Briefly Romantic (3)

Welcome to the third installment of Briefly Romantic. Today’s books are all books from Forever Publishing.

Briefly Romantic (3)Now or Never by Victoria Denault
Published by Forever Yours
on January 15, 2019
Format: eARC
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three-stars

Get ready for all the feels in this sexy, "emotionally charged" (Library Journal) romance about a bad boy hockey player who wants a second chance to win the heart of his high school crush.
All Winnie Braddock wants is a quiet place to be alone and time to heal her battered heart. But the refuge she'd hoped for in her family's summer cottage is destroyed when she gets there to find Holden Hendricks literally camped out in the driveway. He made her life hell when they were kids, and despite what he says, it doesn't look like much has changed. She doesn't care if her brother hired Holden to renovate the house this winter; she wants him gone.

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Holden knows that hockey saying all too well. After all, he could have gone pro if he hadn't messed up so much as a kid. But now he's desperate to prove he's changed for the better, especially to Winnie Braddock. As the two work together to fix up the cottage piece by piece, they realize that perhaps they can give each other the new beginning they've both been waiting for -- if they're just willing to take the shot.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First let me say how much I love the Braddock family! They are so genuine and loving and just a really fun group. I think they are the reason this series as a whole (I still need to read book 1, OOPS) is so enjoyable. But sadly Now or Never just didn’t 100% do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and a super quick read, but there was something missing. I don’t know if it was the chemistry between Winnie and Holden, the pacing, the storyline? I just know that something felt off and there was some kind of spark missing. It was a good read, but just not my favorite of the series. I do think there should be a mystery Braddock that we don’t know so I don’t have to lose this family. Just sayin. But if you are a fan of the series definitely make sure you check this one out.

 

Briefly Romantic (3)Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday
Published by Forever Romance
on January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell. Stranded in New York with her best friend's wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car. Looks like she's in for one long road trip with the sexiest - and most irritating - Southern gentleman she's ever met...

Bennett's pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his "no flings" rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she's stubborn. She's also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross. While Bennett doesn't do casual, Gia doesn't do "relationships." But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I had an interesting relationship with the Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. I adored book one and enjoyed book 2 a little less book one. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about Gia’s story as I didn’t think I really knew her as much as I knew the other two. Instead I got my FAVORITE of the series. I loved, loved, loved this book. Gia and Bennett had off the charts chemistry and I found myself desperate for more words. There was showing so natural about their pairing. Two people that seemed to be 100% opposites just clicked. Did they both frustrate me at times? Absolutely, but only in the way that a perfectly told romance can. This was just the perfect end to this amazing series about friendship and finding love.

Briefly Romantic (3)The Fearless King by Katee Robert
Published by Forever
on February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Undercover Attraction comes a sexy convenience romance between the heir to a Texas oil company and the rugged, dangerous man who may be the only one who can help her out of deep family drama.

Ultra-wealthy and super powerful, the King family is like royalty in Texas. But their secrets can be deadly.

Fake boyfriend. Real danger.Journey King is an expert at managing the family business. But when her father returns to Houston hell-bent on making a play for the company, Journey will do anything to stop him, even if that means going to Frank Evans for help. Frank deals in information, the dirtier the better. Rugged and rock solid, he's by far her best ally - and also the most dangerous.

Frank knows better than to get tangled up with the Kings. But something about Journey's rare vulnerability drags him deep into enemy territory... and into her darkest past. Pretending to be her boyfriend may be necessary for their plan to work, but Frank soon finds helping Journey is much more than just another job - and he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have a minor obsession with the King family and a major obsession with Frank Evans. This book was totally addicting and edge of your seat. There is nothing that will hook me quicker than a fake relationship that turns real and that is exactly what Journey and Frank’s relationship is. But there is more to it than that and that is what I ended up truly loving about this book. This isn’t just a typical romance. There are some darker themes in this book, heavy things that each character deals with like abuse and the past. Between those themes and the romance this book was an amazing balance. Sure there were a few questionable moments for me, but that didn’t take away from the fact that this was an A+ reading experience. The King family is one you need to meet and Frank Evans needs to be in your life for sure! Check this series out.

Make sure you add these to your TBR!

What kind of romance books are your go tos?

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Briefly Romantic (2)

Today for Briefly Romantic I’m reviewing a cowboy romance, a radio jockey romance and a hockey romance. Nothing like a variety of professions to bring on the romance.

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Briefly Romantic (2)Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom
Published by Forever
on October 30, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-stars

In the New York Times tradition of Lori Wilde and Carolyn Brown comes the first book in a new western romance series from Forever debut author Carly Bloom about a no-strings cowboy fling with a fairy tale twist.

Who's afraid of the big, bad cowboy?

After one too many heartbreaks, Travis Blake hung up his cowboy hat and put Big Verde, Texas, behind him. But when he gets the call that his young nephew needs him, he knows he has to return home. His plan is to sell the family ranch and hightail it back to Austin, but there's a small problem: the one person who stands in his way is the one person he can't resist.

Maggie is pretty sure she hates Travis Blake. He's irritating, he's destroying her business, and . . . and he's just so frickin' attractive. But when they're forced to work together, Maggie discovers that the Most Annoying Man in the World is more than he seems. He's sweet with his nephew, he helps out in the community, and he makes her heart flutter. Maggie doesn't want to risk everything on a man who wants to leave, but what if she can convince this wayward cowboy to stay?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Big Bad Cowboy is 100% a mix of fairytale magic and You’ve Got Mail all in one little book package. It was a really fun story but a tad heavier in the serious aspect than some of the other romance books I have read in the past. Travis and Maggie had fantastic chemistry and I loved little Henry. He was a nice addition of comic relief a lot of the time. I also enjoyed the core group of supporting characters. If I had to complain about a thing or two I would have to say the pacing at the end was a little abrupt and I wish that Travis and Maggie fought a little more than they did because I love a good love/hate kind of story. All in all I enjoyed myself reading it and got wrapped up in parts (I almost missed my train stop). I recommend picking this up for a fun, quick read.

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Briefly Romantic (2)Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
on August 11, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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three-stars

Two radio show hosts. One show. Who will come out on top? In a moment of restlessness, Tate Grayson sold his multimillion-dollar company and spun his love of sports into a radio talk show. Life, and love, is too short to take seriously-a fact he enjoys rubbing in uptight radio host Noelle Butler's face. After the death of her parents, a tragedy she blamed on herself, Noelle vowed to live a controlled, focused life. Now a psychologist, she channels her need for connection into her radio show. But when the arrogant sportscaster next door tells listeners men shouldn't get married, she's all too happy to yank the silver spoon out of his overprivileged mouth. Their heated on-air arguments are a hit, but when the station director forces them to do a joint show for two weeks, Tate and Noelle object. They can't stand each other, despite the attraction sizzling beneath every interaction. But if they can't pull the struggling radio station back from the brink, they'll lose their jobs. Or worse, their hearts.

Tell Me Something Good was a fun story and a very quick read. It played up the enemy to love troupe very well and the banter and flirting between Noelle and Tate was spot on. I would say I enjoyed myself for about 80% of the book and then every cliché imaginable seemed to creep into the book and it pulled me out of the story a little and made me just want to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible and I certainly didn’t hate it, I just thought it had so much more potential. In the end I would say though to get it if you aren’t in the mood for anything too serious and something you can read in a day or even a few hours if you have the time.

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Briefly Romantic (2)The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
Published by Forever
on August 7, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

Experience the hilarity and heartache of first love and second chances in a sexy new romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series.

Lilah isn't sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she's no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.

Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.

Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan's already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he'll do anything to keep from losing her again.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Good Luck Charm was a really fun second chance romance story that surrounded around my other romance love, hockey. I swooned a lot reading this one and found Ethan and Lilah to have great chemistry. Honestly I wanted a whole book dedicated to their backstory when I was done. There was a minor part at the end that I wasn’t crazy about, but all in all it was a sexy, light, romance read. If you love sports romances mixed with second chance romance, this book is for you!

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Do you have a current favorite romance? Share in the comments!

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Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert

Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa AlbertThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books
on January 30th 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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two-stars

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When I first picked up The Hazel Wood I was really excited for a book that would use a modern time but throw fairytales into it. It seemed almost like a Once Upon a Time kind of a vibe based on the description. Sadly the book and my reading aesthetic just didn’t mesh as well as I wanted it to. I felt like I was wondering what was happening and what I was reading the whole book and I never quite jived with it. It also started really slow for me. It took a good 25% for me to feel like the story picked up and I also wasn’t a fan of some of the choices made in the last fourth of the book.

With that said, there was something that worked for me though. I actually really enjoyed the brief look we got at the Tales of the Hinterland. The writing in those fairytales was magical and enthralling. The story itself was not a creep fest like I had expected, but the fairytales found in Tales of the Hinterland were. They were dark and twisted and a little strange and oddly they were the part of the book I was excited about. The part of the book I wanted more of. Every time I got to read a little of one of the Hinterland fairytales I got excited for the book again, only to be a little let down.

What can I say about The Hazel Wood? It just wasn’t a book for me. Many of friends have loved it. Actually way more love it than had the same feelings I did. It just didn’t work for me. That being said, it may work for you. I will say that I’m really excited there will be a book released of the fairytales. That made me happy to hear. So while I won’t be running out to read this again or pick up the sequel, I will be picking up Tales from the Hinterland. Also the cover is a work of art!

What book is the last one you read that didn’t live up to your expectations?

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Briefly Romantic (1)

I have been a fan of romance books for a long time, but I never got into the habit of reviewing them unless it was for a blog tour. To be honest I always found it hard to review a romance book. The set up is the same 95% of the time so there really isn’t much to talk about besides characters and the love of the story, which can be quite short. Well that brings me to this. Welcome to my new review feature, Briefly Romantic.

This post is dedicated to the publisher Forever

Briefly Romantic (1)One and Only by Jenny Holiday
Published by Forever
on February 27th 2018
Format: eARC, eBook
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four-stars

In this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday proves that when opposites attract, sparks fly.

Miss Responsibility meets Mr. Reckless
With her bridezilla friend on a DIY project rampage, bridesmaid Jane Denning will do anything to escape - even if it means babysitting the groom's troublemaker brother before the wedding. It should be a piece of cake, except the "cake" is a sarcastic former soldier who is 100% wicked hotness and absolutely off-limits.

Cameron MacKinnon is ready to let loose after returning from his deployment. But first he'll have to sweet talk the ultra-responsible Jane into taking a walk on the wild side. Turns out, riling her up is the best time he's had in years. But what happens when the fun and games start to turn into something real?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One and Only was such a fun book. It had the typical plot, good girl with the reckless guy, but it felt anything but typical. It felt new and fresh. Jane and Cameron were anything but the stereotypes they were place in if you got to know them. And quite honestly they brought out the best in each other, kind of the ying to each others yang. They also had some of the best banter! They played off ea ch other nicely and were able to just be themselves when they were together without having to worry about the preconceived notions others had of them. All in all this was a fantastic start to a new series. I personally can’t wait to see what the next bridesmaid will be up to!

 

Briefly Romantic (1)Slammed by Victoria Denault
Published by Forever
on December 5th 2017
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four-stars

Not every goalie plays it safe...
As a publicist for the San Francisco Thunder hockey team, Dixie Braddock is too busy rescuing the players from trouble to get into any of her own. Except, of course, when it comes to the super hot new goalie. Because when a guy's kiss curls your toes and sets your heart on fire, how the hell do you just walk away? But if anyone ever catches them together, she'll lose her job faster than any slapshot.Eli Casco is on the brink of having everything he ever wanted. He's finally been called up from the minor leagues to play on a championship team. And he just had the most mind-blowing night with the woman of his dreams. But now that he's an official Thunder player, Dixie is determined to keep her distance. None of the fame and fortune means anything to him without her to share it. If he truly wants Dixie in his life, it's time to throw down his gloves and put everything on the line.


The San Francisco Thunder series:

Score

It was strongly suggested I read Slammed, so I went against my policy of starting a series from the beginning and picked this one up. I’m so happy that I did. It was a really fun book. Eli and Dixie had the most amazing chemistry from the beginning to the end and I didn’t get that romance reading anxiety from the break-up that almost always comes. Because of how the story was written I wasn’t anxious for the dreaded moment and I really appreciated that. As a fan of hockey romances (I read a lot of them), this was definitely up there as a favorite and I’m grateful I broken my rule. After meeting Eli and Dixie I will happily go back and read book one.

Briefly Romantic (1)The Last King by Katee Robert
Published by Forever
on April 3rd 2018
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

Ultra wealthy and super powerful, the King family is like royalty in Texas. But who will keep the throne? New York Times bestselling author Katee Robert introduces a red-hot new series.

THE MAN SHE HATES TO LOVE

Beckett King just inherited his father's fortune, his company-and all his enemies. If he's going to stay on top, he needs someone he can trust beside him. And though they've been rivals for years, there's no one he trusts more than Samara Mallick.

The rebel. That's how Samara has always thought of Beckett. And he's absolutely living up to his unpredictable ways when he strides into her office and asks for help. She can't help wondering if it's a legit request or just a ploy to get her into bed. Not that she'd mind either one. After all, she likes to live on the edge too.

But soon the threats to the King empire are mounting, and the two find family secrets darker than they ever imagined and dangerous enough to get them both killed.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Last King is proof why you can’t always give up on an author. While I tried to read Katee Roberts before and it ended with a DNF, this one was fantastic! I loved the romance and the thriller involved in it. Beckett and Samara had the greatest push/pull relationship. When they let their guard down with one another the sparks really flew and the chemistry was off the charts. They were smart in understanding what a relationship between them would look like, but they were also unable to stay away from one another. And the thriller aspect was just enough to not feel over the top even with a few of the twists that happened. The end felt a tad off and rushed, but other than that everything about this wooed me. I can’t wait for book 2!

Make sure you have all three of these on your TBR!

What kind of romance books do you love? Share in the comments!

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Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina Ciocca

Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Published by Simon Pulse
on March 6th 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The first time I read a book by Gina Ciocca was her debut, Last Year’s Mistake, in 2015. I enjoyed the book a lot. I really clicked with the writing. So when I saw Gina had another book, Busted, coming out in 2018 I was beyond excited. Read and loved that. And then there was A Kiss in the Dark. A book that sounded like equal parts romance and mystery mixed with a lot of teen angst. I was dying to get my hands on it. And when I did…loved! It was really everything I had built it up to be in my head and I’m so happy.

This book was the perfect mix of mystery and contemporary romance. As a reader what I loved is that I didn’t have the whole story from the beginning. You know that something happened. You know that friendships ended and hearts were broken, it you didn’t know why it happened and who was involved. All it took was one unforgettable kiss in the dark for Macy to go back to that year and unravel just what lead to it all falling apart and to figure out who kissed her and why. It was done really well. I had no clue what happened and how it lead to all the destruction until I was about 70% done, although I figured out the kiss early on.

On top of loving the mystery/romance aspect it helped that I loved the three main people involved, Ben, Joel and Macy. All three played a part in the mess that was their lives and it took a year for them to face it and to try and fix what they broke or missed completely. I highly enjoyed seeing their story unfold and the secrets they were hiding. Plus I admit to being a tad smitten with Ben. Sue me, he’s adorable.

All in all I think this was my favorite book by Gina Ciocca. There is something about her books that I just click with. Her writing style just gets me and I need more of her stories in my life. This is an author you need to check out and this is a book you need to read!

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