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

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

 

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

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

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

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

But nothing could have prepared her for his response…

 

AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMAZON | B&N

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

Oh my gosh, this book!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Geri’s Review: Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau

GRUMPY FAKE BOYFRIEND
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jackie Lau
Release Date: May 22nd 2018

I’m a pretty simple guy. When I’m not writing a science fiction novel, I’m watching a good movie or reading a book.

Alone. I like my reclusive life.

That is, until my only friend asks for a favor—pretend to be his baby sister’s boyfriend on a couples’ getaway. Her ex is going to be there and she needs me as a buffer.

I should have said no, but Naomi is bubbly, energetic, and beautiful.

She also means everything to her brother.

But now, our fake romance is starting to feel all too real, and I find myself stuck between the promise I made to my friend and risking my heart to the one woman who might actually get me…

 

AMAZON

Grumpy Fake Boyfriend is exactly what I expected—a sweet, low-angst romance with cute banter, and fun, relatable characters.

Will Stafford is the aforementioned grumpy, fake boyfriend who was asked by a dear friend of his to pretend to be his sister’s fake boyfriend for the weekend. Will is many things but he is not a social person at all.

A weekend—a long weekend—with several people I don’t know in a freaking beach house while pretending to be someone’s boyfriend is pretty much the worst thing I could imagine.

But he owes Jeremy big time. So despite his reservations, he agreed to spend time with strangers and pretend to be someone’s boyfriend.

Enter Naomi Kwan. The bubbly, fun, beautiful sister in need of a fake boyfriend. She’s social, and she’s not afraid to put herself out there. A total opposite of Will. But the moment they met, the chemistry between them was undeniable.

We need to figure out our story. How did we meet? How long have we been dating?”

“A month,” I say. “We met through your brother.”

“You’re a writer. I thought you had better imagination than that.”

This was a fun book to read. Mainly because Will’s and Naomi’s inner monologue were a riot. They’re both hilarious. Their banter was cute and despite some personal issues I have with the writing style—first person present tense is not my favorite AT ALL—I was engaged and smiling all the way through. The characters were just so dang fun to read.

Jackie Lau was able to highlight the differences in their personality without feeling like it’s too much of a difference for them to be realistically together. That’s also an issue for me with the opposite attracts trope. Sometimes the two main characters are too much of an opposite that the HEA doesn’t feel believable. That wasn’t a problem here. The author was able to craft Naomi and Will’s personalities and still was able to convince me that they can work together as a couple.

Overall, this was a sweet and fun read. I finished this book with a smile on my face. So if you’re looking for some light, low-angst read, I would recommend this book.

Geri’s Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

AMAZON

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geri’s Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

THE WEDDING DATE
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Release Date: January 30, 2018

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

Alexa Monroe found herself trapped at a hotel elevator with a handsome, charming Drew Nichols. The incident led to a wedding date, a pretend relationship which quickly escalated into something more.

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The Wedding Date charmed me from beginning to end. The best part about this book was easily the heroine! She’s gorgeous and competent as hell but also strong and vulnerable. Alexa Monroe was everything I love in my romance book heroines.

Another element I enjoyed about this book was the development of Alexa and Drew’s relationship. What started out as a disaster (getting stuck at an elevator) became so much more. That’s not to say there wasn’t some awkwardness between them at first because here was and it was charming and cute because you recognize it as part in real life. Loved their chemistry together.

I also loved the fact that both characters are competent at their jobs. Drew is a doctor and Alexa is a mayoral chief of staff. Their careers are part of who they are and I enjoyed reading those parts in the book.

Conflict wise, I thought that it was very well done. Drew and Alexa not only came from different backgrounds, but they also lived in two different cities which was a challenge to say the least. I normally do not like long distance relationships in my romance, but I liked how it was dealt with in this book. Drew and Alexa were very aware of its pitfalls and of course, its rewards. I thought their actions were very real, and it showed the characters’ flaws and redeeming qualities.

The Wedding Date met all my expectations, which I am so grateful for. It’s sweet, charming, lighthearted romance at its best. If you enjoy fake-dating-relationship stories, I highly recommend this book! This is only Miss Guillory’s first book and judging by how much I enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to more books from her in the future.

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Geri’s Review: Dance With Me by Alexis Daria

DANCE WITH ME
Series: Dance Off #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Alexis Daria
Release Date: December 12, 2017

The second book in Alexis Daria’s dancing duology finds one playboy charmer falling for his new roommate.

Natasha Díaz is having a day. She’s trying to prove she can make it as a professional dancer, but she’s overworked, out of cash, and her roommate has just moved out. When she comes home to find a hole in her ceiling and her bedroom flooded, she’s desperate enough to crash with the one guy she can’t quit. She accepts his offer with one condition: no sleeping together while she’s living with him.

Dimitri Kovalenko has never lived with a woman before. But when Tasha’s in need of a place to stay, he suggests she move in without a second thought. He accepts her condition, hoping she won’t stick to it. They’re good together, both in the ballroom and the bedroom. Since their first dance, she’s never been far from his thoughts. Sure, she’s a pro and he’s one of her show’s judges, but they’re not currently filming, so no one needs to know.

Living in close quarters shows Dimitri a side of Natasha he’s never seen before, and he likes it. A lot. Too bad she’s doing everything in her power to keep him at arm’s length. When an injury forces Natasha to take it easy or risk her ability to dance, it’s his chance to show her that the rules have changed, and she can trust him with her heart.

AMAZON | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

She’s not going to want you because she needs you to make her life good, but because her life is already good and you make it better.

 

Alexis Daria is a new-to-me author, and after reading and enjoying Dance With Me, she’s definitely one that I would watch out for in the future. Dance With Me is a sexy, character-driven, romance that will tug at your heart.

Natasha is pro dancer in a reality show called Dance Off, and is in an on-and-off again relationship with one of the judges in the show, Dimitri. Tash is stuck in a rut. Not just professionally but also with her non-relationship with Dimitri. Then disaster struck forcing her to spend time with Dimitri in his own turf.

Their arrangement would be temporary, just long enough for Tasha to get back on her feet and find a more permanent place to live until her apartment gets fixed. Complicating matters is the new rule imposed by their production discouraging fraternization among dancers & judges.

I personally love character driven romances, and Dance With Me fits within that category to a tee. I really enjoyed the conflict in this book. Tasha is a very complex and flawed heroine who is adamant on doing it on her own. I loved how Ms. Daria was able to really flesh her character that even though you might not agree with some of her decisions, you still get her because her motivations were explored in the book.

Same goes for Dimitri. His fear of failure and rejection drove him to take Tasha for granted for three years. Wanting her and yet not really pushing for something more permanent with her, which he’s paying for dearly.

The push and pull between them, the asserting and acquiescing, and the physical and metaphorical dance off happening between Dimitri and Tasha are what made this book work for me. It’s fascinating and had me glued to its pages from beginning to end.

I cannot wait to read more from this author, and based on this book alone, she’s going to keep on delivering solid romantic stories with interesting and complex characters.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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