Monthly Archives: July 2017

Review: Breaking Roman by Alexis James

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Breaking Roman is the third book in Alexis James’ Moran Family series. I have not read the first two books but I now have them on my to-read list because I really liked Breaking Roman.

Roman “Romeo” Moran is the player of the family, the love ’em and leave ’em guy. It is a persona he hates unfortunately. Roman has his eyes set on someone and he has admired her for a long time. He is just too gun shy to do anything about it. It’s easier to admire her from afar than risk getting turned down and having his dreams crushed. But when an unexpected opportunity arises to get to know Sabrina better, Roman takes it. It goes against the wishes of his two older brothers but he just has to try.

Sabrina devotes herself to work and her teenage daughter. She has admired Roman but knows nothing can ever come of it. He’s not exactly husband material. And Sabrina is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of her ex. There is no way she can get involved with a “Romeo” type.

I quite enjoyed how Alexis James breaks down the stereotypes of the “player” and the “cold” woman. Roman isn’t a player. He dates a lot but he is looking for true love. Sabrina may be a bit cool at first, a bit more reticent with affection but there is no doubt that she comes to care deeply for Roman.

The one thing that kind of threw me in this story is a little disturbance near the end that seemed tacked on to create unrealistic conflict. I could have done without that because I really thought the pacing of their story was right on target. Initial conflict and getting to know each other, then a deeper connection. Roman and Sabrina really worked for me as a couple as the story continued.

I also enjoyed getting to know the Moran family and Sabrina’s daughter, Emmy. They all contributed to the warm feeling of family the book has throughout. Family is important to Roman and Sabrina and the author shows that in the story.

Breaking Roman may be my first book by Alexis James but it will not be the last. I’m super intrigued by Roman’s older brothers and their love interests. There is sufficient detail given in the story to hook you into wanting to learn more about them, but not so much that Roman and Sabrina’s story is lost.

This book is well worth your reading time!

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Breaking Roman
by Alexis James
(The Moran Family #3)
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

They call me Romeo.

I love romancing women, and I’m good at it.

Too bad it is all a ruse.

Roman, the youngest of the three Moran brothers, is the only one who has ever believed in true love. Too bad his one special person barely acknowledges his existence.

Sabrina Morris spends her days running the HR Department of The Moran Group, and her nights corralling her teenage daughter. She doesn’t have time for love. She’s heard the stories, but Roman is not at all what she expects him to be. His gentle nature catches her completely off-guard. She doesn’t expect to be attracted to him, and she certainly doesn’t expect him to be equally drawn to her. But can she see past his Romeo façade and allow the warm, loving man into her life?

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AlexisAlexis James lives on the beautiful Central California coast. When she’s not spending time with her hubby of almost 30 years or her amazing kids, you can find her tapping away on the computer. She loves reading, spending time with family, reading, camping, reading….and writing too! She enjoys a good date night, an inexpensive glass of wine, and any story that can make her smile and/or cry.

Alexis’s first novel, “Losing Faith”, was released in September 2014. Her second novel, “Loving Emma”, is a standalone, though it does feature some characters from “Losing Faith”.

She invites you to visit her author pages on Facebook and Goodreads, and her website: alexisjamesauthor.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@alexisjames27) or you can email her at: alexisjamesauthor@gmail.com.

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Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

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I have found one of my top books of 2017. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai is top-notch, amazing romance from start to finish. It was breathtaking. Full of sexual and emotional tension, I was on tenterhooks to see how Livvy and Nicholas would handle their past and current relationship.

Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler usually hook up once a year. They have a wild night of sex and then each goes on their way again. These two cannot be together, at least in a public, because of a deep family betrayal. They were once happily in love, but when Nicholas’s father swindled the Kane family business out of their hands, everything changed for the worst. Now Livvy and Nicholas can only see each other on the sly, and even that is taking a chance.

Nicholas simply lusts after Livvy. When she shows up in their home town, he doesn’t know what to think. All he knows is that Livvy makes him come alive again, from head to toe. He feels everything for her but knows it will not lead anywhere.

Livvy is back in town to take care of her mother. She is working at a local tattoo shop for awhile and it is there where she reconnects with Nicholas. But nothing for this couple is easy and putting the past behind them once and for all may be nearly impossible. The tension is excruciating!

Hate to Want You captured my attention from the first page. Alisha Rai is a powerful

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and dynamic writer and those qualities take center stage as she begins to create Livvy and Nicholas. I hate to resort to the onion cliche, but honestly, it felt like every page, I learned a bit more about these two and more of their vulnerabilities and their pasts were exposed. Both of these characters have a fragile air about them, though they would be swift to kick me in the pants for even thinking that.

The past is a major part of this story but I never felt like it intruded either. It was a necessary back story for these two, so readers can understand the heartache and anger that remains between the Kane and Chandler families.

Also, the sex? SUPER DUPER AMAZING HOT. Just wow. Their is such strong passion between these two! It really resonates off the page. Nicholas is clearly deeply in love with Livvy.

I also really appreciated how Alisha Rai handled another aspect of Livvy’s character. She has dealt with deep depression and it was not easy for her. As someone who has depression and knows what it feels like, I think Alisha Rai handled this really well. Obviously it is not going to be an exactly true portrayal for everyone but the heart of depression, the deep pain and loneliness it causes in one’s life, that part felt so real for me. I really think many readers are going to connect with Livvy.

And as an aside, I just loved the Kane family and I am super interested to see what book two brings in the Forbidden Hearts series.

Hate to Want You is exemplary romance. This book stands heads and shoulders above the crowd compared to a lot of what I’ve read this year. This is a book you need to get your hands on. It will leave you wanting more, wanting an instant re-read, and basically wanting to get your hands on everything Alisha Rai has written.

This book is available on July 25. Get your pre-order in now because damn. You need this book.

ARC provided by publisher for review.

Other reviews:

All About Romance

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Hate to Want You
Forbidden Hearts #1
By: Alisha Rai
Releasing July 25, 2017
Avon

Alisha Rai, one of contemporary romance’s brightest stars, makes her Avon Books debut with the first novel in the sexy Forbidden Hearts series!
One night. No one will know.
That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.
Until the night she didn’t show up.
Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?
Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families. Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

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AlishaRai author photo colorAlisha Rai pens award-winning, sexy, contemporary romances and is the first author to have an indie-published book appear on The Washington Post’s annual Best Books list. She spends most of her time dreaming up sexy heroes and heroines, traveling, and tweeting. To find out more about her books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website.

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Review: Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

dukewithbenefitsI don’t read a whole lot of historical romance as of late but Duke with Benefits was getting some twitter buzz from readers I trust and I decided to dive in and request it. I am really glad I did! Manda Collins is a totally new to me author but I am super glad I gave her a try.

Lady Daphne is determined to never marry. She is a brilliant mathematician and feels she will lose her goals in life if she is forced to marry. But that does not mean she wouldn’t mind a little dalliance with the Duke of Maitland, Dalton. He is scandalized, to put it lightly, that she would propose a tryst when he is interested in much more. Daphne intrigues Dalton and he would like to get to know her better. He is especially intrigued with her mind, quite different from most of the women he knows.

Daphne is mortified when Dalton turns her down and it only reinforces in her mind that she needs to focus on math. In particular, she is determined to find the Cameron Cipher which could potentially uncover great riches for her and her friends. Of course, it’s not as easy as it seems.

This is a super sweet romance. It features one of my favorite types of historical heroines, the brilliant bluestocking. This dates back to my love of Amanda Quick historicals. I can definitely see a hint of Amanda Quick in Manda Collins which made me enjoy it all the more.

I also really liked the rather unconventional path Dalton and Daphne had in falling in love. I loved how Daphne took the lead and told Dalton how she felt attracted to him even if it didn’t go the way she planned. That is a brave act for any woman! And I really liked that her bravery wasn’t a turn-off for Dalton. He was definitely still quite intrigued! There is just a really great sweetness to their romance and it plays well against the mystery back drop. Dalton wants to be a hero to Daphne but it turns out what she needs is a partner and I liked how that worked out through the course of the story.

Duke with Benefits is the second book in the Studies in Scandal series. I have not read book one but this book stands very well on its own. And for a Manda Collins newbie, I think it was a great introduction to her writing.

This is a book (and most likely a series!) worth taking a look at.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

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Review: Mr. Hockey by Lia Riley

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Hey friends! It’s time for another hockey romance review. I’m quite pleased to say that I really, really enjoyed Mr. Hockey by Lia Riley. Firstly, it features a librarian (a children’s librarian at that!) who happens to be a major fangirl for hockey. I can relate to being a fan of SO MANY THINGS, hockey included. This is only the tip of the iceberg as to why I really liked the heroine of Mr. Hockey, Breezy (not her real name, a nickname that I admit it took awhile to get used to).

Breezy is leading a children’s program at the library when she gets the bad news that her guest reader, the captain of the Denver Hellions, has to cancel his appearance because he’s stuck in a different state. Enter Neve, Breezy’s sister, and the man she is currently interviewing for her podcast, Jed West, Mr. Hockey himself. He is also Breezy’s dream guy. The man she crushes on and owns tons of merchandise related to him. She knows it’s a tad overboard but hey, we all have those kinds of crushes (mine is Tyler Hoechlin). Unfortunately, a minor wardrobe malfunction sends Breezy running to her car while wearing Jed’s raincoat.

Cue Jed tracking Breezy down at her house where he plays handyman and is pretty much the sweetest guy around. Like, I am falling hard for him at this point so it’s no wonder Breezy has a super crush. Of course, this is Jed West. There is no way he would look at her seriously. Fortunately, he does take her seriously and before she can blink, Breezy is spending time with Jed, getting to know him beyond his media persona. And he’s even better than she could have ever dreamed.

Jed is really enjoying spending time with Breezy. She just makes him feel happy and relaxed. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t realize that Breezy has been holding back on just how well she knows him. When Jed finds out that Breezy has been a fan all along, will he end the burgeoning relationship?

I really liked the unexpected way these two came together. It was a very sweet meet cute. Not only does Jed help with unexpected roof leaks, but he meets Breezy’s mom and grandma in one fell swoop. It has all the makings of a great romantic comedy which I really liked.

I liked Breezy a lot and related to her. Unfortunately, much like myself, she comments on her bigger body a bit too much for my tastes. I know it’s realistic but I also like a more body positive outlook in my romance books overall. That is probably my biggest qualm about Breezy. Otherwise, I liked how she fought for her library and her job. I liked how her funny personality and some of her snappy remarks to Jed. These two have great chemistry from the moment they meet.

While things worked out a little too tidily in the end, I can’t fault this too much because frankly, I enjoyed this book from start to finish. This is my first time reading Lia Riley and it will not be my last. I’m already looking forward to book two, Neve’s story.

Mr. Hockey is available now! Pick up your copy today if you enjoy romance books. The hockey angle is just a bonus!

Mister Hockey

Mister Hockey
Hellions Angels #1
By: Lia Riley
Releasing July 11, 2017
Avon Impulse

Her biggest fantasy is about to become a reality. . .
Jed West is Mr. Hockey. The captain of the NHL’s latest winning team, the Denver Hellions—and the hottest player on the ice—at least according to every magazine. .and Breezy Angel. Breezy has been drooling over Jed at games for years, and he plays a starring role in her most toe-curling fantasies. But dirty dreams don’t come true, right?
Then Jed saunters through the doors of her library, a last minute special guest for a summer reading event, and not only is he drop dead gorgeous up close, his personality is straight up swoon-worthy. He even comes to the rescue when she has an R-rated “Super Book Worm” costume malfunction. But when he mistakenly assumes she’s more into books than pucks, she’s too flustered to correct his mistake. And then comes a big kiss, followed by a teensy-tiny problem. Jed’s dating policy is simple: Never date a fan.
So what’s a fangirl going to have to do to convince her ultimate crush that he’s become less of a perfect fantasy, and more like the perfect man. . .for her?

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Jed West’s stomach curdled faster than overheated hollandaise sauce as he squinted at the menu for Zachary’s, Denver’s most popular all-day breakfast hangout. Ghost-like shadows haunted the specials list, blurring the descriptions for peanut butter French toast, country fried steak benedict and sweet potato pancakes.  Ah, shit. Not fucking now. There went the prices too–the dollar signs and numbers blurring until barely legible.

No point blinking. He knew the drill. Jaw tight, he reached for his orange juice, took a swig and waited. Short bouts of double vision had dogged him ever since Game Seven, the pattern the same. After a minute or two, his focus would snap back to normal as if nothing had happened. Until then, he needed to follow one of coach’s favorite axioms: “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

Who cared about the damn menu anyway? He pushed it to one side, having already ordered the “Manwich”, chorizo and eggs smashed between a jalapeno cheddar biscuit–the kind of breakfast that wanted to kill you in the best kind of ways–and crunched ice. Too bad the cubes didn’t pass on their chill, because this. . .situation for lack of a better word, was getting under his skin and it shouldn’t.

No–Scratch that. It couldn’t.

Unexplained double vision wasn’t a walk in the park, but facts were facts. And the ugly truth was that if he didn’t quit batting his lashes like Scarlett O’Hara with a fly in her skirt, The Post’s toughest sports columnist would glance up from across the table, mistake his tic for a cheesedick wink, and go Lord of the Flies on his nut sack.

At least for the moment, Neve Angel was occupied. She hunched over her digital voice recorder, dark bangs obscuring her sharp gaze as she fiddled with the control settings. Her lips moved to the upbeat Buddy Holly song piping over the sound system while she plucked a mic from her messenger bag. His vision came back online in time for him to read the orange button pinned to the front.

Had a Ball at The Rock Creek Testicle Festival.

Christ, looked to be an authentic souvenir too.

Slamming his knees together, he forced a grin, the one that had potential endorsements lined up around the block, eager for him to shill everything from vitamin infused coconut water to shaving cream. He unwrapped the paper napkin from around the fork and knife, and began tearing the corner into neat strips.

No doubt the eye thing was fatigue-related, an inevitable toll from the grueling NHL season and subsequent hard-fought playoffs. Everything would be all right in the end. If it wasn’t all right, it wasn’t the end.

“You plan on telling me what’s up with Mount Napkin Shreds?” Neve leaned her elbows on the recycled wood tabletop, a signal they were shifting into interview mode. Her brows arched beneath her thick-cut bangs. “Nervous about being in the hot seat, princess?”

“Yeah, terrified,” he answered laconically, not missing a beat. Hiding his true feelings behind a mask of confidence was a reflex; it came with the territory of having the “C” stitched on the front of his jersey. A good captain never showed fear to an opponent. “A jackal’s bark is worse then it’s bite.”

“Jackal? Don’t tell me you’re using Gunnarisms now.” She rolled her eyes. “And I’d so wanted to enjoy my bagel without gagging.”

The Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar, had a reputation for dismissing the press as “jackals.” He fostered a tense relationship with journalists, in particular, the tiny woman sitting opposite. Neve had run a piece on his divorce a few years ago. He retaliated by refusing to call on her during press conferences. Neve hit back with increasingly critical op-eds. Their mutual enmity had devolved to the stuff of local legend.

LiaAfter studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

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Blitz: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

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A reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: 

a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


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Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband. A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

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Review: A SEAL’S Courage by JM Stewart

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Military romances aren’t always my go-to trope but there was something about the description of A SEAL’S Courage by JM Stewart that caught my attention. I love the idea of two people who have feelings for each other finally acting on it. That is what drew me to this story and kept me hooked.

Lauren is ready to live her life. She’s always been a cautious woman and now that’s she’s on the verge of turning twenty-eight, she wants to shake things up in her life. She wants to lose her virginity. She wants to be knock-down drunk one time. And oh yeah, she would really, really like to kiss Trent Lawson, the unrequited crush of her dreams. Unfortunately, she’s had to settle for being his friend. Which isn’t awful of course, she’s happy to be a shoulder and a companion for the Navy SEAL but she definitely longs for more. With her two best friends’ convincing, she signs up for Military Match, hoping to break her really, really awful streak of dating. In a twist of fate that is both good and bad, she is matched with Trent.

When Lauren confesses her crush to Trent and that she’d like to spend the night with him, he panics. Lauren is a good friend and Trent does not want to damage that friendship in any way. Unfortunately, saying no to Lauren is getting more difficult as his feelings for her grow beyond friendship.

Firstly, I loved how Lauren finally just said basically, I’ve had enough. She is going to find a man to seduce and finally live out her wildest fantasies with. She would love for it to be Trent but when he says no, she decides to set her fantasy aside and find someone who may be willing to give her a shot. But it’s not easy and Lauren went through a whole range of emotions that JM Stewart did a great job of describing. Lauren really resonated with me as a character because she’s definitely a bit cautious in life but sometimes, even she realizes you just have to jump in one hundred percent and find your chance at happiness.

Trent is kind of a mess but he’s working to get his life back on track. His ex-wife left him when she realized she didn’t want to be a SEAL wife anymore. Trent witnessed his military dog, Cooper, and a SEAL member die and he blames himself. He also suffers from PTSD that keeps him up at night with bad nightmares. When Lauren started visiting him and just spending time with him, it really made a big difference. She didn’t ask for anything, didn’t require long talks about his feelings. She was just there and Trent is really afraid to lose that. He takes awhile to figure out that maybe, instead of losing Lauren, having her more intimately involved in his life will make things even better.

There is a lot of great chemistry between these two characters, as well as a deep history that bonds them. I was rooting for Lauren and Trent even as I wished Trent would find his own courage and decide to pursue Lauren a bit more ardently. That being said, I liked where they ended up together. The story ends on a very positive and romantic note and well, I just really loved that aspect of it. All in all, A SEAL’s Courage is a genuine and sweet romance. Lauren however was the true star of the story for me and I really liked seeing her embrace her choices and just go for everything head-on. No guts no glory as it were.

ARC provided by publisher for review.

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A SEAL’S COURAGE by JM Stewart
(July 11, 2017; Forever Yours eBook; $3.99; Military Match Book 1)

A sizzling new series about three friends looking for love-and the sexy SEALs who are ready to fulfill their craziest fantasies.

He’s a man on a mission.
Navy SEAL Trent Lawson isn’t a man to back down from a challenge. Ever since he opened his eyes in that army hospital to learn the men from his unit were gone, Trent has been determined to live life in their honor. Even if that means facing his most terrifying mission yet…dating.

She’s done playing games.
Lauren Hayes has standards. In fact, she’s got an entire list of them. There’s only ever been one man to come close to making the cut-Trent Lawson. Except her best friend’s too-sexy-for-his-own-good brother is strictly off-limits.

When Trent and Lauren find themselves matched up by a dating service, the chemistry between them is nothing short of explosive. They both know getting involved is a huge mistake, but life is too short to walk away from something this good.

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J.M. Stewart is a coffee and chocolate addict who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two sons and two very spoiled dogs. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily ever after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.

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