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Book Review: Roommaid: A Novel, by Sariah Wilson

Roommaid: A Novel,

by Sariah Wilson

Publication: Montlake; October 1, 2020

RoomaidAbout the book:

Madison Huntington is determined to live her dreams. That means getting out from under her family’s wealth and influence by saying no to the family business, her allowance, and her home. But on a teacher’s salary, the real world comes as a rude awakening—especially when she wakes up every morning on a colleague’s couch. To get a place of her own (without cockroaches, mold, or crime scene tape), Madison accepts a position as a roommaid. In exchange for free room and board, all she needs to do is keep her busy roommate’s penthouse clean and his dog company. So what if she’s never washed a dish in her life. She can figure this out, right?

Madison is pretty confident she can fake it well enough that Tyler Roth will never know the difference. The finance whiz is rich and privileged and navigates the same social circles as her parents—but to him she’s just a teacher in need of an apartment. He’s everything Madison has run from, but his kindhearted nature, stomach-fluttering smile, and unexpected insecurities only make her want to get closer. And Tyler is warming to the move.

Rewarding job. Perfect guy. Great future. With everything so right, what could go wrong? Madison is about to find out.

*My Review*

As I was browsing through my September options with the Amazon First Reads program, I came across Roommaid by Sariah Wilson and thought this looked like a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy. It was all that and more. This is about a young woman Madison who has been cut-off from her super wealthy family because she chose to become a teacher instead of following in her family’s footsteps. Madison wants her own life, wants to choose her own job, and most importantly – wants to choose her own husband. But when reality comes crashing down regarding the cost of apartments in Houston, Madison jumps at the opportunity to move in with Tyler and share his luxurious apartment. The only catch? In exchange for free rent, she has to do the cleaning and help take care of his dog – neither of which she has any clue about. 

I’ll admit that I worried about how I would feel about Madison in the beginning. I was envisioning this whole “poor little rich girl theme,” but it was not like that at all. Yes, Madison makes some ridiculous mistakes and does even more ridiculous things to correct them, but I found her to be hilarious, grounded, and surprisingly humble giving her upbringing. Tyler was absolute perfection from beginning to end. There was absolutely nothing unlovable about his character. Good-looking, charming, smart, funny, incredibly caring – yes ladies, he will make you swoon. 

My favorite part of this novel was Madison’s will for independence and living her own life. Anyone that has ever broken free from unhealthy family ties will certainly appreciate this novel. Years ago, I was in a similar situation regarding Madison and her mother. Did I initially miss the extreme shopping trips and extravagant lifestyle? Sure I did. Has my life  been better since the day I walked away? So much better there are no words! Besides being romantic, sexy, and hilarious, the most special theme of this novel is that you can go after the life you choose. Everyone’s lives contain challenges, but that’s all part of the fun and makes the successes so much sweeter!

I highly recommend Roommaid and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

*Thank you to Amazon First Reads for allowing me this early preview. 

Book Blitz, Book Reviews

Release Blitz and Review: Say You Love Me, by Sabre Rose

 

Title: Say You Love Me
Author: Sabre Rose
Genre: Psychological Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 7, 2019

 

Blurb
One night and everything changed.
We became strangers.
Now, he doesn’t look at me, doesn’t touch me.
He blames me.
But I need him. I want him.
And I will do anything to win back his affection.
Even if it is to let another into our marriage.
He is my husband.
And I will love him. 

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz for Say You Love Me, the latest novel from author Sabre Rose. This was my first time reading anything by this author and it was a page-turner for me. This one is tricky to review because the blurb is so vague that I don’t want to give anything away, so bear with me.

This is about a husband and wife, Finity and Hudson, and all the reader is allowed to know for a great deal of the book is that she did something to completely break him. I had several ideas of what she did, but all of my thoughts ended up proven wrong.  Hudson and Finity are obviously very much in love, despite his behaviors, but it’s also apparent that something has gone terribly wrong at some point. The novel starts with him picking her up from an inpatient facility, then the story is told from their dual points of view flip-flopping between past and present. What the reader gets to see is a very angry and broken man taking out all of that anger on the wife that he loves. And what’s even more disturbing is that she welcomes it. Anything to get his attention, even if it’s bad, uncomfortable, and so on – she doesn’t care – she just wants him to display some sort of feeling and emotion related to her. And he does some stuff that I would like to say would earn any man an ass-kicking, but I haven’t been in that situation.

Part of me finds this novel to be an extraordinary love story. Part of me wanted to grab these characters by the throat and call Dr. Phil for an emergency session. Nevertheless, I couldn’t put this one down. There is some crazy shit in this novel which made me feel as if I had the most vanilla, normal marriage on earth. But at the end of the day, this one is about two people doing the best they can to cope with the hands that they have been dealt in life. I can’t say if I liked or hated either Hudson or Finity, but the author obviously poured her heart and soul into her character development, so bravo for that!

The third significant character within the story is a young man named Riley whom Finity met at the wellness center. Poor Riley is just innocent and I’m sorry, horny. He gets pulled into their completely dysfunctional life and becomes a pawn. Although we never get Riley’s POV, the author’s writing paints the picture perfectly so the reader is aware that Riley will do absolutely anything to get the object of his affection. 

Not everyone will enjoy Say You Love Me, this I can guarantee. However, readers that want something a bit darker and edgier regarding romance/women’s fiction – this one is a must-read. It will not leave you with warm and fuzzy feelings, but you will know that you read a damned good book. Hats off to Sabre Rose for writing something beautiful, dark, emotional, romantic, sexy, and totally out of the box. 

*Thanks to GMB and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Author Bio
Sabre Rose is an author of contemporary, dark and suspense
romance. She writes about love and lust. Flawed people in messy relationships.
Happiness and heartbreak. Loyalty and betrayal.


With stories as unpredictable as they are steamy and
intense, Sabre draws you into the lives of her characters and their complicated
families.
Living in the deep south of New Zealand, she enjoys reading,
binge-watching TV shows, coffee and diet coke and, of course, writing. 
Occasionally she does other things such as housework. Unless
she can avoid it.

 

Author Links

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate, by Nina Bocci

On the Corner of Love and Hate,

by Nina Bocci

Publication: Gallery Books; August 20, 2019

corner of love and hateAbout the book: What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

**My Review**

Due to real-life, work, etc., this is the first book I’ve had time to read and review in a while. Typically, I can finish a book in a few hours. If work is crazy-busy it may take me a day or two because I’ll just grab it whenever I have time and cram in as much as I can. This took me eight days to read. Eight days! First of all, it is a long book. I believe it’s about 330 pages or so. Secondly, it dragged for me. I fell asleep reading this one the other night which I’m about 99% certain has never happened. 

However, the last 10% or so of the book was amazing

I loved the premise of Cooper and Emma who had been friends forever potentially turning into a romance. Cooper has been a man-whore for years, they’re trying to clean up his image for the mayoral campaign and election, and over-worked Emma starts to come to terms for her true feelings for him. I enjoyed the small-town setting, the friendly vibe, and so forth. And I especially loved Nina Bocci’s smart and witty dialogue, full with several laugh-out-loud embarrassing moments involving Emma.

So what’s the problem? I am no editor, but I have a strong feeling that about 60% of this book could have been chopped. There were just too many pages of unnecessary memories, current events, things that people were wearing, eating, and so on. I love detail and vivid characterization as the next person, but there were times where I would swipe my Kindle page 1, 2, and 3 times still being told about Cooper ignoring Emma by playing on his phone while she was talking. There were so many details that I found my ADD self skimming and skipping pages before I had reached the 12% mark.

And I thought the book would never, ever end

Nevertheless, I pressed on because I continued to see sparks of potential. Again, I liked the overall premise of the book and at times I found myself truly impressed with Bocci’s intelligence, smart humor, and original plot. And I’m glad that I did. 

This novel does have a happy ending, but I never once felt that things were going to end as I suspected or hoped. There were numerous obstacles which at first were slow to build but later started piling on. Did someone beta-reading this suggest piling on some conflict and speeding things up?? Anyway, I had to continue on to see what would happen with the election, Cooper, Emma, and with the evil ex-roommate, Whitney. 

Stealing one of Cooper’s lines, “well, that was anti-climatic,” the ending that I had wondered about came along gently, rather than some huge, exciting moment. However, it was the ending I wanted and had held out for from the first page. 

My overall thoughts are that if you are someone that doesn’t mind treading slowly through a story, you will like this one. If you need a lot of ups and downs, steamy excitement, and so on – skip this one. Again, I feel like this story could have been whittled down a lot, making it more exciting by cutting out unneeded information, but the ending made me happy and made me feel better about the time that I committed to reading it. The next in this series, Meet Me on Love Lane, is already on my TBR shelf and I hope that its pace is a bit better. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: You Were There Too, by Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too,

by Colleen Oakley

Publication: Berkley; January 7, 2020

 

you were there tooAbout the book:

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

**My Review**

Oh my goodness, this was a good one! If anyone out there has an obsession (or semi-obsession) with dreams, then this is your next read. If you’re not one of those people, just play along because this is a damn good book. Mia and Harrison have a somewhat wonderful life and marriage. Granted, she’s had several miscarriages, they have just moved to a new town, no one wants to display her art in their gallery, etc. – but they are happy. Harrison is battling his demons, Mia is battling hers, but an important factor in her life is dreams that she has been having for decades about the same man. The dreams have been in a variety of settings with a variety of things occurring within them, and then one day she sees the man that she has been dreaming of right there in the flesh.  The best part? He’s been dreaming of her too! He has no idea why, but his dreams don’t have the happy or non-descript endings like Mia’s. As Mia and Oliver start trying to understand their unusual connection, Mia starts to notice Harrison pulling further away from her and their marriage. Not only is she trying to make sense of her and Oliver’s dreams, but she is also trying to understand the changes within Harrison and how to save their marriage.

I loved this novel. Although this was my first time reading Colleen Oakley, I had heard of her previous two novels, especially Before I Go. Her character development is fantastic in regards to Mia, although I felt a little slighted regarding other characters. I’m not saying that I loved Mia throughout the entire novel because there were numerous times I was just done hearing about her unwillingness to get up, move around, shower, unpack, buy furniture, and so on. I tried to empathize with her situation and emotions, but she annoyed me to death. Nevertheless, I was completely drawn into and addicted to her story. Even better – all of the surprises and twists. This book did not go like I thought it would at all. I had predictions very early on and also drew off of the prologue, but nothing I expected to happen actually happened. Except for the tears. I did expect early on that there would be some heart-wrenching moments and I was right about that. But there are plenty of wonderful moments to make it all worthwhile. 

This was truly a 5-star read for me, although I’m still not sure about the ending. I guess that I just wanted and needed more closure than what was given, something more concrete. However, if you don’t mind an ending that is happy, although a bit ambiguous, I think you will truly enjoy this novel. It’s original, emotional, moving, and above all truly encompasses the wonderful emotion that is love. I was more than impressed with Oakley’s plot development and originality and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

*Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Jameson Wilde (Epic Love Stories Book 5), by Kelly Moore

Jameson Wilde (Epic Love Stories Book 5), by Kelly Moore

Publication: June 25, 2019

jamesonAbout the book:

Reese is a cutthroat businesswoman…

An overbearing and a cantankerous mess! She’s snarly, blunt, moody, and totally in my face…and I’m ticked off that it turns me on!

I moved to Sausalito to escape the memories of Lyla. I have reasons for living my life the way I do. I enjoy the simple things in life; A job well done, a glass of whiskey, and the occasional piping-hot night tangled in the sheets with no strings attached. I don’t need a beautiful strawberry-blonde princess sticking her nose in my business and pushing every one of my buttons.

I try to run her off, but she fights dirty. She has to leave, it will never work. Too bad I want her to stay.

**My Review**

I am so excited to bring you my review of Kelly Moore’s latest Epic Love Story, Jameson Wilde! This novel is the follow-up and/or continuation of Kelly’s heartbreaking romance, Gypsy, which published in March. 

Jameson Wilde starts about two years after Gypsy left off. Jameson has relocated his home and business from Nashville to a beautiful and quiet location in Sausalito, CA. He’s still a successful music producer and has found some occasional break from his loneliness with a friend, but he hasn’t moved on from Lyla. When Monster Music exec and friend Greg brings on a partner, Jameson isn’t expecting Reese to walk into his studio. Beautiful, stubborn, feisty, professionally dressed, and completely infuriating – she evokes emotions within him that he thought were long dead and buried. Reese doesn’t seem to be too fond of Jameson initially, but little by little her softer side keeps shining through.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Jameson moving on with his life because of Gypsy. That sounds insane, I know, especially since I’m talking about book characters – not real people. But the incredibly romantic and heart-wrenching story in Gypsy made me wonder about Jameson and if I wanted him to move on. I probably just need to get a life!

Although I was reluctant about his moving on, anyone that loves a little spunk in their characters will love Reese! She tries to be all bad-ass while dealing with a competing with men in the business world, but at the end of the day she’s just a girl that loves cotton candy and like anyone – wants to be loved. Jameson’s tough exterior was cracked several times in Gypsy, but when this novel begins, he’s back to his old self and not letting anyone in. But it doesn’t take long for his walls to crumble down, just as Reese’s did. 

Speaking of walls crumbling, have you ever argued naked? I won’t ruin it for you but if everyone lived by this rule of arguing, I know that the world would be a happier and much funnier place!

Jameson and Reese’s story is funny, sexy, frustrating, beautiful, and left me with a happy heart. Kelly Moore once again wowed me with her characterization and dialogue, she provided the perfect amount of conflict and resolution within the plot, and overall – created a book that I wanted to read, loved reading, and have enjoyed reading it multiple times. The characters grew and changed naturally and effortlessly. There were problems that at times, didn’t seem to have solutions – yet they did. There was a ton of steam and romance, but along with that came some wicked arguments, shutting each other out, and refusing to have adult discussions. Mistakes were made, fights were fought, and there were incredible victories involving healing the soul and growing the heart.

I’ve said it before and will most likely say it again, but Kelly Moore continues to blow my mind with her writing, characters, and overall themes for her novels. Jameson Wilde is yet another example of this author’s creativity, humor, passion, and ability to relate to a variety of readers. 

Obviously, I highly recommend this one but please read Gypsy first, because it just won’t be the same otherwise! I’m sure you could follow along and enjoy Jameson Wilde without reading Gypsy, but why chance it? 

*Many thanks to Kelly Moore for giving Jameson another story and for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Pre-Order Jameson Wilde on Amazon by clicking on the image below!

Haven’t read Gypsy yet? Order by clicking on the image below!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center

Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Save Me, by Andi Jaxon and AJ Alexander

 

Title: Save Me
Authors: Andi Jaxon & AJ Alexander
Genre: Doctor/Patient Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2019
Blurb
I might be the one who swore an oath to save lives, but they
saved me…
Saving lives isn’t just my job, it’s my whole world. Working eighteen hour
days, I live in the hospital, running from patient to patient until I encounter
a mysterious woman who stops me in my tracks. Afraid of her own shadow, I
quickly diagnose that not all of her injuries are physical and the helpless
look in her eyes turns my world upside down.

I follow up with her, trying to convince myself that my actions are that of a
concerned doctor. But it’s more than that… turns out there is more to her as
well. She’s a single mom, and the fear in her eyes isn’t just for herself, but
for her amazing daughter. Before I even realize what’s happening, I’m
determined to save them both and it has nothing to do with oaths or medicine.
First, she will have to trust me. Not just with her life, but her heart.

***
Previously released as
The Good Doctor, this book is being re-released with a new title, Save Me, a
brand new cover and a new epilogue.

** TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains mention of physical and emotional
abuse. Although no abuse takes place during the story it is described, at
times, in detail. **

 

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the tour for Save Me, the latest from A.J. Alexander and Andi Jaxon. This emotional story is about a doctor in the Navy named Adam, trying to save the world one patient at a time after growing up witnessing domestic abuse. Then there is Isabel and her beautiful little girl Sophie. After falling for and marrying her husband Jason (also in the Navy), he turned abusive, controlling, and terrifying. When she goes to meet Adam, her new doctor, he immediately recognizes the warning signs of signals of someone abused and afraid, soon making it a priority to make sure that Isabel and Sophie are safe. While trying to earn Isabel’s trust and providing a safe and happy environment for her and Sophie, Adam soon realizes how much they have captured his heart.

My love for Adam was immediate in this one. Whether the passion for his job, his relationship with his mother, or the way he was with Isabel and Sophie – this man stole my heart. Sophie was also an immediate love for me! She was the sweetest little thing and my heart broke for her and their circumstances. But with Isabel, I struggled to connect with her.

I’ve read several novels regarding domestic abuse and unfortunately, I am familiar with it myself. So I tried to look at her character as someone that was terrified, felt trapped, wanted better for her daughter, etc. but was very slow to open up and really be herself. But no matter how hard I tried to tell myself to give her time, something about her character and her character’s dialogue specifically, just never felt right to me. There was this lingering immaturity in how she spoke that never quite worked itself out. I’m struggling to put these thoughts into words for some reason, but something just didn’t work for me.

Anyway, my only other criticism is that there were some confusing parts. There were times I felt I had already read something and then other times I had no clue where something had come from and was backtracking to figure out what I missed.

This book is emotional and difficult at times, but Save Me is also a very sweet, romantic, and almost victorious book because there is a wonderful happy ending! There are certainly some possible triggers regarding domestic violence, but it’s also an inspiring read reminding you that things can get better.

*Thanks to GMB and the authors for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase Links
$2.99 for a limited time!!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
Once Sophie’s arm is casted and she’s discharged, Isabel and I let her know they aren’t going back home.

“Sophie,” Isabel begins, “we’re going to Dr. Patterson’s house. He wants to make you a yummy dinner for being such a brave girl.”

Sophie’s a smart little girl, she doesn’t believe her mother for a minute. 
“Hey, Sophie, do you like ice cream?” I give Isabel a wink because I have an idea, kneeling in front of Sophie I wait patiently for her response.  

 

“I like ice cream, why?” I chuckle. Nothing gets past this one, Isabel is in trouble when she gets older.

 

“I need to go to the store before we head to my house. I was hoping you would help me pick an ice cream flavor.” 

 

“Ice cream? For after dinner?” 

 

“Yes, but you have to be good and listen to Mommy,” I respond. I feel like I’m negotiating with a terrorist. As long as Sophie feels comfortable, I see it as a win. 

 

I look over at Isabel and see her attempting to stifle a laugh. When I turn back to Sophie, she seems deep in thought.

 

“How about ice cream and a movie?” 

 

“Ms. Sophie, you have a deal.” I reach my hand out and we shake, closing the deal. 

 

All three of us load into my truck with bright smiles. As soon as we hit the freeway entrance heading back toward base, Isabel begins to panic.

 

“What if he sees us! We go to Target near base all the time. He’ll know what I did and take her from me.” 

 

“Mommy, it otay. We be otay.” Sophie attempts to reassure her mother buckled into the borrowed car seat in the back. 

 

“Baby, we’ll never be okay. He always finds us. We belong to him,” she whispers as she turns to me with panic in her eyes, “please just take us back. We can pretend this never happened. Maybe he won’t beat me badly this time for defying him.” 

 

Rage courses through my body, I grip the steering will. “You. Will. Never. Go. Back. There.” I growl through clenched teeth, Isabel immediately shrinks into the corner of the passenger seat. Realizing I need to calm down and ease her concerns, I pull over to the side of the road. Once I have the truck in park, I turn the overhead light on, both of them stare at me with frightened eyes, 

 

“I’m sorry for scaring you. My anger gets the better of me when I think of everything he has done and could continue to do to both of you if you ever go back there.” I reach out my hand toward Isabel, palm up, in hope that she realizes I mean no harm. “We aren’t going anywhere near the base. I live in Poulsbo, which although close to base, I find most people don’t venture out that far if there is no need. We can go to the Walmart there.” 

 

Isabel looks between the seats at Sophie, “If you are still afraid, I can take you to my house and you can make a list of things you will need. I can get them for you from the store or we can even call the woman’s shelter I told you about before. They have emergency kits available for the first forty-eight hours we can make use of.” 

 

Looking between the two of them, I can almost hear the silent communication going on between them — it’s a conversation I had with my mother many times over. Sophie is willing her mother to accept the help I am willing to provide and Isabel looking at her daughter, wondering if she is just putting her in more danger from her abusive father. I sigh before starting the truck again and pulling into oncoming traffic, “I will take you anywhere you want to go, except back to the hospital and into the arms of your abuser. You are finally free — both of you. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure you stay that way.”
Andi Jaxon
From a Dyslexic kid with a love of Algebra to a published author, no one is more surprised to find me here, than I am. I love to write about tortured pasts and hot sex, a happily ever after that has to be worked for. My stories tend to be a little dark but with some comic relief, typically in the form of sarcasm.
AJ Alexander
AJ Alexander is a wannabe psychologist, writer, and author of the recently completed, SEAL’ed Series. AJ’s passion is writing angst-filled happily ever afters that have to be earned by her characters. Women with no backbone need not apply.  AJ uses sarcasm and an unlimited supply of song lyrics to bring her romance novels to life.
AJ lives in the angst capital of the world, Seattle Washington with her own personal knight in shining armor and her two beautiful
girls.
Giveaway
There is a giveaway for signed paperback copies of Save Me, Stay (Odd Jobs #1), and Learning Curve (US ONLY. International winner will receive eBook copies of authors ENTIRE catalogue.)

Enter here and good luck!

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Bring Down the Stars (Beautiful Hearts Duet Book 1), by Emma Scott

Bring Down the Stars (Beautiful Hearts Duet Book 1),

by Emma Scott

Publication: August 20, 2018

bring down the stars

 

About the book:

I fell for Connor Drake. I didn’t want to; I fought against it, but I fell in love with him anyway. With his words. With his poetry. With him. The gentleness and beauty of his soul that speaks directly to mine. He writes as if he can feel my heart, hear its cadence and compose the exact right lyrics to accompany every beat and flow.

I’m in love with Connor…so why do I feel an inexplicable pull to his best friend, Weston? Grouchy, sullen, brooding Weston Turner, who could cut you down with a look. Fiercely intelligent with a razor-sharp wit and acid tongue, he’s the exact opposite of Connor in every way, and yet there’s electricity in the air between us. The thorny barbs Weston wraps around himself can’t keep me away.

But the more time I spend with these men, the more tangled and confused my emotions become. When they both sign up for the Army Reserves during a time of increasing strife in the Middle East, I fear I’ll never unravel my own heart that sometimes feels as if it will tear straight down the middle…for both of them.

**********
Bring Down the Stars is an emotional, angst-filled novel of unrequited love by bestselling author, Emma Scott, and is inspired by the classic tale, Cyrano de Bergerac. (Roxanne) It is Book I in the Beautiful Hearts Duet, coming this summer. Book II, Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, to be released a few weeks later. THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL LOVE TRIANGLE #confusedhearts #notamenage

**My Review*

First of all, this cover is incredible! I love it, and not just because of the Dandelions 🙂 

Somehow, Bring Down the Stars is my first time reading Emma Scott. I saw this on NetGalley, as well as the second in the series, Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, and something about it piqued my interest. Typically, I have no interest in a book that has a cliffhanger and then a second book, but even knowing that ahead of time, I had to read it. And I am so glad!

This novel opens with a heart-wrenching moment with young Weston Turner, who five years later earns a scholarship to a local private school due to an essay he wrote about that event. The “scholarship” boy is a quick and easy target for the rich, snobby, shithead students with the exception of Connor Drake. The two become best friends quickly, more like family, and the story carries on to when they enter college together. Weston is a romantic academic but known more for his exceptional track and field abilities and his even more exceptional crappy attitude with his opponents. Connor is a popular athlete, and new student/Nebraska farmgirl Autumn Caldwell is taken with him the first time she lays eyes on him. Oh, but did I mention that Weston also meets her in the library? Thus begins a wonderful novel about romance, friendship, seducing one with words, and how crucial honesty really is. 

Regarding Connor and Weston, this is a classic tale of two young men secretly envious of what the other has. Connor grew up with money but doesn’t feel he meets his parents’ expectations. Weston and his mother struggled financially, but even with Weston’s amazing gift for writing, he envies Connor’s charisma and charm. But truly, they complicated each other in an amazing way, making me understand why Autumn might secretly have feelings for both of them. 

stars quote

Without spoiling the plot, the overall premise of Bring Down the Stars is based on Cyrano de Bergerac, so I’m assuming you can figure out what happens after Connor starts dating Autumn?? 

I have loved you with both
Hands tied behind my back
Bound with pen and ink
Paper and words
Sealed with someone else’s name
until this moment
in which I am nothing
but a man
who loves a woman.
There is nothing left to say
Except to give
all of my heart
For you

-Emma Scott

Getting an idea now? Anyway, this novel is beautifully crafted and developed in a way in a way I don’t often get the pleasure of experiencing. Emma Scott’s characterization and imagery transport you into this book so prepare yourself for a roller coaster of emotions. But every single awkward moment or time of frustration is worth it because of what it is all building up to. 

If you love angsty romance, true friendship, fear, guilt, longing, and so much more – then this is a must-read. But as fantastic as this one is, I have to say, the conclusion in book 2 is even better. Bravo to Emma Scott for this incredible novel!

*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review!

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Blog tour and review: The Girl in the Pink Raincoat, by Alrene Hughes

The Girl in the Pink Raincoat,

by Alrene Hughes

Publication: Head of Zeus; May 1, 2019

Book Cover

About the book:

In wartime, it takes courage to follow your heart.

Manchester, 1939.

Everyone hated the heat and the deafening noise, but for Gracie, the worst thing was the smell of chemicals that turned her stomach every morning when she arrived at the Rosenberg Raincoats factory.

Gracie is a girl on the factory floor. Jacob is the boss’s charismatic nephew. When they fall in love, it seems as if the whole world is against them – especially Charlie Nuttall, who also works at the factory and has always wanted Gracie for himself.

But worse is to come when Jacob disappears and Gracie is devastated, vowing to find him. Can she solve the mystery of his whereabouts? Gracie will need all her strength and courage to find a happy ending.

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Alrene Hughes’ The Girl in the Pink Raincoat! Set at the start of World War II, this novel is about a young woman Gracie, employed at Rosenberg Raincoat Factory. Despite her mother Sarah’s warnings, Gracie falls for Jacob Rosenberg, the nephew of the factory owner, and they start planning a life together. However, Jacob suddenly disappears as things start to change and fall apart in Gracie’s heart, her home, and in Manchester.  

I honestly don’t know why I don’t read more historical fiction, because it seems that whenever I do, I absolutely love it! It took me a while to get started on this one and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but as soon as the book started and I caught a glimpse of the beautiful and spunky Gracie, I was hooked. The first third or so of the novel focuses on Gracie’s life living with her mother, her friendship with Maria, and the blossoming attraction between her and Jacob, then leading into the declaration of war and the many changes in her life after that.

I hope this does not offend anyone, but I struggled to connect with and like Jacob. Something made me wonder about his reliability and honesty regarding Gracie, which is explained as the novel goes on. Along with that, I found myself worried and frustrated at and for Gracie at times, thinking that she was blowing their feelings for one another out of proportion. Eventually, I got the answers I needed to the questions I had about Jacob, making this novel even more heartbreaking than it already was.

I loved Gracie’s mother as much as I loved Gracie herself. Sarah had been raising Gracie alone since her husband David died and was employed at a hotel as a housekeeper and sometimes, a waitress. It doesn’t take long to realize that Sarah was holding on to painful memories from her younger days, and I loved watching her character start to transform as Martin was introduced into the story. 

Alan turned out to be an enormous surprise to me, as I adored him from the beginning. I was impressed with Hughes’ character development overall, but Alan is one of the characters from this novel that truly highlight her characterization skills. There were so many unexpected layers to him, just as with Sarah and Martin, and the writing of these characters blew me away. 

And of course, there is Sam.  Ahhh, Sam, where can I find one of you? I loved Sam and adored the friendship that he and Gracie built. He allowed her to be her true self and shine, as well as, became someone that she could trust when she didn’t feel she had anyone left. 

Haven’t said much about the plot, have I? Well, that’s because I’m not sure how to do it without spoilers. However, I can say that this is a beautiful and powerful novel not only about a young woman and a first love, but about the impact of war, the hurt of secrets, and the wonder of chasing one’s true dreams. The Girl in the Pink Raincoat will stay happily in my mind for quite some time. This novel exceeded all expectations, surprised me, and had my emotions all over the place. I think my favorite part was the ending, which means you’ll have to read the book to figure out what that means! An outstanding novel that I highly recommend!

*Thanks so much to Head of Zeus and the author for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review!

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HU9E4V

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2HKJRN5

iBooks: https://apple.co/2TEXaQO

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

Alrene Hughes

About the author:

Alrene Hughes grew up in Belfast and has lived in Manchester for most of her adult life. She worked for British Telecom and the BBC before training as an English teacher. After teaching for twenty years, she retired and now writes full-time.

Follow Alrene:  

Facebook: @alrenehugheswriter

Twitter: @alrenehughes

 

Follow Head of Zeus:

Website: www.headofzeus.com

Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Facebook: @headofzeus

The Girl in the Pink Raincoat poster 1

The Girl in the Pink Raincoat poster 2

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: If You’re Not the One, by Laura Briggs

If You’re Not the One,

by Laura Briggs

Publication: Bookouture; February 6, 2019

if you're not the one

About the book:

Natalie isn’t a romantic. She doesn’t believe in true love, or destiny. She thinks that people are just plain lucky if they happen to find someone. It’s coincidence and nothing more.

As a wedding dress designer though, she knows she has to keep these feelings under wraps. Even if she’s suspicious that Harper, the bride she’s working with, might secretly agree with her. Because if Harper admitted she wasn’t sure about love, it might also mean giving up on a millionaire husband-to-be and the lavish island wedding of her dreams.

But, for Natalie, as her feelings develop for both her on-off boyfriend Chad, and for the boy-next-door Brayden, she starts to fear that her heart might not be as immune to love as she claims…

Could love have been there all along? And as the wedding approaches, who will find a happy-ever-after, who will find their way to themselves, and who will get left behind?

**My Review**

This title has been on my NetGalley shelf for a while so about a month ago, I decided I needed to read it. For some reason, I just could not get into it. However, I dug back into it today and am happy that I did. This was my first time reading Laura Briggs and I didn’t know until after finishing this that she had written previous books about two of the three main characters: Natalie, Tessa, and Ama. If You’re Not the One is Natalie’s story about their wedding planning business,  The Wedding Belles, Natalie’s efforts to become a designer, and her revelations about Brayden who annoyed her with his crush since they were young. Thrown in with everything about Natalie are subplots about Tessa, Ama, and their latest client/bride-to-be, Harper. 

First, I think I struggled with getting into this book because there was just so much going on. Plus, I didn’t realize there were previous books that would have provided some back-stories. Characterization is a huge element in how I feel about a book, but there were several times while reading this that I felt the reader was getting way more information than necessary to enjoy and understand the novels and characters. 

It took some time for me to really feel invested in the characters, however, once I did – I was all in. Their lives were so cluttered and crazy with other careers separate from The Wedding Belles, romantic issues, family issues, and so on. Even secondary characters all seemed to have 2 or more jobs, plus tons of hobbies or obligations. With all of the details about every part of their lives, I think that’s why the novel felt overloaded and unnecessarily long. But anyway, once I warmed up to the characters and figured out what was going on, I found myself cheering them on, rooting for them, and celebrating with them as if I were a part of the story itself. 

The best part of the novel for me was Natalie’s emotional growth. The more time she was around Brayden again, the more she began to not only soften but become more compassionate and less selfish. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to tell her off for being such a bitch all of their lives or if I wanted them to ride off into the sunset together, but everything worked out as it should and I was happy not only with Natalie’s ending, but also with how things played out for Tessa, Ama, and Harper. 

If You’re Not the One probably isn’t my favorite read as of late, but I truly enjoyed this book and am very glad I gave it another chance after giving up on it before. It’s not a quick read, but you will truly feel connected with the characters once finished and it will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling!

*Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review! 

Purchase If You’re Not the One