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:
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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: Cruel Paradise by J.T. Geissinger

CRUEL PARADISE
Series:
Beautifully Cruel #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: October 1, 2020

Anti-hero (noun):
1) A powerful and charismatic man lacking moral character
2) A magnificent bastard
3) Killian Black

You don’t know me.
You think you do, but you don’t.
The only thing you know is my name, and even that’s a lie.

I’m king of Boston, lord of criminals, ruler of an underworld empire. Or am I?

Only one thing’s for sure: I operate alone.

Until I cross paths with a brazen little thief who sets my whole kingdom on fire.

Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, two villains don’t belong together. Especially since she’s the daughter of my most deadly enemy.

Taking her would start a war.
Keeping her would be suicide.
Making her mine would break every code of honor and defy all common sense.

Then again, where’s the fun in following the rules?

AMAZON 

Start the series of standalones BEAUTIFULLY CRUEL with here!

AMAZON

I climb into the car. The driver shuts the door behind me. In a moment, we pull away.All heat and coiled tension, Liam simmers in the seat beside me.

After we’ve gone three blocks, he says, “How long are you going to make me wait until you look at me?”

“I’m working on regulating my breathing so I don’t pass out. Maybe ten minutes?”

His chuckle is low and sensual, raising my blood pressure by at least two hundred points.

“You’re tougher than that. I’ll give you ten seconds.”

When the seconds have ticked by, I turn my head and glance at him warily from the corner of my eye.

He stares at me with such blistering intensity that for a moment, I can’t breathe.

His voice husky, he says, “Hullo again.”

Holy mother of god, he’s handsome. How can someone so evil be so hot?

My exhalation comes out in a burst. It’s accompanied by a shudder. Then I clear my throat and pretend I’m a mentally functioning adult. “Hi.”

He lets his gaze drift over me, head to toe, taking in every aspect of my clothing, posture, and expression.

“You still don’t trust me.”

I make a sound that’s supposed to be a laugh, but it sounds more like a small animal being strangled. “Trust? I’m sorry, did you just say trust?”

“I did.”

He’s serious. I stare at him in astonishment. “Of course I don’t trust you! You’re…you!”

The driver pipes in from the front seat. “That’s hardly fair, lass. You’ve only just met.”

Through gritted teeth, Liam says, “Declan.”

“Right. Sorry.” Falling silent, he turns his attention back to the road.

Liam smiles reassuringly at me. “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

I look back and forth between them, gobsmacked by the whole situation. I could be hallucinating. Maybe that hipster bartender put something into my drink.

I’m still pondering that when Liam leans over and settles his huge, hot hand around my throat.

I grip his thick wrist in both hands, gasping and shrinking back into the seat.

Looking into my eyes, he murmurs, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

My voice comes out high and panicked. “This is a shitty way of proving that.”

“I’m not trying to choke you, lass.”

It’s true, the pressure of his hand on my throat is gentle, but still. “Then what the hell are you doing?”

He slides his thumb back and forth over the throbbing vein in my neck. “Feeling your pulse.”

Heart hammering, I stare at him. “Why?”

“Because I want to see how fast it gets when I kiss you.”

I freeze. “Don’t you dare.”

He quirks one dark brow. “Why not?”

“I don’t want you to.”

He leans closer, his eyes burning into mine, his body heat and the warm scent of his skin surrounding me. He growls, “If you were telling the truth, little thief, I’d honor that request.”

I blurt, “I’m not ready for that!”

Instantly, he stills. His dark gaze searches my face. Then, slowly, his full lips lift into a smile. “Then I suppose I’ll have to wait until you are.”

He stares hungrily at my mouth for a moment before releasing me.

I remain where he left me, frozen and wide-eyed, slumped against the door, staring at him and trying to convince myself of several important facts.

One, that I should be afraid. Because, two, that there’s at least a fifty-fifty chance he’s going to snap my neck. And three, that I really didn’t want him to kiss me.

Especially that I didn’t want him to kiss me. Because what would it say about my sanity if I did?

Adjusting his tie and looking straight forward, he says, “Don’t overthink it. But thank you for being honest. If this is going to work, we have to be honest with each other.”

My laugh is weak and disbelieving. “This? There is no ‘this!’”

He turns his head and sears me with his gaze. “Aye, lass,” he says, his voice thick. “There is.”

Do you always talk like you ate a dictionary for breakfast?” He puts his mouth close to my ear and lowers his voice. “No. Sometimes I talk like I fuck: dirty.”

You all don’t even understand the level of addiction that I have for Geissinger’s alpha males. The woman has created not only some of my most favorite and memorable heroes, but she can write a sharp witted and kickass heroine like no one else. I thought I died for her Wicked Games series, but that was nothing compared to her Beautifully Cruel series.

Now if you’re like me and have also read the Dangerous Beauty trilogy then you definitely remember Killian Black as one of the most dynamic secondary characters and have been slowly dying for him to get his own book. And if you haven’t read that trilogy, it’s an absolute must read.

Having said that, I do not recommend reading Cruel Paradise without having first read Beautifully Cruel. There are too many details and slight nuances that would be lost on you if you don’t read that first. And besides, that book was another HUGE 5 stars for me, so it’s worth the read for that alone.

There are some things I don’t know about you.”
I say tartly, “Like what? Which utensil I’d most like to gouge out your eyes with?”
He stares straight into my eyes. “Like how you sound when you come.”

Nothing can prepare you for the full force of Killian Black as the leading character. NOTHING. The man is potent with a capital P. And if you’re not reading the double entendre there, then you clearly don’t know me *evil grin*. But enough about me, let’s talk about this book. Because this book? This book was EVERYTHING. It was worth every agonizing minute, hour, and month of waiting because Killian Black is jumping straight to my number one.

If you’re a fan of sassy and sharp witted heroines, Juliette is going to be a favorite too. The woman is tough as nails and is full of sharp barbs and witty zingers. The banter between these two was some of the best I’ve read in a while. Killian is single focused on having her and she’s intent on resisting. The chemistry is utterly incendiary.

Cruel Paradise was a slow burn full of heat, suspense, and so much chemistry I thought my kindle would set on fire.

If it meant I could have you for good, I’d light my whole life on fire and walk away from the ashes.”

Killian is the head of the Irish mafia, but he’s not at all what he seems. And if you’ve read the first book, then you already know that. You know this man has secrets that run deep and a past that’s riddled in pain and shadows. Juliette is a bit of a female robin hood. She and her merry band of sassy girlfriends steel from the rich and morally corrupt and give to the poor. But when they steel from Killian, he’s not about to let it go. And when he sees who his little thief is, he knows he has to have her and pursues her with a singleminded intent to wear her down.

This book was completely unputdownable. The chemistry, the utter dominance that oozes from Killian was addictive as all get out. I couldn’t get enough of the man. Juliette definitely puts up a fight in her feelings and at times it almost grated on me, but I simply couldn’t care less because I was so riveted and invested in their story. I lived for these characters. I died for their romance. I couldn’t get enough of it. And I swear on all things holy if JT Geissinger doesn’t prolong this series by giving Fin, Max, and Diego a book, I will die. DIE I tell you. And I don’t even care if I’m being dramatic. I need it.

And as for this book? Cruel Paradise is a must read if you love a protective and possessive uber alpha and a sassy heroine that loves to give him hell! Read it. Thank me later.

J.T. Geissinger is a #1 internationally bestselling author of emotionally charged romance and women’s fiction. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into several languages, including German, Hebrew, French, Czech, and Japanese. The film & TV rights to her Night Prowler series have been optioned by the BAFTA-winning studio that created VFX for movies such as Avatar, X-Men, and The Avengers.

She is a three-time finalist in both contemporary and paranormal romance for the RITA® Award, the highest distinction in romance fiction from the Romance Writers of America®. She is also a recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book and the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy.

She’s a Southern California native currently living in Nevada with her husband and rescue kitty, Zoe.

Connect with J.T. Geissinger

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Review: No Love Lost by Lexi Blake

NO LOVE LOST
Series:
Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten #5)
Genre: Romantic Suspense, BDSM
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: September 29, 2020

When Ezra Fain joined the ranks of the CIA, the last thing on his mind was romance. After meeting Kim Soloman, it was difficult to think of anything else. A tragic mistake drove them apart, leaving him shattered and unable to forgive the woman he loved. But when his greatest enemy threatens her life, Ezra leaps into action, prepared to do anything to try to save her.

Solo accepted long ago that she won’t get over Ezra. She’s worked for years to get back into his life, looking for any way to reignite the love they once shared. Unfortunately, nothing seems to penetrate the wall he has built between them. When she’s arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, she believes she’s on her own.

Racing across the globe, Ezra and Solo find themselves together again, caught in the crosshairs of the agency they sacrificed so much to serve. Days on the run soon turn to steamy nights, but Levi Green isn’t about to let them find their happily ever after. And when the smoke clears, the men and women of McKay-Taggart will never be the same again.

 AMAZON 

He would win her back. He wouldn’t stop until she said yes to him again.

I have spent years, YEARS waiting for this book. YEARS. Y’all don’t even realize the amount of want I had for this. When you crave a book this bad, when you’re so desperate for a particular character’s story and HEA, let me tell you something, you set your expectations high. You can’t help it. Beck and Solo have spent years being some of the most memorable secondary characters in previous books. I’ve been dying for their HEA and my hopes were high. I was almost terrified going into this book for fear that I may have set them too high. And then Lexi Blake comes in and blows all of expectations right out of the water. Because this book didn’t just meet them, it far exceeded anything I could have ever hoped for.

Fuck you, Beck.”
“Yeah, I’d intended for this to end that way, but if you need to rage a little more, go on. I assure you I can take it.”

This is a love story years in the making. A romance that started out fiery hot between two agents and then burned out even hotter when lies and espionage came between them. It’s been years, and the rage that’s there still burns for Beck. He may not be over Solo, but he’s not ready to forgive her either. He blames her for the death of his brother and he doesn’t mince his words or spare her his hatred when they’re in each other’s vicinity.

Let me tell you I almost wanted to hate Beck. His treatment of Solo is almost callous at times. The amount of anger and resentment he carries towards her is almost painful to read. And the way she takes all his verbal punches on the chin and doesn’t flinch made me love her even more. Solo is one tough cookie. Lexi wrote some of the most kickass heroines I’ve read, but Solo is in a class of her own. She may have her hard and tough exterior, but she cares and she cares deeply for those she considers friends.

There’s so much that happened in this book. So many secrets and twists that sent my head spinning. It was a non-stop action packed ride full of depth and emotion. I spent so long waiting for Beck to finally see the error of his ways but I wasn’t prepared for just how hard he’d feel it. The second chance feels of this story were on a whole other level. I lived for these two.

After so many years with the Masters and Mercenaries series and this spinoff, I feel like I know these characters. I crave each little glimpse of them as the years pass. But no one is quite as potent as Ian Black and his kids. The hell raisers that his daughters have come to be is the most deliciously hilarious thing to read. I loved them!

To say I loved this book would be an understatement. I devoured it. I lived for it. I couldn’t get enough of this story. There’s so many revelations that by the time I picked my jaw off of the floor, another would come out of left field and whack me over the head. It was so good! I think the last time I was anticipating a book this bad, it was Ian’s. But this one far exceeded any expectations. Beck and Solo were everything. One of my favorites in the series. Bar none.

#DGRFave & Review: God of Monsters by Keri Lake

GOD OF MONSTERS
Genre: Dark Apocalyptic Romance
Series: Juniper Unraveling #4
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: September 22, 2020

I’ve heard stories about the Alphas. Violent soldiers, bred to kill both humans and mutations, whose sole purpose was to balance our survival against the infected.

Until they turned on their masters.

Held as subjects of the Calico research facility, they were forced to endure the gruesome experiments that transformed them into callous savages with hearts as impenetrable as their defenses. More terrifying than the monsters that decimated our world with disease and famine.

In the aftermath of Calico’s collapse, many of the Alphas fled, only to be hunted by our own

Legion army. And in their absence, the balance has shifted.

I thought they no longer existed.

Until I met him, the god of monsters.

Now I don’t believe in the stories anymore.

To fall in love with the unyielding heart of an Alpha is said to be impossible.

But to fall in love with a god would be a tragedy.

 AMAZON 


…In the land of monsters, survival comes before everything else.”

What was the last book you read that kept you up all night, turned you inside out, and stuck with you for months to come? I can say this about the ENTIRE Juniper Unraveling series. But God Of Monsters absolutely owned me. A dark, captivating and gut wrenching romance in the midst of hell on earth, this book ripped me to shreds and I’ll never be the same again.

This is a dark apocalyptic romance and if you haven’t read this genre yet, Keri will suck you into this world and keep you on the edge of your seat. Even if apocalyptic isn’t your cuppa, trust me, this series will make a believer out of you.

As for this book? The epic conclusion to one of the most epic series was a non stop, action packed ride. I can’t imagine the series closing with a better book. Thalia and Titus’s story was on a whole other level. It was simply otherworldly. Ha! See what I did there? But I digress.

If you’ve read Kings of Carrion, then you’ll remember Titus. But nothing, and I mean nothing will prepare you for the full force that is Titus as the main character. This man was GAH. He was TORTURED with a capital T. Titus has survived the very depths of human depravity and has seen horrors that most can’t even imagine. He’s lost more than any person could imagine in their lifetimes. He’s a warrior through and through, but this story takes you into the dark depths of his world, and an easy read it is not.

Thalia is a woman that hasn’t truly experienced Calico. She’s only heard stories and warning tales of the Alphas that were created within those walls. She was born with a purpose but her heart doesn’t agree. She yearns for something else, something beyond the life of her small and sheltered village. Something beyond her duty. But nothing could prepare her for what she is about to go through.

Now I will tell you, this book was dark. I mean it was DARK. If there’s one thing that Keri Lake knows how to do, is make her readers squirm. I’m talking, dread in the pit of your stomach, anxiety ridden hot mess of a reader who is just waiting for that other shoe to drop. Keri is not afraid to bring readers into the darkest pits and spare no detail. And she doesn’t. You experience it all; the despair, the violence, the devastation. The story takes you to hell and back and somehow manages to stitch you back together in the end. I sobbed my way through the last 20% of this book and I can’t stop thinking about it months after.

This is a story about survival and love amongst ruins. It’s a story of perseverance and strength. It’s emotional, captivating, and utterly mesmerizing. Easily my favorite series from this author to date. If you read any book this year, make it this one. Trust me. And if you haven’t read this series yet, do yourself a favor and experience it. Because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever read.

#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: Unholy Union by Natasha Knight

Unholy Union
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia
Series: Unholy Union Duet #1
Author: Natasha Knight
Release Date: August 25,2020

Circumstance put Cristina on my path.

Fate bound her to me.

Cristina and I share a common past.

A single night that changed the course of our lives.

She asked me if I was a monster the night I met her.

I am.

She’s about to learn I’m her monster.

Because the countdown that began eight years ago has ended. Her time is up.

On the stroke of midnight, she’s mine.

Unholy Union contains the prologue Unholy: The Beginning

 AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS

COMING SOON

#2 Unholy Intent – Releasing September 15

AMAZON | NOOK | KOBO | iBOOKS

When you run, I will come after you. I will always come after you. You belong to me now, Cristina. For better or for worse.”

Oh.
My.
GOD.

I need the next book immediately!!!! My ovaries shall not survive it! I’m a sucker for a good anti-hero, and no one writes them quite like Natasha Knight. As a matter of fact, Damian Di Santo may be my favorite antihero I’ve read from her to date! This man was SHIVER inducing.

The pacing of this story was PERFECTION. It gives just enough chemistry to make the progression believable all the while maintaining the dangerous and dark notes of Damian and Christina’s relationship.

Christina is only a child when she first gets in Damian’s crosshairs. A bloody revenge, secrets and promises bring them back together years later on her eighteenth birthday. I loved that even thought Christina is so young and has the naiveté to go with it, she’s not a pushover. She’s a fighter. She’s not reckless but she’s also not a doormat. She’s an incredible balance of fierce and vulnerable. As for Damian? GAH. This man. I loved him. He’s lethal, cunning, and oozes danger and sexuality. Christina can’t accept that she was promised to Damian in a deal that cost her family everything. She’ll fight him with everything she is. But there’s so much more at play here. There’s dark secrets and dangerous plot twists lurking at every turn and I was so here for it.

I DEVOURED this book, y’all. Couldn’t stop reading for even a second. It was everything I love in a dark romance and I’m absolutely desperate for the conclusion!

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are almost always guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that.

 

Connect with Natasha:

Website: http://natasha-knight.com

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#DGRFave & Review: Exodus by Kate Stewart

EXODUS
Genre: Contemporary Romance (maybe. I don’t even know. My brain hurts, OK?!)
Series: Ravenhood Duet #2
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: July 28, 2020

Can you live a lie?

It’s a ghost town, this place that haunts me, the one that made me.

It’s clear to me that I’ll never outgrow Triple Falls or outlive the time I spent here.

I can still feel them all, my boys of summer.

Even when I’d sensed the danger, I gave in.

I didn’t heed a single warning. I let my sickness, my love, both rule and ruin me. I played my part, eyes wide open, tempting fate until it delivered.

There was never going to be an escape.

All of us are to blame for what happened. All of us serving our own sentences. We were careless and reckless, thinking our youth made us indestructible, exempt from our sins, and it cost us all.

I’m done pretending I didn’t leave the largest part of me between these hills and valleys, between the sea of trees that hold my secrets.

It’s the reason I’m back. To make peace with my fate.

And if I can’t grieve enough to cure myself in my time here, I’ll remain sick. That will be my curse.

But it’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chances because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.

At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.

Because I can no longer live a lie.

 AMAZON

Once upon a time, I was a lonely girl who met a lonely king, and we both suffered from too much pride and oh, how the reckless have fallen.

Do you see that crazy person staring blankly at the wall while clutching a bottle of wine and babbling to herself? Great. Now mind your business because she is NOT OK. She is me. OK? Alright? I am not ok. How do you even go on after this duet? How do you read anything else after it? How do you gather the remnants of sanity long enough to write a coherent review? You don’t! So don’t be expecting anything like that here, because you won’t get it. What you will get is incoherent babbling in bouts of full body sobbing and maniacal laughter. In that exact order. I said mind your business! I feel like I’ve just been hit by a mac truck of feels.

How do I even describe this duet to you? Soul shattering. All encompassing. Heart wrenching. Erotic. Utterly unforgettable. PHENOMENAL.

He didn’t want to feel anything, and instead, he felt everything. We’ve just ruined ourselves with our hate for the other.

Full disclosure, I must have spent a good 60% of this book hysterically sobbing. Like to the point of full body shakes when my husband finally looked at me like I’ve gone and lost it completely. And you know what? He was not wrong. God damn but Stewart can write. The woman can wring emotion out of her readers like nobody’s business but she seriously hit it out of the ballpark with this story.

Let’s talk about Cecelia for a second, because as many may judge her, I loved her. It’s not often you read about such a sex positive heroine that owns her desire and what she wants and I loved her for it. She’s a fighter and she’s magnificent in her fight. This is a woman that doesn’t take things lying down and isn’t afraid to rage and fight for what she wants.

Now as for the rest of it, you’ll get nothing. Absolutely nothing from me. Because this is just one of those books that you need to experience totally blind. I thought I was a pretty open minded reader, but this story took me so far out of my comfort zone, I was lost at sea. Drifting in an ocean of emotion so potent, I could practically taste it. But that’s also what I loved about this story. The fact that it was unlike anything else I’d ever read. It was one of those books that I will never forget. Ever. And this is coming from someone that barely remembers what she had for breakfast. Puny memory here, people.

Do yourself a favor and go in blind. Don’t seek out spoilers. Don’t read in depth reviews. Just trust me on this.

Is it an easy read? Not even a little. But what I appreciate about Kate Stewart’s raw talent is nothing was for shock value. There’s hints throughout the very first pages of what’s to come and the story unravels like the most enrapturing mystery. It was gritty and all encompassing. This book owned me. Cold black heart and soul. It will be a book I’ll be singing the praises of for years to come. It will be the book I recommend to anyone and everyone. It will be a book I will never, ever forget. It’s one of my top reads of the year. Magical. All encompassing. Unique. A one of a kind experience that broke me and put me back together again. INCREDIBLE.

#DGRFave & Review: When The Time Is Right by M. Mabie & Aly Martinez

WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: M. Mabie & Aly Martinez
Release Date: July 30, 2020

Fate doesn’t always happen overnight.

Hudson Bradley is the cockiest, most stubborn, hard-headed man I’ve ever known. And for fifteen years, he’s been my brother’s best friend.

But lately, what I’m feeling for him isn’t friendship at all.

Why is my heart racing every time his blue eyes lock on mine?
Why does every word he rumbles in my ear make my body come alive?
And worst of all, why did I bet him that I could find a woman he and his son would both love?

If I hadn’t given up on love altogether, Hudson would have been perfect for me. After all, he was there the day my world fell apart. He’s spent the last six years piecing me back together.

There are a million reasons why we could never work, but after a single kiss, I can’t remember any of them.

Now that the time is right, I have to make him mine—before I lose him forever.

 AMAZON

He was Hudson. My brother’s best friend. My reluctant partner in crime—or at least the man there to bail me out when I was partnering in crime alone. He was…a really fucking good guy. Not to mention stupid hot and all that masculine energy I craved.

Excuse me? Can I have your undivided attention please? I have a big announcement to make.
*clears throat*
This was easily my favorite friends to lovers romance I have EVER read.
*pauses for dramatic effect*

I KNOW. Big statement, right? But let me just tell you. This book? It was absolute perfection. It was everything. All of the things. It was swoony and emotional. It was hilarious. It was full of the best banter and so many laugh out loud moments that my face still hurts from grinning like a loon the entire time I was reading. I don’t even have the words to describe to you all of the ways I loved this book. But I’m going to attempt to here. Because it deserves all of the words.

Hudson has been the rock for Alexis as long as she’s known him. He’s the stable, reliable, and always there for everyone kind of man. He’s her brother’s best friend, but he’s been her friend as well. He was there for her through the worst and helped piece her together in the after effects.

His best friend’s family has been the only family Hudson has truly ever known. He loves them like they’re his own. Hudson is a single father and an amazing daddy. He’s also not exactly winning it in the dating department. Hard to date when you’re a workaholic single father after all. But then he makes a bet with Alexis on who can set the other up on the best blind date…and things take a very interesting turn.

Now lets talk about the friends to lovers trope for a hot second here, shall we? Because the pacing from friends to the realization that there’s something more was pure perfection. I adore the way the authors handled the timing of everything. It just felt so genuine and authentic. It sort of snuck up on both Lex and Hud and hit them over the head but it didn’t come as a shock. I don’t know how to explain it to you without you experiencing it, but let’s just say that it was SO GOOD.

These two together was everything. I couldn’t get enough of their banter and their easy camaraderie. They love each other so much but they don’t see what everyone around them have seen for years, which is how perfect they are for each other.

I loved Lex’s fiery sass. The woman had attitude and zingers for days and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a spitfire but she’s also a fierce friend and I loved the way she loved Hudson. As for Hudson, I can’t even begin to describe all of his perfection. This single daddy with a heart of gold was just GAH. He was everyone’s rock. He’s there for his family and his friends when they need him and he’ll do anything for those he loves. His son was the most adorable secondary character every and the way Hud and Lex were with him just melted my heart.

There was no crazy drama but there were plenty of feels. It was just one of those utterly perfect feel good romances that just suck you right into its world and wrap you up in it like the coziest blankets. It was magical. It was swoony perfection. It put a smile on my face and kept it there until the very last page. I loved the hell out of this book. I didn’t want it to end. And if you’re a fan of friends to lovers, you simply need this book in your life. It was EVERYTHING. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. And I simply cannot recommend it enough.

#DGRFave: Flock by Kate Stewart

FLOCK
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Ravenhood Duet #1
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: July 28, 2020

𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐚 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭?

I grew up sick.

Let me clarify.

I grew up believing that real love stories include a martyr or demand great sacrifice to be worthy.

Because of that, I believed it, because I made myself believe it, and I bred the most masochistic of romantic hearts, which resulted in my illness.

When I lived this story, my own twisted fairy tale, it was unbeknownst to me at the time because I was young and naïve. I gave into temptation and fed the beating beast, which grew thirstier with every slash, every strike, every blow.

Triple Falls wasn’t at all what it seemed, nor were the men that swept me under their wing. But in order to keep them, I had to be in on their secrets.

Secrets that cost us everything to keep.

That’s the novelty of fiction versus reality. You can’t re-live your own love story, because by the time you’ve realized you’re living it, it’s over. At least that was the case for me and the men I trusted my foolish heart to.

Looking back, I’m convinced I willed my story into existence due to my illness.

𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘥.

 AMAZON

My greatest hope is to be in all-consuming love. My biggest fear is to be in all-consuming love.

Shut. The. Front. Door. TWICE.

I am totally and completely ruined. Dead. DEAD I tells ya. How do I even go on living after this book? HOW? I’ve been sitting in my room, staring blankly at the wall for the past 3 hours, just trying to figure out how to go on with my life. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply impossible. Until I have book two in my hands, the only existence is my currently over caffeinated and slightly manic state of OHMYGODWHATDIDIJUSTREAD!!!!

The only love I’ve ever known or craved is the kind that keeps me sick, sick with longing, sick with lust, sick with need, sick with grief. The distorted kind that leaves scars and jaded hearts.

I don’t know about you, but my love affair with Kate Stewart actually began with her books under her pen name. All I remember is cracking open Excess and falling head over ovaries for this woman’s words. Since then, I’ve been greedily devouring each of her releases without even bothering to read the blurb. This one being no exception. And if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, is that you do the same thing. Go in absolutely blind. Trust me on this and thank me later.

But back to my point and where I was going with this. When I learned that Angelica Chase was none other than Kate Stewart, it was like two worlds colliding for me. Angelica wrote twisty and erotic romances and Kate Stewart wrote unforgettable stories. So where am I going with this? Well, Flock happened to be the most amazing culmination of Kate and Angelica that I couldn’t even imagine in my dreams.

This book was….how do I even describe this to you. First of all, that blurb is vague AF. And as much as I want to give you more, I won’t. because this isn’t a story you read. It’s one you experience. And it’s one you need to experience to its full potency. It was a twisty and erotic masterpiece that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. It’s a thrill ride of emotion and frustration as you grasp at straws to try to make sense of it all, only to fall victim to the author’s evil genius mind and realize you no longer know up from down and left from right.

All I know is I binged. BINGED y’all. I stayed up all night reading and while I can barely function this morning, I’m not even a little sorry because it was all worth it. Well. Maybe not my manic screaming when I got to the end and woke up my husband who preceded to look at me like I just lost my ever loving mind at 4 am. And you know what? He’s not wrong. Because I definitely did. And I won’t be sane until I get my answers in book two. And while it’s only a few days away, the wait for Exodus is the worst sort of torture.

So let me end my “review” (if you can even call it that) with this: if this book is not on your radar (you’ve been living under a rock), it NEEDS to be. If you’re not sure about reading it, dive in! If you read ANY book this year, make it this one. If you want a unique, captivating, and utterly unforgettable read, GET. THIS. BOOK.

That is all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner somewhere (preferably with booze) in my wait for Exodus. And in case you’re wondering, no, I am most definitely NOT OKAY.

Review: Quarter Miles by Devney Perry

QUARTER MILES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Runaway #3
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: July 21, 2020

Katherine Gates has been in love with Cash Greer since the moment he saved her life from a runaway goat. According to Cash, she’s the little sister he never had, the greatest roommate in the world and his favorite coworker. They’re friends—best friends.

In the dark days of her youth, it was her friendships that kept her alive and made life in a junkyard worth living. So she’s learned to shove her feelings for Cash down deep, even if that means ignoring eyes that shine brighter than the Montana summer sun and the smile that illuminates the snowiest winter day.

Except with every passing year, the denial takes its toll on her wounded heart until one day Katherine decides to take an impulsive road trip to the Oregon coast. Alone. That is, until Cash cons his way into the passenger seat.

The farther they travel, the harder it is to pretend. And when she confesses her feelings, she learns that Cash has some secrets of his own. Secrets that will either bond them together.

Or rip them apart.

 AMAZON

Why was letting him go so hard? Why couldn’t he love me back?

I am so in love with this series, and I am beyond head over heels for this book!

If you love a swoony and emotional friends to lovers romance with a splash of unrequited love vibes, then prepare for the book hangover to beat all book hangovers. I’m not typically a reader that gravitates towards friends to lovers romance. I much prefer the angsty vibes of a good enemies to lovers trope. But this romance made a converter out of me. I don’t even have the words to describe to you all of the ways I adored everything about this story.

First of all, if you haven’t started this series, you, my friend, are seriously missing out. The series focuses on a group of friends that were teenage runaways and are now finding themselves through their own journeys in a car that solidified in their past. As they pass this car from one friend to another, another journey takes place. This time, it’s Katherine’s turn, and she’s desperate for an escape the crushing feeling of the man she’s in love with see her as nothing more than his best friend. Katherine hasn’t looked back since she got to the small town and built a new life for herself. The Greer’s have become a family that she’s always wanted. She has a successful career and everything to be happy for. Except the minor detail of being in love with the youngest Greer brother and knowing that he’ll never see her as more than his best friend. Desperate for an escape, she plans to take the cadillac on a trip to hopefully move past the crushing feeling of seeing him with someone else. But then Cash insists on going with her…

My god. Y’all. I can’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster of emotion this book took me on. There’s so much feeling that’s packed into this incredible story. Watching Cash come to realize his feelings. Watching them discover each other in a way that’s so much deeper than anything they know when Katherine begins to open up to Cash about her past. Watching them push and pull from each other as they fight their feelings afraid to lose the other and the years of friendship that’s bonded them. ALL OF IT. Absolutely indescribable in it’s potency. I was glued to the pages. I couldn’t get enough of it. Usually, insecurities like what Katherine harbored with Cash would drive me crazy. But with all of the emotion and character development that went into this, it was impossible to feel anything other than infatuated. I loved with them and I hurt with them and I rooted for them every page along the way.

This story was everything. Mesmerizing. Enchanting. Emotional. Utterly unforgettable.

An absolute must read for all the Devney Perry fans. And if you haven’t read her yet, this book will hook you. Though, I totally recommend reading the series in order. I’ve loved every book in this series so far, but I swear, they only get better with each new book. And the set up for the next one? I’m gagging for it. Absolutely desperate. NEED.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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