Review: The Ex Talk (Rachel Lynn Solomon)

The Ex Talk
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.


I had a hard time figuring out my feelings about The Ex Talk. There were things I really loved about it, but the things I didn’t nagged at me. Here is what I loved and what I didn’t about this book.

What I loved:

  • The Seattle vibe. A lot of the times books set in Seattle focus too much on the well known landmarks and not on the actual vibe the city and the people have. The Ex Talk hit the vibe spot on.
  • The enemies to lovers trope. The banter was real, people. So was Shay and Dominic’s chemistry. I loved it!
  • The public radio thing. I liked both the setting part and The Ex Talk show itself.
  • Shay’s reactions to the conflicts she encountered.
  • The evolution of all the different types of relationships Shay had.
  • Overall, the writing was very good.

What I didn’t love:

  • The whole lying about being exes for the radio thing. That ethical conflict bugged the heck out of me, even if it made for an interesting story.
  • There was a section of the book from 15% to about 30% that I had to push myself to keep reading. I don’t know what was up with the section. Maybe too much set up toward the plot? All I know is that once I got back on track at 30%, things flew again for me.
  • Shay was annoying at time. She could be very self-centered.

Honestly, I think if things hadn’t gotten slow for me for a chunk of this book, I might have rated it higher even if I didn’t love everything about it. It was a good, unique book.

Review: Swoony Billionaire: The Kline Brooks Collection (Max Monroe)

Swoony Billionaire: The Kline Brooks Collection
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys
Authors: Max Monroe
Publication Date: January 31, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Meet the swooniest billionaire of all time in one awesome and hilarious romantic comedy collection (all for the price of one novella, too!)

This collection includes the following three books:
*New York Times bestseller Tapping the Billionaire
*Tapping Her
*And a BRAND-NEW novella, Be My Billionaire Valentine

This is the perfect indulgence for new and old readers alike!

A favorite book boyfriend of all time, Kline Brooks sets a different kind of standard.

If you’re the type of woman that prefers crotch selfies to small talk, this hero isn’t for you.

If you HATE laughing, this hero isn’t for you.

If you want your male leads to grunt, thrust like jack rabbits, and have one-track minds that prefer a nice pair of t*ts to brains every hour of every day for the rest of forever, well…then, this hero still isn’t for you.

But.

If you enjoy a good swoon, a hearty laugh, witty banter, some hot as f*@% f*@%ing, and an awesome HEA, then dive into this collection and never come up for air.

Kline Brooks isn’t the kind of man you regret. 


If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Kline Brooks and Georgia Cummings, you are missing out. I have been a fan of their books and the Billionaire Bad Boys series for years now. When I saw they were releasing the series in collections for each couple, I knew this would benefit readers who hadn’t yet read the books. That’s because this collection combines Tapping the Billionaire (Billionaire Bad Boys, #1) and the novella Tapping Her (Billionaire Bad Boys, #1.5) all in one place for one cost. As an added bonus, you get the brand new novella Be My Valentine along with them!

That’s really what I’m here to review — Be My Valentine. This novella was so much fun!!! It took us back to the early-ish days of Kline and Georgie, after Tapping Her. I loved their attempted Valentine’s Day celebration. I laughed so hard! (I mean, how can you NOT when Thatch is involved?) I also swooned hard, too. Kline is probably the sweetest of the Billionaire Bad Boys and it came across well here. The novella was a great addition to Kline and Georgia’s story.

If you’re new to this series and are curious about Kline and Georgie and what I thought of the rest of this collection, here is a link to my reviews for Tapping the Billionaire.

Review: The Office Party (Whitney G.)

The Office Party
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: December 18, 2020
Publisher: WGW Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I can’t believe that I pulled my boss’s name for our company’s annual Secret Santa tradition…

As the devil incarnate, this infuriating, cocky bastard never gives us the holidays off, and he honestly expects us to be grateful for his generous alternative: The Office Party.

It’s a mandatory, all-expenses trip for two weeks at a surprise luxury resort—where we still have to work twelve to fifteen hours a day.

I’m so over this…

So, I put zero percent effort into his gift. I tear the tag off whatever my sister gifts me, add a five-dollar amazon gift card, and hand it off to him.

It’s not until my sister sends me a text that I realize how terrible of a decision that was.

Georgia: Why haven’t you sent me a ‘LOL’ about the brand-new vibrator I got you? I really do hope that you use your boss’s face as a muse, like my note says. 🙂

If that’s not bad enough, this year’s “luxury trip” will be in my hometown–the place I’ve avoided for years. At the resort that my grandmother owns…

If the universe gets me out of this, I will never ‘regift’ anything ever again…


Once again, Whitney G. has graced us with an incredibly entertaining holiday romance. This novella was so sassy and fun! It made me smile and laugh on more than one occasion — which is impressive since I read this book in one sitting. I loved the evil boss vibe Garrett had going on and the way Savannah reacted to him. I loved all the texts, emails, and chats that were included along with both Garrett and Savannah’s POVs. The whole “regifting” thing was plain awkward, but it made the story move from funny to fire. These two had amazing chemistry!

The Office Party is the office/enemies to more trope Whitney G. does best. It worked well a novella, but could have been fleshed out even more to be a more in depth story. I didn’t necessarily need that for it to be a better book, I just wouldn’t have minded more time with workaholics Garrett and Savannah. I”m greedy like that. The Office Party is a fun, flirty holiday romance that’s sure to keep you warm this winter holiday season.

Purchase NOW or read on Kindle Unlimited: 

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LDZLS8Q

Series Review: Bachelors of the Ridge (Karla Sorensen)

Karla Sorensen is one of my favorite new-to-me authors of 2020. I’ve been slowly making my way through all of her books/series this year. After this series, I only have one more book to read and I will be caught up on her backlist. Here are mini reviews for each book in the Bachelors of the Ridge series.

Dylan
Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #1
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

I had briefly met Dylan in his sister’s book in the Three Little Words series. Casey was a little high maintenance, so I was interested in getting to know her self-proclaimed closest brother better. I really enjoyed reading Dylan. Dylan was a great, normal guy. He took a chance and moved, where he met Kat. Kat had been a foster child and was about ten years younger than Dylan. I liked the dynamic their different backgrounds and ages brought to the story. It was sweet romance and reminded me why I enjoy Sorensen’s writing so much.

Garrett
Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #2
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: October 21, 2016
Publisher: Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Garrett was Dylan’s friend with the most charisma. I was happy his book was the second in the series because I wanted to know who would win his heart. I can’t decide how I felt about Garrett. On one hand, I really enjoyed this book because Garrett grew up a bit and came into his own. Uptight Aurora balanced out Garrett’s goofy personality. On the other hand, I wanted someone more fun for Garrett. This book was so serious and I loved how everything was handled, but I wish it had been more rom-com based on his personality. I wanted to have more fun with him.

Cole
Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #3
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: March 22, 2017
Publisher: Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. Cole. I’m not quite sure I was ready for the emotional pull Cole had. Cole had been divorced for years and still held a torch for his ex-wife, Julia. Julia comes back to town and a second chance romance begins. It was an emotional one dealing with infertility. Cole was such a good guy. Julia…I both loved and  hated Julia at times. They were a good couple, though. What they went through was not easy, but it was a great second chance romance. I loved how it ended.

Michael
Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #4
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: July 26, 2017
Publisher: Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Did I love that “playboy” Michael fell for single mom of twins, Brooke? Why, yes. Yes, I did. I had hoped this was going to happen based on a couple things I read in Cole, but the story was even sweeter than I imagined. I loved Michael and Brooke together. Add in Brooke’s adorable twins, and I bet you can imagine how adorable it was. I do wish it had been a little longer so I could find out more about how the ex ended up.

Tristan
Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #5
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: July 25, 2018
Publisher: Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

With Anna being Garrett’s sister and married, I wondered how this one was going to play out. I liked how the demise of her marriage was dealt with. I loved how Anna took time to think about what should come next. I especially loved how Tristan took her situation into account. Getting to finally see under Tristan’s quiet demeaner was a huge plus. I knew I was going to adore his character from the first four books. Tristan was a sweet slow burn romance that I loved every minute of, and it was a great way to end the series.

Overall series thoughts:

Bachelors of the Ridge was a fun series to binge. Each book had Karla Sorensen’s pleasant story telling and writing. There was a little drama, but not too much drama involved in each book. This series is connected to the Three Little Words series. It’s fun to read those books first, but you absolutely don’t have to.

Series Review: Havenbrook (Brighton Walsh)

Hi, guys. I have a fun series to share with you today. A while ago, I downloaded Brighton Walsh’s Second Chance Charmer for free and it sat on my Kindle for an embarrassingly long time. I finally picked up it and I was hooked! You can probably tell what happened from there: a series binge. Here are my mini reviews for each book in the series.

Second Chance Charmer
Series: Havenbrook, #1
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: March 19, 2018
Publisher: Bright Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I immediately fell in love with Brighton Walsh’s writing and the small town setting of Havenbrook. Finn and Willow were high school sweethearts who were finally getting a second chance at love. Finn’s attempt at winning Willow back and everything that was revealed during this was so much fun and very swoon worthy. I barely even noticed that it was written in third person and I am not a third person fan — that’s how much I enjoyed reading this sweet romance.

Hometown Troublemaker
Series: Havenbrook, #2
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: March 14, 2019
Publisher: Bright Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

After meeting uptight Rory Haven in Second Chance Charmer and the little insight I got into what was coming for her next with Nash, I couldn’t wait to start this book. I know Rory was supposed to be the stuck up princess, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She learned a lot with the implosion of her marriage and the road back from that wasn’t easy mentally. I found myself tearing up for her. And Nash… I loved the way he came to grips with his own past. Oh, and the way he went after Rory. It was just a really sweet romance.

Pact with a Heartbreaker
Series: Havenbrook, #2.5
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Publisher: Bright Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

This little novella is a preview to the third book in the series that features the middle Haven daughter, Mac. It was set the story for the next book. I appreciated it because this novella because it could have been done in flashbacks in Captain Heartbreaker and I am not a fan of flashbacks. I would much rather have a novella like this.

Captain Heartbreaker
Series: Havenbrook, #3
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: Bright Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Captain Heartbreaker was a great second chance romance between childhood best friends. Mac and Hudson had amazing chemistry, but their friendship is what stood out. It was one of those where you go without seeing each other for years and fall right back into things. I loved that. I did get frustrated at times by both of their decisions, but it did make for a sweet romance.

Overall Thoughts:

This was such a fun series! I loved every moment with it. I’m really hoping Brighton Walsh gives us a book for Natalie, the youngest Haven. Oh, and Willow and Mac’s friend Avery, too! I’m really not done with Havenbrook and I hope Walsh isn’t either.

Review: Work Song (Danielle Allen)

Work Song
Author: Danielle Allen
Publication Date: September 27, 2015
Publisher: E by M
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green

“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.

Despite what society says, my curves are hot.
My love life, on the other hand, is not.

My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.

My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.

My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.

My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.

At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.


What do you do when one of your favorite romance bloggers (Nick) highly recs a book that your other favorite used-to-be romance blogger (Ari) recommended to her? You read it, of course. That’s how I found out about Work Song and I’m SO GLAD I did because I had never heard of it before and I loved it!

Tatiana Green was a woman who knew her worth, even if she doubted it at times. She was comfortable in her own skin and ambitious in her career. She didn’t plan on anything getting in her way of becoming successful — especially a man. I adored her sass and humor. I loved that Tati had already learned to stand up for herself and to not let haters get to her. The only thing I wished she could have changed about herself was her hang up on love and how she reacted at times…but then this wouldn’t have been the amazing romance and story it was.

Wesley Barnes is one of those guys all the single fictional women and real women are going to swoon over. Why? He’s a great guy. Wes tries to support everything Tatiana wants, even if that means not following his own feelings. He’s her friend, her confidant, and loves who she is. Their emails, texts, and phone calls put them on the path to love that is both hilarious and adorable. Wes and Tatiana are one of those couples that clicks over shared likes and it was swoon worthy.

This book was just so fun to read. There were many cute moments. It was a little slow burn, but never felt slow. It was funny, but also serious when it needed to be. I adored the characters and their relationship. I didn’t know I needed Work Song in my reading life, but I did. Excuse me while I go look up what else this new-to-me author has written. She’s got a new fan.

Mini Reviews: Jock Blocked & Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire, and Fool Me Once

Jock Blocked
Series: Copper Valley Fireballs, #1
Author: Pippa Grant
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She can’t let him score…

Call it superstition, but when a guy bats as hot as Brooks Elliott, you don’t mess with what’s working. And what’s working is him keeping his pants zipped and doing all of his scoring on the field.

So when I hear he’s planning to ditch his V-card now that he’s been traded to baseball’s lovable losers — aka my home team and my reason for living every March through October — I do what any rational, dedicated, obsessed fan would do.

I make a plan to stop him.

But the thing about stopping him is that it requires spending time with him.

Lots. And lots. And lots of time.

And the more time I spend with him, the more I like him. Not as the guy who’s going to help save my favorite team and finally bring home a championship ring, but as the guy who’s helping me in my quest to bring back the team’s old mascot. Who also loves making pancake and bacon sandwiches. And who would do almost anything for his love of the game.

But after all this time of jock-blocking him… do I even have a chance?

And if I do, are we both destined to a life of celibacy in the name of winning?

Jock Blocked is a home run of a romantic comedy featuring the world’s most superstitious sports fan, baseball’s oldest virgin hero, a rogue meatball, an adorable puppy with a cussing problem, and the best lovable losers. It stands alone and comes with a happily ever after more satisfying than a game-winning grand slam.

My thoughts:

Jock Blocked is now in my top three Pippa Grant books. It was absolutely hilarious. Mackenzie was a crazy obsessive fan with all her superstitions. I loved the way she inserted herself into Brooks’ life in order to keep him celibate and winning games. There were so many funny moments and a crazy dog collar. I loved every minute of this rom-com.

Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire
Series: Bro Code, #3
Author: Pippa Grant
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The lies will come back to bite you every time…

Never borrow pants from your brother. Especially if he’s a size smaller than you are, because all that pressure in the junk will short-circuit your brain.

And you’ll lie to a woman in a club about your real name.

Leave her unsatisfied after making out in a bathroom.

Then find out that she’s the one thing standing in the way of your dreams. And she very much doesn’t like being lied to.

Now I have to convince Lila Valentine—the woman I can’t stop thinking about, my biggest regret, and my new boss—that I’m what’s best for the baseball team she’s inherited.

If we can’t work together to save the Fireballs, the commissioner’s forcing a sale and moving them across the country.

I’ll do anything to save my home team.

But the one thing I can’t do?

Keep my hands to myself.

Which would be fine, if she hadn’t been telling me lies this whole time too.

Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire is a rocking fun romance between a single dad obsessed with baseball, an heiress with secrets, baseball pants, a rundown team, and rabid ducks. It stands alone and comes with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

My thoughts:

If you’re a fan of single dad romances, you will love this book. Tripp is a great dad, and he shines in this book with his devotion to his kids. Lila is a sweet woman who falls for the man and his kids. It also has a small enemies to lover vibe that’s fun. It was just one of those really entertaining romances filled with humor and swoon worthy moments.

Note: I wish I had read this one before Jock Blocked because it kind of sets some of that book up, but it didn’t an affect on how I felt about either books.

Fool Me Once
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams:

He wants a second chance with his first love.

Before he was writing chart-topping hits and smashing record sales, Chase Lawson was Emma’s childhood friend and first love. They promised each other forever, but forever expired at eighteen, when he landed a major record deal and left Emma and their hometown behind.

Ten years later, he shows up at their high school reunion with a proposition she can’t refuse. Six months. Seven figures. He gets a chance to clean up his reputation, and she gets the means to restore the old family farmhouse. It’s only for show—hold hands in public, kiss for the cameras—but boundaries blur behind closed doors.

It isn’t long before Emma feels her resolve slipping, crushed by the shadow of the boy she grew to love in the man selling out stadiums of present. Can Emma resist one of the most irresistible bachelors in the world? Or will she fall for the same man twice?

My thoughts:

I don’t know what it is, but I love contemporary romances involving country singers. I think it’s the thought that maybe some of the songs they have written are about their love interest. Yeah, that’s probably it. This one was especially fun because the main character Emma, who was the MC, was Chase’s ex-high school sweetheart. It was also less than 200 pages and flew by. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the ending. I didn’t like the choice Chase made because it felt a little forced. I wish Emma’s actions had been different, but that didn’t keep me from falling for this romance.  Fool Me Once was a fun second chance romance.

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: Books Off My TBR Backlist

Today is all about the mini reviews. I finally finished off my ARCs, so these are all books I’ve had on my TBR for quite a while. It was nice to get them off the list. I even have a series review included.

Love in Lingerie
Series: Unzipped, #1
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I hired her to fix my company, to bring Marks Lingerie back to life. I didn’t expect her to become my friend. I didn’t expect to fall in love with her.

The first rule of business is to never touch your employees. I think there is another rule about not falling for your best friend—a rule against imagining the curves of her body, or the way her breathing would change if I pulled down her panties and unzipped my pants.

Now, I can’t wait any longer. I’m tossing out the rules.

Damn the company.
Damn our friendship.
Damn my fears.

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. I don’t even know where to start with this book. On one hand, I loved it. The chemistry between the characters was off the charts. There was such a sweetness between them and a real friendship developed. On the other, it drove me absolutely crazy with all the angst, OW, OM, and the slowest of slow burns brimming with sexual tension. It was worth every minute of that frustration for how it ended — with a giant smile on my face and happiness in my heart.

Kat Fight
Author: Dina Silver
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: DNF @ 16%

Synopsis:

The seriously funny, fabulously flawed Kat Porter has arrived, and she may just steal your heart—not to mention your boyfriend. Readers everywhere will revel in this sharp-witted, well-meaning whirlwind in author Dina Silver’s hilarious new novel, Kat Fight. In her quest for love, Kat makes every wrong turn, juggling two men, one best friend, and her own deeply confused heart’s desires.

Kat Porter is a consummate romantic, eager for her chance to find love and commitment. But after her boyfriend of four years, Marc, begins to grow apathetic and sends her calls straight to voicemail one too many times, Kat finally musters the courage to confront her so-called sweetheart, who seems more interested in dodging her than courting her. Though she’s no fan of ultimatums, Kat is at the end of her considerable wits, and lobs a massive one his way, completely confident that he’ll make the right decision when faced with losing her. He doesn’t.

With radio silence from Marc, Kat’s lifelong dream of finding a husband and forging a family is decidedly on the skids. That’s when her childhood friend Julie steps in, forcing Kat on a blind date to help her move beyond the break-up. Not only does Kat botch the setup, she instead finds herself in hot pursuit of Julie’s love interest, Ryan Sullivan. A man who, in addition to literally taking her breath away, is the living, breathing personification of everything Kat wants in a husband.

Can Kat connect with the man of her dreams without hurting two of the people she cares most about? At the same time, she must also contend with the quips of her beloved catty coworker Adam, her bi-polar boss Brooke, and a string of comic, unpredictable plot twists. All the while, Kat’s cheeky perspective and generous heart will leave readers adoring every moment of her journey while chuckling and cheering for the ever cute, razor-sharp Kat as she fights to land the love of a lifetime.

My thoughts:

I picked this book up at Book Bonanza 18 after talking with the author. She told me it was loosely related to how she met her husband and that it was a romantic comedy. That sold me on it, and I really wanted to love it because she was so lovely. I don’t know if it’s my mood or what, but I couldn’t get into the writing style. The MC drove me nuts. There was just something about the tone of her thoughts… I just didn’t feel like spending any more time with her, so I gave up at 16%.

Crash
Series: Crash, #1
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: July 18, 2012
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude’s everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find out, is the only thing she’s incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.

My thoughts:

Crash was a mess of craziness that I somehow found myself addicted to. So much happened that wasn’t quite believable. I could see most of the twists coming, but that didn’t stop them from being impactful. Neither Lucy nor Jude was all that likable. Lucy drove me nuts with her inner dialog and the way she reacted to stuff. Jude was crazy controlling and made the worst decisions. So why did I give this book 4 stars? What made this such a great read for me was the relationship between the main characters. The way they were together made me root for them. They truly brought out the best parts of each other. For some reason, that was enough to make me enjoy this book.

Clash
Series: Crash, #2
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Their Romeo-and-Juliet-level passion is the only thing Jude and Lucy agree on. That, and fighting all the time…

Also not helping? Lucy’s raging jealousy of the cheerleader who’s wormed her way into Jude’s life.

While trying to hang on to her quintessential bad boy and also training to be the top ballet dancer in her class, Lucy knows something’s going to give… soon.

How can she live without the boy she loves? How can she live with herself if she gives up on her dreams? If Lucy doesn’t make the right choice, she could lose everything.

My thoughts:

Clash wasn’t as crazy as Crash, but it had its moments. There are 3 things that had me giving this one 4 stars:

  1. Reformed Jude is a lovable Jude.
  2. There was one of the best cat fights in a book I have read yet.
  3. Lucy frustrated the heck out of me with the immature choices she made, but at least she knew she was the problem.

Crush
Series: Crash, #3
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Football glory. A giant diamond. A wandering eye.

Jude and Lucy are happily engaged . . . but that doesn’t mean life’s a bed of roses.

Once again, Jude and Lucy are torn apart by football training and a summer job that creates new tensions. This time Jude’s the one with trust issues. Will Lucy’s life-changing news bring them back together or end their relationship for good? Can love triumph forever?

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. Lucy took her brand of crazy to another level here. To be honest, it was SO HARD to read this book because of her insecurities and immaturity. It was hard to believe four years had passed since the last book for her. Which was sad because Jude had matured beautifully for the most part. The only reason this book was worth reading was for the HEA Jude and Lucy finally got. That was super cute.

Review: Tools of Engagement (Tessa Bailey)

Tools of Engagement
Series: Hot & Hammered, #3
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.


I have been waiting for Tools of Engagement since the moment I finished Love Her or Lose Her. I got a glimpse of the dynamic between Wes and Bethany and was so excited for their story. It didn’t let me down. Tools of Engagement was my favorite in the Hot & Hammered series.

What made Hot & Hammered so good? Quite a few things. First, I LOVED the banter. There was a whole I’m going to be mean to you because I actually like you thing going on. It was childish, but totally worked. It made the banter super fun because I could appreciate how ridiculous Wes and Bethany were being. Bethany especially. The banter made their swoon worthy relationship that much more fun.

The next thing that stood out to me was Bethany’s character. I don’t have much in common with her, but I could see a lot of women in her. She strove for perfection to the point where she couldn’t let loose or be herself. She had everything the way she thought it should have been, but was missing the big picture. I loved how she figured out the perfection was required.

Then, there was Wes. He would definitely make my list of favorite male characters. He might have only been 23, but he came across much older and more mature. I loved how he antagonized Bethany. It wasn’t done to be mean, but to light a fire under her. I also loved how he was with his niece, Laura. That relationship showed what a good person he was.

I can’t leave out the group of women and how they come together to support each other. That’s been one of the coolest aspects of this series. It wasn’t quite as heavily featured in this book, but it was there to support Bethany when she needed it.

Finally, there was the whole competition between Bethany and her brother Stephen. I liked not only what it did for Bethany’s relationship with Wes, but with Stephen as well.

Tools of Engagement was truly a fun romantic read filled great banter, humor, the sweetest of romances. If you’re a fan of this series, you won’t want to miss out on it.