#DGRFave Review: Josh + Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by @ChristinaLauren

JOSH + HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: September 4, 2018

From New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren comes a new romantic comedy about two friends who are definitely, for sure, in no way dating…maybe 

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

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Sometimes your lack of filter kills me,” he says. “It’s not even like you lack a filter; you lack a funnel.”

Oh my gosh! I loved this book! If you’re looking for a fun, quirky, put-a-smile-on-your-face-and-keep-it-there rom-com, this book is it! I was immediately hooked from the first page and stayed glued to my kindle until the end. It was the most fun I’ve had reading in a while! Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was a refreshingly different take on friends to lovers and I loved every adorably quirky page!

It’s cool.” I wave an extremely casual hand. “Josh has already seen my boobs.”
The party stops. Air stills.
“I mean, not because he wanted to see them.” My brain desperately tries to fix this. “They were forced on him.”
A wind chime rings mournfully in the distance.
Birds stop flying midair and fall to their deaths.

Josh and Hazel first met in college when she threw up on his shoes at a party and proceeded to have a few more fun run ins when he was her TA. A particular favorite of mine was the email she sent him while hopped up on pain killers after having her wisdom teeth removed. Suffice it to say Hazel is the sort of woman that makes a lasting impression. She’s adorably different with her borderline manic personality, and I loved how comfortable she is in her own skin. This is a woman that knows she’s different, and she makes no apologies for it. She is who she is, and she accepts that about herself. She knows that she can be a lot to take and she won’t settle for anyone that will make her feel like she should be embarrassed about herself. I absolutely LOVED that about her.

Sorry. I’m being too Hazel-y.”
I watch her wash the dishes and manage to clean up the kitchen quite capably while I pick at my breakfast. She isn’t pouting, and it doesn’t seem like I’ve hurt her feelings—she honestly just seems to have heard something in my tone that I didn’t intend.
“What does that mean,” I ask, “ ‘being too Hazel-y’?”
Turning with a dish towel in her hand, she shrugs. “I tend to be too chatty, too silly, too exuberant, too random, too eager.” She spreads her hands. “Too Hazel-y.”

Hazel was simply adorable with her brood of equally quirky pets. There’s Winnie the poodle, Vodka the parrot, Janice Hoplin the rabbit, and the fish Daniel Craig. I mean, seriously! This is rom-com magic right here. But I digress. Hazel knows what her faults are, and she knows that she’s doomed to short lived relationships because of it. Men seem to think that her over the top personality is cute at first, but then they expect her to settle into being a ‘normal’ girlfriend. And when she doesn’t, things end.

Josh Im is Hazel’s best friend’s brother. And as fate would have it, they stumble back into each other’s life years after college. Hazel takes one look at Josh’s calm manner and unassuming personality, and immediately decides they’re going to be best friends. She makes no secret of the fact that she had a huge crush on him in college, but she knows that they’re simply not suited for each other. And when Josh’s current relationship comes to a crashing end, they make a bid on setting each other up on blind dates until each of them find ‘the one’. What ensues can only be described as one hysterically bad date after another. I was eagerly turning the pages just to read the next laugh out loud disaster of a date they’d inadvertently line up for each other next. And as the dates continue, Josh and Hazel’s unlikely friendship blossoms.

I can’t believe I’m encouraging this conversation, but you were telling me about your gynecologist snubbing you and I’m actually curious to hear how it turned out.”
“So I stopped in the middle of the gymnasium and smiled at him—not my courtesy smile, but my real one—and he just walked by.”
“Maybe he didn’t see you.”
“He definitely saw me—and don’t get me wrong, I run into guys all the time who’ve seen my vagina and pretend not to know who I am. Things don’t work out and that’s fine. But I paid this guy.”

I adored Josh. Where Hazel was a refreshingly different heroine, Josh was definitely a refreshingly different hero. He’s a serial monogamist that doesn’t sleep around. He’s sweet, serious, and in any other book he could have been entirely forgettable. But Christina Lauren made him one of the most lovable and memorable characters here; with Hazel being the perfect kooky balance.

Your turn.”
“Me?” I honestly have no idea how many guys I’ve been with, so I pull a lowball number out of the air. “Maybe twenty.”
His eyes go wide and he coughs as he swallows. “Twenty?”
“Actually probably more? Let’s say thirty.”
Josh shakes his head and laughs. “Wow, okay.”
This response is not an improvement.
“Don’t do that.” I point a finger at him. “Don’t act like I’ve crossed some magical threshold of appropriate numbers for a woman. If I was a dude and said that, you’d reply, ‘In high school, right?’ and then high-five me and call me brah.”

This was easily my favorite rom-com I’ve read all year. It was absolute perfection that kept a goofy smile on my face the entire time! I couldn’t get enough! I adored everything about this book and the characters. If you’re looking for your next read, look no further. Because this book is simply not to be missed!

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They are New York Times, USA Today, and #1 international bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Sublime, The House, Dating You/Hating You and the critically acclaimed Autoboyography. Roomies (released December 2017), has been optioned for film by Jenna Dewan’s company Everheart Productions, with Christina and Lauren set to write the screenplay.  

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Geri’s Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC TRIUMPHS
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: August 28, 2018

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

AMAZON

Goodbyes are hard, and it’s even harder when you’re saying goodbye to a series that you’ve lived and breathed for the last year or so. I never expected how much this series would come to mean to me when I started reading Magic Bites last year. After 9 books, several novellas and one spin-off later, we finally get the final book in Ilona Andrews’ wildly successful Kate Daniels series, and they delivered!

“You and me, Kate. We’re forever.”

Magic Triumphs delivered an ending I will not soon forget. Ilona Andrews had painstakingly laid the foundations of this finale over the course of 10 books and several novellas.Everything that happened in this book was foreshadowed in previous books and delivered in a way that only Ilona Andrews can. I finished this book satisfied and yet oddly, craving for more.

Kate has come a long way from a prickly mercenary who had no friends to a being a loving wife to Curran and now mother to Conlan. But Kate and Curran are on borrowed time. Roland has been relatively quiet after the events in Magic Binds but the specter of his presence has never left Kate or Curran. As long as he is alive he continues threaten the lives of those that Kate loves. This time, there’s even more at stake because Kate and Curran just had a baby, and we all know how Roland likes shiny new things, and Conlan is that shiny new thing that Roland wanted. Honestly, I couldn’t really blame Roland for wanting Conlan because this kid is seriously one of the best addition to this series.

But Roland isn’t the only power threatening Atlanta. An old nemesis is back to settle an old family score. And when I say old, I mean, really, really OLD. I got to say that out of all of Kate’s enemies, this enemy is probably the most powerful. Kate had battled a lot of super powerful beings, including Roland, but this enemy is on another realm in terms of power and the depth of its cruelty. This is the first time where I felt like Kate can’t win, not without Roland’s help. I was so anxious while I was reading it for the first time that after I was done, I couldn’t think straight. I had to reread the entire series and then reread Magic Triumphs again just to give myself time to take it all in because I felt like I missed a lot of things. Boy, was I glad I did that because everything made even more sense.

As I mentioned, everything that happened in this book has been set up in the earlier books. I was lucky enough to be able to re-read the whole series including some of the novellas before I read this book, and it really hammered home the level of dedications the Andrews have to building this world. The level of foreshadowing and call backs they employed throughout the series was nothing short of amazing. So a word of caution. If you’ve missed a book in the series, you better hurry before this one comes out because Magic Triumphs is the third act in the Kate and Roland saga, it wouldn’t make much sense if you haven’t read the rest of the series. This is the culmination of everything so it would be a mistake to read this book without reading the first nine books that came before it, including Iron and Magic.

I’m not going to go into plot details because I think you guys should experience that first-hand, but let me just say that this book packs a wallop. But because Kate’s world is so large now, it’s understandable that some characters get lost in the shuffle or don’t get as much page time as others. Rest assured that the major players are there front and center though. Some notable characters for me aside from Kate, Curran and Conlan are Dessandra and Adora. Man, I really want a Dessandra book now. It’d be hilarious and full of inappropriate things. Adora really surprised me here. I ended up really enjoying her character even more.

And to answer the question on everyone’s mind right now: are there any deaths? Yes, there are notable deaths. And yes, I said “are” so multiple characters are going to die. There’s one death that was kind of disappointing only because we didn’t get to see it but other than that, I have no complaints.

Reading Magic Triumphs was such a rewarding experience from start to finish. The amount of time I’ve invested in this series was so worth it. As much I would love to continue reading about Kate, I’m glad Ilona Andrews decided to end this part of her journey because while I would miss the feeling of looking forward to a new KD each year, Kate deserves her rest and her HEA.

“I promise you this morning wouldn’t be the last time,” he told me. “I keep my promises.

#DGRFave Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

THE GOVERNESS GAME
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 28, 2018

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart… without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling… and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you’re remarkable and bold and interesting.”

ALL OF THE STARS!!!
All.
Of.
Them.

I absolutely LOVED The Duchess Deal, but I was so unprepared for just how phenomenal this book would be. I kept thinking nothing can top the first book for me, but this one managed to blow it right out of the water! The banter, the romance, the characters, I adored absolutely everything about it. This just may be my favorite Tessa Dare book now. I loved it so hard!

Let me start with Chase.

When it came to relationships, sensual or otherwise, Chase had one rule. No attachments.

For an irreverent rake, he was one of the most endearing heroes I’ve ever read. There was this boyish charm to him beneath the sexy exterior that I simply couldn’t get enough of. He was funny and all the while having this broken part to him that you can’t help but want to heal.

I’ll have you know,” Chase said indignantly, “I have been hard at work during your absence. Witness the renovation in progress around you. I built that bar myself, thank you very much. It only needs a few coats of lacquer. And if that’s not sufficient for you—in the past week alone I’ve gone through a decade of bank ledgers, given seven orgasms, and interviewed five governesses. And no, none of the governesses were recipients of the orgasms, although a few of them looked as though they could use one.”

When Chase inherits two quirky young girls who lost their parents, he can barely keep up with their antics. In a desperate search for a governess, he meets Alex, who goes to his home in search of a job. Alex immediately falls in love with the two girls, and they’re incredibly difficult not to love. I fell for them and their crazy antics right away. Their quirky personalities simply jump off of the pages at you.

When Alex takes the job as a governess, the slow brewing chemistry between her and Chase begins to build. And let me just tell you how incredibly delicious that chemistry was! Between their banter and sexual tension, I was riveted to my kindle and unable to tear myself away from the book.

What position?”
“Any position that requires insertion of my . . .” He waved vaguely toward his loins. “. . . male member.”
“Male member. Are we discussing a Masonic society, or are you referring to the penis?” He stared at her. “We are adults. If you’re going to discuss such matters, you may as well use the proper words. I would never have supposed you to be prudish.”
“I’m not prudish. I’m protecting your delicate feminine sensibilities.”
“I never acquired many of those. And considering that it was pressed up against me the other day, I should think we’ve moved beyond euphemisms. So go on, then. We were discussing your penis.”

I adored these two characters. I couldn’t get enough of them. Alex and her sweet disposition but with a spine of steel was a phenomenal heroine. I loved that she was shy but not a pushover. I loved the way she blossomed throughout the story.

Has he touched you?”
Oh, had he ever. But what happened between them wasn’t any of Ash’s concern. “Not in any uninvited manner.”
“Are you certain?”
“Absolutely certain.”
“Now, now.” Chase shifted forward in his chair. “Be honest, Miss Mountbatten.”
“I am being honest. Mr. Reynaud has not subjected me to any unwanted attentions, nor taken advantage of me in any way.” Ash looked suspicious, but he didn’t belabor the question.
“Regardless. His sexual escapades are merely the tip of the iceberg.”
“Oh, I haven’t even acquainted her with the tip,” Chase said merrily. “Not properly.”

I think I must have highlighted over 3/4 of the book. I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to highlight all of the banter. This book had a ridiculous smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

The romance was incredible! What starts as a bit of unrequited love with Alex’s crush on the mysterious stranger she once bumped into at a book store, soon turns into one of the most sizzling romances. The Governess Game was one of my favorite historical romances of the year! It was everything! Just everything! Funny, swoony, and full of banter that’s sure to put a smile on your face. I loved every single page of it and cannot recommend it enough!

#DGRFave & Review: The Truth About Lies by Aly Martinez

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES
Series: The Truth Duet #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Aly Martinez
Release Date: August 23, 2018

Truth: From over a thousand miles away, I watched on the screen of my phone as two men murdered my wife.

And I was helpless to save her.

Consumed by hate and rage, I spent four years running from my memories.

Until a shattered woman gave me a reason to stop.

Cora lived in a nightmare, but through sheer force of will, she’d turned it into something beautiful.

She had a smile that could pierce the darkest soul.

And with one glance, she shredded mine.

Lie: I was only there for a fresh start.

Lie: I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Lie: There was nothing I could do to save her, either.

But that’s the thing about lies—you never know who to believe.

AMAZON

One in. One out.

This book! OH GOD! THIS. BOOK. I knew from the very first chapter, that this will be unlike any other book that I’ve read from this author. And having had read her entire backlist, that’s saying something. The Truth About Lies is not a sweet story. It’s not a light and sunny romance. It’s spine-tingling good and oh so gritty. I had goosebumps from the first few pages, and that told me immediately that I was in for one emotional ride!

I was the sinner in this story. With a heart filled to the brim with hate and a mind overflowing with vengeance and chaos.

If you’ve ready any Aly Martinez book before, then you already know that she knows how to pack one hell of an emotional punch. Her duets absolutely slay you, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience with The Truth About Lies.

Lies—I needed them more than oxygen. I was never going to be able to survive the truth. Not again.

This is a story of two people who have gone through their own personal hell. People who hide their pain and personal demons behind a smokey veil of lies; lies that are absolutely necessary for their own survival.

Cora is a heroine unlike any that Aly has written to date. This woman is a survivor. She’s got an inner core of strength that allows her to do anything she has to do to protect those that she cares about. And that’s ultimately what she is; a protector. This is a woman that cares and cares deeply. I couldn’t help but connect with her right away. She’s been through hell and back in her young life, but that doesn’t get her down. She’s the epitome of perseverance.

Then there’s Penn. This man is an enigma. He’s utterly magnetic. There’s this electric current to him that you feel when you read about him. I can’t even describe it to you, but every time you get one kernel of information about him, you’re also left desperate for more.

Sometimes lies are a necessary part of survival. Sometimes the truth hurts more than you can imagine. Sometimes what you think you know isn’t even what’s close to being reality. And sometimes, two lies crash into something incredibly real that has the power to send everything into a flame of betrayal and love.

The Truth About Lies was raw, gritty, emotional, and completely unputdownable. It was a smoke screen of half truths and lies, all wrapped around a gripping romance that owns your heart from beginning to end. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was utterly captivated, hypnotized, and totally enraptured with this story. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner until book two, because I still CAN’T EVEN!!!!

#DGRFave & Review: Pretty Venom by Ella Fields

PRETTY VENOM
Series: Gray Springs University #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: August 3rd, 2018

Callum Welsh perfected the art of hating me when we were two kids who believed we’d be forced into marriage.

He thought I wanted it, but my only wish had been for him to leave me alone.

Then one afternoon, he stole my first kiss.

Despite all he’d done, everything changed after that.

As the years passed, our hearts thawed, and he no longer hated me.

In fact, he loved me enough to make me his wife.

Until I ruined everything with one stupid mistake.

That hatred returned in the form of cruel words and even crueler deeds.

But we weren’t kids anymore.

I could handle his brand of venom.

He would be mine again, even if it cost me the remains of my heart.

Warning: contains cheating and an anti-hero who might make you throw your kindle.

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
AMAZON

If someone has control over your heart, the worst thing you could do was make an enemy out of them. And like a fool, I had.

OH MY GOD! THIS BOOK.
I.
Can’t.
DEAL.

First of all, that warning is no joke. I wanted to cry, yell, rip my hair out, and throw my kindle at the wall. This book wrung every emotion out of me, most of all all consuming rage. So much rage. Like ALL OF THE RAGE. But it was also all consuming. This book took over my entire existence for the hours that it took me to devour it, completely unable to put it down for even a second. I’m a sucker for some devastating angst, and if the blurb didn’t lure me into reading my first Ella Fields book, that warning ultimately did the job.

His brand of assholery had a ricochet effect. Affecting other things in my life, piece by little piece.

The story takes a delicious turn from enemies to lovers and back again in this ulcer inducing romance, and this reader couldn’t get enough of it. Heartburn and bald spots and all.

You smell like peaches.” “And you smell like an asshole.

Renee and Callum have history going back to their early teens. They first meet when they’re in high school and their back and forth antagonism starts. Callum resents the fact that their parents are essentially planning their marriage already. And he takes special exception to Renee, by serving her to a daily dose of his special brand of douchebaggery. Renee is no wallflower, and she’s not shy about giving as hard as she gets. Their connection is tumultuous and antagonistic, with a heavy undecurrent of chemistry that they’re both too young to fully grasp and understand when they first meet. But then as the years pass, and their push and pull continues, it eventually begins to morph into something else. When Callum stops hiding how he truly feels behind cruel words and deeds, he goes after Renee with a completely different motivation, and a relationship blooms.

Being kids when they first get together, life doesn’t really prepare them for the obstacles they’ll face when they go off to college together. Then one mistake driven by hurt and anger changes everything.


I couldn’t do this, yet, at the same time, I couldn’t see a way out of this. Falling in love changed you bit by bit in a way you didn’t realize until that love had left you suffocating in the remaining pieces of who you once were. If this was what I had to live with, what I had to endure … I was afraid it’d kill me slowly. 

And this is where the angst really starts. Callum’s brand of punishment and cruelty truly takes a turn from painful to downright eviscerating. The man puts Renee through hell. Every move, word, and look is calculated for maximum pain. That warning is no lie, because the things he does makes you want to peel your skin off and throw it at him. But at the same time, knowing what he’s going through in his head, you get where the anger is coming from. You hate him for what he does, but you understand why he’s doing it. It’s a special sort of hell, because as much as it hurts, it’s also absolutely riveting.

If you make someone your world, do not complain when the ground crumbles beneath your feet.

Pretty Venom was an all consuming sort of story. It’s the sort of book that takes over your entire world when you read it. It’s gut wrenching, emotionally annihilating, and rip your hair out sort of angsty. Ella Fields is clearly a master of her craft, because she delivers two characters that are far from perfect, yet somehow relatable. They both make mistakes, and as much as you want to judge them for it, you simply can’t. You’re much too wrapped up in their pain to do anything else. It’s no lie that there’s a thin love between love and hate, and this book takes you through both extremes and then back again.

My enemy, my ally, my best friend. She was love in its rawest form. Everything I needed wrapped in one multilayered bow. One that I refused to let unravel ever again.

It was utterly delicious and I binged on it like the angst addict that I am. Ella Fields just went straight to my auto-buy list, no blurb required. This is an author that’s not afraid to write about the ugly side of human emotion, and Pretty Venom was certainly that. This book owned me and I’m seriously kicking myself for only reading this author now. I plan on rectifying my mistake immediately by reading the rest of the series.

Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.

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#DGRFave & Review: Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

ALMOST HEAVEN
Series:
 Sequels #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Judith McNaught
Release Date: November 1, 2016 (release date for e-book)

In this classic novel of two willful lovers caught in a breathless adventure of deception and betrayal, #1 New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught has created a powerful and unforgettable masterpiece.

ELIZABETH CAMERON

The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

IAN THORNTON

A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth’s heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.

Destined for each other, yet wary of each other’s motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London’s drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

AMAZON

There are four steps separating us and a year and a half of wanting drawing us together,” he said. Elizabeth swallowed. “Couldn’t you meet me halfway?”

All.
Of.
The.
Swoons.

This. THIS is exactly why I love historical romances. And it’s also why I’m currently kicking myself for only discovering this incredible author now. There’s only one thing I love more than a good bastard in a romance, and that’s a redeemable bastard that’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve when he finally sees the error of his ways. Even if that particular feet takes him the majority of the book to do.

Almost Heaven is the story of a young beauty just entering London society in search for a husband that will save her beloved estate, and a man that’s always been the source of most gossip within it. Ian is known as a scoundrel, a gambler, anything but the titled husband Elizabeth needs. He’s also a beautifully dangerous enigma that draws her like a moth to a flame. Until she gets too close and they both get burned.

This was a delicious tale of secrets and betrayal, of mistakes and forgiveness, but ultimately of a love that prevails against all odds. It was WONDERFULLY swoony.

At first I was a little concerned because Elizabeth and Ian get together so quickly. I’m not usually a fan of quick coupling. I was yearning for angst and emotion. I shouldn’t have been concerned, because their initial meeting was only the calm before the storm. And what a storm it was! Ian is a downright bastard to Elizabeth when they meet again two years after the fateful first time. GOD BUT I LOVED IT! But it’s no secret that I love the bastards. Elizabeth was an incredible heroine. She’s young and sheltered, but she’s clever and smart and so endearing. I loved her strength and her sharp wit. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, but she also knows that sometimes the biggest fight requires a sacrifice. She was the perfect match to the broody and enigmatic Ian.

The story was phenomenal and kept me glued to the pages long into the night. I NEEDED to see how it all unveils and I couldn’t be more satisfied. This is going down as one of my favorite historical romances. And that epilogue?! SWOON!!!!

SIDE NOTE: The ebook version of this book had a RIDICULOUS amount of typos. For how big the publisher is AND the price point of this book, that’s pretty bad. I’m talking typos, missing quotations, missing punctuation points, etc. Luckily I loved the book enough to overlook it, but it’s fair to mention that your money may be better spent on the paperback version instead. 

#DGRFave & Review: Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

KISS AN ANGEL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: 1996

Wedding Day

Pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her.

Arranged marriages don’t happen in the modern world, so how did the irrepressible Daisy find herself in this fix?

Alex Markov, as humorless as he is deadly handsome, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little feather-head with champagne tastes.

He drags Daisy from her uptown life to a broken down traveling circus and sets out to tame her to his ways.

But this man without a soul has met his match in a woman who’s nothing but heart.

Before long, passion will send them flying sky high without a safety net…

risking it all in search of a love that will last forever.

AMAZON

5 BILLION ZILLION GAJILLIONTY STARS

I take thee… to be my awful wedded husband” 

I have NO idea how I missed this book by one of my all time favorite authors, considering I’ve practically read her entire backlist. But I did. And I’ve been kicking myself for days for taking this long to do it. Because this book? THIS BOOK WAS MAGICAL! It is hands down my favorite contemporary romance, not only from this author, but period. Yes. It was THAT good. Actually, no. It wasn’t just good. It was brilliant. It was enchanting, sigh inducing, heartwarming, funny, swoony, PERFECTION.

His fists clenched at his sides. “Damn it! Where’s your pride?”
“Pride? It’s in my heart, of course.”
“You’re letting me demean you!”
She smiled. “You can’t do that. I can only demean myself.”

If you love the arranged marriage trope, you will LOVE the story of Alex and Daisy. Put against a rock and a hard place, Daisy agrees to her father’s choice of husband, even if she’s only meets him the day of her wedding. Alex has his own reasons for agreeing to the arrangement, but he’s keeping a tight lid on those.
Suddenly sweet and somewhat sheltered Daisy that’s used to globe trotting and dining with celebrities with her flighty and selfish past model mother, finds herself thrust into circus life, with a husband that’s determined to prove to her that she can’t hack it. Put to the test on just how much of the ordinary life she can endure, Daisy soon finds that there’s something almost magical about the circus, and more than meets the eye to her husband.
Daisy was the sweetest, most endearing heroine I’ve ever read. I loved all of her vulnerabilities and insecurities. I loved her soft sort of strength and the way she finds herself in a place she last expected.

Alex was an outright bastard to her. Yet there was something so intriguing about him. I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to hate him for his treatment of Daisy, but then reading about her method of dealing with him gave me too many laughs to care.

Good news!” she chirped. “The doctor says this time it’s triplets!”

I loved the way that Daisy’s sweet nature eventually began to win over everyone around her. I loved the incredible cast of quirky and unique secondary characters. My absolute favorite part had to be the animals, though.

This book was simply EVERYTHING. It was phenomenal, unputdownable, page-turner, smile-inducer. It had THE MOST DELICIOUS GROVEL I have ever read. It had the swooniest romance. It had the quirkiest humor. IT WAS EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING! An absolute must read! My favorite book of the year and hands down my favorite SEP book to date!

#DGRFave & Review: Buckled by @pamgodwinbooks

BUCKLED
Series: Trails of Sin #2
Genre: Dark Cowboy Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: July 10, 2018

I protect what’s mine.
The ranch, my family, our buried secrets.

Nothing will stop me from reassembling the life that went terribly wrong.
Not the law.
Not our enemies.
Not even Maybe Quinn.

The gorgeous, quarrelsome journalist shouldn’t have meddled.
I shouldn’t have let her stay.
But she’s hiding something in those deceptive blue eyes.
Something deeper than her thirst for a news story.

I make a deal with her to buy time.
To unravel her lies. To play with her. To satisfy my darker appetites.
When she buckles beneath my belt, I’ll send her away.
Unless I buckle first.

AMAZON | Other Retailers 


Wild and molten, wet and volatile, her fight is beautiful, but her surrender is goddamn exquisite. I consume it with everything inside me, feeding on it and fueling a desire that has never felt this out of control.


Dark and sinful with story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to finish, Buckled was one addicting ride!

Ever since Maybe and Jarret first met in Knotted, sparks flew, and I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t wait for their book. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. I devoured this story in one sitting. It kept me squirming on the edge of my seat, starved for each new revelation and totally captivated by the story. It was this magnetic combination of mysterious and kinky with a dark edge that Pam Godwin is oh so good at weaving into her writing.

There’s attraction. There’s sexual desire. Then there’s this. It’s curiosity and gravity and some kind of illogical magnetism that makes my heart beat with the impulse to claim and possess.

I love a good enemies to lovers trope, and this one delivered it in spades. The hate lust was strong with these two and their chemistry was electrifying. Maybe is probably one of my favorite heroines this author has written. She’s strong, sharp witted and has no problem giving as good as she gets. This is a woman that’s not afraid to stand up for herself, yet she also has this hidden vulnerable side to her that seems to come out in Jarret’s presence. She was an incredibly multi-layered character that I couldn’t get enough of. And did I mention the sass?

Where are you taking me?”
“To my office.”
“I can walk there on my own. Put me down.”
“No can do, sweetheart.”
“This is bullshit.”
“What you’re smelling is horse shit. The bulls are in the west pasture.”
She makes a frustrated sound in her throat. “How the fuck are you the sperm that won?”
“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
“I really wish I had more middle fingers right now.”

Jarret delivered on the kinky cowboy promise that I was hoping for in book one. This man has a presence to him, let me tell you. He’s downright sinful. And when he sets his eyes on Maybe, he’s determined to get her beneath him even when they both know she’s hiding something for him.

Maybe comes to their ranch in search of answers. She knows about the dark past and secrets that the Holsten family has hidden and she’s convinced it somehow ties into her own. She’s determined to get to the bottom of it no matter what she has to do, but she doesn’t expect the magnetic connection she feels with Jarret or for it to suck her into his orbit as much as it does.

He’s a torrent of brutal force and sensual precision, fluctuating between violent bites and gentle kisses, rough hands and expert caresses. His passion is explosive, his touches methodical. Nothing about him is tame.

There are a lot of secrets that get unraveled here. And while we get answers to some things, we’re also left with even more questions. The blood feud between father and sons and the secrets that they have buried are all coming to a head and it’s bound to be on hell of a conclusion.

I absolutely LOVED the chemistry and banter between Jarret and Maybe. Their relationship was a sizzling slow burn full of spark and erotic undercurrents. When these two finally give into the pull between them? Holy hell! This book had one of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read. I have two words for you: rain and lightning. HOT. DAMN.

All I can do is hold on, shredding my vocal chords as I scream. I scream his name. I scream for a god. Maybe they’re one and the same. He looks like a warrior god. He fucks like a sex god. I’ll happily worship him, and I do.

We also finally get to meet the heroine of book 3 and let me just tell you, I’m practically salivating for that story.

While I enjoyed the first book, I was completely blown away by this one. I cannot wait to see how it all concludes in what’s bound to be an explosive final chapter of this trilogy.

 


TRAILS OF SIN Series

KNOTTED Book #1
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BUCKLED Book #2
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BOOTED Book #3
Releases Sep 18, 2018
Amazon | Other Retailers


Pam Godwin Books GrayScale

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

Other Books by Pam Godwin

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

Deliver Series
DELIVER (#1) – FREE
VANQUISH (#2)
DISCLAIM (#3)
DEVASTATE (#4)

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

Stand-alones

DARK NOTES

DIRTY TIES

BENEATH THE BURN

INCENTIVE

 

New Release & #DGRFave Review: Getting Schooled by @EmmaChse

GETTING SCHOOLED
Series: Getting Schooled #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Emma Chase
Release Date: June 26, 2018

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class…

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and “cool” teacher in the hometown where he’s not just a golden boy — he’s platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then…Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school…

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself…on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she’d prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she’s facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore…and that’s just the teachers.

Just like old times…

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance – and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or…these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

AMAZON

She was the love of my life, before I had any idea what love was . . . and then, still, even after I did.

Oh my heart! My cold black heart! It’s so full right now. I don’t know how to even begin to describe all of the ways I loved this book! I laughed, I swooned, I cried, and I fell head over heels for Garrett and Callie’s story.

You were always my girl, Callie. Even after you weren’t any more.”

I love a second chance romance, and Getting Schooled delivered one heart felt and steamy story full of humor and plenty of feels.

Garrett and Callie were high school sweethearts and then life happened and they went their different ways in college. But now that Callie is back in her hometown following her parents’ accident, they discover that old feelings didn’t die, but with the right chance have bloomed into something much bigger.

When Callie gets a job as a teacher at the same school they once both attended and Garrett teaches at, it’s not long before they bump into each other. With their breakup being when they were still kids, it’s not difficult for them to re-start their friendship as adults. And it’s also not long before they both realize that their not so long forgotten feelings are so much more potent when they’re older and understand exactly the love that they once shared.

And that’s how we start. That’s how we begin. How we become us . . . again.

I loved the secondary characters in this story. With Callie’s quirky parents, the other teachers that they work with, the students and Callie’s friends, it was absolute perfection. I felt like I was inside their lives. They practically jumped at the pages at you and it just engrained you that much more in the story.

Beyond that, I absolutely adored the progression and pacing of Garrett and Callie’s romance. It wasn’t full of angst and miscommunication but it wasn’t perfect either. It was real, and wonderful, and oh so swoony. It brought all the feels and I couldn’t’ get enough of it.

My memories of loving Garrett are pale and flimsy compared to this. This is real and solid . . . and us. How did I breathe without this? How will I exist without it?

There were so many notable moments in this book; with one particular one that had me sobbing with emotion one minute and then crying happy tears the next. I loved everything about this book. I originally listened to the audio version of this book (which was fantastic) and then reading it just made me realize how wonderful this story really was. I was glued to the pages and completely captivated all over again. I can’t recommend it enough and can’t wait for more in this brand new series!

#DGRFave & Geri’s Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

RAINY DAY FRIENDS
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 19, 2018

Following the USA Today bestselling author of Lost and Found Sisters comes Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship

Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.

Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS

Jill Shalvis new Wildstone series have been all winners for me starting with Lost and Found Sisters, followed by Good Luck Sister, and now Rainy Day Friends.


I’ve learned that life is a crapshoot, and at any moment someone can walk into it and change it forever.” 

 

I loved this book. I loved it more than I expected I would. That sounds like a backhanded compliment but let me explain. This book was marketed as Women’s Fiction, a genre that I read but not exactly my go-to genre. There’s always a risk of WF to fall short on the romance aspect. Not so with this book. Yes, this book is definitely about Lanie dealing about the death of her husband and the fallout of his infidelities. But what really gave this book its emotional weight was the romance between Lanie and Mark Capriotti.

Their romance made me swoon! It was definitely a huge part of the book, and I’m so happy for that. I need a healthy dose of romance in my WF and Rainy Day Friends delivered. The romance between Lanie and Mark is mature, passionate and emotional. In other words, it has ALL THE FEELS! And you guys know I’m all about the FEELS!

And now he had her in his arms, this amazing, prickly, suspicious, hardheaded woman that he was falling for in spite of himself because she was also sweet and kind and had the biggest heart of anyone he’d ever met.”

Lanie is prickly and suspicious. She’s not there to become part of the Capriotti clan no matter how friendly and inclusive they are. She’s there to do her job and escape dealing with the mess her husband left her with. I love LOVE prickly heroines and Lanie is fits the description to a tee. She’s also hiding a very soft center underneath prickly exterior. I’ve always enjoyed Jill’s uber competent and complex heroines, but Lanie just might be my favorite Shalvis heroine yet. I LOVE HER! I related to her so much. I understood her motivations and her reaction to her husband’s betrayal and other things made sense to me.

Not only did Jill hit it out of the park with her heroine, she also hit a homerun with the hero, Mark. If you love single parent heroes, then you will love Mark! He’s a devoted family man who loves his twin daughters. And while he did the whole, “I’m not looking for love and can’t offer you anything,” shtick for a while, he changed his tune very quickly when he realized his feelings for Lanie might be deeper than he originally thought. His interactions with his twin daughters are some of the highlights in the book for me. So pure and so heart-wrenching, I shed a tear or two.

The chemistry between these two are off the charts. I realize I sound like a broken record but I love how their romance developed. Theirs enhanced Lanie’s journey and the conflict she’s facing, and honestly, it’s the perfect balance between family drama and romance.

He hadn’t seen it coming, he hadn’t seen her coming, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize a good thing when he saw it.”

There’s also a secondary romance here, which I really liked but won’t get into. It’s there and it has its own charm but it didn’t overpower the main romance between Lanie and Mark.

One aspect that I loved about this book was the Capriotti family. I fell in love with the whole lot of them! They love as passionately as they fight. They’re not perfect which made them all the more interesting to read. I really hope Jill Shalvis will continue to write about their family in future books because they got me like they did Lanie. They were that irresistible.

This book also has one of the most emotionally intense confrontation I’ve read in a Jill Shalvis book. I cried for Lanie. My heart broke for her. And what I really liked about it is that it didn’t feel like I was manipulated. The conflict and the road to that confrontation was so well written that it really hits you when it happened. And it’s not just that one moment in particular, it’s the way Lanie processed her emotions when confronted with that something that got to me. That, in my opinion, is great writing.

This is one of the best I’ve read this year so far. Rainy Day Friends delivered on the romance and I’m so happy it did. I highly recommend this book. If you loved Jill Shalvis, then this is a must read. If you’re just starting out reading her books, this is a great book to start. And even though this is technically the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Her life had been a train in a dark tunnel for a very long time. But it was like she’d somehow changed course and now she could see a little bit of light.” 

 

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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