The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

5 STARS!

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Review:

Okay. I LOVE CHRISTINA LAUREN BOOKS! While I love some of their books more than others, I consistently know I will get a creative romance read no matter what. This book didn’t remind me of any other book I’ve read, which is saying something since I’ve read hundreds of romance books.

When it come to characters, an element I love is close families. Olive’s family may annoy her at times, but at the end of the day, they are the family that supports and loves each other. Something I appreciated about Olive, was that she is still growing. She’s hilarious, and I totally related to her. I always joke that I have the worst luck. Also, I have an affection for bad liars, it really makes for some great comedy! Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. I really wish I had gotten more from him, but I think that is mostly due to it all being in Olive’s perspective. He does give some amazing apologies, so that is a definite plus in the pros column.

Plotwise, this is a damn rollercoaster, and I loved it! You’d think with so many things happening, it would be overwhelming, but the authors did a beautiful job of weaving all of the elements together. I was engrossed in this story and stayed up until 4am to finish it. Yeah, not smart, but it just couldn’t be avoided. I just needed to know what happened! So, I read this book in one sitting, and would definitely recommend it to my fellow romance readers!

Special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Sidelined by Suzanne Baltzar

3.5 Stars

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Release Date: August 27, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Synopsis: When Connor McGuire loses out on his dream job of being the head coach of the local high school football team, he thinks life can’t get any worse. Then he discovers just who got the coveted position—it was a handout to the kid of a well-known, successful college coach. Connor’s sure this is just a publicity stunt, but the kid turns out to be not only a sharp strategist, but a driven and sexy young woman, too. Frustrated in more ways than one, Connor realizes that he might have to step up his game or risk losing altogether.

Coach Charlotte “Charlie” Gibb calls a flag on the play when she finds out that her very male, very attractive, but definitely-rooting-for-her-to-lose assistant coach resents her for taking what he considers to be his rightful position. But never one to back down from a little healthy competition, Charlie is determined to prove her worth—both on and off the field.

Review: What I love most about this book is Charlie. The position of power, all the work she did to get there, and how she persists through all the crap thrown at her. She’s strong, but still expresses her emotions. She pretty much defies being categorized, and I absolutely love that too! She’s just a very real character. I was even annoyed with her at times, but her realness is what makes the story. Connor is slightly redeemable, but I could take him or leave him. I do like the friend group Connor has though. The story also has some relevant social justice issues that I appreciated. Overall, it was a cute romance read.

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Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

5 STARS!!

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Release Date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:

Bonnie Blythe has modeled her life after her favorite books. If only her fiancé would get on the same page and agree to a wedding date.

She’s not at all bitter that her best friend is getting married to a man she’s known for less than a year, and Bonnie most definitely isn’t thinking about the best man to be, Theo Wharton. It’s just whenever she talks with the blue-eyed Brit, sparks fly.

When a shocking reveal ends Bonnie’s engagement, she accepts a summer teaching job at Cambridge—only an hour away from Theo. Bonnie isn’t ready for a new relationship, but the chemistry between her and Theo is impossible to ignore. But Theo’s been hiding the truth about his identity; will Bonnie be able to weather the plot twist and grab the happily ever after of her dreams?

Review:

Heavy-handed there much, Lady Catherine? Bonnie had often wished to be in the middle of an Austen novel. Only now that she was, she couldn’t wait to escape.”

Okay, the moment when Bonnie meets Theo in Getting Hot with the Scot, I just knew I needed their story. Smitten by the Brit did NOT disappoint. Bonnie is always spouting off Shakespeare and Austen, which makes me love her even more. She’s been with the same guy since she was just a little girl, and she cast him, her best friend, and herself in the roles of Anne of Green Gables. She’s a total book nerd, which I’m sure many of us can relate to. She is just so sweet, yet strong, and I really enjoy that in a female character.

Don’t even get me started on the dashing and chivalrous Theo. Just kidding, I definitely want to talk about one of my new book boyfriends. We got a peek at the amazingness that is Theo when he helped Cassie in Getting Hot with the Scot, but man you really get to see it in this story. He is just always trying to do what’s right. But he does get to experience the saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Will he completely screw everything up, that question is exactly what kept me sucked in to the very end.

And did I mention Theo’s sister helps Bonnie plan a hen party, which ends up being Harry Potter themed?! YES, this book is THAT AWESOME. I already preordered my physical copy, because I need to hold this piece of heaven in my hands.

Special thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Tumble by Adriana Locke

5 STARS!!

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Release Date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Synopsis:

After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.

Devoted single dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.

What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance?

Review:

Dane Madden. DANE MADDEN. That seriously could be my whole review, and not because I stayed up until 3:30am to finish this in one sitting.

Adriana Locke does it again, and by it, I mean wrote an amazing romance story that had me smiling like a fool by the end. First of all, I’m a sucker for a single dad romance. Second, there is a strong and independent female lead. Third, there is an amazing friend group that I’m dying to know more about.

Okay, let’s start with Dane. He is always trying to do the right thing, but tends to mess it up somehow–let’s just say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. His relationship with his daughter is the freakin’ cutest thing ever. Plus, he just has this whole hot-caring-man-ness about him throughout the book that I just love.

Then there is Neely, who has every right to be completely pissed and heartbroken about what happened so long ago. She is strong and chasing a dream despite the heartbreak, and I just admire her for that. Her journey throughout this story is just so relatable for women “doing it all.”

Lastly, while I’m loving all of the friends, Penn is the silly playboy with a heart of gold that I can’t wait to see fall hard. His book, I’m HERE FOR IT!

Long story short, READ THIS BOOK!

Special thank you to Montlake Romance and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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This book will be on

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Now or Never by Victoria Denault

4.5 Stars!!

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Release Date: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Forever Yours

Synopsis:

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 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.

The San Francisco Thunder series: 
Score
Slammed
When It’s Right

Review:

I read this book in one sitting. The prologue pulled me right in when it showcased Winnie as a teenager I would have loved to be friends with. She encounters Holden Hendrix, who seems like a complete jerk, but what Winnie’s father says to her after the “incident” is this:

“But the thing is, which I only know now because I’m older, kids your age are usually mean or aggressive for a reason. It’s rarely because they want to be that way. It’s usually a reaction, a defense mechanism or coping skill, for something they can’t handle themselves.”

This is the line that told me I was going to love this story. When people judge adults strictly on their teenage years, they are discounting a person’s ability to grow, change, and be resilient. Also, this is the fiction rendering of a trauma-informed care lens. I love when fictional stories expose readers to such relevant topics!

This is a story of redemption and understanding the motivations behind one’s actions. Winnie is experiencing so much loss, and Holden is battling his own demons, but they go through a journey together that you just know is going to take them to a better place. This book will give you all the feels, and also make you think about how you perceive the actions of others. Not to mention Winnie’s family are just people you want to know–which means I will need to read books 1-3!

Special thank you to Forever Yours and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

ALL THE STARS!!!

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Release Date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Synopsis:

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I am so in love with characters that are realistically flawed. Both Annie and Clay have been through trauma that impacts how they function in the world. They mess up, they get emotional, and they handle things pretty poorly at times. With all that, the message of this book still comes though loud and clear; you are capable of overcoming your traumatic experiences, even though it can be hard as hell.

Seriously, this book is a damn emotional rollercoaster in the best way. Annie Mathers is messy and kind and caring. Clay is a complete mess, but just trying to find his way. I may have hated him a couple times, but it never stuck. They both have a strong support system, but the way they utilize them is another story.  The characters pull at your heart strings, that’s for sure. I don’t want to give to much away, but if you’re looking for a book that makes you feel all the emotions, this is the one for you.

Pre-order it here.

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Special thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want PLOT SPOILERS!

Counselor Considerations:

Main Characters’ Ages: 18-19

Social/Emotional: Family: Death of Parents (Suicide, Overdose, Cancer), Death of Sibling (Military), Friends as family, Supportive Family  Social: Social expectations, Mending Friendships, Empathy, Change, Judgement, Underaged Drinking, Alcohol Abuse, Attention Seeking Behavior, Unhealthy Relationships, Sex, Virginity, People Pleasing, Childhood Trauma, Building your own Support System

College/Career: Navigating Career with Fame, Personal Life Impacts Career, Responsibility, High School Dropout, Back to College

Academic: N/A

Happy Ever After (HEA)

Falling for the Cowboy Dad by Patricia Johns

3.5 Stars!

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Release Date: March 1, 2019

Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming

Synopsis:

He’s always been the one…

She’s always been just a friend! 

Grace Beverly spent years hopelessly in love with her best friend, Billy Austin. Now he’s back in Eagle’s Rest, Colorado, determined to provide the best life possible for his four-year-old daughter. He’s just not sure how. Helping Billy navigate the world of parenting is a one-way ticket back to heartache. Yet how can Grace say no to her oldest friend?

Review:

This is a good book if you like an easy romance read with a friends to lovers romance–the unseen best friend, and the caring man who has his own insecurities. There’s tension woven throughout the whole story, and everything is up in the air until the very end. The juxtaposition of Poppy and Billy really pulls at the heart strings, and Poppy has the cutest personality ever. And then there’s Grace who has found her confidence and is so caring. This is a character driven plot and all of the characters pulled me into the story. The ending was a little abrupt for me, but I’m still a sucker for a HEA.

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***Thank you so much to Harlequin and NetGalley for the chance to read this early by giving me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!***

Rock Rebel by Tara Leigh

5 STARS!!!

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Release Date: December 11, 2018

Publisher: Forever Yours

Synopsis:

He’s a rock star with a secret; she’s a pop princess with a painful past, can their forbidden romance survive, or will their lies destroy them both?

I’ve earned my bad reputation.

A few years ago, I was New York City’s hottest classical music prodigy. But I wanted something else, something more. So I chased my real dream, and now… I’m rock royalty. Dax Hughes, lead guitarist of Nothing but Trouble. But to my family and former Juilliard classmates, I’m an outcast. A misfit. A rebel.

They’re not entirely wrong. I don’t give a damn what other people think, and I’m all for breaking the rules… except when it comes to our new opening act, Verity Moore.

Rock gods don’t tour with pop princesses.

It’s not personal. Actually, under that fallen diva reputation, Verity’s incredibly talented. And her fiery redheaded personality is… intriguing. But I’m convinced the skeletons in Verity’s closet are as scandalous as my own, and when we’re not sparring, she has a way of drawing out all those secrets I’m determined to keep hidden.

Yeah. Verity Moore is definitely off-limits . . .
But since when do I give a damn about the rules?

Review:

I’m just really loving the Nothing but Trouble series! Hot and flawed rock stars, strong and messy women, and just a lot of awesome friendships. Verity was such a powerful character, and I just loved her strength and growth. It can be really hard to accept your past, and move onto a better future, and her character did exactly that. I also appreciate Tara Leigh addressing the #metoo movements impact, and how grey the incidents can be. It’s confusing and troubling, but women are resilient and so very strong. Verity is a wonderful representation of that strength with her own unique situation full of highs and lows. The characters were just so human, and I LOVED that. I’d definitely recommend this series, and I can’t wait for Jett’s story next!

 

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***Thank you so much to Forever Yours and NetGalley for the chance to read this early by giving me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!***

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

5 Stars!

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Release Date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Berkeley

Synopsis:

A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father…not to mention tall and sexy. He’s everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise’s romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can’t help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true…

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she’s inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he’s not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it’s going to be to walk away…

Review:

Okay, first of all we have an English professor who wants to turn an old Victorian house into a romance bookstore. I feel like that is enough to sell this book. Then we have a single dad who looks like one of the cover models for a cowboy romance novel. If that’s not enough, you have great female friendships and a rescue kitten.This book was so much fun to read. I love the relationships in this book, the romance is adorable, and all the romance book references are just the cherry on top. I would definitely recommend this to romance readers everywhere!!

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***Thank you so much to Berkeley and First to Read for the chance to read this early by giving me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!***

Risky Play by Rachel Van Dyken

5 Stars!!

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Release Date: March 19,2019

Publisher: Skyscape

Synopsis:

Even one-night stands deserve a second chance in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s novel of sporting desire.

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

Review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I really do enjoy Rachel Van Dyken books, and this one was no different. I was completely invested in where the main characters were going. Mack was kind, but strong and I appreciated that about her. Slade, once he deals with his crap, is caring and hilarious. I love the friendship between Matt and Slade, and the dynamics of Slade and Jagger during their community service. There is a lot going on and I love it all! I’m excited to see where she takes this series, and I hope we see more of Mack and Slade in the future books.

 

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