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

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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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#DGRFave & Review: The Revenge Pact by Ilsa Madden Mills

THE REVENGE PACT
Series: The Kings of Football #1
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Release Date: December 3, 2020

River Tate is a god on campus.
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you.
The only chink in his armor is her, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair.

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody.
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin.
The only chink in her armor is him, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her.

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and picks up the pieces.
Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is, sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

The Revenge Pact is first in a series about three college football players.

 AMAZON 

There’s something real between us… The question is, what am I willing to do about it?

When I tell you that this book owned me. When I tell you that this story was absolutely EVERYTHING. When I tell you that River Tate is the ultimate book boyfriend that you will never be able to move on from. When I tell you this was easily my favorite book I’ve read from this author. When I tell you that this book is an absolute must read. BELIEVE. ME.

River Tate is a dangerous man. And the best thing I can do is stay away from him.

The second I started reading this story, I knew it would be different. River and Anastasia are going down as one of my favorite New Adult romance couples. It was THAT good.

I’m a sucker for a strong female and a tortured male plot, but this was so much more than that. It was all things forbidden, angsty and packed with enough emotion to make you turn each page with bated breath.

Anastasia and River’s relationship is tumultuous to say the least. He pretends that he hates her and she pretends like his presence doesn’t effect her. She also happens to be dating his frat brother. But if you’re thinking this is a love triangle or cheating book, think again.

River is a god on campus but he’s so much more than his image. This is a man with so many layers, you feel like every chapter offers more depth. He’s such a beautiful soul that I couldn’t help but fall for him immediately. His perseverance and honor make him one of the most beloved people on campus. He’s always there for his brothers and teammates. So it doesn’t matter how much he wants Ana, he can never go there.

Ana is a bit of a black sheep with lavender hair. She’s beautiful and smart, but her family is anything but conventional. She struggles to find a place for herself in the midst of the expectations from those around her. And when everything comes crashing down on her, the one person there for her is the last one that she expects.

This was an incredibly emotional and poignant slow burn romance. I fell so hard for both of these characters. Their imperfections and strengths, their pain and happiness. All of it was blended together so flawlessly that I couldn’t set the book down for even a second. You know when you read a book and you just have this feeling, like this power punch of emotion that goes through you like electricity? I had that the entire time reading this. These characters were so incredibly memorable and their romance was so incredibly powerful, that I felt a sense of loss when I finished because I couldn’t part with them.

If you’re looking for a new adult romance that’s packed with feels and a book boyfriend that will own your heart from the very first page, you need this book in your life!

Wall Street JournalNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

Connect with Ilsa:
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Review: Little Lies by H. Hunting

LITTLE LIES
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: H. Hunting
Release Date: November 16, 2020

I don’t want you.
You mean nothing to me. 

I never loved you.

I turned my words into swords.

And I cut her down.

Shoved the blade in and watched her fall.

I said I’d never hurt her, and I did.

Years later, I’m faced with all the little lies, the untruths, the false realities, the damage I inflicted, when all I wanted was to indulge my obsession.

Lavender Waters is the princess in the tower. Even her name is the thing fairy tales are made of.

I used to be the one who saved her.
Over and over again.

But I don’t want to save her anymore.

I just want to pretend the lies are still the truth.


AMAZON | AUDIBLE

I want to save her from her demons, and me from mine. But they always catch up. No matter how hard we try to outrun them.

I love Helena’s contemporary romances, but I’m a sucker for some angst. So when I saw she’s realizing an angsty New Adult under a different pen name, well I’m pretty sure I left dust tracks in my rush to sign up for this book.
I’m also a sucker for a good spin-off, so the fact that these are the kids from Pucked and A Lie for a Lie was just icing on the cake.

Lavender and Kody’s story was deliciously angsty and heart wrenchingly emotional, touching on some very real issues that just endeared you to these characters that much more.

Lavender and Kody grew up together. They were each other’s everything and no one was closer than the two of them, not even Lavender and her twin. Something traumatic happened when they were children that drove them to their own particular neuroses that each of them dealt with in a very different way. And then when they were teens, something happened that set their friendship on fire. Kody and Lavender went from the best of friends, to being nothing.

Lavender grew up immensely sheltered and in the shadow of her brothers’ over protective nature. Now in college, she’s slowly gettin out of her shell but it’s hard to do when her biggest tormentor was once her best friend and confidant. She’s trying to move past her issues, but Kody is always there to remind her of her weaknesses.

The angsty and slow burn of this story dang near killed me. I lived for the back and forth that these two had. Kody was downright vicious, but beneath the rough hewn exterior, you can see to the vulnerable heart beneath. And I couldn’t wait to find out what made them fall apart so tragically. I also was itching to know where all of his aggression and anger towards Lavender stemmed from.

I loved the first 70% of this story. I seriously couldn’t put it down. Where it did miss a mark for me was on the big revelation. I suppose I thought it would be something different or…more than it was. It felt almost underwhelming, to be honest. But ultimately, it didn’t really detract from my love of this story. I loved Kody and Lavender so much, that even my small issue aside, I devoured the story. I seriously hope Helena makes this into a series because now I want a book for all of the other kids. And ESPECIALLY a book for Lavender’s twin. GAH. How utterly amazing it would be!!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Review: Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli

PRETTY WHEN SHE CRIES
Series: Black Mountain Academy
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: A Zavarelli
Release Date: October 23, 2020

Your first kiss is supposed to be sweet. Ours was baptized in fire.

I was the new girl trying to find her place.

Landon was the brooding neighbor I tutored over the summer.

I didn’t know he was a legend at Black Mountain Academy.

I didn’t know they worshipped him like a religion.

But I fell for him before I knew those things.

To me, he was just the tortured soul who drew me in like a magnet.

And then he did something so unspeakable, so unforgivable, it shattered me.

I ran away then because I was weak, but I’ve shed my tears.

He stole my heart and my dignity, and I’m here to take it back.

The only problem is… he’s not giving it up without a fight.

 AMAZON

I guess it’s true what they say about forbidden fruit. Kailani is the sweetest poison.

Do you have authors that you don’t even bother to read the blurb from? A Zavarelli is one of mine. No matter what the woman writes, I know I’ll be gagging for it. Because she never fails to create some of the most captivating and memorable characters. And this installment in the Black Mountain Academy series was finger licking good. No joke. I honestly wanted to lick my fingers when I turned the last page. It was that delicious.

An angsty and gritty romance set in high school where the only thing the students have more than money is spite and crazy. GAH. Yasss girl. This was right up my alley. After an incident that turned her world upside down, Kailani ran back to Hawaii. She never quite fit it with the rich and entitled students of Black Mountain Academy. She’s a talented dancer whose mother married into money but for love. Now she’s back to exact revenge on all who took part in the events of that night, including the boy she never got over.

Landon is the infamous bad boy with a reputation that proceeds him. A child actor turned teenage heartthrob, all Landon has ever known is people’s dark sides. Everyone wants something from him, including his own family. He has deep rooted trust issues and a chip on his shoulder that’s a mile long. He’s also deliciously enigmatic, mysterious, and oh so sexy. He once fell hard for his beautiful and shy neighbor, but even she turned out to be not who he thought she was. And now that she’s back, he has a revenge of his own to exact.

This story was a delicious entanglement of drama and angst and I devoured every page of it. Suspend your disbelief here and prepare yourself for Cruel Intentions on crack. These teenagers are CRAZY. Revenge, secrets, and lies run rampant through the halls of Black Mountain. And while Landon and Kailani have their agenda, someone else has theirs, and that amounts for some insane twists and turns. Yes, some of them were high on the realm of believability, but I couldn’t seem to care less. I lived for the drama here. When drama is done right, it can be absolutely delicious, and it was here.

I loved the tension and chemistry between Kailani and Landon. I loved their push and pull and I especially loved the way Kailani gave as hard as she got. The girl spared no punches when it came to her enemies. She certainly wasn’t the naive girl she was before she came back. This girl had claws and she wasn’t afraid to use them.

If you’re looking for an angsty and gritty high school romance with plenty of steam and no shortage of drama, look no further. This will tick every box and leave you wanting more.

A Zavarelli is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of dark and contemporary romance.

When she’s not putting her characters through hell, she can usually be found watching bizarre and twisted documentaries in the name of research.

She currently lives in the Northwest with her lumberjack and an entire brood of fur babies. 

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Review: I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I PROMISE YOU 
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Release Date: October 12, 2020

New adult football romance! Complete standalone!

WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoony romance between the football hottie and the mystery girl he kissed years before.

Dillon McQueen: Babe. I promise. You want me.
Serena Jensen: Um, who are you?

There’s a legend at Waylon University: the first girl you kiss freshman year at the bonfire party is the one you’ll never forget. She’ll crawl under your skin and never leave. She’ll spark a passion so fierce you’ll burn the world down to possess her.

You might even put a ring on it.

As in all things with fate, timing is everything. That kiss can go horribly wrong. She might run in the opposite direction. And boy, did Serena run.

Dillon is Waylon’s hotshot quarterback with something to prove. All he wants is to graduate and make it to the NFL. What he doesn’t need is to finally meet the mystery girl he kissed at the bonfire freshman year. Isn’t it enough that she’s haunted his dreams for more than a thousand nights?

Fate laughs in his face when he runs into the quirky girl at the Piggly Wiggly. Surrounded by his entourage, he’s got all the Oreos in his cart; she gets revenge by buying every six-pack of his favorite beer.

Obviously, that legend is a curse. She’s not his type. She hates him. Worst of all, how can she not remember him when she left a Serena-shaped hole in his heart for the past three years?

So why can’t he stop trying to win her?

Will this quarterback score the girl or make the biggest fumble of his life?

 AMAZON 

He’s part smooth charmer, part uncertain college boy, and it ticks all my boxes.
Help.

Same, girl. SAME.

First of all, I am kicking my own @ss right now because how am I just discovering this series? Ok so maybe it’s not a series since it’s not marked as one. But if you haven’t read I Bet You, I Hate You, and I Dare You, you haven’t lived. Just saying.

It seems I’m always on the search for the perfect New Adult sports romance that can combine all of the feels with perfectly dozed steam and this book checked all of my boxes. I fell so hard for these characters, both the main and the secondary. I fell SO HARD.

If you’ve read the other books I mention, you’ll remember Dillon McQueen as the party loving, quick to smile golden boy. I just knew this boy was going to have more layers than an onion, but I simply wasn’t prepared for just how many there were. This is one character that has so much depth, that with every layer you peel back, you’re simply ravenous for more. On the surface he seems like a party boy that likes to sleep around and has no problem using his good looks to get what he wants. But beneath that is the heart of someone that’s still figuring himself out. He’s unsure. He’s vulnerable. And he’s so damn adorable in his uncertainties, that you just want to hug him.

People see me as some kind of, I don’t know, hotshot guy, but deep down there’s only a few things I want: football, my dad’s approval, and someone authentic.

Serena has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt. Literally. She’s a little older and a lot wiser, so when the college golden boy sets her in his sights, she’s having none of it. The banter and bickering between the two of them was FIRE. I lived for their back and forth. Serena has her own insecurities but this is a woman that gives as hard as she gets and I loved her for it. She made Dillon work for it.

I adored this story, simply adored it. The swoon, the feels, the hilarious banter. All of it effortlessly woven together to make for one addictive read that I never wanted to end. I immediately went back and read the other three books because I simply had to meet the three secondary characters that make an appearance in the beginning of this book. If you’re looking for that perfect NA sports romance, look no further! Welcome to your next addiction.

Wall Street JournalNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

Connect with Ilsa:
Amazon | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | Book+Main | Website 

Stay up to date with Ilsa by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2ZWaTYh

Join her Unicorn Girls Group on FB, the best way to keep up: http://bit.ly/37B6Nay

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#DGRFave & Review: Playing With Fire by LJ Shen

PLAYING WITH FIRE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: September 15, 2020

A broken boy on the path to destruction.
A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.

 AMAZON

He was going to soar and burst like a supernova once he was out of this small Texas town, and I was going to remain the ashes he left behind—the stardust that slowly descended the earth in his wake.

You know what I love about LJ Shen? Her ability to create some of the most unique and memorable characters I’ve ever read. Starting with Sparrow, my first book of hers, to now, I can remember every minute detail of her books, and considering most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, that’s saying something.

But Playing With Fire? This one just hit different. It was unlike anything I’ve read from LJ Shen before. It was a fiery, passionate and emotional whirlwind of a story that owned me from beginning to finish.

This was going to be temporary. And painful. And worth it.

Grace Shaw is not your typical heroine and easily one of the most unique characters I’ve read in a very long while. She used to be the queen B, now turned recluse. Her world was turned upside down and nothing has been the same since. She’s plagued by memories of what used to be and the hard reality of her present.

West is the town’s golden bad boy. A sinner on a motorcycle and the epitome of everything that Grace should stay away from. Theirs is the unlikeliest of bonds and friendships that starts with sparks of attraction, burns with a fiery hate, and rises from the ashes like a phoenix of love. Lord, I’m getting poetic here. But y’all. I just don’t have a better way of describing their relationship to you. It’s opposites attract with plenty of banter turned to some of the most delicious sexual tension. It was everything. EVERYTHING. It was angsty. It was painful. It was spellbinding and absolutely magnificent. I died for these two. This tortured town recluse and the bad boy that slowly but surely brings her out of her shell.

The romance is a delicious slow burn that I couldn’t get enough of. The story was packed with feels, plot twists, and enough chemistry to set fire to the pages. Pun intended. It was a unique, captivating, and utterly unforgettable standalone from the queen of angst, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Review: The Dare by Elle Kennedy

THE DARE
Series:
Briar U #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Elle Kennedy
Release Date: June 16, 2020

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

AMAZON

Yup, hungering for Conor Edwards is very, very bad. Because he’s exactly the kind of man who will break my heart. Even if he doesn’t mean to.

I’m like a kid at a candy store when it comes to Elle Kennedy books. Every time she releases a new one, I do a happy squeal and a dance around the room. I just can’t help myself. Her books are my happy place.

Now don’t pay much mind to my rating. Because a 3.5 star for me means that I enjoyed it. Quite a bit actually. This was a super cute, slow burn, friends-to-lovers trope with plenty of laughs and deliciously steamy. Of course I will never get enough of the Briar boys, so I was all over this like white on rice.

Conor. *swoons* Who doesn’t like a sexy goofball that’s quite the manwh*re but with a heart of gold and plenty of hidden insecurities and vulnerabilities. Certainly not me. I fell fast and hard for this man.

Taylor and Conor are a total case of opposites attracting. Taylor is trying to survive her sorority one ridiculous dare at a time. With some catty girls that certainly have it out for her, it’s not as easy for her to slide under the radar at their parties. So when she gets dared by one of her more catty sorority sisters to pick up the hottest guy at the party, she goes for it. And tells him exactly what she’s doing and begs for his help. Conor, being the true gentleman that he is, is happy to oblige. And so begins the cutest friendship with an overload of sexual tension. It was sew gewd! I absolutely loved these two together.

What I didn’t love was the amount of time this story focused on their insecurities. Taylor and her body issues eventually began to wear on me. I think us females all suffer from this so I can absolutely sympathize with a girl that’s on the curvier side who is constantly surrounded by skinny perfection having some body issues. But she focuses so much on this, that it began to wear on me. It’s all she thinks about. I was thrilled to see her finally grow a backbone towards the later part of the story and begin to come out of this shell, but I’m not going to lie, it did drive me a bit crazy. Considering that Conor has his own insecurities to boot with not being good enough and going from dirt poor to the rich and have everything side and still feeling like he doesn’t belong. However, so much of the story concentrated on this, that it began to wane my interest a bit. I found myself pausing more than usual and it took me a lot longer to finish than any other Elle Kennedy book.

That being said, the ending of the story certainly made up for a lot of this. I loved seeing Taylor take back her power and the way that things resolve in her sorority. I also really loved the way that her and Conor both fight for each other. They’re not my favorite Briar couple, but they’re still up there. There’s a secondary relationship that happens in this book that I absolutely LOVED. It served up some laughs to boot.

If you’re looking for a swoony and steamy New Adult sports romance, this will certainly fit the bill. Was it my favorite in the series. Not quite. But it still hit the spot just right.

New Release & Review: Black Knight by Rina Kent

BLACK KNIGHT
Series:
Royal Elite #4
Genre:
New Adult, Mature YA
Author:
Rina Kent
Release Date:
May 21, 2020

Love is impossible. Hate is an open game.

Kimberly

He was once my best friend, now he’s my worst enemy.

Xander Knight is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Ridiculously popular.

Brutally cruel.

He’s a knight but won’t do any saving.

 

Xander

We started as a dream, now we’re a nightmare.

Kimberly Reed is pathetically fake.

Terribly innocent.

Secretly black.

She can hide but never from me.

AMAZON

BINGE THE SERIES

CRUEL KING | DEVIANT KING | STEEL PRINCESS | TWISTED KINGDOM

 

I can’t have her, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play with her. Love is impossible, but hate is an open game.

This was my sort of book crack! Full of angst, crazy drama, plot twists, and did I mention the angst? ALL OF THE ANGST. Now if you follow my reviews, you already know I love my heroes mean. Like MEAN. I want to hate them while simultaneously wanting to have their babies. Not that I want to have Xander’s babies. The guy is in high school. That’s illegal, dammit! What? It’s fiction, stop judging me. GOD. But I digress. I’ve been waiting for this book since being introduced to Kim and Xander in the beginning of the series. And dare I say, I think this may have been my favorite book in the series so far!

Xander is the fire and I’m the gasoline waiting to burn.

I knew going into this and from the author’s foreward that this wouldn’t be a light read. Still waters run deep, as they say, and Kim definitely had a lot more layers to her than first meets the eye. This girl is so broken. My heart hurt for her. And at the same time, kudos for Rina for daring to go there and spare no detail.

Xander and Kim used to be each others everything. Until they weren’t. And when they weren’t, it wasn’t just bad. It was borderline toxic. He hates her for something that happened in their childhood and he punishes her for it every chance he gets. And while Kim may have been the super quiet and introverted in the previous books, she truly grows into herself here. She begins to slowly come out of her shell and doesn’t just take things lying down anymore.

This book reminded me quite a bit of Broken Knight, so if you loved that one, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. It’s similar but still different enough to stand on it’s own. So when I say it reminded me, I mean in a ‘if you liked that, you’d like this’ sort of way. But I digress again.

There’s a lot of drama that happens here, so if that’s not your thing, this may not be for you. I gobbled it up with a spoon. It was crazy, OTT, and borderline ridiculous, but it was SO GODDAMN DELICIOUS that I didn’t even care. It fit. Like everything just fit, you know? It didn’t feel excessive but fit the story, which I definitely appreciate.

There’s one particular plot twist that made me scratch my head a little bit and is the reason for the lower rating here, but I’m also a picky beoch. So don’t mind me. This was entirely personal preference here.

The deliciousness of the angst. The finger-licking drama. The sizzling and oh so dirty romance. All of it hit every box for me. Rina Kent knows how to write an asshole, and this girl is so here for it. I cannot wait for more in this series!

Rina Kent is an international bestselling author of everything enemies to lovers romance.

Darkness is her playground, suspense is her best friend, and twists are her brain’s food. However, she likes to think she’s a romantic at heart in some way, so don’t kill her hopes just yet.

Her heroes are anti-heroes and villains because she was always the weirdo who fell in love with the guys no one roots for. Her books are sprinkled with a touch of mystery, a healthy dose of angst, a pinch of violence, and lots of intense passion.

Rina spends her private days in a peaceful town in North Africa daydreaming about the next plot idea or laughing like an evil mastermind when those ideas come together.

Don’t forget to Sign up to Rina Kent’s Newsletter for news about future releases and an exclusive gift.

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To celebrate the release of Black Knight, Rina Kent is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Head to her Facebook page to enter: https://www.facebook.com/rinaakent/

Review: Tell Me Pretty Lies by Charleigh Rose

TELL ME PRETTY LIES
Series: Heartbreak Hill #1
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Charleigh Rose
Release Date: April 5, 2020

Three things my mother acquired when she became engaged:

1. A brand new Tiffany’s ring.
2. A lavish home on Heartbreak Hill.
3. Three privileged stepsons.

The last thing I expected was to fall for one of them, least of all Thayer Ames.
Beautiful, brooding, and untouchable.
I knew it was a bad idea. He warned me himself.
But he was a thunderstorm, and I never could resist the rain.
It was perfect…
Until it wasn’t.
One night was all it took for our world to crumble, leaving only secrets and lies between us.
Now, I have to face him again, but the boy I used to know has become the man who loves to hate me.

AMAZON 

So innocent. So pure. But they don’t know what you like to do with your stepbrother in the dark.”

I’m a sucker for a good bully romance. Give me a tortured alphahole, and I’m putty in your hands. PUTTEH. So of course the second I saw the blurb to this book, I jumped on it faster than you can say GIMMEH.

Tell Me Pretty Lies was an interesting read for me. A part of me loved the somewhat convoluted yet still addictive story. But then another part of me was thoroughly confused for a good chunk of it. This is only the second book I’ve read by this author, so when I was thrown into what felt like the middle of an already developing story in the beginning of the book, I was confused. I had to go back and see if this is a continuing series. Did I jump into book 3 of a series? Was there a prequel novella I missed? I was left scratching my head because this is what marks book one in what I’m hoping is the start of a new series.

The story starts with a funeral and gives you a peek into an already developed relationship between the two MCs. It’s clear that theirs is a relationship that has a lot of history, and I would have loved to see it, rather than being told about it in hindsight. I think that actually experiencing that part of them would have gone a long way in really connecting me to the characters. It felt like the backstory and the true start of their relationship is told off the pages and we only get a small glimpse, where it should have been a full experience. Because of this, I spent a large part of the story trying to wrap my mind around all of the characters, their connection, and what was happening.

Now there’s the other part of me, too. The part of me that was still glued to the pages, confusion or not. There was just a certain zap to this story that kept me riveted. The mystery and suspense kept me turning the pages well into the night. Truth be told, I finished this in one sitting, so that definitely tells you something. It wasn’t without issues, but it was still gripping enough to completely hook me on what I’m hoping is a series, and desperate for more of the brothers. So while it wasn’t a perfect 5 star read, it was still an enjoyable 3 star, and certainly one I’d recommend to any fans of the bully trope that like a good dose of angst with their NA romance.

Review: The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart

THE GUY ON THE LEFT
Series: The Underdogs #2
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: December 8, 2019

From the bestselling author of The Guy on the Right comes a heartwarming, second chance romance. The Guy on the Left is BOOK TWO of The Underdogs Series, but can be read as a stand alone.

Now an AMAZON TOP 100 Bestseller!

It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.

I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.

I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.

Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.

The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.

It’s time to set the record straight.

For my son, I‘ll find the strength.

In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.

I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.

The Underdogs Series Order
The Guy on the Right
The Guy on the Left
The Guy in the Middle-releasing WINTER 2020
All books can be read as a stand alone.

AMAZON

Wanting this woman is torture. Loving this woman is fucking humiliating.

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this book. But nothing could have prepared me for the impact Troy’s story would have on me. When I first met him as a secondary character in The Guy on the Right, he was the ultimate hottie. A jock, a womanizer, a guy that had the world handed to him and took full advantage of it. Well ha! The joke is on me. Because while he may exude the typical hot jock vibe, he’s anything but. He’s truly the underdog, because beneath the good looking exterior is the broken heart of a boy just looking to belong and have love. He longs to be seen for who he is, but life hasn’t always been easy on him. What makes it all the more excruciating is everyone’s perception of the easy going playboy that gets everything handed to him when he’s had to work for everything he has.

Troy’s story runs parallel to the events in The Guy On The Right, but also takes you back to the beginning to the night that set everything in motion. The night when Troy told a lie that irrevocably changed his and Clarissa’s life. What was supposed to be a hot one night stand, turned into something different. But then Clarissa gets the surprise of not only a pregnancy, but also that Troy’s not exactly as old as he said. While he’s 18 because he was held back a year in middle school, he’s still a senior in high school and she’s a high school teacher. The lie causes the ultimate rift and causes Clarissa to cut Troy out of her life to raise their baby on her own.

Now I have to admit, I really, really disliked Clarissa for large parts of the book. I understood why she did what she did, but at the same time, I hated everything she puts Troy through four years later. Troy never abandoned them and was contempt of watching from afar while still trying to be a part of his son’s life in a silent help sort of way. I think being in Troy’s head made it that much more difficult to like Clarissa through some of the more painful parts.

My heart broke for them and for Troy. I loved their adorable little boy Dante, and the way he forms a bond with his father unknowing of their connection. He was the sweetest secondary character and I couldn’t get enough of his cute and sassy personality.

This was a slow burn of epic proportions with enough angst to make you want to rip your heart out. Kate Stewart is truly the queen of feels, and she tugs at every single heartstring with this book. It was a beautiful, emotional, and utterly unforgettable story of forgiveness and second chances. I can’t wait for more in this series.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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