Series Review: Dearest (Lex Martin)

One of my goals for 2021 is to read some of the books that have been hiding in the depths of my Kindle for years. I decided to start things off with Dearest Clementine. I had no idea at the time that it would turn into a series binge. Here are my mini reviews for the Dearest series.

Dearest Clementine
Series: Dearest, #1
Author: Lex Martin
Publication Date: April 17, 2014
Publisher: Lex Martin
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Dearest Clementine might have been written in 2014, but six years later it doesn’t feel dated. It was a classic new adult romance set in college. I was immediately addicted to the story. There was a little bit of angst, a sweet romance, and an air mystery. Clementine was a broken character, but not annoyingly so. She opened up and learned a lot in this book. Gavin as her love interest was perfection. The friendships and side characters added even more fun to the book. I’m mad at myself for waiting so long to read Dearest Clementine!

Finding Dandelion
Series: Dearest, #2
Author: Lex Martin
Publication Date: July 9, 2014
Publisher: Lex Martin
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Finding Dandelion didn’t start out on the best foot with me. This book is Clementine’s twin brother Jax’s book. His love interest is her newest roommate, Dani. At the beginning, before they are together, Jax’s promiscuous ways are highlighted. Honestly, I would have preferred to keep things on a tell rather than show way with that. Jax also continued to be an idiot throughout most of the book for different reasons. That being said, I LOVED Dani. Her story was fun to read. When Jax wasn’t being a turd, I thought the two of them were adorable together.

Kissing Madeline
Series: Dearest, #3
Author: Lex Martin
Publication Date: April 26, 2015
Publisher: Lex Martin
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Never did I think I would want a redemption book for Clementine’s high school ex Daren, but I’m glad I got one. It was the most mature of the three romances, and I could see how Martin’s writing grew from her debut to this book. Daren had definitely grown up and matured. I loved that he could look back at his younger years, see his mistakes, and own them. Maddie was a young woman who knew her worth and fought hard for what she wanted. I adored Daren and Maddie together. How they fell into love felt like a natural transition. All of the drama that happened in this book kept it moving quickly, too. It was a fun read — especially with that epilogue!

Review: Roommate (Sarina Bowen)

Roommate
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: January 12, 2020
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
Wanted: One roommate to share a 3-bedroom house, split the rent, and ideally not be the guy I can’t stop thinking about.
I’m a man with too many secrets, so the last thing I need is a new roommate with a sexy smile and blue eyes that see right through me. Eight years ago, Roderick left town after high school. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing. But back then, I let one of my secrets slip, and he’s the only one who noticed.
Part of me knows I should run far, far away. But the other part wants him to come upstairs and spend the night. But if I let him in, I could lose everything.

Seeking: A room to rent in town. I’m tidy, have no pets, and I will feed you homemade bread.
I should probably add: Gay AF, and has no filter. It’s no wonder my new landlord is so wary of me.
A smarter man would ignore those hot glances from Kieran Shipley. The broody lumberjack wants more from me than another homemade pretzel, but if I push my luck, I’ll end up back on the street.
Too bad I’ve never been smart with my heart …


Being back in Vermont and on the Shipley farm was a pleasure. It’s a place where Sarina Bowen’s writing shines. (Although, it shines in all her settings.) In Roommate, we got to see another side to the Shipleys and farming. This time it was a Shipley cousin who gets a story.

Kieran Shipley was my favorite type of Sarina Bowen character: a little gruff, a lot quiet. Behind those qualities was a man who was loyal to his family despite their actions and a good friend. Kieran was someone who was searching for his place in the world, but tried to do it without ruffling anyone’s feathers. I immediately liked him and wanted him to end up happy.

The newcomer to this small Vermont town was Roderick. Roddy had once lived nearby, but had left to pursue his calling. Now he’s back, broke, and looking to start all over. Roddy’s character was a lot more upfront and comfortable with his sexual orientation than some of Bowen’s previous MM couples. I think he might be Bowen’s first openly gay character, and it took me a while to get used to that in terms of what I’ve been used to in the MM romances she’s told before. I liked that she went this direction. It made Kieran and Roddy’s story standout from her other MM romances. There were some of the same aspects in relation to Kieran’s story compared to her others, but Roddy’s was all his own.

Kieran and Roddy had a sweet romance. It was almost a slow burn. Their attraction and relationship built naturally. They took their time getting to know each other as roommates and co-workers before moving onto anything romantic. That worked well for both Kieran and Roddy’s histories.

One of the things that made Roommate fun was seeing those Shipleys and friends from past True North books. Kieran’s branch of the family was a new experience, but I loved how Griffin, Audrey, and Zara framed Kieran’s life. I loved their reactions to Kieran and Roddy. That being said, this book is a standalone and can be read without reading the True North series.

Kieran’s immediate family members weren’t my favorite. I had a feeling why and it was proven correct. I didn’t have much respect for them. That didn’t really change by the end, sadly. There were some things I appreciated about them, but they kind of just sucked.

I’m so glad Sarina Bowen took us back to the True North world with Roommate. It was a special story and it deserved this magical setting. I loved how it was inundated with old characters who surrounded the new characters with love and acceptance. It was a joy to read.

PURCHASE LINKS

All Links in one spot: https://shor.by/roommate
Audible: https://geni.us/Audible-RM
Amazon: https://geni.us/Amazon-roommate
Apple: https://geni.us/Apple-roommate
Kobo: https://geni.us/Kobo-roommate
Nook: https://geni.us/Nook-roommate

Review: Best Friends Don’t Kiss (Max Monroe)

Best Friends Don’t Kiss
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: November 28, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Goal: Find a boyfriend, get married, buy a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and pop out 2.5 kids.

Deadline: Sixty days.

That’s possible, right?

HAHAHA. *Faints*

I’m kidding. Well, kind of. I mean, I’m not going to attempt a shotgun wedding or try to get knocked up by some guy I met on the internet, but there is no doubt that, this year, home for the holidays takes on a whole new, terrifying meaning.

I have to travel from New York City—my home and safe haven for the last fifteen years—to my tiny hometown in Vermont for Christmas, my baby sister’s wedding, and my high school reunion.

Talk about a trifecta of single-doom.

Throw in Callie Camden—aka my high school class’s version of Regina George—and it’s a recipe for certified disaster.

Especially since my mouth ran away from me when she asked me if I’d be bringing someone to our reunion, and I told her to put me down for two.
Gah. Now I can’t go alone.

But the online dating world is a cesspool of bad manners, speedy hookups, and outright weirdos.

Handsome, single, successful—that’s what I’m looking for.
And it just so happens that my best friend Luke London fits all of the criteria.

The only problem is best friends don’t kiss

But maybe it doesn’t count if it’s pretend? 


Banking the Billionaire will probably always be my favorite Max Monroe book, but Best Friends Don’t Kiss comes close. Best Friends Don’t Kiss was one of those magical romance novels that I couldn’t help fall in love with. Everything about it was so swoony! Not only was it a best friends to more/fake dating romance, it was a holiday romance filled with charming Christmas moments.

Ava and Luke Ava and Luke were just so dang cute together. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) knew they should be together, and it was easy to understand why. Those two had chemistry galore. Their friendship made it even stronger. I couldn’t get enough of how cute they were together. I loved how supportive they were of each other — Luke especially. The things that guy did to show Ava he was on her team was pretty cool. THEY WERE JUST SO FREAKING ADORABLE TOGETHER.

I absolutely loved all the characters that came out to support Ava and Luke. Ava’s family was so much fun. The relationship she had with her dad was so sweet. Her mom and aunts had me cracking up. The character who tried to steal the show was Thatch. That guy never goes away, and I can’t say I’m mad about that. I loved what he and his billionaire buddies brought to this story. It was all so entertaining.

Best Friends Don’t Kiss was yet another stellar release from Max Monroe. It made the 2020 holiday season even brighter. I had so much fun reading it that I was sad when it was over. If you’re looking for a holiday romance that’s going to make you laugh as much as swoon, you’re going to want to read this book.

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!