Review: Sorrow (Tiffanie DeBartolo)

Sorrow
Author: Tiffanie DeBartolo
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Publisher: Woodhall Press
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From Tiffanie DeBartolo, author of God Shaped Hole, How to Kill a Rock Star, and Grace: The Jeff Buckley Story, comes Sorrow, a poignant story about friendship and love, art and music, and how these pursuits can save us from ourselves.

Joe Harper has backpedaled throughout his life. A once-promising guitar prodigy, he’s been living without direction since abandoning his musical dreams. Now into his thirties, having retreated from every opportunity he’s had to level up, he has lost his family, his best friend, and his self-respect.

But Joe finds an unlikely path to redemption when he starts working as a carpenter for the bohemian conceptual artist October Danko. The job returns him to his hometown, loaded with bittersweet reminders of his former life, in the shadows of his beloved redwood trees. As Joe’s relationship with October develops, he yearns to take a daring step toward a bold future but struggles to escape the craven decisions of his past.

Sorrow is a stunning, moving novel that explores masculinity and suspended adolescence, all the while begging the questions: Can courage be learned? And is it ever too late to follow your heart?


Um… I just finished this book and I have GOOSEBUMPS. Goosebumps. Reading this book was like listening to a singer who can emote like no other. Everything that Tiffanie DeBartolo wrote I felt. Deeply. This book’s title is Sorrow. That title encompasses so much more than just the feeling. Joe himself was basically one big sorrow. That probably makes no sense, but I have no idea how to explain what this book put me through! I had no idea where this story would end up going when I started it. I disliked the characters through much of it. I thought the book would depress me because I felt the sorrow, but somewhere along the way that sorrow combined with hope. Maybe that hope is what left me with goosebumps in the end. All I can say about this book in the end is that I loved it as much as I was expecting to while feeling rubbed the wrong way while reading much of it. It was such a weird thing. A fantastic, hopeful thing.

Series Review: Flawed Love (Lisa De Jong)

My friend Ari asked me if I had read any books by Lisa De Jong. I told her I had read and enjoyed her Ruin series. Ari said I had to read the Flawed Love series. I honestly think she just wanted to torture me. If you want to find out why I think that, check out my reviews below.

Lies Unspoken
Series: Flawed Love, #1
Author: Lisa De Jong
Publication Date: December 14, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I tried hard not to fall for the bad guy.

My new roommate, Blake, is a jerk—an unemployed artist with a chip on his shoulder. I can’t stand him unless his hands are on me. He makes me desperate for him, and everything he makes me feel.

And then there’s my new boss, Pierce–successful, charming, and extremely good-looking. He goes after what he wants, but what does he see in me?

I try to stay away, but I end up in the arms of exactly who I was hiding from. And when I find out what’s being hidden from me, my heart twists in ways it never should.

I thought I knew him.
I didn’t.
The way he kissed me.
The way his hands traveled every inch of my skin.
I thought it meant something, but as it turns out, it was all lies unspoken.

My thoughts:

I don’t even know how to explain my feelings about this book. The writing is exceptional, and De Jong hit me in all the feels — both good and bad. I loved Lila and liked Blake. Their relationship was a disaster in the making, but I still managed to fall for them as a couple.

Things weren’t that simple, though. This is kind of a love triangle towards the end. I’m not a fan, so that’s when things started to get iffy for me. Lies Unspoken went places I didn’t want to go. Blake and Lila both disappointed me. I wasn’t a fan of the third wheel, Pierce. I didn’t like the feelings I got from him. There was just this underlying thing that kept me from liking his character.

Then, there was that cliffhanger. It kept me reading. That’s all I will say about that.

Love Unspoken
Series: Flawed Love, #1
Author: Lisa De Jong
Publication Date: October 17, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I lent my heart to the bad boy, and he did exactly what I expected he would. He broke it.

And the guy I should have been with—he’s still here. He tries to take my mind off everything I’ve lost while showing me what I could have. I’m ready for a new start, to fall in love again … to do what I should have done in the first place.

Everything seems perfect.

Then the past comes walking back in. I thought I was over him, but one look and I know that’s not true. We went through too much together for those feelings to completely fade away.

When my past and present collide, how am I supposed to choose? They both love me, and I love them.

A heart will be broken … and it could be mine.

My thoughts:

I hated this book. HATED. It took me places I didn’t want to go. It’s getting 3 stars for 3 reasons:

  1. Lisa De Jong is a talented writer. She wove a complicated tale.
  2. I understood Lila’s up and down feelings and why she made some of the dumb choices she did.
  3. The last couple of chapters and epilogue. They pretty much wiped away my anger.

So what didn’t I like?

Pretty much everything else. The love triangle was in full swing. I was not a fan of Pierce. He was controlling, jealous, and manipulative. Pierce would have done anything to get what he wanted: Lila. It didn’t matter what he knew her true feelings to be. He was more worried about having her for himself. The way Lila played to his demands made me angry. I was so fed up with them both for most of the story.

I do have one complaint about the end, too. There was supposed to be a novella about Blake’s sister. I don’t know that it was released and I really need it right now.

Overall thoughts on this series: If you like a good love triangle and aren’t scared off by OW/OM drama, this has some great angst and even better writing.

Mini Reviews: Parental Guidance, Throw Like a Girl, You’d Be Mine, & Pike

Hi, friends. Today, I’m sharing with you four quick reviews.

Parental Guidance
Series: Ice Knights, #1
Author: Avery Flynn
Publication Date: May 31, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC (Amara)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I’m in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom—yes, my mom—has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can’t get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who’d rather be anywhere other than on a date with me.

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. But if we band together, we can get the whole thing over with and go on with our lives. It’s perfect! No feelings. No future. No fuc— *ahem* fun. No naked fun.

What could go wrong? Nothing—as long as I remember the rules. Don’t notice the way she looks in a dress. Don’t react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don’t think about the fact that she’s never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn’t self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates—that’s it—and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan..

My thoughts:

A while back I read Awk-Weird, the second book in this series, and absolutely adored it. I was excited to go back and read the first book in the series. I didn’t fall in love with Parental Guidance the way I did Awk-Weird. It took me longer to get into the story. It wasn’t until Zara and Caleb met (a bit into the story) that I started to love it. Parental Guidance ended up being a cute read with characters I loved. It’s worth the read, so power through the build up to Zara and Caleb meeting to get to the good stuff — all those hilarious dates.

Throw Like a Girl
Author: Sarah Henning
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Friday Night Lights  meets Morgan Matson’s  The Unexpected Everything  in this contemporary debut where  swoon-worthy  romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched… Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland’s halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who’s got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.

My thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read Throw Like a Girl since I first saw the cover and title. It was just so fierce and cute at the same time. The story was pretty much the same. Liv was a star softball player who made a huge mistake that ended with her at a new school playing football after being recruited by Grey, the quarterback. I loved that Liv was tough, but also had a softer side. I like that she stood up for herself even when she was embarrassed or hurt. I also loved how she was the one with the athletic prowess. Liv was able to transition quickly between sports and I thought that it was great because you see that with guys in books but rarely girls. This book was one that was over before I was prepared to part ways with the characters.

You’d Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

My thoughts:

This is another book I wanted to read when it came out, but never got to. It wasn’t until I read (and LOVED) an ARC of her upcoming book that I rushed back to buy You’d Be Mine. I couldn’t wait to read more from Hahn. I knew I loved her writing, but I was even more impressed knowing this was her debut novel. It was perfection. I loved everything about it. Annie and Clay were such amazing characters and their story warmed my heart. I hate that I have to wait to read another book from Hahn. I love her writing so much!

Pike
Series: The Pawn Duet, #1
Author: T.M. Frazier
Publication Date: March 24, 2030
Publisher: Frazier Publishing
Genre: Dark Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

**A King Series Spin-Off**

Born into chaos. Baptized in the gutter.
I was raised by the violent laws of the streets, spilling blood without the hindrance of useless emotions or connections.
Unfeeling. Unloved. Alone.

My life was perfect.

Until her.

While on a manhunt for a mysterious enemy, one hellbent on taking both my business and my life, I find Mickey. She’s covered in mud, rambling nonsense, and clearly out of her mind.

She’s also a distraction I don’t need.

That is until I discover a connection between the girl and my enemy.
Mickey isn’t a distraction anymore.
She’s the perfect weapon.
One I’ll use to exact my revenge.

The plan is an easy one, but there’s something about Mickey that’s making it more and more difficult.
A familiarity I can’t place. A need I can’t explain.
A want I have to deny.

After all, she’s not mine to keep. She’s a tool. My pawn.
My sacrifice.

My thoughts:

I don’t know… I’m not sure what’s not sitting right with me about Pike. Maybe it was the speed of the story. Everything moved so fast — I even was a little confused at one point. Or maybe it was that I didn’t 100% buy the level of attraction between Pike and Mickey at times because of the situation at hand. Then, there was the frustration I felt not knowing what Mickey was hiding… It might have been all three of these books combined. The only time I felt like I could truly enjoy things was when Preppy made himself useful. Pike totally needed his levity. So, yeah. This one wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I’m still looking forward to finding out what happens next. Maybe I’ll fall more in love with Pike and Mickey as things go on.

Review: Flashed (Zoey Castile)

Flashed
Series: Happy Endings, #3
Author: Zoey Castile
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When a man makes his living by his looks, he can forget that love–and lust–are more than skin deep. But the right woman can remind him . . .

A former soccer player, stripper, and model, legendary party boy Patrick Halloran finally gets his big break starring in the summer blockbuster. But when an accident leaves him changed forever, he hides away in his secluded Montana ranch. Only his new housekeeper is allowed inside–with one rule: she’s not allowed to see him. But Pat sees her, and she’s the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Even her voice is beautiful. Still, Pat can’t allow himself to get close to anyone. Not without a fight at least . . .

Magdalena “Lena” Martel is a long way from Queens, New York. After a rough patch, the aspiring artist is working her way through college–even if it means keeping house for a man whose gruff voice she can only hear through a closed door. Still, Lena senses Pat’s got a good heart, maybe even a lovable one. She’s intrigued–until his anger sends her running into the freezing woods. Now Pat will have to find her–and when he does he may have found the one woman who can thaw his heart–not to mention the rest of him. But can their new bond survive the paparazzi–and their personal
demons? . . .


The last book in the Happy Endings series wasn’t my favorite, so I was a little hesitant to pick up Flashed. I waited for reviews from some trusted readers and since they all seemed to love it, I decided to give it a read. I’m so happy I did!

Flashed takes us to the quiet ruggedness of Montana, to a man who was once famous but now hides from the world. After a horrific accident, Pat’s once beautiful body has been left ravaged. He doesn’t want anyone to see him and feels he doesn’t deserve anyone’s love or friendship. All of that begins to change when Lena becomes his housekeeper and moves into his pool house. Lena brings with her a magic that makes him want to live.

Flashed reminded me a bit of a mashup of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. Pat was this gruff, tormented man who was no longer his most handsome self. He needed to forgive himself and move on, but didn’t know how. Underneath it all, he was a sweet guy. Lena was a young woman down on her luck who takes a job as Pat’s housekeeper to help pay for college. He’s not nice to her in the beginning, but they slowly develop a friendship that turns into more. It was just all so sweet. I loved every moment of it. I don’t know what else to say about it. Fans of fairytale retellings will most likely adore this book. I obviously did. It’s my new favorite in this series.

Review: The Girl in the Painting

The Girl in the Painting
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.
Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all.

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.
There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?
Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.
I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.
But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.
The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.


Just when I think I know Max Monroe’s writing, they go and change things up again. I have always been a fan of their contemporary romances. When they released the Stone Cold Fox trilogy I was shocked at how versatile their writing was. It blew my mind how well they did both romantic comedy and romantic suspense. With The Girl in the Painting they have gone in another direction that has me marveling at their writing talent. This book was more emotional that anything I have read of theirs before. I loved that. Is there anything they can’t write? I doubt it.

The Girl in the Painting is one of those books you have to experience for yourself. There was a touching and addictive plot. I guessed some of the things that happened, but other parts were a shock. Everything was so well executed. The characters were so colorful. Ansel came across loud and clear as the tortured artist. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Indy was a woman who thought she was living until she met Ansel. Their connection to each other was palpable. I got lost in their story and the emotion of it.

I was so impressed by A Girl in the Painting. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Max Monroe, but I loved it as much as I have loved some of my favorite books of theirs. I hope we get more emotional tales from this duo. I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the side characters from this story.

Review: The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott

The Butterfly Project
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Where you are is home…”

At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change…

Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime.

Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness.

The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.


The Butterfly Project has been sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read since February. I kept putting off reading it because I knew I was going to be in for an emotional ride. Emma Scott is an amazing author, but she packs a powerful emotional punch in all of her books. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the experience The Butterfly Project was going to give me yet.

I’m so happy I went ahead and started reading it. I loved The Butterfly Project! It was definitely an emotional read, but it immediately drew me and had me invested. I wasn’t willing to put the book down. I stayed up way too late reading it because I needed to know what was going to happen to Zelda and Bennett.

If you haven’t read Emma Scott’s Full Tilt duet, you may not know that Zelda was an employee of Theo’s Las Vegas tattoo shop. She’s decided to branch off on her own, and take her comic book to shop publishers in New York. The reception of her comic book is not what she had hoped, and she has to figure out how to spend more time in New York to make the revisions she needs to it. Zelda refuses to give up on the one thing that may help her entire family heal. A chance encounter with Beckett gives her the possibility to stay in New York.

Beckett isn’t super thrilled to have Zelda around. He’s got his own tragedies and regret to deal with. What begins as a partnership, slowly turns into companionship for Beckett. He realizes maybe he’s not as alone as he thought. His friendship with Zelda is the only thing heating up his cold and dreary days.

The more entwined their lives get, the more Zelda and Beckett want more from each other. Before they can truly fall, let will have to decide if they can let go of the past and live in the future.

Zelda and Beckett were really amazing characters. Both were living their lives by the day, trying to make it through. They were emotionally stunted by things they wished they could change in their pasts. The sadness and guilt connected them, but their different outlooks on each other’s situation brought a strength to their friendship. Zelda knew what Beckett needed and Beckett knew what Zelda needed. Their friendship turning into a romantic relationship was inevitable. They got each other and their chemistry was off the charts. I loved every minute of their romance.

All of the secondary characters were magic. Each brought a little bit of something special to the story. I especially loved Zelda and Beckett’s Italian neighbor lady. She cracked me up! I also loved getting a tiny bit of Theo in this story. I had forgotten how much I missed him.

One thing I thought was super cool in this story was the use of the comic book. I liked the glimpses of it I got to see and how the story created helped Zelda and Beckett heal. It was a cool way to connect two characters.

I don’t know what else to say about The Butterfly Project except that I loved it. I would highly recommend it to new adult romance readers. The healing and love in this story is amazing. I’m so happy I finally read it!!!

Review: Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole

Sweet Hope
Series: Sweet Home, #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: March 28, 2015
Publisher: Tillie Cole Ltd
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Ally Prince and I’ve always been unlucky in love. I don’t know why, I just always… have.

When all of my best friends were falling for their soul mates in College, I was left behind. I was Ally, the pretty cousin of superstar quarterback, Romeo Prince. I was Ally, the best friend to the most amazing group of girls I’ve ever known—a title I loved, but one I became tired of ‘just’ being. And I was Ally, the one on which they could all rely.

But to me, I was Ally, the girl with the heart no one had claimed… And I was, Ally, the girl, who underneath it all, was heart-breakingly lonely.

I LOVE love; the thought of it, the nervous excitement of falling for Mr. Right, the desire of someone becoming my entire world… of me becoming theirs. I’ve always wanted passion, heart-stopping, epic, life-changing romance… I’ve always wanted the fairytale… I’ve always wanted it all.

It just never seemed like I would get it.

For the past few years I’ve thrown myself into my career as a museum curator. I’m the best of the best, the person every museum wants to hire, so when an opportunity came up to move to Seattle, I jumped at the chance. My cousin and my best friend lived in Seattle and I needed a change.

I needed a new beginning.

I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone in the Emerald City. I wasn’t expecting to work closely with the reclusive new sculptor my all-important gallery design was centered around. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall for him… heart-stopping, epic, life-changing love…
My real life fairytale come true.

But, like in every fairytale, there’s a villain, a dark and tortured soul… I just didn’t know that the villain and the hero in my story would end up being one and the same.

New Adult Romance Novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.


With each book I read in the Sweet Home series, the more impressed with Tillie Cole’s writing I become. Each ones gets a little deeper and darker in theme, and pulls me in more and more. Each new book also becomes my favorite in the series.

Sweet Hope was a little different from the first two books in the series. It gave the reader a change of time and scenery. The story no longer took place in college, but in the characters’ late 20’s. Instead of Alabama, Sweet Hope was set in Seattle. Personally, I loved that change. This Washingtonian could picture the setting in her head.

Another thing I loved about this book was the main characters. I really enjoyed getting to know Ally better in Sweet Hope. She was always the happy, bubbly sorority girl in the previous books. I never would have guessed the depth of her character. It was fun to see another side of her.

I know this book has been out for a while, but I still don’t want to give away Ally’s love interest. I hadn’t read any of the reviews and I was pleasantly shocked. All I’m going to say is that he’s a tortured soul who doesn’t believe he deserves redemption. His darkness was the perfect contrast to Ally’s light. The intensity of their relationship could have set off fireworks. I absolutely loved them together.

I can’t leave out that I loved catching up with all of the characters from the previous book, too. It was fun to see where all of them had ended up, and how they were doing. I was surprised to find myself falling deeper in love with Austin (Sweet Fall) in this one.

I don’t want to give anything else about this story away. I’ll just say it’s quickly become my favorite of the series. It’s definitely one you should experience yourself — just make sure you read the first two books in the series first. You don’t want to miss out anything this series has to offer. It’s pretty dang amazing!

Review: Starting Over by Barbie Bohrman

Starting Over
Author: Barbie Bohrman
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Montlake Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Single mom Vanessa Holt has a daughter she loves, a supportive family, and her art. Having given up on finding true love—if that even exists, which she doubts—she’s content to put romance on the back burner. But not everyone agrees. Those nearest and dearest are ready to see Vanessa let down her long blonde hair and have some fun.

To put their grumbling to rest, Vanessa agrees to go on a date with the next man who asks. Luckily for her, that man is Cameron Thomas, her daughter’s extremely handsome science teacher. She’d felt a spark of chemistry the first time she’d laid eyes on him. Now she’s ready to lay a whole lot more on the sexy bachelor.

But just as things get hot, they also get heavy. When the man who broke Vanessa’s heart reappears, her old doubts and fears about love rush to the surface. Will her fresh start with Cameron be over before it’s barely begun?


Starting Over was a cute story about a single mom finding herself and love again after years of raising her daughter on her own. I really enjoyed the characters in this story. Vanessa was such a strong woman. She had been dealt a rough road and had made the best out of it. Vanessa did everything she could to make sure her daughter had the best childhood. I respected the choices she made, and loved the support she received from her family.

Vanessa’s family was amazing. I first met her brother and sister-in-law in Playing It Safe and it was fun to see them again. I loved how they, along with her parents, pushed Vanessa to want more for herself. I also loved the stability they helped give her daughter, Josie.

Josie was such a cutie! I loved her reaction to her mother’s love life. She was a little adult, but definitely a child. The one thing that kind of threw me off in the story was her age. She was supposed to be twelve, but was in eighth grade. Most of the eighth graders I know are thirteen or fourteen. She seemed much more mature than a twelve-year-old.

I can’t leave out Vanessa’s new love interested Cameron. His science teacher geekiness was adorable! It made him so sexy. As did the way he talked to Vanessa. The guy had game — even if he didn’t realize it!

Starting Over was a fun contemporary romance. It’s short, sweet, and perfect for one of those days you want an uplifting romance.

Review: Hooked on Trouble by Kelly Siskind

 

hooked-on-trouble-launch-day-blitz

HOOKED ON TROUBLE
Over the Top Book 3
Author: Kelly Siskind
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Forever Yours
eBook: $3.99 

SYNOPSIS:

Reality bites.  Hard.

The last time Raven did “real” was sixteen months ago, when she spent one unforgettable night with the tattooed, impossible sexy Nico, and then he disappeared the next day.  Since then, she’s kept her guard up and her feelings to herself.  She doesn’t have time for relationship drama when she’s busy searching for her long lost sister.

Nico hasn’t stopped thinking about Raven—her sultry curves, inked skin, or the fact that he ditched her after their night together.  Now that they’re living in the same city, he knows this is his chance to make things right.  What better way to prove to Raven he’s for real than helping her find her sister?  But when the lines between right and wrong start to blur, putting his job on the line, Nico has to decide if the risk is worth the ultimate reward.

REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been waiting a long time to find out what went down between Nico and Raven in The Perfect Mistake. I knew it had to be something big based on Raven’s reaction to him in A Fine Mess. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it created a multi-layered story for Hooked on Trouble.

Each book in Kelly Siskind’s Over the Top series has been different. They’ve all included her witty dialog and amazing characters, but with each new book the series has gone a little deeper and dealt with darker issues. Kelly Siskind has a way of surprising me with her characters’ stories.

Raven’s history was so much more than I expected it to be. She seemed so confident and kick ass in the previous books, but there was a vulnerability I wasn’t expecting from her. The mystery behind her missing sister brought so much depth to Raven’s story and gave such great insight to her actions and reactions.

Nico was exactly who he seemed to be in the previous two books. He was a by the book guy who tried to make the right decisions all of the time. His job as a police officer gave him an even more serious edge. He was definitely not the fun-loving one in his group of friends. Nico had more at stake and needed to be the rock for his friends and family.

Raven and Nico had amazing chemistry. They were so freaking sexy!!! I wasn’t surprised by that after seeing bits and pieces of their connection in the rest of the series. I was surprised at the depth of their emotional connection, though. They completed each other in an unexpected way. Their relationship truly brought out the best in each of them. The moments they spent together were the bright light of Hooked on Trouble.

I found it really hard to compare Hooked on Trouble against the first two Over the Top books. I gave both of those 5 stars. They had tough issues, but they also had a humorous side to them that I really loved. This one felt like it was missing its fun side. There were a few funny moments, but it otherwise felt heavier than the other books. I debated giving it 4 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an amazing book this was. I truly enjoyed the way this story unfolded. I loved the issues it touched on. The things that connected Nico and Raven were very raw and real. It may not have had all of the laughs of the other two books, but it was definitely special and 5 star deserving read. I would highly recommend reading it.

EXCERPT:

His large hand presses against my knee under the table. “Can we talk?”

Jesus, his touch. It’s the first time I’ve felt the weight of his palm on me since Aspen. It’s heavy. Huge. Callused. Instinctually I shift forward, my body no longer mine to command. He doesn’t move his hand. Just his thumb. It presses harder, dragging downward. I grip my armrests to keep from sliding to the floor. He stares at me, waiting for my answer.

Yes. No. Maybe. I choose silence.

The way our lives are entrenched with our friends, I’ll have to spend time with him, and I can’t keep pretending I can block him out. Moving here was about starting fresh, which means letting go of this grudge. But talking about Aspen could stir up more feelings, the same way the experience spurred my need to find Rose. If we talk about our time in the hot tub, it could unhinge me further.

Our waiter arrives to take our order, and Nico’s thumb moves again, a tiny brush, his skin against mine, sending a pulse between my thighs. My sanity plummets. I shout, “Chicken,” like a lunatic as I push away from the table.

Nico’s hand slides from my knee, but his eyes don’t waver. I feel his gaze on my back as I hurry to the bathroom. The second I get inside, I close the door and lean against it, thankful it’s not a public room with several stalls. I take a few deep breaths.

How can that bit of contact turn me inside out? The smallest touch?

Memories of his other touches flip through my mind, snippets of skin and ink, flashes of ecstasy.

My back arching.

His fingers exploring.

The curve of his inked shoulder.

His huge hands.

The sheer size of him.

We might not have had sex, and the details may be fuzzy, but there’s no doubt it was the hottest night I’ve ever had. What isn’t fuzzy is the time I spent with him in the hot tub prior, and how he took advantage of my vulnerability.

Goddamn Nico. And Goddamn Aspen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Siskind CREDIT Eirik Dunlop

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly Siskind moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario, Canada.  When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.

She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all.  She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

www.kellysiskind.com
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Review: All In by Emma Scott

29483226All In
Series: Full Tilt, #2
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Trillian
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Reeling from her loss, Kacey Dawson is grieving and heartbroken, her addictive demons hauling her back into the alcohol-soaked abyss she worked so hard to crawl out of. Kacey teeters on the edge of oblivion, and must fight her way through the pain, to build a new life for herself with her music, and somehow fulfill the promise she made to Jonah…one she feels is impossible to keep.

Theo Fletcher has a secret burning in his heart, one that he holds close, while he struggles to keep strong for his family that is falling apart. His mother’s health is fragile and his father’s disapproval is breaking him down. Theo is afraid if he follows his heart, he’ll fail, and not just himself, but his brother who believed in him when no one else did.

Drawn together by their pain, Theo and Kacey slowly build a friendship, re-forge old ties, help each other to heal, and give one another the courage to reach for their dreams. Together, from the depths of grief and guilt, they learn to laugh again, to trust again, and quite possibly find something beautiful and lasting amid the shattered pieces of their broken hearts.

Part II of the two-part Full Tilt duet
PLEASE NOTE, this novel is NOT a standalone. It is highly recommended one read Full Tilt first to get the entire arc of the story and to avoid spoilers.


In Full Tilt, Emma Scott began an emotional story that was so deep and moving, but completely devastating. It broke me. When I got to the end of it, I couldn’t imagine not reading its sequel, All In. I needed to know how all of the characters moved on from the trauma of Full Tilt.

All In had a different feel to me than Full Tilt. Even though it dealt with Kacey, Theo, their friends and family’s grief, there was a feeling of lightness to it. There was still some devastation and sadness, but there was also hope and healing. The way Emma Scott navigated her characters through one of the toughest times of their lives was exceptional and inspirational.

 

One of the things I loved the most about All In was how Kacey found love and strength with Theo. At first, I wasn’t so sure what I thought about Kacey falling for Jonah’s brother. I thought it might be uncomfortable or seem unnatural. Kacey and Theo’s relationship didn’t make me feel either of those things. It progressed slowly and in a way I could understand and relate to. It was sweet and actually really perfect. I loved them together — maybe even more than I loved Kasey and Jonah.

I absolutely loved this duet and would recommend it to romance readers. It was a beautifully written journey of love, loss and healing.