Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Release Date:
September 14, 2021

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation.

Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof.

So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass.

Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend.

But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.

And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope

AMAZON 

 

I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.”

Interestingly enough, I avoided reading this book due to the hype around it. It’s so rare that I see a highly hyped up book that I end up loving. But the cover was so dang cute and the blurb sounded so good, that I decided to cave and take the chance. Sadly, reality won out, and I ended up feeling like I read a different book from everyone else. Such is my life. *Deep sigh*

It started out so strong. I was immediately hooked by the quirky and awkward Olive and the super grumpy professor Adam Carlsen. I love me a good fake dating trope, so there was that going for it. And quite honestly, I was riveted to the pages for the first 20% of the story, with a goofy smile on my face thinking I’ve found the book. Sadly though, that giddy feeling didn’t last for me. And while I didn’t necessarily dislike it, I just didn’t love it either. For me, it felt like a book a novice romance reader who’s just dipping their toe in the genre might enjoy. Now take that with a grain of salt. This is coming from someone that generally just doesn’t gravitate towards cute contemporaries, so this could very well have been the case of just me. And going off of reviews and just how many absolutely adored this book, I definitely feel like the black sheep here. But alas, it is what it is.

So let’s go with a good ole’ feedback sandwich here. I loved the STEM representation and the way it was written. I was afraid that the academia and science aspect of the story would bore me to death, but the author wrote it in such a way that it added to the story and kept even non academia readers engaged. I loved that about this. I also loved the trope and the quirky heroine meet grumpy professor aspect.

What was missing for me was the chemistry. I just didn’t feel it between these two. This is very much a slow burn, but the more time these two spent together, the less I felt it. The way they were thrown together into awkward situations by Olive’s friend Ahn, the more it felt that way…awkward. I also struggled with the way it was written. It was third person POV in Olive’s perspective, but it read like it should have been first person, if that makes sense. I still struggle to have a visual in my head on what Olive or any of the secondary characters looked like, there was almost no physical descriptions of them. As it was, all of the secondary characters just came across flat, rudimentary, and two dimensional. And it didn’t take long before the main characters came across that way too.

I did enjoy the ending and seeing Olive finally, FINALLY, stand up for herself and truly show growth as a character. I also loved seeing Adam’s fuzzy and soft side. There was some steam at the end that added, though not much for me, to the chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need steam to enjoy a book. But when the chemistry is already lagging for me, it just felt super lacking here.

So did I dislike it? No. Did I love it? Also no. Would I recommend it? Sure! It’s a cute, slow burn romance that I think plenty would love. I just wish I was one of them. So while it was an enjoyable read, it also won’t be anything I remember or come back to after finishing.

Review: Ruined Sinner by Becker Gray

RUINED SINNER
Series:
Hellfire Club #4
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Becker Gray
Release Date: August 24, 2021

It’s no secret that I hate Phineas Yates, but what most people don’t know is that I have a very good reason why.

One hot summer, he broke my heart in the worst way, and I promised myself then and there that I would never fall prey to the sinner of Pembroke Prep again.

Even if it meant re-inventing myself into a girl I barely recognized.

There is a fine line between duty and desire.

I’m not just any girl, I’m a princess. When my family begs me to get engaged to save the family name, I’m trapped with no way out.

In a panic, I blurt out the ultimate lie and create myself a fake boyfriend.

Which means I need someone to foot the bill immediately.

The problem? The only person willing to help me is the one person I never want to see again: the careless, heartless, hot-as-Hellfire playboy himself.

Phineas Yates.

The even bigger problem? His help doesn’t come for free. And this sinner won’t be satisfied with anything less than my absolute ruin.

AMAZON

The way I saw it, Aurora Lincoln-Ward owed me. She owed me for the two years we’d spent apart. And I wasn’t going to let her get away with making amends with her body, oh no. She was going to pay with her heart.

Well, here I am, in my typical way of doing things backasswards, reading book 4 first. What?
In my defense, I have the first three books and have every intention of reading them. It’s just that when I saw the blurb to this one, my impatience got the best of me. And…well…I have zero impulse control, okay? God! Get off mah tits!

But I digress. New Adult is my jam. I live for a good NA romance with a good splash of enemies to lovers and hate lust. So it’s no surprise that I read this in one sitting. I enjoyed the writing style and I liked the concept of the book. Girl has crush on boy who seems to crush on her back, boy screws up so the girl spends two years hating him and making him pay. Then girl is in a bind with her family pushing an arranged marriage on her and the boy blackmails her into a fake relationship by giving her the appearance of a boyfriend she needs for her family, while asking for her time and maybe her body in return. And don’t get it twisted, the girl is quite eager to give him her body, so there’s that.

So why 3 stars? A few reasons. The conflict was just too childish for me. Now look, I realize that I’m reading about teenagers her. I get it. But that doesn’t take away from the main conflict being too childish for me. Aurora spends two years making Phin pay for his mistake. And while I get the emotion, her reaction was SO extreme to the point of changing herself. I could have dealt with all that, but then the main conflict at the end was just too much. It was not only childish but just came out of nowhere. It was my least favorite conflict to read about and this is entirely a personal preference thing, so don’t take my feelings as gospel. But I suppose for me, I wanted more character development. Aurora just felt a bit two dimension for me. It was difficult to connect with her and her reasons because of it.

Obviously I still enjoyed it, my quibbles aside. And it certainly hooked me on the series and has me wanting to read the rest. So if you’re looking for a steamy NA with some hate lust, this may do the trick quite nicely.

Review: The Spy by Sophie Lark

THE SPY
Series: Kingmakers #4
Genre: New Adult, Dark Romance
Author: Sophie Lark
Release Date: July 28, 2021


I’ve waited three long years for this…

Hiding. Lying. Spying.

Waiting like a spider for her to wander into my web…

Now she’s here, and I have to get even closer to her. I’ll help her. Befriend her. Seduce her, even.

The only thing I can’t do is fall in love with her.

Her father took everything from me: my money, my family, my life.

He has to pay for what he’s done. And she’s the only thing that can hurt him…

The Lark Notes:
I’ve been planting clues and Easter Eggs all the way through the first three Kingmakers books — now it’s time for the secrets to be revealed, and the mysteries to find their conclusions. The moment you finish “The Spy”, you’re going to want to go back and read the whole series all over again! – Sophie

“The Spy” is the final installment in the epic dark mafia Kingmakers series. It’s a forbidden romance, full of mystery, betrayal, and an explosive conclusion that will give you the biggest book hangover of your life!

AMAZON

Not all predators hunt in the open.

This series has been a guilty pleasure for me. It’s one of those suspend your disbelief sort of reads that manages to hit the spot even if it’s waaaay out there. I think I saw the comparison of Hogwarts school for criminals and it’s definitely apropos.

I’ve been waiting for this one with bated breath. I couldn’t wait for The Spy to be revealed because I just knew it was going to be crazy. And man, was it. The Spy was a character I fell for immediately. I was desperate for the details to his past and the more that got revealed, the more hooked I became. Nix was a bit of an acquired taste, that admittedly, I just never acquired a taste for. She was…just okaish. She seemed a bit two dimensional. I get her father’s story, but she just didn’t add up for me.

The other thing that lowered my rating was the romance. I hate to admit it, but I just never connected with the romance here. Admittedly, it’s something I’ve experienced with some of the other books I’ve read from this author. The romance just seems to come out of nowhere, with no real build up. For my tastes anyway. This is entirely a personal tastes thing, so don’t take my word as gospel here because I’m clearly in the minority. But for me they just seemed to go from 0 to 60 in the span of a chapter, and considering their history and who they are to each other, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that. Nix’s choice in the end was also mind boggling. I just couldn’t believe her quick turn face and how easily she forgave and condemned.

I have to say my favorite part of the book was the secondary suspense story. Or not really secondary, but one that runs parallel to the romance and has some flashbacks. I lived for these two.

All in all, this was an entertaining read, but just not something that I’d come back to or find myself thinking about later.

Review: Dark Queen by Ker Dukey

DARK QUEEN
Genre: Dark, Mafia Romance
Author: Ker Dukey
Release Date: June 28, 2021

He was my boss.

Rich, ambitious, dominating.

I was a waitress, struggling to pay the fees for ballet school.

Poor, talented, desperate.

He needed to marry to appease his dying father, to inherit the family empire.

It wasn’t supposed to be real, or forever.

Until he changed the rules.

What Mafia king Luca Leto wants, he gets, and he’s crowned his queen.

Me.

I’m under his rule now.

And his reign is cruel and toxic.

They call him the dark king and to gain my freedom I’m going to have to become a dark queen.

#Standalone Mafia romance.

AMAZON

You’re how villains are made, little ballerina,” I growl. “Tempting fate, wanting to play with the wicked.”

I have a confession…
*whispers* this was my first Ker Dukey book *hides*
I know, okay? Clearly I’ve been living under a rock for some time. But in my defense, the second I read the blurb for this book, I knew I would be introduced to this author. I’m a sucker for a dark mafia romance and when that romance is between a down on her luck and trying to make something of herself ballerina and the bad boy mafia king determined to resist her? SIGN. ME. UP.

I love the fact that we’re given a young female heroine that isn’t a naive virgin. This is a female that knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Though I will say I didn’t particularly love her choices in the very beginning. After the death of her mother, Alyssa escapes her small town to chase her dreams to become a ballerina. The prestigious ballet school having a scholarship position for her is step one, but trying to afford her life in the big city is another. A job at a gentleman’s club is the solution she’s been looking for, but the mercurial and hot and cold owner is nothing she expected.

Luca is determined to fight the chemistry between them and the push and pull element had me hooked. Unfortunately, and I can’t quite put my finger on the why, the characters and their relationship failed to really draw me in. I just never fully connected to them. It felt surface level and something just always felt missing for me. What ultimately fell short was the extremely rushed ending, and particularly the strange bit at the end. I appreciated the twist that I didn’t see coming, but I really wished it was more fleshed out. As it was it felt like the story dragged for about 90% to ultimately feel like it was quickly wrapped up in one chapter that didn’t feel satisfying in the least.

But all that aside it was still an entertaining read and had me hooked on the author’s writing to want to read all her other books.

Review: Strong, Silent Cowboy by Lora Leigh & Veronica Chadwick


STRONG, SILENT COWBOY
Series: Moving Violations #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lora Leigh & Veronica Chadwick
Release Date: March 9, 2021

He Will Do Anything…

Sallie Hamblen had three incredibly hot, sexy nights with Jacob Donovan, an undercover CIA agent, before he disappeared, leaving her broken hearted and forever yearning for the man she lost. Years later, Jacob doesn’t know that the beauty he’s about to seduce in a small town bar is the woman he held in his arms all those years ago… and that she’s on the run from her past.

 

To Keep Her Safe…

Former CIA agent turned cowboy, Jacob Donovan wants nothing more than a simple life. Just the ranch and occasionally someone warm and sweet in his bed. Until Sallie comes back into his life and all of a sudden he wants to be in her bed every night…all night. When he discovers that her life is in danger, he swears he’ll protect her.

 

Even when secrets are revealed that threaten everything between them, he will lay everything on the line to keep her in his arms.

AMAZON

This man was dangerous, and she knew it. Something about him warned her that he rarely played, but when he did, he played to win.

Lora Leigh books have been a guilty pleasure for years and will always be what I reach for when I want a super sultry story with an uber alpha.

This is book two in the series, but easily enjoyed as a standalone. I didn’t love book 1, but I did enjoy this one quite a bit.

I won’t spend too much time on the plot, because you can really gather most what you need from the blurb. Years ago, Sallie gave her virginity to a man that owned her, body and soul. They spent an unforgettable night between the sheets, only for him to disappear from her life. Sallie is also running for her life from a dangerous enemy while struggling to figure out why they’re after her. Hiding in the small town, she comes face to face with the man that stole her heart all those years ago. The problem? He doesn’t remember her.

Now if you’re looking for a super hot story, look no further. If there’s one thing that Leigh can write is one hot sexy scene. I also live for her uber alphas, and a CIA agent turned small town sheriff and with a filthy mouth is right up my alley. Sallie took me a bit to warm up to. She’s a bit hot and cold. She won’t give her heart away, but she can’t turn him down when he kisses her. She wants him, she can’t have him. She can’t put him in danger by sharing her secret, but she continues to sleep with him.

Ultimately, where the story dwindled a bit for me were on the details. Or really, the consistency of them. The years were jumbled and jumped all over the place. Three nights spent together or one night spent together. She spent 2 years on the run or 3 years on the run. It’s been 6 years or 3 years. I mean, it was all over the place and made me wonder if the published version will have this fixed.

There’s also some details that are left unanswered at the end that left me hanging. I had hoped the epilogue may touch on them, but ultimately, they were just left mostly unresolved.

All that aside, I did still enjoy this. The added suspense element kept me turning the pages, and the chemistry between Sallie and Jacob kept me invested. If you’re looking for a super steamy, suspenseful read, this one may do the trick.

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: About Tomorrow by Abbi Glines

ABOUT TOMORROW
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Abbi Glines
Release Date: December 14, 2020
About Tomorrow…I close my eyes as I hear him speak. I take one very long and deep breath hoping to calm the immediate butterflies that take flight in my stomach and hope to slow down the racing of my heart. The voice was slightly deeper but the timbre was one that was achingly familiar.
My actions did little to help, but then who was I kidding? A deep breath wasn’t going to fix the effect he had on me and my body’s inevitable reaction.
Even the memories that would forever haunt me couldn’t keep my emotions from triggering at the nearness of him once again.I used to pray that I’d find the strength to move on from him, from the pain that the end carried, from the emptiness in my chest, but ultimately move on from—the loss of Creed Sullivan and the death of his sister, Cora.The Sullivans had been the best part of my summers in New England.Deep down, I knew my ache for all that I had lost was the reason I returned…

But I hadn’t expected to see him again—especially not like this.

AMAZON

Creed didn’t just make me happy; he made me complete. Most of my life I had wandered through it never feeling like I belonged anywhere. Until Creed.

It’s been a hot minute since I last read an Abbi Glines book. Her books were a happy place for me whenever I needed a good dose of teenage drama and steamy romance. And when I read the blurb to this book, I had to have it. I’m a sucker for a second chance romance and this one sounded like it had all of the feels.

If you’re looking for a steamy and angsty second chance romance, this one definitely ticks all of the boxes. Sailor and Creed were childhood sweethearts and each other’s world once upon a time. Then tragedy pulled them apart and even though Sailor’s life moved along, she barely was able to move on from Creed. She’s met a wonderful new guy and now she’s moving back to the town that holds such bittersweet memories for her in order to take care of her gram’s house after her passing. It’s been years since she’s seen Creed but when she meets the cousin of her boyfriend’s roommate in their apartment, her world comes crashing down to realize it’s Creed.

This story deals with some heavy subjects and I loved the grittier undertones of it. Sailor is not perfect and neither is Creed. Their love is messy and broken and riddled with unresolved pain and haunting memories. Sailor is in a happy relationship and Creed is not the boy she once fell in love with. He’s darker, colder, but he’s still the same caring Creed she once knew.

While this book had so many elements that I loved, there were also some things that didn’t quite work for me. Specifically the flashbacks. They just didn’t flow. They felt quite random and didn’t blend into the story. They were also much too short to really add to the overall plot and serve as anything other than a distraction. My other quibble was the conflict at the end. It felt…blah. It just felt like the story was driving to something much bigger and impactful. It just didn’t fit. It felt like a quick way to add something but it didn’t deliver on the something big that the story really needed for me.

Ultimately I still did enjoy this book quite a bit and it gave me the Abbi Glines fix that I didn’t even know I was craving. If you’re looking for a steamy second chance with plenty of angst, this one definitely got it.

Review: What You See by Cherise Sinclair

WHAT YOU SEE
Series:
Sons of the Survivalist #3
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Author:
Cherise Sinclair
Release Date:
December 8, 2020

She will risk everything to rescue her friend.

Frankie’s BFF and four-year-old son are trapped inside a fanatical militia’s compound. In Alaska, no less. Wilderness rescues are so not in the New Yorker’s skill set. But she’ll figure it out. She must.

Bull’s new roadhouse server is a mass of contradictions.

The city girl’s reasons for being in Alaska don’t add up. Bull’s been burned by liars before. So, why is he falling for this crap again? Maybe it’s her big brown eyes, exuberant personality—or her generous, compassionate heart. Whatever the reason is, he cares. If she’s in trouble, he’ll do his damnedest to get her out.

The huge Alaskan is terrifyingly compelling–and heartwarmingly concerned for her.

But Frankie refuses to involve Bull in the deadly mess. Her plan to rescue her bestie will work without anyone getting hurt. As she tries her best not to fall in love, she doggedly acquires each skill she’ll need.

Getting shot, though…that hadn’t been on her to-do list.

AMAZON

I adore all things Cherise. Her books are an auto buy for me always. And while I live for her emotionally charged BDSM, her suspenseful contemporary has been hitting the spot quite nicely for me.

I can’t say that I loved this book, but I did like it quite a bit. What I love is Sinclair’s ability to create these imperfect characters that have an amazing balance of flaws and inner strength. Bull is a bit of manwhore, and he has multiple failed marriages behind him that don’t exactly make him eager to try anything serious again. He’s definitely got some trust issues, but you can’t blame the man, knowing what he’s been through.

Frankie is a fierce heroine that puts her life on hold to help out her best friend who may be in a life threatening situation. Her friend and her son are stuck in an abusive relationship and Frankie may be their only hope and she pleads for her help. Frankie blows into the small town looking for answers but gets more than she expected when she meets Bull.

These two don’t get off to a good start and there’s definitely some false impressions that take place because of both of their histories. Frankie has trust issues because of her failed marriage and cheating husband. She thinks Bull is no better than her ex, until she gets to know him and sees the gentle heart beneath the smoldering and rough exterior.

There’s an added element of suspense with the story of Frankie’s bestie and her rescue from the Patriot Zealots. There’s also some additional voices that are added in (like one of my most anticipated characters, Hawk). What I love is how effortlessly these all blend together in the story. And while I loved the romance and suspense, I was also a little bored. There was just this zing that missing for me here. And I can’t place my finger on what it was exactly, only that this story didn’t really grab me. It’s not one that I’ll be thinking of later or coming back to. It was good, but it just wasn’t my favorite. Do I recommend this series? Absolutely. Will I be reading the next one? OMG. Without a doubt. The set up is AMAZING.

Review: Lies & Lullabies by Sarina Bowen

LIES & LULLABIES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hush Note #1
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: September 22, 2020

Summer nights and star-crossed lovers! From USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.

Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.

I didn’t know he was a rock star.

I didn’t know his real name.

Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.

And I sure never expected to see him again.

Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine.

My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.

 AMAZON 

He’d been a charming diversion with enormous consequences.

I am a sucker for a second chance romance. I live for it. The angst. The emotion. All of the feels. Now it’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a Sarina Bowen book and I was so excited to get my hands on this one. This trope is my book crack so I was so here for it.

Kira and Jonas spent one unforgettable summer together. They were both in a place where they were looking for a connection and were a little lost. They gave each other something that changed them both irrevocably. Kira had no idea at the time they met that Jonas was a famous rockstar. Jonas fell hard for Kira but knew he couldn’t give her what she needed, so he left.

Five years later, their paths cross again. This time Jonas knows exactly what he wants, and he needs a second chance with the woman he never got over. What he doesn’t expect, is the secret that Kira has kept from him all these years in the form of an adorably rambunctious daughter.

Now I do love me some surprise baby trope as well. But it also has to have one thing for me to connect; a good reason for the baby to be a secret. And sadly, I didn’t feel that Kira had one. This ultimately began to grate on me, because I couldn’t help but judge her for it.

Jonas was everything. The man was swoon personified. I loved the way he manned up and was there for his girls. I loved the way he handled the reveal. And really, I just loved him.

The pacing was a bit off, and I did find myself growing bored. The flashbacks to their summer five years ago also felt lacking. I wanted a little more meat here. I really wish it was fleshed out further. Don’t get me wrong. While I didn’t love this story, I still enjoyed it. It may have been a little slow for my tastes, but it still hit the spot. The other band members really hooked me, but my favorite part of the book was Kira’s brother. The man was just GAH. I hope he gets a book of his own because I loved being in his head for the few short pages.

Review: The Truest Thing by Samantha Young

The Truest Thing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hart’s Boardwalk #4
Author: Samantha Young
Release Date: August 18, 2020

Nine years ago, Emery Saunders moved to Hartwell to start her life over as a bookstore owner. Her inability to trust people made it hard for her to find a place in the small community until Jessica Lawson moved to town and befriended the shy beauty.
But there was one person in Hartwell who tried to befriend Emery long before Jessica arrived…

Jack Devlin has his secrets. One of them is that he fell hard for Emery the moment she appeared in Hartwell. Another is that his father blackmailed him into covering up a dark family tragedy. It forced Jack to sever his relationships to protect the people he cared about. Yet, staying away from Emery has not been easy throughout the years and he hasn’t always succeeded. When Jack’s mixed signals hurt Emery once again, she puts him out of her heart for good.
Until the Devlin family secret is finally revealed, freeing Jack from his father’s machinations. What Jack wants more than anything is to repair his relationships, starting with Emery.

However, Emery isn’t ready to forgive and Jack’s not ready to give up.
And when the town’s latest scandal ties Jack and Emery together, Jack is not above using their new reality to prove to Emery once and for all that their love is worthy of the legend of Hart’s Boardwalk.

 AMAZON 

She was pure temptation. He couldn’t have her. But, fuck, did he want her.

I adore all things Samantha Young and I’ve absolutely adored her Hart’s Boardwalk series. But while I did ultimately enjoy this one, it certainly wasn’t my favorite in the series.

Jack and Emery’s story is not an easy one. It spans years and is riddled with dark secrets, betrayal, and pain. Emery was a character I wasn’t sure that I’d love at first. She’s painfully shy, timid, and blushes with a stiff wind. But there’s just something about her that you can’t help but click with. She’s a very complex character with so many layers that get peeled back with each new chapter.

The second she sets foot in the small town and locks eyes with Jack, they have an indescribable connection. She’s a young girl with plenty of secrets who struggles to make connections but with more years that she spends in the charming small town, the more that changes. She makes friends. She forms strong connection with the town and the people. But her connection with Jack only gets more and more complicated.

Jack is a tortured characters with some dark secrets in his past and some debilitating demons in his present. And while I liked him at first, that connection began to wane as the story progressed. While I understood (somewhat) the reasons for some of the decisions he made, I also hated them. I hated them so much that I had a hard time moving past them and struggled with how Emery could. Even though Emery does make him work for it in the end, some of these betrayals were almost too much for me. Their constant back and forth, I want her but I can’t have her also became too much. It wore me out. There’s just so much drama on top of drama happening here, that the relationship issues with these two became too much for me.

I feel conflicted because while I did have issues, I also enjoyed it. I loved Emery, and even though Jack wasn’t perfect, he did have his incredible moments too. His feelings for Emery were so deep and there was so much emotion packed into this. I just could have done without some of the decisions with women he made. Le sigh.

While it wasn’t my favorite in the series, it was still an enjoyable read. I do adore this series and look forward to more.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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