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Book Review: 28 Summers, by Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers,

by Elin Hilderbrand

Publication: Little, Brown, and Company; June 16, 2020

28 summersAbout:

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flashback to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

**My Review**

I am a pretty big fan of Elin Hilderbrand. When I think of her novels, I typically think of escape/summer/beach-reads. 28 Summers is somewhat different. This is about Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud and their decades-long love affair where they meet once a year for Labor Day weekend. The prologue is set in 2020 when Mallory is dying and tells her son to find a paper in her desk and call the number. Then the meat of the novel starts in 1993 when Mallory is living miserably in New York with a childhood friend until she finds out that a family member has passed and left her a cottage on Nantucket. Not long after she gets settled in, her brother Cooper brings a couple of friends up for a bachelor party weekend, where Mallory and Jake meet. After their wonderful weekend together, they decide that they will get together at the cottage every year for Labor Day weekend, no matter what. 

There’s a lot to go over here, so bear with me. Also, based on other reviews, I don’t think my opinions will be very popular.

I’ll start with the characters. There is Mallory who is beautiful, bright, charismatic, and independent. Jake is immediately drawn to her and honestly, so was I. Jake was also instantly charming with his good looks and easy conversation and banter. Mallory’s brother Cooper, I really don’t know what to say. I think he got married like 5 times in the book. Cooper and Jake’s friend, Fray seemed o.k. initially but changed. But overall, I think this is probably the biggest group of unlikable characters that I have seen in a book, especially when it came to Leland and Ursula. Mallory started out with such great potential, but then spent decades dropping everything for one weekend with Jake while breaking hearts the rest of the year with a variety of boyfriends and/or lovers. There was so much lying and so little self-worth on her part, that I just could not like her. My feelings for Jake also continued on a downward spiral as I read. Why was he so spineless? His wife basically emotionally bullied him for decades yet he said nothing and did nothing. His character had such potential in the beginning and although he never seemed unkind, per se, it was just hard to maintain any positive feelings about him.

Normally I am a fan of Hilderbrand’s writing style, but 28 Summers confused me. I did not understand the narration at all and it was inconsistent throughout the novel. The first few chapters contain an unknown narrator referring to Mallory as “our girl” and in another chapter referring to Jake as “our boy.” Who was saying this? It happens a few times and then switches to Mallory or Jake’s point of view. I’m not a fan of anything other than first-person POV but second or third is fine as long as it makes sense. 

But my biggest issues were the plot itself. It is never really explained why they decide to do the “same time next year” thing. They are both single at the time this all starts. So why exactly does Jake continue to move forward with Ursula rather than standing up for himself and heading off to be with Mallory? Was it money? Family expectations? Why? That drove me crazy because I kept wondering if there would be some big revelation other than Jake’s refusal to speak up for himself. 

The worst part of this, however, was the politics.

Every year has some sort of political thing mixed in, even a fictionalized version of the Kavanaugh case. A woman is running for President, a family is divided because Mallory’s Aunt fell in love with a woman, and I don’t even remember what else because I skimmed over most of those parts. Why throw so much political filler into what could have been a nice, relaxing read? I love that she has a female character running for President, but why did she have to be a lying, backstabbing, shady, and adulteress woman? And why did Jake and their daughter have to be cast as this miserable, obedient family that bows down to the woman running for President?  

As you can see, this is not my favorite novel by Elin Hildebrand. However, many reviews are very positive so check it out for yourself. There were just too many inconsistencies, unlikeable characters, and far too much politics for what I consider an enjoyable women’s fiction novel. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown, & Company for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Book Reviews, Release Blitz

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Drowning, by Hope Jones

 

Title: Drowning
Author: Hope Jones
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 2, 2020

 

Blurb 
Imagine orchestrating your divorce under false pretenses.
That’s precisely what Cecilia Topps did. After receiving a disturbing diagnosis, Cecilia felt like she was drowning, unable to take a breath. She didn’t want to bring her
husband down with her, so she created a damaging lie.
Cameron Topps had been going through the motions for seven years. The betrayal he felt from his wife left him numb and unable to love again. His indifference led to hatred when he walked into his bar, seeing his wife again after unknowingly hiring
her.
Secrets are exposed, lines are crossed, and Cameron finally learns the truth about his divorce. Is he willing to drown with Cecilia all over again, or will he move on
for good?

 

**My Review**
Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for Hope Jones’ latest novel, Drowning. I will warn you ahead of time that I’m a bit all over the place on my thoughts about this book, but I wasn’t able to put it down as soon as I had read the first page. 
The book begins with a very tense prologue between husband and wife, Cameron and Cecilia, and appears to be the end of the marriage. The novel then moves forward about 7 years where Cameron is opening his own night club and Cecilia is a sought-after mixologist. Unknowingly, Cameron’s manager books an appointment with Cecilia, so the exes are thrown together after years of not seeing or communicating with one another – and it doesn’t go well. But soon, curiosity and desire get the best of Cameron and he decides to move forward with their working relationship. Although they quickly realize that all of the old feelings and chemistry is still there between them. 
I loved Cameron and think he should win book husband/ex-husband of the year award. This man is hurt terribly and has been dealing with that hurt and anger for years when Cecilia suddenly re-enters his life. Moreover, I like how he handled things after learning the truth about their divorce. As other secrets came out, he probably could have handled those a little better, but overall, that man was devoted, committed, patient, kind, and every other positive adjective I can think of.
Now here’s the part where I predict my thoughts are in the minority based on some other reviews that I have read. And I am doing everything in my power not to give anything away. But as a person that has spent most of their adult life working with children, adolescents, and adults with Celilia’s illness, I found her actions a bit over the top. Based on the blurb, you know she lies to Cameron to make him walk away, thinking that she’s sparing him this miserable and difficult life with her. Then her later actions were even more mind-blowing to me. According to a January 2020 fact sheet on WHO’s website, more than 264 million people worldwide of all ages suffer from the same illness as Cecilia and I just started to imagine, what if everyone had her same reaction to a problem? I am in no way diminishing the seriousness because again, in some capacity or another, I have worked with people suffering from this disease in varying degrees of severity since I was in college (many years ago, lol).
Anyway, moving on and remembering that this is, in fact, a fiction novel, I will get back to what I loved about Drowning. This book is full of emotion, chemistry, and of course – love. The connection between Cameron and Cecilia is evident very early on and you will be rooting for them from the beginning to the end. Secondly, I love the creativity that went into this book. The plot, the characters, the storyline – even Cecilia’s job. I love it when I read something fresh and different that doesn’t feel like a different version of a story I’ve heard a million times. But one of the most remarkable things about Drowning is Hope Jones’ writing style. This is her 3rd novel, but her writing reads like someone that has been doing this for years. Her language, dialogue, and descriptors read like a very well-oiled machine, with a perfect balance of characterization to truly bring them all to life. This book is emotional but romantic. It’s suspenseful but comes with a very satisfying conclusion. I definitely recommend this to contemporary/second-chance romance fans that want a bit more substance. This isn’t a quick and easy read, but you will enjoy it. 
**Don’t forget the Kleenex with this one!
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
Prologue
“I’m sorry.” My words were muffled by the hiccup of tears
and snot running down my face. I tilted my eyes down. I couldn’t look at him.
My poor, sweet Cam. He would never forgive me. I knew this. It was what I
wanted. 
I wanted—no, needed him to walk out our
front door and not look back. I needed him to hate me. 
“You’re sorry? That’s what you have to say?” He was calm, so
damn calm it physically made me sick. I knew it was because he was hurting. I
knew that hurt was eating him alive. 
I couldn’t say anything past the lump in my throat, so I
nodded instead.
Cam looked at me, looked through me and for
a moment, I was worried he would see that I was lying and try to demand the
truth from me. I would deny it. I didn’t want him to know the truth. I wanted
him to think I had done the unthinkable, done something he’d never be able to
get over. 
My beautiful, broken husband stared into my eyes for two
solid minutes without flinching. He said absolutely nothing. His gaze flitted
between both of my eyes, then down to my nose, my lips, lingering there, then
finally back to my eyes. I bit my lip nervously, waiting for him to say “Ah-ha”
and catch me in my lie. 
Cam never did, though. I wasn’t going to deny it made me a
little upset that he didn’t know me well enough to know I was lying. I wanted
to take back the words that had left my mouth five minutes ago. I wanted to
take back the entire day, but it wasn’t possible, and I needed to accept what
my new life was going to look like. 
“I can’t even look at you,” Cam muttered, turning away from
me. I caught the curled lip and glare on his face before his back was facing
me. Hurt so strong filled my chest and made it feel like it would explode and
not in a good way. 
God, the pain was so bad. 
I had to rub my chest, right above my heart, but it didn’t
ease the ache I had put there. 
Cameron, the man I had married two years ago, grabbed his
coat off the hook in the foyer and opened the front door. He turned around,
glancing at me one last time. That last time was enough to make a sob escape my
throat. He had a single tear running down his face then splashing on his broad
shoulders. 
I had never seen him cry before. Not when his mother died,
not when we had to put down our first dog, and not when we had gotten married.
Never. That lonely tear trekking down his cheek broke me and I knew, down in
my bones, I would never be the same after putting that tear
there. 
I didn’t speak a word and Cam walked out, slamming the door
behind him, making me jump. I finally crumpled, falling into the fetal position
on the couch and crying until I couldn’t breathe. I had done this to myself. I
knew it had to be done, but that didn’t make it easier. 
Two hours later, he hadn’t come back and I knew he wasn’t
going to. He wouldn’t come back until he knew I was gone. I had packed the
majority of my stuff, placing the few boxes in my small car. I only took my
clothes. I didn’t feel right taking anything we had gotten together when we
moved into this house. 
Glancing around the place I had shared with my husband for
the last year, I felt a level of sadness that I didn’t know I would continue to
feel for six months. It settled over my shoulder like a blanket, except it was
cold—a cold blanket of nastiness. 
At least that blanket wouldn’t be wrapped around Cameron. He
didn’t deserve that. 
I fired off a text to him, locked our front door and left
the key on the porch, then backed my car out of our driveway for the last
time. 
Me: I’m so sorry, I never meant to hurt you. I
love you and always will. 
I didn’t speak to Cameron again until two months later after
a stranger showed up on my doorstep serving me with divorce papers. I could
have let those papers kill me, but I knew it was Cameron’s best chance at a
decent life, so I went to the court dates. I didn’t fight him. He petitioned
for everything except my car. I gave him everything. That’s what he
deserved. 
Author Bio
Hope Jones is the wife of her very own alpha male and the mother of four
beautiful daughters. She lives in a small town in South Carolina, but was born
in Brunswick, GA. She’s always had a love for reading, even at a young age
thrillers always interested her. As she got older, romance mixed with some
thriller/suspense became her obsession.
If you can’t find Hope glued to her Kindle, you’ll usually find her
chasing her girls around, running her hectic household, and plotting stories
for the alpha men that have taken over her mind.

 

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Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Book tour, review, & giveaway: A Little Bit Wicked, by Melissa Foster

A captivatingly funny and deeply emotional new standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster. When the Dark Knights at Bayside and the cast of Bayside Summers collide, sparks fly, and trouble—or maybe love—is not far behind.

Set on the sandy shores of Cape Cod, the Wickeds feature fiercely protective heroes, strong heroines, and unbreakable family bonds. If you think bikers are all the same, you haven’t met the Dark Knights. The Dark Knights are a motorcycle club, not a gang. Their members stick together like family and will stop at nothing to keep their communities safe. Their stories are told in the same loving, passionate voice readers have come to adore from Melissa. Some of the Wickeds’ love stories will be hilariously fun, others will tear at your heartstrings with injections of humor, but they will all leave you wishing you could climb between the pages and join them!

In A LITTLE BIT WICKED…

What do a cocky biker and a businesswoman who has sworn off dating bad boys have in common? According to Chloe Mallery, not much.

Justin came into the Wicked family after a harsh upbringing by a thieving father. He’s gone through a lot to become a true Wicked, and he’s made them proud. Now he’s ready to show the woman he loves exactly what type of man he is. But Chloe Mallery has worked hard to move past her difficult upbringing, and she’s wary of getting involved with a man who looks like he’s walked right out of it. When tragedy strikes, will their trying pasts draw them together, or will Justin’s protective nature be too much for Chloe’s independent heart to accept?

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

*My Review*

Welcome to my stop on the tour for Melissa Foster’s latest release, A Little Bit Wicked! This novel is about Justin Wicked and Chloe Mallery. Justin has been crazy over Chloe since they first met over a year ago although she has kept him in the friend zone. Chloe thinks she wants a professional, clean-cut looking man instead of a tattooed biker. But luckily after bumping into one another at the right times and Justin really opening up to Chloe about his life, she finally quits fighting the attraction between them. They have a sweet and sexy and perfect romance until one day something horrible happens and Justin’s protective nature kicks in full force. 

Here is what I loved about this book. First of all, Justin. I mean, the man can do no wrong in my eyes and he will be my favorite and one and only book boyfriend forever. How could someone be so hot, sweet, caring, intelligent, in touch with their emotions, etc. all wrapped up into one hot package? Anyway, I digress. The next thing that I adored about this book was storyline about the rescue dogs. I fell in love with Shadow and Sampson and wish they were real so I could love them up. But mostly, I loved getting to watch the amazing Wicked family come together once again for the greater good. Are there really huge families like this with so much love and selflessness?

Unfortunately, and I hate to say this, I was not a big fan of the female main character, Chloe. I started to warm up to her a little as things started progressing with Justin, but there was just something about her I didn’t like. This is still a 5-star read for me, but I struggled with her several times throughout the book. 

Despite my issues with Chloe, A Little Bit Wicked is one of the best books I’ve read by Melissa Foster. I love them all, but something about this one was especially touching along with being a sexy romance. A lot of triggers are addressed from child abuse to suicide and everything in between, and I guarantee you will grab for the Kleenex a time or two. But this was just a fantastic read. I laughed, cried, swooned over Justin, and probably felt about every emotion possible. Melissa Foster’s writing talent continues to flourish and I am more and more in awe of her writing each time I pick up a new book. I definitely recommend this one to contemporary romance fans, especially those that really want that extra substance weaved into the plot. This is one I will probably read more than once but right now I am anxiously and impatiently wishing and hoping for Tank’s story 🙂

*If you haven’t read any of the Wicked books before, don’t worry, all of the characters and their connections are always explained.

MORE WICKED LOVE STORIES COMING SOON!
Crazy, Wicked Love
The Wicked Aftermath
Wicked Lucky
Wicked Temptations

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   KOBO   Apple   GPlay   Paperback

melissa newsletter

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” – NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional, and entertaining. Make sure you have all night because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” – NYT Bestseller Brenda Novak

“Melissa Foster writes worlds that draw you in, with strong heroes and brave heroines surrounded by a community that makes you want to crawl right on through the page and live there.” – NYT bestseller Julia Kent

MEET THE WHISKEYS (cousins of the Wickeds)! Available for your binge-reading pleasure!
TRU BLUE
TRULY MADLY WHISKEY
DRIVING WHISKEY WILD
WICKED WHISKEY LOVE
MAD ABOUT MOON
TAMING MY WHISKEY
THE GRITTY TRUTH (Releasing October 14th)

And don’t miss RIVER OF LOVE, the first story in which the Whiskeys were introduced!

About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented, the perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and women’s fiction lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa enjoys chatting with readers and book clubs. Send her an email invitation to your next event!

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Book Reviews, Giveaway, Release Blitz

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Like You (Redwood High #2), by Rachel Leigh

 

Title: Like You
Series: Redwood High #2
Author: Rachel Leigh
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 25, 2020
Blurb
Knox
I’ve got everything going for me—the grades, the scholarship, the goals. I’ve had it all
planned out for years. Then she came along. On the outside she has it all
together—on the inside she’s damaged goods. She needs me. I just have to decide
if she’s worth everything I’m about to lose.
 
Claire
I came to this town to escape the claws of my past. A simple life in a small town—I just want to live under the radar and blend in. I was doing just that until Knox
caught my eye. They say when you know, you know—that we can’t help who we fall
in love with. The rules are pretty simple, so why am I breaking them all? I’m a
teacher, and he’s my student—this can’t end well. More than just rules are
going to be broken. I just hope his heart can be mended when it’s all said and
done.

 

**My Review**
Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for Rachel Leigh’s Like You. This second book in the Redwood High series is about Knox and Claire. We first met Knox in the previous book in the series, Like Gravity, as Blakely’s best friend and neighbor. Now a senior in high school, Knox is 18 years old and just biding his time until he graduates and heads to college. But everything in his life changes when a new, long-term substitute shows up in his art class. Claire is 23 and is on the run from the danger and craziness in her past. With a new identity, she moves to Redwood and rents out Blakely’s guest cottage while working as a substitute art teacher at Redwood High. After Knox comes to Claire’s rescue a few times, she reaches the point where she can no longer resist the attraction between them.
Considering I was a high school teacher for many years, I wasn’t sure if I would really get into a teacher-student romance, but oh my goodness, I was wrong! It’s impossible to read this book and not fall in love with Knox, and Knox truly carried the story. Don’t get me wrong, when Claire wasn’t stressing or worrying over life, she was fine. But Knox stole my heart from the very beginning.
Besides this being a forbidden romance, there were numerous other themes to really make this an interesting and engaging read. The author addressed friendship and loyalty, crime, mistakes from our pasts, and much more. I have to admit that there were some times that I felt things were a little too far-fetched and almost silly concerning Claire and her ex, Malcolm. But otherwise I was completely engrossed in this one from the first page.
Like You was a 4 star read for me. It was almost a 5, but again, some of the action was just too ridiculous. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this for lovers of new adult novels. Rachel Leigh is certainly talented and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future. 
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
My heart is banging on the walls of my chest, as I stand
here with my breasts and my ass hanging out of my silk nightgown. Knox watches
me like he’s waiting for me to make a move and grab the blanket that lies at my
feet. I look down at it, but I’m frozen in place. 
I force myself not to look up. Not to look over at the
perfectly sculpted body that stands just a few feet away from—more so, the
bulge that’s growing in his boxers. I keep my head down, struggling to speak.
“I…I’m sorry, I thought the house would be empty. If I had known you were
staying here…”
“Don’t apologize,” he interrupts me. Walking over to my
side, he bends over, reaching for the blanket. I can feel the burn of his eyes
singe down my body, as he reaches for it, starting with my breasts and ending
at my toes. He comes back up, and if my heavy breathing weren’t a big enough
sign of my pent-up sexual deprivation, my trembling legs are. 
With one hand, he swings the blanket over my shoulders and
the scent of whiskey and sweet cinnamon rolls off of him. I can tell he’s had
enough liquor to intoxicate us both, as he stumbles to the side. I place a
helping hand on him to catch his fall, as he slowly lowers down to a sitting
position on the all-white sofa. “Are you alright?”
 “I’m golden. Feeling pretty damn good right about
now.” His bloodshot eyes fight to stay open. 
“You don’t look so good. Let me get you some water.” I
attempt to walk away, but his hand on my wrist has me frozen once again. I look
down at his fingers wrapped around me and feel enamored by his touch. 
He’s a kid, Claire. Stop this. 
I’m not sure why Knox has this effect on me. It’s like
nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s so wrong, but everything about being near
him feels so right. He’s like a drug that I want to inhale, just to see how it
makes me feel. It could destroy me—or, it can free me from myself. 
He uses his grip on me to pull himself up. “Knox,” I mutter
into the empty space between us. 
He takes a step closer and leans in, his chest pressed
against mine, as he whispers in my ear, “Don’t go.” 
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio
Rachel Leigh resides in West Michigan and has three
beautiful children with her husband of eleven years.
Rachel overuses emojis and lol. Coffee is her guilty pleasure, paired with a
nice alpha hero romance novel. Writing is her passion. Her goal is to brighten
at least one person’s day with the worlds she creates between the pages of her
books.

 

Author Links
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Book Reviews

Meant to be More (Meant to Be Series, #4), by Amelia Foster

Meant to be More (Meant to Be Series, #4), by Amelia Foster

Publication: June 25, 2020

meant to be moreAbout:

My best friend has spent the past several years traveling the world with Doctors Without Borders. It’s been her life’s dream and something I’ve always admired about her. But somehow, after twenty years of friendship, our last goodbye brought about the realization of a truth I hadn’t yet recognized.

I don’t just respect Jillian, I am in love with her, and it’s time she knows.

But upon her return home, she manages to lay her own shocking news on me before I can even form the words to tell her how I feel. It seems she needs access to the fortune her grandfather left her in his will. But there’s one problem.

The caveat being an antiquated, but ironclad stipulation that she can’t receive the funds unless she gets married and stays that way for eighteen months.

Naturally, I’m the only person she can trust with such a delicate arrangement. And I’m also hopelessly in love with her, so I’ll greedily take the chance to fake-marry my best friend.

This way, I can prove to her that we are meant to be more than just friends.

**My Review**

I’m so excited to review the final installment in Amelia Foster’s Meant to Be series, Meant to Be More! I must admit that this is a bittersweet moment because I have adored this series and don’t want to see it end, but this may have been my favorite in the series, so it went out with a bang.

In Meant to be More, we get the story of the youngest Carlisle brother, Dean, and his best friend Jillian. She has been traveling the world with her job but is finally returning to Asheville. Dean has a huge secret to tell her because he realized this time that she was gone, that he had fallen in love with her. Before he gets to explain to his best friend that he loves her as more than friends, she asks him to marry her in order to fulfill stipulations of her grandfather’s will. 

So, the basic premise of needing to get married because of stipulations in a will is kind of silly in this day and age. However, it worked beautifully in this story. I mean, what better way to push two people together that are living in denial about how they really feel? Typical of Foster’s writing style, this story was told from Dean and Jillian’s dual POVs and also went back and forth between past and present from when they first met at seven years old to when they were graduating from high school. I will admit that the present-day storyline held my attention the most, but the past storylines provided a great deal of history regarding what shaped each of them growing up and how they developed their amazingly strong bond. 

Meant to be More is a happy, romantic, and sexy read that leaves you feeling every warm and fuzzy emotion imaginable. This book is pretty much drama-free except for their internal conflict about their feelings and Jillian’s snooty mother, but it didn’t need a bunch of conflict and challenges to make it a beautifully complex book. This is about two people that have always loved each other as friends as they try to come to terms with their changing feelings and potential risks to their friendship. You will laugh, cry, and swoon while you read this one. I cannot recommend this one enough! 

*Although part of a series, you do not need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one! They are all stand-alones!

**Thank you to Amelia Foster for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Order Meant to be More on Amazon!

Book Reviews, Release Blitz

Release Tour & Review: Cherish, by Evelyn Sola

He wasn’t Alexandra’s destiny as he didn’t fit her plan. She was too sassy to see Jason coming. Evelyn Sola is back with CHERISH, the second installment in The Clark Family series. Readers who love the unlucky in love trope will enjoy this diverse, light, and steamy romance.


Alexandra
I thought I finally had my life figured out. Fate? Destiny? I know mine. But one afternoon questioned everything I thought I knew.
Then it happened. Dr. Jason Dupree crashed into my life.
His eyes linger on me longer than they should in polite company. You see, there is nothing polite about him.
He’s arrogant and overconfident. His touch? It’s my undoing.
I let him know in no uncertain terms that he is not the man for me.
He is not my destiny.
And his reaction? Totally unexpected.

Jason
The things in my life that matter to me? It’s a short list. My career, a handful of family and friends. To call myself unlucky in love would be a gross understatement. Hence my list. It’s how I keep it all figured out.
Then one morning, that safe little list collides with my future.
Her eyes follow me everywhere, and they see through me like a soul x-ray. But it’s her touch that nearly brings me to my knees.
She doesn’t see it, though.

She’s full of denial and sass, and her stares are indignant. She’s a liar too. Telling me she’s interested in another man.
My reaction? Let’s just say she never saw it coming.

*My Review*

Welcome to my stop on the release tour for Evelyn Sola’s Cherish! This was my first time reading anything by author Evelyn Sola and now I wish I would have gone back and read Crave first, but I didn’t initially realize that this was a series. No worries though if you have not yet read Crave, because it didn’t take me long to figure out who was who. 

This is the romantic and sexy story of Jason and Alex. Jason is a doctor at the same hospital where Alex works in their liability/claims department. When Jason’s sister, Mellie, gets a new job in the same department as Alex, Jason is literally stunned silent when they first meet. He had seen Alex sitting in a cafe before work and now that he’s face to face with her, he’s not only at a loss for words but finally understands the phrase “love at first sight.” Alex has been interested in another man for a while, even though he hasn’t reshown her any interest. When she meets Jason, she tries to deny the attraction and avoid him. But when she finally gives in things are better than she ever imagined. 

I think it’s so fun that Jason was the cocky, over-confident alpha but it was insta-love for him and insta-dislike for Alex! So many books have the woman falling over herself for a guy when they first meet and I love that the author flipped that around in this one. The main characters were smart, funny, independent, and had serious chemistry. In the beginning, her stubbornness started to wear on me a little and there were certainly times that Jason got on my nerves for being too controlling, but otherwise, I really loved both Jason and Alex. Actually, I loved almost all of the characters except Mellie and Ananda. I’m not sure why exactly but there were some comments and actions here and there that just rubbed me the wrong way. 

As with any romance, there must be some conflict along the way, which Evelyn Sola certainly delivered. It didn’t take me long to figure out what the conflict would be, however, she still managed to build a good amount of drama and suspense around it and still through in a few surprises. Jason and Alex did have a rocky road for a while, but this book is all wrapped up in a sweet and romantic happily-ever-after!

Cherish is the perfect read for romance fans that enjoy a lot of witty banter, alpha males, and strong females. This was a 4-star read for me and it definitely comes with my recommendation. I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future. 

Thanks to Forever WritePR for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

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Exclusive Excerpt

Copyright 2020 @ Evelyn Sola

“Please, stop staring at me,” she says, her voice strained. She takes another sip of her drink and puts the cup against her neck.
I should look away. I can see the color creeping from her neck up to her face. I can see her pulse at the base of her neck. I can practically hear her heart beating in her chest.
“Get over yourself. Why don’t you stop looking at me?” I say, finally finding my voice.
“I’m not looking at you.” She angrily shoves two pickle slices into her mouth.
“Then how do you know I’m looking at you?” I challenge.
“Very mature. How old are you? Nine?” She rolls her eyes at me, but she doesn’t look away.
Her nostrils flare at the same time she pushes her food away. I don’t bother looking away. I look into her gray eyes before looking down at her mouth. I moan and lick my bottom lip at the sight of her breasts, pressed together underneath a shirt with sunflowers. I bite my bottom lip as I envision sucking one nipple after another.
“I’m not interested in you that way.” She says the words while looking straight ahead.
“I’m just sitting here waiting on my sister.”
“Arrogant,” she throws back at me.

 


About Evelyn Sola

A Boston native, wife, mother, and wine enthusiast. If she’s not writing, thinking about writing, you will find her with a book in her hands. While a new publisher, she’s been writing for years, and she will continue to write for many years to come.

Evelyn is obsessed with assertive and confident men who will stop at nothing to get their woman. Her stories are filled with love, passion, and humor.

She currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two daughters.

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This blogger event is powered by Forever Write PR!

 

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Blog Tour & Review: The Never Have I Ever Club, by Mary Jane Baker

The Never Have I Ever Club,

by Mary Jane Baker

Publication: Aria; June 18, 2020

Book coverAbout:

Robyn Bloom thought Ash Barnes was the love of her life – until one day he announced he was leaving her to fly halfway across the world.

Months later, Robyn is struggling to move on – but then she has a brainwave: The Never Have I Ever Club. Her handsome next-door neighbour Will helps her bring their fellow Yorkshire villagers together for some carpe-diem-inspired fun.

From burlesque dancing to Swedish massages, everyone has plenty of bucket-list activities to try, but it doesn’t take long for Robyn to realise what – or who – her heart truly desires: Will.

There’s just one problem: he’s Ash’s twin brother.

Make that two problems: Ash is moving home… and he wants Robyn back.

*My Review*

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mary Jane Baker’s, The Never Have I Ever Club! This is a really cute rom-com about Robyn, her group of lifelong friends, and twin brothers Ash and Will. Ash and Robyn were dating until he decided to run away to Australia. Robyn has been friends with Ash’s twin, Will for years, and then suddenly she starts wondering if there may be more between them. Couple all of that with a club of mostly older adults that are all trying to check off some bucket list items, and you have a hilarious and fun read. 

I really, really liked this book! It was funny, witty, romantic, and frustrating all at the same time. All of the perfect rom-com elements. It took me a while to really warm up to Robyn and I wasn’t always convinced that Freya and Eliot were the great friends she thought them to be, but otherwise, I absolutely fell in love with all of the characters. There were so many times I just wanted to scream at Ash and make him go away or I wanted to scream and Robyn and Will and tell them to kiss and ride off into the sunset. But all of those “drive me crazy” moments made me just love this one that much more.

My only criticism at all (and it’s minor) is that although I read a ton of books written by authors in the U.K., there was some slang that had me completely confused. This is embarrassing, but there were a few times I had to Google some phrases because even using my imagination and the context in which it was used, I couldn’t figure it out. However, the author lives in the U.K., not in the U.S., so that was my issue, not hers.

Romantic comedy lovers will enjoy this novel and I highly recommend it! This is my first time reading anything by Mary Jane Baker, but it certainly will not be my last.

*Thanks to Aria and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bRE036

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2RkFQSY

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2URi4zV

Mary jane BakerAbout the author

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham, and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.

Follow Mary:  

Facebook: @MaryJayneWrites

Twitter: @MaryJayneBaker

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

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Book Reviews, Release Blitz

Release Blitz & Review: Tool (Ruthless Kings MC #3), by K.L. Savage

 

 

Title: Tool
Series: Ruthless Kings MC #3
Author: K.L. Savage
Genre: Contemporary MC Romance
Release Date: June 19, 2020
Blurb
Being the VP of the Ruthless Kings has made me jaded
and scarred, a savage bloodthirsty beast.
Grit, pain, blood, the three constants in my life.
Love?
I wouldn’t burden anyone with loving me. I’m a hard man to
love.
Until she walks through the garage doors, looking perfect in
her little blue dress and high heels.
She’s neat and clean and too damn good for
me, but I’m determined to get her filthy.
Then Reaper reminds me of the debt I owe him, and the fine
is costly—stay away from the woman whose voice is a song.
Because her father is the sheriff of Vegas, and he fucking
hates us.
Come to find out, the sheriff is a bit crooked, which
unlocks a whole new set of rules in my playbook. And I have the right tools to
break all of them.
Do I go against my Prez again for my little sparrow? Or do I let her fly away?

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz for the 3rd installment in K.L. Savage’s Ruthless Kings MC series, Tool. This book is about the club VP, Tool, and the Sheriff’s daughter, Juliette. At 25 years old and a complete Daddy’s girl, Juliette is just moving into her own apartment for the first time when her moving truck is stolen. This brings her face to face with Tool, who of course, her Daddy would warn her away from because of his association with the MC. But as the novel progresses and they can no longer fight their attraction to one another, the truth comes out about her father and everyone’s pasts, which changes everything.

I really enjoyed the first in this series, Reaper. Then I somehow completely missed book 2, Boomer. I enjoyed Tool, but I’m not sure I liked it as much as Reaper. I think maybe because it’s just so dark. I love the romance element between Tool and Juliette, and of course, I loved revisiting this MC club and their lifestyle. But between Tool’s memories and flashbacks and current things that happen in this novel, it all became a bit heavy for me. Don’t get me wrong, this has all of the elements of MC novels that I love and I am a huge fan of K.L. Savage, but there were some twists and events I didn’t see coming that were pretty heavy.

What did I love about this book? The MC lifestyle and the hot romance between Tool and Juliette! I mean, they are on fire! What did I not love? The very dark subject matter. There are a ton of triggers here including sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. 

Ruthless Kings is the perfect MC series to dig into if you haven’t already. Tool has romance, sexiness, crazy alpha males, and all of the fabulous elements that we love about MC novels!

*Thanks to Give Me Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Also Available
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Free in Kindle Unlimited
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Coming Soon
Releasing July 17
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Author Bio
K.L. Savage decided they were tired of looking for the kind
of books they wanted to read. They had an itch that needed to be scratched, and
as every girl knows, nothing scratches better than an alpha.
They write about gritty, alpha males, sometimes their dark sides, and the women
they love.

If you have the same itch, their alpha males should fix that.

Author Links

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: All the Broken People, by Leah Konen

All the Broken People,

by Leah Konen

Publication: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; June 30, 2020

all the broken peopleAbout:

A woman in search of a fresh start is about to get more than she bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.

Fleeing Brooklyn with little more than a suitcase and her trusty dog, Lucy King heads to rustic Woodstock , New York, eager to lose herself in a quiet life where her past can never find her. But when she meets Vera and John, the alluring couple next door, their friendship proves impossible to resist. Just as Lucy starts to think the worst is behind her, the couple delivers a staggering bombshell: they, too, need to escape their troubles–and the only way they can begin their new life is if Lucy helps them fake John’s death.

Afraid to lose her newfound support system, Lucy reluctantly conspires with them to stage an “accidental” death on a hike nearby. It’s just one little lie to the police, after all, and she knows a thing or two about the importance of fresh starts. But what begins as an elaborate ruse turns all too real when John turns up dead in the woods the morning after their hike. Now, Lucy must figure out who she can trust and who’s pulling the strings of her tenuous new life . . . before she takes the fall for murder.

**My Review**

All the Broken People is the first suspense thriller from author Leah Konen, who usually writes young adult fiction. This novel is about a twenty-something woman named Lucy, who is relocating to Woodstock, NY for a fresh start with her little dog Dusty. All that’s really known in the beginning is that Lucy is alone and is obviously running from a very unhealthy relationship. Not long after moving into her rental cottage, she meets her neighbors Vera and John. Although initially leery of the strangers, soon Lucy finds herself eating dinner with them every evening and spending most of her time in general with the fun and artistic couple. Although she’s constantly looking over her shoulder expecting her ex (Davis) to show up, Lucy’s life seems to be carrying on pretty well until she agrees to help them fake John’s death. 

Lucy is a not my favorite character that I have read about lately. In the beginning, I was rooting for her and her new start, hopeful that she could find peace after getting away from Davis and settling into her new life. Then I started to question her sanity and of course, started to realize how unreliable of a narrator she was. This book was really slow for me in the beginning, but about the time they get to the proposal of faking John’s death, things start to pick up. This is also the turning point where, moving forward, Lucy makes nothing but horrible decisions.  

I applaud Konen’s character development in this novel, successfully making me both trust and doubt every character in the novel. All the Broken People is also full of endless twists and turns, completely throwing me off every time I thought I had it all figured out. The thing I love most about thrillers is thinking I know “whodunnit” and later being proved wrong, however, this happened so many times in this novel that I started getting frustrated with the whole thing. Every time I thought I had reached the ending, the author would add more. I was kind of over the entire thing by the end, but I definitely applaud the creativity and imagination that went into the resolution. 

I can’t say I absolutely loved this novel, but it was a good read. Fans of thrillers that keep surprising you over and over again will enjoy this novel. What I loved most was the character development and the author’s methods of instilling doubt. What I loved least was the initial slow pace and too many far-fetched occurrences towards the end. 

3.5/5 stars

*Thanks to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Blitz, Book Reviews

Sale Blitz & Review: On the Rocks (Kingston Brothers, Book 1), by Isabel Lucero

 

 

Title: On the Rocks

Series: Kingston Brothers #1

Author: Isabel Lucero
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 9, 2019

 

Blurb
One taste will never
be enough…
You learn a lot about people pouring their drinks and London is what I would
consider a regular.

Like clockwork, she’s been coming into my bar twice a week for the last year.

Besides her name, I’ve learned that she’s witty, beautiful, and
unfortunately… taken.

She’s in a relationship with a guy that I’m pretty sure doesn’t deserve her.

Respecting that is the only thing stopping me from figuring out the things I
really want to know.

Things like, what her body feels like against mine, or how she tastes on my
tongue.

But one evening, everything changes. London comes in and tells me that they
broke up.

One drink leads to two, and she finally confesses that this attraction isn’t
one-sided.

Our slow burn is about to get blazing hot.

I wasn’t just looking for a one-night stand, not with a girl like her.

But next thing you know, the ex is back. He’s in my bar, sitting next to her.

We try to act like there isn’t a connection between us.

Like our bodies weren’t made for each other and we didn’t set each other aflame
with a single kiss.

Every time I look at her, I see the flash in her eyes that tell me she’s
remembering it too.

Re-living every delicious second of our time spent together on top of this very
bar.

The problem is now that I know what she tastes like, I want more.

On the rocks. It’s how London prefers her drinks and the current state of her
relationship.

And I’m about to shake things up because I’ll be damned if I let her get away.

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the sale blitz tour for Isabel Lucero’s On the Rocks. This first title in the Kingston Brother series is about Royce Kingston, owner of Kingston Tavern, and one of his regular customers, London. Royce finds London beautiful and adores everything about her. The problem, however, is that she has a boyfriend. Boyfriend or not, London can’t deny how attracted she is to Royce but refuses to act on that attraction while she is with someone else. But once things sizzle out with her boyfriend and she tells Royce that she is single, everything changes. 

I really enjoyed this book and it definitely has me interested in the rest of the series. It was an easy read filled with lots of flirty banter, several funny moments, and amazing chemistry between London at Royce. I was worried for a while because I thought cheating might be involved (which isn’t my favorite), however, this is a no-cheating, slow-burn romance that has a sweet and happy ending. 

Royce is a main character that you will completely fall for! While I was frustrated with London from time to time, I couldn’t help but love her character also. Most of the story takes place in Royce’s bar and although the conversations were interesting and there was some conflict here and there, the plot isn’t complex. I won’t say I got bored by any means, but there were times I wished there was a bit more substance. 

Isabel Lucero is a new author to me, but I certainly plan on reading more from her in the future, specifically the follow-up novels in this series!

*Thanks to GMB for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Purchase Links

99c for a limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
I part my lips, and don’t miss the flash of desire in his
eyes as he watches me. He raises the bottle and pours the liquid into my mouth,
then I press my lips together and drink it down. Royce watches me with
lust-filled eyes and brings his thumb to wipe some of the drink from my chin.
“I’ve never been more jealous of alcohol.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, my voice soft.
“To be in your warm mouth is all I can think
about.”
I look up at him with hooded eyes. His presence and words
mixed with the liquor have filled me with warmth and pleasure.
“Oh.”
“Mm,” he murmurs.
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio
Isabel Lucero is a
bestselling author, finding joy in giving readers books for every mood.
Born in a small town in New Mexico, Isabel was lucky enough to escape and
travel the world thanks to her husband’s career in the Air Force. Her and her
husband have three kids and two dogs together, and currently reside in
Delaware. When Isabel isn’t on mommy duty or writing her next book, she can be
found reading, or in the nearest Target buying things she doesn’t need.

Isabel loves connecting with her readers and fans of books in general. You can
find her at the following locations:

Author Links
Giveaway

Enter Below for your chance to win a signed paperback of On the Rocks!