others too. She needed this so badly she couldn’t even explain it to Dillon. But the truth was the last time she’d felt vibrantly alive had

been when they’d all been in her life, and she was just desperate enough to play with fate to make it happen. 

Please stay, Dillon.”

He studied her face and sighed, his eyes lit with affection as he cupped her jaw. “I promised Mom, but I’ll get back asap. Take care of my babies?”

It was the best she was going to get, so she nodded. He brushed a nice, warm kiss across her lips, and then he was gone.

From THE FOREVER GIRL by Jill Shalvis, published by William Morrow. Copyright © 2021 by Jill Shalvis. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollinsPublishers https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-forever-girl-jill-shalvis?variant=32218755694626 

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill

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Review: The Fourth Time Charm by Maya Hughes

THE FOURTH TIME CHARM
Series: Fulton U #4
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Maya Hughes
Release Date: January 7, 2020

“Are you sleeping with my daughter?”

Not the question I wanted to hear from my coach. The man holding my pro future in the palm of his hand.

The answer: No, sir.

The real answer: I’d sure as hell like to be.

Marisa’s been my best friend since third grade. And now she needs my help–and a place to stay. Senior year was supposed to be the year to keep some distance until the season finished and my draft prospects were safe.

But resisting her is becoming impossible. Movie Thursdays under the blankets. Study sessions on my bed. Wild party nights where I kept any guy interested at bay with a single glare.

Her dad can bench my ass for the entire season, so she’s off limits–for now.

She’s the only woman I’ve ever loved. And one heated night, I can’t stop fighting every cell in my body and can’t stop myself from sampling her sexy smile, her sweet smell, and her sultry curves.

We’re walking a tightrope with my future on the line. Let’s just make sure Coach doesn’t find out…

AMAZON

Enter Goodreads Paperback Giveaway

ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE FULTON U SERIES

#1 The Perfect First | #2 The Second We Met | #3 The Third Best Thing

Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited

Tonight, I’d hold her in my arms. Tomorrow, I’d figure out how to deal with being in love with the coach’s daughter.

Confession time, friends to lovers isn’t my usual choice of trope. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. I’ll read it but it’s just not a trope I yearn for or gravitate towards. But when it came to LJ and Marisa’s story? I had to have it. I was downright ravenous for it. Ever since we met them as secondary characters in the beginning of this series, I’ve been dying to finally get to read their HEA. This book blew every expectation I had for their book away. I absolutely adored this story!

Sometimes it felt like I could disappear and no one would really care. It felt like I was a temporary fixture in someone’s life until they moved on. But with LJ I felt like I mattered—always.

LJ and Marisa have been friends since they were kids and their connection is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever read. They’re so solid together. Always there for each other. And while it could be a sibling sort of connection, there’s simply too much chemistry between them to ever think anything else. Unbeknownst to each other, both Marisa and LJ have feelings but think the other one wants nothing romantic. So if you want unrequited love angst, this has it.

LJ grew up with an amazing family, while Marisa’s parents definitely left something to be desired. Her recent reunion with her absentee father is anything but smooth. She wants nothing to do with him and she has no idea that he’s punishing LJ for their friendship and what he suspects may be going on between them. As much as I hated the coach for the majority of the book, it suddenly took a turn at the end, and I loved how Maya handled this particular story line.

LJ is absolute perfection of a man. He’s sweet, loyal, and doesn’t play games. He’s not interested in doing around even though his football god rep would more than ease that way. I loved how he’s always there for Marisa and their love for each other is so unique and sweet.

Marisa deals with a lot throughout the course of this story and at times it was tough to read. I’ll admit to shedding quite a few tears at the end of the book. My cold black heart broke a little for her.

I’m not going to lie, in parts these two frustrated me and I wanted to shake them to make them see reason and for LJ to just tell Marisa what’s been happening. But I also completely understood his reasoning and had so much respect for him because of it.

If you’re looking for a sweet and heartwarming friends to lovers romance, you won’t want to miss this. Now I’m slowly dying for a particularly mysterious male character to get his story next because it sounds like it’ll be a juicy one.

Maya Hughes, that’s me!, can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.

I love writing stories that capture the possibilities of the paths less travelled and enjoy experiencing life through my characters’ eyes. 

I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe, traveling with my family and Jeff Goldblum. 

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Review: Abel by Katee Robert

ABEL
Series: Sabine Valley #1
Genre: Erotic Romance, Menage, MMF
Author: Katee Robert
Release Date: January 5, 2020

Seven Brothers. Seven Brides. A revenge seven years in the making.

Eight years ago, my family was betrayed by those closest to us.

Now we’re back in Sabine Valley, staging our return during the feast of Lammas, where I step into the ring and ensure we’re given what we’re owed. Who we’re owed.

Our enemies send their seven best warriors against me.

With each victory, I win a Bride for each of my brothers.

And for me? I’m saving the best for last.

My Bride is Harlow, the woman claimed by the man I used to call friend—the one responsible for our exile. Eli.

And if Eli has a problem with it? Well, then I’ll take him as my Bride, too. All the better to enact my revenge…and bring Sabine Valley to its knees.

The Paine brothers are back, and we’re here to stay.

AMAZON

They look like mine.

Oh.
My.
OVARIES.

Dis. Book.
If you’re looking for some trope candy, how about a sinfully sexy mix of revenge, marriage for convenience, and enemies to lovers? And did I mention it’s an MMF? Because GAH.

The second I saw Katee post about this series, I was instantly drooling. 7 Brothers set for revenge after their faction betrayed them. A little pagan, a little mystery, a lot of revenge and sexy times to be had. Now admittedly, I could have used a little more background on the universe here. Perhaps a little more development on the brothers past? I was confused on all the different factions at first and what differentiates a mystic from a radar? But I ultimately began to get the gist of it. I also got a little confused trying to wrap my mind around all of the characters, because there’s a bit of a data dump with this.

The romance was SO good. It was insanely hot with just the right touch of angsty feels and I was so here for it. The push and pull between these three was delicious. Hawlow and Eli have the angst of a relationship that’s falling apart because Eli just doesn’t see Harlow for who she really is. Then there’s the hate lust between Eli and Abel who used to be best friends until Eli’s father murdered Abel’s father and ran the brothers out. Abel is set on revenge, even if it means keeping his enemies close. When he wins his battle, not only does he choose Harlow as a Bride, but Eli as well. To say that these three have some unresolved issues is an understatement. But I loved the development of their relationship.

While I felt like we got a lot of development for Eli and Abel, it was a little lacking with Harlow. We hear about her difficult past, we never learn what it was. Perhaps that’s going to be revealed in the future books? I hope so because I was so intrigued by her character.

If you’re looking for a crackilicious read with plenty of sizzling hot scenes, you’ve found your next read.

Review: Forsaken Trail by Devney Perry

FORSAKEN TRAIL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Runaway #4
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: December 29, 2020

Aria Saint-James has planned the perfect getaway: sweatpants, takeout and two weeks alone with her sister and nephew. Nowhere on that list is wearing a low-cut dress and uncomfortable heels to attend a wedding where she knows neither the bride nor the groom. Toss in her nemesis, Brody Carmichael, and her road trip to Arizona is officially a bust.

But at least there is champagne.

She blames the bubbly for falling into bed with Brody that night. Enemy or no, the billionaire is irresistible in a tux. But after their one-night tryst, Aria has no choice but to cut her vacation short, returning home to escape his devilish smile, vowing never to see Brody again.

Except Aria gets a surprise a few weeks later—she’s pregnant. When he learns that she’s carrying his child, Brody offers Aria the chance of a lifetime. The catch? She has to live under his roof until the baby is born.

Either they’ll kill each other in nine months. Or discover love buried beneath their hate.

 AMAZON | iBOOKS | NOOK | KOBO

One night of pretending. Then we’d go back to what we were good at. Hating.

I feel like I have been waiting for this story for so long! I’ve been completely enraptured with the Runaway series since book one, and the Cadillac saga continues with Aria’s road to a HEA.

Aria and Brody have been dancing around each other for years. They started off on the wrong foot and it’s only continued from there. There’s certainly no love lost between them but there’s plenty of chemistry. They crashed into each other’s orbit through Aria’s twin sister, who works for Brody. But while her sister and Brody are close, Aria can’t stand the man. She thinks he’s too arrogant for his own good and quick to throw his money and status around.

From the very first time they appear on the pages together, you can cut the sexual tension between them with a knife, and it was utterly delicious. Aria doesn’t mince words when it comes to Brody and is always quick to put him in his place. But then one night changes everything between them.

I love me a good surprise baby plot device, but it has to be done right. And it’s definitely done right in Forsaken Trail. I absolutely HATE when the heroine keeps the baby from the hero for whatever reason. Aria is not about that life. She tells Brody as soon as she knows. And even though there’s still plenty of unresolved issues between them, she doesn’t want to keep Brody away. Though she has doubts given her sister’s history with her baby daddy.

Brody is impossible not to love. The more you learn about his history, the more you love him. There’s a soft mushy center to this successful man and I adored it. He mans up right away when it comes to Aria and doesn’t play any games. Their road to a HEA was not a quick one but it was full of emotion and absolutely heart warming.

I did want a little bit more of the hate lust between them. It felt like they turned the corner really quick and a lot of their animosity was mentioned off the page and I would have loved more of that. But then again, I’m a sucker for that angsty enemies to lovers tension. This book is not quite that. It’s more feel good then angsty, and I didn’t mind that. It was satisfying from beginning to end and I adored Aria and Brody’s story. Now I’m eagerly waiting on Clara’s book next.

Devney is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in Washington with her husband and two sons. Born and raised in Montana, she loves writing books set in her treasured home state. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her family. Writing one book, let alone many, was not something she ever expected to do. But now that she’s discovered her true passion for writing romance, she has no plans to ever stop.

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Review: The Office Party by Whitney G.

THE OFFICE PARTY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Whitney G
Release Date: December 18, 2020

I can’t believe that I pulled my boss’s name for our company’s annual Secret Santa tradition…

As the devil incarnate, this infuriating, cocky bastard never gives us the holidays off, and he honestly expects us to be grateful for his generous alternative: The Office Party.

It’s a mandatory, all-expenses trip for two weeks at a surprise luxury resort—where we still have to work twelve to fifteen hours a day.

I’m so over this…

So, I put zero percent effort into his gift. I tear the tag off whatever my sister gifts me, add a five-dollar amazon gift card, and hand it off to him.

It’s not until my sister sends me a text that I realize how terrible of a decision that was.

Georgia: Why haven’t you sent me a ‘LOL’ about the brand-new vibrator I got you? I really do hope that you use your boss’s face as a muse, like my note says. 🙂

If that’s not bad enough, this year’s “luxury trip” will be in my hometown–the place I’ve avoided for years. At the resort that my grandmother owns…

If the universe gets me out of this, I will never ‘regift’ anything ever again…

 AMAZON

For a few seconds, I forget that he’s Satan in the flesh—that he’s flown thirteen hours to confront me in another country.

If you’re looking for a quick, steamy and fun read, look no further. If there’s one thing I can say, is no matter the quibbles I may have, Whitney G always delivers on a fun and satisfying read, no matter the length.

I love a good enemies to lovers romance, but particularly when you have a sassy heroine give as good as she gets to the alphahole of a hero. And this one delivered that in spades! Garrett and Savannah have amazing chemistry and I loved the push and pull between them.

This could have been an amazing full length novel and had all of the ingredients to be one. While I love Whit’s sexy novellas, I couldn’t help thinking this would have been better as a full length. I would have loved more development for these characters and to see on the page what was described of their personalities off the page. Like Garrett’s satan boss antics. I would have loved more of that.

All that aside, this was still incredibly satisfying and hit the spot nicely. If you’re looking for a fun office romance with an enemies to lovers trope, definitely give this one a go.

Review: Fables & Other Lies by Claire Contreras

FABLES & OTHER LIES
Genre:
Gothic Romance
Author:
Claire Contreras
Release Date:
December 20, 2020

Do you believe in curses?

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true.

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.

AMAZON

The moment you came back to the island, you sealed your fate.

The second I heard Claire will be releasing a gothic romance, I was gagging for it. I love a unique and twisty read, and this one certainly delivered in spades.

Admittedly, it did take me quite a bit to get into it fully but that likely has more to do with my blah mood lately than anything else. I have the attention span of a gnat. It’s ridiculous. But I digress.

Fables & Other Lies is a story full of secrets, revenge, family rivalry, curses, and folklore. It was deliciously addictive. The mystery around the town and the curse that plagues it was something I couldn’t get enough of. It’s rare that I’ll read a book that gives me goosebumps, and this one did. There were parts that sent shivers up my spine and I was so here for it.

River was exactly the kind of mysterious and enigmatic hero that I love to read about. The second he appeared on the pages, I was hypnotized with his presence. What I loved most about this book was how incredibly unique it was. I’ve only read a few gothic romances, and it’s not an easy genre. I’d love to see more books like this from Claire.

My one quibble was I wish it was longer. I just didn’t feel like there was enough relationship development between River and Penelope for me to fully connect with it. I also wanted a bit more on River in general. I felt like we’re thrown right into the deep end of this story from the beginning. And while it made me immensely curious to unravel the mystery, I also felt like I needed a little more information on the families and the backstories there.

That aside, I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was mysterious with a splash of dark magic and curses all wrapped around a years old family curse and rivalry. The romance was a slow burn full of sizzle and the characters were unique. Highly recommend if you’re looking for something different and wildly entertaining!

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