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
Amazon, Goodreads

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 from Netgalley, Purchased 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
Amazon, Goodreads

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
Amazon, Goodreads

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 from Netgalley, Purchased 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
Amazon, Goodreads

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 from Netgalley 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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Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel Cleeton

I started the Wild Aces series on a whim. For some reason I don’t read a ton of military. Honestly I’m not sure why because I love the idea/ concept of them and I have generally loved the ones I have read. Maybe I don’t read a lot of them because they don’t stand out to me? I’m really not sure.  But when I came across the description for Fly With Me and the library happened to have a copy I figured it was meant to be so I started the series and once again I wasn’t disappointed. Did I love all 3 books equally? No. But I really did enjoy all three of them as a whole story putting all the pieces together.

 

Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonFly with Me by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley
on May 3rd 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon, Goodreads

From the author of the Capital Confessions Novels comes the first in the steamy Wild Aces Romance series.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

I am a sucker for a Vegas weekend/one night stand story. I don’t know why, but I love them (especially if there is a drunken marriage, not this book, but in general). So Fly With Me was destined to rate high with me and it did. There was just something about Noah and Jordan’s story and their chemistry. You felt it right away and it never went away. I think about I loved about them the most was how adult they were about everything. They really talked things through and didn’t just fly off the handle. More romance books could use that. But really I loved their story and I loved how it all unfolded in the end.

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Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonInto the Blue by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.

Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.

Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

I wasn’t as in love with Into the Blue as I was with Fly With Me. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was fun and a good read, but I wasn’t as in love with Eric and Becca’s story. I loved Eric and his story. I loved how he was affected so much by something that happened in Fly With Me. It was Becca that I struggled with. There was something about her that just didn’t make me love her. I did love them together because I do love a good second chance, rekindled relationship story, but something was just a tad off. Still more than just liked it, but I think I just wanted more.

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Mini Reviews #5 – Wild Aces series by Chanel CleetonOn Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton
Published by Berkley Books
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

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

On Broken Wings was the book I wanted to read most in the Wild Aces series. As soon as I met Easy in Fly With Me and saw the chemistry he had with Dani I wanted to see their story. I knew it wouldn’t be simple based on circumstances, but I really wanted to see what was there for them. On Broken Wings did exactly that and more. I was pretty much an emotional wreck the whole book and I have never been happier. Just thinking about Dani and Easy and their relationship makes me smile and breaks my heart. It was everything I wanted their story to be and so much more. Truthfully I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but this was by far my favorite of the series.

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Mini Reviews #4

Mini Reviews #4Wrecked by Maria Padian
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
on October 4th 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

Everyone on campus has a different version of what happened that night.

Haley saw Jenny return from the party, shell-shocked.

Richard heard Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with.

When Jenny accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard are pushed to opposite sides of the school’s investigation. Now conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible--especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Wrecked offers a kaleidoscopic account of a sexual assault on a college campus. It will leave you thinking about how memory, identity, and who sits in judgment shape what we all decide to believe about the truth.

Wrecked was a weird reading experience for me. To be honest I hated the characters. There truthfully wasn’t one character that I actually liked. I don’t think I was supposed to like any of them so that was a bit of a struggle. But I loved the story and how true it felt. And it is a story that a lot of people need to read because like it or not these things happen more and more in college and I think we need to pay more attention to that as a society.

I guess the first thing I can say about Wrecked was I didn’t envy Haley’s position. It’s hard to put into words really. I 100% felt for Jenny, even if I didn’t like her all the time, I can’t imagine what she was going through and how hard it was for her. I also felt bad for Haley. What she was asked to do for Jenny would have been hard if it had been your best friend for years and years and years. But Haley and Jenny had only known each other a few months and here she was with this responsibility. It honestly made me think what I would have done in that position. It was a terrible place for both characters when it comes down to it and I didn’t want to be either one of them.

I guess when it comes down to it Wrecked is just an important book. It’s a book that realistically looks at a he said/she said argument in terms of sexual assault. It’s a book that shows you how sides are drawn and how people are put in the middle. A book that shows you how the victim is made into a criminal. Like the characters or not, it’s a book that should be read.

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Mini Reviews #4For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.

Having just read Stacey Kade’s book, 738 Days, not that long ago, I was excited with the prospect of reading another by her. The concept of For This Life Only sounded great. It totally seemed to be a book that was my kind of book. Sadly when I finished it I didn’t have the same feelings I felt when I read 738 Days. To be truthful I was really conflicted (still am) on how I felt about it.

I guess in all honesty it kind of threw me a little as I was reading. I didn’t expect For This Life Only to have such a strong religious theme to it and it did. Don’t get me wrong, I will happily read books that are religious themed (Pure by Terra Elan McVoy and Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker are two of my favorites) but I want to know it is going to be religious when I go in. I had no idea this book was going to be and it threw me a little.

I really liked the idea behind the book, still do, but in the end I felt like a lot wasn’t answered and the religious aspect was huge but really didn’t even add to the story. I guess I don’t know what felt off for me, but something did and when all is said and done I was sad. If you do decide to read For This Life Only know there are religious parts. Maybe knowing that going in will make a difference. I wish I did.

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Mini Reviews #4Game On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek #1
Published by Bloomsbury Spark
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.

Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.

In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.

Game On is definitely my favorite of the two books in the Lewis Creek stories. Eric and Bri’s story was the perfect “girl next door” type of story. Seriously I just loved both of these characters so much. And they played off each other perfectly. They had a natural chemistry and you just couldn’t help falling for them. They were both in a place where they needed to grow and change and I think finding their lost friendship was a way for them to do that.

I guess what I liked the most was how Michelle Smith told the story of Eric and Bri. They didn’t go from not being friends to being friends in the blink of an eye. It was a process and it slowly happened, naturally happened. And when it did they remembered all the things that had made them besties in the first place and built off of that. That was what I enjoyed the most and what made Game On a book I would recommend.

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Mini Reviews #3

Mini Reviews #3Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Published by Simon Pulse
on August 16th 2016
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together... separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.

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

I was really excited for Cherry. It seemed like a book that would be something different in the YA book world and it was. It was very sex positive for females taking control of their bodies and what they want. It also had a great friendship aspect which I have said more than once I think I lacking in YA. All of that really worked for me. But when all was said in done I ended up being disappointed. The entire book is written in 3rd person but for 4 different people’s stories. Because of that I found myself being pulled out of the book. It felt so clinical and like it was being told at me and not to me. It lost some of the greatness about it for me because of this. Also it was super long for the kind of story it was. In the end I was just meh about Cherry and that made me sad.

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Mini Reviews #3A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads


When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

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

I admit at first I wasn’t sure if this book would work. After reading the same day twice I was scared the book would run out of steam by the time I got to the 4th Monday. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The days didn’t get boring and monotonous, they got more and more interesting. They became a way for Ellison to find out who she really was and see how capable she was to do things. That is what I really liked about Mondays. With Ellison not having any consequences she was able to really see who she was and what she wanted out of life. Instead of the book being boring I ended up really want to know what would happen and excited for there to be a new day for things to get messy. Plus Ellie’s BFF? Oh how I hearted him! In the end A Week of the Mondays was a fun read that kept me entertained and one I think you will enjoy too.

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Mini Reviews #3Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 


In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

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

I didn’t love Rookie Move as much as I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t painful to read nor did I hate it, I just didn’t grab me in a way other sports NA/romances have and that was a letdown. I guess what was really bothersome through the whole book was the coach. I didn’t really understand him nor why he was doing what he was doing to Leo. As a grown-up and person of authority he should have known better. Plus he had no idea what he was even talking about which was really annoying to me. I did really like Georgia and Leo together. They had a great chemistry that sparked. But all in all something just felt off. I am eager to read the read of the boys books and to see who Sarina Bowen will give us next. Mark this one as just okay.

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