The Hero of Hope Springs by Maisey Yates

Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Rating: ★★★★

For as long as brooding cowboy Ryder Daniels has known Sammy Marshall, she has been his sunshine. Her free spirit and bright smile saved him after the devastating loss of his parents and gave him the strength to care for his orphaned family. Only Ryder knows how vulnerable Sammy is, so he’s kept his attraction for his best friend under wraps for years. But what Sammy’s asking for now might be a step too far…

Something has been missing from Sammy’s life, and she thinks she knows what it is. Deciding she wants a baby is easy; realizing she wants her best friend to be the father is…complicated. Especially when a new heat between them sparks to life! When Sammy discovers she’s pregnant, Ryder makes it clear he wants it all. But having suffered the fallout of her parents’ disastrous relationship, Sammy is wary of letting Ryder too close. This cowboy will have to prove he’s proposing out of more than just honor…

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Maisey Yates, & Harlequin Books for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read Maisey Yates before and I absolutely adored the story. I read the Copper Ridge series and I quickly became obsessed with all of the characters and I was so glad that it lasted over 10 books. I received an opportunity to read her newest book, The Hero of Hope Springs, and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. I never read any part of the Gold Valley series, but I didn’t have any trouble following along!

I really like Maisey Yates’ writing because as much as it does have sultry and sexy vibes, it doesn’t take the front of the story like it does in some romance novels. The angst, the friendships, the drama, the comedy, the full-on relationship between the characters make each and every one of her stories. The characters are always well developed and they make this stories as well-written as they are.

May I just say…this friends-to-lovers trope is perfection. I loved Sammy and Ryder! Their characters are great, and the fact that they were friends from the start, makes it all that more believable and real in my eyes. The brooding character of Ryder and the happy-go-lucky character of Sammy made these two a very unusual mash-up, but I think they really showed chemistry and connected well.

Overall, the story of love and acceptance is what takes first place in this book. The complexity of the characters and showing them make their own serious life choices makes this story really come to life. The Gold Valley series is definitely something I want to read now so I can get to know everyone! However, if you don’t choose to, it appears as though you can read these as a standalone. I’d really recommend this book to cowboy-loving romance readers!

The Modern Love Series by Alisha Rai

39863092. sy475 Book #1: The Right Swipe
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Rating:

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Review:

I absolutely knew from the bottom of my heart that even before I was a quarter of the way through this book that it would receive a five-star rating from me. The writing, the heat, the characters..everything was perfect from start to finish.

The first thing I loved about this book was the representation of diversity. There were so many different races represented in this book and this needs to happen more in novels. It was so refreshing and inspirational to see all different types of people working together and having a fun time together in this novel that it gives you the best kind of vibes.

Next, I loved that all characters were represented in The Modern Swipe. In most books, the side characters are usually just here-and-there. They pop up from time-to-time and it’s never really more than that. However, Alisha Rai did such a phenomenal job showing every and all characters. I’m not usually a fan of too many characters because it’s hard for me to keep track, but this was written so well that I could see everyone and make sure that all of their stories were represented.

Finally, the romance was AMAZING. The heat of it all. The story of it all. The chemistry of it all. It’s truly one of my favorite romance novels ever. I am a contemporary romance reader. In reality, a lot of the books I read are that genre. That’s really big to say if that’s all I read! Alisha Rai’s writing was spectacular and I can’t wait to read her next books!

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44148565Book #2: Girl Gone Viral
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: ★.5

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings [eyes emoji]

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Review:

Thank you Alisha Rai, Avon Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

After a frightening childhood where she was abused by her father-turned-manager, Kat grows up with PTSD and has panic attacks. There’s only a few people that Kat trusts. In her life, she trusts her two roommates and her bodyguard, Jas. After being photographed at a café and makes her anxiety jump, Jas takes Kat away from all of the madness. It’s here where their story begins. If you like slow burn novels, this is one you should read.

One of the main reasons why this wasn’t my favorite novel was the fact that the slow burn was one of the slowest I ever read.  I wished things would’ve happened a little sooner writing wise.

I loved these characters. I loved Kat & Jas and their backgrounds. Kat has a good amount of wealth, but I always felt as though she was humble throughout the entire novel. I wish this book focused a little less about their backgrounds though. Unfortunately, I feel as though now I’m loving Alisha Rai’s writing style, I was expecting more romance and more heat. The backgrounds, the fighting with families, etc., really just took away from the whole romance of it all. I wish there was more cute scenes like the snow fight.

Overall, I think that this book was good. There were a lot of great qualities, but a lot of qualities that missed the mark for me as well. I don’t want to compare her books, but this book was more mental health based and the first in this series was more romance based. There’s nothing wrong with differing books by the same author, but I expected Girl Gone Viral to be romance as well.

The A.L. McKittridge Series by Beverly Long

45308046Book #1: Ten Days Gone

Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books

Rating: ★★★

They know exactly when he’ll strike… They just have to find him first.

In all their years working for the Baywood police department, detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have never seen anything like it. Four women dead in forty days, each killed ten days apart. With nothing connecting the victims and very little evidence, the clock is already counting down to when the next body drops. A.L. and Rena will have to act fast if they’re going to find the killer’s next victim before he does.

But identifying the killer’s next likely target is only half the battle. With pressure pushing in from all sides, a promising breakthrough leads the detectives to Tess Lyons, a woman whose past trauma has left her too damaged to appreciate the danger she’s in. Unwilling to let another woman die, A.L. and Rena will put everything on the line to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s deadly spree once and for all–before time runs out again.

Review:

Thank you to Beverly Long, MIRA Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first installment of the A.L. McKittridge series by Beverly Long. The beginning of this story introduces the fact that there is a serial killer that has murdered four women in the last thirty days. They were all killed ten days apart. The premise is pretty interesting as someone who enjoys thrillers.

The characters were good enough. I liked A.L. and Rena, but the background characters in addition to the two main were a little confusing. There wasn’t much development and the romances were too much going on in my opinion. When starting this book, I did feel like I should’ve known them already which I was kind of confused about since this is the first in the series.

The story was just alright. I didn’t find it THAT boring, but I didn’t find it to be that intriguing either. The story did grab my attention, anything about murder and what happened is interesting, especially in the eyes of the police/detectives who are trying to figure out the case. The first half did drag a little, but it did pick up around halfway through.

I really wish the ending was a little more detailed and drug out. I feel like the ending was thrown in very quickly and it ended so abruptly. I understand that this is going to be a continuous series, but this story should’ve been a little bit longer in order to really wrap up this installment.

Overall, it wasn’t phenomenal, but it wasn’t bad either. I appreciate the A.L. McKittridge series so far, and I will definitely read the next installment. I do like the way that Beverly Long writes, and it makes me want to read her other books!


51797966. sy475

Book #2: No One Saw

Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books
Rating: ★★★

Nobody saw a thing. Or so they say…

Baywood police department detective A.L. McKittridge is no stranger to tough cases, but when five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her day care, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to go on. Neither the grandmother who dropped her off, nor the teacher whose care she was supposed to be in, can account for the missing child. There are no witnesses. No trace of where she might have gone. There’s only one thing A.L. and his partner, Rena Morgan, are sure of—somebody is lying.

With the clock ticking, A.L. and Rena are under extreme pressure as they discover their instincts are correct: all is not as it seems. The Whitmans are a family with many secrets, and A.L. and Rena will have to race to untangle a growing web of lies if they’re going to find the thread that leads them to Emma…before it’s too late.

Review:

Thank you to Beverly Long, MIRA Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I read this as a participant of the Harlequin Blog Tour.

This is the second installment of the A.L. McKittridge series. A.L. is a detective with the Baywood Police Department. In the first of this series, Ten Days Gone, there was a serial killer killing women ten days apart from each other. As the story started, I was super interested. In No One Saw, there’s a little girl, Emma, missing and again, I was super interested. However, in both books, even though they started off super strong for me, I found myself never getting as interested again throughout the novel. Things of course pick up, but never as strong as the start of the novel.

I noticed in the first novel that there were a lot of characters that I was introduced to that I felt like I should’ve known already. Again, in No One Saw, there were so many characters introduced in the interviews. I felt as though I was getting confused on keeping track with who was who. I also felt as though I should’ve known them again, and I still had no idea who they were. On the other hand, I did enjoy A.L. and Rena again. There were some development in characters which I appreciated.

There was absolutely a shock factor to this book. In the first novel, I wasn’t too sure about the story. However, in this novel, I was definitely surprised about the reveal. The burn was definitely slow, but I did get a surprise which is good!

Overall, I would keep reading this series. The second book in this series was definitely stronger than the first. If you’re interested in a detective mystery with strong main characters, this is definitely for you!

Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb

I received this novel as a part of the Harlequin’s Carina Press Blog Tour Program. Thank you to Debra Webb, Harlequin Intrigue, Carina Press & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Rating: ★★★

Can the witness protection program keep her identity secret?

After Allison James finally escapes her marriage to a monster, she becomes the star witness in the case against her deceased husband’s powerful crime family. Now it’s up to US Marshal Jaxson Stevens, Ali’s ex-boyfriend, to keep the WITSEC widow safe. But as the danger escalates and sparks fly, will Jax be able to help Ali escape her ruthless in-laws?

Discover more spine-tingling suspense in the Winchester, Tennessee Thriller series:
In Self Defense
The Dark Woods
The Stranger Next Door
The Safest Lies
Witness Protection Widow

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Review:

This was my first and only Debra Webb that I’ve read. I don’t think it will be my last! Witness Protection Widow was the fifth installment of the Winchester, Tennessee series, but I had no problems following along.

I really enjoyed Allison (Ali) James. Her character was so interesting and really had me intrigued of where this story would end up because of her. I’ve never read a book about someone in the witness protection program so this type of story was new to me. It did not disappoint!

I loved the romance aspect. I think that making Jax, Ali’s ex-fiancee, her marshal was something that a lot of people would swoon over. There’s a few tropes that you could fit in there, enemies-to-lovers, men in uniform…Debra Webb did a great job with that.

There was a lot of detail and interest in her testimony and that’s what helps you get to the end of this book. I felt like the ending came so quick where I couldn’t even enjoy the build-up that I experienced throughout the entire book. Making the ending a little more detailed or even a little bit longer would’ve made this story for me.

Overall, I think that this was definitely a storyline that I could get into. I will definitely give more of Debra Webb a chance if all of her books are as intriguing and detailed as this one was. After reading Witness Protection Widow, I am definitely interested in the other books in this series!

Hot & Hammered Series by Tessa Bailey

 

39854434Book #1: Fix Her Up

Publication Date: June 14, 2019
Publisher: Avon Books
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

Review:

Let me just say, this is one of the filthiest books I’ve ever read. Tessa Bailey literally has you feel the chemistry between Georgie and Travis. If you are not someone that likes smutty romance novels, I’d recommend not reading this one. On the other hand, if you are someone that likes steam in a book, this might just be one of the best romances of 2019 because of it.

Everything about Fix Her Up was perfect in my eyes. The characters, the development, the love, the romance, the steam, everything. Georgie & Travis were two of my favorite characters that I’ve read in a romance novel. She was just so sweet and had her unexpected moments where I was like “woah, what?!”. I never read a book with a story like this either. Georgie was such a family girl and her dream was to keep kids happy at birthday parties, which I’ve never really heard of as a career in a book like this before.

Travis was an absolute dream. You really feel for him after an injury ends his baseball career (sports romances are so great already, hello), but you find yourself rooting for him from the very beginning. I wanted him to figure out his life and was cheering him on at some points.

The angst in this book was *kisses fingertips*, one of the best I’ve read. My heart hurt multiple times throughout this book to the point where I wanted to jump through and fix everything myself.

Overall, I’d read this book again and again. I think it was one of the best romances of 2019. Tessa Bailey really got a good one here. Having a series called Hot & Hammered, I’m curious to see where this is going to go.

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44148563Book #2: Love Her or Lose Her 

Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Avon Books
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

Review:

Thank you to Tessa Bailey, Avon Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to love this book as much as I loved Fix Her Up, but there was something just different in this book. It was not bad in the slightest bit, but something just felt off in this one.

I wholeheartedly believe that the ending had a pretty big influence on my review. I loved this whole book. I loved Dom and Rosie. I loved Dom’s secrets, I loved Rosie’s angst, I loved it all. However, I felt like the end seemed a little rushed and that’s why I gave this a four-star rating instead of five. I waited the whole novel and rooted for these two and the ending just seemed like…BAM.

Tessa Bailey knows how to write angst. It really makes me feel for the characters and I can appreciate the writing when that happens. The pain between Dom and Rosie was truly, truly felt throughout the entire book. I could see the story-line as realistic with what they were going through.

The connection and steam between Rosie and Dom was felt for sure. You could see that they loved each other, but this story was very different from what I’ve read before. The story of “we don’t love each other, but our bodies need each other” was very interesting and I think Tessa Bailey wrote it beautifully.

Overall, I can’t wait for more Tessa Bailey books. She’s a fantastic writer that knows how to include all aspects of a perfect romance (love, angst, trust, etc.). She’s definitely becoming one of my favorite authors.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

See the full series review here.

Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ★★★★

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

Review:

The second installment of the Simon Snow series was a fantastic addition to the first. I really enjoyed being able to connect with Penny, Simon and Baz again as I loved them so much in the first book, Carry On.

My favorite thing about Wayward Son was the setting. Watching the three of them take on Western America was hilarious and made me laugh-out-loud multiple times. They get lost and honestly, that probably was my favorite part of this book. I really enjoyed watching them trying to get back to where they needed to be and their dialogue was truly friendship based. How they handled being on foreign land in a crisis is exactly how I would think it would go.

The stories of Penny, Simon and Baz was just another fantastic job done by Rainbow Rowell. I really felt for them, especially for Simon and Baz. You root and root for them to make it through whatever it is that they’re going through and it is definite that Rainbow really pulls on your heart strings. I love when a book can make me feel that type of emotion.

The ending is what got me the most. I was so shocked that there was going to even be a second book. When I reached the end, I actually gasped out loud and could NOT believe my eyes. Anyway the Wind Blows is going to be the third installment of this series and let me just say I cannot wait!

 

Meet Me On Love Lane by Nina Bocci

Find the full series review here.

Publication Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: ★★★★

Charlotte Bishop is out of options in New York City. Fired, broke, and blacklisted by her former boss, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Hope Lake, PA to lick her wounds. Although she’s expecting to find a miserable place with nothing to do, she is pleasantly surprised to discover it is bustling and thriving.

She’s only supposed to be in Hope Lake temporarily until she can earn enough money to move back to New York. She’s not supposed to reconnect with her childhood friends or her beloved grandmother. She’s not supposed to find her dream job running the local florist shop. And she’s definitely not supposed to fall for not one but two of Hope Lake’s golden boys: one the beloved high school English teacher, the other the charming town doctor.

With a heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do?

A perfect blend of humor and heart, Meet Me on Love Lane is the second in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci that is sure to charm fans of Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

Review:

This novel was if not as good but maybe even better than the first. However, if you haven’t read the first, On the Corner of Love and Hate, it can be read as a standalone. You’ll get a better understanding of the characters if you read the first in the series.

The story was extremely heartwarming and just such a cute small-town romance. Henry was my favorite part about this book and I loved being able to connect with him as a character. His character was good in the first book and I was so happy to see he got his own book, he really deserved it! Even though this was a romance about Henry and Charlotte, the other main character, it was so much more than that.

This story is very emotional because Charlotte can’t remember much from her childhood. It was extremely relatable that she blocked out things because it’s truly like your mind goes on flight or fight mode. She had traumatizing things happen and she blocked them out to the point where she can’t remember important things like who Henry even was to her. This book was great just because there were multiple things going on.

This was a rediscovery of who Charlotte was and how she developed throughout the years. You could see her struggles as well as her triumph. The way that she advanced throughout this book was just a testament to Nina Bocci’s writing style. She was able to write about multiple things at once and it all made sense. It was a beautiful story of finding and falling in love with yourself.

Overall, Nina Bocci needs to continue writing. Her books are beautifully written and can easily speak to her readers. I loved how heartwarming this book was and I can’t wait for the next installment.

 

September 2019 Reads

Number of Books Read: 17
Avg. Rating of the 17 books: 3.82/5
Five Star Ratings: 5/17
*Five Star Rated Books are bold.

  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • Shoulda Been a Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #0.5)
  • Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #1)
  • Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #2)
  • Bad News Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #3)
  • Hometown Heartbreaker by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #3.5)
  • One Night Charmer by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #4)
  • Tough Luck Hero by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #5)
  • Last Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #6)
  • Slow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #7)
  • Down Home Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #8)
  • Wild Ride Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #9)
  • Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge #10)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
  • How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
  • Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager