#DGRFave & Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

LOVE HER OR LOSE HER 
Series: Hot & Hammered 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: January 14, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation.

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

AMAZON

I’ll do anything you ask me to do,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Except walk away.”

*Flails happily*
Y’all. This book. I can’t even right now.
I think this may be my favorite Tessa Bailey book to date. And that’s something something considering I’ve devoured the woman’s entire backlist.

The second Rosie and Dom appeared on the pages of Fix Her Up as secondary characters, I could practically taste the tension between them. I was dying to get my hands on their book, so the very second this landed in my grabby little hands, I devoured it in one delicious sitting. I couldn’t bear to put it down for even a second.

This was…I don’t even have words. Perfection! Swoony, sexy, and brimming with feels. It was everything I wanted in their story and yet so much more.

Rosie and Dominic are high school sweethearts. They fell in love fast and hard when they were teenagers. But as adults, that love is no longer enough to hold the pieces of their marriage together. Lack of communication, too many things left unsaid, too many assumption have all come together to leave Rosie feeling empty. She misses the man her husband used to be. Their marriage is crumbling around them and she has no idea how to hold it together.

All Dom ever wanted was Rosie. This is an inevitable fact and something that’s a constant in his life that will never change. So when his beloved wife tells him he’s leaving, he knows that he’ll do absolutely anything to save their marriage, and he’s not above fighting dirty. Withhold their physical connection until she agrees to come back to him? Check! Agree to see a quirky and borderline crazy marriage counselor? Check! Take every opportunity to remind her just why the fell in love? Check and CHECK.

GOD. You guys. I don’t even know how to begin to describe this to you. Dom was easily one of my favorite Bailey heroes. He’s a little troubled and a lot obsessed with his wife. He’s a dirty talking god, even if he doesn’t have much to say in his day to day. He’s quite, broody and intense. But the man is captivating and practically sizzling with sexual chemistry.

Rosie was perfection, too. This is not a woman that blames their crumbling marriage on her husband only. She takes full accountability for her faults as they fight to work through their issues. Add into this a kooky counselor, favorites from the previous book, and a brand new hero introduced to drive Bethany insane and I was HOOKED. Line and sinker. I was glued to the pages. Riveted. Captivated. And utterly charmed. I loved this story from beginning to finish. With the glimpses of the hate lust between Wes and Bethany, I’m already gagging for the next book. But if you’re looking for a swoony, sexy, and totally charming second chance romance, look no further. SO GOOD.

Review: Wait for Me by Tia Louise

WAIT FOR ME
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tia Louise
Release Date: December 17, 2019

Dear Taron,
I should have told you this a long time ago…

Dear Taron,
Is there a time-limit on forgiveness?
If there is, I haven’t reached it…

Dear Taron,
I still love you…

A letter never sent.
Heck, I never even finished it.

Taron Rhodes was my brother’s best friend.
He was sexy as sin.
But he was more than that…
He was ponytail-pulling, ice down your shirt teasing, throw you in the lake screaming…
Strong, tanned arms and blue-green eyes over a heart-stopping, naughty grin…
Did I mention his tight end?
I gave him my first real kiss, my heart, my everything.
I said I’d wait for him…

I’m still waiting, because Taron Rhodes is still the man of my dreams,
And I have a secret that has his blue-green eyes.

Noel LaGrange stole my heart when she was only eighteen —pushing me off a flatbed and calling me a city slicker.
Her brother Sawyer would kick my ass if he knew how many times we made out that summer, how close we got.

Everything changed when Sawyer and I joined the military.
We were honorably discharged, but I didn’t go to her.
Instead, I went back to the city… where no amount of money, no amount of pills can heal this wound.
Only her whiskey eyes and dark hair, her slim arms and her sweet scent, give me hope.
I broke her heart just as surely as I broke mine, but I’m going back to make it right.
If she’s still waiting…

(WAIT FOR ME is a STAND-ALONE small-town, second-chance romance with a guaranteed HEA. No cheating. No cliffhangers.)

AMAZON

Heaven is finding the thing you can’t live without and being able to hold it. Hell is knowing you’ll have to let it go.

I love an emotional second chance romance, and when I read the blurb to this book, I was immediately hooked. Tia knows how to pack one heck of an emotional punch in her writing, so I knew I was in for plenty of feels.

Wait For Me is told in two halves; the first half telling the sweet and steamy story of Taron and Noel meeting and falling in love. Taron is best friends with Noel’s older brother and finds himself in their small town in the short interim before he takes off for the Marines. Noel is eighteen years old but really has an old soul to her. It doesn’t take long for these two to fall head over heels with Noel promising to wait for Taron. But unfortunately fate has other plans for them, and as beautifully as things first came together for them, they fall apart in a devastating and fiery crash.

As much as I loved the premise of the story and both Taron and Noel, I found myself wishing parts of both the first and second half were further fleshed out. I couldn’t help but feel like I was getting a very surface level of what this story could have been. I loved the first half of this book, but also wished for Taron’s characterization to take me a little deeper. Yes, they’re both young, and I can totally buy into their quick connection because of it. But I also wanted more. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly, but something felt missing.

The second half is ultimately where it really fell short for me, though. The story moved quickly and I wanted parts to be more fleshed out; Taron’s issues being the epicenter of this. I felt like this was really just grazed over and couldn’t help but wish we got a deeper dive into what he went through. The second half of the story ultimately felt rushed and too quick paced. I wished it were flipped and we got to spend more time with them in the present rather than their past. This was such an emotional and touching part of their story, that I really wanted more from it. Ultimately, I still really enjoyed this story that still delivered on the emotional punch I was hoping for. There was plenty of steam and feels to make it for a page turning read.

Review: The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart

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

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

Now an AMAZON TOP 100 Bestseller!

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to set the record straight.

For my son, I‘ll find the strength.

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

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

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

AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: In The Unlikely Event by LJ Shen

IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT
Genre: Contemporary
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: November 19, 2019

𝑆𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑒𝑒𝑡 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑, 𝑠𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠.

A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land.
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny.
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together.
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here.
In New York.
And he’s America’s music obsession.
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees.
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe.
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king.
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant.
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands.
I have a career I love.
A boyfriend I adore.
An apartment, a roommate, a life.
I changed. He changed, too.
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?

AMAZON 

All is fair in love and war, and I’m certainly prepared for battle

This book came out of left field and slapped me over the head with all of the feels. This is so completely different from anything I’ve read by LJ to date. A unique and angsty emotional roller coaster that was addictive from beginning to finish.

If there’s one thing that I’ve come to expect from LJ Shen, it’s her knack for the unexpected, and ITUE was definitely unexpected. If you’re fans of second chance romance that offers up angst with a splash of humor, this will deliver on all fronts.

Malachy Doherty came into Rory’s life like a silent storm. She didn’t see him coming. They shared a steamy short-lived romance and a promise on a napkin that would be put to the test years later when they crash into each other’s worlds again. Malachy was an enigma that I couldn’t get enough of. He goes from sweet and enigmatic to aloof and cruel in the span of the eight years they spent apart. But when he sees Rory again, it doesn’t matter that she has a new life and a boyfriend. He’s determined to make her hold up her end of the bargain that she signed away on a napkin in a pub years ago. If they see each other again, all bets are off.

In The Unlikely Event blends quirky humor with emotion and angst flawlessly. It gives us a brooding rockstar and a sassy heroine that will bring him to his knees. It delivers on a second chance romance full of feels that I adored from beginning to end; addictive in a way that LJ Shen has now perfected in her writing.

Review & Giveaway: Hold On To Hope by AL Jackson

HOLD ON TO HOPE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: AL Jackson
Release Date: October 28, 2019

A best friends-to-lovers, stand-alone romance from New York Times Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson . . .

Evan Bryant wasn’t your typical hero.

But he was mine.

Broken by the worlds’ standards, he was still the strongest boy I would ever know.

My best friend. The boy I’d given everything to. My heart, my body, and the promise of forever.

The day I’d needed him most, he walked away.

He left me shattered and questioning the love I’d thought we’d shared.

 

Three years later, I wasn’t prepared for him to return to Gingham Lakes.

It wouldn’t have mattered if he wasn’t the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.

My fingers still would have ached to caress his skin.

My body still would have begged to get lost in his touch.

And my heart . . . it would have always sung his name.

But time changes things. With it, secrets that could ruin everything.

Can we find a way to love again, or have the fears of our past stolen the hope of our forever…

AMAZON PAPERBACK | AMAZON EBOOK | AUDIBLE

I don’t know how to be in your space and not want you, Evan. I don’t remember how not to be yours.”

Poignant. Powerful. Gripping. And utterly heart wrenching. AL Jackson knows how to create words that get into her readers souls. I swear. There’s just something about stories that just stick with you. And there is no better example of it than with this book.

Evan first stole my heart a sweet little boy that was battling for his life in Follow Me Back. As a grown man, he was absolutely devastating. He and Frankie Leigh have been thick as thieves since they were just little kids. They were best friends whose love for each other soon evolved from children’s adoration to something so much deeper. But when Frankie thought they would be together forever, Evan broke her heart by leaving town with nothing more than a note.

Now three years later, Evan is back, and all those feelings that Frankie thought she’s finally moved on from come roaring back.

While emotional and angsty, this is very much a sweet friends-to-lovers/second chance romance. Admittedly, sweet isn’t really my thing when it comes down to preference, but there was something so charming about this book that it just worked for me. Maybe it’s the fact that Evan wasn’t your stereotypical hero. He was sweet and intense all at the same time. The love that he had for Frankie was devastating and heart warming all at the same time. I loved watching them find their way back to each other and seeing Evan fight for her. There’s something so incredibly endearing about Evan. His health struggles and all the pain that it brought along with it wasn’t easy to read about. He went through so much as a little boy, and so much of it follows him into adulthood.

There’s one particular plot device that was present here that I typically shy away from, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t diminish some of my enjoyment of this book. Unfortunately, I struggled with this piece of the story for a while. I equal parts understood it and hated it all at once.

But then somewhere around the second half everything just grew on me. And when the plot twist hit? I was all in! It came entirely out of left field and I didn’t see it coming at all. It brought everything in a full circle and just made the book for me.

This was another emotional and beautiful romance from one of my beloved authors that tugged at every heart string I had. I can’t wait for more!

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME and CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART novels. Grab A.L. Jackson’s latest novel, HOLD ON TO HOPE, a best friends-to-lovers stand-alone romance.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

 

Connect with A.L.

Newsletter | FacebookReader Group | Amazon | Bookbub
Twitter: @aljacksonauthor

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Don’t miss the awesome giveaway for the Hold on to Hope release!

Enter Here: https://smarturl.it/HOTHReleaseGiveaway

 

Review: Nothing But This by Natasha Anders

BroNOTHING BUT THIS
Series:
Broken Pieces #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Natasha Anders
Release Date: July 30, 2019

A married couple yearns to rediscover lost love in this novel about forgiveness, reconciliation, and emotional growth.

It’s always been complicated between Libby Lawson and Greyson Chapman—and married life isn’t any simpler. But when Libby gets pregnant, she at last sees a bright future ahead. There’s just one problem: Greyson says he’s sterile.

Furious, Greyson abandons the young family. Equally furious and deeply hurt, Libby cuts all ties with him. After all these years, it seems their relationship has finally expired. But love is resilient and endures even when you don’t want it to. Greyson still longs for Libby, and though Libby’s heartbroken by Greyson’s lack of trust, she holds out hope for a complete, happy family.

And so they embark on the journey back to each other, wary of all the obstacles between them. It’s been a long road already—one strewed with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings. Will they keep looking to the past, or will they look to each other and walk hand in hand toward a broad new horizon?

AMAZON

I’ve been trying to find the right words. The proper combination of sounds that would make you forgive me, that would make up for what I said and did. But those words don’t exist.”


Ever since Natasha Anders introduced Grey and Libby in More Than Anything, I’ve been completely enamored and invested in their story. If there’s one thing that I love more than a hero that royally screws up with his woman, it’s watching him grovel to get back into her good graces again. And this book? It’s one long, delicious, and emotional grovel.

Now I love a good alphahole as much as the next girl, but this book didn’t focus on that. You get plenty of Grey’s generally cold disposition in the first book. Enough of it to know that when the man makes a mistake, it’s the biggest mistake of his life. This book focuses on him dealing with the repercussions of that mistake and trying to grovel his way back and somehow make amends. You get flashbacks of what transpired to bring Grey and Libby to the point where they are now. I loved that Libby really grew into herself in this book. She goes from a besotted girl to a woman that’s not afraid to make him work for it. She’s not willing to forgive and forget, nor should she. I mean, the man thought their child was the result of an affair.

The flow is really organic and the pacing is superb. It highlights every bump along their road and twists and turns your heart right along with them. Their journey is painful and emotional and totally enrapturing.

Nothing But This was a painfully beautiful story of second chances. It was sweet, funny, and utterly gut wrenching in parts. It wasn’t an overly angsty read but it was certainly an emotional one. I really loved this book. It was a gripping and charming and hits every single feel.

Review: Then Came You by Kate Meader

THEN CAME YOU
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Laws of Attraction #3
Author: Kate Meader
Release Date: May 7, 2019

In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?

Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.

The woman I used to call . . . wife.

And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.

It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.

A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”

AMAZON

Pain is supposed to make you stronger, some idiot said. Love, too. With Aubrey, I feel nothing but fear and weakness, desire and longing. When do I reach the part about becoming a better person?

I adore all things Kate Meader, and the second I got a look at the blurb for this book, I knew I had to read it! It sounded like it would be a great combination of feels, angst and steam, and boy was it!

Aubrey gates is a successful divorce attorney, Boston blue blood society bred yet totally down to earth sort of woman. She’s sharp witted and strong…or at least on the surface. Below the sharply dressed exterior, the woman is still trying to pick up all of her shattered pieces.

Grant is a good ole’ souther boy with the manners and slow drawl to match. He’s Aubrey exact opposite. The boy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks to her high society. The man that never quite belonged in her family. The sweet to her edgy. Her ex husband and the only man that’s capable of finally shattering the walls that Aubrey has built around her heart in one holiday road trip to visit her family.

I loved the premise of the story, but admittedly, I just didn’t feel like the root of the story was a full novel size. And while I really loved the chemistry between them, I struggled understanding the quick turnaround considering all their emotional issues. Grant tries so hard to get Aubrey to talk about their problems. And Aubrey is just as determined to leave it buried. This ultimately began to get extremely frustrating for me. Don’t get me wrong, I understood her issues and they why’s behind it, I really do. But I also struggled to connect to her stonewalling of a man that’s as incredible as Grant.

Ultimately, the kind of issue they had between them, didn’t seem like it was one that could have been resolved as quickly as it did considering their time apart, hence my saying the book could have worked better as a novella. I think some of the sexy times (and they WERE sexy) served more to keep the book going rather than drive the plot forward, if that makes sense.

Grant was absolute perfection and made the book for me. I adored him so much. And considering my gravitation towards alphaholes in books, that’s saying something. He was the ultimate nice guy and I loved him for it.

I really enjoyed Then Came You and loved Grant and Aubrey’s HEA, but it just didn’t pack as much of a punch for me as much as Kate’s book usually do. Do I think most would really enjoy this one? Absolutely! There’s plenty to love about this romance. It just didn’t check every box for this particularly picky reader.

Review: Have Mercy by N.E. Henderson

HAVE MERCY
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Dark
Author: N.E. Henderson
Release Date: May 2, 2019

I never saw it coming.

It’s hard to get over that kind of betrayal. It leaves a mark on the heart. A slow bleed that never goes away. She was my girl. We were supposed to be partners. She was going to be the mother of my children down the road. The only girl to warm my bed. She was my forever girl.

Until she ran away.

I thought she felt the same. But if she did she wouldn’t have ditched me like I didn’t matter. All the plans we made meant nothing to her. She disappeared without so much as a goodbye. Those cuts are the deepest. A gaping hole that can’t be sealed. I could’ve stomached anything else—a meaningless one-night stand, drifting apart, vanishing love. But abandonment is a deadly strike that can’t be forgotten. It sticks with you forever.

Three months later she showed up, expecting me to welcome her back with open arms. Excuses, lies, not even her crying eyes could make me believe the manipulative bullshit coming out of her mouth. For months I felt like I was burning alive. She shattered my heart and stole my soul.

I moved on.

Now, eighteen years later, a nightmare unfolds. Every detail makes my stomach churn. Lies come to the light. The truth is uncovered. And the people I thought I knew become strangers. The heartbreak I felt was only a scratch compared to the sliced open heart in my chest.

Winning her back seems like an impossible feat. She may never forgive me, because the thing about mercy—you have to give to receive.

***Have Mercy is a 107K word standalone, second chance love story.***

AMAZON

Eighteen years have gone by and Elise Thomas still owns me like no other woman ever has—or ever will.

This review is extremely difficult for me to write. I have sat on my rating for it for a solid week and I’m still struggling with it. Why? Because I binge read this story. I’m talking glued to the pages, completely incapable of setting it down for even a second sort of binge here, people. It was like a rockstar soap opera. No lie. If OTT drama, angst, and alphahole heroes aren’t your jam, I’d say this book won’t be for you. But this reader? I froth at the mouth for it. Don’t you judge me either. I yam what I yam.

I think that had it been for different execution on a few plot devices and elements of this book, it would have been a no brainer 5 star. As it was, there were things in this story that I really hoped would be better wrapped up then they were at the end. But I’ll get to those in a minute.

First let me start with what I loved; the set up. DELICIOUS. A second chance romance 18 years in the making. Jamie and Jenna were each other’s world as teenagers. They loved and they loved hard, until they fell apart even harder. Eighteen years later and neither of them is much closer to any sort of closure from each other. Jamie is now divorced and still as bitter as he was back when he though Jenna betrayed him. Jenna has tried to move on from Jamie, but how do you forget the love of your life? But how do you ultimately pick up the pieces when you realize that everything you thought you knew was wrong. And the person you’ve hated for years is not at all who you thought they were and that you’re ultimately responsible for breaking you apart? That’s the premise of the book.

The story unravels in alternating flashbacks. These were cleverly written to give the reader the whole story crumble by crumble, until you’re utterly desperate for the whole picture. I loved the over the top angst and drama of this book. The antagonistic sort of back and forth between Jamie and Jenna was book crack. Jamie made a terrible decision those years ago that essentially got all the dominoes to fall. A decision made by a young and immature boy that didn’t yet have his head out of his own ego long enough to dig deeper. I didn’t hate him for it, but I can see a lot of readers having an issue with it. This reader, however, did not. I loved to hate Jamie. What can I say? I live for some book drama every now and then.

Jenna struck me a great and strong willed heroine at first. I loved her spark and the added edge of what she keeps hidden below the surface with the scars of her past. This is also where the story began to lose me. I wanted Jenna to keep holding on to that edge, but I couldn’t help but feel that she began to lose most of it with Jamie. She gives in so easily to his every whim. After the betrayal that lies between them, I just couldn’t wrap my head around this, no matter how much she still loves him. I wanted her to make him work for it. Make him beg, crawl on his knees! But she does none of those things. The only thing she does do is keep him on the edge by not sharing the full capacity of the truth with him. This ultimately drove me crazy. It just seemed like an unnecessary way to drive the plot forward where there were plenty of other moving wheels in the story to do so. It dragged on for way too long. I also absolutely hate when a heroine is celibate for years while the hero is anything but when they’re not together and have no hopes of being together.  It’s unrealistic and it’s a huge pet peeve of mine so unfortunately this played a big part in my rating.

There is a very heavy element of suspense around the mystery of what happened those years ago. Though to be fair, it’s only a mystery to the reader for a short part of the book. It continues to be a mystery to Jamie for longer. I also really disliked that Jamie continually kept jumping to the wrong conclusion of Jenna no matter how much evidence he had to the contrary. I wanted this man to GROVEL, and I do mean GROVEL. And all he continues to do is jump to conclusions and think the worst of her.

I liked the inclusion of the secondary characters and the kids, however, I didn’t feel it necessary to have their POVs. While it didn’t take away from the story, it did convolute it a bit with the continuous flashbacks.

I wanted Jenna to be as strong of a heroine with Jamie as she is with every other aspect of her life, and unfortunately for me, she just wasn’t. A betrayal of that caliber needs a huge grovel, and that didn’t happen either. I wanted to 5 star this book so much. It took me out of a huge book funk and kept me glued to the pages. Unfortunately I just couldn’t look past the many issues that I also had with it.

I’m definitely a huge fan of the author and will definitely read her future books. This one may not have been perfect, but it still hit the spot, so give it a shot and see for yourself.

Review: The Things We Never Said by Samantha Young

THINGS WE NEVER SAID
Series:
Hart’s Boardwalk #3
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Monica James
Release Date: May 7, 2019

Local metalsmith and gift shop owner, Dahlia McGuire, likes her quiet life in Hartwell, Delaware. It’s the perfect place to hide from her family and the tragic events that led to their estrangement. However, when her father, the person she loves most in the world, needs her Dahlia has no choice but to return to Boston to face her ghosts. One of those happens to be her ex-boyfriend’s best friend, Michael Sullivan. The man she was never supposed to fall in love with.

Michael Sullivan has never forgotten Dahlia McGuire. Some might say he’s never gotten over her. For years he lived with the anger of her desertion, and now, newly-divorced, he’s finally ready to move on. That proves impossible when Dahlia returns to Boston and reawakens their explosive connection. Despite everything, Michael wants her back, but Dahlia can’t seem to let go of the tangled emotions of the past. When she flees home to Hartwell, Michael follows, determined to do everything in his power to convince her they belong together.

However, when the unthinkable hits the quiet seaside town, Michael finds himself trying to unravel more than the mystery of Dahlia’s broken heart. It’s time for truths left unsaid to finally be spoken or Michael and Dahlia might find themselves torn apart forever…

AMAZON 

The truth was I must have been sleepwalking through life all this time because whenever Michael appeared, I was suddenly wide awake.

Things We Never Said was an swoony and emotional second chance romances with a slight twist. It also had one of the most incredible heroes I’ve read in a long while. There’s just something about Michael Sullivan that made me fall head over heels the second he appears on the pages.

Trust me, dahlin’, I appreciate the good things in life, and I’m more grateful than I can say when I come across special. Just never thought I’d come across goddamn extraordinary in my life…

Admittedly, the first two books in this series haven’t been my favorite. But there was something so…different about this one. It had a different vibe and energy to it that I found lacking in the other two.

Michael and Dahlia have a right place but wrong time sort of beginning when they first meet. Their chemistry is immediate and downright incendiary. But Dahlia has just settled in a relationship with a man that’s good for her and she doesn’t want to jeopardize that. But when she finds out that Michael is her boyfriend’s best friend, she knows that any potential they may have had will never be. So they settle into a friendship with a side of burning unrequited love on both sides. It becomes clear just how crazy Michael is about her, but youthful mistakes and fate circumstances soon spell the end for any budding romance they may have had.

When life takes a turn once more, Dahlia finds herself back in her home town and facing the circumstances of her decision all those years ago; the biggest one being Michael. But he’s no longer the sweet man that she knew in her youth. He’s angry, bitter, and hurt. As much as you want to hate Michael for his callous treatment of Dahlia when she first appears back in his life, you just can’t. You know that he’s harboring a lot of pain but you don’t know quite what transpired between the two of them to bring them to this place. That slowly gets trickle fed to the reader chapter by chapter. But when you see this southie boy see the error of his ways and finally pursue Dahlia with a single minded intent to break down all of her walls? Oh my swoon!!!! He’s sheer perfection.

I’ll wait forever for you, Michael Sullivan.” He shook his head. “No waiting required. I’ve been yours since day one.”

I really loved this beautifully emotional romance. The more you learn about Dahlia’s past and what sent her running, the more you begin to understand. It takes the majority of the book to fully unravel the truth, and it’s devastating at the core of it.

There’s also a bit of action and suspense that’s thrown in, along with the tease of two secondary characters that I’m desperately waiting on a book for.

Ultimately, this was an incredibly satisfying read that I enjoyed from start to finish and would recommend to any Sam Young fan out there.

#DGRFave & Review & Giveaway: Pieces of Us by @aljacksonauthor

 
PIECES OF US
Series: Confessions of the Heart #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: A.L. Jackson
Release Date: April 22, 2019
Maxon Chambers has a way of stealing all the attention.
All my affection, and all my dreams.
What I needed to remember was he’d stolen my good judgment and my virginity, too.
When he broke up with me, I ran across the country and swore I’d never return to Broadshire Rim.
But here I am, thirteen years later.
Maxon is all grown up.
Sexier than sin and more tempting than ever.
A detective on the Charleston force, he lives on the outside of safety, devoted to protecting the people of his city.
But with the way he’s looking at me now? I’m pretty sure what needs protecting is my heart.
Can we mend the pieces of us? Or will he leave my heart shattered forever . . .

There’s never been a single day in my life when I didn’t want you. We are endless.”


Deeply romantic, heartbreakingly emotional, and achingly beautiful. Pieces of Us is easily one of my favorite AL Jackson books to date. I fell head over heels for Mack and Izzy’s story and I still can’t stop thinking about them after finishing.

It’s no secret that I love a good punch to the feels that a second chance romance always brings. But there was something so special about Mack and Izzy’s story. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it, but it felt almost electric. I always knew there was some darkness in Mack’s past. He’s been such a solid presence in his friend’s lives. But beneath that cop exterior, still waters run deep. This is a man with deep emotional scars and demons from his past that continue to haunt his present

Izzy has loved Maxon “Mack” Chambers since they were kids. Him, the boy on the wrong side of the tracks. Her, the sweet dreamer that thought she can save him. But then everything they built came tumbling down around Izzy and she had no choice but to run. Now she’s back and has no desire to see the man that broke her heart. But things never quite go as you intended.

I really don’t want to tell you much more about this story, but prepare yourself for one emotional ride. I couldn’t bear to put this book down for even a second, utterly desperate for another piece of Izze and Mack’s past. I was dying to know how it all fell apart and even more desperate to see how they would rebuild it all.

Mack is one of my favorite heroes in this series. And I though I loved Ian. But man, nothing compares to the way that this man loves. His soul is so achingly broken and yet he yearns for Izzy and everything that they lost. Izzy is a heroine that’s impossible not to love. She’s this delicate combination of vulnerability and strength. She’s survived so much pain in her life and yet she holds strong. She never gave up on Mack when they were kids. Her unique view of the world and wonderment were extremely endearing. Izzy as an adult is even more so.

I loved everything about this story. Two secondary characters in particular. These two completely owned my heart. I loved them so much.

If you’re looking for a beautiful romance that will break you and then put you back together in the best of ways, you seriously can’t go wrong with this book. I can’t recommend it enough!

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, and FIGHT FOR ME novels. Grab A.L. Jackson’s latest novel, PIECES OF US, the third stand-alone novel in her brand-new CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART series.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

Connect with A.L.

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonPage
Reader Group: http://smarturl.it/AmysAngelsRock
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonAmzn
Bookbub: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonBookbub
Twitter: @aljacksonauthor
Instagram: @aljacksonauthor
Snapchat: @aljacksonauthor

Don’t miss the awesome giveaway for the Pieces of Us release! It’s the first two books from the Confessions of the Heart Series + Kindle Fire + Polaroid Camera + All the Goods!

Ahhh I can’t wait for you to experience this story! I’m so insanely proud of it! I can’t wait to hear what you think!
xoxo ~
Amy

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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